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A Stark Truth

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I flicked my foot back and forth absently reading the files Tony had left out. Well, left out was a loose definition, the lock was inadequate. “Miss Stark,” a voice commented.

“Yeah, Jarvis?” I asked.

“Your brother is approaching,” he replied and I heard the door.

I sighed, “Finally, I was just running out of good stuff to read.”

The office door opened and he strutted in with his normal careless swagger followed by an imposing man in black. They continued their conversation for a brief moment before Tony blinked, “What are you doing here? You weren’t due back for another month.”

“Conference was boring, ditched after my talk not that any of them listened,” I rolled my eyes still flipping through the files.

“You have a room you know,” he sighed popping some blueberries into his mouth.

“I know.”

He sighed turning back to the man, “You were saying.”

“What I was saying was a matter….”

“I sense the words top secret,” I rolled my eyes, “I’m quaking with excitement. For your information, Mr…” I flipped back to the beginning, “Fury. I’ve heard far worse.”

He glanced at the files spread out on the desk, “Those are SHIELD property, supposed to be burned after reading.”

“Like I listen to you,” Tony scoffed, “However they were in a locked safe.”

“You need to update Jarvis,” I sighed continuing my leisurely flipping, “He tried his best but I mean really. Tinker Timmy, I’m not even the best lock pick.”

“Tinker Timmy? Nat’s going to enjoy that,” Fury smirked.

Tony shrugged, “Can we wrap this up I have a petulant sister to deal with.”

“That’s sassy and petulant to you, toddles,” I snickered not moving.

“I’m concerned,” he shook his head, “Thor hasn’t been himself, not since the incident at the convergence. If we can’t count on Asgard…”

“You’re the man with the magic alien juice,” Tony shrugged, “He dropped off one of those soul boat things, fix him if you’re so worried.”

“You want to be the one to talk Thor into one of those things when he’s convinced he’s fine,” Fury scoffed, “be my guest tin man.”

“You’re the one that’s worried,” Tony shook his head, “He’s lost some one, two someone’s in fact. He’s a god he’ll be fine.”

“He lost a sociopath,” Fury shook his head, “if he’s not better off someone needs to talk to him.”

“The only one who could talk him down if he loses it as you’re fretting,” I sighed growing bored of the conversation, “Is Loki. Historically he’s the counter to Thor’s muscle head solution to problems. You have no Loki you have no way to control him if his opinion sours.”

“You would know this how?” Fury scoffed.

“I’ve written papers on it,” I shrugged sitting up, “They have a near homoerotic relationship, many scholars believe they are involved but…” I shivered, “Blech incest. The two of them despite their differences in recent years are closer than anything. Something we can’t understand as we are not Asgardian. You want to give Thor something to relate to brush up on your germanic tribal history, try to connect with him.”

“Who exactly are you?” Fury crossed his arms.

“Tessa Stark,” I replied rolling my eyes, “Spy, my ass. I’m one of the chief authorities on Scandinavian culture, mythology, and religion. I hold two doctoral degrees and have lectured all over the world on this topic…”

“Lectured,” Tony scoffed, “You call trekking through jungles of south asia getting into trouble lecturing.”

“Piss off, TJ,” I rolled my eyes.

“You sound accomplished,” Fury nodded, “Any plans for your future?”

“Is this where you ask me to consult in a historical sense,” I shook my head and Fury shrugged, “I get my own room and work area, and I get the sole rights to publish works on Asgard for a year after you go public.”

“Sounds reasonable,” he nodded, “You sure you can provide the information we’ll need to form relations…”

“You mean can I negotiate with an Asgardian?” I rolled my eyes, “Certainly.”

“We’ll have a space set up for you shortly, then,” Fury nodded leaving as he muttered, “Two bloody Starks on my ship…”

“Make sure you add ‘issues with authority’ to her file,” Tony called after him.

“That’s in every Stark file,” he retorted as the door closed.

“You’re not going on that ship,” He frowned at me.

“Since when do I listen to you,” I snapped, “You… What’s it again?”

“Avengers.”

“Stupid name,” I rolled my eyes, “You ‘Avengers’ could use me. The point I made to Fury is the same you should have thought of ages ago. Do you know how Thor must feel as more of an outsider than anyone on that ship. No one understands the culture he comes from, not to mention he’s now in grieving. Having someone one like me that at least grasps some part of it will help him relate. Especially now that he’s turned his back on his throne, his only living family, and his home world to help us.”

“I’m not saying having someone who studies what you do on board is a bad thing,” he argued, “I’m saying that…”

“I your little sister shouldn’t be allowed,” I rolled my eyes, “This isn’t a tree house club Tony.”

“The people on this ship are all heavily powered unstable…”

“And all I did was grow up with you, however will I survive,” I sighed sarcastically, “Tony, I’ve spent most of my young life travelling. I’ve been through the backwoods of nearly every country on earth, and more than my share of guerrilla war zones.”

“What?!”

“It’s not important,” I sighed not wanting to get sidetracked, “I’m more than capable of handling a few super powered freaks like you. Besides I’m only there for educational purposes it’s not like I’m going to be the one taking out hydra or aliens bent on universal domination.”

***

“Come on, please!” I begged hanging onto the tall muscular blond.

“You know Tony doesn’t want you to go,” Thor sighed, “I’d be inclined to agree, even taking Jane there was dangerous.”

“I’ve only had a few books you’ve been able to bring me it’s nothing compared to seeing the real thing!” I whined not letting go as he stepped onto the deck of the hellacarrier, “Imagine how much more I could help if I could see Asgard for myself. Just a peek. I won’t even leave the do hicky room.”

“The dangers of my world are far greater than just…”

“I won’t cross the bridge,” I pleaded, “I won’t even leave your side. I just want to see everything I’ve been researching the last few months.”

He sighed shaking his head, “Five minutes, all we’re doing is picking up a couple things from Hiemdall then coming right back, understood?”

“Yes!” I squealed standing up straight, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”

“Hold on,” he laughed shaking his head and putting his arm around me as he lifted his hammer above his head. We shot up like an air delivery system and I slammed my eyes shut. A moment later I heard, “Everything alright?”

“I greatly dislike heights!” I muttered as my feet touched the ground. I let go shaking off the chills from flying, not something I wanted to try again.

“Of all the things to imagine you’re afraid of,” Thor shook his head laughing, “I did not think you would fear heights.”

“It’s not so much heights as the anticipation of a short stop,” I sighed trying to calm my heart, “Flying in a plane, fine, the hellacarrier, fine, even rollercoasters, fine. Me personally flying, definitely not.”

Thor shook his head laughing as I fixed my eyes on Asgard. I could see the palace down the long rainbow sparkling boulevard. The tall gold spires before mountains covered in deep green forests. The fjords running along gap at the edge of the world. I wanted to walk the streets more than anything. I heard Thor laugh at something Hiemdall said and I knew he wasn’t paying attention. I bit my lip seeing the horse and messenger outside. I stepped out of the room and smiled at him, “Hello.”

“Ma’am,” he nodded stiffly.

“Might I borrow that?” I asked quietly nodding to the horse.

“If you require, ma’am,” he nodded and I grinned.

I glanced back inside and saw Thor avidly chatting with his friend. I climbed on and spurred it down the boulevard. I know I’d promised not to go, but it was there and I needed to see it. Besides Thor was just a teddy bear, really. Before I knew it I was at the gates of the palace thanks to some friendly Asgardians. I dismounted the horse and two guards rushed forward making me panic a bit. One took the horse, the other stared, “What news from Hiemdall?”

“Oh,” I blinked noticing the crest on the horse’s harness, “Right… Um…”

“You bring news, yes?” he frowned, “Hiemdall would not have sent you out needlessly. You bring a message, yes?”

“Not exactly,” I heard a deep voice from behind me making me sigh in defeat, “So much for you’ll stay right by my side.”

I smiled shyly glancing at the palace, “We’re here already, I mean…”

“It’s fine,” He nodded to the guards, “This run-away is with me. Is the all-father in?”

“Yes, M’Lord,” he bowed, “He said if you were to return you were to come and see him at once.”

Thor nodded looking much like I did when Tony tried to tell me what to do. He led me inside down a long golden hall towards a wide throne. I looked up at Thor venturing, “This doesn’t sound good.”

“He’s going to try and convince me to stay here rather than return,” he sighed, “It’s a regular occurrence on my visits.”
As we neared the throne I saw the great bearded man with a staff less an eye. I noticed as we got closer a faint shimmer but held back my smirk as Thor bowed nodding, “Father.”

“I see you bring yet another mortal to our halls against my wishes,” the man frowned looking down at us.

“It was meant to be a brief excursion,” Thor nodded to me to bow, “I assure you, father.”

I bowed respectfully, “It’s an honor, Loki.”

“An uneducated mortal at that,” the man frowned as I rose.

“I assure you, I am an expert in my Asgardian mythology,” I replied looking him in the eye, “You are most certainly Loki. I’ve no idea how you convinced the All-father to leave you in charge, but I’m not mistaken. In fact, I’m quite insulted by your comment. I’d expected better manners from a prince of Asgard.”

It was quiet for a moment as we stared at one another, Thor opened his mouth to speak but Odin raised his hand silencing him. Neither of us broke eye contact and after a long moment he scoffed and the illusion faded away revealing a lean smirking black haired man. He stood commenting as he came down the steps, “How on earth did you spot that, my dear?”

“Faintest glimmer in the right light,” I scoffed crossing my arms, “Easy enough to spot, not your best illusion.”

Thor stood there gawking as Loki extended a hand, “Forgive my gaping brother. I don’t believe we’ve been introduced?”

“Tessa…”

“You live?” Thor snapped coming back to himself and lifting his brother up by his shirt.

“Of course he’s alive,” I scoffed making Thor stare at me, “Come on, Thor! He’s the god of mischief and magic, you honestly think he is killed so easily? Your mother gave him her magic, it would take more than a dagger to the gut to kill him. He makes illusions, how do you keep forgetting that?! I’ll grant you the falling off the bridge but this easy to see. By the way I am very curious as to how you tricked the All-Father.”

“I like this one,” Loki smirked still dangling, “She’s far more clever than those other louts you drag about.”

“Thank you,” I winked as Thor put him down.

“As I was saying…” Loki began only to be hugged by Thor, “And now with the hugging.” I snickered watching the two of them, the only image I could conjure was a large dog trying to cuddle a cat. Loki sighed, “I am alive and real! Will you kindly let go of me, brother!” Thor released him and Loki rolled his eyes, “Are you quite finished now?”

“Not remotely,” Thor frowned turning to me, “My stay is going to be somewhat extended, Tessa. I’m sorry…”

“Even better,” I grinned looking around, “Where to start…”

“My stay,” Thor shook his head, “I’m taking you home, then you,” he glared at Loki, “and I will be having a long talk perhaps including our father.”

“Your father,” Loki interjected, “There’s no harm in…”

“Stay out of this,” Thor frowned, “Come Tess, it’s time to go home. Your bother is already going to want my head for this.”

“Leave him to me,” I rolled my eyes, “Fine, if I must. I want more books though, when you get back.”

“I wouldn’t dream of depriving you of them,” He sighed leading me away.

“It was a pleasure to meet you, Loki,” I smiled as we left.

I briefly caught him smirk, “I hope it will be.”

Chapter Text

“Miss Stark,” Jarvis inquired as I climbed up my ladder to reach the books at the top of the book case, “The Captain has asked I inform you Master Thor has returned bearing a great many books for you.”

“Fantastic,” I smiled, “I was hoping he would be back soon, I assume he has our special guest as well.”

“I believe so, Miss Stark,” he replied.

“That should be fun,” I smirked.

“Your definition of fun is generally concerning, ma’am,” Jarvis replied.

I shrugged, “Only to you and Tony.”

“And several south American governments,” he retorted.

“Fuddy duddy,” I muttered selecting my books as there was a knock on the door, “Come in!”

“Tessa?” Thor ventured opening the door.

“Up here,” I explained as he came into the room carrying books in his arms, “Jarvis just told me you were back. I see books! You spoil me, Thor!”

“As I recall it, they were a demand,” he smiled playfully setting the books down on my desk, “For cutting your visit to Asgard short.”

“Perhaps you can make that up to her on our return,” Loki commented dryly as Thor took the books in his shackled hands.

“I think he definitely should,” I smirked collecting the last book I wanted from the shelf, “I could use a vacation the way Fury works me. They finally let off leash there Loki?”

“Not by much,” he smirked up at me, “It appears I’m still a war criminal on this planet, though my help with the infinity stones appears to outweighs their desire to see my head roll.”

“It’ll be a boring day when that happens. Will they be using the cage again?” I teased holding the books tight, “Catch!” I hopped off the ladder landing in Loki’s startled arms. I smiled hopping down, “Thanks, I knew we kept you Asgardians around for something.”

“Fury has asked he have eyes on him at all times,” Thor nodded as I set my books down looking at the stack he’d brought.

I scoffed glancing up, “I doubt that will be a problem, but even so I doubt even more a pair of handcuffs are going to do much to stop him. Unless he’s wearing them for other reasons, then he certainly has my full attention.”

Loki grinned, “I tried to tell him that.”

I picked up a chip sighing, “Will you tell Fury when he comes to help me he won’t need those, I have my own.”

“I thought Banner…” Thor frowned.

“I know Bruce asked for his research but I could use his help with a couple dialects I’m not certain on,” I explained shaking my head, “Fury want me to translate and brief him quickly I need access to an Asgardian who can actually read the ancient dialects.”

“Fury is…” he sighed, “not thrilled to say the least, I don’t think he’s just going to…”

“Fury can kiss my ass,” I snapped shaking my head, “I am the only one on this ship…. The only one he trusts who can translate the texts Bruce and Tony need to study the stones. There is a lot to get through, I can’t just guess at what it says. It took my how long to learn the ancient language? Well?”

“Two weeks,” he sighed and Loki raised an eyebrow.

“Exactly,” I rolled my eyes, “I am working fast and overtime for Fury, I say I need help with dialects of a language no one can teach me he had better hand over your brother on a silver platter.”

“How do you even know…”
I sighed turning to Loki to prove a point, “Can you translate dialects of ancient Asgardian?”
“Considering these are books from my library,” he smirked, “Easily. How exactly…”

“See,” I smirked, “He’s just what I need. I’ll expect him after Tony is done.”

“I’m beginning to see why Fury doesn’t argue anymore,” Thor sighed turning to leave, “Jane says hello by the way.”

“Pass on my love,” I smiled as they left. I waited a few moments sorting through the books they’d brought me. Finally, I sighed giving in. I was morbidly curious about Loki, I’d seen the carnage at New York, not that Tony or the others knew I was lurking in Stark tower. The cool calm manner he carried himself now and the way he held himself according to the reports from SHIELD’s first encounter with him didn’t match the New York event. He was certainly a puzzle, and I couldn’t let puzzle’s sit. I picked up my phone from my desk calling, “Jarvis, can you please compile a list of the words that don’t fit with my translations. Just in the text we’ve already processed.”

“I see you’re planning another late night then, miss,” he replied, “Shall I compile that in both English and Asgardian.”

“Yes please,” I nodded stepping out the door and strolling down the halls of the hellacarrier. I knew where Tony and Bruce’s lab was and that Barton had a perch in just across from it incase Bruce wasn’t Bruce. I climbed up slipping quietly along the railing to reach the perch and made myself comfortable. I had to give Barton credit he had great choice in views, you could see everything in the lab. Tony looked uncomfortable, he really didn’t like Loki. I smirked I could see from the body language this was a competition both liked being the smartest in the room and were showing off. Banner sat behind his computer trying not to laugh at the spectacle as he ran his simulations. He was such a sweetheart, Hulk wasn’t too bad if you got through to him in the right way. I watched Loki saunter around the room smirking and making quips though I couldn’t make out what anyone was saying. Tony only rolled his eyes looking bored with Loki’s wit, putting the two together was certainly entertaining to say the least. They worked for several hours with Tony and Loki nipping at each other’s egos while Banner worked.

“I see you know about Barton’s perch,” Nat commented dropping down beside me with a paper bag in her hands.

“It’s not like it’s a secret,” I laughed shaking my head, “What’s in the bag?”

“Barton made a food run,” she smiled handing it to me, “He grabbed your favorite. How’s crazy getting on with your brother?”

I shrugged setting the bag on the walkway, “Banner? He’s fine enjoying the show I think.”

“You know what I mean,” she rolled her eyes nudging me, “back from the dead there? He behaving?”

“You think if he took a swing at Tony I wouldn’t have dropped him in a second?” I raised an eyebrow, “He’s fine, Tony is about to put on the gloves though. Both think they’re the smartest man in the room and are trying to prove it.”

“So business as normal,” she laughed.

“What do you think of him?” I ventured wondering if it was just me noticing his irregularities.

“He’s a bag of crazy and trouble.”

“Come on, Nat,” I sighed, “look at him compared to when you picked him up in Stuttgart, he look the same? I’ve read the reports, even when I met him he wasn’t like they described. You’ve seen a lot, in your professional opinion… never mind.”

“You want me to read him,” she replied, “You’ve been watching what I do, you’ve gotten good at it. Trust your instincts, they’re good.”

“Yeah but my gut is telling me something weird,” I shrugged, “I just want to make sure I’m not going crazy.”

She sighed watching him for a moment, “Well, the trick is start with what you know. We know from Thor that he struggled with identity when he found out he was adopted. Disappeared for a year after falling into the void. Comes back all kinds of crazy nearly blows us all up. He then is sentenced to prison on Asgard where he normalizes. Then helps with the convergence and hides in plain sight for a bit until you pointed him out. According to Thor he’s more like the Loki he remembers from childhood than any Loki we’ve known.”

“Alright,” I nodded, “We discount New Mexico, anyone would be floundering after what he learned. Not to mention it was more dumb, dumb, and dumber than anything else.”

“Fair enough,” Nat nodded, “that means we’re left with the Convergence and New York.”

“Think about what Thor’s said though,” I shook my head watching Loki continue to shoot witty quips at Tony, “Loki’s been a bag of trouble and dangerously clever but the whole time they grew up he was never harmful.”

Nat sighed nodding, “Yeah, I know. The more I see Loki the more I look back and see a man who was… wasn’t himself in New York.”

“What do you mean?” I ventured.

“Like you said, I’ve seen a lot Tess,” she nodded watching the boys, “The Loki I saw arrive on earth and turn my best friend into a puppet, he looked sick, Tess. When I look back I see a very sick man, a man that’s gone through something and is acting out of fear.”

“You think he was tortured?” I asked looking her in the eye, “By who?”

“Well, we know someone is looking for the stones,” She sighed noticing a faceoff between Tony and Loki, “I think it might be time to intervene…”

“I got it,” I nodded feeling rather vindicated, I pulled a bouncy ball from my pocket and chucked it at the glass making a loud twang.

I got everyone’s attention in the room and stood up motioning for Tony to roll down the windows, he sighed pressing a button on his keypad and the glass began to sink down as he called, “You have something to say big brother?”

“Someone has to keep you out of trouble,” I shot back making him roll his eyes and reach for the console again. I stopped him shouting, “Oi! Tinker Timmy! Time’s up for today, he’s mine now.”

Tony fumed briefly at the nickname but turned back around sighing, “He’s not here for your books, Tessa. He’s here to help with the stones…”

“Who do you think translates the leads for your research, Toddles,” I called back, “Don’t make me come down there and take him.”

Tony glanced at Bruce who just shook his head staying out of it, “Fine, Nat can you…”

“Don’t look at me I’ve got a date,” she scoffed making Bruce blush.

“Well who’s going to…” He began fiddling with a tool in his hand.

I rolled my eyes, “I can handle the Princeling if he misbehaves. Gods knows I’ve handled worse. Oh and take the cuffs off, he won’t be needing them tonight.”

Tony sighed pulling out the key and I hopped down into the deck below. I stepped into the lab waiting as he unlocked the cuffs and Loki smirked, “What if I wanted the chains?”

“I’ve got you covered,” I winked making him grin rather mischievously.

“Sounds promising,” he smiled.

“Hey reindeer boy,” Tony frowned shoving Loki to get his attention, “Watch it, that’s my sister you’re talking to.”

“You jest,” Loki laughed, “She looks as much like you, imp, as Thor and I look alike.”

“The subject of many parental arguments,” I chuckled as Tony grumbled looking like he was about to bring out the suit, “Relax Tony, I said I could handle it. Shall we?”

“It would be my pleasure, my dear,” he bowed a little, “Lead the way.”

We started back and I noticed Tony following us down the halls. I rolled my eyes turning around, “I’m a big girl, Toddles, leave me alone or so help me I will call Pepper.”

He frowned crossing his arms, “Jarvis, babysit my sister while horns for brains is around will you.”

“My primary function is to babysit Starks, sir,” he replied as Tony left.

I rolled my eyes scoffing, “Big brothers!”

“We’re not all bad,” Loki smirked as we entered my room.

“That remains to be seen,” I replied sitting down at my desk, “I’ve yet to finish forming an opinion on you yet. You have a very large reputation that precedes you.”

“Hm,” he smiled strolling around the room exploring, “You certainly don’t sound like Stark’s sister.”

“I enrolled in higher education in the UK,” I sighed looking through the jumble of papers, “I picked up a bit of an accent… Jarvis, where’s the list I asked for.”

“That would still be in the printer as I do not have hands,” he replied smartly.

“Yeah, yeah, tin can,” I rolled my eyes sliding on my wheeled chair over to the printer and picking up the papers, “There you are!” I noticed Loki was admiring my floor to ceiling bookshelves that surrounded the room, “Enjoying yourself there?”

“I was wondering why Thor kept visiting my library,” he mused picking up one of the books and flipping through it, “You have quite an impressive collection…”

I scoffed, “This isn’t even the half of it. You should see my apartment.”

I caught a smirk out of the corner of my eye, “Oh I certainly plan to.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Princy,” I rolled my eyes holding up my notes, “Come on, I brought you here to work. Get to translating.”

He sighed leaning on my desk and taking the paper glancing over it, “This is hardly three week’s work. A few moment’s maybe…”

“I know that,” I smiled not looking up from my notes.

“Then what am I doing here,” he scoffed.

I sighed looking up, “I have my reasons. One of which benefits you, take a break from my brother and the other Avengers. Enjoy something that isn’t a military ship or a sterile lab. Enjoy a break from those bloody handcuffs.”

“And I suppose you know just how annoying they are,” he mused strolling around the room as he read through the list.

“More than you know,” I muttered under my breath working on my next translation. He looked up staring at me and I sighed, “What? Tony was by far the good child.”

“That’s shocking,” he muttered pulling a chair over to face me, “Tell me more.”

“I have work to do,” I rolled my eyes almost regretting taking on babysitting him.

“Take a break,” he urged watching me closely.

“I already have, or didn’t you notice me earlier,” I scoffed.

He smiled at me, “Oh, I did. You’re piquing my interest by the minute. What would I nice girl like you know about chains, my dear…” I didn’t engage him and he sighed playfully, “Come now, my dear, play a game with me.”

“Some of us work for a living, Loki,” I warned.

“Certainly not a Stark…”

“I didn’t inherit billions like Tony,” I snapped glancing up briefly, “So, yes, I am a Stark who works for a living.”

“How intriguing,” he muttered to himself, “you’re quite the puzzle.”

“How that must annoy you,” I rolled my eyes going back to my work.

He was quiet for a moment watching me as I worked. I started to ignore him trying to focus on getting my translations done. He continued to sit smirking at me tapping his fingers on the desk absently toying with my attention. I sighed starting to get annoyed, not so much with him but more my inability to focus around him. Maybe this was a bad idea to have him here. Loki chuckled, “Humor me darling.”

“Will you finally stop distracting me if I do,” I huffed admitting only to myself I was enjoying it a bit.

“Perhaps,” he smiled winking, “I’ll certainly make it worth your while, my dear.”

“Oh?” I rolled my eyes scribbling in my notebook, “And how do you plan to do that, Loki Odinson.”

“I am no Odinson,” he snapped gaining an icy edge to his voice.

I sighed looking up and setting down my work. I met his eyes frowning, “Take it from someone who knows all too well, Loki. Blood is nothing, and those that share it worthless if they don’t act like it. What matters are those who raise you with love and compassion, fight and play by your side. If you spend your life trying to live up to other’s expectations and desires you’ll find yourself to be a miserable man.”

He looked at me curiously, almost like he expected me to jump when he’d snapped, he certainly hadn’t expected my response. After a moment he replied, “You are far wiser than you ought to be at your age.”

“Yeah, well,” I sighed not finishing the thought. He continued to study me for a moment and I rolled my eyes, “Well, what’s this game of yours?”

He smirked laying the paper I’d handed him on the desk between us, “Shall we make the work a bit more entertaining. You indulge my curiosity, I’ll give you a translation.”

“Just like that,” I scoffed skeptically.

“Tit for tat, love,” he mused teasing me, “That’s how the universe works.”

I laughed, “If only all men shared that sentiment. Very well, go on then, what is Loki curious about?”

“I already asked,” he toyed, “How does a sweet innocent like yourself know so much about chains?”

“Who in the nine realms told you I was a sweet innocent,” I laughed shaking my head, “For your information, I’ve been arrested twenty-three times between seventeen countries.”

“Oo,” he teased, “Do I sense another red ledger….”

“Don’t,” I frowned at him losing my humor, “Don’t ever bring that up to Natasha again, Loki. There’s a line even men like you respect, that crosses it. Besides, I doubt you want to be on the receiving end of another of Hulk’s tantrums.”

“Hm. The murderer and the monster…” he began then caught my look and swallowed, “Forgive me, that was tasteless… How did you learn our language so quickly?”

“No, no, no,” I tisked glancing at the paper, “You owe me a translation.” He sighed picking up the paper and one of my pens. He looked over the list once more and scribbled out a slanted line of cursive writing. He set the paper back down on the desk smirking at me expectantly, I sighed, “I have an aptitude for language. I’ve studied history for years, particularly the Norse. Knowing their language allowed me to learn to read your ancient texts quickly.”

“That’s quite impressive,” he mused as I glanced at the paper again and he began to write, “A Stark that doesn’t ogle technology.”

I sighed, “My name is Tessa, Loki.”

“My apologies,” He replied leaning back, “I don’t mock, I’m genuinely impressed. You’re quite different, Tessa. I like different, it’s rather exciting.”

“Is that so?” I mused watching him as he studied me, “Then tell me what excites a prince of Asgard?”

“You already know what excites my brother,” he rolled his eyes dryly.

I smirked standing up and strolling to one of the bookcases wondering what would happen if I pressed his buttons. He was so cool and collected all the time, but I could see the streak of jealousy a mile wide where it came to his brother. I shrugged pulling a book from the shelf, “That inferiority complex must make it very hard to please…”

I didn’t get to finish Loki was on his feet and fuming as he stormed toward me, “I am no lesser than Thor! You would dare to insult…”

He didn’t touch me only loomed over me riled up by my comment but Jarvis still interrupted, “Miss, should I be calling the Captain, or perhaps…”

“It’s fine Jarvis,” I shook my head not taking my eyes off Loki’s, “I was pushing his buttons to see what he’d do. There’s no need to bother the boys.” Loki blinked looking mildly surprised by my reaction. I was quiet for a moment trying to regain my train of thought, I hadn’t anticipated he would stand this close. He was intoxicating, green eyes and chiseled features, a deep smell of leather and old books. After a moment I sucked in a breath replying, “For your information, Loki, I know nothing of your brother’s preferences, aside from the fact he is mad for Jane.”

“Is that so,” he muttered quietly not backing away. God he was intoxicating, I knew he no longer had the mind stone but it felt like something was toying with my head. I bit my lip trying to piece together enough of my swimming head to come up with a clever response. Instead my knees went week and Loki grabbed me stopping me from hitting the floor frowning, “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” I mumbled fumbling in my pocket for the hand held reader Tony had given me. I pricked my finger on it smearing the blood into the reader sighing, “Jarvis?”

“Reading it now, miss,” he replied, “You’re sugar levels are low again, Ma’am. Shall I call your brother?”

“No,” I sighed trying to walk back to my chair but not making it far before stumbling, “He’ll be busy with the computer models, Bruce is out for the night… Um…”

“The Captain perhaps?” Jarvis suggested.

“Yeah whatever,” I shook my head as Loki had to help me back to my chair, “Whoever isn’t busy.”

“You’re unwell,” Loki frowned down at me, “Where are the healers?”

“I’m fine,” I chuckled, “My blood sugar just dropped, it’s been a while since I’ve had something to eat, is all. Barton brought me food but I left it in the perch when I was talking to Nat. Tony is going to kill me…”

“They starve you?” Loki stared his brow furrowing.

“Not at all,” I laughed shaking my head, “They couldn’t lock food away from me if they tried. No, if I go too long, say a few hours, without eating the amount of nutrients in my blood begins to drop and I get dizzy and light headed. I can even pass out if I’m not paying attention. I got distracted with work and haven’t eaten since this morning. It’s not a big deal, it happens from time to time.”

“Watching me and your brother argue is work now,” he mused a smirk playing at his lips.

“Alright I got distracted,” I smiled admitting defeat, “I wasn’t planning on staying there all day but you two are entertaining to watch.”

“I had no idea I was so…” he smirked leaning on the desk to face me, “Distracting.”

“That is certainly a lie,” I chuckled as someone knocked on my door, “Come in.” Steve walked in carrying the white bag Nat had given me. I sat up smiling, “Steve, you’re a saint.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” he smiled handing me the warm bag of food, “I was talking with Tony when Jarvis called, he knows you slipped again. He said he noticed the bag and was going to bring it up but they got a ping on one of the models or simulations or whatever. You okay here with…”

“He’s been on his best behavior,” I rolled my eyes.

“There’s a first,” he scoffed nodding to the food, “You’d best eat all of it, and remember have Jarvis check you again in a half hour.”

“Yes, mom,” I shook my head as he left, “I swear.”

“It appears you’re quite the center of attention,” Loki teased as I pulled out the bacon cheese burger Tony had warmed up for me.

“If I had known working with the Avengers would be like having six older siblings and a pet Hulk,” I shook my head popping a french-fry in my mouth, “I may not have agreed to work for Fury.”

“May not?” he laughed as I ate, “My brother wasn’t enough to deter you?”

“Thor was the reason I signed up,” I laughed before catching the look on his face, “Not like that. Studying Asgard and your history from our view has been my life’s work, so far. I speculate and lecture around the world on the subject. I wasn’t about to give up an opportunity to meet real Asgardians or see Asgard for my own.”

“And so far you’ve seen so little,” he sighed, “I apologize I caused your last visit to be short.”

“It was my fault,” I shook my head, “Had I not pointed out your rouse I might have gotten a few more moments, but I thought it would help Thor to see you again. Besides, I’d already seen more than I bargained for, I wasn’t even meant to make it to the palace.”

“Is that so,” he chuckled as I offered him a fry, “You’re piquing my curiosity again.”

“I may have barrowed a horse while Thor was talking to Hiemdall,” I smirked shyly, “But I was stopped at the gates when they thought I was carrying a message from Hiemdall. Thor caught up and well, you know the rest.”

“So the young lady dreams of Asgard,” Loki mused frowning as I put down the half eaten fries, “Eat.”

“Relax, bossy,” I smirked, “I’m full and no longer ill.”

He sighed rolling his eyes, “What are you looking forward to most when you finally get to visit properly?”

“I wouldn’t know where to begin,” I shook my head, “Your brother is no word smith. Besides I doubt I will see Asgard again.”

“hm?”

“The All-father is not fond of mortals,” I sighed with a shrug, “I had to beg for weeks to get Thor to take me the first time. I was probably very lucky it was you sitting on that throne and not the All-father, I could have caused an intergalactic incident.”

“It’s nothing personal,” Loki sighed, “Odin just worries about interfering with your world and bringing destruction to it. I think my brother now fears the same thing. I’ve found you humans are too stubborn to leave well enough alone.”

“You have no idea,” I laughed kicking my legs up on the desk, “It was beautiful, though. What I saw of it.”

“You should see it again,” Loki toyed with one of my paper weights, “Properly this time.”

“I don’t think Odin would approve,” I scoffed.

“There are ways to keep things from the All-father,” he smirked at me mischievously, “The difficult thing would be hiding you from Fandral, he’s annoyingly drawn to beautiful women.”

“Smooth, Princy,” I teased playing along, “And how would you propose I hide from dastardly Fandral.”

“Well, you would require an escort, of course,” he smiled playfully, “Someone to protect your reputation should some less then honorable men accost you.”

I smiled leaning back, “And who might be so kind as to… defend my honor so. Certainly it’s a job far below the status of a prince of Asgard.”

Loki opened his mouth to retort but Jarvis interrupted, “Forgive the interruption, miss, however it’s time to check your blood sugar again.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I sighed at the interruption. I sat up pulling the reader from my pocket again and pricked my thumb smearing the blood once again into the reader muttering, “I hate this blasted thing. There has to be a better way than shooting a spring loaded needle into my finger.”

“I would be inclined to agree,” Loki commented picking up my hand where it sat on the desk. He closed my fingers into my palm slipping my thumb into his mouth to stop the bleeding. I felt my heart quicken and chewed on the inside of my lip to keep from saying something I would regret. I was beginning to see why Jane had fallen so quickly for Thor, there was something about Asgardians that I was convinced was meant to draw women in. After a moment, he released my hand smiling, “All better.”

“And they say chivalry is dead,” I muttered coming back to my senses.

Chapter Text

I listened to the music pounding though my headphones as I practiced the combo Nat had shown me on the training dummy. I had the sparring room to myself and it was nice to be alone with my thoughts. Loki had been here a few days and I was beginning to think he was toying with me, he seemed to know, and enjoy, when my heart sped up whenever he was too close. The more I was around him the more intoxicated I was, it wasn’t his magic, I knew that much. After the first couple of times I combed through SHIELD’s files where Barton and other agents had described his mind control, this wasn’t that. It’s like I was being consumed by him, whenever he was around I was morbidly curious about him in a way that was definitely against protocols, not to mention the dreams I kept having. I was grateful Tony was engaging Jarvis with all night simulations because I was convinced I was talking in my sleep. I tried to shake the thoughts away and focus on my practice, I needed to keep up if I was going to convince Thor to let me visit Asgard again. Oy, I sighed to myself, a trip to Asgard with plenty of time with Loki, I must hate myself. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I paused my combo turning round and pulling out the earbud, “Yes? Oh, hello there.”

“Good morning,” Loki smirked surrounded my armed escorts.

I turned to the one that tapped me, “What’s up?”

“We were asked to escort him to your charge, Ma’am,” he nodded, “Should we wait…”

“No, it’s fine,” I shook my head wrapping my headphones around my ipod, “I can handle him, you can go.” They filed out of the room and I scoffed, “I wasn’t expecting you so early. I have to say you’re getting better at pissing Tony off.”

“It’s not so hard,” he chuckled shrugging glancing at his handcuffed wrists, “I merely made a few quips and suddenly I was banished until his simulation was completed.”

“And now I get you all to myself,” I smirked pulling a hair pin out and starting to pick the lock, “How terrible.”

He scoffed a laugh changing the subject, “A warrior as well as a scholar…” I finished and the lock clicked open freeing him, “And a miscreant, what other talents are you hiding little one.”

“Be careful,” I scoffed throwing my water bottle and ipod into my gym bag, “Or this ‘little one’ might just knock you on your ass, princeling.”

“Brazen talk from a mortal,” he toyed leaning on the dummy.

I laughed stepping past him to grab a towel off the shelf, “Wouldn’t that be a bruise to your ego, beaten by a mere mortal half your size.”

“Ooo,” he cooed in my ear suddenly behind me, “I think I need to put you in your place mortal.”

I sucked in a breath pulling myself together and turned around inches from him smiling, “Shall we see if you can, puppet master.” I slipped past him tossing the towel onto my bag and stepping onto the sparring mat. I turned around to find Loki hadn’t moved and nodded, “Come on, or should I tell Thor his brother is too shy to face off with little old me.”

He chuckled strutting forward and phasing out of his armor for his light tunic and trousers, “Careful, my dear, you may not be so glad you teased me.”

“Prove it,” I smirked starting our bout. I struck out knowing he would catch my arm deflecting the blow to the side and drove my elbow into his exposed ribs. He tried to capture me but I spun around him catching his arms behind his back and whipping out the knife Barton had given me holding me to his neck.

He stilled chuckling, “That’s a dirty trick.”

“Well,” I smiled quite proud I was winning, “I am fighting the god of mischief.”

He threw his head back and I moved narrowly in time to avoid getting his in the head, but I lost my grip on his hand and found the knife pried from my hand. Loki dissolved before my eyes and an arm closed around my chest. I felt another hand close gently around my neck as he whispered in my ear, “Best remember he has more than just a silver tongue.”

I scoffed calming my thundering heart latching onto the arm resting on my shoulder and quickly flipped him over onto the mat knocking the wind out of him. I climbed on top of him as he got his wind back trying to halt my attack grabbing my wrists. I used the combo Nat showed me to break his grip and made my move to make the winning strike when I suddenly felt hands on my hips. Before I could do anything I was rolled onto the mat, both hands pinned above my head and my knife at my own neck. My chest heaved up and down for a moment from the adrenaline as I tried to figure a way out but Loki had me pinned tight.

He smirked realizing as I did that I had no way out, “I win darling.”

I sighed nodding, “Alright, I concede.”

He didn’t let go through musing, “What’s that old human addage? To the victor goes the spoils?”

I scoffed rolling my eyes, I knew he was only mocking me for punching above my belt but I wasn’t about to let him have the last word, “Yeah? And what spoils would the victor claim from a mere mortal like myself?”

“Mmm,” he hummed setting the knife aside, “You shouldn’t tempt me, darling.” I rolled my eyes at his joke and suddenly felt his mouth on mine. I blinked in surprise before being coaxed in to the moment relaxing my muscles. Silver tongued, indeed. If a simple kiss was this good… No, focus Tessa, protocols. Loki finally released me smirking like he knew something I didn’t, he didn’t have the mind stone, he couldn’t still read my thoughts, right. I suddenly found myself hoping he couldn’t as he leaned back helping me up commenting, “That is a lovely shade of red on your cheeks.”

“Don’t you start, mischief man,” I scoffed finishing packing up my things and tossing the bag over my shoulder.

“Have I offended you?” he asked sounding slightly concerned.

I scoffed turning around, “It was a kiss, Loki, not the end of the world. You weren’t the first boy to steal one and I doubt you’ll be the last.” He grimaced slightly and I nodded, “Come on, let’s get some lunch.”

He phased back into his normal light armor and followed me down to the mess hall. We collected some food and sat down at a table to eat looking at the food slopped onto the plate. Loki frowned at it, “This slop is a grim excuse for food.”

“No argument here,” I chuckled taking a bite of my ham sandwich, “I live for the days Barton picks up food on his way to check in.”

“And how well must I behave to get something other than grilled rat,” he sighed poking at his lasagna.

“From Barton?” I asked and he nodded making me laugh, “That’s never going to happen.”

“Why not?”

“You mind controlled him,” I giggled, “Barton is never going to warm up to you, Loki.”

“The man is that stubborn,” he scoffed resolving to eating fries instead, “He should have considered it a compliment, not only was he exceptionally trained he was a highly valued asset.”

“He’s not going to feel any better until he puts and arrow through your eye socket,” I sighed handing him half my sandwich, “Just get used to it. Banner still struggles to get on with Wanda after she did the same to him.”

“How did she do that?” Loki asked.

“Her powers were synthesized from your scepter by hydra scientists,” Banner commented joining us, “How’s the translations?”

“Slow going,” I sighed shaking my head, “The new ones Thor brought are dryer and harder to translate. I’m having flash backs to reading Plutarch in university.”

“Sounds thrilling,” Bruce chuckled, “Crazy here isn’t too much of a distraction.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I shrugged catching Loki’s scowl.

“Nat said you couldn’t take your…” he began.

“Bruce!” I stared as Loki started to smirk at me, “To think I was defending you the other night.”

“Please, doctor Banner, do go on,” Loki mused watching me, “What was miss Tessa so focused on, pray tell?”

“Can we focus not on me,” I sighed not making eye contact with Loki, “I thought you and Tony were done with him for the day.”

“Believe me neither of us want him back,” Bruce sighed, “But the simulation finished, we need him while we check that everything worked properly.”

“If you say so,” I nodded, “But I need him back this afternoon. I really want to get through these texts and it helps to have someone to consult.”

“You got it,” He nodded as I pulled the cuffs out for him, “Believe me for the sake of my sanity I hope this is short.”

“Tony and him driving you nuts,” I sighed clicking the cuffs back on Loki’s wrists as he presented them mockingly to me, “I certainly don’t envy you being stuck between them.”

“Hey,” Bruce chuckled, “You have him all to yourself that’s not much better.”

“At least with me there’s only one person to annoy,” I chuckled as they left. I finished my meal and went back to my room. I gave a fleeting glance at the work laid out on the desk and sighed, I really did need Loki’s help with them. These new texts were much harder to read, not to mention I was all sweaty from my work out and my fight with Loki. I shrugged tossing my gym bag down and stepped back to my shower shutting the door behind me. I turned on my music turning on the water and peeling off my sweaty tank top and workout pants. I stepped into the shower letting the warm water soothe my tension. I was going to kill Bruce, the one time he decided to tease me like the others he mocks me about my fascination with Loki in front of Loki. He was going to bring that up later, I was going to have to dance around that. God, that kiss. If that was a talent all Asgardians had I understood why Jane waited so long for Thor to return. That was certainly a thing to wait for. I stopped leaning on the wall of the shower, that kiss certainly wasn’t going to help with my dreams or tangent thoughts. If Loki was playing with my head, he was doing a good job of keeping me distracted.

I shook away the thoughts getting out of the shower and dried off wringing my hair out. I stepped back into my room climbing up the ladder to the platform above the bookshelves that held my bed and dresser. I couldn’t be bothered to put on anything proper and resolving to put on my Pjs so I could at least be comfortable while I worked. I threw on a pair of light trousers and was about to just don another tank top but remembered Loki would be back at some point. I decided to play it safe and put on a sports bra under the tank top. I climbed back down and coiled my long hair up into a bun and dug into my work putting on music. After a while I got up and slid my ladder along the railing to find the right book as I danced to the music hitting my stride for work. I frowned I hadn’t moved over far enough and was too lazy to climb back down to move two inches. I continued to sway to the beat singing along as I stretched reaching for my book. “Shit,” I cursed as my sock slipped on the polished wood ladder and I banged my knee on the bookshelf plummeting toward the ground. I bounced gently as someone caught me. I blinked looking up having expected to get the wind knocked out of me to find Loki. I swallowed staring shocked, “How long were you standing there?”
“It would appear I’ve arrived just in time,” he chuckled avoiding my question and setting me down frowning as I winced, “Are you alright? Perhaps you shouldn’t go jumping off ladders without someone to catch you.”

“I’m fine,” I sighed limping back to my chair, “I just banged my knee on the shelf when I slipped. Thank you by the way. I didn’t go jumping off, my foot slipped.”

“You’re bleeding,” he pointed out sternly glancing at my knee where blood was seeping through the light cotton pants.

“So I am,” I sighed rolling up my pant leg relieved to see it was just a scrape, “Ah, it’s nothing serious, a bandaid will do.”

I reached past him pulling my drawer open and pulling out a box of bandaids and antiseptic cream. Loki took them from me commenting, “Do you hurt yourself often enough that you require bandages at such a convenient distance?”

I scoffed rolling my eyes as he smeared the cream onto my knee placing the bandage over it, “It’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s not like I have a full med kit in my drawer, I have bandaids for minor cuts and scrapes, bossy.”

He rolled his eyes getting up and resuming his normal seat across the desk from me. I turned down the music as he commented, “You have a lovely singing voice, by the way.” He smirked as I blushed, “There’s that lovely shade of red again.”

“Alright, Mr. Slick,” I rolled my eyes, “Ready to work?”

“If you insist,” he sighed, “Though I’m still curious about Banner’s comment earlier.”

“Work first, probe me for information later,” I rolled my eyes.

“Promises, promise,” he mused.

I shook my head sighing, “Can you read the texts out right? You know translate them in your head?”

“Of course.”

“Good,” I smiled handing him a book open to the right page, “My eyes hurt from staring at these for hours on end. Read.”

He nodded looking over the page quietly. After a moment he turned the page and I frowned making him smile, “Oh, did you mean to say out loud? Forgive me, shall I start again?”

“Innocent is not a look you can pull off, Loki,” I muttered leaning back, “Yes, please start again.”

