The perplexed looked on Loki's face was a picture, and Tony wanted to laugh even if his heart was beating a mile a minute from all the adrenalin in his system. The second metallic clink as Loki tried to zap him with the sceptre again and failed completely was just too good to pass up. He really could not help the quip that came out of his mouth and the vice like grip on his throat was not overly a surprise after that. What was a shock, however, was when Loki suddenly froze, a very startled and, what Tony would call, almost affronted expression in place.
"What are you doing?" Loki asked in a very low, dangerous tone.
"Me, oh, nothing," Tony replied with as much voice as he could manage, but took the opportunity to grab Loki's wrist in one hand and went for a neck grip of his own with the other.
He knew he didn't have much of a chance, but Loki was acting strangely enough to give him hope. He really, really did not expect Loki to gasp and the grip on his neck to loosen slightly.
"Stark," Loki growled, but it really only sounded like half a warning.
"Loki," he replied in kind, because he honestly had no idea what was going on.
Loki took in another sharp breath and Tony was sure the demi-god's pupil's dilated significantly. If he'd been in a normal situation Tony would have taken that as an indication of arousal, but that would have been ridiculous, right? The fact he'd been rock hard since the moment he'd laid eyes on Loki standing on his terrace was just how he tended to react to dangerous situations. As Pepper had told him more than once, he had two settings, aroused and dead.
"Release me Stark or I will not be responsible for the consequences," Loki threatened, but Loki's voice had dropped a few tones and it sounded more like a come on to Tony.
"Not happening," he replied and shifted his grip a little to see where the weirdness would go next.
Loki full-body shuddered.
"You should not have this power," Loki hissed, "what magic is this?"
"No idea," he said and moved his fingers again.
Loki's pupils dilated even more and the demi-god's expression had gone from angry to needy. Tony knew that expression very well, but it didn't usually happen in the middle of conflict. The fact that he hadn't the slightest clue what he was doing was just a little bit exciting.
For a moment Loki closed his eyes before taking in a long breath and pulling himself to his full height.
Tony thought his time of respite was over, but when Loki opened his eyes again they were gently glowing green. It didn't look like a very threatening colour and the grip on his throat eased some more, but did not release.
"You are infuriating, Mr Stark," Loki said, only now it was Tony's turn to shiver because that voice was like silk over his skin, "and I have no defences."
At Loki's words Tony felt his skin start to tingle.
It was the weirdest sensation and, coming from Tony, that was saying something. He didn't feel as if something was running over the surface of his body, more like his skin was vibrating very slightly all over. The fact was, it was surprisingly pleasant.
"Um," he said, because he felt he should react in some way, but he honestly had no idea how to respond.
He really wanted