He started to read the long winded text out loud clearly with an eloquence that had to come from being raised in a palace. After a few moments I had stopped taking notes and was fighting the urge to just sit and watch him speak. No wonder it was so easy for him to lie, his voice was like catnip, it drew you in and left you wanting more. I was only vaguely listening to the words, his voice had an heady rhythmic flow to it that was slowly putting me at ease. Suddenly I realized he was staring at me a small smirk playing at the corner of his lips as he called quietly, “Tessa.” I blinked realizing I had almost fallen asleep, my legs were curled up on my chest and I guess I’d been dozing against the arm of my chair. I was somewhat surprised to still see him there, Loki could have easily escaped to wreak havoc in my slacking. I swallowed trying desperately to say something but his melodic words still swirled in my head and he chuckled, “Perhaps we should call it a night. You look very tired.”

I rubbed my eyes dragging myself up muttering, “What time is it? It can’t be that late…” I gawked staring at my phone, it was nearly two in the morning. I groaned knowing I’d missed getting Loki back for curfew, “Fuck me.”

“Was that a general request,” Loki snickered getting a devilish glint in his eye, “Or merely an outburst at the late hour you’ve kept me out til. I can never quite tell with you.”

“Bite me,” I snapped working my way to my feet, “Fury is going to be pissed, come on, we have to go.”

“If you wish,” he smirked making me question just which part of the sentence he was replying to. He followed me out and down the halls to the new cell Fury had made for him. Barton was waiting for me with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.

“What kind of time to you call this?” he frowned in his most fatherly way, “I was just about to wake everyone assuming he’d taken off with you.”

“Thanks ever so much for the vote of confidence,” Loki retorted.

I sighed shaking my head, “I know, I know. I got working and had my head so deep in the texts I lost track of time. It’s my fault entirely, I should have been paying more attention.”

Barton sighed opening the cell and nodding for Loki to go in. Loki only rolled his eyes casually strolling in as Barton sealed the room again. He turned to me commenting, “You okay, kiddo? You look exhausted.”

“I’ve just been staring at books too long,” I sighed shaking my head, “I’m trying to get these translations done for Fury.”

“Maybe you should take a day off,” Barton shook his head, “Between books that don’t make sense and that bag of crazy in there, you’re running yourself ragged.”

“I can’t,” I shook my head, “I have limited access to Loki and his knowledge about the ancient text. These new dialects will take me months to translate on my own. With his help I can get them done in a couple of days. It’s worth it.”

He shook his head but didn’t keep lecturing me. I turned to leave and he stopped me, “Hey, I head off tomorrow for…” he glanced at Loki, “The normal.”

“Barton, you’re paranoid,” I chuckled at his reaction to Loki, “I’m pretty sure even he doesn’t stoop that low.”

He rolled his eyes picking up a duffle bag, “Anyway I won’t be here for a few weeks, so I’m going to miss your birthday. Laura packed this for you, from Cooper and Lila, with a little something from…”

He trailed off glancing at Loki again and I sighed, “Thank you, she didn’t have to, you know I don’t ever do anything for that.”

“One bad year shouldn’t ruin the rest, Tess,” He frowned opening his arms, “Come on.” I sighed hugging him as he smiled, “Happy birthday.”

“Thanks,” I sighed letting go and starting back for my room.

“Oh,” he called, “By the way Laura made you cake.”

We shared a brief look and I nodded, “So lie to her?”

“Definitely,” he chuckled, “I’ll tell her you loved it.”

“Tell Lila and Cooper next time I can spare a moment I’ll come catch up,” I smiled, “enjoy the time off Barton, I’ll try to keep Nat out of trouble.”

“Good luck,” he laughed, “I’ll try not to kill jack ass here until you’re done.”

I returned to my room dropping the duffle on a chair cursing myself for falling asleep. I was going to have to reread what Loki had and it was going to take ages. I started tidying my desk just so it was manageable tomorrow. I spotted a few pages of paper in a scrawling slanted handwriting I recognized. I read through them and smiled thankfully. Loki did know I wasn’t paying attention and kindly taken notes for me, I’d have to double check them but they looked correct.

Chapter Text

“Come in,” I called as Thor knocked on my door, “Ah, hello.”

“Hello,” he replied his normal boisterous self, followed by Loki, “I’ve come to deliver my brother to you.”

“Thank you,” I smiled, “I’ve got a lot of work for him.”

“Might I have these bloody things removed now,” Loki frowned at Thor, “As per every day for the last two and a half weeks I doubt the lady will protest.”

Thor raised an eyebrow teasing his brother and I nodded. He started to unfasten the cuffs commenting, “I hear it is a day for celebration! When shall we be feasting and drinking in the mess hall…”

“We won’t be,” I sighed trying to be pleasant, “No feasting, no drinking, no celebrating. It’s not a big deal.”

“But,” he frowned opening his mouth to protest.

“Have a pint on me, Thor,” I sighed, “let’s just leave it at that. Please don’t bring it up to Tony.”

“Surely, he would…” he began, “He can’t have forgotten!”

“He’ll remember in a couple of days and feel terribly guilty,” I shook my head, “That’s the way it always works, I’ll tease him about it then and use it against him.”

“A devilish plan,” he laughed loudly, “Perhaps Loki is rubbing off on you.”

“Doubtful,” I chuckled, “Thank you though, Jane sent something on both of your behalf, it was very nice.”

He smiled looking rather proud of himself as he left making me roll my eyes in annoyance. I could not wait for this day to be over. Loki took up a seat asking, “What’s this celebration my brother desperately wishes for? Has it something to do with what Barton and you were whispering about?”

“It does,” I sighed typing up my report for Fury, “It’s not a big deal, I don’t want a big deal made… Didn’t you hear what he said anyway.”

“Barton?” Loki sighed, “No, his hushed tones escaped me.”

“Barton will be please,” I chuckled shaking my head.

Loki frowned knowing I wasn’t going to tell him if I didn’t want to, “What exactly will you be using against the imp?”

I shook my head knowing he wasn’t going to give in. That’s the way this worked he would prod until I finally got too annoyed to put up with him and shut him up with answers. I wasn’t in the mood today, “Forgetting my birthday. He does it nearly every year, but like I said, he’ll remember in a couple days and I’ll use it to guilt trip him later.”

“Today is your birthday?” Loki’s ears perked up, “For once I would agree with my brother. You should have a day of revelry…”

“There will be no revelry,” I cut him off, “no drinking, no feasting, no partying. It’s just another day. You have translating to do and I have a report to write for Fury.”

“What do you have against your birthday?” he questioned studying my reaction.

“I have nothing against my birthday,” I replied not meeting his eye, “I enjoy my birthday, just in my own way.”

“What could have soured your opinion…”

I sighed getting it over with so we could move on, “Starks are complicated, Loki. If you really must pry into my private life, fine let’s get it over with. A number of years ago when I was much younger, my father and I had a massive argument on my birthday. A few weeks later, both my parents died in a car crash I have recently learned was planned by Hydra agents. Aside from that, shortly after a family friend became mine and Tony’s legal guardian and custodian. He agreed with my father that I was wasting my talent and thought I might rub off on Tony. He proceeded to drive a wedge between us so large that it wasn’t until this man tried to kill Tony that we finally started talking again. Tony doesn’t remember my birthday because Stane planned events to engage Tony’s time lest I waste my genius gold shitting brother’s valuable time. There you are, may we now get back to work?”

Loki went very quiet shocked by my candid outburst. I took his silence as a yes and returned to my report. I continued to type until I’d finished the report then began typing up the notes from both Loki and I. We worked in silence for hours and finally I checked the time not wanting a repeat of a week ago, seven thirty. I sighed putting the notes away, “Let’s call it an early night.”

“If you wish,” he sighed closing his book and setting it on the table, “What shall the birthday girl be getting up to tonight then?”

“Loki,” I warned.

“I was merely curious,” he replied, “I meant no offence.”

I sighed, “I don’t know, nothing. I’ll probably sit down with my laptop and watch trash tv.”

“Would you humor me,” he ventured making me raise an eyebrow skeptically, “It’s something little, nothing like conquering the earth.”

“Depends on how many rules I have to break,” I frowned.

“None, technically,” he smiled, “I find technicalities very useful.”

“I doubt Fury feels the same,” I shrugged, “What is it?”

“Come with me,” he smirked extending a hand.

“Where are we going?”

“To get you a proper meal,” he replied simply catching my look, “I promise no revelry, it shall be as dry an evening as you have planned for yourself.”

“Loki you have a curfew,” I sighed shaking my head.

“I’ve had ways to fool that since I arrived, my dear,” he smiled, “no one will even know we were gone. I promise to bring you right back.”

I sighed shaking my head, “You’re confined to this base, Loki.”

He shrugged, “I believe Fury’s words exactly were that I would be watched by SHIELD agents at all times. You are in fact, a SHIELD agent.”

I pursed my lips sighing against my better judgment and took his hand, “How exactly are you planning to get off the hellecarrier?”

He smirked placing an arm around me, I blinked and we were outside on solid ground, “Like that. You lecture Thor, yet you too forget I have magic.”

“I don’t forget,” I rolled my eyes shivering from the cold, “You just don’t use it often.”

“Thor did threaten before I arrived,” He mused losing his armor for a well-tailored suit, “But where’s the fun in that.”

I felt a little warmer and found I had changed as well, I now wore a pleasant knee length dress and blazer matched with a pair of pumps. I admired the outfit smiling, “Nice choice.”

“I thought it suited you,” he smirked offering his arm, “Shall we? I know a splendid place around the corner.”

I looked up surprised as we walked around the corner, “You do?”

“When I was hiding from SHIELD, I found this place,” He explained as we neared a modern looking place with a line out the door, “I think you’ll enjoy it.”

He led me up to the doors where a concierge was waiting at a podium. He looked up as we approached and nodded, “Mr. Smith. It is a pleasure to see you again, do you have a reservation?”

“No,” Loki replied curtly, “I require a table for two.”

“Of course,” the man nodded, “Right this way, sir.”

They sat us in the middle of the swanky restaurant, I gawked at the well-dressed gorgeous people surrounding us. This looked like a place Tony would have visited for an event, certainly like no place I had ever been. We sat down and I raised an eye brow, “Mr. Smith?”

“It’s is a common name among your people is it not?” he shrugged, “I was hiding from SHIELD at the time. Do you like wine?”

“Not traditional wines,” I sighed, “I do like fruit wines, few places have them I doubt…” He summoned a waiter ordering a bottle of raspberry wine. I studied him smirking, “What happened to no drunken revelry?”

It was only a joke but he took it quite seriously smiling, “I have no designs on getting you drunk, as promised. It’s only a glass of wine with dinner.”

I thought about telling him I didn’t mean anything b it but he genuinely looked like he was trying to impress me with his good behavior. Maybe it was a ploy to convince the others his leash should be longer when he visited earth. Either way I was curious as to what a well-behaved Loki was like. I opened my menu and began skimming as I mused, “So how does one avoid being captured by SHIELD?”

“It’s not nearly so difficult as one might think,” he replied doing the same, “I had to be very plainly obvious just to get captured.”

“All part of Loki’s dastardly plans for world domination,” I toyed glancing over my menu at him. He looked taken aback slightly and I went on rolling my eyes, “I don’t have to agree with the how, Loki… but humans are a mess, we need a helping hand to direct us, I won’t argue with that. SHIELD has pulled themselves together in case of outside attack but you’ve said it before to Thor. We murder each other by the thousands. We can’t be near any kind of power without going mad over it. Sometimes I think it might have been better if someone took us over. You know, aside from enslavement and killing.”

“You seem to know quite a bit on the subject,” he commented with a wry smile, “Have you pilfered the director’s files?”

“I knew the world was a mess long before I joined SHIELD,” I sighed as the waiter returned with our bottle and we placed our order.

“And how does…” he stopped himself before he called me a Stark and corrected himself, “How do you know so much about the world, Tessa? From what I’ve seen you’re a scholar.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t get out,” I smirked as he poured the wine, “I’ve spent most of my professional career traveling.” He looked surprised, “I don’t just study the Norse, Loki. Though they are a particular favorite of mine, I study all young civilizations, and have travelled to nearly every country on earth to study them. A great deal of that involves stamping through back woods and jungles, negotiating with tribesmen and guerilla soldiers.”

“I don’t envy the man that has to negotiate your wit,” he chuckled.

“That man might be you some day,” I laughed sipping my wine.

“Is that so?”

I shrugged, “I wasn’t just hired to translate texts. With my expertise in Norse culture it puts me in a better position to understand Asgard. Fury has never hidden the fact that he might use someone like me to negotiate with Asgard in a professional manner should the need arise. You may in fact find yourself negotiating that wit.”

“Ah,” he toyed, “Were I a crown prince perhaps. But I am not even truly Asgardian…”

I pursed my lips raising an eyebrow, “Do you forget I am close friends with your brother, Loki. In fact, I am usually the only one who understands what he means when he speaks of Asgard. I know he gave up his claim to the throne to protect Earth and the other realms. Odin won’t let the throne sit empty. Besides you’d make a much better King than Thor.”

He raised an eyebrow, “You believe so? Many believe me to be a tyrant?”

“You’re clever, Loki,” I shook my head, “ruling is like a game of chess, you need to be able to see several moves ahead, Thor has no mind for that. He has compassion and love for people, certainly, but his solution to a problem is to hit it. You need something more to rule than just charisma.”

“If only others were so wise,” he mused. We quipped back and forth chatting while we waited for the food. He was a rather charming man when you stripped away the entitled prince, he certainly wasn’t to everyone’s taste but I liked him. I grew up with a know-it-all, I worked with know-it-alls, Loki was nothing new to me. I liked that he could keep up with me. He smirked at making me blush for the billionth time since he’d arrived. Our food was placed before us, it was probably the best food I’d had. I savored it for a moment and opened my eyes to see Loki smirking at me. I shrugged continuing to eat while he smirked at me. We finished and I leaned back in my chair happily full and buzzing from the nice night. Loki mused watching me, “You look sated.”

“Oh I am,” I smiled lazily, “If you’re planning an escape, now would be the time I don’t think I’d have the energy to chase you.”

“I’ll bear that in mind,” he chuckled getting up and offering me a hand, “However I did promise to be good tonight.”

“Good Loki,” I mocked as we strolled out, “Now that is a waste of perfectly good mischief.”

“The night is still young,” he teased leading me down a boulevard, “Let’s have a walk.”
“We should be getting back,” I sighed hoping the carrier wasn’t up in a panic, “Surely they’ll notice soon.”

“It’s taken care of, my dear,” he tempted me snaking his hand around my waist, “Just a short stroll. It’ll be harmless, I give you my word.”

“I don’t think anything with you is harmless, Loki,” I chuckled following his lead as we strolled toward the sounds of a sea. He led me down to a cliff top vista overlooking a harbor. It was gorgeous, the lights were dim and you could see the stars. I leaned on the railing staring longingly and sparkling sky.

“It’s a shame you can’t see them all,” he muttered watching them beside me.

“You can outside the city,” I sighed shivering a bit from the breeze off the ocean, “My favorite part of travelling was getting outside the city where I could see the stars. The galaxy is a beautiful place.”

Loki slipped behind me dropping his coat onto my shoulders resting his hands on my shoulders as he whispered in my ear, “Wait until you truly get to see all of it. It’s far greater than you can see from this spot.”

I turned leaning with my back on the railing as he placed a hand either side of me on the railing. I sighed face to face with him, “I won’t get to see the galaxy, Loki. I’ll just have to settle for this view…”

“You will see it, my dear,” Loki promised locking his eyes onto mine, “When you do, I fear the realms will be up in arms to claim a beauty like yourself for their own.”

I laughed shaking my head, “That is mere flattery, Loki, and will get you nowhere.”

He smirked, “Perhaps I should be more direct then.”

Loki closed the gap between up kissing me once again. I closed my eyes giving into the sweet temptation of it slipping my hands up into his silky black hair. His hands left the railing pulling my hips into him. I could feel myself buzzing again from Loki’s touch as the railing disappeared replaced by a wall. Loki’s attention and kisses drifted down my jaw and neck. I gasped opening my eyes to find we were back in my room on the hellacarrier. I closed my eyes knowing I should take Loki back to his cell but the way his hands were skating over my hips and back was far too tempting. God I was weak, I scolded myself, mortal fawning over the attentions of a god, how predictable. Screw it, part of me shouted in my head, let Loki mock me for being a mortal weak to desires. He paused for a moment and I stopped him glancing up at my bedroom, his lips stretched into that devilish grin. I blinked and we were there pressing my back into the wall as he returned his lips to mine. I felt his hands deftly find the zipper on the dress slipping it down my back agonizingly slowly. I fumbled pulling down his tie disposing of it taking my opportunity to peck along his jaw reaching for the buttons of his dress shirt. I was stopped as he finished with the zipper and snaked his hands over my shoulders and down my arms pooling the dress at my feet. He leaned back a bit his eyes combing over my skin and I reached for his shirt again. I was much quicker than he was, maybe I was more impatient. Loki chuckled as I undid his belt pulling the last of his shirt free, he shrugged out of it closing the distance between us once more. My feet suddenly left the ground and I felt a hand supporting my back the other holding me up as my legs found their way around his hips.

I curled around Loki’s arm still buzzing like a live wire from his attention. He was on his side behind me his arm over my shoulder as he purred in my ear. I slowly began to piece my mind back together sighing, “I’m convinced.”

“Of what, my dear,” he crooned in my ear.

“You’re a god,” I groaned rolling onto my back as my buzz began to fade into tingling, “Definitely a god, cause that was just… wow.”

He chuckled propping himself up on his elbow letting his long fingers drift over my skin, “That was nothing, my dear. A sloppy rushed job if I must be honest.”

“If that was sloppy, a proper job is going to kill me,” I laughed meeting his eyes.

“We’ll see about that,” he mused kissing me, “I have a feeling you’re the one that’s going to be the death of me. Especially with all this temptation…”

I sighed feeling the buzz disappear as I returned to reality, “Don’t worry I won’t be a distraction much longer.”

“What do you mean?” he frowned leaning over me.

“There are only a few days left until Thor plans to return you to Asgard,” I shrugged toying absently with the stray hairs drifting into his face, “You’ll forget about me soon enough.”

“I do not have such fleeting pleasures,” he frowned coolly, “You’ll be returning with us of course. As I recall we owe you a visit to our home world.”

I laughed shaking my head, “Thor didn’t want to take me the first time, Loki. Tony would lose his mind trying to forbid me from going. Not to mention I doubt the All-father would be too happy with my presence on Asgard. As much as I would enjoy it, it’s not in the cards at the moment.”

“You will see Asgard as I have promised,” he vowed seriously, “Did you think I would forget the promises I’ve made.”

“In my experience, the time to cash in on promises is before a man gets me into bed,” I scoffed shaking my head.

His face soured and he snapped, “I’ve told you, my pleasures are not so fleeting. I am no flippant mortal that would abandon such an exquisite beauty that had so captured my desire…” He sighed realizing I wasn’t talking about him specifically, “Would you torture me so as to deny me the woman I desire indefinitely?”

I opened my mouth to speak but the door opened and my eyes went wide as I heard Tony call, “Tess, you still up?”

I quickly rolled Loki off me as he disappeared and picked up a towel covering myself and standing at the railing, “Tony! What are you doing you can’t just barge into my room!”

“What’s the big deal, you’re my sister,” he shrugged nonchalantly leaning on my desk.

“I was changing,” I growled, “Hence the towel.”

He sighed shrugging, “Go on, I’ll wait.”

“Get out!” I snapped gawking at him, “We can talk after I get dressed.”

He sighed rolling his eyes and stepping outside. I heaved a sigh as Loki reappeared lying on the bed smirking, “That was entertaining. Are you ashamed of me darling?”

“You kidding, I hit the jackpot,” I scoffed picking up my pajamas and pulling them on, “I just don’t want you to get beaten to a pulp by Iron Man… shit, I’ve got to get you back…”

“Relax, my dear,” he chuckled getting up and phasing back into his armor, “I can make my own way back to my cell, I think I’ve proven I’m not going anywhere. No one will know if our tryst, you have my word, but… come back with me to Asgard. Allow me to handle other’s excuses.”

“Alright,” I sighed nodding and he smirked disappearing.

Chapter Text

I tried to distract myself with work, Loki and Thor were leaving today. The All-father had given them three weeks and that ended today. I had my laptop and a backpack packed hidden under my desk in case Loki kept his word, but I knew that he would be hard pressed to convince not only Thor, but Tony as well, to let me go along with them. My door was open and I found myself glancing up every few minutes when someone passed by waiting for Thor to come and collect the books. Finally, Thor and Loki appeared in my doorway strolling in. Loki and I shared a brief glance as Thor sighed, “I’m afraid I must retrieve our books…”

“My books,” Loki corrected flashing me a wry smile behind Thor’s back, “It is a shame that we will be leaving you at such a disadvantage with your studies.”

“Yeah, well,” I sighed stacking the books, “I knew it was a limited time offer.”

“Say, brother,” Loki mused, “Don’t we owe the lady a trip to Asgard? It would certainly allow her research to move much quickly without the constant trip to and from my library a galaxy away. It would help your new friends.”

Thor looked up suspiciously at me and I shrugged trying to be surprised at Loki’s idea as he was. He sighed shaking his head, “You know our duties, Loki. Father does not want…”

“He doesn’t want Jane on Asgard to distract you,” Loki pointed out rather cruelly, “This would be purely business not pleasure.”

I blinked shrugging at Thor trying not to give away Loki’s lie, “It would help, but aside from risking the All-father’s wrath, I doubt Fury will be thrilled.”

“He actually asked me about getting more access to the information to help Tony and Banner,” Thor frowned, “That was not the cause for my hesitation…”

“Tony,” I sighed.

“He was less than thrilled with me for your last escapade on Asgard,” Thor nodded, “I believe Fury wishes to avoid another bout between us as the last one levelled a forest.”

“I remember that,” Loki smirked, “It was quite amusing watching you struggle with the mortal. Surely he would be glad, she is furthering his own research.” Thor looked unimpressed with his brother, “Don’t be foolish… If you must cling so desperately such a ridiculous notion as her needing her brother’s permission, I’ll invite her.”

“What?” Thor stared.

“I’m a prince of Asgard, I’m allowed guests, seeing as I am no longer contained in the dungeon,” Loki smirked at him, “The infinity stones are a danger, the sooner your friends can locate them and bring them under guard, the better. This young lady is instrumental in that search. Therefore, Tessa, would you kindly accompany us back to Asgard to continue your research?”

I stared blankly giving in and siding with Loki, “I’ll grab an overnight bag, then.”

Thor frowned at his brother suspecting us both of some kind of plot but muttered, “I’ll have a word with Fury.” He glared at his brother, “Don’t move.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Loki smirked as he left.

Once he was gone I sighed squealing, “I can’t believe it! Asgard for more than a moment…”

“You have such faith in me,” he sighed sarcastically.

“You,” I frowned at him, “Are a liar. Only for professional reasons, my ass! That’s not what you were saying last night.”

“You say that like you’re surprised,” he smiled with a shrug, “I only lie because you have some desire for your avengers not to discover our carnal evenings. If you’ve decided there’s nothing wrong with it and prefer I be truthful, by all means… Thor…”

I scrambled around the desk covering his mouth before he could call Thor back. I felt his lips curl into a smile under my hand and I sighed, “I know. Thank you. I know there’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing. If I must be honest…”

“Why?” he mused as I dropped my guard, “It’s adorable when you try to lie.”

“Loki,” I groaned at his teasing, “It’s more out of concern for you. Do you know what any of them would do if they found out?”

“Probably assume I was using you for one of my dastardly plots,” he mused as I returned to packing up the books, “They do so enjoy making me a villain.”

“You did destroy half of New York and use Barton to do it,” I snickered.

He came up behind me whispering in my ear, “Is that what you think, my dear? That I shall use you, abuse your trust, draw you ever closer just to shatter your feeble human heart.”

“No,” I replied turning to face him, “I don’t believe that. I am in fact one of the few people who believe deep down you’re good man, Loki. I just meant their concern wouldn’t be unfounded.”

“If you think I’m some white knight here to rescue you,” he scoffed smiled starting to back away, “You’ll be sorely disappointed.”

I grabbed his tunic pulling him back to me frowning, “Being a white knight and a good man are two different things, Loki… besides white knights were never my type. I prefer the sassy, sarcastic devils that break feeble human hearts like mine.”

“There I can oblige,” he smiled returning to himself.

He leaned in and I humored the kiss enjoying the intoxication of it. There was a cough from behind him and we parted to find Natasha watching us with her arms crossed. She raised an eyebrow at me and I blushed furiously, “You ready Tess?”

“Yeah,” I rushed flustered praying she didn’t say anything to the others.

I grabbed the rest of the books and threw my bag over my shoulder stepping past her into the hall. Loki followed grinning at her like the cat that ate the canary, “Agent Romanov.”

“Trouble,” she sighed nodding for us to head for the main deck.

I led the way out and found everyone waiting for us in the middle of the flight deck. Tony frowned looking at me, “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to Asgard,” I replied shaking my head, “My research isn’t finished, Tony. It’ll go much faster if I don’t have to wait on the Thor delivery system. Loki is going to give me access to his private library, I should be able to get some solid leads for you and Bruce.”

“You’re not going to Asgard,” Tony crossed his arms.

“I’m an adult Tony,” I scoffed, “You don’t have a say.”

“Stark, she’s right, you can’t tell her what to do,” Steve nodded turning to me, “You sure you’re ready to jump in the deep end, kid.”

“I’m going to research, cap,” I sighed, “I’ve not got any Aether in me, Asgard is in a time of peace. I think the most dangerous thing I’m going to encounter is a papercut. I think I can handle it.”

“Don’t forget to eat,” he sighed, “Do you have your meter?”

“Yes, mom,” I rolled my eyes as Thor joined us with Fury.

“Stark,” he called and Tony and I looked up, “The Stark that’s leaving.” I stepped forward and he handed me an USB plug in, “I still expect you to report in and send information to Banner and Stark. This is a subspace transmitter that will send the information directly back to us.”

“You got it Fury,” I pocketed the device.

“Are we ready?” Thor asked and I nodded.

We gathered with Loki where everyone could watch. Thor flipped his hammer into his hands and Loki sighed, “Must I travel home like a prisoner once again?” Thor sighed unlocking the handcuffs and pocketing them. As he did everyone tensed, Cap readied his shield, Tony raised his hands charging the weapons in his armor, Nat and Fury aimed pistols at him. Loki smirked at me, “There would be that line again. You might want to hold on.”

“I remember,” I muttered grabbing ahold of Loki as Thor raised his hammer and the blinding light surrounded us. I clung tighter burying my face in Loki’s chest as my feet left the ground. I felt his arm tighten around me a bit. We landed in Hiemdall’s chamber and I sighed, “I really wish there was another way to get to Asgard.”

“Welcome back, Tessa Stark,” Hiemdall boomed his greeting.

“Hello,” I bowed not quite certain what was the appropriate greeting, “I wasn’t aware we’d met.”

“Hiemdall can see all nine realms,” Thor explained, “We asked him to keep a watchful eye on Loki, lest he cause trouble.”

I swallowed trying not to gawk, I scowled noticing the proud smirk on Loki’s face. Hiemdall smiled, “The All-father is awaiting you both in the throne room.”

 

Thor laughed nudging Loki’s arm, “Shall we race then brother?”

“Thor,” he sighed shaking his head, “We have a guest.”

“I surely don’t mind carrying her,” he joked.

I shook my head, “Flying no, no way! I will walk if you two need a pissing contest.”

Thor chuckled knowing my reaction, “Right then, shall we brother?” He took off and Loki rolled his eyes nodding for me to come closer. He pulled his arm around me and we appeared in the palace as Thor landed still twirling his hammer.

Thor frowned at Loki’s use of magic but Loki sighed, “You should have expected that, you took off flying. What were you expecting? Me to foolishly try to beat you in a foot race.”

“Alright,” he shrugged shaking his head, “Come let’s meet with father.”

“At least one of you has sense,” Odin frowned at the two of them, “I thought such childish games were long in your past.” His eye landed on me and snapped at Thor, “Who is this?”

I thought about speaking but thought better of it, facing off with the real Odin was not something I dared to try. Thor explained, “This is Tessa Stark, she works for SHIELD. She has been researching the infinity stones in an effort to help us locate and guard the remaining loose stones.”

“Is she incapable of speaking,” he huffed.

“Forgive me, All-father,” I swallowed curtsying deeply, “I was only trying to be respectful. It is an honor to be here.”

“How do you plan to research here, miss Stark,” he frowned looking rather impassive.

I swallowed knowing he’d ordered Jane away immediately, maybe this was a good sign, “I can read the ancient text…”

“How can you do that?” he stared surprised.

“I taught myself,” I explained slightly nervously, “On earth, before I joined SHIELD, I studied earths early cultures, particularly the Norse, sir. I knew their language and when we began work on the infinity stones it was not too difficult to piece together the old language of your people. I struggle with some of the more obscure dialects but I can translate them.”

Odin was quiet for a moment and Loki chimed in, “I thought perhaps it might make the research go quicker if she wasn’t relying on Thor carrying books back and forth. Seeing as the infinity stones are…”

He held up a hand silencing Loki studying me for a moment before nodding, “Very well, the stones are of great importance. Have her escorted to a room, we have things to discuss.”

Loki was about to say something but Thor got there first explaining, “I am afraid I am need on earth, father. We believe we have found another Hydra base that may contain weapons created from the mind stone. I will return as quickly as I can, surely Loki can handle the matter on his own.”

“Very well,” Odin nodded, “Return quickly, no detours.”

“Of course,” Thor nodded taking off again.

Loki opened his mouth but Odin cut him off, “I’ll hear no more of your protests, come Loki.”

He sighed making a face as Odin turned leaving, “Coming, All-father.” I waited where I was as they walked away wondering if I was meant to follow them or just wait there. Loki spotted a woman clad in armor and stopped her, “Sif!”

“Loki,” she growled.

“I need a favor,” He grinned charmingly, “See my lovely friend there. She is my guest and will need a room to stay in…”

“I’m no servant, Loki,” she rolled her eyes, “Take her yourself.”

“Loki!” Odin called noticing he’d fallen behind.

“The All-father requires my presence,” he winced, “I would consider it a personal favor and would be in your debt.”

She sighed as he jogged to keep up with Odin. She gave a short nod for me to follow her and I rushed to keep up. She was quiet as she led me through the halls and I ventured cautiously, “I’m sorry I can find my way on my own if you’re busy. I’d rather not bother anyone.”

“The prince requires me to do something,” she sighed, “I am therefore obliged. It’s nothing personal mortal…”

“You’re just not Loki’s biggest fan,” I nodded, “I can understand that. I apologize on his behalf, he wasn’t very respectful of your status…”

I trailed off when she gave me a sideways look, “What would you know of it mortal?”

“You are Lady Sif,” I swallowed, “Commended warrior and protector of the nine realms. You’re unmatched with a sword… Thor talks about you, and the others. I’ve heard many stories, it is an absolute honor to meet you.”

“Here I thought you were Loki’s friend,” she scoffed.

“I am here as his guest, yes,” I nodded, “But I’ve worked with Thor longer on earth. I’m just here to help research.”

She gave me a sideways glance, “Of course you are.” I didn’t reply realizing just how everyone outside of Thor and Loki was going to see me. We stopped and Sif opened set of double doors commenting, “Here we are Loki’s guest room.”

I gawked at the large sitting room before a four-poster bed, “This is a guest room?”

“Is there a problem?”

“No,” I shook my head venturing in noticing the balcony, “This place is bigger than my apartment… wow.”

“Bathroom is through there,” she nodded to a door to the left of the bed, “There should be some more appropriate clothes in the chest and dresser.”

I turned to thank her but she was gone and the doors closed I set down the book and laptop on the coffee table in the sitting room. I climbed the couple of steps leading to the bedroom running my hands along the smooth dark wood. I pulled open the chest and pulling out a long silver gown admiring it. I didn’t bother looking for another and got undressed donning the silver gown. I pulled down my hair pulling my brush from my bag and running it through my hair as I explored the room. I jumped hearing the door open again and turned around to find a blond haired man standing there looking shocked. After a moment I asked, “Can I help you?”

“Ah,” he fumbled glancing around, “No, not exactly…What are you doing here?”

“This is Loki’s guest room, right?” I blinked wondering if Sif had made a mistake, “I was told I’d be staying here.”

“Ah, yes,” he sighed nervously, “Well you see… Loki has a guest?”

“Yes,” I sighed getting a bit annoyed, “She’s standing right in front of you wondering why a strange man has entered her room so rudely. Who are you?”

He stood up straight giving a rather flamboyant bow, “Forgive me, my lady, my name is Fandral. I must have gotten turned around and thought this was another room. You have my sincerest apologies for any offence.”

“Turned around,” I chuckled recognizing his name, “I doubt someone so familiar with Loki and Thor would get turned around in the palace. Want to try that again?”

He bit his lip sighing, “Lying isn’t going to help me get out of here any quicker is it?”

“No,” I snickered, “I’ve spent the last three weeks watching Loki lie. What can I do for you, Fandral?”

“I wouldn’t impose upon a royal guest,” he smirked giving another bow.

“A friend of Thor’s is a friend of mine,” I smiled sitting down on the couch and setting up my laptop, “Impose away.”

“A friend of mine may have dropped something when I was giving her a tour of the palace,” he began and I caught his meaning.

“Have a look,” I nodded over my shoulder not really bothered, “I won’t tell Loki.”

“You’re a savior as well as a beauty,” he grinned looking around the bed, “Speaking of which how did Loki come to know such a fine woman?”

“You ask how Loki could know me but not Thor,” I mused rolling my eyes, “They are both princes of Asgard.”

“Thor surrounds himself with beautiful women,” he sighed picking up a pin from under the bed, “Or he used to until he met Jane. Loki prefers his books.”

I thought about making a comment about him having a lot of expertise for someone so unfamiliar with women but thought better of it. I sighed deciding to merely comment, “I find Loki quite charming.”

“Really,” he scoffed standing in the doorway, “Loki?”

“Yes,” I replied simply, “Clever, charming, handsome, he’s a proper prince.”

“Are you feeling alright, my lady?” he stared, “Has he worked some sort of spell on you?”

I scoffed shaking my head, “There’s no accounting for taste I suppose.”

“Anyway, thank you, my lady,” he bowed again, “I shan’t bother you any longer. Have a lovely evening.”

I rolled my eyes as he left. I pulled out my notes and spread them out starting to type them into a report for Fury. It took most of the day and as the sun began to set I hadn’t gotten very far. I felt a pair of hands on my shoulders as Loki whispered in my ear, “Do you ever do anything besides work, my dear?”

I sighed leaning back into him, “Does sating a prince count?”

“An argument could be made,” he mused kissing me, “Particularly with that golden tongue of yours.”

“I think that’s something we’d both enjoy,” I teased sitting up too quickly making my head spin.

Loki frowned coming around the couch studying me, “Are you feeling alright? What have you had to eat?”

“I had breakfast,” I replied carefully.

He waited expectantly for me to continue, when I didn’t frowned, “You’re ill again, I believe you did tell the good Captain you would make sure you ate.”

“I was working,” I sighed shrugging, “and I didn’t really know where the kitchens were.”

Loki sighed getting up, he walked across the room to a bell on a table beside the door. He rang it and a woman entered a few moments later. She bowed, “How may I be of service, your grace?”

I raised my eyebrow surprised by the greeting. Loki didn’t look like he noticed much and merely commented, “Food and…” he studied me for a moment, “I believe mead would be more to the lady’s liking. That’s all.” The woman left and Loki rejoined me noticing my smirk, “What?”

I laughed climbing to my feet and giving a deep curtsy, “How ever may I be of service, your grace?”

He laid back along the couch smirking at me, “That’s more like it. I do so enjoy how that gown provides me with an excellent view when you lean over.” I glanced down and notice how low cut it was and quickly stood up blushing. Loki chuckled at me, “That lovely shade of red again.”

“Get used to it,” I sighed sitting back down making him slide out of the way a bit, “you’ll be seeing it a lot in the future I’m sure.”

“Why’s that?” he teased pinching at my sides, “Not that I’m protesting.”

“Well, with the way was Sif was looking at me earlier,” I sighed shaking my head, “and the special honor of staying in the prince’s guest chambers. I’m sure all of Asgard will be in a buzz about the new whore at the palace.”

“What did Sif say?” he frowned his brow furrowing.

“She didn’t have to say anything,” I chuckled at his concern, “She wasn’t even rude. But the sideways glance she gave me when I told her I was merely here for research told me she saw right through our excuse. I was only teasing, I could care less what all of Asgard thinks. I worry more about your father and brother’s reaction when they find out.”

“The All-father is not all knowing,” Loki scoffed running his fingers along my lap, “As for Thor, you could beat him over the head the information and he wouldn’t see it. Besides, what would they do? Cast shame upon us? The All-father humors Thor’s affections for Jane, why should I not be allowed to do the same?”

I frowned at him lying the other way on the couch, “Because one of you must sit on the throne of Asgard and a mortal cannot sit by your side. You know that.”

“Then forget the throne of Asgard,” he scoffed trailing his fingers up my legs.

“Two sons abandoning the throne for a mortal, Odin will be pleased,” I scoffed staring at him in shock, “Loki, don’t be foolish. We have known each other a few weeks, been intimate a mere few days. Don’t be rash, you’re the clever one remember. Give it time, you may tire of me yet.”

He sat up snaking his hands around my waist and pulling me up as well. He brushed my hair back whispering, “I have said before, and I do so hate repeating myself, I am not flippant. I do not behave as Thor did dragging chamber maids into his room every other night. I am far more discerning with my tastes and do not let go of them easily. I hold things precious to me very dearly, lest they slip through my fingers.”

He looked so vulnerable in that moment, I wanted to reassure him my words meant nothing. I was only speaking to caution him but it could have waited. I slipped my legs behind me folding my head into the crook of his neck sighing, “You honestly think I could slip through your fingers.”

 

“You are locked in a cage with a monster,” he muttered laying back carrying me with him.

“You are no monster, Loki,” I frowned into his chest feeling quite secure in his arms despite how vulnerable he was, “I’ve seen monsters. They don’t care about those around them, they don’t hold things dear to them.”

“hmm,” he mused quietly rolling his fingers down my arm, “perhaps I just listened more to our mother than Thor did.”

I snuggled closer pretending to doze, I wanted to understand him, “I would have liked to meet her…”

“She would have liked you,” he muttered disappearing into his thoughts, “Sleep, darling, I’ll wake you when the food comes.”

I closed my eyes trying to convince him I was asleep. He continued to stroke my arm as I slowed my breathing struggling to stay awake with the soothing rhythm of his heart lulling me. “She’s very pretty,” a woman’s voice commented, “You were always such a picky child.”

“She is mortal,” he sighed and I realized he’d pulled me into one of his illusions.

“Why should that matter,” the woman replied, “Your brother loves a mortal…”

“And how I used to mock him for how she would die one day,” Loki scoffed steading himself realizing he might wake me, “The thought now scares me that she might disappear before my eyes.”

“Jane does not abandon your brother’s side despite his absences,” she countered, “Why would she disappear from you?”

“You know well why,” he frowned, “I may not be as brazen as Thor… but I do still have enemies.”

“You worry she will weaken you,” the woman sighed, “You are more like your father than you think…”

I felt him bite back a snap at her, “I don’t worry that she weakens me, I’ve accepted that. I worry what wrath may be brought upon her for my actions.”

“You think she would allow herself to be such a victim,” she chuckled, “She held a knife to your neck at one point. You think she would not fight?”

“That concerns me more,” he muttered and it sank in to me who he was speaking with. He didn’t finish his thought and I wanted to just hold him pull him away from this pain. He may as well have been torturing himself.

“Do not sacrifice love for fear, my child,” she sighed as the door opened.

“Tessa,” he whispered sitting up with me, “You need to eat my darling.”

I rubbed my eyes trying to keep the idea I had been asleep. I was struggling not to just tackle him promising to never let go. I thought it would be better not to tell him I had been listening and picked up some of the meats and cheeses there eating. After a moment I ventured, “You okay?”

“What do you mean,” he replied eating as well.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, “You just look shaken… I was worried is all.”

“I’m fine,” he chuckled kissing my cheek, “I’m very curious as to what trouble you got up to today.”

“No mischief today, sadly,” I scoffed, “I’d rather like to be invited back.”

“Who say’s you’re leaving,” Loki mused, “I am a rather devilish character after all. Who’s to say I’ll allow you to go home.”

“You think you could stop me,” I smirked playfully, “I nearly won our last fight.”

“But you didn’t,” he teased flipping me onto the couch leaning over me, “You ended up in a position very similar to this.” He got a wicked smile on his lips slipping my arms above my head, “Let’s see… how did you look again?” He adjusted rolling up my dress to slip between my legs, much closer than I remember our fight being as he frowned, “Hmmm? Still not quite right…” He leaned down nibbling at my jaw and kissing down my neck. My breath hitched in my chest and my heart took off like a bullet. He sat back admiring the view smirking, “There we are. You fancy being in this position again, my dear?”

“Who’s to say it won’t be reversed,” I bit my lip trying desperately to calm my heart and panting.

“I don’t think it will be, little one,” he mused leaning into my ear to continue his trail of kisses down my neck.

I noticed his grip wasn’t as tight as before and smiled deciding to prove a point. I grabbed his wrists and rolled off the couch landing on top of him. I kept my grip firm smirking down at him, “Perhaps the great and clever Loki, is wrong.”

Chapter Text

I dozed luxuriously in the tangle of limbs and silky sheets. I blinked open my eyes groggily to find morning and panicked, shit I’d slept through the night, Loki had to get back to his cell… I blinked again staring up at the canopy of the four-poster bed calming myself. I was in Asgard, no cell, no rush, I could doze happily in his arms. Wait, I was in Asgard, I was in Asgard and I slept through the night with the prince, shit I was screwed! I prayed no one had seen us, but frankly I had been too distracted by Loki to notice, the whole court could have been in here and I wouldn’t have noticed a thing. I lifted my head peaking down at the table and saw it cleared from the food from the night before, yeah, I was screwed. I untangled myself gently deciding it was probably best not to be naked in bed with Loki when Odin found out and came to banish me. I started to get up only to have an arm wrap its way around my waist pulling me back down into Loki’s chest as he groaned quietly, “Not yet, a little longer dear.”

“Not a morning person then,” I snickered trying to wiggle free.

“All that’s going to do is excite me, my dear,” he whispered sleepily into my ear. I felt the blankets quickly pulled up to my shoulder as the door opened. I tensed wishing very much to have Loki’s magic and disappear. He frowned not bothering to move, “What?”

“The All-father requests your presence, your grace,” a shy female voice replied, “Shall I tell him you are occupied at the moment…”

“No,” Loki sighed sitting up, “I’ll be along in a moment, you may go.”

The girl left and he groaned falling flat on his back. I rolled over smirking at him, “oh the trouble of being a prince.”

“It can be irksome,” he frowned glancing down at me.

“Says the man with a complex,” I scoffed and he raised an eye brow, “Loki, you’ve desired the throne since you were a child. You were even given it for a time until you fell into the void. Your escapade on earth was all about ruling. I get the feeling you’re regretting your desire for it.”

“Not regretting so much as discovering why it is a job for two,” he scoffed shaking his head, “So much for my spare time.”

“It is a job, Loki,” I laughed shoving him lightly, “Now go, you can’t keep Odin waiting.”

He sighed grumbling as he stood up, “Did someone show you where the library was?”

“Um, no,” I sighed sitting up, “It can’t be that hard to find. I’ll work it out.”

“I’ll take you on my way to meet Odin,” Loki sighed smirking at me, “Are you planning to go there naked my darling?”

“Oh, right!” I snickered getting up and picking up a gown from the chest. He opened a door revealing another room and I blinked, “Where are you going?”

“To my room,” he chuckled eying me, “Though you’re certainly tempting me to stay…”

“Go get dressed,” I rolled my eyes pulling my gown on. He smirked leaving and I pulled on the gown. I buttoned up the front of the gown and yanked a brush through my hair. I quickly twirled my fingers through it braiding it over my shoulder packing the laptop and notebook into a bag.

I hesitated knocking on the door and he called, “Come in, my dear.” I opened the door venturing forward into Loki’s room. The palace seemed to be all warm golden hues but his room was cool, decorated in silver and dark woods. I could see a terrace through a doorway framed with emerald curtains that matched the canopy of curtains around the four poster bed. Loki was finishing buckling on of the straps of his armor and smoothed his hair back smirking at me, “My, my, I see my assertion was correct. The nine realms will soon be up in arms hearing we have such a beauty in our midst.”

“You are far too good at flattery,” I rolled my eyes tracing my fingers along the smooth dark wood of his desk, “So this is how royalty lives?”

“These are by far modest accommodation compared to most of the royal rooms,” he shrugged, “As I’m sure most here will tell you I prefer my privacy to Thor’s bold and brazen ways.”

“Not everyone likes gold,” I chuckled watching Asgard from the doorway to the terrace, “Luxury isn’t always gilded. Why can’t earth be this beautiful?”

“Midgard has its charms,” he shrugged.

“Not like this,” I sighed watching the boats flutter about, “Take it from someone who’s seen most of the world. It’s nothing like this.”

“Midgard gave birth to you,” he muttered as his arms wrapped around my waist, “For that I am surprised and grateful.”

I scoffed turning around, “Again with the flattery.”

“Is that what you think,” he mused flattening my back against the door jam, “That I have need of such frivolous words. That I should need to so carelessly mask you with insignificant compliments to maintain your attention? That isn’t very kind to you, my dear. I truly appreciate your splendor, my dear, like any connoisseur.” His hand trailed down my shoulder tracing his way around the outside of my breast and along my waist as he smirked, “I appreciate every curve and contour… Every shiver and gasp from my touch on your skin…” He cupped my neck leaning in as he toyed, “The delicious taste of your lips…”

He knew what he was doing and so did I, he was taunting and teasing me into making the first move. I was not good at these games of his, I always gave in too easily. I kissed him and his hands skated across my waist holding onto my hips. I got the distinct feeling he wasn’t going to be on time to meet Odin. A loud voice boomed as the door opened, “Loki!”

Loki growled under his breath leaning his forehead into mine for a brief moment. He backed away from me folding his arms behind his back as he faced the interruption frowning, “Sif and the warriors three. To what do I owe the pleasure.”

“Odin was displeased with how long you were taking,” Sif huffed, “What exactly are you up to avoiding him? Plotting again?”

I swallowed nervously, the curtain was currently hiding me from view but I had a feeling that would be ending soon. Loki sighed toying with them, “Oh, you would enjoy that wouldn’t you, Sif. You’ve been itching for my head since my presence was made known. I cannot, however, oblige.”

“Your lies are getting worse, Loki,” Fandral scoffed.

“Believe what you wish,” Loki shrugged, “Tell Odin I will be along shortly, I was only just woken.”

“Loki the early riser still in bed at this hour,” Volstagg chuckled, “What keeps the would be prince tucked in so late?”

“None of your business,” Loki hissed coolly, “As I said, I will be along shortly.”

“He sounds a bit touchy on the subject,” Fandral teased, “Doesn’t he, Vol?”

“Will you two grow up,” Sif snapped, “We aren’t messengers, Loki. We were asked to bring you to Odin.”

“Ooo,” Loki taunted, “I must be in trouble then.”

“I certainly hope so,” Sif frowned, “Now come on.”

“What’s this,” Fandral taunted just the other side of the curtain from me and I sucked in a breath. I noticed my foot was poking out of the edge of the curtain and I slipped it back to safety as he chuckled, “I think Loki’s excuse might still be here, Vol.”

“A woman in Loki’s bed,” Volstagg laughed loudly, “You must be joking.”

“Are we expected to be leaving any time soon,” Loki rolled his eyes trying to make them leave, “Or are we seeking to anger the All-father further.”

“We will in a moment,” Fandral snickered reaching through the curtain grabbing my arm, “I think all of us are curious as to what sow distracted you…”

I came out swinging when he pulled me through my fist connecting with his face just before I launched my foot up into his crotch. Fandral crumbled and I straightened my dress as everyone stared at me. I swallowed turning to the others as Fandral made his way back to his feet clutching his bleeding nose, “Forgive me I was rather insulted…”

“I would have done the same,” Sif shrugged crossing her arms.

Fandral bowed as elegantly as he could trying to back pedal as much as he could, “You must forgive me, my lady. I did not know…”

“I would stop before you make a fool of yourself again,” I frowned at him. I glanced back at Loki, I could see he was seething but keeping it in check since I had handled the situation. I swallowed nodding, “Right, I had best be off to the library.”

“Shall I show you then,” Loki nodded.

I blushed biting my lip, “I wouldn’t want to bother you more. I already bothered you with translations this morning. I can find my way to the library.”

“These halls are tricky, my dear,” Fandral chimed in trying to get his nose to stop bleeding, “We wouldn’t want you getting lost…”

“I’ll show her,” Sif frowned defusing the situation before anything kicked off, “I’m sure you idiots can handle Loki.”

I followed Sif out and down the hall swallowing, “Thank you…”

“Men are idiots,” she rolled her eyes, “Fandral chief among them. He meant nothing by it but deserved what he got. You’re not so weak for a mortal, very much like Lady Jane.”

“Jane is strong, but she’s not a SHIELD agent,” I chuckled shrugging, “I’ve been training for a year to get strong enough to convince Thor to bring me here.”

“You work for the SHIELD that Thor aids,” she smiled looking a little impressed.

“I’m a civilian consultant,” I sighed, “I don’t get to go on active duty like Natasha.”

“I have heard of this Natasha,” She replied, “Thor mentioned her among the Avengers. She is a warrior is she not?”

“She was once an assassin,” I explained as she opened a door to a library, “She works for SHIELD now as an Avenger. She’s incredible to see in action. She’s shown me a few things but any time my brother catches it he complains.”

“Your brother too works for the SHIELD?” Sif looked surprised, “Is he too a consultant?”

“Not exactly,” I sighed, “He’s Iron man. I’m sorry I’ve been living on an airship for a year where everyone knows who Tony is and who I am because of him. My name is Tessa, Tessa Stark.”

“The man of Iron is your brother,” She nodded impressed, “You come from a great line of warriors.”

“Try telling the Avengers that,” I scoffed crossing my arms, “Ever since I arrived they all treat me like a little sister. I’m inherited six older siblings and not one of them wants me in harm’s way. I’m sure Thor threatened Loki a hundred different ways when Fury agreed to allow me to get his help with my translations. Tony nearly lost it when I said I was coming here.”

Sif scoffed rolling her eyes, “Men are always hypocritical. I have no doubt if you were not his sister they would find nothing wrong with your training. Had it not been for Thor my brothers would have done the same. Fear not Midgardian, you will learn to fight.”

“What?” I gawked.

“If you wish that is,” She shrugged starting to leave.

“Yes, yes, a billion times yes,” I stammered trying to catch up, “It would be the greatest honor. Are you sure? Thor won’t be pleased…”

“Loki isn’t the only one with tricks,” she scoffed flashing me a smile as she left.

Hell yes! I liked her! I grinned setting down my bag on a chair and looking around the space. It was a quiet place very much done in a Loki style, the furniture was all dark wood and green upholstery. It was warm and cozy and as I wandered I found a lit fireplace with a folded card on top. I smirked shaking my head as I picked it up, reading: Forgive me for this morning, I had hoped to show you myself had we not been interrupted. I shall see you tonight, and I fully intend to pick up where we left off. I’m sure you are, I retorted in my head. I had to admit I was looking forward to it. I made myself comfortable on a couch with my laptop and notebook scanning through the list of references I needed to check. I began scanning the rows of shelves for book and eventually figured out the Loki filing system. I began taking out books and staking them around me as I started my translation glaring at the annoying style and syntax. I read for most of the morning jumping when the door to the library opened.

A young woman quickly apologized, “Forgive me, I did not mean to startle you, Lady Tessa.”

“It’s fine,” I shook off the shock of being called a lady, “My mind was somewhere else. Is there something I can do for you?”

“Prince Loki asked I bring you some food should you like,” She explained presenting a tray of food.

I blinked checking my watch, wait Asgardian time, “What time is it?”

“Nearly midday, my lady,” she replied, “He instructed I should remind you at meal times or you should become ill…”

“Worry wort,” I muttered nodding for her to come in, “Thank you.”

She left the food on a table beside me and left. I ate as I worked trying to get my head around a few of the more dreary pieces. It was frustrating me, but the more it frustrated me the more stubborn I got to decipher it. Before long I heard the door open again and Loki frowned, “There you are?”

“hmm?” I mumbled looking up to find Loki leaning in the door way watching me dressed more casually than normal. He was wearing his light olive green tunic and leather trousers and smirking his very best grin. I smiled a little distracted by him, “Hello there.”

“Hello there, indeed,” he mused closing the door to the library, “What is my little darling still doing working so late? We had a… I believe you mortals call them dates?”

“It’s not…” I began looking out the window to see dark skies, “Oh, how is it that late?”

“It appears you became very invested in a book,” he smirked joining me on the couch, “Who were you reading? Ah, Athilsson, he is rather difficult at times.”

“He is maddening,” I huffed setting the book aside, “I’ve translated so little but I’ve been reading all day...”

“You work far too hard,” he teased shaking his head, “You put Stark and Banner to shame. Even they stop to sleep.” I rolled my eyes reaching for my laptop but Loki stopped me, “Nothing you are going to do this moment is going to make or break their research. Take a break.”

“This is important,” I sighed tiredly, “They need me to get them answers, Loki. Someone is looking for these stones and I can’t imagine it’s for any good.” Loki looked very pensive for a moment and I ventured, “Loki? Loki…”

“Hmm?” he muttered looking slightly upset but quickly wiped it away smiling, “Again nothing is going to change this moment. It’s late and I still have plans for you.”

“Now that sound’s promising,” I smiled sitting up close to him, “I might be persuaded by a distraction.”

“I do believe I warned you I intended to pick up,” he toyed leaning me back into the cushions of the couch, “Where we were so rudely interrupted. Where were we…” his arms curled around me and there was a shimmer of green and my was pressed flat against war stone and he smirked, “That’s more like it.”

He toyed around my neck trailing kisses up and down the spots he knew all too well made me go weak in the knees. I gasped in his ear as he slipped a long finger behind the loops held beneath pearl buttons popping them free at an agonizingly slow pace. He smiled against my jaw as I breathed, “For fucks sake Loki.”

“Someone’s eager,” he nipped along my jaw as he continued slowly down the front of my dress. The straps of the sleeveless gown began to slip down my shoulders and I was lifted up my bare back touching smooth stone, the dress pooling at his feet. I smiled skating my lips across his, first of the clothing was off, game on. I searched blindly for the edge of his tunic only to feel it disappear beneath my fingers replaced with lean toned muscle and soft skin.

“Would my prince have me kneel,” I muttered in his ear as his hand found my breast toying with them while his other supported me.

“Oh,” he purred in my ear sliding along my entrance, “Not tonight, darling.” I moaned feeling him slip in burying my face in his neck remember we weren’t anywhere private per say. He smirked toying with my earlobe as he moved agonizingly slow making me whine against him. He hummed against my neck, “What is it darling?”

I groaned digging my hands into his hair, “Oh, just fuck me already!”

He grinned wickedly changing his pace, “If you wish…”

I lost my control giving into his talented, talented hips. I gasped and moaned, probably not too quietly, with the little swirl that accompanied each thrust. Before long I was hovering right on the edge gasping his name like a plead for help. Suddenly he sent me off like sparking live wire the buzz spreading through me as my head dropped onto his shoulder. I tried to catch my breath but it didn’t stop as he continued driving me through one after another until I lost count. I gave into the cloud nine bliss clinging to him as best I could latching onto his lips starting a wrestling match I knew I would lose, that silver tongue could not be out matched. He moaned into me bracing himself on the wall as he stilled and we tried to catch our breath. My feet dropped back down to earth somewhat wobbly and I braced myself on the wall. I closed my eyes resting my head on his arm where it sat on the wall still piecing myself back together after my blissful high.

Chapter Text

I woke to bright daylight curled in a tangle of limbs and soft luxurious sheets. I felt a soft tickle of fingers tracing in little circles on my thigh. I purred getting my bearings, dark wood and silver, we were in his room. He smiled into my ear, “I was trying not to wake you.”

“How did we get back here?” I mumbled not remembering walking back.

“I carried you,” he mused and I sat up straight.

“What?!”

“Is that so strange,” he replied leaning on his elbow, “I was under the impression Midgardians considered such a thing chivalrous.”

“Not when I’m naked and you’re walking through the palace,” I sighed running my hands through my hair, “Thor is going to kill us.”

“Thor has tried to kill me several times, it doesn’t generally stick,” Loki toyed, he sighed seeing my panic and sat up brushing my hair back, “Thor would not dare touch you. If he tried, he would fail and my wrath would be swift and unending. Put your fears to rest, darling. Do you believe I would let anyone see you so unclad?”

“No,” I sighed caressing his face, “I thought you were going to rip Fandral’s head off when he touched me.”

“I gave it some thought,” he admitted leaning into my hand, “I didn’t want to ruin your dress though.” I laughed and he smiled at me, “There is no force in the nine realms that could tear you away from me, my love.”

I curled into his chest feeling his hands trace up and down my back. I heard the door open and the blanket was around me as Sif entered. Loki sighed snapping, “Must you bother me every morning?”

“It wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t,” she shrugged snarkily as she set her eyes on me, “Did you want to come with?”

“Oh! Yes!” I exclaimed nodding, “I’ll go get dressed.”

“I put something less frilly in your room,” she nodded opening the door, “I’ll wait outside.”

She stepped out and I jumped up rushing to my room. Loki followed phasing into his tunic and trousers as I pulled on a black pair of pants. He crossed his arms leaning in the door way, “What’s this?”

“Sif offered to show me a thing or two,” I explained pulling on an armored bodice trying to figure how to tie the side straps, “I thought it might come in handy. It would certainly put everyone’s mind at ease about the weak mortal staying on Asgard.”

“You training with the good lady Sif does not put my mind at ease,” he frowned tying the straps for me, “But I do not envy the warriors three having to face you both.”

“I’m not as fragile as you think,” I warned pulling on the boots she’d left, “You’d be surprised by what I could handle.”

“I usually am,” he mused his eyes skating over me, “Sif could have given you less alluring…”

“Your grace,” a tentative voice called from behind him, “The…”

“Yes, yes,” he sighed waving her away, “I’m well aware the Allfather is waiting. I’m on my way.” I sighed standing up and making for the door but he caught me kissing me deep a hand laced in my hair before whispering, “Be careful.”

“This isn’t the first time I’ve played with knives,” I chuckled stepping outside and leaving with Sif.

She led me down toward some kind of sparring grounds attached to the barracks. She sighed, “You said you had trained with the Avenger Romanov? What all has she taught you?”

“Mostly grappling techniques,” I explained as we descended the steps to meet up with the warriors three, “She was fairly happy with how well my aim was so she focused on grappling. If I’m being honest I’m not fond of guns or ranged weapons.”

“What do you prefer?” she asked.

“A blade,” I shrugged, “knife, sword, machete, anything sharp. I tell Tony all the time I was born in the wrong era.”

“Luckily the right era is a short bifrost journey away,” Fandral chimed in smirking.

“I would not taunt the girl,” Volstagg warned Fandral, “Sif is about to put a blade in her hand. You didn’t fare so well when she was unarmed, my friend.”

“The man has a point,” I shrugged turning to Sif, “Where should we start? I’ve worked with a blade in some capacities but never had any formal training.”

“What capacity?” she inquired showing me to her collection of weaponry.

“I may have cut off a black market arms dealer’s hand,” I explained, “With a machete.”

She shrugged her approval, “I would avoid a long sword, something of medium length.”

I perused for a moment and picked up a curious looking curved blade. Sif opened her mouth to explain but I caught on holding the unsharpened back of the blade against my fore arm toward my elbow. I swished my arm back and forth feeling it’s weight. It was a good blade and Sif nodded, “A good choice, we’ll have to get you some proper gauntlets. And for your other hand? Shall I make a suggestion?”

“Please,” I nodded and she handed me a saber. I felt it in my hand testing the swing muttering, “I was definitely born in the wrong era.”

“Shall we give them a try?” Sif smiled separating the halves of her double sword. She nodded to the boys, “Come on then, ladies.”

They charged her all at once and she smirked parrying away Fandral’s rapier first as she blocked Volstagg’s axe with her other sword. She continued on blocking Hogun’s mace kicking him back. Extending the blades to both Volstagg and Fandral’s necks. Fandral swallowed shrugging, “Nice to see we’re still no match for you, Sif.”

“As if that were to change in the near future,” she scoffed lowering her swords and turning to me, she held up her right arm explaining, “To block,” she nodded to the saber, “to attack.”

I nodded and stepped forward and the three exchanged a glance. I braced for their attack but found the first strike barely touched the sword and I stopped sighing, “I’m not made of glass. I’m human, from Midgard, not a child. I work with the Avengers, Iron man is my brother. I’ve spent loads of time traveling the backwoods of the Midgard with militants and tribesmen. I can take a hit boys.”

“I see why you like her?” Volstagg commented to Sif, “Alright little lady, if you wish.”

We tried again and I blocked the first attacked before getting knocked on my ass. I drilled it again and again, Sif was a lot like Natasha that way. Drill until perfect. I started to catch on found myself thanking my mother for insisting on gymnastics. I started to use my smaller stature and feeble humanness to duck and dart around them and Sif looked pleased.

The next two days went much the same, training in the morning with Sif and the boys followed by several hours in Loki’s library trying to translate the stupid Athilsson text. Sif called off my training for the next day as she had early patrols which was fine I was sore and frustrated. I woke up and Loki was already gone. I picked up the book trying to work through it but quickly developed a headache from his annoying style. I huffed sliding the book across the bed and got up digging in my backpack for my aspirin. I swallowed two pills with a glass of water and typed a quick email to Natasha asking her to tell Fury I was going to take a day off and he could do some very impolite things if he did not like that. Nat wrote back checking I was okay and I reassured her it was just a headache and wanted to lay down. I wet a washcloth laying it over my eyes laying down on my bed to try and get some sleep in hopes it would go away. After a few moments there was a quiet, “My lady? Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’d just rather be left alone,” I replied not getting up, “And do not bother Loki with this, I’m just tired.”

“Yes, my lady,”

She left me alone for the day and I groaned trying to get to sleep so the headache would go away. I glanced up every once in a while and around midday I heard the door again and snapped, “I said I wanted to be left alone!”

“Really,” a honeyed voice replied from across the room.

“Loki,” I sighed taking off the wash cloth and sitting up, “I’m sorry I thought you were…”

“One of the many servants,” he frowned coming to the bed, “While it’s nice to see you adjusting to royal life, you’re not well. Have you been eating?”

“Yes, god, you’re worse than Steve. It’s a headache,” I sighed shaking my head and regretting it, “It’s nothing really I just need some more sleep, it’ll go away.”

“Lay down,” he frowned stroking my hair, “Your head hurts…”

“That feels amazing,” I purred closing my eyes and snuggling close to him.

“Hmm,” he chuckled continuing, “I could read for you if you like? I believe last time it sent you straight to sleep.”

“Oh, yes please,” I sighed curling up beside him with my head in his lap.

He reached for something and his hand left mine for a brief moment to open the book then he began, “Of which the great wonders and mysteries that lie within…”

“No,” I groaned covering my ears, “If I have to look at Athilsson today I will go on a rampage and murder someone.”

Loki snickered, “That sounds very amusing, but unwise I think. What would you like my dear?”

I waved a hand at my satchel muttering, “There’s an old paperback book in there.”

He gently moved from under me collecting the worn old book. It was well loved and had been read by me, and on occasion Darcy, about a million times. Loki lifted me back into his lap stroking my hair and beginning again in words like warm milk and honey, “’This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages…’”
I smiled drifting feeling all my tension ease with his words. They were a magic all their own, silver tongue, master of lies, my ass! Some simple words from his mouth and any woman would dissolve into a puddle. I woke in the evening the sun was just starting to set to find Loki engrossed in my book. I stretched and Loki set down the book asking, “Feeling any better?”

“Much,” I sighed waking up noticing he had saved a place early in the book, “Headache is all gone. I see you’re enjoying the book. You don’t have to save a page for me, I must have read that thing a million times.”

“I can see that,” he mused looking at the worn old book, “Who is Darcy?”

“A friend of Jane’s that works for SHIELD now. We’re pretty close, as she puts it I’m the only one with decent choice in books,” I shrugged, “Why?”

“She’s left graffiti within its pages,” he commented flipping through the half he’d read, “Some of it of a homosexual nature… She’s quite a good artist…”

“Darcy,” I groaned face palming, “She ships Frodo and Sam way too much. I told her to leave those out of my copy. She must have doodled when she borrowed it.”

“Ship? I saw no mention of boats in her art,” he frowned confused.

I laughed, somethings do not translate, “No, ship is a term people who enjoy books use to describe which characters they would like to see romantically involved.”

“This is what they hope the author will write,” he sighed trying to get the concept.

“Kind of,” I chewed on my lip, “The author generally does not write ships. It’s what the reader would change within the book if they could. Darcy would make Sam and Frodo majorly gay and bum each other every other night.”

“Elegantly put,” he teased as my laptop began to ring. I got up sitting on the couch and sighed seeing Tony’s name on the screen. Loki raised an eyebrow, “You don’t look pleased.”

“Nat must have told Tony I was taking the day off and wasn’t feeling well,” I sighed, “He’s checking in on me. I’d better answer.” I pressed the button and the camera flicked on and Tony appeared in his lab and I sighed, “Hey, Tony.”

“Hey!” he cheered, “Bruce! It’s live from Asgard! Tea-tray Tessa!”

“Tony!” I snapped, “you know I hate that.”

“I know,” He shrugged, “How’s it goin’ lil sis? Reindeer games behaving without the almighty brother to keep him in line?”

“Loki is fine,” I rolled my eyes, “Much more polite than you! What do you want? Why’d you call?”

“Nat said you weren’t feeling well,” he replied spinning in his chair, “Thought it was about time to call. Not that I don’t love sarcastic emails…”

“It was a headache,” I rolled my eyes, “I swear I get a paper cut and everyone flies into a dizzy over it. I got a headache from staring at that stupid text for too long. I had a nap, I’m fine.”

“Cool,” he shrugged, “How is the glittering palace? Fancyfull?”

“Much nicer than the tower,” I smirked and he mocked like he’d been shot in the chest, “My room here is bigger and there is a library not an electronic catalog!”

“Ereaders are amazing!”

“Never get rid of books!” I snapped back and we laughed as annoying as he could be I missed him, “How are things going? The raid go well?”

“Went off without a hitch,” Tony shrugged, “no glow stick of destiny but Thor is being a pain in the ass about some of the chitari weaponry.”

“No,” I scolded, “You don’t need higher power weapons. You said yourself nuclear deterrents don’t calm anything down.”

“That was before I met the aliens,” he rolled his eyes.

“Tony you know if you started an Ultron project again,” I warned shaking my head, “I would be back on Earth to slap you senseless before you could program it.”

“That’s what I told him,” Bruce commented peering into the screen, “He still hasn’t learned anything from Ultron.”

“When does Tony learn anything?” I scoffed shaking my head, “How’s it going Bruce? Had a good tantrum on a hyrda base?”

“Ha ha,” he frowned dryly, “You’re so funny, Tess! No, no code green this time, thank god.”

“I was teasing,” I laughed, “I’m glad to hear it. Will you tell Nat to stop airing my dirty laundry?”

“Ah,” he sighed, “That one was my bad. I made a passing comment during the morning meeting. I was checking emails for Nat this morning.”

“Ah.”

“I liked the comment about Fury,” he chuckled turning to someone off screen, “hey, Steve.”

“Who’s on?”

“Tess,” Tony shrugged, “I mean I’m diced liver here…”

“Tessa!” I heard a squeel and Tony was scrambled over by a sassy brunette with glasses, “Tessa the mighty from Asgard how fareth thee.”

“Fine, Princess Darcy of Coffee goodness!” I laughed.

Loki leaned in to see the screen commenting, “Is this the one that left those… interesting doodles in your book.”

“Loki was reading our book?” she gawked, “Those were not for you mischief man!”

“Yes, Darce,” I shook my head, “I let him borrow it and I then had to explain what those were thank you very much.”

“I had a question about…” Loki began with a sleek smile.

“NO!” I shook my head pushing Loki off screen, “I do not need you two conspiring. Especially about what you drew in my book, Darcy.”

“What did she draw?” Steve asked raising an eyebrow, “I didn’t know you were artistic Darcy?”

“You don’t want to know, Steve,” I sighed shaking my head.

“I could show you things, Cap,” She winked at Steve.

“Don’t break him,” I shook my head, “Remember he is not fully caught up, Darce. How’s it going Cap?”

“Fine,” he nodded, “You doing okay? Eating?”

“Yes,” I sighed, “Loki is seeing to that. Every few hours food is shoved in my face by someone. I think I scared him that first night.”

“At least someone is looking after you,” Steve smiled like he knew something, “Anyway, Thor should be heading back your way soon. For a while at least.”

Loki rolled his eyes and I smirked, “Loki is thrilled.”

“I’m sure,” Tony scoffed, “What happened to me talking to my sister?”

“Relax Tony,” I shook my head, “We chatted, I’m fine, now I’m going to sign off with all of you.”

“Nooo,” Darcy whined.

“What are you complaining about?” I scoffed crossing my arms, “You get showing off your special brand of art to Cap. I have to explain your weird Sam and Frodo ships to Loki, thanks to the art you left in my book.”

“You tell me if you need my special taser,” she waved, “I know what those norse gods are like. A good jab with little Thor and he’s squirming, I’m sure Loki’s the same.”

“You named your taser…. I’m honestly not surprised,” I rolled my eyes, “I’m not going to touch that with a ten foot pole. I’ll let you know if I need the power of the lightning sister. I’m faring fine on my own. Bye everyone.”

I got a loud goodbye and I closed the laptop shaking my head as Loki raised an eyebrow, “Little Thor?”

“Her taser.”

“Taser?”

I sighed explaining, “It’s a device that emits an electrical charge that can stun a person. When Thor was banished Darcy hit him with a car, then when he was going on about Asgard she got freaked out and used the taser on him. Ever since she tasers just about any other worldly being that comes in contact with her. Apparently she has given the device a nick name, little Thor.”

Chapter Text

I woke as Loki was getting dressed. I didn’t make a sound as I watched him pulling his tunic over his head before starting to put on his armor. I had to admit I had not appreciated how at ease he was with it. Normally by the time I got to take off Loki’s clothes and appreciate his toned muscles Loki had riled me into a frenzy and I was moving quickly. After a moment he noticed me peeking over his shoulder, “Good morning, my sweet.”

“Morning,” I replied trying to look innocent.

He smirked leaning on the footboard, “Innocent is not something you can masquerade as, my dear. Not after last night.”

“I think innocent went out the window on my birthday,” I laughed and he looked surprised, “It was a joke.”

He smirked looking down at me tangled in the sheets sighing annoyed, “I unfortunately cannot stay and enjoy your masquerade of innocence. Odin is increasingly intolerant of my tardiness.”

“Go,” I smiled kissing him, “I need to get dressed to train with Sif. With you around it’ll take far longer.”

“Be careful with those four,” he nodded steeling a deep kiss before leaving. I sighed getting up and dressed before making my way down to the training ring. Sif was already there shouting drills at the recruits, I sat on the bottom steps watching as she drilled them again and again. She noticed me and started a drill nodding, “Ready to try your hand with men that don’t know Thor?”

“If you think I’m ready,” I nodded.

She nodded handing me a matching set of leather and metal bracers, “Get you properly outfitted and I think you shouldn’t have a problem.”

“They are gorgeous,” I stared pulling them on and lacing them.

“They should be I ordered them special,” she smirked and I gawked, “What? No protégé of mine will be improperly outfitted. Now ready to show what you’ve learned.” I nodded getting up and picking up my swords waiting behind her. She turned to the recruits, they stood at attention, and she began, “You wish to be warriors of Asgard. To bear Odin’s crest upon your shields. To defend the nine realms!”

“Yes, ma’am,” they chanted in unison.

“Are you prepared?”

“Yes, ma’am!”

“Well, then,” she sighed, “Certainly you are up to fighting a mere Midgardian girl?” They laughed and she nodded for me to step forward, “You shall attack in groups of three, we’ll see if your pride survives.” She nodded for the fight to begin and I parried the first blow driving the soldier back into the second quickly disarming the third. They backed away with bruised pride and all I could think was ‘yeah, puny Midgardian, my ass!’ as Sif called, “Next!”

It went on like this for some time until all the men ended up defeated and I fought the urge to cheer. I suddenly felt the urge to disappear as a booming voice called from the balcony above, “It appears they need much more training, Lady Sif.”

“Of course, My King,” she replied.

I swallowed looking up to see Odin and Loki watching us, I wondered briefly how long they had been there. I didn’t have to wonder long as Odin called turning away, “Join us Miss Stark.” I gulped rushing up the steps to the fall in step behind them. I followed them for a while in silence wondering if I was about to be kicked out or complimented, it was hard to tell with Odin. At last we entered a small room filled with light. It had a small round table in the middle and four chairs, the table had been laid with food. Odin nodded for me to sit and Loki pulled out a chair sitting beside me as Odin sat across from me. I noticed Loki glanced at the empty chair and I realized who would have sat there and instantly felt self-conscious. Odin nodded toward the food, “Eat, child.”

“Thank you,” I nodded and we all started eating, “Please forgive my attire, I was not expecting…”

“Easily fixed,” Loki smirked and there was a shimmer of green. I found myself changed into a gown, my armor and bracers gone. I could have smacked Loki right there, I didn’t have to though, he caught the slightly pained look in Odin’s eye at his magic.

I sighed trying to move past this, “I must thank you, your grace. Your hospitality has been wonderful. I’m very grateful to get to study here.”

“The infinity stones are of great importance,” Odin nodded, “I see your skills are not limited to books alone.”

“That is mostly due to Sif’s training,” I admitted, “She has been kind enough to offer me training. I thought it wise to put my friend’s minds at ease.”

“Yes, you work with Thor’s Avengers,” Odin commented.

Loki tried to stifle a laugh muttering, “Tony will love that.”

“What?”

“I’m afraid if any of the Avengers heard someone call them ‘Thor’s Avengers’ they would mock him endlessly,” I smiled trying not to laugh, “They are all equals on earth and they forget it sometimes.”

“I believe the last spat levelled a forest,” Loki added casually.

“They worry about your being here rather than on Midgard,” Odin commented impassively.

I swallowed, “They do not mean offence, your Grace. They all see me as a younger sibling on account I am Iron Man’s little sister. I’m afraid my joining SHIELD has only made that worse. They tend to forget I had a life before SHIELD.”

“And what did you do before you served this SHIELD,” Odin probed and I got the distinct feeling this was a test.

“I was a historian,” I explained no translation needed, “I studied the old civilizations of Midgard. I travelled the world over searching ruins and lecturing at universities.”

“You’re quite young for such work,” he shrugged.

I couldn’t stop myself from commenting, “I’d imagine everyone on Midgard seems rather young in your eyes.”

I was about to regret it but he laugh and I sucked in a breath as he chuckled, “That may be so, child, however I meant among your people you are quite young.”

“I’m considered rather clever by my people,” I explained knowing what he meant, “I excelled through my schooling at an unusual pace. Compared to here, though, I’d imagine I am quite dim and unimaginative. I doubt Tony would be able to keep up here.”

“Your brother?”

“Yes,” I nodded, “He built and flies the Iron Man armor. He is ridiculously clever and never lets anyone forget it.”

The mood began to lighten and the three of us talked for a while. There was an uncomfortable tension between Odin and Loki but they were more at ease than I would have expected. Odin was far more agreeable than Jane had let on. Finally we got back around to the infinity stones and Odin asked the question I had been dreading, “How have you found your research without relying on my son to deliver books to you?”

“Tedious, to be honest,” I admitted, there was no sense in lying to Odin unless you were Loki, “I’ve found some of the historians rather difficult to read.”

“Who are you reading?” he asked.

“Athilsson,” Loki chimed in.

“Stuffy old git,” Odin scoffed smiling, “You might find your tastes more to Hamsson. I’ll have a copy brought to you.”

“Thank you, Allfather,” I smiled grateful to get a lead from someone not of Thor’s generation.

“I shall not distract you further, child,” He nodded and we all rose, “Loki, help the girl with the translations.”

“I thought,” Loki hesitated.

“I can handle the arrangements for your brother’s return,” Odin waved him off, “The infinity stones are of importance.”

“Very well,” Loki agreed needing no further convincing. We left and returned to Loki’s library. I sat one end of the couch with my notepad and pen, he sat the other with an open book reading aloud from one of the many books in my stack. This turned out to be a very bad idea as my mind quickly began to wander with his intoxicating words filling it. He smirked reading, “And then the great beauty did tempt the ravenous beast much to her own peril…”

“It doesn’t say that,” I scolded noticing my foot had been aimlessly tapping into him with my wandering.

“How would you know,” he teased, “You haven’t been listening for nearly half an hour now.”

“Not the point,” I smirked poking him with my foot, “you made up historical text, a very bad thing to do.”

“And you’re prodding a hungry beast,” Loki toyed, “A very dangerous thing to do.”

I sensed the warning in his tone, if I kept teasing him this was going to end in one and only one way. It was too tempting not to. I sat up crawling down the couch until I was straddling him smiling, “And what is the big bad beast going to do if I don’t stop?”

“You know the answer to that,” he hummed grabbing my hips preparing to flip me onto the couch. I cut off his movement with a kiss, yeah, that’s right mischief sex god the little human can make you squirm too. His grip lightened and his hands started to skim and drift over my skin like whispers. I groaned he was turning my game against me, no this time I would win, damn it. I ground down onto him as his hands found my breasts shocking my eyes open. I froze. Fandral was just inside the door smirking at us. Loki noticed my reaction immediately and glanced over his shoulder seeing what I did. He passed a reassuring kiss to my lips moving quickly from beneath me and teleporting across the room to slam the door shut before Fandral could scamper out. I stared blankly as Loki lifted Fandral off his feet slamming him into the stone wall snapping, “What are you doing?”

“I was coming to speak with you but,” he choked out, “I see you’re busy.”

“This is none of your business,” Loki began.

“Ahh,” Fandral retorted clearly not having much of a self-preservation instinct, “I take it then that Thor doesn’t know you’re screwing his friend’s sister…”

“Listen here you little rat,” Loki fumed as I started to thaw, “You will leave now and say nothing to a soul. I may not care what my brother thinks but Tessa does and therefore it is none of his business. You will keep your gaping toad of a mouth shut or you will find my wrath creatively sinister and comes with deadly swiftness.”

“Oh, Loki you’re threats…”

“Not threats,” he frowned coolly, “These Fandral are promises. If you wish to keep that head of yours…”

“Loki,” I sighed lacing my finger into his spare hand, “You’re choking him. Let him go.” He sighed desperately wanting to threaten Fandral some more but giving in to my touch. He dropped Fandral back onto the ground and he began to edge toward the door. I flicked my sword out embedding it ever so slightly in the wood just to the side of his neck, “You say one word to Thor or Odin, Loki won’t get a chance for revenge.”

Fandral scoffed, “Now her I believe.” He ducked under my sword opening the door and bowing as his eyes lingered a bit too long on me, “My lady, forgive the interruption.”

He was gone Loki had his arms wrapped around me as he uttered, “It’ll be alright.”

“He’s going to tell him,” I shook my head knowing it was going to be put to an end, especially my stay here, “You know that.”

“Not if he wants to keep any part of himself attached to another,” Loki growled scooping me up and returning us to the couch, “I meant every word…”

“I know,” I breathed curling up on his chest, “That’s what scares me…”

“Not familiar with the monster you claim to love,” he muttered rather coldly.

I snapped up and I could see his mind whirling to backpedal as I snapped, “I don’t claim anything, Loki. I do love you. I love you despite the fact you blew up half my home, that you murdered thousands, that you threw my brother out a window, and despite the fact you are so far beyond my reach that I keep waiting for the day when you wake up and realize that and leave me. I love you because I can see you’re a good man when no one else does. It doesn’t scare me to see the dark side of you Loki, it scares me you might put yourself in danger or trouble because my feelings were concerned. I don’t want Thor or the Avengers or Odin to know not because I’m ashamed but because of what they might do. The Avengers would want an end put to it thinking you were manipulating me if Tony didn’t kill you first. Odin would think it shameful for you to even consider me. If circumstances were different I would unabashedly brag at having you to myself Loki…”

“I know my love,” he sighed running his hands up and down my arms, “That was worded poorly. Forgive me, please. They were hallow words.”

“Don’t you forget it Loki Odinson,” I muttered curling back into his chest.

“Not as long as I live,” he whispered, “Your love is my greatest pleasure. And I will let no thing in all the realms take you from me, least of all Thor and his precious Avengers.”

Chapter Text

I woke slowly basking in the warm sun drifting through Loki’s window. I hummed feeling his lips on my neck and jaw drifting downward to my chest. I heard a vague good morning as he drifted even lower. I felt him connect with my clit and I groaned squirming under his silver tongue trying desperately to catch my breath. I heard the door and tried to back away but Loki was strong. I swallowed hard as the young woman ventured, “Your Grace?”

Loki groaned crawling back up through the sheets grumbling, “Yes?”

“I was asked to inform you your brother will be arriving soon,” She hesitated, “Odin is waiting for you and Lady Stark at the bifrost.”

He glanced out the window nodding, “Yes of course we’ll be right down.” She left and he groaned, “Am I ever going to get to enjoy a morning with you without being interrupted for some stupid reason.”

“Oh the woes of royalty,” I teased leaning over him, “I feel for you, really. The poor Prince Loki, constantly serving others…”

“Don’t you start,” he toyed his hands skimming over me, “I might give up on greeting Thor and correct that smart mouth.”

“You love my smart mouth,” I stuck my tongue out.

He kissed me capturing my tongue before replying, “Very true… but such insolence…”

“Go on then teach me a lesson,” I teased.

“Oh I will later,” he mused sitting up, “But Odin will be cross, and as much as I enjoy that. Thor might fly off fretting that we’ve lost you.”

“A very good point,” I nodded jumping up, “And I still have to get dressed.”

“You are,” he toyed laying on the bed as a shimmer of green enveloped me. I looked down at the tight hugging gown he’d paired with a green shawl. I reached up to straighten my hair and found it in a neat braid.

I smirked, “I’m impressed. Getting ready like that would save me hours of work in the morning.”

“It’s so fun watching you fluster over how you look though,” he teased getting up and phasing into his armor, “Shall we?”

I took his hand and we appeared on the bifrost. I waited back a bit as Loki joined Odin, he looked up as the dome began to spin. He glanced back, “Come on child.” I stepped forward surprised as the dome began to slow and Thor strutted out.

He was his normal grinning self smiling, “Father! Loki! This is a warm welcome.”

“You took your time,” Odin frowned.

“Hydra did have weapons synthesized from the stone,” Thor explained but I could see the lie in his face, Darcy was on base, which meant Jane was on base, “I had to make sure they were destroyed appropriately.”

“I’m sure,” Odin muttered the lie not slipping past him, “You have much to catch up on. Loki will fill you in before dinner tonight.”

“Yes, Father,” Thor nodded. Odin left for the palace and Thor muttered, “He’s not pleased.”

“You took longer than your ought to,” Loki shook his head as we waited a moment before following him back.

“Could you blame me,” Thor scoffed, “The beauty I have waiting on earth longed to sing to the heavens…”

“Too much info Thor,” I shook my head.

“Forgive me,” Thor chuckled, “She is a beauty unlike any I have seen…”

“Jane is fair,” Loki scoffed to his brother, “But certainly not worth a second banishment.”

“What are you talking about,” I rolled my eyes, “Jane is gorgeous. Not to mention intelligent, witty, fierce…”

“Thank you Tessa,” Thor sighed making his point and Loki’s eyes roll, “I hear your research is going well. My brother isn’t bothering you too much.”

“I barely see him,” I shrugged before Loki could quip at him, “Constantly working with the All-father. You may have competition for the throne yet. Fandral on the other hand is a pain in my ass.”

“He usually is.”

“He’s not nearly as suave as he thinks,” I rolled my eyes, “What makes him think any Midgardian woman will swoon over his presence.”

“Ooo,” Thor laughed, “You’ll crush the poor man’s ego there, Tessa.”

“Oh, I want to crush more than that,” I shook my head.

“Oh!” he paused unclipping something from his belt, “Before I forget! The good Lady Darcy insisted I bring you this. I believe Tony modified it a bit.”

He handed me a taser. It was leaner and sleeker than Darcy’s old brick of a taser. It looked smaller than my smartphone and I smiled, “It appears I’ve been gifted the power of the lightning sister. A true honor.”

Thor backed up a pace, “Both of you have those things now?”

“Should I give it a test run?” I teased watching him skitter back as I took a step forward, “Aw, is the mighty Thor scared of a little Midgardian weapon?”

“They are wickedly powerful,” he frowned as I teased, “I have no desire to be at the mercy of one of those lightning boxes. Especially after your brother has tinkered with it!”

“How bad could Tony have made it?” I scoffed opening up the back to see the modified hydra battery in the back, “I see what you mean.”

“What?” Loki smirked peering over my shoulder, “It can’t be that bad.”

“Well a normal one knocked him out,” I muttered nodding to Thor, “Tony rigged this one with a battery synthesized from the tesseract. So this one has twice if not quadruple the charge of a normal taser…” I pressed the button listening to the clicking sound it gave off, “he kept the ampage low though so it won’t kill anyone.”

“So not a threat then,” Loki scoffed making me shake my head at his ego.

“I beg to differ,” Thor shook his head, “Those are no toy Loki.”

“I could certainly withstand it,” He scoffed challenging his brother.

“Care to put that to the test?” Thor mused playing into their childish game.

“Whoa!” I shook my head, “I am not tasing either one of you with this thing! It should not be this powerful. It is downright dangerous. I wouldn’t even want to tase you with a normal one.”

“Tessa,” Loki coaxed playfully, “It’s nothing. I’ve faced dark elves and jotun, I think I can handle a toy from Midgard.”

A few moments later I was standing in a sparing ring dressed in the armor Sif had given to me. Loki stood shirtless opposite me ready to pounce at me. I shook my head at Thor and his friends as thy watched from the balcony, “I really don’t think this is a good idea!”

“Come on Tessa,” Thor called, “Teach my brother some humility!”

“Loki should have known better than to challenge a student of Sif!” Volstagg laughed loudly.

I shook my head sighing to Loki, “You ready? It’s going to have a hell of a kick.”

“I can handle it,” he smiled charging me. I ducked out of the way of his grasp jabbing the taser into his side wincing as I pressed the button. He shook violently for a moment and collapsed on the ground. He didn’t move. He didn’t get up. He was still, just lying there on the dirt of the sparring ring.

I panicked, “Thor! He’s not moving.” I knelt down as Thor joined me muttering, “Like I said very bad idea. This is why Tony tests his new toys on himself.”

“Maybe you were right,” Thor frowned reaching to check Loki’s pulse.

Loki groaned muttering, “Got you! Little kick, my ass, Thor.”

“I did say it was modified,” he laugh as I helped Loki sit up.
“You okay?” I asked worried about him.

“Fine,” Loki nodded, “Just stiff… That is one hell of a jolt.”

“Well,” I scoffed climbing back to my feet shaking my head, “I think you win idiot.”

“What do you mean?” Thor stared looking hurt.

“You passed out when Darcy hit you,” I crossed my arms standing up, “Loki was hit with at least double and is still conscious. You two can stop your pissing contest.”

“Finally,” Sif scoffed, “Do you want to train again before dinner Tessa?”

“Yes please,” I nodded turning to Loki and Thor, “Right piss off. I’ve got work to do.”

“Training,” Thor’s brow furrowed as he helped Loki up.

“You want to stop Sif be my guest,” Loki muttered raising an eyebrow, “I don’t have a death wish, thank you.”

I smirked as they left to talk about whatever royal business had been occupying Loki. Sif drilled me hard through the day, we focused on the areas I was still weak in. By the end I was sore and reeked of sweat and dust. Loki collected me from Sif’s care and we slipped back to my room without Thor’s notice. I shed my armor groaning, “When is dinner?”

“Not for an hour,” Loki frowned, “Are you hungry?”

“No,” I shook my head, “Just in desperate need of a shower.”

“Mmm,” he smiled, “There’s an idea…”

“No,” I shook my head, “You join me and we’ll never leave. I’d like to put forth a good impression seeing as I am the first Midgardian invited to an Asgardian party. You go do whatever it is Princes do to get ready for this kind of thing.”

“I shall need to find a princess,” he toyed catching me as I walked toward my bathroom.

“Good luck, I hear they’re in short supply,” I scoffed slipping back out of his reach.

He sighed capturing me again and dipping me back, “I suppose I shall have to settle for a queen.”

“Smooth, mischief man, very smooth,” I smiled as he kissed me, “Now let me get ready.”

He let me go and I enjoyed a long shower before sorting through the gowns I could wear. I smiled choosing a beautiful A-line gown in emerald silk. It had been embroidered with silver winding ivy flowers from the left shoulder sweeping down to my right hip. It’s long swooping sleeves bore silver knotted trim. I dressed in it before Loki returned and wove my long brown hair into array of intertwined braids. I dashed on some light makeup just before he opened the door calling, “Are you read…”

“Well?” I asked giving a twirl, “What do you think?”

“I think we won’t be making it to the party,” he smiled slyly stalking toward me.

“I’ve never been to a party like this,” I whined keeping the couch between us, “Every Midgardian woman dreams of going to a ball!”

“It’s nothing exciting,” Loki scoffed giving serious contemplation to teleporting around it, “Teasing me like this is only going to give me more time to think of far more exciting ways to spend our evening.”

“Loki,” I whined honestly torn between letting him catch me and going to a real party in a palace. There was a knock at the door and Loki stood up straight as Thor poked his head in.

“You ready Tessa,” he asked, “We wouldn’t want you to miss out on the festivities.”

“Certainly not,” Loki agreed coming up behind me, “Look at her, she shall have half the men of Asgard fighting over her.”

“I doubt that,” I shook my head, “I’m Midgardian remember. I doubt I’ll catch anyone’s notice other than as the strange guest.”

“Strange certainly,” Thor scoffed teasing, “You are related to Tony after all…”

“Watch it Mr. Muscles!” I teased as we began down for the ball, “Sif has taught me to kick your ass in a dress.”

“I shall have to watch myself,” he laughed and I stuck my tongue out at him. He opened a door to a grand hall filled with people drinking and cheering, dancing and singing loudly and very off key. He didn’t wait but joined the festivities as I hesitated gawking at the wild sight before me.

Loki smiled at me offering me his arm, “Shall we my dear?”

I swallowed nervously laying my hand on his as he escorted me into the mayhem. We bobbed and weaved around the loud and gleefully drunk guests finding a path to Thor and his friends merrily drinking. Fandral chuckled at my staring around, “What do you think, Tessa? How do we compare to your Midgardian galas?”

“I feel like I’m at a frat party,” I laughed shaking my head, “I actually wouldn’t know. Tony was the party boy, I kept to myself and my books mostly.”

“What about…” Thor thought for a moment as Loki pulled a goblet off a passing waiter and handed it to me taking one for himself, “Darcy and Jane were talking about it the other day. Some festivity to celebrate the completion of your education.”

“Prom,” I shook my head at him, “I have no idea what Prom is like? For all I know it could be exactly like this.”

“What do you mean?” Loki asked.

“I never went,” I shrugged sipping the mead, “I was never asked to it. Typically a young man invites the girl, I never got a date so no Prom.”

“What do you mean no one asked you?” Fandral scoffed winking, “Has Loki been teaching you his silver tongued ways.”

I glared at him stopping myself from punching him as Thor didn’t seem to have noticed. I sighed shrugging, “I was not what you would consider pretty or popular when I was in school. I’ve never even been asked to dance.”

“That is certainly a lie,” Thor scoffed, “You and Steve danced.”

“That was a work Christmas…” I began only to see blank faces, “Yule, party. Him trying to teach me the jitter bug does not count. I would be like dancing with Tony.”

“Midgardian men must be blind,” Loki huffed.

“They are not,” I rolled my eyes.

“It’s that or terribly ungallant,” Fandral chimed in laying it on thick, “No wonder Midgardian women are so happy to run off with us.”

I shook my head replying, “So where’s you Midgardian then, Fandral?”

Everyone laughed at his expense and Loki smiled, “Still I think it’s time we make up for poor Midgardian foolishness. May I have a dance, Miss Tessa?”

I blushed taking his hand as Thor laughed, “Careful Loki, she is a Stark.”

Loki rolled his eyes at the comment pulling me onto the dance floor. His hand found my waist and I glanced at Thor and the others watching whispering, “Loki I really don’t know how to dance.”

“Allow me to handle that,” he smirked leading me through the steps agilely. After a moment he slipped closer to me so we were almost touching. The music changed and he lightened the pace of the dance swinging and spinning me around. He kept me on the dance floor most of the evening before Thor roped him into some kind of loud chorus with Volstagg. I took the opportunity to slip away from Thor’s drunken off key notes to find another glass of mead. I found a table full of it and poured myself a glass watching the boys from across the hall smiling to myself. Loki looked so much more himself than he had when SHIELD found him on Earth. He was how I imagined him in all of Thor’s stories about their youth. He was grinning as he sang with one arm around his brother a glass in the other hand. He looked like he was really enjoying himself.

“I’m surprised you’re still standing, little one,” Fandral commented getting himself a mug of ale, “Between the mead and dancing you must be about to swoon.”

“My constitution is fine,” I scoffed rolling my eyes starting back for Loki and Thor.

Fandral caught my arm making me frown. He brushed it off smiling, “Do you really want to be next to Thor’s bellowing?”

“I prefer the company there,” I shrugged not bothering to hide my opinion of him.

I pulled my arm away and he stepped around me blocking my path smiling, “Oh, come on Tessa. You haven’t given me the chance to show you what good company I can be.”

He stepped closer and I stepped back frowning, “What can I say the stench of pervert puts me off.”

“Tessa,” he cooed stepping closer his hands brushing across my arms.

My hand connected with the side of his face making my hand sting. I didn’t wait for a second and pushed past him feeling uncomfortable shivers trickle down my spine at the drunken encounter. I slipped up next to Loki feeling less creeped out and safer next to him. Fandral rejoined the group rubbing his cheek and Thor laughed, “What’s the matter Fan? Press your luck.”

“I guess some servant girls have more tricks up their sleeves than I was prepared for,” he chuckled but I caught his meaning.

I swallowed finding myself less in a partying mood. I sighed, “I’m afraid I’m going to love you and leave you boys.”

“oh, come now,” Thor grumbled, “The party isn’t over yet!”

“I’m knackered,” I sighed with a shrug, “I think I best retire for the evening. I’ve been danced off my feet and I’m tipsy. I know better than to make a fool of myself.”

“I’ll help you back,” Loki smiled, “We wouldn’t want you getting lost.”

We parted from the group and I felt his hand at the small of my back. Suddenly he pulled me behind a pillar as we neared the door. He pressed my back to the pillar kissing me. I gawked glancing at the thunderous party behind us, “Loki!”

“They are reveling in their drunkenness,” He scoffed, “I doubt anyone is paying us any mind.” He kissed me again and I knotted my hands up into his hair pulling his body into mine as one of his hands slipped up into my hair. After a moment he growled playfully, “back to the room, now.”

I giggle a little as he took my hand leading me out a side door before anyone saw us. We snuck back to his room and as soon as the door was closed Loki’s hands were pawing over me as his lips found mine again. I kept up blindly unlatching and untying the layers of armor that covered him as he searched for the ties of my dress. I gasped as he nibbled at my collar bone, I pulled off the final layer of armor leaving him in his soft olive tunic and trousers as his lips found mine again. The back of my legs bumped into the arm of the couch and we were quickly propelled over it landing on the soft cushions. I started to lift up his shirt as he slid the folds of my skirt up toward my hips. It was brought to a sudden end when the door was kicked open and Thor ripped Loki off of me throwing him into a wall. “What are you doing?” He thundered snatching him up and slamming him into the wall again, “How dare you abuse my friends? What game are you playing?”

“You have no claim to her,” Loki spat back as I scrambled to my feet.

“Thor Stop!” I begged.

“Stay out of this Tessa,” he warned pushing me back a bit rougher than he meant to.

Loki glared at Thor snapping, “Don’t you touch her.”

“Loki, shut up,” I snapped trying to help him, “Thor drop him or I’m getting the taser!”

Chapter Text

“Thor!” I demanded, “Let him go! I’m serious.” He dropped Loki and fumed Mjolnir finding its way to his hand. I helped Loki back to his feet snapping at Thor, “Go stand over there, or something, you’re making me nervous.”

“Tessa,” he frowned.

“I mean it,” I snapped nodding to the other side of the room brandishing the taser. He stormed over there pacing back and forth as I breathed, “Are you okay?”

“Thor and I have tussled before,” Loki scoffed straightening himself, “Are you…”

“I’m fine,” I shook my head at him, “Sif has pushed me harder. That was more than a tussle, Loki. Are you sure?”

He cupped my face resting his forehead to mine assuring me, “I’m fine, love.”

He moved to kiss me and Thor warned, “I would be careful what you do brother. I swore to look after Tessa…”

“What a wonderful job you’ve done,” Loki snapped at him, “You’ve been gone two weeks to play with your whore…”

“Loki,” I snapped frowning giving Thor a reason to pause placing myself between them, “That was unnecessary. Let me explain things, I should have sooner, I just feared this reaction.” He squeezed my hand as I sighed turning to Thor, “Will you please put down the hammer? You don’t need it. Yes, Loki and I are involved, Thor. Are you honestly surprised? When has Loki ever offered to bring a mortal back here? I’m assuming I have Fandral to thank for this bull shit.”

“He said he saw Loki taking advantage of you,” Thor frowned, “He suspected he was plotting again. Seeing as Loki subsequently threatened him not to tell a soul especially me…”

“I know what Loki said,” I crossed my arms, “I was there. Did Fandral tell you I threatened him as well. Or why Loki threatened him?” Thor didn’t answer and I went on, “Loki grabbed Fandral because he walked in on us. Loki threatened Fandral because he knew I didn’t want you to know.”

“Why would…”

“Because unlike Tony I don’t like to broadcast my personal life to everyone,” I snapped exasperated, “I know what you and the others think of Loki and I didn’t want to argue. What and whom I do in my free time is none of the Avengers’ business. Loki respected I wanted a degree of privacy and was only defending my honor.”

Thor frowned stepping closer, “You up to your tricks again Loki? I want the truth?”

“No,” Loki replied flatly, “No one is as surprised as I am.”

Thor snarled shaking his head, “This is what your games get you! I cannot trust your word anymore!”

I sighed nodding to the balcony, “Thor can I have a word, in private.”

Thor begrudgingly accepted stepping out to the balcony and I started to follow but Loki caught my arm. He frowned, “Don’t go out there.”

“Loki,” I sighed, “You’ve tricked him enough times he just wants reassurance you aren’t using his friend. That’s all. I won’t be a moment.”

“He pushed you,” Loki shook his head, “Thor has a temper.”

I frowned at him, “He pushed me out of, what he thought, was harm’s way. Do you honestly think he would hurt me because he was angry with you? Believe me its far safer for me to speak with him right now than you.” He sighed letting me go and I pecked his lips stepping outside to the balcony. I leaned on the railing with Thor nodding, “Do you want to vent before I put your mind at rest about him?”

He shook his head sighing, “I don’t understand…”

“What? How I could sleep with him?” I scoffed laughing, “He is amazingly hot. Like stunning swoon on sight hot, Thor.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Thor rolled his eyes, “I am aware my brother has charms capable of making women swoon.”

“I know,” I shrugged trying to lighten the mood, “I don’t know. It just happened. Kindred spirit, I guess. I should have said something, but I didn’t want to deal with Tony and his protective bullshit.”

“He started this on earth?” Thor gawked.

“He took me out to dinner for my birthday,” I explained sitting on the railing seeing Loki trying to distract himself with a book. His gaze kept drifting up worriedly to the two of us. I shook my head, “He took me to a nice restaurant and a walk along the sea side. Then I kissed him and things got heated. And here we are.”

“He took you on a date?” Thor frowned, “He wasn’t meant to leave…”

“Technically, Fury only said he had to be watched at all times,” I winced, “I am a SHIELD agent and I was with him constantly.”

“That is stretching the rules,” Thor scoffed.
“Loki always stretches the rules,” I laughed, “I was honestly surprised when he suggested I return to Asgard with him. I thought for sure I was just something to help with the boredom of helping SHIELD, but he brought me back and groans every time he is required elsewhere.”

“Loki is not one for frivolous loves,” Thor shook his head, “I know that much. I have seen him a love only a few times, but it is always deep and lasting. But I find myself questioning if he is truly in love or merely working some new plan to punish me for some slight…”

“He isn’t after you Thor,” I sighed, “Whatever problems you two had ended at the convergence.” Thor looked surprised, “What? I talk to Jane. You think he would have risked his life to save her because she was helpless. She matters to you, so he protected her for you.”

“Still,” Thor muttered, “I would never forgive myself if he used our friendship to abuse your trust…”

“He isn’t using me Thor,” I swallowed glancing up to make sure Loki wasn’t eaves dropping, “I thought so too, at first. I mean a prince of Asgard interested in me, he had to have another reason. Of all the people he could have, why me right.”

“Something changed your mind?” Thor realized his brow furrowing.

“You can’t say anything,” I whispered, “He didn’t know I was eaves dropping. He thought I was asleep.”

“How can you be sure?”

“It was unnecessarily masochistic if he was putting on a show,” I replied shocking Thor, “He created an illusion to air his thoughts with. Talk through his problems.”

“Yes,” Thor nodded, “He used to do it all the time. Practice a speech or work through a problem with a projection of himself.”

“It wasn’t himself,” I swallowed, “He made a projection of your mother to talk to.” Thor looked solemn and I nodded, “He talked through how foolish he must be to love me, a mortal who would die long before he aged any more. How he was dangerous for me, and so on. She reassured him…”

“That sounds like her,” he sighed running a hand through his hair, “He would not have brought back her memory lightly. He has not even touched her books since she passed.”

“It was painful for you all,” I nodded, “I get that better than most. I worry about him sometimes Thor… I worry that I am bad for him…”

“You bad for him,” Thor scoffed, “You have something mixed around, dear Tessa.”

“He afraid something will happen to me…”

“I fear for Jane the same…”

“This is different,” I muttered watching him, “He is absolutely petrified. When he spoke with your mother, she tried to reassure him that I was strong and stubborn. That I would fight to defend myself and he said that was what he feared more than anything.”

“He fears you will fall as she did,” Thor swallowed solemnly, “I wonder sometimes at the demons in his head.”

I sighed noticing how Loki was trying to abate his nerves by tapping his fingers on the arm of the chair, “Are we good? You’re through trying pound Loki’s skull in?”

Thor laughed shaking his head, “Forgive me, you’re like family Tessa. Fandral was so convinced…”

“Fandral,” I snapped, “Is jealous and angry because I’ve been shunning his advances for Loki and I bet he only told you because he was upset I slapped him tonight.”

“What?”

“He was drunk and being an idiot,” I shrugged, “He was trying to seduce me and I wasn’t having it. He touched my arms and I slapped him then walked away. There are men like him in all realms, and they don’t like rejection. We good?”

“Yes,” Thor nodded, “We are fine. Just one more question. Tony would kill me if I didn’t ask.” I nodded and he nudged me gently, “You happy, Tessa?”

“Cloud nine,” I laughed at him, “You brother is the most caring man I’ve known, Thor. It baffles me but he treats me like… Like I’m not a mortal from Midgard, but someone of his status… but, please, please Thor. Do not tell Tony.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to watch my brother pick a fight with Loki,” I explained, “Tony thinks he is the smartest man that ever lived. He thinks he knows best and is constantly making up for years of missed brother sister time with me. I’d rather tell Tony when I’m ready.”

“Alright,” Thor nodded.

I hopped down stepping back inside and Loki was on his feet. I shook my head at him, “Everything is fine. Thor is done beating his chest on behalf of my brother.”

“You be careful with her, Loki,” Thor warned as Loki hands snaked around my hips, “She’s not…”

“Believe me Thor, there is nothing more precious to me than her,” Loki muttered pointedly, “Are you done interrupting our evening. My lady too longs to sing to the heavens…”

“Loki!” I blushed and he smirked that irresistible smirk.

I wrote an email to Tony when I woke up, he was running a test based on my research and wanted me to wait until it was through to go any further. I sighed smiling as I leaned back on the couch and Loki finished getting dressed, “Ah.”

“You look pleased,” Loki mused fastening the ties of his right bracer, “What has you in such a good mood?”

“I get a day off,” I smiled kicking my feet up on his coffee table, “Tony is running some ridiculous experiment and I therefore get to relax today. I don’t even think I’ll train with Sif today, just a nice lazy day.”

“Now there’s an idea,” he chuckled, “I believe I still owe you a tour of Asgard. We could go today, if you like.”

“Really?” I bounced, “Don’t you need to go to Odin again?”

“He hasn’t sent for me yet,” Loki shrugged scooping me into his arms, “Shall we then?”

I giggled and he took me down through the palace to a set of long sleek silver boats. He helped me in and we sped off over the city. I laughed standing up at the bow the boat feeling the rush of adrenaline as we sped out of the city onto the open water. I called back giggling, “Can we go faster?”

“Oh you should not have said that,” Loki smiled wickedly adjusting his hands on the rudder. There was jolt and we shot off, I just had time to grab onto the edge of the boat to steady myself.

I laughed over the rushing wind. I turned to face him the wind blowing wildly in my face, “Is that all you got? Thor said you were some kind of expert pilot.”

He chuckled sinisterly his eyes flashing to the seat beside him growling playfully, “Sit down.” I did and Loki started to really show off banking, dipping, soaring into loops. My heart raced sending zings through my body as we flew through Loki’s daredevil antics. After a while he brought us back to the palace and helped me climb out of the boat.

“Miss Tessa,” a booming voice commented from behind us.

I blushed turning around and curtsying, “All-father.”

He smiled nodding, “Come walk with me, child.” I straightened my hair as Loki and I started to follow. Odin turned to Loki, “Thor needs to discuss something with you.” Loki nodded as surprised as I was but left to find Thor as Odin and I started to walk through the palace gardens. I stayed quiet wondering why Odin had asked me to join him. Was this where he sent me home? Had Fandral one upped his stunt with Thor and gone straight to Odin? My mind continued to fret as Odin asked, “How have you been enjoying yourself here?”

“Asgard is amazing,” I smiled graciously, “It’s more than I ever imagined. I expect I’ll be very sad when I have to leave.”

“I doubt Loki will let you slip easily through his fingers,” he chuckled knowingly and I swallowed hard, “Relax, child, I knew the moment you set foot in Asgard. Loki does not normally vouch for Thor’s friends.”

“You didn’t send me away?” I stared surprised.

“I tried to send Jane away only because Thor takes his duties much less seriously when she is around,” Odin explained, “Jane is a lovely woman but she ties him to earth in a way I worry will force him to make difficult decisions in the future.”

“Do I not do the same to Loki,” I muttered fearing where this was heading.

Odin only laughed, “Child I have seen you give no thought to your home world since you arrived here. You walk around as if you have always been here. Yes, you tie Loki to earth in some ways but not the same ways. I am surprised to see how you act though, considering his history on your planet.”

“Loki’s escapades on earth…” I began thinking how to phrase it, “perplex me. They do not seem himself.”

“Go on.” Odin nodded.

“Thor told me much about life here before I ever set foot here,” I explained, “It’s part of the reason I started with SHIELD. Fury was worried about him after the convergence. Thor was not himself after losing Loki and Frigga. I was Iron Man’s sister and spent a good portion of my life studying the nearest culture to yours on earth. They thought perhaps it might help if there was someone he could relate to working for SHIELD. Thor’s not a talker but it helped to have someone understand and not give him a weird look when he talked about his adventures before he came to earth. He would talk about Loki a lot, he missed his brother. I heard a great many stories about Loki long before I met him and when I read the reports on his actions with the Chitauri, it didn’t seem to make sense. Then hearing what happened at the convergence, he sounded more like his younger self.”

“You do not think it was some small bout of madness,” Odin ventured.

I shook my head watching him, “His actions were too calculated for madness, as I suspect you already know.”

“You’re right,” Odin nodded, “Since Thor’s banishment Loki has not been himself…”

“Loki’s actions before he fell into the abyss are nothing,” I shook my head, “He was only trying to impress you. He was trying to prove he could be the kind of leader you approved of, he was acting like Thor. It’s after that that he is strange.”

“What do you mean?”

“I saw Loki in New York,” I admitted with a sigh, “He doesn’t know it but I was in Stark Tower when he attacked. I was going to surprise Tony when he showed up. I kept my head down and hid in the apartment. I watched how he and Tony talked… and when I look back he seems almost sickly compared to now.” Odin’s brow furrowed and I went on with my theory, “Loki is ridiculously intelligent, not the kind of man to lead an army so carelessly. Yet he was easily defeated by six people.”

“There was a great amount of destruction,” Odin pointed out, “It was not so easy.”

“I’ve studied war,” I shook my head, “You’ve fought in war. Once city’s destruction is nothing in the wider scale of conquest. He had thousands of men at his command yet was contained by six men in one city. If Loki had been trying the Avengers wouldn’t have stood a chance.”

“You think Loki did not mean to take earth,” Odin muse surprised.

I sighed chewing on my words for a minute, “No. I think Loki meant to escape on Earth.” Odin frowned at me and I explained, “Someone pulled Loki out of the Abyss, gave him the scepter with the mind stone, gave him an army to lead. Yet when he arrived on Earth he looked fragile and sick. Agent Romanov and I have talked about my thoughts at length and with her considerable experience…”

“What experience?”

“Natasha used to work for a less scrupulous agency,” I nodded, “She’s seen what torture can do to a person and she told me once that she looked over the security cameras and if she had to guess… she would have said he’d been subjected to some kind of torture, the way he looked the way he acted. Barton was under Loki’s control but still conscious, and hates Loki for that. But he said that there were times when Loki would disappear inside himself like his mind was elsewhere. When he came out of these trances he looked shaken.”

“You think there is someone lurking in the shadows…”

“Someone wants the infinity stones,” I shrugged laying out the points of my theory, “If Loki wasn’t running, why Earth? He could have taken his fight to any realm. But he chose Earth a planet he knew Thor watched closely. Even if he didn’t know about the Avengers Thor certainly would have come after him. I think Loki was counting on it, counting on someone to stop him… but he had to make it look right. Like he was really defeated in a big show to make sure he would give others pause to resuming an attack without him. Why would he just wait idly and cooperatively in prison? If he really had designs to burn a trail of conquest he is clever enough to get out of nearly anything.”

“And he faked his death,” Odin nodded.

“In a very memorable way,” I went on, “The type of story that would spread. If anyone still had thoughts about kidnapping him from Asgard for retribution for say the destruction of their army… well you can’t torture a dead man.” Odin nodded slowly and I sighed, “Its nothing but speculation from watching how he acts. He so caring and protective… it just didn’t make sense to me. Maybe I’m just naïve and desperate to see some kind of reason in the chaos.”

“No,” he declared surprising me, “You are making sense of the chaos that walks in Loki’s wake. He has not told you?”

“He doesn’t like to worry me,” I shook my head, “I only have cause to think he still fears whoever is out there because I overheard him airing his thoughts with an illusion of Frigga. He fears they will discover me and take me as some kind of retribution. But he is dead to the nine realms…”

“Not for long,” Odin frowned with a sigh, “He knows I plan to make him king. Soon word of his life will spread through the nine realms.”

“Loki will be king!” I stared surprised.

“Not alone,” Odin explained, “He and Thor will rule together…”

“Neither is perfect,” I nodded reasoning out his plan, “but together they make a good leader. Loki is political, planning, intelligent. Thor is charismatic, bold, a soldier.”

“And both it appears are fated to love mortals,” Odin smiled at me knowingly.

“Two strong mortals,” I shrugged shaking my head, “Two intelligent mortals. It could be worse. Considering some of the people who live on my planet, it could have been worse.”

“I have no doubt of that,” he laughed at my defense, “My Frigga would have liked you child. You and Jane both.” He was quiet for a moment, then he sighed handing me a book, “I’m afraid I must get back to my sons. However, as promised this book should help with your research.”

“Thank you,” I curtsied, “I’ll make sure it gets back to you quickly.”

He held up his hand shaking his head, “It is yours, child, I have no more need for it.”

I smiled as he left back for the palace. I thought about heading back to my room but hadn’t spent much time in the garden and it was a lovely day. I chose instead to lounge under a big oak tree opening the book Odin had given me.

Chapter Text

As the sun began to set I heard my phone ping. I pulled it out as I got up to go back to my room. Darcy had messaged me: TTTTEEEESSSSAAAAA you haven’t called me since tony skyped you I miss you. I typed a message back letting her know I would call her in a few minutes. I returned to my room opening my laptop and calling her. She beamed as the camera came on, “Tessa! Rocking it in Asgard. How are you? did you get my gift?”

“Yes, and nearly killed Loki with it,” I laughed shaking my head, “I’m fine Darce, how are you? I thought you’d be busy with Jane and the others.”

“I’m here too,” Jane called popping on camera, “Heya Tessa.”

“Hey Jane,” I smiled, “You know you nearly got him in trouble making him late.”

“He was the once insisting,” she blushed.

“I don’t doubt,” I laughed.

“Wait back to the subject,” Darcy interrupted, “Why only almost killed Loki?”

“He is not that bad,” I shook my head.

“He blew up New York,” Jane frowned.

I raised my eye brow at her, “And saved your life. Yes almost killed him. It was Thor’s fault anyway. The two of them have a constant pissing contest. Loki thought he could take being tased better than Thor.”

“Did he?” Jane asked surprised.

“Well,” I shrugged, “He didn’t pass out, despite the fact Tony and Darcy conspired to put a hydra battery in it. This thing is dangerous Darcy! It could kill someone.”

“Tony promised he kept the amps low so it wouldn’t seriously maim anyone,” she shrugged innocently, “He really didn’t pass out.”

“He pretended to, to scare the life out of me and Thor but he was fine,” I sighed shaking my head muttering, “The little shit.”

“Ooo,” Darcy cooed, “I know that look. Jane has that look constantly when Thor’s off Avengering. You like him. You really liiiikeee him.”

“Darcy,” I whined.

“Oh my god, you do!” she squealed, “Steve owes me twenty bucks!”

“Hold on!” Jane stared, “Seriously Tess, you wanna get involved with that bag of crazy? Tess, he’s…”

“Jane…” I started hearing the door in the other room close.

“Tessa,” Loki called muffled by the door.

“Shit,” I muttered jumping up, “Give me one second.” I opened the door just before Loki did smiling, “Early night.”

“Thor was gracious enough to handle everything else so I could get back to you,” he grinned kissing down my neck.

“I’m kind of in the middle of something,” I frowned, “I’m sorry. Darcy wanted to talk…”

“Ah, the good lady Darcy,” he sighed glancing up at the computer, “Should I be worried she’s stealing you away from me. She has such an active imagination.”

“I’m not Darcy’s type,” I chuckled shaking my head, “She likes bigger tits.”

“How crude,” he grinned wickedly picking me up and throwing me over his shoulder, “I shall certainly have to wash your mouth out.”

“Loki!” I squealed, “Let me go!”

He sighed setting me down, “Later then. Have you had dinner?”

I winced, “Not yet. I hadn’t thought of it.”

“Tessa,” he frowned upset with me, “I suppose from the way you replied that you’ve not eaten lunch either.” I shrugged and he sighed annoyed, “Tessa! For fucks sake… go sit down before you pass out. I’ll bring you some dinner.”

I kissed him briefly before going back to the computer sighing, “Sorry I thought I’d warn him I was busy.”

“What was all that?” Jane stared as Darcy giggled.

“What do you mean?”

“We turned up the volume when you squealed,” Darcy smiled wiping the tears from her eyes, “He doesn’t sound happy about your dinner plans.”

“What?” I scoffed, “I suppose he wishes I was having dinner with him. He’s more upset I forgot to eat lunch and nearly forgot dinner. He’s been paranoid about it since I nearly passed out on him once.”

“Well he’s right,” Darcy frowned, “Do I need to have Steve call you?”

“Why is it Steve and not cap?” I raised an eye brow at her repeated use of his name.

“Oh, no,” she shook her head at me, “We are not talking about me at the moment we are talking about you and mischief man.”

I groaned as Jane shook her head, “Are you serious Tess? It sounds like you’re a lot more than just into him…”

“Yeah, we’re involved,” I sighed and Darcy gave me a look, “Yes, Darcy like that. I’ve been doing the do with Loki, alright. It’s not a big deal. This is why I haven’t said anything.”

“Tessa,” Jane stared exasperated as Loki slipped silently in with a plate of food, “He is bad news! The man is a psycho at the least probably a sociopath. He’d dangerous to be around he’s fucking mental! Did it even cross your mind he might be using you? That he’s going to…”

“Jane,” I started and Loki raised a finger to his lips setting the food down beside the computer staying off camera. I sighed closing my eyes and shaking my head, he wasn’t meant to hear that, he didn’t need to know what everyone was going to say about this. When I opened my eyes again he was gone and I muttered, “Is that really necessary. Did Darcy say the same about Thor?”

“Thor isn’t hell bent on conquering the earth!” Jane snapped.

“Neither is Loki,” I snapped back, “He’s a good man. I know not everyone sees it but he is. I know it, I can feel it. Jane, people make mistakes. Thor has made his fair share. He nearly got his friends killed for pride…”

“Thor didn’t mind control people,” She sighed.

“Jane, come on,” Darcy intervened, “Save the I told you so for later. Tess, you sure you can trust crazy man?”

I sighed earnestly, “I would gladly put my life in his hands. Any one even tries to touch me and he’s about to fly off the handle.”

“Ooo,” Darcy grinned wickedly, “Possessive, I knew he was the jealous type. There is so much fun to have with that.”

“I’ve had enough fun with that for the time being,” I shook my head.

“Why?” she grinned, “Spill the beans girl!”

“Fandral is an ass,” I scoffed shaking my head at Jane, “Got your boyfriend involved.”

“Thor knows?” She gawked.

“Only since last night,” I shook my head explaining, “Loki and I were in the library and I was teasing him. Things were getting heated, in a really really good way. Then Fandral walked in… Loki knew I wanted privacy he tried to handle the situation, he threatened him. Then when stupid Fandral made a move and I slapped him he went running off to Thor with all the ammo of Loki threatened him. Thor then nearly kicked in Loki’s door in a misguided attempt to look after me. He pushed me out of the way a little rougher than Loki liked and the two nearly came to blows. I had to calm it down before Thor went invoking Mjolnir.”

“How the hell did you stop Thor,” Darcy gawked, “Steve couldn’t do that.”

“I threatened him with the taser,” I sighed running my hands through my hair, “This is why I wanted privacy. Everyone is going to try and pick a fight cause they think he’s using me.”

“Tessa,” Jane sighed, “I don’t want to rain on your parade but I’m seriously concerned he might be. He’s insanely manipulative, he faked his own death.”

“That’s a whole other bag od cats,” I shook my head, “I know Loki isn’t manipulating me…”

“Because of your bracelet,” Darcy asked.

“Partially,” I shrugged and Jane looked confused, “Darcy can explain later. That’s not the only reason though…” I hesitated glancing at the door, “I heard him talking to Frigga about me, Jane. He told her he was in love with me and felt guilty about the danger that put me in.”

“Tessa, I saw her die…”

“It was a projection Jane,” I explained heavily, “one of his illusions. Thor says he used to talk things through with himself or rehearse speeches…”

“Shit,” Jane muttered looking guilty, “I’m sorry Tessa. I didn’t mean… Thor told me how close they were… I shouldn’t have said…”

“It’s fine,” I sighed, “Thor had the same reaction. I’m sure the others will be just as bad.”

“Not if you tell them about you know what,” Darcy hinted, “If it’s giving the all clear then damn Loki isn’t evil. When did it start giving him the thumbs up?”

“When I met him,” I sighed, “Look I gotta check on him, I’m sure he’s been eavesdropping.”

“You go girl!” Darcy called, “Hot sexy times with mischief man. Wait! Just how naughty is the god of naughtiness?”

“Darcy!” I snapped blushing wildly.

“Ooooo,” she squealed, “I knew it. Enjoy it darling. Enjoy that…”

I hung up on her and immediately received a text: Rude! I shook my head closing my laptop and replying: same rules as the bracelet, not a word to anyone! I left the phone beside the computer and opened the door to his room. Loki was draped on the couch with a book covering his face his arms resting lazily on his chest. I frowned knowing he’d heard probably everything. I sat down on the floor beside him taking his hand stroking my hand over the back of it cooing, “Loki.”

“Miss Foster is right, you know,” he muttered from under the book, “I am ‘bad news’. I am a danger to you.”

“Loki, she didn’t mean it,” I sighed squeezing his hand, “She just is less forgiving of the times you’ve tricked Thor. Believe me she regrets her words after I explained things…”

“You shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone,” he sighed reaching up and pulling the book down under his chin so I could see him, “You wouldn’t have to if you were with anyone else.”

“You think they wouldn’t give me the third degree about anyone I was dating,” I pursed my lips, “You don’t know them. It doesn’t matter who I’m with they would question me about every little thing. It’s not to do with you, they are just nosy.”

“They are harsher on you…”

“They just have a certain idea of what you’re like,” I shrugged, “it’s strange for them to talk to someone who has such a different opinion. They’ll relax with time. Jane shouldn’t have said the things she did.”

“She was being candid,” Loki shook his head, “That is how the world sees me…”

“Not the whole world,” I shook my head, “Thor doesn’t, Odin doesn’t, I don’t…” I swallowed hard, “Frigga didn’t. Isn’t that enough.”

“You shouldn’t have to defend me though…” he sighed staring at the ceiling.

“Loki,” I frowned kissing the back of his hand, “I would defend you until I was blue in the face and had no more breath left. Just as you would for me. What is it you told me when we met? ‘Tit for tat, that’s how the world works’.”

He laughed a little at my comment nodding for me to join him on the couch. I laid down on his chest and he kissed my head sighing, “I don’t want you in harm’s way like that.”

“I know,” I muttered snuggling on his chest, “but you can’t stop me protecting you.”

Loki was quiet for a moment before sighing, “I didn’t know you heard me that day…”

“I know,” I swallowed, “I didn’t know how to tell you…” He was quiet and I ventured, “Are you okay?”

“Of course,” he sighed.

“Loki,” I muttered nervously, “Can we talk about it?”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” he replied coldly making me sit up.

“Really nothing to talk about,” I frowned at him, “There is a whole hell of a lot to discuss about that. Starting with why you would torture yourself like that?”

“It’s none of your business,” he replied simply as he sat up, “It’s not for you to be concerned with…”

“Not for me to be concerned with,” I snapped seeing Loki but hearing Stane echo in my head, “No! I don’t take that shit, Loki! You get up in my business about eating and resting but you expect me to be hands off with you!”

“My concern is for your health…” He began calmly as I paced in front of him.

“What the fuck you think I’m concerned about?” I shouted, “Your fucking magic? Loki, do you honestly not realize how mentally damaging it could be to open up that damned wound so soon. To worry that I might die like she did because I care about you!”

“I worry because I am toxic to you,” He snarled, “Because my enemies would like nothing more than to take what I love…”

“Boo hoo!” I snapped back fuming, “You have enemies! So does Thor, so does Tony, and Steve, and Natasha, and everyone else I work with! Hell so do I! There are places I can’t go on my world because someone is waiting to cut off my head! You think I give a shit?”

“No I don’t,” he snapped jumping to his feet, “Because you have reckless desire to prove you are just as clever and strong as your brother that you are unafraid of a fucking monster like me! That you would bed again and again a sociopath. Ignore all warnings and cautions, even throw yourself down to protect someone you know is using you for his own designs just waiting to break your heart and crush you like the feeble weak willed mortal you are! But that’s not all you love that degradation. You love letting a monster use you because those brief moment when you know what you should feel make up for the emptiness you live in.”

He finished and I stood there, still and calm. I knew it was just words, he didn’t mean it. But it didn’t stop it from cutting deep. Natasha was right, he was extremely perceptive. I swallowed chewing on my cheek as I nodded, “There he is… The monster you made to scare off anyone who might care because you’re afraid of the things lurking out there in the dark.”

“You haven’t seen the darkness like I have,” he snapped.

“No,” I shook my head calmly, “I haven’t.” I rolled up my sleeve showing him the thin lines on my arms muttering, “But there’s nothing out there scarier than what used to lurk in my own head.”

“Tessa,” he breathed sobering up from his anger and regretting the words.

“Just don’t,” I muttered slamming the door as I returned to my room. I curled up in my bed fighting off the tears. I knew the words were hallow and just a defense mechanism but it felt like a knife in my gut. I sucked in a calming breath picking up my phone. I hit the speed dial and sat up in bed as it rang.

“Hey there, tea tray,” Tony called through the receiver.

“Hey, toddles,” I sighed shakily.

“I’ll be back in a second, Bruce,” he muttered and I heard the soft hiss of the door opening and closing again, “What’s wrong Tessa? You alright?”

“Yeah,” I sighed feeling better, “Just missing my idiot brother.”

“Who the fuck messed with you,” He frowned, “I’m…”

“It’s nothing,” I smiled at his tone, “Thor just put his foot in his mouth again. He feels guilty enough, he didn’t know it would strike a nerve… It was stupid really.”

“What did he say?”

“Oh, it was nothing,” I shrugged itching my arm, “I was being nosy. The way he phrased it just reminded me of how Stane used to talk to me. It hit a nerve is all… I just wanted to talk to you, makes me feel better when he gets in my head again.”

“You scratching at your arm again,” he frowned knowingly and I swallowed self-consciously, “Tessa, don’t. You are so important, darling. He was a bastard and an ass and robbed us both. You know mom and dad would never have said the things he did. They loved you like I love you. He was a piece of shit that deserved far worse than he got. Don’t think about him. Dad would be so proud of you, all the things you’ve done the places you’ve been, the good you’ve done. You’re on another fucking planet translating an alien language with no help, for fuck’s sake his mind would be blown by what you could do. I know I don’t say it…”

“Thanks for the speech, toddles,” I sniffed feeling warm inside, “For all the shit I give you, you always know how to make me feel better.”

“Good,” he smiled, “You sure you don’t want me hitching a ride up to hit him a good couple of times.”
“No,” I sighed snuggling down into the bed, “Just hearing your voice is reassuring.”

“Then I’m not hanging up,” He replied and I heard the hiss of the door again. I listened as he put me on speaker as he got back to work. I drifted off listening to him talking to Bruce about their simulations and work.

Chapter Text

I woke up early, just after sunrise. I was tucked into the bed and my phone was off and resting on the night side table. Loki had come in to check on me. I knew he felt bad he hadn’t meant it, I didn’t mean to snap at him. I had no right to push him if he didn’t want to talk about it. I got up poking my head through the door between our rooms and saw he was fast asleep. I didn’t want to wake him and closed the door silently. I could talk to him later about it. I picked up the book Odin had given me and left for the peace of the garden. It was more relaxing than the exciting memories I had in the library. The change of scenery was good for me. I sat down on a bench under a tree and opened the book. It was much easier to read than Athilsson, more enjoyable much like Ovid. The sun rose slowly as I read and after a while I heard a pleasant, “Good morning, child.”

“Good morning, All-father,” I nodded bowing my head.

“I do not often see you up this early,” he observed sitting down beside me, “What could be the cause of that? I doubt it is this old book.”

“No,” I sighed embarrassed, “Loki and I had an argument. He wasn’t up yet and I didn’t want to bother him. I thought I might come and cool off with some reading.”

“Frigga and I fought many a time,” Odin nodded knowingly, “I take it my son said something he shouldn’t have.”

“He didn’t mean to,” I sighed, “he didn’t know it would hit such a tender nerve.”

“I’m sure it’ll blow over once you talk,” Odin smiled, “Don’t let it weigh on you heavily, child. Have you found the new book more agreeable?”

“Yes,” I smiled remembering something, “I meant to ask. I read something in here about something called a Bearer. I think it has something to do with a way to protect the stones but it wasn’t clear. Do you happen to know about them?”

“I know legends,” he nodded, “The stones are things so distant to even my people that they have faded into myth. But there are tales of rare few who can harness the power of an infinity stone without the aid of a harness.”

“Like the celestial beings that originally wielded them?” I asked curious about the subject.

“Not exactly,” Odin explained, “even they suffered consequences of using the stones. These legendary beings, the bearers, live in a form of resonance with the stone that finds them. They suffer no ill effects from the stones presence and may use its power without harm to themselves.”

“So the bearer I guess is just on the same atomic frequency as the stone and therefore can use it,” I pieced out trying to wrap my head around the concept.

“Or one the stone simply agrees with,” Odin nodded, “The stones have long been thought to bear consciousness. Their allegiance can be won and lost, or so the legends go.”

I caught him giving me a strange look and was about to ask him something else when a distant horn began to blow and Odin jumped to his feet. I rose as well asking, “What is that?”

“Asgard appears to be under attack,” Odin frowned as we crossed the garden, “I think you should return to the palace my dear.”

“If I see Loki or Thor I’ll send them…” I began starting for the steps to the palace as a large figure landed before us.

He was tall with purple skin and wore orange bronze armor. But I wasn’t gaping at his height or strange appearance I was gaping at the gauntlet on his right hand. I had seen it in Athilsson’s stupid book, it was a harness for not one stone but all six. This was the man hunting them, burning a war path across the galaxy for power. I froze hoping not to draw attention to myself as Odin boomed, “Stand down in the name of Asgard!”

“You have something that belongs to me,” the man only commented in a sickeningly deep voice, “Where is the tesseract?”

“You will leave at once,” Odin demanded pointing his spear at the figure.

He only huffed a laugh smacking Odin with the back of his hand sending him flying into a wall with a sickening crunch. I started to back up as Thor roared flying toward the man and Loki appeared at my side. Thor tried to fight the man as Loki froze in fear at the sight of him. I swallowed my nerves trying to thaw him, “Loki! Loki, look at me. Go. Run.”

Thor was quickly thrown down as the man turned his attention to us chuckling, “Loki… Well this is a surprise. Here I thought my pet dead.”

“Loki, run, disapear anything, go!” I demanded but he didn’t move.

He only swallowed stiffly, “Thanos.”

“What did I say I would do again? If you lost me my stone?” Thanos taunted, “What did I say I would do when I handed you my chitari to wage your war, Asgardian? What did I promise you if you failed me?”

“Oy!” I shouted standing my ground between him and Loki, “How about you pick on someone a little more in your skill range, ass wipe!”

He looked down at me chuckling, “What an adorable little pet you found to protect you, Loki. What fun I’ll have with her…”

“Watch it,” I warned gaining his attention back as I charged my bracelet, “We pets bite!”

I fired the energy from the stone in my bracelet launching him backwards with a flash of green. I didn’t wait for Thanos to catch his breath launching attack after attack at him. I felt my energy start to fade and I paused threatening, “Leave Thanos before I get half a mind to end this now. You know you’re no match for me without a stone of your own.”

He snarled in anger but took off as quickly as he had landed. As soon as he was gone my knees went weak and Loki caught me shaking me, “Tessa. Tessa!”

“I’m fine,” I mumbled feeling drained, “Odin, he was his hard…”

“I’ve got him,” Thor called, “He needs a healer. You take her, get her lying down.”

Loki picked me up a I mumbled, “I can help, I can help him…”

“Tessa,” Loki frowned shaking his head, “You’re weak, you’re in no state.”

“I can do it, they’ll need me if he’s in bad shape,” I shook my head regaining some strength, “I can fix him, Loki.”

He sighed abandoning his path to our rooms to return to a healing room. He carried me in and Thor snapped, “I said…”

“She was insistent on helping,” Loki frowned helping me to stand up, “She says she can fix him.”

“I’m sorry your graces,” the healer frowned, “I see no signs of life in the All-father…”

“Turn off the machines,” I nodded stepping up to where Odin lay on the soul forge, “I need to focus. I’ve only done this once before and not exactly in this way.” She hesitated and I snapped, “Just do it!”

Thor nodded and they turned off the machines. I rested my hands on Odin’s chest focusing my energy through the stone in the bracelet. I took a deep breath letting the stone do it’s work. After brief moment I heard a quiet breath from Odin and smiled keeping on with my repairs. Thanos had done a lot of damage and Odin was no young man. My knees gave out again and my eyes rolled back. Loki had me in his arms again and frowned, “That’s enough.”

“I can do more,” I mumbled vaguely, “I’m fine…”

“Get here lying down,” Thor nodded as we left, “Stay with her, I can handle things here.”

“I’m fine,” I muttered hazily as Loki carried me back down the halls, “I promise, I’m fine… I’m fine…”

Chapter Text

I woke slowly lying in a soft bed. I was warm wrapped in the blanket and didn’t really want to get up. I felt a hand in mine as Loki commented from beside me, “Take it easy love. You need to rest.”

“I’m fine,” I smiled stretching feeling well rested. I sat up and found Loki sitting beside the bed looking shattered. I sighed nodding for him to get into bed, “Come here.” He climbed into the bed sitting beside me and I nestled myself into his lap. I played with the curls of his hair on his shoulder as his arms wrapped around me tight. I swallowed feeling how stiff he was, “Are you okay?”

“No,” he breathed hollowly.

“Loki don’t think about him,” I urged looking up at him, “Look at me. Loki, look at me.” His eyes met mine and I caressed the side of his face, “Stay here with me. Don’t think of that man. He’s not coming back, he’s not going to take you from me.”

He smiled laughing a little, “I thought I was supposed to be reassuring you.”

“I’m not the one shaking,” I smiled at him, “If nothing can take me from you, nothing is going to dare to take you from me. Tit for tat.”

“Oh, my love,” he sighed holding me tight, “Forgive me, I didn’t…”

“I know,” I sighed burying my face into my chest, “I wasn’t mad Loki, I was hurt that’s all. I just needed a breather… I take it he’s the one that…”

“Yes,” he swallowed, “He pulled me out of the abyss and…”

“I can figure out what he did,” I squeezed, “I had guessed for a while. Your behavior didn’t add up, Nat suspected too. It doesn’t matter your safe now. That prick had better keep his fucking distance or I swear to god I won’t stop next time.”

“Why did you not tell me?” He stared looking me in the eye, “Why didn’t you tell me you had a stone?”

“I didn’t tell anyone,” I sighed shrugging, “Except Darcy. I wasn’t even sure how I could control it, what it was until I started researching the stones. Then I saw how bad people wanted to find them I figured we’d cross off my stone last and everyone would feel much more at ease about it. If you weren’t in danger I wouldn’t have used it.”

“How can you use it?”

“I have no clue,” I answered honestly, “that’s why I’m so desperate to research them. By all accounts the stone should be eating me alive but it’s not. Your father and I were talking about something before we were attacked. Bearers, he said they strike a kind of resonance with a stone. I don’t know, maybe it’s something like that. All I know is I can use the stone without a harness.”

“Certainly something rare,” Thor commented coming into the room frowning at me.

“I take it I’m in a lot of trouble,” I sighed defeated, “You called them didn’t you.”

“I had to Tessa,” Thor nodded, “This an intense situation. Asgard was attacked, the All-father is on death’s door, another infinity stone had appeared. I had to tell SHIELD. They should be arriving any moment.”

“I can help Odin,” I nodded as Loki got up resuming his chair beside the bed, “I can heal him with…”

“You nearly killed yourself the first time,” Loki frowned protectively, “You’ll not be doing that again.”

“Getting him breathing again was the hard part,” I shook my head, “It’ll be easier now.”

“No,” Thor and Loki frowned together.

Sif entered the room nodding to them, “The Avengers are here to see Lady Tessa.”

She spared me a glance and I smiled reassuringly as Thor nodded, “let them in.”

Tony came through the door first frowning as he stormed closer, “This is why I didn’t want you here. First that idiot, then this.”

Thor looked surprised, “What did I do?”

“Tony, we can talk about that later,” I sighed as everyone else filled in. Steve leaned on the foot board as everyone crowded around the giving me worried looks. I sighed looking at all of them, “Can we just get this out of the way so you can all move on to shouting at me. I’m fine. I just needed some rest and I’m back on my feet. You are cleared to shout.”

“What the hell were you thinking, kid,” Barton started, “Facing off with some alien super dude?”

“language,” Nat commented making Cap roll his eyes.

“I was trying to help,” I explained, “Thanos was going take Loki again. Odin was in bad shape, Thor had been knocked down. So I stepped in. I had the firepower and I took care of things.”

“Why didn’t you tell us you had a stone?” Steve frowned at me.

“I used the don’t ask don’t tell policy,” I swallowed nervously, “You guys didn’t ask, so I didn’t spill the beans until it was relevant.”

“That applies to Steve bumming Bucky, not a powerful cosmic weapon,” Tony frowned at me as Steve glared at him, “What? Darcy thinks it’s hot… Tess, what were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t worried about it,” I sighed explaining, “I knew we’d go finding the stones and I’d bring it up then. I just didn’t believe that it was worth the fight with the Fury yet.”

 

Bruce frowned chewing on his cheek, “How are you okay, Tessa?” Everyone flashed him a look and he shrugged, “These things are crazy powerful. It nearly killed Jane when she had the Aether inside her. Why is Tessa not having the same side effect?”

“That’s what I was just telling Loki and Thor,” I explained, “Odin gave me a book with some information about things called Bearers. They are beings that strike a sore of resonance with the stones allowing them to wield them without side effects. I don’t know if that’s what’s going on. All I know is I can use the stone touch it directly if I want. I only set it in a bracelet so it was less suspicious and easier to carry.”

They frowned and I sighed taking off the bracelet. Loki tried to stop me as I popped the stone out into my hand and nothing happened. I rolled it around in my palm for a moment before replacing it in my bracelet. Tony frowned at me, “How did you find that thing anyway?”

I sighed heavily, “You might want to get comfortable.” No one move and I went on, “It was long before I signed on with the Avengers. Before Tony and I were even speaking again. I was traveling around Malaysia, backwoods research type things. I ran into some trouble with rival tribes in the jungles while I was looking for this healing temple said to have carvings dating back to the Neolithic era of an ageless healer. I ended up stranded, no guide and no food. Then I got sick, caught some kind of fever, probably would have been dead. But a tribes man from god only knows where found me and carried me to the temple. I’m afraid I don’t remember much of what happened, I was pretty delusional at this point. The priests filled me in after I woke. They said they carried me in and placed me on the alter where the stone would heal those that were sick. But when they rested me there they feared I was too gone, however the stone didn’t just heal me it left the wall it was imbedded in and rested in my hand. They said no one had ever touched the stone without burning up. There was a lot of singing my praises for no reason. I tried to return the stone but they insisted that it had chosen me as it’s protector. It all seemed strange but I didn’t know what the stone was at the time so I took it and after I joined SHIELD and started to learn about the stones I realized what was going on.”

“What exactly does the stone do?” Steve asked.

“It works on souls,” I shrugged, “I can see what’s in a person’s soul, heal it if I need to, or in the case of Thanos attack it. I see the very base nature of a person. It’s the reason I knew Loki could be trusted when the rest of you were so on edge.”

“I wondered why you trusted me so easily,” Loki scoffed shaking his head.

“I told you I knew you were a good man,” I shrugged, “And I was right. You were acting out of fear. I just wish you would have said something to all of them.”

“They would not have believed me,” Loki scoffed.

“You two love birds done?” Nat commented.

Tony and Barton gawked, “Love birds?”

“What the fuck?” Tony snapped as everyone stared at their feet, “You all knew? What the hell!”

“All but me apparently,” Barton frowned.

“You weren’t on base I couldn’t tell you,” Nat shrugged at him.

“What!” Tony glared around the room, “How did the rest of you find out?”

“I saw them kissing,” Nat replied.

“Nat told me,” Bruce shrugged.

“Darcy,” Steve sighed.

“Fandral,” Thor explained, “He told me when I got back and I nearly tore Loki’s head off on your behalf.”

“What stopped you?”

“Me, Tony,” I sighed rolling my eyes, “I didn’t want you reacting like this. I was going to tell you but finding the right time. I wanted to make sure this was a serious thing before broadcasting.”

“There was a doubt,” Loki frowned surprised.

“This is turning into a nightmare,” I groaned, “Look I’m sorry I didn’t say anything but I thought I had time to tell you I didn’t think an big purple dude would fall out of the sky and fight me for it.”

“That’s the other thing,” Steve frowned, “Who’s this Thanos guy?”

“He’s a titan,” Loki swallowed hard and I took his hand reassuring him, “He is the master of the chitari and is bent on collecting all six stones.”

“You know this how,” Barton frowned.

“He fished me out of the void and held me prisoner,” Loki explained taking a moment to collect himself, “My time there was not pleasant. He had one stone during my captivity and used it to bend others to his whim…”

“The mind stone,” Bruce nodded, “he use it on me.”

“Not to control me,” he swallowed hard, “The mind stone can be used for far more…”

“He tortured you with it,” Nat nodded, “For what a year? Did it stop at all?”

“No, it didn’t stop until I vowed to get him another stone,” he shook his head and I felt him start to shake.

“Nat take it easy,” I warned.

“You came for the tesseract to exchange for your freedom,” Tony rolled his eyes, “very good man there, Tess.”

“Don’t be an idiot, Tony,” I snapped, “Loki wasn’t trading the stone. His attack was his escape. He could have conquered the earth about six times before we got to the battle of New York. The fight was a ploy to get captured. His actions at the convergence was to make sure Thanos never came for him. But now he knows Loki is not only alive but close to me, and he’s going to set his sights on him.”

“We’ll have to get you both protection,” Steve nodded and I stared surprised.

“That sounds like you’re about to send me home,” I frowned and no one met my eye, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m not in danger! Believe me Thanos is shitting himself after that fight with me. He knows he can’t take, a bearer is stronger that any harness. Even if he did get a hold of a stone he still wouldn’t be able to face me. If there is any place Loki is safe it’s with me. Thanos knows he can’t take and wont dare such a fight for nothing but revenge…”

“But you’re not safe,” Loki frowned, “You underestimate Thanos’ rage. Taking you to punish me would be enough for him but you have a stone he wants as well. You are more than temptation to him, you need to be hidden and protected.”

“We’ll set you up on earth,” Barton nodded, “SHIELD’s good at that kind of thing…”

“What?” I stared at all of them, “No. This is ridiculous! I’m not running away and putting Loki in danger…”

“Would you all mind giving me a moment with Tessa,” Loki sighed flatly.

They filed out and I got up to pace, “This is ridiculous. I’m not…”

“Tessa,” Loki sighed taking my hands, “You need to go with them.”

I pulled away snapping, “What? Tell me you’re not serious!”

“You’ll be safer there,” he sighed sadly, “I can’t protect you from him, not without their help. Thanos knows you’re on Asgard now, you aren’t safe here.”

“Then you’re coming with me,” I frowned.

“I can’t do that,” he sighed running his hands up and down my shoulders, “Odin is dying the throne is about to pass to Thor and I. One of us must stay and the Avengers will need Thor to hunt down the last of the stones.”

“No,” I huffed trying desperately not to cry, “I can’t… If he comes back looking for me…”

“I will be gone in an instant,” he promised, “I won’t be captured. Tessa, I don’t want this. But you’re not safe here and that terrifies me. If I could keep you here and keep you safe they could not take you from here. But they are right to say it is safer for you to return with them.”

“This doesn’t fix anything,” I sighed knowing I was losing this fight, “This just makes him wait until I die.”

“This will not take that long my dear,” he chuckled kissing me, “I know this fixes nothing. It is a temporary solution to allow us to gather our wits. Nothing more. You honestly think I will wait long to see you again. I doubt I will last a week.”

“Thor told Jane he wouldn’t be a moment,” I scoffed turning to pack my things.

“I am not Thor,” he frowned pulling me back to him, “Need I prove that again? I swear to you Tessa. I will see you soon. I will not take as long as Thor to find you again. I just want you safe.”

“Don’t you fucking break that promise,” I muttered starting to cry.

“Never,” he sighed pulling me into his chest.

I gather myself back together and nodded as I packed my things, “I need to do something before I go.”

“What?”

“I’m going to help Odin,” I replied putting away my laptop, “If I can heal him they can hide us both and there’s no need for any of this.”

“Tessa,” Loki frowned, “You nearly…”

“I was weak from fighting Thanos last time,” I shook my head, “This time will be different.”

“Don’t tax yourself,” he sighed relenting.

I knew it was only because I was humoring leaving to sate his nerves, but I didn’t care. Odin had been kind to me I owed him this much. Everyone was waiting outside and I stormed past them muttering, “I don’t want to hear a word. You’re all lucky he’s convinced me to go or you’d be dragging me back kicking and screaming. Where’s Odin?”

“What?”

“Where is Odin?” I snapped and Thor showed me the way to the healing chamber. I stepped inside followed by Thor, Tony and Loki and snapped at everyone including the healers, “Out! Everyone out! I need to focus without a bunch of other souls around to distract me.”

Thor swallowed slightly intimidated by my bad mood and nodded for everyone to step out. They all left and I took a deep breath standing over Odin and charging the stone. After a long draining moment Odin stirred and I rested my hand on his shoulder cautioning, “Be calm, you need rest All-father.”

“Rest is not going to help me in my state, child,” he croaked hoarsely, “I’ve felt your magic working its way to heal me. You have been kind enough to give me a few moments. Sit, child.”

“I should get Thor and Loki,” I sighed sitting down.

“I will speak with them in a moment,” he nodded weakly, “but I must say it is an honor to have met a stone bearer.” I stared shocked and he continued, “I knew when I saw your bracelet when you dined with Loki and myself. When I spoke with you I realized you did not know yourself so I saw to guide you. My son is a lucky man. A far better man than I could have hoped. There are things you should know of him though, things only my Frigga and myself know.”

“Why? Why me?” I stared.

“Someday he may need to know,” Odin croaked, “And I can see no better person to tell him than his wife.” I blinked surprised by his blessing, “Loki has Jotun blood. He knows this but I never had the strength to explain why. I told him a lie to not impart more pain upon a boy questioning his life. The war I waged as a young man against the Jotun saw many casualties. One of which was my sister she was captured by Laufey and it brought my bloody rampage to Jotunheim to save her. I found her dying and a child in her arms. She had no strength to speak but I vowed to her I would protect her son.”

I stared in shock at what he had told me unable to speak. After a moment I stuttered, “You want me to tell him that his mother was raped and he’s the product…”

“Only if he needs to know,” Odin sighed, “Tessa, my dear, I have failed Loki in many ways in my efforts to protect him from his past. I will not fail him in any more ways. He loves you Tessa, while no mortal may sit on the throne of Asgard, you are no mere mortal. You are a stone bearer with the heart of Asgard…” He took my hand pressing something metal into it, “You and Jane now bear the blessings of me and my Frigga. Take care of our boys.” I stared not sure what to say if I should say anything. After a moment he coughed, “I need to speak with them now.”

“Of course,” I nodded getting up. I took a deep breath stepping outside where everyone was waiting. I swallowed turning to Loki and Thor, “He’s very weak, he wants to speak with you both.”

They stepped inside and I took a steadying breath. Barton frowned, “You okay?”

“I just,” I began taking another deep breath, “wow… that was a lot… I’m just still processing.”

“What happened?” Tony raised an eyebrow.

“I think I just heard Odin’s last testament,” I sighed sitting down to calm myself, “he’s not well. He told me there were things… secrets, I guess, he needed me to keep in case they ever needed to know… He gave me his blessing… Jane too.”

“Breathe kiddo,” Steve urged as we waited for Loki and Thor.

It was a while before they emerged looking solemn. Everyone knew what had happened but Thor swallowed, “I cannot return with you, my friends. I…”

“There are things you need to handle,” Steve nodded sympathetically to both of them, “If you want we can put this off for a few days…”

“No,” Loki shook his head, “Tessa’s safety is paramount. She needs to be hidden from Thanos immediately.”

“We’ll call Jane,” Tony nodded to Thor, “Have her ready to go as soon as we get back.”

“Why don’t you go do that,” I nodded to them, “I need a word.” Thor started to follow them, “With both of you.”
The others departed for the Bifrost and Loki nodded, “Odin said he spoke to you…”

“He did,” I swallowed debating telling him everything. I couldn’t, I couldn’t do that to him. I sighed showing them the two knotted raven pins Odin had given me, “He wanted me to convey his blessing, on behalf of himself and Frigga.” I handed one to Thor, “For Jane.” I handed the other to Loki swallowing, “For whom ever you wish.”

Thor patted his brother on the back starting for the bifrost giving him a moment with me. Loki fiddled with the pin in his hand and I turned to leave. He sighed, “Tessa…” he followed at my heals, “Tessa, you and I know this is for you, not any woman…”

“I’m going away for an indefinite period of time,” I muttered and he caught my hand pulling me to face him.

“Tessa, this is for you,” he vowed holding it up to me, “You are the one I want…”

“Loki, you can’t…” I started.

He sighed pinning it to my gown, “Tessa Stark, you are the only woman I can think about since I met you. Nothing is changing that. I will be seeing you very soon…”

I cut him off grabbing him and kissing him like he’d done so many times before. I felt his hands on my waist and he pulled me close for a moment deepening our moment. It was chaste compared to some of our kisses but it felt so much more intimate. We pulled apart when I heard Tony call, “Oy, antlers! Knock it off, perv. We’ve got to go.”

“Tony,” I snarled.

“Get moving,” he frowned and Loki let go of me.

We made our way to the bifrost and Jane had already arrived. I gave her a hug nodding, “He’s going to need you, it’s pretty rough at the moment. Go easy on Loki please.” She nodded smiling reassuringly. I joined Tony and the others grabbing hold of Tony's arm muttering, “Bye, Loki.”

Chapter Text

I stood at the head of the lecture hall proceeding through the class in the same lack luster way I always was. This was nothing compared to working with my friends. This was nohing compared to the hellecarrier, to Avengers tower, to asgard. No, I corrected myself, don’t do that, don’t think about that place, certainly do not think about the library. The last time I did that it nearly ended with me fucking some idiot in a pub, bless Wanda from saving me from that. I saw the barely noticeable shimmer at the back of the hall and knew he was there. I could feel him watching me but I didn’t engage. I continued on to the end of my lecture and packed up my laptop as the students filed out of the hall. I didn’t see him leave and finished packing ignoring that he was still there waiting for me to speak. I started for the door as he called down the empty hall, “Come, love. Haven’t you missed me?”

“It’s hard to miss someone who doesn’t know I exist,” I frowned coldly as he teleported into my path, “I see the King of lies still has his mojo.”

“Tess,” he sighed trying to explain as Wanda came in interrupting us.

“It’s fine,” I shook my head at her, “Not a threat, just an ex.”

“Ex?” he sighed looking hurt, good I hope it ripped his heart out.

Wanda’s skirt blew up a bit and I felt an arm around my shoulder as Pietro commented smoothly, “Should we take care of him for you darling?”

“Knock it off cheese ball,” I rolled my eyes as Loki glared at Pietro, “Can I just have a moment, guys? I need a word with Loki.”

Wanda nodded giving Pietro a pointed look. Pietro scoffed nodding to me, “You need anything, you call.”

“I will,” I nodded rolling my eyes, “I’ll meet you guys at the car.” They left and I sighed, “What do you want? You haven’t bothered to come see me, why now? Asgard must need you back I wouldn’t want to be in your way.”

“Tessa,” he sighed, “It wasn’t like that, you know…”

“Look I’ve been here before,” I scoffed hand on my hip like Darcy, “I don’t need someone to hold my hand. Guys do it all the time to girls like me, they say they’ll call, or visit, or whatever and it never happens. That’s the way the cookie crumbles Loki. I’m used to it.”

“Thor assured me he would…” Loki began in frustration.

“I don’t get to talk to anyone,” I snapped coolly, “I’m in fucking hiding at your request! So the only one I talk to occasionally on a SHIELD monitored line for my safety is Tony, because yes I have issues. Don’t blame Thor because you were too scared to face me Loki.”

“Darling trust me,” he began taking my shoulders in that annoyingly reassuring and disarming way.

“I did,” I scoffed cutting him off as I pulled away needing to air my pent up anger, “I figured it wouldn’t be long until you couldn’t resist breaking the rules and ending this stupid madness. That you’d realize it was a stupid fucking plan. But hey that was two and a half years ago. I guess some fancies do drift away from you…”

That hit a nerve and he scooped me back into the wall. One hand was on my waist the other was beside my head as his eyes fixed deeply into mine. He growled low and territorial, “Tessa you have occupied every second of my thoughts for two years, five months, fourteen days, eleven hours, and thirty-six minutes. I knew before you left that this was a stupid plan, as you said. But I feared what Thanos would do if he found you. I thought for sure a week might pass before he attempted to take his revenge on me. Putting you far from me assured me you wouldn’t be touched by him, that you were safe.”

I felt the urge to crumble into him to pick up where we had left off when Tony took me back here. I swallowed it back channeling my inner badass Darcy snapping, “You made me a promise.”

“And I fully intend to make it up to you,” he smiled at my warming up to him, his hand drifted up and I couldn’t resist the stupid annoyingly intoxication that followed him around. I melted lacing a hand up into his hair as he grinned mischievously, “I have a lot of making up to do… two and a half years of it…”

“Everything is fine though?” I ventured caressing his face, “Out there in the world. I didn’t think I’d see you until I was released from my protection.”

“Oh, I assure you my visits will be more than frequent in the future,” he smiled leaning into my hand, “Everything is fine.”

He made my heart pound, being close again. I understood Jane’s frustration now, how much she could want to be mad at Thor for disappearing but hearing her heart shout at her that it didn’t matter. I swallowed giving in and slipping my hand back to his hair again and he smirked at me. He kissed me before I could purse my lips and tell him to shut up. His lips coaxed mine, teasing and tempting them his silver tongue tickling mine. He pressed closer and we were instantly back in sync, knowing exactly what the other needed. Where we wanted to be touched, how close we needed to be. His hips pressed mine back and I felt his hand slipped down toward my leg. There was a pointed cough and Loki snarled tilting his lips from mine resting his forehead on mine. I sighed looking over to see Pietro waiting smirking. I pursed my lips snapping, “What? I said I’d be out in a minute.”

“I have no doubt it won’t be more than a minute,” he snickered before catching my glance, “Would you rather I come back and fetch you later? Wanda is tired, his magic is messing with her head. I can come back and take you home in a moment.”

“It’s fine,” I sighed glancing at Loki, “I have a feeling we’re going to be at the house before you.”

“No, no, no,” He frowned at us, “I know he can take you anywhere with his magic tricks. The captain wants you safe. I’ve given my word, I’m not supposed to let you out of my sight. You need to come home in the car, it’s what’s safest.”

“You never listen to the rules,” I frowned at him untangling myself from Loki, “That’s why I requested you. That and the thought of living on the boat with Coulson and the team did not sound fun.” I glanced over my shoulder at Loki standing at the door, “You coming, hot shot?”

He huffed a laugh following snaking a hand around my waist, “Thor said you were dead?”

“Shield has secrets,” Pietro shrugged as we walked toward the car.

“The juice they used on Coulson after you shoved your spear through him,” I explained shaking my head at Pietro, “He’s lucky it didn’t take his powers away.”

“It did take something,” he shrugged.

“Compared to the option of staying dead,” I scoffed, “I think even Wanda agrees it’s a small price.”

“I am constantly eating,” he frowned reaching for the passenger door, “It is annoying.”

“Oh poor you,” I sighed rolling my eyes, “We’re fine in the back seat, Quickie.”

He stuck his tongue out at my joke as Loki opened the back door. I slid across letting Loki climb in and Wanda started home. The ride was silent and I had the feeling Wanda was searching through my feelings. It was like I was back in high school again, I was nervous and embarrassed. I felt long fingers twist into mine as Loki skimmed his thumb over mine. Wanda parked on the street and we climbed out Loki’s hand still firmly entangled with mine. He didn’t wait for me to pull out my key or for Wanda or Pietro to follow he towed me behind him phasing straight through the door and pulling me up the stairs. “Door at the end,” I breathed as we carried on down the hall.

The door closed behind me and I felt a hand on my hip and my back on the bed. His lips skimmed over my neck and collar leaving little nibbles as his long fingers unbuttoned my little waist coat. I slid the well-tailored suit jacket off him starting on the buttons interrupted only by Loki pulling both my shirt and waist coat over my head. He shrugged out of the dress shirt and I slipped his belt off grabbing him back to my lips. I returned the favor nipping down his neck making him groan, I flipped him over on the bed making him chuckle against my neck, “Someone is impatient.”

“Oh am I?” I teased surprising him as I looped the belt sliding it around his wrists and tying it to the headboard. Thank you girl scouts for teaching me my knots. I sat up smirking at him as he frowned at me, yeah, bad boy I learned a trick or two from the mistress of mischief Darcy. I got up casually pulling out my earrings and sliding my jeans down kicking off my heeled boots and socks. I moved slower flicking his shoes off, slowly pulling off his socks. He pulled at the belt growling and I paused standing there in nothing but my underwear smirking at him, “Someone’s impatient.”

He smiled chewing on his lip, “You’re going to regret that.”

“I don’t think I am,” I mused undoing his trousers slowly trailing kisses dangerously close to where he wanted and I heard the headboard groan with strain. I smiled against his hip pulling his trousers off disposing of them on the floor. I climbed up him brushing skin against skin tauntingly and the look on his face told me he was near breaking point. I straddled him rolling my silk and lace panties over him as I leaned down brushing past his lips to nip at his jaw. I was frustrating him, little bucks of his hips pleading with me to end my pay back. I smiled into his ear, “We both know a bit of leather can’t stop you…”

I didn’t get to finish the thought, there was a snap from the leather and I was flipped back onto the bed panties gone, bra gone. No magic used, I had just teased him too much and he just ripped them off. His lips mauled mine coaxing them open again as he slid exactly where I wanted making me moan into his mouth. This wasn’t the normal calculated toying teasing Loki sex. This was hot, I-fucking-missed-you, purely instinct, arch-your-back, roll-your-hips shit. Goodbye cloud nine, hello nirvana. I was gone, mind somewhere else, bliss buzzing on that intoxicating drug that only existed around Loki. I came back to myself tangled in Loki’s arms both of us panting from the work out. We were on our side I was on one of his arms but both were securely around me one hand toying with my hair. I smiled into the crook of his neck my mind playing over what just happened, “You wrecked my favorite pair of panties.”

He laughed deep in his chest, “I’ll have to acquire you some new ones.”

“It’s good to hear you laugh,” I smiled snuggling closer.

“It’s good to see you smile,” he replied kissing my head as I drifted off.

“Everything alright?” I mumbled in a haze the early morning light drifting through the window. Loki wasn’t in bed with me, and it was fucking early, Loki did not like mornings.

He looked up finishing buttoning his white dress shirt up. He leaned over kissing my forehead whispering, “Of course darling, I won’t be a moment.”

I drifted back off waking hours later to a loud knock down stairs. I got up pulling on my dressing gown getting to the top of the stairs as Pietro answered the door. Coulson was standing there with May behind him. I came down the stairs smiling, “Coulson! May! What are you guys doing here?”

“We have a problem,” Coulson nodded in his deliberately reassuring voice and I nodded for them to come in.

We stepped into the kitchen and I poured myself some coffee asking, “What is it? Tony okay?”

“Yes, he’s fine,” Coulson nodded getting to the point, “Loki is missing.” I stared surprised and he continued, “Thor went to check in with him on Asgard yesterday and was told he’d left. Didn’t say where he was going. Obviously we’re concerned…”

“He was here last night,” I breathed a knot in my stomach turning to Pietro and Wanda, “Did he say where he was going this morning. He left early, said he’d be right back.”

“Didn’t see him leave,” Pietro shook his head, “If he left it wasn’t through the front door.”

“He was here?” May frowned, “You didn’t call in.”

I rolled my eyes leaning on the counter, “He showed up to my lecture last night. I thought it was a social call…”

“Did he seem off?” Coulson asked less concerned with my deliberate ignoring of protocol.

“No,” I shook my head, “He acted like nothing was wrong. He was his normal paranoid protective self, but nothing seemed out of sync, he said he wanted to make things up to me, not coming to see me sooner.”

“Anything on the special…” Coulson started trailing off and glancing at my bracelet.

“No, he felt fine,” I shook my head and Pietro stared, “Yeah, I’m not stupid. Two and a half years and he finally pops in to say sorry I’m late. I was worried about him I checked him over with the stone. He was normal Coulson, needy and…” I swallowed and Coulson raised an eyebrow, this was work and all details were important I reminded myself, “He was desperate and uh… um… well, horny, Coulson. He couldn’t get me upstairs fast enough. But nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Fury and the Avengers are worried about…” Coulson began trying to think how to phrase it without offending me, “Just that he might have…”

“You’re worried he’s flipped sides again,” I frowned with a sigh, “That somehow Thanos is in his head. It’s alright Coulson, I understand the rest of you can’t see him the way I do. I’m more worried about where he is now. He left this morning, early and he’s not back yet. If he just slipped away and Thanos was watching me…”

“He would have seen him and could have captured him,” May nodded.

“We were asked to bring you back to the tower,” Coulson explained, “With Loki in the wind there’s concern for you and the stone. Not to mention you know him better than anyone, you might be able to guess his next move if he has gone…”

“I’ll get dressed,” I nodded setting the cup down, “Can you have Fitz boot up the tracking algorithm Tony and Banner used to track the Tesseract. I think I can modify it to find Loki.”

“I’ll let him know,” Coulson nodded as I disappeared back upstairs throwing on some clothes checking the room for any clue as to why Loki came and left again. His green scarf was lying on the floor and I picked it up sighing. I held onto it as we rode down to the airport. We pulled to a stop and I draped it around my neck as I climbed out.

I strutted up to the ramp into the bus giving Skye a hug, “You look good, girl. How you been?”

“Oh you know,” she smirked softening slightly, “I heard things are going bad.”

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, “I don’t know what’s going on really.” We stepped inside as May went to the cockpit. Coulson told Pietro and Wanda to take a load off as I walked with him and Skye back to the living quarters. I walked past Ward frowning at him, knowing everything I needed to but kept my mouth shut as I sat down sighing, “I assume you want to debrief me.”

“We can do it later,” Coulson offered kindly.

“It’s fine, Coulson,” I smiled, “You’re not nearly as pushy as Tony is about Loki. I don’t mind. I need to talk through it anyway, get my head wrapped around it.”

“Right,” Coulson nodded sitting down as Fitz came up the stairs, “Yeah Fitz?”

“Could I borrow miss Stark? So the tracking can…”

“You got it on a laptop?” I asked.

“I can pull it up,” He nodded.

I shrugged nodding for him to have a seat next to me, “I can multi task.” He sat down and I nodded to Coulson beginning to type, “Go on, I’m listening.”

“You said he showed up at your lecture,” he began calmly, “Did he walk in…”

“No,” I replied adjusting the frequencies on the tracking module, “He phased in using magic like normal. Showed up in the back, dressed like a human not Asgardian. He waited until I finished and for my students to leave before coming to speak with me.”

“What did he say?”

“I spoke first,” I explained handing the laptop back to Fitz explaining, “I’ve got the mathematical representation of his magic cued up based on what the stone recognizes. Do you think that’ll be enough?”

“It’s not radiation per say we might have trouble fueling the complicated algorithm,” he sighed, “I may have to find a super computer. Skye can you…”

“You can use the stone if you need,” I nodded, “You have the sensors Tony developed based on the scepter right?” he nodded, “The stone is aware of all the souls in the universe. It might be able to speed you toward an answer. Go get them and I’ll put them on, trust me you don’t want to touch this thing.” He rushed back down to the lab and I sighed, “Sorry, yes… I snapped at him. I was a little upset that he broke his promise…”

“What promise?”

“He promised it wouldn’t take him as long to visit me as it did for Thor to go see Jane,” I sighed shaking my head, “He promised this would be short lived. It took him two and a half years, Thor took two. I was mad but he wasn’t, he was more concerned with making it up to me. He didn’t even make a snippy sarcastic joke. He was genuinely worried I was mad at him.”

“What happened next,” Coulson asked.

“Wanda picked up on the magic and her and Pietro responded coming into the room,” I explained, “I told them it was fine, I just wanted a moment to have a word with him. I was going to have it out with him.”

“But,” Ward interrupted.

“Things rarely go to plan when Loki is concerned,” I scoffed at him, “We talked, he reassured me of, for lack of a better term, us and he kissed me. Things started to get heated and Pietro walked in, he insisted I come back to the house in our SHIELD issued car. Loki and I rode back with them and Loki whisked me upstairs. We got intimate and I woke up early this morning to see him getting dressed. I asked him if everything was okay and he said he would be back in a moment. Next thing I know you’re at the door telling me he’s awol.”

“You’re missing out an awful lot,” Ward frowned.

Coulson swallowed seeing the look on my face as I snapped, “Oh I am not giving you the porno version Ward. I don’t need some ass…”

“Ward, help May,” Coulson cut me off soothing my ruffled feathers, “Sorry about that…”

“It’s fine,” I shook my head as Fitz reappeared up the stairs, “Certain things set the stone off and therefore set me off.”

“Loki didn’t tell you much then,” Coulson carried on as I slipped the bracelet off to attach the sensors.

“If you’re asking if he spilled the beans on his latest mischievous plot,” I sighed smirking as I placed a censor onto the bottom of the stone, “I’m afraid not. I don’t think he’s here to cause trouble… but I’m worried he might have found it. If Thanos has agents watching me…”

“Loki is in some serious trouble,” Coulson nodded.

“You have no idea,” I frowned checking that the algorithm was working scanning for Loki’s magic before placing the bracelet back on my wrist, “Thanos is no fool. He knows how to use people. He may have only spent a moment with us but I made it very clear I cared for Loki.”

“You think Loki is the bait,” Skye nodded.

“I’m a stone bearer,” I sighed nervously, “We don’t typically exist. Me appearing in the universe is bewilderingly rare. Thanos knows that even if he had a stone he wouldn’t be a match for me. Bearers function differently to a harness we’re more powerful. He doesn’t want to kill me he wants to use me, killing me is only if he can’t. He knows Loki is the way to get me… Coulson, I can’t guarantee that if he took Loki I wouldn’t go running to save him.”

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” Coulson shook his head, “You know if I did hear that I’d have to lock you down, Tessa.”

“I know,” I nodded, “Just someone should be prepared for that.”

He nodded quietly, “Simmons needs to give you the once over…”

“protocol,” we said in unison.

Coulson frowned at my Tony like behavior, “After that get some rest, I’m sure once we’re back…”

“I’ll be undergoing debrief with Fury and the six annoying siblings I inherited,” I nodded getting up. The flight passed nervously for me partially in Simmons medical bay getting checked over and partially on a couch while Skye tried to distract me with small talk. We landed in New York and They drove me to the tower escorting me inside to a waiting assembled Avengers minus Thor.

Tony hugged me first gawking, “What the hell happened to you? You’ve got…”

“Hickeys, not bruises,” I chuckled smiling at him, “Yeah, I’ve seen Loki. We need to talk.”

“You think?” Fury called raising an eyebrow at me, “Conference room now.”

“I’m in trouble aren’t I,” I sighed wincing as Fury left for the conference room.

“I don’t think trouble begins to cover it,” Barton chuckled putting an arm around me, “How’s England, professor?”

“Boring as fuck,” I sighed, “I miss this place. Life’s not exciting without someone blowing something up every other week.”

“My sentiments exactly,” a flashy voice commented from behind me and I stopped dead. I snarled spinning on my heels and storming toward Fandral. Almost everyone stepped out of my way but Steve grabbed me stopping me just short of attacking him again. Fandral swallowed nervously, “I see things still have not blown over…”

“Did you think they would,” I snapped calming down enough that Steve let me know, “How’s your nose?” He flinched coving his manhood and I smirked starting for the elevator again muttering, “What is this dickhead doing here?”

“Thor had to stay on Asgard, thought we might need some help,” Steve nodded as we all climbed in.

“Sif would have been better,” I muttered.

“Sif is leading his and Loki’s armies,” Fandral pointed out.

“Well Loki certainly wasn’t going to put you in charge,” I muttered under my breath as Nat handed me the earpiece they all wore. I pressed the button on the side, “Fitz got anything yet?”

“Not quite, miss Stark,” he replied, “But the stone is helping. Unfortunately he doesn’t appear to be using his, magic, as you say.”

“I’m scanning all available cameras as we speak for him, Ma’am,” Jarvis commented.

“Let me know a.s.a.p,” I nodded as the elevator pinged and we stepped into the conference room. I sat down kicking my feet up on the table as everyone else made themselves more comfortable. Fury frowned at me from the head of the table and I smiled, “I know Coulson already sent you a report about the questions I was asked on the bus.”

“It was a little lighter than I would have liked,” Fury frowned.

“The rest of us haven’t,” Steve pointed out, “What’s going on? You saw Loki?”

“Yeah,” I sighed, “He showed up at my lecture last night. When my students left I snapped at him. He tried to reassure me and Pietro and Wanda came in. They let me have a word with him and things got heated. Pietro insisted we ride back with them. Loki rushed me upstairs,” Fury raised his eyebrow and I frown, “We did things that would make Tony and Nat blush, I’m not going into that.” Tony scowled at the thought of me with Loki I shook my head, “I woke up early this morning and he was getting dressed, he said he’d be back in a moment then I woke up to Coulson at the door.”

“You didn’t think anything of him leaving this morning,” Nat asked.

“He was pretty desperate to get back on my good side,” I explained, “He felt very guilty. And I had made a joke last night. I thought he might have been going out to get me something. He wasn’t lying when he said he’d be right back.”

“You didn’t call him in,” Fury frowned.

“Piss off,” I rolled my eyes, “I told Coulson I gave him a once over with the stone when he arrived I asked him if everything was alright. As happy as I was to see him I wasn’t expecting it, I could tell he wasn’t lying when he said yes. This was just a social call.”

“He didn’t clear anything with us,” Fury pursed his lips.

“For fucks sake,” I sighed, “He played by your rules for two and a half years, did you honestly expect any different. He could have been doing this the whole time but he did as was asked because he was worried about me. Loki isn’t the threat here.”

“He is in danger though,” Bruce nodded, “Do we have anything on where he might be going?”

“No,” I lied, “But I’ve set Fitz up with a tracking algorithm based on how the stone reads Loki’s magic. We’ve got a sensor on the stone fueling the equation so we can move as soon as he uses his magic.”

“What if he doesn’t?” Tony pointed out.

“Put me back out there,” I sighed, “You lot probably spooked him. Let me out by myself and he’ll find me. I’ll explain what happened and bring him in.”

“What if he can’t,” Steve frowned, “We can’t put you out there kid, Thanos could have him already. You would be icing on the cake.”

“Whether Loki is here socially or under Thanos’ control,” Fury sighed, “The important thing is finding him and stopping him before things get worse.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” A man in a suit commented walking into the room.

“Who are you,” Fury snapped, “This is a private meeting.”

“Agent Nicholson,” He shrugged flipping open a badge, “Home land security.”

“You here to start another fight,” I scoffed and Tony and Steve share an awkward glance.

“Miss Stark I presume,” he smiled at me pulling out a set of handcuffs, “You’re to come with us.”

Tony’s gauntlet found its way to his hand charging as Steve and Pietro stood up, Steve reached for his shield. Nat pulled a gun, Barton drew one as well as Wanda’s hands started to glow. The agents behind Nicholson tensed drawing guns in response. I sighed at him, “I don’t think I’m going anywhere if I don’t want to. Calm down everyone.”

“You will be coming with us?” he replied setting the handcuffs on the table.

“Really, you got a warrant?” Tony pressed, “This is private property I am well within my rights to throw you off this building.”

“Tony,” I warned, “Take it down a notch. Let’s find out why he’s here first, then throw him off the building.”

“What do you want with Tessa,” Steve frowned still having no small degree of distain for governmental involvement.

“Miss Stark is a material source of information,” Nicholson explained, “about the war criminal Loki. He’s now loose on this planet and we’re expected to believe Miss Stark doesn’t know where he is. She needs to be questioned…”

“Any questioning of SHIELD personnel will be conducted in house,” Fury huffed, “Not by homeland security.”

“SHIELD can’t be trusted,” he replied.

“I still haven’t seen a damn warrant,” Tony glared, “Has anyone else?”

“I haven’t,” Barton frowned

“Me either,” Nat scoffed.

“Nope,” Wanda and Pietro shrugged.

Steve and Fury shrugged. Bruce sighed, “Big guy doesn’t like warrants.”

“Are you sure this is the stance the Avengers want to take?” Nicholson asked and I knew I was going to have to step in soon, “Are you prepared for the mob that’s going to amass outside calling for the Stark’s head when the world finds out that the Avengers are protecting Loki’s accomplice.”

“Are you threatening us,” Fury challenged.

This was getting out of hand and I sighed, “Everyone please put down the weapons and cool the jets. It’s fine, I don’t mind answering some questions.”

“What?” Tony snapped.

I turned to Nicholson as everyone lowered their weapons, “Would you all kindly wait outside while I have brief word with my brother. I’ll be right out.”

Nicholson picked up the handcuffs stepping out into the hall with the other agents. The door closed and Steve commented, “You don’t have to go, Tessa. They can’t force you.”

“It’s fine,” I swallowed, “It’s just some questioning. You guys can’t back me on this.”

“Like hell we can’t,” Tony fumed itching to walk toward the door, “I have half a mind…”

“Tony think about this,” I warned, “I’ve played my cards, the security firms of the world know about Loki and I thanks to the high alert you had to put on my file for my protection. They’re scared because the last time Loki was here he blew up a city. I’m not surprised they want to question me. You guys can’t protect me from them. They will leak my story to the world and people will be rioting for my head because of it. It’ll only make them more the hero. You can’t side with me from a publicity stand point it is madness to choose me. But thank you for it.”

“You know what they mean,” Nat frowned.

“You think it’ll be the first time someone is ‘questioning’ me,” I smiled, “You’ve heard my stories, you think Myanmar was happy to find me in the back woods. I’ll be fine.”

“You are not leaving this tower,” Tony shook his head, “My lawyers will keep those idiots…”

“Tony,” I sighed shaking my head, “You’re not just my brother, you’re Ironman. You already have a reputation for fucking off to do what you want. You can’t protect your war criminal sister. The Avengers have to hand me over. Just find Loki quickly before they do. They have no need for me if Loki is back in reliable hands.” I stood up smiling, “Keep Fitz on that signal.”

Tony frowned, “I’m coming with you making sure…”

I laughed smiling at him, “What are they going to do? I’ve got the soul stone for fucks sake Thanos can’t take me, you think an idiot in a suit can? Don’t come with Tony, you and bruce are more help tracking Loki down.”

“I’ll go,” Nat nodded.

“Me too,” Steve agreed, “It’s still good for us to show we aren’t backing down jus cooperating.”

“Just don’t push,” I nodded stepping outside flanked by them, “Right, shall we?”

Nicholson nodded for me to turn around, “Miss Stark you are under investigation for aiding and abetting the war criminal Loki Odinson. You are hereby taken under arrest and will be held until further notice.” I felt the cuffs tightly around my wrists and they led me out of the building.

Chapter Text

I sat alone in the plain room my hands folded in front of me on the metal table. There was a wall length window across from me that looked like a mirror. There had been agents there watching me constantly, I could feel them with the stone. I’d been here a while possibly a week, my room had no windows, they hadn’t let Nat and Steve come with. Fury was going to push on the grounds of interagency cooperation, but I told him it wasn’t worth the trouble. Pepper stepped in and negotiated that Avengers Agents would stay out but I was to be reachable at all times. Tony had tested that promise but so far they were agreeable. I wasn’t. I cooperated with Tony and the others because they were my friends, they knew Loki, they understood that there were better ways to handle Loki. I refused to tell them anything, I wouldn’t even admit that he’d come to seen me. Nicholson was reaching his wits end with me, snarky comments and stubbornness rubbed him the wrong way. The door opened and he stepped inside setting down a file on the table sighing, “Good morning, Miss Stark.”

“I’d like to say the same but no windows,” I smirked crossing my legs. He huffed a laugh flipping through the file and I sighed, “We going to continue our usual routine?”

“You going to tell me what I want to know,” he countered.

“Yes,” I smiled making him look up, “I’m going to tell you exactly what you’ve been wondering… this was a colossal waste of your time, I don’t know anything and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you.”

He rolled his eyes at me snark sighing, “Well that is the question isn’t it. Do you actually know anything? I think you do. But then again I tell my wife everything, she tells me everything. That the same for you.”

“Loki tells me what I need to know,” I shrugged, “At least he does when I see him. I do the same, we both have secrets and respect that.”

“I see and when did you last see him?”

“Two years, five months, sixteen days, three hours, and four minutes,” I replied, “Roughly, I might be off as again, no windows.”

“That’s very specific,” he observed smiling.

“That was the last time I was on Asgard,” I smiled back, “That’s when Odin died giving me and Jane his blessing and I was carried off to earth for hiding.”

“That’s very sweet,” he replied.

“If you knew all the details you’d puke,” I grinned cheerily.

“So you maintain you have not seen Loki since you left Asgard,” Nicholson dug having a seat.

“Yes.”

“Interesting,” he sighed placing a photo in front of me of me and Loki following Pietro to the car a few days ago, “It took a lot of digging to find out where they hid you. Once we had that it wasn’t too difficult to get the security cameras from the university.”

“So what, I have a type,” I shrugged, “Tall, lanky, and black hair does it for me. Ask Pietro or Wanda, they can tell you I’m quite promiscuous, always the same type of man. That’s not Loki in that picture, I think his name was Jim? Henry? Gilbert? I’m not really sure.”

“Is that so,” he handed me another picture this one had a clearer picture of Loki’s face.

I swallowed shrugging, “What? I don’t see a time stamp on that. Loki and I used to visit England all the time I used to work conferences at universities like that.”

“So SHIELD recalling you from hiding the day Loki disappears is merely a coincidence,” He pressed, “I’ve got pictures of you with him. Where are you hiding him?”

“They called me back because I’m intimate with Loki,” I replied meeting his eye, “Because I know Loki best. I’m not hiding Loki.”

“You know where he is.”

“What if I did,” I shrugged growing tired of being here, “I’ll throw you a bone. Yeah, he popped by on a social call. He missed me and we fucked and he left again. There you have it. Believe me I want to find Loki to give him a quick kick in the balls for walking out again.”

Nicholson smiled glancing back at the mirror twirling his finger in the air. A moment later another agent came in with a case in his hands. My brow furrowed and he opened the box in front of me pulling out a black metal cuff. I stared at it about to get up when the other agent forced my shoulders down as Nicholson clipped the cuff open clicking it onto my wrist over my bracelet. The world suddenly felt very empty and remote. I couldn’t feel anyone anymore, I reached out for the stone and couldn’t connect with it. I swallowed staring at the cuff on my wrists, “What is this?”

“You like, stylish isn’t it,” Nicholson smirked, “SHIELD isn’t the only one pilfering Hydra research. This can block and communication with an infinity stone. We think they were trying to find some way to contain the stones, but this is much more effective.”

“Take it off,” I demanded.

“What’s wrong don’t like playing our level Miss Stark,” he clicked his tongue.

“You idiot,” I scoffed looking for anyway to get it off, “I could care less about your questioning. This is dangerous! You have no idea, this is the only thing protecting us. If I can’t use the stone we are fucked!”

“It was protecting you,” he chuckled, “Now we can get down to business. Really discovering what you know about Loki.”

“Loki isn’t the problem,” I snapped, “Thanos is and he, right now is scared because I have a stone and can use it. Without that he would walk over any force put against him, he could take the other stones and use them together. Take the damn thing off!”

“That is by far the most far-fetched thing I’ve heard,” Nicholson laughed, “I’ll remove that cuff and the bracelet with it if you tell me what I want to know.”

I didn’t need the stone to see where this was going. I drove my head back into the agent behind me jumping up and over the table driving a fist into Nicholson’s face. I started to dig in the box for any kind of key. Nicholson tried to grab me and I drove my elbow into his face as the other one dragged me off the table pinning my arms behind my back as Nicholson righted himself. He came over sighing, “That wasn’t very cooperative, miss Stark.”

He slapped me before give a couple jabs to my gut. It was going to get worse but the door opened and another agent appeared in the door calling, “Idiot Stark is calling again.”

“Put him through,” Nicholson nodded pulling his phone from his pocket explaining to me, “let’s not cause an incident alright. I’d have to have to turn your brother into a criminal as well, freezing his and the Avengers assets.”

“I get it,” I snapped and he handed me the phone to answer, “Yeah Tony.”

“Hello miss Stark,” Jarvis greeted as the other agent released me, “I have been asked to secure the line. I’ll have your brother on the line in just a moment.”

“Yeah,” I nodded pacing as Tony answered after a pause, “Look Tony I don’t need a lecture again.”

“What?”

“I know it was a stupid idea,” I scoffed trying to put on a show, “Yeah, well, I was saving your stupid ass again.”

“Whoa,” Tony muttered, “Slow down, you’re not making sense.”

“No, I’m fine,” I replied sticking my spare hand in my pocket trying to think of a way to get to Nat, “They found out about England and Loki and I.”

“You okay,” his voice was flat as he realized something was going on.

“No,” I sighed, “There no need for anything like that. Just maybe plug the holes where ever they are. Basic stuff, Fury will know how to handle it. What’s going on there? Any progress? Any news?”

“He’s not here and we haven’t tracked him down yet,” Tony growled, “We got a ping but it was brief.”

“Why does Nat need to talk to me,” I scoffed hoping he got the message.

“What about Nat?” Tony uttered confused.

“Tony hand me the phone,” I heard her call from the background.

“Can’t you handle it?” I sighed, “Fine put her on.”

“What’s up kid?” she replied.

“Hey, Nat,” I swallowed trying to be clever about it, “Yeah, you know the usual.”

“They got info?”

“Yeah, I was just telling Tony,” I sighed casually, “They were questioning me about England and Loki.”

“Shit,” She muttered, “You okay.”

“Ehh,” I shrugged, “It’s not like Myanmar, it’s just a few questions. Calm Tony down. What did you want to talk about?”

“They beating you?” she asked, “What for yes, how for no.”

“What!”

“You need an evac,” She replied, “We can come get you.”

“How!” I snapped, “he can’t be out there. He’s a strictly indoor cat, what was Darcy thinking.”

“What do you need?” She asked.

“No don’t do anything crazy,” I sighed pinching the bridge of my nose trying to think, “Tell Jane to put the can opener in the window and turn it on. Get Fitz and the others to have the shelters check his tracking chip. Just find the damn cat, I’m worried about him out there by himself.”

“What about you?” she frowned.

“I don’t think a missing cat gets me a hall pass,” I scoffed, “Besides Tony would never let me live it down. Going nuts over a cat.”

“Break yourself out, you got the power,” she advised, “Don’t wait around there, kid these people get rough.”

“I can’t,” I sighed pausing for half a beat, “I don’t want to involve lawyers over a cat. I’ll leave it to you guys, I trust you to find him before he gets himself hurt.”

“Hang in there kid, we’ll get you as soon as we have him,” she assured me.

I hung up handing the phone back to Nicholson sighing, “See I can be agreeable.”

“We’ll see about that,” he scoffed.

The small scuffle was nothing. I think homeland security was learning from the CIA or hydra or some shit. I was subject to beatings while questioning interrupted by brief questioning with some kind of pain inducing drug. When they were done I was placed in a cell with just enough room to stand or lay down in a cot. It was an effective configuration the bed was embedded in the wall so you couldn’t sit up on it or change position to get comfortable. It was more like a nook in a cave wall the room having just enough floor space to allow me to shimmy myself into the bed. I should have been able to keep up, if they hadn’t blocked the stone it would have healed me while I rested but this was taking it out of me. After a while I could barely stand, the bed configuration was designed to cause muscle fatigue. I needed a break, something to catch my breath. Thankfully they believed me when I pretended to pass out during my next injection. They left me there under guard and I tried to rest peacefully.

I heard a noise from outside and people shouting. I groaned weakly trying to open my eyes but everything hurt between the beatings and the remnants of the injection I was in bad shape. I managed to mumble, “What’s that?”

“Go see what’s going on,” one of the men muttered.

I heard the door open then close again. It was quiet for a brief moment and there was a bang as the door was kicked in. I heard a couple gun shots before a swift thud as he hit a wall. I felt someone pulling at the straps on my wrists muttering, “Fuck Tessa.”

I moved my free hand brushing against the leather armor as he freed my other hand. I smiled mumbling, “Loki…”

“Shit,” he breathed and I felt a hand on my face, “I’m here, darling. I’ve got you.”

“Loki of Asgard!” Nicholson called from across the room, “Stand down. You’re under arrest.”

“Who are you,” Loki snarled turning around his hand drifting to mine, “You’re not one of the SHIELD agents. What did you do to her?”

“Richard Nicholson,” he replied, “Homeland Security. She didn’t want to tell us where you were. A cause for some concern…”

Loki was gone from me and there was a soft choking noise I suspected was coming from Nicholson. I didn’t want Loki to get hurt, they had hydra tech I couldn’t be sure reinforcements weren’t on their way. I swallowed hard trying not to sound hoarse, “Loki… Loki, please… I need to leave…”

I heard a gasp for air and I was lifted off the table as he breathed kicking Nicholson in the gut as we passed, “I’ve got you, my love. Let’s get you patched up.”

Chapter Text

Loki laid me down on a soft bed turning away and I latched onto his hand and he sighed, “I’ll be right back, love.” I squeezed tighter and he chuckled, “I won’t be a moment, I’m just getting some bandages.” I let go and he returned a moment later as I was trying to sit up and he sighed, “You need to lie down.”

“I’ve been lying down for days,” I croaked managing to open my eyes, “I need to sit up.”

“Those fucking bastards,” he fumed dipping a cloth in warm water to clean my face, “I have half a mind to go back…”

“Don’t,” I smiled holding onto his wrist as he dabbed at my cheek, “Please stay here with me.”

“Of course,” he breathed softening slightly, “I shouldn’t have left…I…”

“Loki, you didn’t know SHIELD would go ape shit,” I smiled as he played the nurse maid, “If SHIELD hadn’t called me back they wouldn’t have gotten to me.”

“Where the fuck were they?” he snarled, “They were supposed to protect you.”

“They couldn’t stop them,” I sighed closing my eye for a moment so he could clean it, “They were threatening to tell the world about you and I.”

“So?” he frowned, “What should they care?

“Loki,” I sighed, “Last the people of earth saw of you, you blew up New York. If they learned that you were back and the Avengers were harboring your girlfriend, there’d be riots. The avengers would be criminals and people would try and storm the tower to capture me. Believe me they didn’t want to but I wasn’t going to let them do that.”

“What do you mean?” he paused.

“I handed myself over,” I explained, “I thought if it got bad I could break out. But they blocked my use of the stone. That’s why I look like this. I must look like shit.”

“You’re a bit dirty,” he sighed gently wiping the dried blood from my bruised face, “But you look like my Tessa. Let’s see… there you are. My beautiful Tessa.”

“You are so full of it,” I smiled at him as he caressed my face.

“You are my beautiful Tessa,” he smiled kissing my forehead, “and I fully intend to hunt down the monsters that dared to touch my darling.”

“Loki,” I smiled kissing him. It was sweet and all I needed to feel better but it hurt my split lip and I involuntarily winced.

He frowned holding my face, “I’m sorry, I won’t do that again.”

“Don’t you dare say that,” I frowned leaning in again.

He stopped me with a gentle finger to my lips, “Not until you’re healed. I don’t want to hurt you.”

I pursed my lips as he began to bandage the cuts on my face, “That is downright cruel.”

“Tough,” he smiled kissing my forehead, “We should get you changed…”

“I would kill for a bath,” I groaned trying to stretch, “Where are we?”

He sighed setting the cloth down, “This was meant to be a surprise. I suppose I mucked it up a bit.”

“What’s a surprise?”

“This,” he nodded to the room around us, “It’s only a small cottage.” He got up pulling open the curtains on the window. I could see a cliff side and a beautiful blue sea stretching out before me and I gawked as he continued, “I thought you might enjoy the view.”

“You bought a fucking house,” I stared.

“Among other things,” he shrugged like he’d just handed me a bouncy ball, “I thought you would find it more relaxing than your brother’s tower.” I just stared in shock at the thought of it, Loki bought a house because he thought I’d like it. Was that weird? He was a prince from another planet, a lot of things were weird. After a moment he ventured watching me closely, “Do you like it?”

“It’s gorgeous,” I blinked, “I’m just… just speechless. It’s a freaking house.”

He laughed picking me up, “How about that bath?”

He carried me into the other room sitting me on the closed toilet as he started the water. He slowly lifted my arms above my head making me wince a little. He frowned but I nodded and he lifted my shirt over my head. I tried to stand up but my muscles ached and I nearly fell over but Loki caught me supporting me frowning again and I sighed, “I’m fine really.”

“That remains to be seen,” he sighed as I held onto the counter and he slipped my pants down. He discarded the rest of my clothing and helped me into the warm water. He reclined me back stroking my hair for a moment as I relaxed. He turned off the water and lathered some soap in his hand gently starting to wash me sitting beside the tub. It was oddly relaxing having him take care of me. He rubbed some shampoo into his hands massaging my head making me moan. After a while he helped me out and dried me off with a soft towel before bringing me some new clothes. He helped me dress in a light tank top and cotton trousers but it made my heart sink seeing him grimace at the bruises. I tried to walk back to the bed but was relying mostly on Loki for support. I sat down adjusting in the bed as he asked, “Would you like me to read to you?”

“Only if you lie down with me,” I smiled at him realizing I didn’t have my books, “Damnit I don’t have anything.”

“I have your bag,” he nodded getting up and I stared surprised, “I may have snuck into stark tower to gather a few things for you.”

“Alright then,” I shrugged as he handed me my bag. I pulled out the book Odin had given me and handed it to him nodding, “This one.”

He frowned looking pensive for a moment muttering, “Where did you get this?”

“Odin gave it to me,” I shrugged, “It’s the book he thought might help with my research. It’s what told me about bearers and what not. I was going to get it back to him but he told me he wanted me to keep it.”

“It was Frigga’s,” he uttered running his hands over the cover and I wanted to slap myself, “She used to read from it to me when I was a child, it was one of her favorites…”

“I’m sorry Loki, I didn’t think…” I sighed, “Let’s read something else…”

“No,” he sighed climbing into bed beside me, “I’m glad you enjoy it. Come here darling.” I snuggled close to his chest as his arm wrapped around me as he started to read. After a while he stopped to cook me some dinner and I was pleasantly surprised with his skill. I was beginning to wonder if there was a skill Loki didn’t have. We carried on this way for about a week. He’d wake me up in the morning with breakfast then help me stretch my muscles to ease the fatigue, he’d spent the rest of the day reading to me only stopping to make me eat. After the first week I could stand and walk alright for the most part. Loki still hovered close behind since my legs did occasionally still give out but it gave me an excuse to explore the cottage. He was right it wasn’t big but it was to our tastes. There were plenty of bookshelves packed to bursting point with books from my apartment making me gawk. Loki admitted he’d done a bit of snooping with the help of Thor and Darcy while I was in hiding. I was going to kill that little rat, she had a spare key for emergencies not letting Loki snoop. The cottage really only consisted of a small kitchen, a living room, the bathroom, and the bedroom. It was nice and quiet and soothed me. It was decorated in a very Loki fashion, green and silver with dark wood. We stared to spend time in the living room cuddling on the couch and watching t.v. now that I was well enough to be up and about.

Loki flipped channels and I stopped him as we happened across the news and my face was there as the news caster explained, “Billionaire Tony Stark’s sister, historian Tessa Stark, is still missing today as we see his third press release since her since her disappearance...”

They cut to the Tony standing outside Avengers tower behind a podium. Pepper was behind him and I could see Hill a bit further back as he spoke to the press, “This is difficult. I love my sister and to have her missing deeply concerns me. I hope that she can hear me and know that I’m coming to find her. If you’ll forgive me, to whoever has her,” I saw Pepper flinch trying to calm him down, “Whoever you are big man, where ever you are. I am going to hunt you down. Listen close…”

Pepper cut him off smiling her best CEO smile, “As I’m sure you can understand this is a difficult time for Mr. Stark. If anyone has any information about Tessa we are asking people to please contact Avengers headquarters as they are heading the search for her.”

It cut back to the news caster as she explained, “That’s the CEO of Stark Industries, Pepper Potts, taking over for a clearly distraught Tony Stark. As she said anyone with information on Miss Stark is asked to contact the Avengers, we have their contact number below me now. It’s been released that Miss Stark was kidnapped from Homeland Security’s protective custody last Wednesday afternoon. While the newly reformed SHIELD organization serving under the Avengers is not willing to discuss why she was in protective custody they did release it was in cooperation with her work with her brother Ironman and the Avengers Initiative. It is unclear as to who has taken the young Tessa Stark but a SHIELD representative did say that many terrorist cells and former adversaries to the Avengers are under investigation…”

“They’ve been running this particular campaign since I rescued you,” Loki chuckled muting the show looking amused.

“This is ridiculous,” I shook my head, “I should call him. Stop this madness.”

“No,” Loki frowned, “They nearly got you killed. I’m not having them put you in danger again.”

“Loki, they think you kidnapped me,” I sighed, “We can’t hide here forever. You have a realm to rule, I apparently am an Avenger now. I walked out of that tower willingly, you can’t blame them for that.”

“They should have stopped you,” he huffed flipping channels again.

“Have you ever been able to stop me when I set my mind to something,” I scoffed, “I get not going back until I’m healed but they are launching a literal manhunt for me and probably you. They will eventually find us. If I call it would reassure them I’m safe…”

“They’ll track your call,” he sighed, “I understand why you want to call, it would make things much simpler. However, I would rather not be torn away from you so soon after having you back in my arms. I won’t deny I am angry with them. It boils my blood to see them and know they swore to protect you only to allow you to walk to needlessly into danger.” He took a deep breath calming himself stroking my hair, “I know I am likely destined for a cell again. Just give me a bit longer to enjoy your company before they lock me away from you.”

“Alright,” I sighed, “But if this nonsense gets out of hand I’m calling Tony and shouting at him.”

“Duly noted,” he mused returning to flicking through the t.v. channels.

Another week passed and I tried to keep up with the search for me but the idea of them getting closer was putting Loki off. I was getting better slowly, my scrapes were healed and my bruises were fading to a disgusting yellow blue color. I was getting stronger but I still couldn’t get very far without my knees going weak. I could get dressed by myself now and that made me feel less helpless. I woke up and found Loki wasn’t in bed but the door was ajar and I could hear him humming in the kitchen. I smiled getting up and changing my clothes digging through the drawers Loki had stocked with new clothes for me. I put on a fresh sexy pair of underwear, I felt good today. Loki may have been giving me simple less tempting options to help himself fight the urge to tackle me into the bed. Not today, mischief man, I’m getting myself dressed and I feel well rested meaning you are going to be subjected to sex underwear until you give in. I pulled up a pair of light cotton shorts over them digging for a matching top.

“Mmmm,” Loki purred leaning on the back of the door watching me as I threw a tank top on, “I cannot wait until you are well again.”

“I am well,” I sighed rolling my eyes running my hands along his arms, “I have a few bruises…” My knees started to shake and Loki held on to my waist supporting me, “And my muscles are a little week. It’s not a big deal.”

“You shouldn’t be up,” he frowned. There was a loud crash and Loki muttered, “I’ll be right back. Stay put.”

“Loki…”

“I don’t care who it is,” he said looking me in the eye, “Thanos, Thor, Tony… I don’t care. Don’t leave this room. I don’t want anyone to touch you.”

“If it’s…”

“Please,” he sighed kissing my forehead, “For my peace of mind.”

“Alright,” I nodded hating to do it.

He left the room closing the door behind him. I heard some banging and the charging of the Iron man suit. I winced listening as I leaned on the door trying not to go out there and stop them. I heard Tony snap, “Where is she you bastard?”

“Easy Tony,” Steve warned.

“It’s my fucking sister, spangles,” he snapped charging the armor, “I’m not playing. What have you done with her?”

“I haven’t the clue what you’re on about,” Loki bluffed smoothly.

“Where is she, reindeer games,” Tony snarled, “Tell me where she is!”

“Ahhh,” Loki scoffed, “Miss Tessa, yes? Mmm, I do miss her talents…”

“Do not toy with him brother,” Thor warned, “There is no mercy where Tessa is concerned for him. Tell him where she is.”

“I don’t know,” he scoffed and there was a threatening sound from the Ironman suit and I nearly jumped out, “Shooting me will not change that.”

“You expect us to believe that you kidnapped her but don’t know where she is,” Nat muttered skeptically.

“It was I that convinced her that time apart would keep Thanos away,” Loki shrugged, “I agree, it is safer for her to be far from me. I liberated young Tessa, yes, then sent her off with my agents to see to her protection.”

“I don’t believe you,” Tony growled the suit charging up, “There’s one sure way to find her…”

I couldn’t take it, there was a serious note to Tony’s voice and I wasn’t going to let Loki throw himself under the bus like that. I pulled open the door rushing down the hall to the kitchen despite the pain in my muscles. I came into the room shouting, “Tony! Stop!” They all stared. Tony had a blaster to Loki’s head as he stood on his knees. I panted feeling my knees wobble, “I’m right here alright, calm down everyone!”

Loki disappeared from their captivity catching me as I crumbled. He sighed as everyone stared at me, “I told you I would handle it. You shouldn’t be up. You’ve strained yourself too much. I shouldn’t have let you be up and walking around so soon, it’s back to bedrest.”

“Handle it, my ass,” I muttered resting my head on his shoulder, “You were going to get yourself killed.”

He rolled his eyes nodding to the others, “Excuse me a moment.”

He carried me back to our room followed by the many Avengers. He sat me down in the bed tucking me in carefully as Steve blinked, “What the hell happened?”

“Language,” Nat muttered.

Steve glared as Tony took a step toward Loki threatening, “You do this…”

“He didn’t Tony,” I snapped as his helmet came off, “You know that. I know you would have asked Nat about the phone call.”

“They did this,” Steve frowned.

“Yes,” Loki glared pulling a chair up beside the bed to sit down, “The men you handed her over to beat and tortured her for information about me. And you people worry about the influence I have on her life…”

“Loki,” I frowned squeezing his hand, “You know I chose to go. We’ve been through this. It’s not their fault. Yes, Steve, they were a bit desperate to get any information out of me. I looked much worse a week ago, I could barely stand…”

“You still can’t stand,” Loki frowned, “You need to be resting.”

“I’m fine,” I rolled my eyes.

“What happened to not taking anything from them?” Tony frowned at me, “Why didn’t you bust out?”

“I couldn’t,” I sighed holding up the black cuff around my bracelet, “Something they picked up from pilfering hydra files. It blocks my access to the stone. If I could get it off I would be healed by now.”

“So Loki didn’t kidnap you he rescued you,” Thor crossed his arms sounding a little proud.

“In a manner of speaking,” I shrugged, “I was only barely conscious when he arrived. But yeah, Loki was a hero for once.”

“Don’t get used to it,” Loki muttered, “it doesn’t suit me.”

“I guess…” Steve started but there was a crackle on a radio.

Darcy’s voice came through the radio on his belt, “Hey Cap… it all clear in there? I’ve got an anxious Banner worrying about a code green. I’d rather not be in the ship when he goes all muscly. I mean I like Bucky but metal arm versus big green does not sound like it’s going to round two.”

“It’s fine Darcy,” Steve replied, “Tell Banner there’s no code green he’s fine. We’ve got Tessa and Loki here. Lock up and come on in, I don’t think we’re going anywhere soon.”

“We should be getting back to the tower,” Tony shook his head.

“You’re not taking her anywhere,” Loki glared.

“She’s my sister, rock of ages,” Tony glared, “It’s none of your business.”

“You let her get beaten,” Loki snipped at him, “It is my business as I appear to be cleaning up the mess you let her walk into. If anyone shouldn’t be making decisions for her it’s everyone that barged into my house.”

“Hardly a house,” Tony muttered under his breath.

“What should I tell Coulson?” Darcy asked poking her head into the room.

“We’re fine without him,” Steve nodded.

“Wait,” I called holding up my wrist, “Fitz has more experience with taking apart hydra tech. He could probably get this thing off.”

“Tell him to land,” Steve nodded, “Hopefully it won’t be for long.”

“You got it,” She nodded smiling at me, “Should I throw out the burning omelet?” Loki jumped up but Darcy shook her head, “Let me handle the cooking, mischief man.”

Loki rolled his eyes scoffing, “I did get side tracked by an attack.”

“Excuses,” she scoffed leaving.

I was left with several shifting glances and awkward looks. I sighed, I knew what everyone was avoiding and sighed, “Loki, will you give me a moment with them. No one wants to say anything. Will you help Darcy, show her where everything is?”

“As you wish,” he smiled kissing me making Tony twitch, “Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes please,” I nodded and he got up stepping out as Bucky and Banner came in, “Well this is crowded. I hope Coulson has room on the bus for you all, I think maybe four of you can fit in the living room.” Not one smile, “Alright, on with it.”

“You’re really alright,” Steve cut off Tony before he could make a snippy comment, “It’s just we haven’t heard from you.”

“I know, I saw the news reports. I know very well none of you trust him like I do,” I sighed, “I’m fine, Loki just likes to fuss over me. I didn’t call you for a few reasons. One I didn’t want you to see me like I was, it was not a pretty sight and I knew it would just piss you all off. Tony, I know you, we fight but if you’d seen me I don’t think we could have stopped you going after him.”

“You stopped Loki,” Tony huffed his feeling hurt, “Or does he just not care as much.”

“Tony,” Banner glared, “Too far, man.”

“It’s fine, I deserved that,” I sighed calmly reassuring Tony, “He only stayed because he didn’t want to leave me alone. If you’d both been here one of you would have gone out doing something you shouldn’t have. Also I wasn’t sure what all Nicholson had access to. He had hydra tech he might have been able to hack into the tower I didn’t want him finding Loki. I couldn’t be sure so it was safer to wait until I was back at full health. Lastly, Loki asked me not to...”

“I knew it,” Tony snapped crossing his arms at Thor, “This is abduction, Stockholm syndrome, he’s been conditioning her…”

“Don’t be stupid Tony,” I snapped, “He wouldn’t have stopped me if I had decided to call you. He’s just angry. He holds you responsible for letting me walk out of the tower with them. He thinks you could have done more… I’ve told him he’s being ridiculous, he can’t stop me when I set my mind to something but he’s stubborn.”

“Yeah we picked up on that,” Steve sighed, “We just want to make sure you aren’t being held here.”

“I’m not,” I chuckled shaking my head, “I am completely willing. To be honest I thought if I called you Loki would be sent back and I would be back in hiding again. I was trying to make the most of the lemons life had given me.”

“Bit of a stretch,” Tony struggling to find something to argue with, “You eating?”

“Nonstop, Tony,” I laughed at him, “Loki is a food factory. I swear I’m gaining weight here. Tony, it’s just some bruises. They’ll heal soon.”

“Why can’t you stand?” Nat asked surveying the visible marks.

I turned my arm over showing the needle marks, “Aside from pain inducing drugs they pumped through my system. They put me under muscle fatige. My muscles are still healing from the strain, it’s not just my legs every where’s like it.”

“Might be good to have Simmons have a look,” Banner commented, “Just you know to make sure.”

“Whatever you guys need to put your minds at rest,” I sighed shaking my head, “As soon as I get this off I can heal myself using the soul stone.”

“Ah, ah, ah,” Loki scolded coming in with a cup of coffee, “You will not be using that. You’re weak enough as it is without that thing draining your energy. As soon as we can take it off I am removing it from your wrists.”

“It’s,” I began.

“I think we all agree with him on that,” Steve sighed, “it’s not going to do you any good.”

“Finally, some sense,” Loki rolled his eyes, “There is a young woman and a curly haired young man demanding to be let in with agent Coulson. Are you all done? I doubt the equipment cluttering up my living room will fit with all of you in here.”

“Yes I think we’re good,” I nodded and Loki opened the door allowing Simmons in first.

She blinked at everyone standing around the room sputtering, “Oh, hello, the Avengers and all… Oh, metal arm man, right too crowded. Yes far too crowded, everyone out…” no one moved and she sighed setting herself, “I said out, she needs looking after and I can’t bring in my equipment with you lot standing around!”

Nat nudged Steve and everyone filed out past her but Tony just stepped out of the way. She frowned at him but I rolled my eyes, “Ignore him, Simmons, he’s in a mood. Tony I doubt Simmons is going to attack me, you can de-suit.”

The suit peeled away from him and packed itself down into a briefcase size package that he kicked into the corner. Fitz came in wheeling some kind of medical equipment around to Simmons side of the bed. He smiled, “Hey Tess, looks like it was good we had the sensor on you, eh?”

“Fitz I went willingly with Loki,” I smiled holding up my wrist, “Think you can get it off its hydra.”

“I’ll give it my best go,” he nodded bringing in more equipment.

Simmons frowned at me giving me the once over, “You certainly were put through the ringer. I take it they were heavy handed with the questioning. Beatings and muscle fatigue. Loki I worried because I’m still going weak in the knees some times.”

“I’ll check your reflexes for permanent damage, but those kinds of injuries take time to heal,” She lectured.

“Try telling him that,” I laughed.

“What about that drug they gave you,” Tony pointed out.

I rolled my eyes, “I doubt there’s anything in my system it’s been two weeks.”

“What kind of drug?” Simmons frowned.

“Pain inducing,”

“Not very nice people I see,” she huffed pulling out a small plastic cup, “I’ll give you a check-up just to be sure.”

I took it sighing, “I know what to do with that doc.” I started to get up and Tony took a step closer making me roll my eyes, “I just ran down the hall to stop you killing Loki, I think I can handle a trip to the bathroom.” I came back giving Simmons the cup to run her tests she started one and picked up a needle and vial smiling. I sighed stretching out my arm so she could draw the blood.

Loki knocked coming in a moment later seeing the needle in my arm commenting, “Is that necessary? She’s very weak.”

“Not that weak, Loki,” I sighed as he set food down beside me, “Would you stop worrying so much. Simmons will you tell him I’m fine.”

“You’re Loki,” she stammered nervously, “I saw you in New York… And that was terribly insensitive… I should really stop talking, what is wrong with me. Dear go why can’t I stop talking.”

She caught herself and I shook my head, “He’s not that scary, when you get to know him.”

“Says you,” Loki mused and Tony rolled his eyes, “So good doctor Simmons, is miss Stark in good health?”

“Her muscles are healing well, and there’s no sign of permanent damage,” Simmons replied collecting herself, “I’m just checking her blood now for anything that might be remaining from the drug they gave her. But I expect she is perfectly fine.”

“And her fatigue?” Loki pressed frowning at me, “Eat.”

“Torture effects people differently,” Simmons explained, “Her fatigue is within what I would expect considering what’s happened. But I’m double checking just to be sure.”

“Thank you very much, doctor,” he nodded hearing a loud crash, “If you’ll excuse me I must stop my brother tearing apart my kitchen. You have an excellent bedside manner by the way.”

I smirked at him as he left and Simmons stared, “Is he always like that?”

“Suave and intoxicating, yes,” I laughed as she taped up the pinhole from the needle, “He’s not always a scary conqueror. Most of the time he’s a delightfully polite prince.”

“I can see why you like him,” she smirked at me noticing her first test was done and staring at it for a moment.

Tony noticed asking, “What is it?”

“What?” she blinked, “Oh, nothing, lost in though. I forgot something on the bus. Fitz, think you could get it.”

“What did you forget?” he asked not looking up from tinkering with the cuff on my wrist.

“That big med kit with the um thinger-ma-whatsits in it,” she smiled and I could tell something was up, “Be a dear and get it please.”

“Yeah, fine,” Fitz nodded, “what is it again?”

“oh, you know that big heavy case with the thinger-ma-whatsits in it,” she forced confusing him, “Oh it’s just a big black case.”

“That a medical term there,” Tony chuckled.

“Go help him,” I scoffed, “It sounds heavy.”

“Uggh,” he sighed at my bossing him around but left with Fitz.

I smiled once the door was closed, “I take it that test is not good news.”

“Not bad news,” she replied, “Have you been ill?”

“Other than beaten to a pulp, no.”

“And your apitite,”

“Normal I guess,” I muttered confused, “Simmons what is it?”

“Well,” she sighed awkwardly, “You’re pregnant.”

Chapter Text

“I’m what?” I blinked shocked, “Want to run that by me again Simmons?”

“You’re pregnant,” she replied, “I ran it as part of a basic check-up panel. It came back positive.”

“Loki and I haven’t had sex in weeks,” I blinked searching for reason, “I’m on birth control….”

“Birth control can fail,” she sighed, “I can run it again if you like.” I nodded and she pulled out another test asking, “out of curiosity when was the last time you were intimate… for medical purposes.”

“The night before you guys picked us up on the bus,” I nodded, “When Loki first went missing.”

“Near enough six weeks ago,” she nodded giving the test a moment to process, “You’d be well into your first trimester by now. That could explain your fatigue and faintness. I don’t see any other reason for it.” She picked up the test again showing the pink on the strip of paper, “it would be white if you weren’t. Its showing pregnancy hormones in your system. You are indeed pregnant.”

I sighed heavily as she disposed of the test and Tony came in carrying a heavy box. I didn’t look up still staring off into space as he pulled me back calling, “Tess? You alright there?”

“Yeah,” I nodded absently, “Just a little light headed.”

“You didn’t eat your breakfast,” Tony frowned crossing his arms, “unless Simmons has another reason why?”

“Hm? No she is perfectly fine healing as expected,” Simmons grinned, “Probably low blood sugar.”

“I’ll warm it up,” Tony sighed picking up the plate off the bed heading for the kitchen.

Fitz wasn’t back yet and she sighed, “Obviously there’s things you’ll need to be counselled on. The important thing is to keep up your health. In your case, you need to make sure you’re eating properly. No skipping meals and proper portions. Should I have a word with Loki about that?”

“No,” I sighed, “I need to think about how to bring it up. This just came out of left field. Is everything okay considering what all happened a few weeks ago.”

“If something was wrong you would have known before I arrived,” Simmons assured me, “I see this has come as a bit of a shock. Is there anyone you’d like to talk to? I’m assuming if Loki is out so is Tony?”

“Yeah, no,” I sighed shaking my head, “Destroying the cottage not a good idea. Um, yeah talking to someone probably a good idea. I’ll talk to Darcy. I can’t talk to Nat, she’ll tell Bruce and Bruce will tell everyone and then boom goes the cottage. Yeah, just Darcy for now.”

“I’ll let her know,” She smiled reassuringly, “Should I distract Fitz for you?”

“No,” I sighed, “I doubt he’ll even hear a word we say he’ll be too into dissecting this tech. Thanks Simmons.”

She stepped out and Darcy appeared a moment later with my sandwich frowning at me, “Food, you’re supposed to eat it Tessa. You’re worse than Jane. Tony nearly had a fit.”

“I’m sure he did,” I laughed taking a bite.

Loki appeared in the doorway and Darcy wailed, “Girl time!”

“The imp told me,” he raised his hands in surrender, “I know better than to challenge one that wields a taser. I was just making sure you didn’t need anything. Thor and I might be engaged in some discussions for a while before he returns to Asgard.”

“I’m fine,” I smiled at him, “Take care of business. I have enough nannies.”

He smiled at Darcy, “Please make sure she eats.”

“I’m eating!” I called brandishing my half eaten sandwich as he ducked out.

“Right, boys are gone, spill,” she smirked at me making herself comfortable on the bed, “Simmons looked like she had a dirty secret.”

“Yeah well it’s my bloody secret,” I muttered sighing, “You take it to the grave.”

“Don’t I always,” she scoffed, “That’s what the crypt behind my house is for. Now spill.”

I sighed just delving into it, “Simmons was giving me the once over since I’m still pretty out of it and while running a basic panel she found out I was pregnant…”

“You’re what?” she gaped at me.

“Yeah,” I shook my head panicking, “I had the same reaction. This cannot be happening.”

“You have to tell Loki,” she breathed.

“What!” I gawked, “Darcy this is out of left field. You want me to just casually say, ‘by the way you know when I was kidnapped and tortured, yeah I was pregnant, but it’s okay now.’ He would go mental!”

“Yeah, but this levels the playing field,” she giggled, “Thor and Loki are ruling as equals but Loki spends the most time on Asgard. However, Thor married Jane first but you two are having a baby first. It is amazing. So juicy…”

“Darcy, focus, I am panicking here,” I breathed, “Out of wedlock child while we are both hunted by an evil alien overlord.”

“Out of wedlock is easily fixable,” she shrugged, “Shot gun wedding. Thanos, I’ll grant you that one. But he’s frickin’ scared of you so cross that bridge later.”

The door opened and Fitz came in with a bundle of equipment. Darcy was about to snapped but I stopped her, “Its fine. I want this damn thing off.”

“Oh was I not allowed,” he blinked nervously, “Simmons said…”

“It’s coolio, bucko,” Darcy swayed, “The boss gave you the all clear. You can keep a secret right.”

“Secret?”

“Focus Fitz,” I sighed distracting him with the cuff on my arm. He set to work on it and once he was reasonably distracted I sighed, “Darcy, Loki panics when I prick my finger. You should have seen him these last few weeks. And when Thanos showed up on Asgard… I’m worried what this kind of thing would do to his state of mind…”

“You’re projecting,” she frowned at me, “You’re scared, fair play, it’s a scary thing. But Loki is mad for you and I mean it. You may not have been awake for it but I saw the carnage at homeland security. He tore that place apart, like Hulk tearing things apart, looking for you. He loves you Tess, he would be ecstatic.”

“I don’t know,” I sighed shaking my head.

“Tessa,” she scoffed, “I helped him set up this place, I know the reason behind this place…” I frowned confused, “What you thought the house came without something small and shiny attached? He’s been building up to this since you left.”

“He’s been planning to propose,” I gawked, “You’re kidding.”

“Fury was a bit of an ass about the whole keeping you in hiding thing,” Darcy shrugged, “It didn’t help that Tony doesn’t like him and was more than happy to back Fury on the no contact thing. He did try, he and I had a rather conniving plan to sneak a meeting but Steve messed it up. I’ve seen the ring, it is gorgeous, I never really go to talk to you about how you two ended things when you came back. I take it you were not as reassured as he was seeing as this is all some big shock.”

“It was a weird time, Darce,” I sighed fiddling with the edge of my tank top my eyes firmly placed on my lap, “Loki and I had a fight after I talked to you and Jane, then Thanos attacked, then Avengers avengering… then Odin died. I guess we really didn’t get to ground ourselves and talk really. I mean he was practically shoving me out the door cause he was scared Thanos was going to come enact some revenge on either of us, and the damned idiot had to be a fucking martyr. It was just hard for me to gage anything since with one breath he was saying ‘I love you’ but the other ‘stay the fuck away from me’. I was a mess when I got back here.”

Darcy laughed, “I know the martyr thing, believe me you got it better. At least Loki is only trying to protect you. Steve will throw himself under the bus to make sure one innocent person doesn’t die. I am well acquainted with martyrs. Why were you so shaken by Odin prick-head’s death?”

“I heard his last confession,” I sighed heavily, “He… Darce, there were secrets, well a secret, he kept from Loki and Thor that he told me and it’s some heavy shit.”

“You know something about the almighty twosome they don’t,” she gawked, “Spill! Wait why did Odin tell you? What is it? Is it like something Jane should know?”

“No,” I shook my head, “I’m taking this thing to my grave. Both of them could live very happy lives without ever knowing what he said to me. It’s fucking sick, I can’t tell you Darcy.”

“So heavy, heavy shit,” she muttered staring surprised more than offended, “Dicks, man! And Odin told you? On his deathbed?”

“He said someone needed to know in case it ever came up,” I sighed, “He wanted someone to ease him through it…”

“So it’s about one of them,” she surmised piecing things together, “But of course, the co-king thing they have going means that its relevant to both of them. Shit man. Is that what’s giving you cause to pause about the whole…”

She glanced at my stomach as she trailed off and I shook my head, “No, not at all. We’ve just been weird, you know. I mean not since he got back. Since he showed up in my lecture it’s like the last two and a half years didn’t exist we picked up right where we were before we fought. I mean I should be mad, right? Mad at the things he said, mad at him just fucking disappearing and breaking his promise, mad at him fucking walking out on me after sex so I then ended up with the fucking homeland security team from hell… but I’m not. I’m just happy he’s here. That’s not how it’s supposed to be right?”

Darcy just laughed at me explaining, “You’re broken, both of you, so very broken. But that’s what it’s like. He’s a space prince with an inferiority complex, and you’re the little sister of the Avengers with brother issues. There was no way you two would be anything but broken. Plus it’s just how those idiot Asgardians are,” there was a flash of bright light I recognized well as someone left for the other realm, “Jane’s the same way. She wants nothing more than to beat Thor to a pulp for the stupid shit he gets her into then disappears for long periods of time. But then he walks his big stupid ass through the door and she melts. It’s just how they are, completely disarming… and a little bit more or so I hear from Pietro.”

“That little shit, I’m going to murder him,” I muttered making Darcy giggle, “I’m serious his speed isn’t going to save him from me.”

“The point is,” Darcy laughed, “Don’t stress over this, just tell the idiot.”

I rolled my eyes as we moved off the subject catching up. I got the full details behind how she ended up hooking up and staying hooked to the star spangled man with a plan. She was happy though and that was good. After a while she left to cook me food while Fitz struggled with the annoying thing on my wrist. The others popped in and out through the day and I tried to put on a brave face. Darcy and the girls decided camping was not to their taste and rolled out sleeping bags in the living room while Steve managed to convince the boys to set up tents outside. Finally, everyone was sorted and Loki collapsed on the bed beside me in a rather un-princely flop groaning. I smiled chuckling at him, “Not one for house guests?”

“Not when I could have you all to myself,” he grumbled through a pillow before rolling onto his side giving me a funny look, “Darcy seems to think we should talk.”

I sighed frowning, “What good is she if she can’t keep my secrets?”

“Tessa,” he frowned adjusting to trailing his fingers over my skin, “What is it? She wouldn’t tell me everything. In fact, the only thing she would say is I needed to stop being so asgardian and proper and…” he swallowed, “Talk to you about us.”

She’d shouted at him to just propose already, fucking Darcy and her nosiness. I sighed knowing she was only trying to help, “She’s just nosey. Don’t pay her any mind…”

“She went into more detail than that, love,” he sighed twirling his finger over the center of my chest as he lounged beside me, “You have doubts as to my love?”

“No,” I shook my head trying to place my feelings, “I just… we argued, then there was Thanos which put you through the ringer, then I was getting shipped off like I didn’t have a fucking choice, then Odin died, then two years go by and I don’t get a word… but then you walk in to my lecture and it’s like none of that happened. It just… it’s just hard for me to get my head around it. I mean I’m happy, I’m fucking elated. I’ve got a prince and not just any prince in my bed doting on every move I make… I just…”

He studied me a moment caressing my face to make me look at him, “You know I love you, don’t you?” I blushed and he sighed pulling me closer. I snuggled into his chest as his chin rested on my head as his arms wrapped around me holding me tight. He kissed the top of my head whispering, “My love. You still think that I would leave you? You are the only thing that brings me delight. You think yourself unworthy, if anyone is unworthy it’s me. Your beauty and wit and utter perfection emanates from every fiber of you, every curve and crease. You are the very image I have dreamt of as long as I can remember, and thought I would never find. How could you be unworthy? Don’t ever let that cross your mind again. I am utterly devoted to you, the fact that we were separated under such disturbing circumstances pains me to my core. I ached every moment we were apart and never wish to be apart from you again. My love, please do not put any stock in such traitorous, vicious thoughts.”

I blinked stammering trying to place together something that would convey how I felt but I only managed, “I… I love…Loki, l…”

“Shh,” he smiled kissing me and calming my flustering, “I know, my love. Sleep darling, you need your rest.”

Chapter Text

Simmons woke us bright and early to get me up and moving, she declared I had enough rest and needed to stretch. I spent the next week amiably living in the crowded house slowly building back my muscles under Simmons strict command. After a few days Fitz reasoned out that the cuff required some kind of very specific signal to release but it wasn’t a strong piece of material. It sounded, from the way Fitz was talking, like this was some kind of prototype that should have been reinforced. I reasoned that a small tap from Thor or Steve’s shield would grant me freedom. Loki was not pleased with the thought of anyone trying something so dangerous as he put it and quickly vetoed the thought. Fitz left with Coulson on the bus back to the tower to try and decode the signal we needed or at the very least have Fury negotiate the information on from Nicholson. Simmons stayed to monitor my health and recovery steadily pleased with my progress. Things were calming down between everyone even Loki and Tony, though begrudgingly and I suspected after a stern talking to from Nat and Darcy, were beginning to get on to the annoyance of everyone else. The sass levels in the house began to escalate dangerously. Their particular subject of torment for the day was Bucky and the metal armed hero was quickly losing his temper with their jabs when I finally sighed from my seat at the counter, “Boy be nice, or I won’t stop Bucky from murdering you. Hell I’ll help him dig the graves.”

The quiet man smiled gratefully, I liked him. I felt bad for him, adjusting to real life was still a challenge and he preferred to stay quiet most times. Steve patted him on the back laughing, “What do you say Buck, wanna go two rounds with the two princesses?”

Tony and Loki shared a cocky look as Tony chuckled, “Think we can take a couple old men.”

“Far past their prime,” Loki mused back.

“I’ve kicked both your asses before,” Steve laughed.

“Language,” Bucky teased.

“Oh, I’m starting to want you to put your money where your mouth is Capsicle,” Tony taunted.

“You trying to break my toys again Toddles,” I called popping the hot muffins out of the tin Darcy had placed in front of me.

“Oy,” Darcy frowned as I started to cool the muffins as she started to bake more, “One of those toys is mine, Tony. I am far less forgiving when people break my things.”

Steve blushed as Tony laughed, “I never broke them I dismantled them.”

“And couldn’t put them back together,” I teased frowning.

“It’s just a bit of fun, love,” Loki chuckled at me as Tony’s phone started to ring.

He answered casually, “What’s the word witchling? The place burning down yet…. Woah, slow down…” he pressed a button and speaker phone went on sending the room into a clamorous noise. I could peg gun shots, breaking glass, and creaking metal. It set everyone on edge as Tony demanded, “What’s going on?”

“Hostile,” she shouted in her thick accent as we all gathered around the table, “Big man, alien…”

“Purple?” I asked knowing the answer before she confirmed it, “Thanos. Wanda, get out of there! Vision is priority, get him out now! Don’t let Thanos get a hold of him.”

“One moment,” she snapped disappearing from the line for a moment and I took Loki’s hand reassuring him. We heard her scream startling all of us followed by a short grunt as I suspected Thanos had back handed her. She scrambled for the phone rushing, “Code Red! Vision is down! He ripped the stone from his head. I don’t know where he is he’s gone…”

“Calm down, you did your best kid,” Steve reassured her, “Get yourself patched up and calmed down we’ll be there soon.”

“Shit,” Tony breathed as Steve hung up, “We should get moving. Get you two locked down.”

There was a crash from outside and I swallowed, “Cap, bracelet. Now.”

I didn’t need to say anything more I held out my arm and one quick strike with his shield and it cracked clanging to the floor as the others gathered around. There was that sickeningly deep voice that set me on edge that boomed from outside rattling through the walls, “Stone bearer! Don’t make me chase you…”

I swallowed looking to Tony and Steve, “Suit up and fast… we have a situation.” The disappeared for a moment and sprang into gear, “Clint, Nat…”

“On it,” they called darting for the living room to retrieve their gear.

I nodded, “Darcy, oven off, I don’t need my cottage burning down. Simmons stand with Bruce and Loki…” I caught a look from Loki and frowned, “Don’t start you’re a civillian here, you stay with them out of the way. Darce.”

“Civillian got it,” She called joining Simmons as Tony, Steve, Nat, and Barton came back to the room ready to act.

I hesitated but Steve nodded, “You took the reins, call it.”

I nodded, “Nat look after Bruce. Steve, Bucky, I need you guys to look after them, get them out of here. Thanos does not care about casualties. Tony, Barton, think you can back me up.”

“You got on it kid,” Barton nodded.

“I mean back up, stay out of his way he is dangerously powerful,” I nodded, “I’m going to draw his fire. He’s not interested in anything else. He still shouldn’t be a match for me, but we’ll see.”

“You sure about this, Tess,” Tony asked through his mask.

“I’m cleared for combat,” I smirked setting myself and walking out of the house through the back door. I strutted forward toward the giant calling, “Back for more Umpa loompa?”

“The little Tessa,” he chuckled at my attitude, “I have learned much of you since we last met.”

“And all I got you was a boot for your ass,” I scoffed, “Color me flattered.”

“I like your spirit young one,” he commented as Steve started evac with Bucky on his heals shielding, both shielding the party of three as they moved toward the plane, “Perhaps I will make you one of my daughters.”

“That’ll work about as well as a snowball in hell,” I snapped charging the stone, “Get lost Thanos. You know as well as I even with a stone you’re no match for a bearer. If you stay I’m taking the stone you just gained. I’d think carefully if I were you.”

He didn’t hesitate but fired at me with a charge from the mind stone. I caught it with a shield from my stone but it still sent me sliding back my heels digging up the soft ground. I fired back a round of my own as Tony came around from behind blasting him before darting out of his reach. Thanos snarled firing back at me again but I blocked firing off as Tony and Clint backed me up bombarding him with a succession that let us fall into rhythm. This drove Thanos mad, he could barely get a shot off without us hitting him with something. The excitement had unfortunately delayed Steve as he was trying to find a safe route to the plane. Thanos noticed and directed his attention toward the bystanders.

Steve tackled Loki and Darcy out of the way and Bucky pulled Simmons underneath him as a flash of yellow darted toward them. I caught it just in time meaning thankfully we wouldn’t have to bury Bucky again. Unfortunately, it left me open for a moment and I didn’t have time to block as a beam of yellow shot into my chest knocking me back. I landed flat on my back the wind knocked out of me but it felt like the stone absorbed the worst of it. I groaned trying to get up as Simmons and Darcy forced me down snapping, “Don’t move.”

“Tessa,” Loki breathed cradling my head.

“Loki!” Steve shouted blocking a blast before charging toward the fray, “Get them out of here!”

“Hold on,” Loki huffed and I felt a hand on each of my arms.

The soft grass on my back was replaced with smooth tile. Loki reached to pick me up but Simmons snapped, “Stop, we need to stabilize her.” She turned to the bewildered agents around us, “Get me a stretcher! I need Doctor Foster and the forge room, stat. Darcy keep him back I don’t need angry god rampage.”

I was lifted onto a stretcher and carried through the building into a mainly empty room with a soul forge in it. Jane was already there and they moved me into the forge gently and she began pressing buttons and turning dials. Loki stepped up to the dials snapping, “I have more experience…”

Simmons did the most daring thing I’d seen and pushed him out of the way snapping, “Out! You’re in the way, Loki. I need you to not be. Just go stand in the hall.”

He hesitated and I nodded, “I’m fine, go.”

He left and the door closed behind him. Jane started to mutter in frustration, “I might need him. I can’t get it to focus right.”

“You need to calibrate it for two life signs,” Simmons commented cutting open my shirt to check for burns, “She’s pregnant.”

“What?”

“Focus Janey,” Darcy muttered pacing, “Get the thing working.”

“Steve is going to be fine,” I assured Darcy as Jane readjusted the dials on the machine getting a clear reading.

“She looks fine,” Jane nodded, “No lasting effects.”

“I’m only seeing minor abrasions,” Simmons nodded, “It’s like you were wearing armor.”

“The wind just got knocked out of me,” I sighed, “The stone took most of the damage. Jane everything okay with…”

“Happy little heart beat,” she nodded turning off the machine and handing me a spare shirt, “Though I do have some questions.”

“I should hope you don’t,” Darcy frowned, “It’s a bit late for the birds and the bees, Janey.”

“I didn’t know until last week,” I sighed, “Simmons figured it out while she was checking me over. I haven’t told Loki yet. I don’t… I didn’t know how to bring it up, but he probably heard all of that.”

“We sent him out,” Darcy shrugged as I got dressed, “You’re secret’s probably safe.”

“Loki is a notorious eavesdropper,” I muttered getting up, “I’d better go deal with it. If he didn’t hear he certainly knows something up.”

“Let me know if he’s a dick and I need to tase him for you,” Darcy smiled reassuringly as I stepped outside.

Loki was waiting outside looking nervous. Before I could open my mouth he ran his hands down my shoulders worrying, “Should you really be up right now?”

“I’m fine,” I smiled holding his hand as it caressed the side of my face, “The stone took most of it, just knocked the wind out of me, minor abrasions and all. I’m okay, you can stop your worrying.” He smiled holding me to his chest as I swallowed trying to formulate how to get the words out, “There is something, though… oh, that makes it sound bad… Its not, its just… um… fuck, how…”

“Would you like me to pretend I didn’t hear so you can stutter out an explanation,” he chuckled at my flustering, “Or should I just confess.”

I sighed as he held me at arm’s length, “You did hear then, I didn’t want to tell you like that. I just didn’t know…”

“Is it true?” he stared impassive.

“Yes,” I nodded , “Seven weeks since you showed up in England. Simmons did the test twice.”

He laughed grinning ear to ear. He scooped me up before I could blink spinning me around making me a little dizzy before he set me down uttering, “Sorry… but, wow… Shit, Thanos! Is everything…”

“Everything is fine,” I chuckled at his swiftly shifting emotions, concern to happy to worry, “Jane just checked, everything is fine nothing to worry about.”

“Marry me,” He grinned again picking me up and kissing me, it was deep one hand trussed deep in my hair one supporting me. If things were different I would have worried about the sudden proposal after I just told him I was pregnant but Darcy had warned me it was coming. He was just excited and caught up in the moment. We parted my forehead leaning on his catching my breath and his face fell searching for an answer in my face.

I laughed getting the breath he’d stolen back, “Do you honestly think the answer is no?”

He smiled laughing a little. The whole world could have melted around us right then and I wouldn’t have noticed. Suddenly I heard a small, “Um…” We looked up seeing Simmons poking her head out of the door, “Is everything okay? I only ask because there is a very angry Ironman on the phone demanding to know what’s going on.”

“Oh, shit,” I breathed as Loki let me down, “Is everyone okay?”

“Just come answer the phone,” Darcy called as I stepped through the door, “She’s back in the room.”

“Tess, you okay?” Tony’s voice came from the phone.

“I’m fine,” I assured him, “The stone took most of it, just a couple scrapes and bruises. What happened? Is everyone your end…”

“We’re all clear kiddo,” Nat called, “Apparently I am not the only one Hulk likes. We had a self-called code green. Thanos scampered, for now at least.”

“Bruce okay,”

“I’m fine, Tess,” he laughed, “It was my genuine pleasure to beat him to a pulp.”

“Good to hear,” I smiled, “You guys on your way back?”

“Should be there in about an hour,” Barton replied, “Landing pad still in one piece?”

“You’re all clear,” Jane nodded, “There wasn’t that much of a fight. Thanos knew what he was looking for.”

“How’s Wanda?” I asked chewing on my lip.

Jane nodded heavily, “She’s resting, Thanos threw her hard. Pietro is with her, but she’s fine.”

“Right well, we’ll be back to regroup in a moment,” Steve called hesitating a moment.

Darcy knew what it meant and called, “I’m fine idiot, you don’t have to be so nervous about asking. Just get back here because your ass is mine tonight.”

There was a snicker from Tony and I bet Steve’s face was bright as a tomato at the moment. They hung up we all relaxed about as much as we could knowing Thanos was gone. After a moment Simmons ventured, “If you both would like, we have a moment I can show you how far you are along.”

I smiled, “I probably should have a check-up in that respect.”

“Have a seat then,” Simmons nodded to the examination table.

I sat down and Loki followed behind warily, “Am I going to be shouted at for being in the way again.”

“Not this time,” she smiled turning on the machine and smearing the goop onto the sensor as I rolled up my shirt. She placed it on my stomach sliding it around until she found what she wanted. She pressed a button freezing the image of a little circle and white blur among the static. She grinned, “There we are. Seven weeks is about the right estimate based on how far along you are. I’d say you’ll be showing in a couple weeks.”

I felt Loki’s hand in mine running his thumb over my thumb his eyes fixed on the screen. I giggled at how distracted he was, “So can we see anything important yet?”

“We won’t know gender for a while,” She explained pointing to a bur on the screen, “This here is the baby’s head… and this, if I zoom in a moment…” she clicked a few moments zooming in on a couple little lines, “Those are going to be the arms. You’ll be able to see more in a few weeks.”

“He looks like he’s got a big head,” Darcy pointed out and Loki and Jane shot her a look, “You sure it’s gunna fit doc.”

I just laughed winking at Loki, “He must be clever then.”

Simmons printed the first image handing it to us smiling, “Now, there’s certain check-ins that you should stick to just to make sure there are no complications. Every four weeks through your second trimester then every couple of week until you’re due. Later in your pregnancy certain test will be done, just basic things to make sure your baby is healthy. At week twenty we can do a quad screen test and check for any genetic and spinal abnormalities. You’ll be encouraged to take a group B strep test later on, again just things to keep you healthy. But your prenatal doctor can walk you through all of that. I’m not sure of the protocols on Asgard but I’d assume they are fairly similar. I assume you’ll be returning, but if you like I can recommend a couple colleagues…”

“Hell no,” I scoffed wiping the goop off my stomach, “My doctor is you Simmons, so I have to take a trip through the bifrost no biggy.”

“You sure?” she hesitated, “I’m really only basically trained in terms of…”

“You have excellent instincts,” I shook my head, “You helped Skye with the alien juice. You work with all of those idiots, and I’m carrying a part Asgardian baby. Believe me you are more than qualified.” Loki got a weird look and I shook my head, “Don’t give me that self-pity look, you know you’re not full Jotun or you would look a lot different. There is Asgardian in this little thing.”

“So is it time to spill the beans yet?” Darcy whined, “Or do I still have to keep it a secret.”

“For someone so good at keeping secrets you certainly like revealing them,” Loki observed chuckling.

“I’ve been sitting on this a week,” she groaned, “not to mention your little secret you made me keep for a year and a half.”

“We’ll tell everyone about both when they get back,” I shook my head, “It’s about time we do before they piece together things on their own.”

“Thor will be happy to be planning another wedding,” Jane laughed shaking her head, “You should have seen him last time, like a kid in a candy store.”

We waited downstairs until everyone got back. I noticed Loki’s hand kept drifting down to my stomach sub consciously and I chuckled, “You won’t be feeling any kicks yet.”

He blushed as the jet landed on the on pad and everyone filed out. I hugged Tony and he noticed everyone waiting around, “What’s with the welcoming committee? Something we should know about?”

“I’ll tell you in a minute, but everyone should be here for this,” I laughed stepping out onto the Ironman landing pad calling up, “Heimdall! Tell his royal muscliness to get his silver plated ass down here we need to talk.”

I backed away and a few moments later Thor beamed down looking very confused. He saw the little bit of wreckage and frowned, “What’s happened?”

“Thanos,” Steve elaborated and he rushed to Jane.

She calmed him smiling, “I’m fine, I was in another part of the building, but he took the stone.”

“What?”

“Okay,” I called interrupting, “We can worry about Thanos and the stones and shit later. I called you down here for a very important announcement.”

“Tess, can’t it wait,” Tony sighed, “We need to get you somewhere safe.”

“That’s the easy part,” I shrugged, “I’m going to Asgard.”

“You sure that’s a good idea,” Bruce hesitated, “I know you two are…”

“I’m going to Asgard because for one,” I sighed getting everyone’s attention. I paused looking to Loki seeing if he wanted to say it but he nodded for me to do it, “I’m getting married.”

“What?” Tony stared.

“Finally,” Thor cheered patting Loki roughly on the back, “It’s about time, brother.”

“Congratulations, kid,” Steve smiled patting my shoulder gently.

“Oh that’s not the only announcement,” I snickered quieting everyone, “Apparently it won’t be long until you all notice anyway so I figure we’ll get it all out of the way now.”

“No,” Nat grinned ear to ear at me.

“What?” Tony stared glancing between us, “What’s going on?”

“Tessa and I,” Loki began smiling.

“Tony,” I interrupted, “I’m pregnant.”

“Seriously,” Steve stared at me, “Wow, congratulations…”

Tony didn’t say anything just decked Loki straight to the jaw still in his suit. I sighed exasperated as Loki shrugged righting himself, “I should have expected that.”

Chapter Text

Loki stood fussing over me as Hiemdall readied the Bifrost, “You sure this is necessary? With things so close Simmons really should be…”

“I am eight months pregnant, Loki! Not dying,” I chuckled at him kissing him, “I’m perfectly fine to go to the tower for a check-up. Besides, don’t pretend you don’t want more pictures.”

“I should come with you,” he muttered making an excuse.

“You are to meet with delegation from Alfhiem,” I frowned shaking my head, “You cannot delay this because you would rather join me in midgard for a couple days.”

“Couple of days?”

“Loki,” I laughed, “I promised I would stick around help with the tracking of stones and what not. It’s a brief excursion. Both of us will be back shortly for you to dote over us.”

Loki smiled spreading his hands over my belly as he kissed me and the baby kicked, “I will be waiting anxiously.”

I passed one last kiss to him before stepping through the glittering light and landing on the landing pad at Avengers tower. Nat and Tony were waiting to greet me and he grinned as I stepped inside, “Look at you beluga!”

“Shut it Toddles,” I scoffed hugging him, “This is your nephew in here.”

There was a small kick from my belly and Tony smirked down at it, “Watch it squirt.”

“How you feeling Tess,” Nat smiled hugging me, “Still convinced it’s a boy I see.”

“Utterly,” I joked as we started for Simmons’ office.

“You could have Simmons check,” Tony rolled his eyes.

I shook my head, “It’s an Asgardian tradition, Loki and I agreed to observe it. We will find out when he’s born.”

“It’s silly,” Tony shook his head as I sat down on the examination table, “Simmons tell her it’s stupid.”

“It’s none of my business,” She shook her head starting the tests, “Any cause for concern since I saw you a couple weeks ago?”

“Nope,” I shook my head, “I feel like I’m about to burst and he’s kicking more but nothing bad.”

“That’s good,” She nodded taking notes as she turned on the ultrasound, “Everything is looking good, shall we have a look?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I nodded laying down and she studied the screen purposely pointed away from me, “How’s it looking Doc?”

“Wonderfully healthy,” She smiled, “I’ll have to put the midwives in Asgard on alert. I should expect you’ll be due very soon. The baby is moving down into position already. Have you started to think of names yet?”

“If Loki is right her name will be Kalira,” I nodded relaxing back, “If I’m right, we’ll have a lovely little prince Fenrir.”

“You seriously don’t want to know?” Tony frowned impatiently, “Don’t you already know with the stone?”

“No I haven’t checked, no I agreed to wait,” I shook my head at him, “If you’re so damned impatient have a look but keep it to yourself.”

“Yes!” he grinned stepping around the computer with Simmons, “Show me! I need to know what I’m shopping for.” I rolled my eyes as she pointed out a couple of things typing on the computer to explain to him and he groaned, “Damn it!”

“Who won?” Nat smirked.

“Thor, Barton, and Wanda,” he frowned shaking his head, “I can’t believe I owe Barton a hundred damned bucks. You tip him off or something Tess?”

“I don’t know,” I scoffed rolling my eyes, “And before you accuse me again, I haven’t used the stone, didn’t even ask Wanda to use her powers.”

“God damn it,” He shook his head, “Thor is going to piss himself with excitement…”

“Then try to get in on that action with Jane,” Nat shrugged, “He’s got something to prove now.”

“You guys have me worried now,” I frowned at the two of them.

“You don’t want to know,” Tony stuck his tongue out at her.

I sighed at his childish behavior, “Any chance of a non-revealing pic, Simmons?”

“Sorry,” she shook her head, “With the baby moving into position, it’s all out in the open. It won’t be much longer though. Soon you’ll be a mother and I suspect Loki will be spoiling you both into oblivion.”

“Not if I get there first,” Tony smirked as I cleaned off my belly.

I rolled my eyes sitting up and climbing off the table with his help, “Come on, I want to see the others and get to a comfortable chair to read in your lab.”

“Steady there,” Tony cautioned and I rolled my eyes.

He helped me down to the lab and into a plush arm chair he’d moved into a corner for my purposes. Bruce smiled as I walked in, “Welcome back Tess! Look at you. How are you feeling kid?”

“Good, tired a lot,” I smiled back, “Simmons said it should be soon. Which camp are you in?”

“Camp?”

“Kalira or Fenrir?” I elaborated.

“I didn’t hazard a guess,” Bruce smiled returning to his work, “I take it you are still adamant about not wanting to know?”

“I let Tony peek,” I scoffed settling into my chair and picking up a book, “But I still don’t want to know. Jarvis?”

“Yes, Miss Stark.”

“Could you tell Darcy and Jane, I’m here?” I replied as Tony and Bruce settled in.

“Of course, Miss Stark,”

“Jarvis,” she chuckled, “I’s Odinson now.”

“I am aware of your marriage, Miss Stark,” he replied and she rolled her eyes.

“Tess, think I can run some tests on the stone?” Bruce asked getting up.

“Sure where would you like it?” She asked starting to get up.

“I can…”

“Let her keep it Bruce,” Tony flashed him a look.

“Right,” he nodded picking up some instruments, “I’ll come to you.”

“I’m pregnant not broken you know,” she chuckled settling back into her chair as he wheeled his over.

He laughed sitting down and starting his scans, “I know, but no point in you being uncomfortable.”

“There some reason I shouldn’t take off the bracelet,” I raised an eyebrow at the two of them.

“No reason,” Tony brushed it off.

“Woo, look at you,” Darcy called walking in with Jane, “You sure you ain’t carrying twins?”

“Not according to Simmons,” I laughed smiling, “How are you both?”

“Oh you know the usual,” Darcy sighed.

“Good, research is going well,” Jane smiled, “How’s our little Kalira?” Tony scoffed and Jane frowned, “What?”

“I’m not allowed to say anything,” Tony shook his head, “I thought Cap’ would be with you Darcy. It being his day off and all…”

“Yeah but he and Buck decided to show… our, uh, special guest around,” She replied, “Just in case he got any ideas.”

“Probably a good idea,” Tony nodded, “I don’t want him stealing my things.”

“Who?”

“No one,” Jane replied, “just someone from an agency wanting a peek at our facility. You missy should be on maternity leave not working here.”

“Well you get your wish for a moment,” I shook my head getting to my feet, “I need to pee and I need a snack.”

“I can get it,” Darcy offered.

“No point,” I shook my head, “My hormones are still going nuts, I’ll have changed my mind three times before you get here. It’s fine I don’t mind, think you can last for a bit without me?”

“Should be fine,” Bruce smiled, “Get you and that little one something to eat.”

I walked back toward the rec rooms with Jane and Darcy. As we came out of the elevator Steve was standing there and I smiled, “Hey Steve! I heard you took up some extra work on your day off… and now I see why.”

“Hello miss Stark,” A rather nervous looking Agent Nicholson, “I see, uh, you’re doing well…”

“Yeah, do the math Nicholson,” I smiled at him raising an eye brow, “I’m nine months preggers.”

There was a brief moment of confusion then he turned green trying to think of something to say. Bucky got there first commenting, “and he was wondering why he was getting dirty looks.”

“As much as I would love to stay and chat,” I smiled, “This baby is sitting on my bladder and momma is hungry. I’d avoid Tony and Bruce’s lab, I’d hate to think of what Tony would do. Shall we catch up tonight? I hear someone has won the betting pool and it wasn’t Tony.”

“Sound’s great kid,” He smiled stepping out of the way, “Make sure you eat plenty. You look great… Loki didn’t come with you did he?”

“No, business on Asgard though he wanted to,” I chuckled, “Nicholson is safe from his wrath for now.”

The day passed with Darcy giggling at each kick and soon everyone was sitting around the kitchen in Tony’s suite eager to feel. Thor giggled like a little girl when he felt a kick beaming, “That was a warrior’s kick if I ever felt one!”

“Just because it’s a warrior’s kick doesn’t mean it isn’t a girl,” Jane shook her head, “That’s our Kalira in there.”

“I’m afraid Thor and Barton won the pool,” Tony grumbled and everyone groaned as Baron and Thor cheered.

“I told you guys I’ve been through this three times I know when to trust my gut,” Barton laughed, “Team boy for the win!”

“Way to go idiot,” Nat frowned as I pinched the bridge of my nose, “She didn’t want to know.”

“Ooops, sorry Tess,” Barton swallowed.

“And I really wanted to be the one to tell her,” Simmons frowned from her seat beside Bucky.

“It’s alright,” I rolled my eyes, “I’m surprised Tony didn’t spill the beans. So Fenrir?”

“Fenrir,” Simmons smiled.

“Well everyone will be excited back on Asgard,” I sighed getting up, “Unfortunately this little one is making me pee, again.”

I stood up and froze making Simmons ask, “What is it?”

“Um,” I breathed, “I think my water just broke.”

Chapter Text

“What!” Tony wailed.

“Calm down Stark,” Nat shook her head giving me a supporting arm as Simmons joined us.

“Yes, you certainly have,” Simmons nodded, “Alright let’s get moving we need to get you out to the balcony. Bucky can you grab the duffle? Thor, we’re going to need Hiemdall to alert Loki and the midwives, have them prepare a room. Jane, Darcy…”

“We’ve got it,” Darcy nodded as they helped Nat to support me as I felt a striking pain I could only assume was a contraction, “Steady there kiddo.”

Everyone shot into action and after a moment Thor poked his head back in explaining, “Hiemdall is waiting with Loki and the midwives they are ready for us.”

“Right,” Simmons nodded as Bucky returned with a duffle bag, “Let’s go.”

Everyone gathered together and the familiar light sent us zooming off to Asgard. As we stepped into the bifrost Loki was waiting and rushed forward. He kissed me smirking, “I told you that you shouldn’t travel…”

“Oh shut up,” I breathed wincing through another contraction. I saw the look on his face and waved him off, “It’s just a contraction. I don’t think he’s going to wait much longer.”

“I’ve got you,” Loki grinned picking me up nodding to Simmons, “Shall we doctor?”

“I would say sooner is better than later,” Simmons nodded.

“I’ve arranged for transportation…” Loki began.

“See to your wife and child brother,” Thor laughed, “we will meet you there shortly.”

With that we appeared in a healing room and Loki laid me down on the table. He fretted over me brushing back my hair as I groaned through a couple more contractions. Simmons and the midwives scurried about us getting things ready. Loki helped me out of my trousers and draped a blanket over me. After a moment Simmons sighed lifting up the blanket, “Right, let’s have a look and see how you’re doing… Oh, my. Well, the baby is certainly eager to see you both. You’re nearly fully dilated. I wouldn’t imagine it’ll be much longer.”

“Thank fuck for that,” I sighed through the pain.

The head midwife checked as well nodding, “She will have the baby soon, Your Grace. You must leave the chamber.”

“What!” Loki frowned, “I’m not leaving…”

“It’s tradition Loki,” I huffed wincing, “I’m fine. It won’t take long. Only women are allowed during the birth, you know that.” I shouted through a much worse contraction, “Send Darcy, Nat, and Jane in. They can help me through it. It won’t take but a moment.”

He sighed kissing me, “If you insist. I’ll send them in.”

He left ushered out by the midwives and Jane, Darcy, and Natasha replaced him a moment later. Simmons kept an eye on me for another twenty minutes before she was satisfied I was ready. Darcy and Natasha helped me up off the table and onto the bricks as the midwife knelt before me waiting. Simmons joined her as Darcy and Nat supported me coaching, “Alright Tessa. When I say you’re going to push. Don’t push unless you feel like you absolutely have to.” I nodded heaving and shouting through two more contractions before she nodded, “Alright, he’s crowning. Push, Tessa.”

I screamed through the pain, my eyes pressed shut and my hands nearly breaking Darcy and Nat’s as I felt the midwife’s hands beneath me. Simmons coached me through another two pushes before I heard a cry and sighed with relief. The midwife smiled, “Congratulations, Your Majesty. Your son has been born in good health.”

“Good,” I sighed resting for a moment before carrying on. A short while later Simmons had cleaned Fenrir and wrapped him in a blanket before handing him to me as I rested on the table. I sighed smiling as he stared around the room eyes darting from me to the women around me making noises, “Look at you so curious. Are we done?”

“Yes, Your Grace,” the midwife nodded, “Shall I fetch the Kings?”

“Let them all in,” I nodded still smiling.

“My love,” Loki breathed rushing to my side and kissing me, “Are you alright? I heard you…”

“I am fine,” I laughed a little, “Just tired. But we have a lovely and very curious baby boy, eager to meet you.”

Loki looked down smiling meeting his little blue eyes grinning, “Tess… He’s beautiful…”

“Kiddo,” Tony beamed coming around the table, “You doing okay?”

“I’m fine,” I laughed as everyone filed in, “Everyone hear that? Perfectly fine, just tired.”

“Whoa,” Tony chuckled looking at the bundle in my arms, “Little punks already awake. Look at you tiny.” Fenrir made a noise and they everyone giggled as Tony sighed, “Mouthy little thing already. Well, I never, speaking to your uncle in such a way.” There was another coo, “how dare you young man.”

“Tony,” I laughed, “Knock it off.” I smiled at Loki, “Hold out your arms… Support his head. There we go.” I smiled as Loki cautiously held him bouncing a little as he made noises, “Go on, I think introductions are in order.”

Loki took him around the room and everyone smiled making faces at him. After a short while Loki and I retired. I rocked Fenrir’s cradle as he slept and I felt Loki’s hands slip around my waist as he smiled in my ear, “You’re so beautiful.”

“You’re a flirt,” I chuckled back quietly, “he’s handsome, like his father.”

“Now, who’s flirting,” he chuckled as I turned kissing him, “Let’s go to bed. I have a feeling you, my darling, are about to become very popular.”

“I hear bearing a first born son can do that,” I laughed curling up beside him, “I supposed, everyone is going to wish to see him soon.”

“Yes,” he smiled wrapping his arms around me, “We’ll present him formally in a couple weeks…”

“I meant to ask,” I yawned, “Did your meeting go well?”

“Nothing’s been decided yet,” he smiled at me, “I still have much to do but they can wait a couple days…”

“No,” I shook my head, “Deal with them Fenrir and I aren’t going anywhere any time soon. I have enough Avengers doting on me to keep me busy.”

“We’ll talk about it in the morning,” he cooed stroking my hair, “You get some rest.”

Chapter Text

I groaned waking up to a cry from the other room. I rubbed my eyes climbing off of Loki’s chest. He caught me mumbling, “Let the governess soothe him.”

“We haven’t hired a governess,” I grumbled getting up, “We can’t agree on one. I’ll be back in a moment.” I got up pulling on my robe in the dim early morning light and stepping into the nursery. Fenrir was standing in his crib wailing for me, I sighed scooping him up quieting his cries, “What are you doing up young man?”

“Ama,” he cooed as I bounced him on my hip stepping out onto the balcony.

“Yes, Ama,” I chuckled tiredly, “You are a mamma’s boy, just like your father. It is too early for little princes to be awake, you know.”

“Pretty,” he pointed at the glowing lights around the city below us.

“Yes, they are pretty,” I smiled at him, “You are talkative this morning.”

“Play,” he giggled.

I shook my head, “It is too early to play.” He pouted and I urged him to rest on my shoulder as I soothed, “Shh, darling, back to sleep for you.”

After a moment he bounced up grinning, “Ada!”

“You, young man,” Loki chuckled behind me kissing the curly mess of black hair on his head, “Make it very difficult to surprise your mother.”

“Ada, ada, ada,” he demanded and Loki chuckled as I handed him over and he nodded, “Ada play.”

Loki laughed, “Your mother has already passed verdict on that activity I believe.” Fenrir turned his head to the side and Loki chuckled, “No, Fen. It’s too early. You should be sleeping.”

He pouted laying his head on Loki’s shoulder as I smiled, “I don’t think he’ll go back to bed any time soon. I really thought he was starting to sleep through the night.”

“Just give him a moment,” he smiled kissing me, “He’ll settle.”

As if on cue Fenrir’s head shot up calling, “Unle, unle ama, unle.”

“What?” Loki muttered looking at him, “What are you trying to say.”

“Uncle,” I chuckled noticing the light from the bifrost, “He still can’t pronounce his Cs. Someone has arrived on the bifrost, he thinks its Tony. Are we expecting someone?”

“No,” Loki frowned handing Fenrir back to me, “I’ll go find out what’s going on.”

“Let Thor handle it,” I sighed taking his hand, “If it’s urgent he’ll find you. It’s not an attack otherwise Hiemdall would have sent word sooner.”

“Jane is pregnant, I’m sure he has been up half the night fretting over her,” Loki chuckled phasing into his clothes, “I’m already up. I’ll be back in but a moment.” He kissed me before kissing Fenrir’s head, “By which time I hope you will be asleep young man.”

I sighed as he left and the sun rose, “Come on little one, let’s get you back to bed.”

I got Fenrir to sleep by my side in Loki’s and my bed for a while longer earning a few more hours for myself. I woke before him and managed to get dressed before he’d managed to pull himself up on the foot board demanding, “Ama. Ama.”

“I hear you little one,” I chuckled scooping him up, “Shall we go see your father and find out what’s going on.”

“Ada,” he nodded.

I shook my head chuckling as I ventured down the hall. Thor’s door opened as I passed it and Jane mumbled yawning, “Tessa? Is Thor with you?”

“He’s not there?” I frowned.

“He was gone when I woke up,” she shook her head, “I thought you might know.”

“Ty ty,” Fenrir grinned.

“If there both gone we’d better go find them,” I sighed as she waved at him, “The bifrost was activated this morning. Loki said since we were up with this little monster he would take care of it.”

“That can’t be good,” Jane frowned coming with me making faces at Fenrir, “What were you doing up this morning mister?”

He buried his face in my shoulder shyly as I explained, “He still doesn’t sleep through the night. We’re almost there, soon we just might get a full night’s sleep.”

“Ahh,” Jane laughed, “I know how you feel. This one keeps kicking all night. I take it you and Loki still can’t agree on a governess.”

“No,” I sighed as we entered the public halls and people began bowing to us as we passed, “It’s my fault, I’m too fussy. Maybe I should let up a bit.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being hands on,” Jane smiled, “I certainly don’t want to hand my child over to some stranger. I’m surprised Loki is being so casual about it.”

“Well,” I sighed, “He’s trying to help. I haven’t gotten to further my research since this little guy stared crawling. Now with him almost walking I doubt I will get the chance anytime soon. But I just don’t see the point in having a governess, he doesn’t need a tutor yet.”

“I’m on your side,” she laughed, “When they get older they can have tutors but I don’t think our research is going to die if we take a bit of time. I’m sure he’ll sleep soon.”

We entered the throne room and found all of the Avengers assembled with a concerned looking Loki. Darcy was with them and rushed to hug us grinning, “Sup’ little dude?”

“Ty ty,” he grinned.

“Scoundrel already,” she laughed, “my tits are great.”

“Aunty,” I corrected.

“I know,” Darcy giggled taking out a chocolate bar, “I know what you’re really after kid.”

Loki joined us stepping between me and the group kissing my forehead as he muttered, “You need to go. Take him and Jane to the gardens or something.”

“What is it?” I frowned, “What’s going on?”

“I’ll tell you later,” he promised.

I saw a flurry of movement behind him and stepped around him using my bracelet to capture the blue woman running toward us. I glared at her as I held her off the ground immobile. She was in chains but still smirked, “What’s this Loki?”

“I don’t answer to you Nebula,” Loki snapped turning to me, “Please for my sake of mind.”

“She’s Thanos’ daughter, isn’t she,” I frowned reading her with the stone as I lowered her allowing Bucky and Steve to take over, “What’s she doing here?”

“They found her scouting on earth,” Loki explained knowing I wasn’t going to drop it, “It’s obviously of some concern.”

“Some?” I scoffed, “We haven’t heard from him in nearly three years. It’s a bit more than slightly concerning…”

“You’ve got yourself a brat,” Nebula called taunting Loki, “Dad said you’d found yourself a whore but he’ll be ever so excited to hear…”

My eyes flashed to her and Steve and Bucky lost their grip as she flew back into a pillar. I handed Loki our son as I continued forward snapping, “Don’t you dare say a word about my son! You torture my husband, attack my home, and make attempt on my life! Thanos is a fool if he thinks he will ever lay a hand on my child. You will mind your tongue or I will see you have no voice.”

“Easy there kiddo,” Tony soothed resting a hand on my shoulder, “She’s been mouthing off all night. She’s all talk.”

“Anyone with Thanos shouldn’t be under estimated,” I huffed as Fenrir started to whine.

I left her and let Tony grab her as I returned to Fenrir soothing him as he whined, “Ama…”

“It’s alright,” I sighed bouncing him not taking my eyes off Nebula, “I didn’t mean to scare you darling.”

“Take him to play,” Loki sighed kissing us both, “I’ll handle this.”

“I’m not leaving you alone…” I started feeling on edge.

“They’ll look after me,” Loki promised trying to soothe me, “I’ll see you shortly after we decide where we want to put her. Take Sif…”

“Come on,” Tony grinned urging me toward the door, “I’ve got some spoiling to do. I got this reindeer games. Think you can handle her without me?”

“Go with them,” Steve nodded.

Chapter Text

Tony sat down with Darcy, Jane, and I under a tree as Fenrir played. He laughed picking up his nephew, “Look at you, you’re getting big, chatty.”

“Unle,” he smiled, “Play.”

“I see he’s just as bossy as his father,” Tony laughed, “How you doing kiddo?”

“Fine, tired,” I sighed shaking my head, “What’s going on with Nebula?”

“We don’t know,” Darcy intervened, “that’s why they brought her here, we’ve no idea why she was on earth.”

“There aren’t any stones on earth,” I shook my head, “She had no cause to be there.”

“Unless she was looking to get at you,” Jane frowned, “Thanos has made you his nemesis, Tess. He might have been looking for you…”

“Everyone knows I haven’t left Asgard since Fen was born,” I shook my head, “If she was after anyone it was you and Thor.”

“You think this was aimed at Loki,” Tony frowned entertaining Fenrir.

“Thanos knows that’s the only real way to get at me unless he wants to try and tangle with you,” I sighed, “That’s not a good option since you have a number of super people watching your back.”

“What about little dude,” Darcy worried, “This could have been to get to him, that would hit you both.”

“Nebula was genuinely surprised to see we had a son,” I shook my head, “She wasn’t expecting that.”

“Well,” Tony scoffed lounging back, “Whatever she was planning didn’t pan out and now we have a bargaining chip.”

I let it go and after a while the others joined us. We spent the day catching up and keeping up with a very energetic little boy. Thankfully that meant by the time we were ready to go to bed he was fast asleep. I sighed as I closed the door to the nursery, “I think that is the first time he has gone to sleep without a fight.”

“Good,” Loki smiled kissing my neck as I started to undress, “Maybe we can have a moment’s peace tonight.”

“We had a not very restful ‘peace’ last night,” I chuckled wrapping my arms around his neck, “As I recall it wasn’t Fen that kept me up all night.”

“Well,” Loki grinned wickedly picking me up and parting my legs around his hips, “can I really be expected to resist such a beautiful and becoming wife.”

“Are you trying to use that silver tongue on me,” I smirked kissing him tangling my hands in his hair.

“Oh I know better,” he smirked his hands making their way under the skirt of my dress, “There are much better places for my silver tongue to be.”

I giggled and he carried me to the bed as he deftly untied the fastenings of my dress. He slid it from my shoulders before pouncing on me trailing affection down my neck and breasts pausing there to tease me mercilessly. I smirked rolling over onto him and started to toy with the ties of his tunic absently. Before I could move any further his clothes here gone in a flicker of green. I grinned grinding against him as he sat up pulling pins from my hair as he kissed me. I smiled against his lips moaning as his hands snaked into my hair and he slid inside me. I rolled my hips eliciting a moan from him before finding myself on my back as he began to move his lips barely leaving mine for a moment. It wasn’t long before we were both clinging to one another and I lost my grip on reality.

I sighed contently curling up on his chest, “I take it you’re a bit rattled by what happened today.”

“What makes you say that?” he mumbled in our haze.

“I always know,” I chuckled looking up at him, “Are you alright?”

“I don’t like Nebula being here, even if she’s in the dungeon,” he sighed, “But this is the most secure place for her.”

“She’s pretty dangerous then,” I nodded stroking his hair.

“She is one of Thanos’ more vicious daughters,” he muttered, “She is fiercely dedicated to pleasing him and earning his approval. I’m having her watched closely.”

“We’ll handle it,” I smiled, “He hasn’t gotten the better of us yet.”

“I know,” he smiled shaking the thoughts from his mind, “Let’s go to sleep…”

There was a cry from the other room and we both groaned. I heard Fenrir call, “Ama. Aaaaammmaaaa!”

“I guess that’s me,” I sighed, “I’ll be back in a moment when he’s back to sleep.”

“Want me to come with?” he asked sleepily.

“You’ve been through enough today,” I chuckled, “I can handle our son.”

He kissed me before I got up and ventured into the other room. He was standing in his crib again and I sighed, “Shhhh, darling, I’m here.”

“Ama,” he whimpered staring past me, “Bad. Ama bad.”

I started to turn only to have a hand over my mouth and my arms trapped as Fenrir started to wail again. “Quiet, brat!” Nebula snapped at him as she pulled me away from the door as I struggled.

He didn’t quiet instead he started shouting, “Ada! Adddaaaaa!”

She cursed under her breath yanking me toward the balcony. I tried to break free but she pulled me over the balcony into a waiting ship as Loki opened the door sleepily to quiet Fenrir. His eyes shot open and he ran to the balcony but we were gone out of his reach. Nebula pushed me down binding my hands and tossing me in a corner as she joined the pilot muttering, “Hope you’re ready bearer. Dad has been planning what to do with you for a long time.”

Chapter Text

I snarled as Nebula tossed me to my knees before Thanos smiling, “The girl you wanted, father. I attempted to take the boy as well but I could not take them both.”

“What boy?” he mused at seeing me there.

“She has born Loki a son,” Nebula replied joining him, “He’s a loud mouthed little thing.”

“Like his mother,” Thanos scoffed turning his attention back to me, “Not to worry, we will take him soon.”

“Like hell you will,” I spat only to be forced down by the chitari she’d left guarding me, “I swear to you Thanos. You touch my son and I will rip your head from your shoulders with my bare hands.”

“So you continue to claim,” he laughed, “Yet you have yet to free yourself. Where is the stone?”

I said nothing and received a blow to the back from the guards. Another two blows and I was face down in the gravel snapping, “I do not have it! For fucks sake! I was going to bed when your idiot daughter attacked me. I do not sleep with it attached to my wrist.” He snarled and I scoffed, “You know as well as I do that he will have locked it away now. You cannot reach it. You may have me but you cannot get the stone.”

“Loki will trade it for your life,” Thanos snarled.

“He will not,” I shot back, “he has a son to look after now. I no longer consume his world. You know that, you’ve seen his mind when you tormented him. He will not risk you blazing across the realms killing his son to get me back.”
His face soured and I got a blow to the gut making me spew vomit over the gravel in front of me. The smell made me vomit again and I looked up to see Thanos grinning at me. He waved his hand at Nebula uttering something to her quietly. I was dragged to my feet as a man was brought before me. Nebula shoved him forward and he pulled out a device scanning me with it. I frowned snapping, “What is this? What do you want from me?”

The man whispered, “Forgive me, my dear.” He turned back to Thanos nodding, “As you suspected, sir. She is with child. Asgardian I would expect from the markers in it’s DNA.”

His words hit me like a brick. This couldn’t be happening, not now. Loki and I had absently discussed having more children, I had hoped for such news in a few months but not now. Not in this situation. Not with me captured by Thanos. I swallowed feeling myself go pale as Thanos, “It appears I will have your child after all.”

“You will not,” I uttered trying to center myself again.

“Sir,” the man frowned looking at his device, “She has gone weak should you wish her to carry to term I would suggest she lie down and allow me a full examination.”

“Nebula find somewhere to house the good doctor and our mother to be,” Thanos nodded, “I wouldn’t get any bright ideas about robbing me, Bearer. I promise my wrath will fall swiftly and violently on those closest to you.”

They took us to a small dark room with two beds. I’d seen it’s like before, it was a prison cell. I was his prisoner now. The doctor approached me trying to urge me to lay down. I snapped up pinning him to the wall, “Who are you!”

“Prask, ma’am,” he whimpered, “Please forgive me I had to tell him if your child was to survive.”

I released him, “What you said was true then?”

“Yes,” he nodded, “I have seen him take others as he took you. He has a heavy hand with torture.”

“I know,” I sighed having a seat, “My husband was once at his mercy. They hit me… Is…”

“Your child is fine,” Prask assured me.

I swallowed nodding, “I take it you are less than willing in all this.”

“Thanos had need of a doctor,” he shrugged, “He did not care where he came from. Or if I came willingly. You are terran, yes?”

“Terran?”

“Of Earth,” he elaborated and I nodded, “The child you bear is Asgardian.”

“My husband is Loki Odinson of Asgard,” I nodded.

“You are a queen,” he bowed deeply, “Forgive me for not realizing.”

“I have not been a queen long,” I shook my head, “I lived moderately on earth. Sometimes I think it does not suit me.” I sighed shaking my head, “Hopefully my brother will find me before…” my hand drifted to my stomach.

“You would not wish for your husband?” he chuckled pulling out his scanner again.

“I would keep my husband far from here if I could,” I shook my head, “He has suffered enough at Thanos’ hand. My brother though, and Thor, they will find me, bring me back to him.”

“Then I will keep you and your child healthy until then,” he smiled warmly, “You appear to be in good health. However something is out of balance in a way I have never seen.”

“I have issues with my blood sugar,” I nodded, “It is not uncommon among my people. I must eat regularly or I may fall unconscious or weak.”

“We will keep an eye on that,” he nodded, “I will urge Thanos to refrain from torture but I cannot guarantee he will not use the gruesome gauntlet…”

“He possesses the mind stone,” I nodded, “He doesn’t need to touch me to torture me for my past transgressions.”

“You have encountered him before,” he looked surprised, “You must have been very lucky to have escaped.”

“Not so much luck,” I scoffed, “I too held a stone until the kidnapped me, and a very big mouth. I may have threatened him on occasion.”

“You are a bearer,” he gawked, “That is remarkable. Though I would recommend not provoking him if you no longer possess its power. For both our sakes.”

Chapter Text

I bounced as I paced the small room trying to soothe the crying baby in my arms. It had been a year since Thanos had taken me and the last three months had been loud. Kalira would not quiet unless she exhausted herself crying only to sleep for a few hours to wake and wail again. I sighed asking Prask once again, “Are you certain she is healthy?”

“I only have the same answer I had the last three hundred times you have asked over the last three months,” he chuckled shaking his head, “She is in perfect health. It is not pain or illness that makes her cry.”

“What I would not give for the mind stone to know how to calm her,” I muttered trying fruitlessly to calm her, “What time is it?”

“Soon enough the usual time,” he nodded grimly, “I would not provoke him again.”

“Where is the fun in that Prask,” I chuckled with a wry smile.

“You cannot take another of his sessions,” Prask warned, “Not when you are weak from caring for her most of your nights.”

“His torments with the stone are nothing worse than I have inflicted on myself,” I scoffed, “He can show me nothing I have not already imagined.”

“Will you cease that incessant noise,” Nebula snarled through the slot in the door.

“She is a baby, Nebula,” I rolled my eyes, “She cries. You think that if I could stop it I would not. I thought Thanos’ daughters smarter than that.”

“I would not provoke her either,” Prask uttered under his breath.

“I pray father allows me the pleasure this time,” she glared at me as she opened the door, “I would like to show you what real pain is.”

I sighed handing Kalira to Prask before facing Nebula, “I’d like to see you try Nebula. But if you do, you’ll never quite Kalira.”

I glanced back at Prask and he smiled, “I will look after her until you return. She is safe.”

“See to it she is quiet,” Nebula snapped at him before showing me out. I trusted Prask, we had grown rather close since I’d been there. He was a kind man, he’d told me of his family alive out there in the world. I hoped we’d both make it through this. I promised to get him home once we were freed. Nebula scoffed at me, “I hear you two talking you know… About how sweet your lives will be when your dear brother frees you. You know that is never happening. It has not happened in a year, not one attempt.” I let her words skate over me ignoring their sting, “If he cared at all, if either of them cared at all they would have come…”

I snapped. I spun but she was expecting it and caught my blow, but I knew what she was doing. I launched my knee into her gut and pinned her to the wall pressing dangerously hard on her throat with my arm, “Don’t you dare speak of my brother. You know nothing of him Nebula. You dare to say anything about him again…”

I felt a blow to my gut knocking me onto my hands and knees. I knew it was coming, my victory would be short lived. She kicked me snapping, “What keeps you so attached to them? They don’t care!”

She kicked me again sending me onto my back and I sighed, “You don’t know them. They would tear apart this universe to get to me. You may keep me here for a time, but there is nothing in this world that will keep them from me.”

“We’ll see about that,” Nebula snarled pulling me back to my feet and shoving me down the hall. She dragged me before Thanos as she had every day for the last three months. My leg were kicked from behind and I fell to my knees. He raised an eyebrow at the blood trickling from my nose and Nebula scoffed, “She resisted.”

“Perhaps you are right then,” Thanos mused, “Perhaps the stone has made her mind strong. I will leave her in your charge today. See what you can obtain from her while I am gone.”

“Yes father,” she grinned.

“What’s the matter,” I called not able to stop myself, “Bored of me already Thanos?”

“Not in the slightest,” he returned sinisterly, “I need to prepare accommodation for my new daughter.”

I tried to get up but Nebula kicked me down as he left. He had me picked back up and moved around to face me. I waited for the interrogation, but she slapped me instead. She beat me for another few minutes before commanding, “You will do as Thanos says.”

“Suck a cock, Nebula,” I snapped only to receive another blow.

“You will obey,” she snapped coolly.

“Stuff it,” I replied.

“Nebula,” a voice shouted as she made to attack me again. I fell to the floor as there was a charge from a blaster and I glimpsed Nebula darting down the hall.

A blond man picked me up checking on me asking, “Hey, miss…”

“Nebula…”

“She’s gone,” he assured me.

“Woman and he’s weak in the knees as per usual,” someone scoffed.

I shook my head trying to get up, “My child… Kalira, she’s going for my child… Please…”

“Rocket, Groot,” he nodded, “Get her back to the ship. Gumora, Drax, let’s go.”

They took off down the hall after her as a strange tall tree thing picked me up. They carried me down the halls and into a brightly colored ship. The tree sat me down on a bench as a raccoon crawled up with a towel handing it to me as he nodded, “You okay there?”

“I’ll be fine,” I nodded wiping the blood from my mouth, “I want my baby back. Who are you?”

“Name’s Rocket,” he grinned nodding to the tree, “This is Groot.”

“I am Groot,” it replied.

“That’s what I said, idiot,” Rocket stared at him, “God, don’t you listen. Sorry, he’s not great with words. What did Nebula want with you?”

“Wants me to do Thanos’ bidding,” I scoffed, “I told her to suck a cock.”

“I like you,” he smiled as there was the sound of blaster fire outside. I started to get up and he rushed, “I’m sure it’s nothing.”

A man with a strange metal mask came running onto the ship firing behind him with one hand. A green skinned woman and a large grey man followed and the man shouted, “Rocket, get us out of here!”

“On it,” he replied jumping into the pilot’s seat and we lurched up.

The man pressed a button on his mask and it phased away. He grinned carefully placing Kalira back in my arms as I stared, “You got her to quiet?”

“What?” I looked surprised, “No, she was asleep when I found her. She’s a gorgeous little thing.”

I smiled at her as she slept, “You say that now. In a few hours she’s going to wake up and cry again. Where is Prask? He would have been with her.”

“I’m sorry,” the green woman sighed, “Nebula got to him before we got there.”

“Gumora…”

“I will call his family,” I nodded holding Kalira close, “Thank you for saving me. My husband will reward you…”

“Nah,” the blond scoffed smiling charmingly, “We don’t do it for the reward…”

“Speak for yourself,” Rocket called.

“Did he send you?” I asked looking at my new companions, “Did Loki send you? Or did Tony?”

“We were hunting Nebula,” the grey man replied, “No one sent us.”

“Drax,” the blond snapped, “Not helpful.”

“It’s fine,” I smiled nodding, “I was only wondering. Can you take me back to my world? You will receive a reward. If you are enemies of Thanos you have allies in my friends.”

“I am Groot,” the tree repeated.

“Why do you care about this Loki,” Rocket called, “Do you know who he is?”

“I’ve heard that name,” Gumora swallowed, “You are his wife?”

“You’re a daughter of Thanos,” I stared realizing.

The blond rushed, “Was. She was. She’s on our side now.”

“Forgive me,” I replied nodding to her, “I did not doubt you. Loki was once under Thanos’ control. I understand better than most what you’ve been through.”

“Who is this Loki?” the man asked, “I ain’t ever heard of him.”

“Loki is a Prince of Asgard,” Gumora explained, “He fell into the void and Thanos used him to obtain the tesseract from earth. Loki betrayed him and delivered both it and the mind stone to Asgard.”

“Asgard like norse mythology, thunder and lighnting, type Asgard,” he stared, “That shits real?”

“Yes, Peter,” she sighed.

“Asgard is one of the nine realms,” I nodded, “Thor and Loki now rule together as Kings. My name is Tessa, I’m his wife, Nebula kidnapped me for Thanos because they thought after torture I would submit to Thanos and wield the soul stone for him.”

“What do you know about the stones?” Gumora asked.

“I am a bearer,” I nodded.

She stared shocked and Peter asked, “What’s that?”

“Bearers are great being,” Gumora stared, “They alone can wield the power of a stone without a harness.”

“What like touch it without exploding?” Rocket called.

“Yes,” I replied, “I can not only touch the stone but use it’s power stronger than any other being. Thanos faced me with the mind stone and didn’t stand a chance. He has the mind stone again. But the soul stone and the tesseract remain safe on Asgard. I must return there, I’m weak without the stone.”

“I will plot our course,” Gumora nodded.

“I will tell Loki you helped me, thank you,” I smiled as she left, “So what do you know of the stones.”

“Well, that’s a long story,” Peter started.

By the time we reached Asgard he’d explained everything of Ronin and the power stone. Kalira woke as we entered the atmosphere and began crying again. I tried to soothe her as sentinels flanked the ship ordering, “Identify your ship now…”

I pressed a button on the console, “Stand down in the name of the Queen! Fandral! I know you hear me. Escort us to the palace I want to see Loki.”

“Of course your grace,” the reply came, “A pleasure to have you back. What took you so long?”

“Shut up,” I snapped, “Now is not the time for what you would call humor.”

“You are not fond of him,” Drax observed as we few toward the palace.

“No I am not,” I replied as we landed. I departed and met Fandral demanding, “Where is he?”

“In the throne room with Thor and your brother, Your Grace,” he bowed stepping out of my way.

I marched up the steps followed by Peter and his friends. As we neared the throne room I placed Kalira in Peter’s hands and opened the door. Loki was there discussing something over a table with Thor, Tony, and Steve. He didn’t look up and I started down the hall uttering, “Loki…”

He looked up and I ran leaping at him. He caught me as my arm made their way around his neck and he began to whisper love in my ear. He held me back looking at me muttering, “What happened? Did they…”

“They saved me,” I breathed, “They were chasing Nebula and found me. Brought me home.”

“Thank you,” he nodded looking over my shoulder at them and freezing. He let me go charging Gumora. He knocked Peter aside and they two fought but Loki pinned her with a knife to her neck snapping, “You vile…”

“Loki,” I shouted, “Loki let her go. She is not with Thanos!”

Kalira began to cry louder and I took her back from Peter as he snarled, “You don’t know her.”

“Thanos killed my family too Prince,” she spat at him.

“Loki, she saved me, if she was with Thanos she would have let Nebula continue to beat me,” I snapped, “Let her go.”

He released her continuing to glare as he muttered, “What is that?”

“What,” I asked bouncing trying to quiet Kalira.

“In your arms?” he demanded turning on Peter, “What did you do…”

“Whoa man, I just met her today,” he replied backing away, “I didn’t do nothing!”

“For fucks sake Loki,” I snapped, “I know you are upset but honestly! When have I ever forsaken you? I have endured torture twice now for you and you think I would do something like that!”

“Where did it come from?” he demanded and I could see he had not slept, he wasn’t himself.

“She is yours,” I snapped, “Born three months ago! She hasn’t shut up since!”

“Tess,” Tony called.

“What Tony!” I snapped the lack of sleep waring on me too.

“You’re going to wake her if you keep shouting,” he chuckled placing a soothing hand on my back, “When was the last time you slept?”

“Several days,” I muttered tiredly looking down, “She’s not alseep… Kalira… You stopped crying…”

“What is it?” Loki frowned returning to me, “Is she alright?”

“Yes,” I breathed as she giggled at the sight of him, “She always cries… she has done nothing but cry and eat and sleep for three months. She never quiets no matter what I do.”

She giggled again wiggling and reaching out for Loki and he smiled, “She seems alright now. Are you alright? I’m sorry I snapped… I shouldn’t have…”

“You don’t look like you’ve slept,” I smiled resting my forehead on his, “I knew you didn’t mean it. I didn’t even know when she took me. I was terrified he was going to take her from me…”

“Shhh, he’s not going to touch you again,” he promised kissing my forehead, “You need a healer and some sleep. Let me…” he took Kalira grinning, “Hello darling, welcome home… Thor…”

“See to them,” he nodded, “I will find rooms for our new friends.”

Loki nodded and I turned hugging Tony as he smiled, “Hey there kiddo. We can catch up later. You need sleep and I need to go shopping for my niece.”

I chuckled nodding to Steve as Loki led me toward our room. I swallowed, “Fen? Where’s Fen?”

“We’ll stop at Jane’s along the way,” he promised, “He missed you terribly.”

Chapter Text

Loki opened the door to the nursery and I sighed as I heard Fen shout, “Mama!”

He ran toward me and I caught him holding him close. He’d grown like a weed, he was nearly as high as my waist and had an unruly mop of black hair on his head. I hugged him picking him up grinning, “Hello, my darling. Look at you. You’re practically a man already. I missed you so.”

“You came back from the bad man,” he smiled not letting go.

“I did,” I smiled, “I always will, darling.”

“Mama,” he realized scrambling down and pulling on my hand, “You didn’t see! Aunty Jane has a baby!”

“I know darling,” I smiled letting him lead me over to her as she sat on the floor with a blond haired little boy, “It’s good to see you Jane. Everything was alright?”

“Oh, none of that now,” she sighed hugging me, “You’re alright though.”

“Tired,” I nodded, “But fine, happy to be home. Happy for the quiet.”

“Quiet?” she looked up and gawked, “Oh. Oh! My lord! You didn’t say anything…”

“I didn’t know,” I smiled as Loki joined us, “Little Kalira, she would not quiet until we were here and she saw him.”

“She is gorgeous, Tess,” Jane smiled playing with her then realizing, “Oh, god you must need sleep. Here, let me. You both could use some sleep.”

“I should stay…” I hesitated watching Fenrir as Jane took Kalira from Loki.

He looked at me and shook his head definitively, “Mama is sick, you need rest.”

Loki rested a hand on my shoulder and smiled, “I’ll explain later, they’ll be fine.” I nodded getting up and he got Fenrir’s attention smiling, “Fen, think you could help your Aunty look after James and your sister?”

“I have a sister!” he stared excitedly.

“You do,” Loki nodded nodding to the bundle in Jane’s arms, “Mama was gone so long we thought she should bring back a sister like you’ve been asking. Can you look after her for me while I look after your mother.”

“mmmhhmm,” he nodded.

Loki brought me back to our room and I could not wait to curl up in his arms again. Loki helped me out of the clothes Thanos had given me and wrapped me in a robe pulling me into his chest as we laid down on the bed. He stroked my hair explaining, “Fen has a gift… he can tell when people are sick, what’s wrong with them. He even cured James’ fever a few month ago…”

“I missed so much…” I frowned into his chest.

“Shhh, my love,” he cooed, “It’s not your fault, it’s…”

“It is,” I muttered, “If I had not been such a fool to trust Nebula was secured…”

“That was for me to worry about,” he sighed shaking his head, “And I did a piss poor job. I knew what she was like I should have known… Are you alright, my love?”

“No worse for the wear,” I replied nuzzling his chest, “I have had worse, in truth I think he wished to keep me alive in case he could turn me.”

“Tessa,” he muttered still clinging to me, “I know what he must have done. I know he has the mind stone…”

“Loki,” I sighed looking up into his face, “You have seen the marks on my arms, you know they are self-inflicted. Do you honestly think that anything he could have done to my mind is worse than what I have done myself. They were weak blows compared to those in my past…” I stroked the side of his face smiling, “and I had something to hold on to. I had you and Fen, and Kalira as crazy as she made me.”

“Still,” he muttered holding me close again, “I would have wished… It is no matter now, you are home.”

“I am,” I smiled kissing away his insecurities, “And I am safe, as are our children. I don’t need the mind stone to see you are going mad with worry. When was the last time you slept since I left?”

“I haven’t slept a full night since you left,” He sighed relaxing slightly, “And I can’t yet, not until I deal with Gumora.”

“Gumora is not our enemy,” I sighed shaking my head, “You can’t do anything reasonable when you’ve had so little sleep. Both of us need to get some sleep then we can deal with the Guardians.”

“Guardians?”

“Like Avengers is better,” I scoffed and we laughed, “Come now, leave it be a while. Let Thor deal with things until we wake.”

“As you wish my darling,” he sighed settling down into the bed and I rested my head on his chest.”

Chapter Text

I woke up slowly, peacefully for the first time in a long time. My head was just under Loki’s chin and I could the slow beat of his heart thumping quietly beneath me. We’d shifted a bit in our long overdue sleep but Loki’s arms were still wrapped around me shielding me from the world. I blinked at the burning orange light streaming through the window warming the room. I sighed deciding to get up, I could feel the silk robe starting to get sweaty from the warmth. Loki groaned as I moved slipping his hands under the robe and I felt cool ghosting hands over my back sending me purring back into his chest as he muttered nuzzling me, “Not yet… if we get up there’ll be things to do.”

“What time is it,” I mumbled trying not to settle back into dozing happily on his chest.

“Just about sundown,” he sighed still cooling me, “I suppose it’s almost supper time. Are you hungry?”

“I probably will be soon,” I sighed and there was a quiet knock at the door. Loki ignored it holding me closer. I shook my head calling, “Yes?”

I poked my head up to see Jane quietly peeking in, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you up…”

“We were already awake,” I smiled sitting up and adjusting my robe back into place, “Is everything alright?”

“Fen is just asking after you,” she smiled, “Kalira is down for a nap as is James…”

I laughed smiling, “Let the little bugger in…” Jane didn’t get the chance to say anymore before a giggling little boy came bouncing into the room and jumped onto the bed. Loki grunted as Fen landed on him. I smiled pulling him into my lap, “Come here little man, let your father sleep.”

“Not so fast,” Loki grinned snatching the giggling boy back, “I’m going to get him first, for waking up the big bad monster.”

“No!” Fen laughed as Loki smiled starting to tickle him, “No fair, we weren’t playing monster.”

I shook my head at the two of them, “Is everyone else still awake?”

“Of course,” Jane nodded, “Did you want a word?”

“We can talk at dinner,” I nodded smiling, “I thinks it’s time we piece everything together and come up with a plan for Thanos.”

“I’ll let everyone know and have some dinner made,” Jane smiled leaving us.

“Alright, you,” I teased picking Fen up, “Let me have a look at my big boy. Look at you, you’re practically a man already. And your father tells me you’ve got some magic tricks of your own.”

“mmhmm,” he smiled, “I can fix people, like dada fixes toys.”

“So I heard,” I smiled at him, “Have you been behaving yourself for your father?”

“Mmmhhmm,” he smiled.

“Now that is certainly a lie,” Loki chuckled scooping him up, “You aren’t becoming like your father now are you.”

“Uncle Thor says I can be a great warrior like you,” Fen demanded.

“I don’t ever recall being called a great warrior,” Loki chuckled squinting at him playfully, “Has your Uncle been telling you stories again?”

“I like his stories,” Fen admitted, “He was telling me about how you saved mummy’s world and rescued her from nasty bad guys.”

“Nasty bad guys,” I laughed, “That sounds like something Darcy would say.”

“Aunty Darcy helps tell the stories,” Fen nodded matter of factly, “She said dada saved everyone from the Bad Man that sent big sky whales to attack your world.”

“I don’t remember everyone being that grateful at the time,” Loki snickered, “Or proclaiming I’d saved your mother. What was the phase your brother used? I think he said I stole you…”

“Loki,” I smiled shaking my head, “Don’t you listen to him. Your father is a great hero, and he always saves the day.”

“I haven’t as of late,” he sighed rolling out of the bed to get dressed.

I pursed my lips at him rolling my eyes, “Did aunty Darcy ever finish that story, Fen?”

“No she stopped when dada saved you,” he pouted.

“Would you like me to finish it before dinner?” I smirked watching Loki in the mirror.

He frowned meeting my eye, “I don’t think we have the time for that particular tall tale before everyone is expecting us.”

“Then we’ll be late,” I smiled back turning to Fen, “Now, I don’t know what Darcy told you young man but the story goes more like this. I had to hide because a very bad man knew about my magic and your uncles and father worried he might come after me. But after a very long time your father couldn’t resist a visit. He snuck away to see me.”

“Were you happy to see him?” Fen grinned, “Darcy said you were happy?”

I laughed as Loki scoffed to himself, “I was not happy, my dear, as much as I loved him. You see your father made me a promise, the only one he ever broke to me, and promised to see me soon…”

“I learned my lesson after that,” he scoffed.

“I’ll tell you a secret,” I whispered, “I was upset but also very very happy to see him. But the next morning he went to get me a surprise…”

“Like a present?”

“A very special present Aunty Darcy helped him pick,” I nodded, “But everyone got scared because no one knew where he was. They thought a bad man had him. While we were trying to find him some people came to see me. They thought your father had gone bad…”

“No!” Fen glared.

“They did,” I explained, “and they thought I was hiding him. So they took me away to ask me questions…”

“You mean beat you,” Loki muttered finally rejoining us on the bed.

“They hurt you?” Fen stared.

“They did,” I nodded, “They thought if they did I would tell them where your father was. But I didn’t. I was very hurt and your father found me, he saved me took me far away from there and fixed me. But your father didn’t talk to your Uncles, so your uncle Tony didn’t know he hadn’t gone bad. He thought your father kidnapped me and tried to come and rescue me.”

“Did he hurt dada?”

“Not a chance,” Loki smirked, “I’m stronger than any mortal… except your mother.”

Fen smiled as Loki picked him up and I finished the story, “Once your uncle realized I was safe everyone was happy to see us both alright. Until the bad man found us.”

“Did he hurt you?”

“No,” Loki smiled kissing the back of his head, “Your mother fought him, and defeated him. He’s been too scared to show his face again. He had to send someone else to take your mother away. You see Fen, there are only two things you need fear in your life, your mother and your wife.”

“What’s a wife?” Fen asked looking up at him for an explanation.

Loki blinked for a moment trying to work something out and I laughed, “Someone you love very much. I am your father’s wife.”

“Oh so like aunty Darcy,” he nodded, “Is aunty Darcy my wife.”

I started giggling as Darcy appeared in the doorway, “Gee little prince if only you’d been a bit sooner. I’m afraid I’m already Steve’s wife. But I woulda snagged you up in a heartbeat. You both ready?”

“Won’t be a moment…” I began as there was a shimmer of green light, “Or I’m ready now.”

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Hello Everyone and thank you so much for all your support! I'm so sorry I've been behind. I just started a master's course and time got away from me I will hopefully be posting more regularly. but a couple of story notes!

1- i am editing the last chapter i posted "dozing" i thought of something that really fitted better in there.

2- I'm contemplating a repost of all content with a bit of polishing and edit (comment below if you'd like that kind of thing)

3- having just seen Dr. Strange tonight, like an hour ago, i am super pumped and psyched that Tessa could actually fit within the cannon and so we will be seeing some interaction between her and strange in the near future like next chapter maybe

anyway thank you all so much i love you all and am so grateful for all the likes and comments.

Chapter Text

I carried Fen into the dining hall smiling, “I’m so sorry, I had some catching up to do.”

“I have no doubt it was well earned,” Tony smiled getting up. He kissed my cheek as he hugged me, “how are you feeling munchkin?”

“Much better,” I smiled, “we can drink and talk about it later. Right now we have guests and much to discuss.”

“Alright, kiddo,” he smiled patting my back, “Whatever you like. You’re looking stunning by the way.”

“Stop it you,” I shoved having a seat at the table with Fenrir in my lap, “Right do we have everyone?”

“We appear to be missing my brother,” Loki observed, “Should we wait?”

“He’s just gone to get Strange,” Steve explained with a warming smile, “Shouldn’t be long…”

“Alright,” I sighed patting Loki’s hand, “I’m going to settle this now before we get any further. I am fine, better now that I’m home, with my family. I don’t need fussing over, and if I did I do belief Loki has that covered.”

He picked up my hand kissing it, “I do hope you don’t believe I will stop coddling you. I have no intention of stopping any time soon.”

“You were gone for a year,” Bruce sighed, “We just want to make sure. If you should need anything we’re all here for you.”

“Thank you all, but I am fine I have faced worse than Thanos and his mindstone,” I smiled as a vortex appeared the other side of the room.

Thor and Dr. Strange appeared through it and he smirked cockily, “That is certainly good to hear. Not sure I’m ready to grab my scalpel again.”

“Steven,” I smiled getting up bringing Fen with me as I met him half way down the table, “It’s good to see you. I know things are busy for you but I thought it would be best to have everyone.”

“Of course,” he nodded with a wink, “Gives me an excuse to check up on problem children. Who’s this now?”

“I heard that,” Loki frowned from down the table, “And this is our son.”

“Will you two cool it,” I rolled my eyes, “we have things to do and from the sound of this one’s stomach, food to eat.” Everyone sat back down and Thor joined Jane at the other head of the table. I settled back at Loki’s side as servants brought out food, Fen sat on my lap picking at the food on the plate. I sighed getting down to business, “So I know Thanos has caused problems in the past then went quiet for some time. One year ago, he took me captive. He has been waiting plying his time and building his forces. I don’t think we can stand to wait and build ours much longer.”

“Tess,” Tony frowned, “You aren’t actually suggesting what I think? I mean its you, I’d understand horns for brains…”

“Tony, that…” I stopped myself taking a deep breath, “He was planning on taking my child. He threatened to take Kalira from me and turn her into a weapon. I’m not playing nice anymore, if I wasn’t as smart as I am I would be on my way to take him out myself this moment.”

“Tess,” Nat nodded, “We’re there with you kiddo but maybe you should take a few days off. Thanos is no cake walk, you’ve barely walked away from each fight.”

“Wait,” Rocket commented quite chuffed at being given a seat at the table without people staring, “As much as I love mysterious red heads with tall tales. You can’t be serious? This drowned kitten we pulled out of a prison block has fought and beat Thanos.”

“Rocket…” Peter frowned.

“Quill, he’s right,” Gamora stared down the table at me, “As much as I would like it I have never seen him defeated.”

“My wife, is none of your…” Loki snapped at her.

“Loki,” I warned.

“My Lady Tessa, is indeed a powerful warrior,” Thor intervened, “She has fought the titan before saved both mine and Loki’s life in the process.”

“Tess,” Steven asked, “How exactly did you fight him? I know I’ve shown you a few tricks but…”

“I may not have been entirely honest with you,” I sighed, “While traveling, some years ago now, I happened into the favor of an infinity stone. The soul stone. I don’t use it often, only when needed.”

“The magical aspects of…” Steven began.

“Dr.” Steve interrupted, “I don’t think it’s the time. Tess you said he’s been building forces.”

“I don’t know completely,” I admitted as Loki’s hand found mine under the table, “I did pick up bits from Nebula taunting me and what I could glimpse and over hear. But I know he’s farmed more chitari. He’s recruiting generals. Nebula is now his favorite but there are others like her. He has his own moles. I can’t give any specifics though, he knows better than to underestimate me.”

“We might be able to help there,” Peter chimed in, “We’ve been keeping an eye on our galaxy and well we noticed Thanos was gathering the odd nut job… Gamora would you like to…”

“I pegged his recruitment several months ago,” Gamora pursed her lips putting on a strong face, “Smaller planets have turned desolate. I’ve seen the tactics before…”

Loki frowned, “I’m sure you are very familiar with his tactics…”

Gamora fell quiet along with most of the table as I cut Loki off taking my hand away, “That is enough, Loki. I understand you have some unresolved issuses, but Gamora is my guest. I won’t have you insulting my…”

“I’m terribly sorry, my love,” he apologized taking my hand and soothing gentle kisses into the back of my hand, “I did not mean to offend you, my dear.”

“I was not the target of your sharp words,” I replied pointedly cocking an eyebrow at him.

His face soured like he was swallowing a sour pill but he bit his lip sighing, “Apologies, Gamora.”

Chapter Text

She nodded gently, the kind interaction between them though forced was strange to her as well, “It’s fine, I understand why it is difficult for you to trust me.” She swallowed hard uttering in ernest, “But know, as with you, I was never his. I did what I had to, to survive. The second I got an opportunity with Ronin to escape, I did. I have fought against him ever since.”

Loki sighed, “You didn’t know of his attack here? The one that killed the King?”

“I didn’t know you were alive,” she returned, “Let alone hat a wife or child until earlier today.”

Loki gave a silent nod and there was a long silence as everyone became involved in eating. Darcy finally broke the silence, “You were saying, miss. About desolate doo-hickeys and missing aliens.”

“Yes,” Gamora sighed continuing with her report, “Smaller planets are turning up destroyed. Its something Thanos does when recruiting… recruiting people like me and Nebula. Both our planets were destroyed in front of us before we were tortured into submission. He is recruiting, those he recruits will be his generals.”

“Thanos won’t make a move until he gets the infinity stones,” I frowned surveying our options, “He has an army but as he saw in New York, an army can be defeated. And we are resilient if not determined to see him fail. He will make a move for the stones.”

“So where are they?” Tony chimed in, “I mean we know you have one. How many even are there?”

“Six,” Thor explained, “Tessa bears the soul gem, we know Thanos has reclaimed the mind stone from Vision…”

“The purple one is with the Nova Corp.” Peter nodded.

“That’s three,” Tony observed.

“The warlocks guard the time gem,” Steven commented, “It’s well guarded since Dormamu’s attack.”

“Four.”

“The tesseract is locked deep in the vaults,” Loki muttered.

“I had Sif and the warriors hide the aether after Jane’s encounter with it,” Thor noted.

“Six,” Bruce stared, “are you saying we control five of the six? How is that possible?”

“Chance mostly,” Steven commented, “Tessa stumbled across her stone, the same for Jane. I only became the guardian of mine due to a chance accident in a car. This band of thieves also chanced upon the power stone then chanced a meeting with Tessa. As for the space stone I understand its been fought over for some time.”

“So we got lucky,” Tony scoffed, “Thank fuck for that.”

“Tony,” I sighed rubbing my forehead, “This doesn’t even begin to solve the problem. We just have the biggest target on our back, now.”

“How do we play this then?” Steve asked and everyone stared, “Look I’d like to lead but I’m out of my depth here.”

I felt a tug on my sleeve and I looked down at Fen. I thought he had been playing but apparently he’d been eagerly listening to the conversation. I nodded, “What is it darling? Are you tired?”

He shook his head quietly not speaking until I nodded for him to go ahead, “Why not put them in one place to protect them? You said you want to fight the bad man what if you put the special stones in one castle and then he would come looking. Then you could fight him and stop him for good.”

I smiled sweetly kissing his forehead, “Darling what if we lost. The bad man would get lots of power then and not even I could stop him.”

“Actually,” Steven commented, “That’s not a bad idea.”

“Strange,” Loki scolded, “It’s reckless.”

“No,” he continued, “I’ve used the time stone to install a time loop before. It’s how I defeated Dormamu. If we could trap Thanos in a long enough time loop, it wouldn’t matter how many times we lost…”

“Eventually we would defeat him,” Steve finished the thought, “And then we turn it off, it’s cheating but it’d work.”

Chapter Text

There was a shout as I picked up Gier and Yrsa and I frowned turning around and glaring at the two children playing, “Kalira, you know better than that. You save fighting for a training mat with Sif. Am I clear?”
“Yes, mummy,” She sighed swinging her legs over the edge of the table. Turned to take the twins for a diaper change and as expected the matter wasn’t over because she added smartly, “But the princess didn’t want rescuing. She likes spending time with the dragon. He’s much nicer than the prince.”
“That’s not fair, that’s not the game,” Fenrir argued picking up his wooden sword from the ground, “She made my sword burn my hands!”
“Kalira?”
“Its wood, how can I make it burn him,” She shrugged brushing her doll’s hair.
“Kalira,” I snapped.
“It was just a game,” She admitted shyly, “the dragon breathed fire at him.”
“You know better,” I frowned at her, “I know your father teaches you better. I ill be having a conversation with him about this tonight. Give your apologies.”
“I’m sorry Fen,” she muttered, “But it was my turn to be the hero.”
“You both are getting too smart for your own good,” I muttered finishing off with the two children that were the best behaved. I sighed placing a hand on my back as I leaned back up. Being pregnant a fourth time was certainly taking its toll on me. The aches were worse this time and the fatigue was surely getting to me with looking after the children as well. Normally, Jane would help but she had gone to visit earth with Thor and their son. Loki had been forced to call their nanny away on business for the realm meaning I needed to speak with a replacement but the task was a pain to find time for. There was a knock at the door and I sighed, “Come in.”
Asta appeared nodding, “Your Grace, his majesty thought you might need a hand today looking after the children as Sibbe is still away.”
“You are a savior, Asta,” I smiled at the tall blond woman, “It’s not midday and we have already had a fight.”
“Oh,” she purred peering down at the children as I picked up the two infants, “And who started it? You know whoever started it, if they didn’t apologize has to fight me.”
“I did apologize,” Kalira told her with indifference.
“Yeah,” Fen teased back, “Because you’re scared to fight Asta.”
“I’m not scared,” Kalira snapped back.
“Are too.”
“Are not!”
“Are too.”
I shook my head picking up my books and there was a cracking sound and Fen shouted, “Muuum!”
I spun around seeing the broken sword snapping, “Kalira!”
She frowned crossing her arms grumpily as she sat on the table. I pursed my lips sighing, “Asta can you take Gier and Yrsa for a moment.”
She took the children from my arms nodding to Fen, “Come, little Prince, we’ll wait for your mother in the great hall. Your father is addressing grievances.”
They left and I sighed coming over to where she sat on the table pouting for being scolded, “Kalira, what is the matter? You know better than to use your gifts out of anger at your brother. It’s not like you to pick fights.”
“He was teasing me,” She huffed, “He wouldn’t let me be the hero, and he was saying I’m scared of Asta. I’m not, I’m just not big enough to spar with her. It’s not fair. Just because I have magic like you I have to be rescued all the time.”
“Oh, my baby girl,” I chuckled stroking her chocolate hair back, “Who told you that? Your magic is more akin to your father than me. You are like me in many ways and that is good, but in that you are very much like your father. I will talk with Fen, alright? But you never lash out like that with your powers because he has upset you am I clear?”
“Yes, mummy,” she sighed.
“You have amazing gifts my darling,” I explained, “But you need to learn to use it for good things not just mischief. Alright? Is anything else bothering you?”
“Uncle is still gone,” She sighed staring at her lap, “So daddy is always working. Fen says if Uncle doesn’t come back that is how it will always be. But I want Daddy to play with us. Why does he have to be king? I heard people talking, they say he wasn’t meant to be king. So why does he have to be.”
I sighed heavily picking her up and holding her, “I know darling, I wish your father could spend all his time with us too. Your father is King because his father left the throne to both him and your uncle. I’ll explain it tonight. Thor will be back soon though, and your father can play with you more often.”
She nodded cuddling into my side, “Can we go to the library? It reminds me of daddy.”
“Yes baby, you can read with me,” I nodded squeezing her before setting her down taking her hand, “Shall we go see your father before we do.” She nodded smiling a little as we walked down the halls. Loki was sat on the throne listening to the grievances of nobles and commoners. I waited at the side a few people taking note of me and bowing their heads. After a few short moments, I took both Fen and Kalira by the hand and we stepped up to the view of the court.
A smirk played at Loki’s lips as we approached, “What grievance have you, my love?”
“I bring the prince and princess for you to resolve an issue,” I explained nudging them forward as Loki sat up a bit straighter leaning forward to listen, “Go on my loves.”
Fen shifted his feet still not fond of public speaking but he held up his sword mumbling, “Kalira broke my sword.”
“I see,” Loki nodded glancing at me and I nodded. He turned to Kalira, “Are these accusations true.”
“I did,” She admitted shyly, “But Fen was teasing me and wasn’t playing our game fair.”
“Do you think it was fair to break his sword because of that,” Loki sighed firmly.
“No,” she admitted, “I was mad because he didn’t listen. I said I was sorry. Mummy heard me.”
“She did apologize, my love,” I admitted, “The prince however has not.”
“I…” Fen started.
“Well then,” Loki chuckled, “I think I can resolve this grievance. Fenrir?”
“ ‘M sorry Kalira,” he sighed.
“Now,” Loki sighed gesturing for Kalira to join him, “There is the matter of the sword. We fix the things we break don’t we, princess?” She nodded taking the two pieces and climbing the big stairs to the throne. Loki pulled her into his lap helping her fit the pieces together before whispering in her ear. There was a soft glow and the sword was mended. Kalira climbed down and brought it back to Fen giving him a hug. There was a chorus of awws from the court and I began waddling my way up the steps.
I pecked his cheek sighing, “We need to talk tonight about her. We’ll be in the library.”
“Try to remember to rest, my love,” He purred kissing me fully with his hands resting on my belly, “You need it more this time.”

Chapter Text

It was some hours later that Kalira was sitting facing me in my lap. She had selected a book and was reading quite contently using my large stomach as a table. My arms bracketed her as I took notes and researched the histories of this realm. Asta played with Fen in the courtyard just next to the library, I watched idly as she taught him sword placements and tricks that Sif had found too dishonorable to teach him. I smiled glancing at the twins in their cradle sleeping happily, we had done well despite everything that had been thrown our way. Kalira started to doze on my chest and I sighed leaning back in my chair. I felt someone begin to kiss their way up my neck as they rubbed my shoulder. I hummed a smirk forming on my lips, “You know it’s a crime to assault the queen like that.”
“I think she’ll forgive me,” Loki purred in my ear, “Have I ever told you motherhood suits you.”
“Hm,” I smiled tilting my head back, “repeatedly. How was sitting on the throne, my king?”
“Dreary and tedious,” He sighed kissing me, “As usual with times of peace. How have the children been since this morning’s incident?”
“Well behaved,” I nodded as he leaned on my table. I stroked Kalira’s hair as she slept, “She misses you. That’s why she acted out, she’s scared that Thor won’t come back.”
“I thought Fen was always closer to Thor,” Loki frowned.
“While I think it would upset her, no that’s not why she’s scared,” I explained shaking my head, “She’s scared it will mean that you will have to remain as King all the time. She misses when you play with them, and Thor being gone so long as made her worry she won’t have you around.”
“As soon as he is back we should leave the palace for a bit,” Loki nodded quietly, “Go to my mother’s villa. Things will be quiet there, we can play with the children, you can relax during the last couple of months of the pregnancy.”
“I think that’s a good idea,” I sighed heavily, “Loki about this child…”
“Is something the matter,” he frowned.
“I know the midwives have been wonderful,” I frowned chewing on my lip, “But I’d like to ask Simmons to come check on me. I just have a feeling, I’ve been more sore than usual and the fatigue is…”
“No need to explain my love,” Loki nodded brushing my hair back for me, “If it would make you feel better I’ll send word. Simmons can come back with Thor. I don’t want you to worry.”
“Thank you,” I sighed leaning into his hand, “I agree on the vacation though, it would be good for the kids to get away from being here. You sure you want to go to Frigga’s villa.”
“It’s technically your villa now,” Loki chuckled caressing my face, “It’s a place of happy memories, I know she would want me to make more. Taking the children there will be good.”
“Then it’s settled,” I smiled, “When Thor and Jane return we will take a trip.”
“Papa!” Fen cheered rushing in from the garden waking Kalira on my chest.
Asta came chasing after sighing, “My King, apologies.”
“No, no, my friend,” Loki shrugged heaving the boy up, “That’s alright, how does he do?”
“Exceptionally well, your grace,” She smiled fondly as Kalira grumbled woken from her nap, “He has talent with a blade. With good instruction I think he shall be better than Sif one day.”
“And what about better than you,” He mused, “We both know that is the real test.”
Asta nodded, “I think the prince will indeed surpass me and my sister with training.”
He smiled, “That is a heavy compliment, but I think some subtlety might be the next thing to learn. I’m sorry we woke you Kalira.”
I shifted her in my lap as she rubbed her eyes, “Have you come to play Papa.”
“I think some supper first,” he chuckled smiling at her, “But yes, I’ve taken my crown off for the evening. We can play whatever you both like tonight.”
“Come on then,” I chuckled shifting Kalira onto the table, “If we don’t get moving then dinner will be cold by the time I manage to waddle down the hall.”
Loki helped me up out of the chair and we made our way back through the halls each of us taking one of the twins. When we finally reached our apartments again food was set out at the table for us. It took a few minutes but we managed to get all the children siting down and we took our places opposite ends of the table. Loki smiled at me down the table as the kids scarfed down their food eager to get back to playing. I sighed as we started our meal, “Well since we’re all here, I’d like to bring something up to you three.”
“Three,” Loki looked surprised.
“Papa are we in trouble?” Kalira asked.
“I don’t know but if you are I’m in trouble with you,” Loki smiled at her, “What did you want to discuss darling?”
“Schooling,” I replied simply, “Fen is almost of age and Kalira is certainly bright enough to start at least having a tutor if a school won’t accept her.”
“Thor and I had private tutors, we could arrange…”
“Why not a normal school,” I asked diplomatically, “Tony and I went to school, albeit finished early, but we turned out alright.”
“That’s not my concern,” Loki parsed his words carefully, “It’s more of a safety issue. While Thor and I share the throne, they are still royalty. If people learn of them going to a normal school it could be dangerous.”
“I’m not saying it doesn’t have it’s problems,” I nodded accepting his point, “But this is exactly the time to discuss it before some new catastrophe takes our attention. I know our children are social but let’s be honest Loki, they mostly interact with adults.”
“There are other children in the court,” Loki shrugged absently, “They can be plenty social with more age appropriate friends.”
“But they aren’t,” I sighed shaking my head, “I think a school would be good for them.”
“I don’t want to go to school,” Fen huffed, “I’d rather learn here. Like Papa.”
“I want to go to school though,” Kalira pouted, “Can’t we papa. I want to try school. Aunty Darcy makes it sound fun.”
“Darcy makes brushing your teeth sound fun,” Loki pointed out, “I just don’t think it’s wise. They would be in too much danger.”
“You and Thor want to be social pioneers,” I argued, “Sending our children to a normal school would be a step in that direction.”
Loki sighed shaking his head, “We compromise then.”
“If this is like our normal trades,” I raised an eyebrow at him, “Its not dinner conversation dear.”
“I won’t say no,” he smirked back, “You and Jane are quite accomplished, and as we’ve discussed there are plenty of other children in the court in need of tutors. You and Jane could start a school, a royal academy.”
“I used to teach bachelor students,” I shook my head, “Teaching children is very different.”
“Not so different,” Loki pointed out, “Asgardian children are advanced. I’m sure you and Jane could handle it fine.”
“This academy…” I sighed smiling at him, “I control everything?”
“Within reason,” Loki nodded, “I think it would be very nice. Something to do as queen.”
“You’re trying to keep me busy,” I sighed my mood changing a bit, “I can entertain myself, Loki.”
“I know you get restless,” Loki tried to skirt the subject, “I thought you might enjoy… it.” I rolled my eyes cutting my food as he sighed, “I know it’s been a while since you could take a trip and you do get a little stir crazy.”
“You want to keep digging that hole or should I stop you now,” I frowned.
He swallowed leaning towards Kalira, “Now I’m in trouble. I think you’re off the hook.”
“Thanks dad,” She grinned at him reaching for a cake on the table.
“Ah, ah, ah,” I scolded her, “I still see vegetables, finish them then you can have cake.” I shook my head at Loki, “We’ll finish this later, Loki. Let’s enjoy our evening.”
“I should find that emasculating as king,” Loki sighed continuing to eat, “But I just find it attractive in you darling.”
I chuckled shaking my head, “Nice save, love.”
We finished our meal and Loki took up playing with the children while I carried on with my research. The twins went down to sleep easily, far easier than any of our other children. Loki regaled them with a thrilling tale from his and Thor’s youth for a while as I got changed for bed. Not long after Loki poked his head into our bedroom sighing, “Kalira would like you to sing to her.”
“I’ll be there in a moment,” I nodded as he kissed my cheek. I stroked his shoulder as I left to tuck them in. Fen was already asleep and Kalria drifted off quickly. I sighed coming back to our shared bedroom, “I need to know something… And I want you to remember you swore to me you would never lie to me, that we agreed you could lie to everyone else in the universe and I would support you but you never, never lie to me…”
“Of course, my darling,” Loki bit his lip running his hands over my shoulders, “Anything, I swear to you just as I did then, nothing but the truth will part my lips.”
“Do you really believe this is the best idea for the children,” I pursed my lips, “Or is this just an opportunity because others in the court have been hounding you and Thor about me and Jane. Jane and I know that we are not popular and no one wants to impart real responsibility on two mortals… yet they do not want us sitting idle. I need to know if this is what you think is best for the children or something you’re suggesting because it is a good compromise for everyone.”
He was quiet for a long moment before he heaved a sigh, “They are not mutually exclusive in my mind. What will create peace in the court also as it stands is what I currently believe to be the best not only for our children but you as well. I meant what I said at dinner, you have never been one to be happy in one place for long, you lust for adventure and discovery my love.” I scoffed about to retort about not needing that, that I was fine when I knew I really wasn’t. He chuckled stroking my hair, “It’s not a bad thing, I knew it when I met you and when I fell in love with you. But the fact remains you need a new project, translation has stagnated for you… and if I’m honest is redundant, now that Darcy has vetted literature students to do the work for educational benefits.”
“I can’t just go running off like I used to,” I sighed shaking my head, “We have children, Loki. I can’t just up and leave for a dig or discovery. I certainly can’t take them with me… I mean I could if the kinds of digs I worked on were sanctioned in normal places. But I get into guerrilla fights, hike incredible places, no place for our children and it would break your heart to be apart from them.”
“I know.”
I pulled away starting to pace and fidget, “The research is what’s been keeping me busy. If I stop that then I am truly idle… And idle hands…”
Loki caught me from behind closing his hands over mine to stop my twitching and curling me into an embrace. He had quickly picked up my triggers and I took a shaky breath as he purred calmly, “Don’t think about him. He was so very wrong about you, my darling.” I took a few more steadying breaths and he sighed softly, “Would you like to call Tony?”
I let out a breath shaking my head, “No, I’m okay. Thank you though.”
“This is why I think the academy is a good idea,” Loki sighed scooping me into his arms and cradling me in his lap as he sat on our bed, “There will always be something new. And if in a few years you find it still doesn’t hold that spark for you we can arrange expeditions for classes and what not. In a few years perhaps you can even hand over to someone else and travel again… though I will admit I would miss you dearly. I think this will help with the restlessness you feel, I don’t want you to be unhappy, Tessa.” He scoffed, “In fact, I did not even have a plan for how to deal with the court until you wished to discuss Fen and Kalira’s education…”
“That’s not true,” I chuckled nudging him, “I reckon you had some form of an academy in your mind.”
“It was very far down the list of potentials,” He admitted smiling at me, “I didn’t think it practical, though I did have my former students in mind for you. I believe this will be best, for the time being, for you and our children as well as, I’m sure, countless other children.”
“Alright then,” I nodded leaning into him, “When Jane returns I will speak with her about it. Lord don’t let Thor do it, he’ll just phrase it wrong and upset her. Until then I’ll draw up some plans.”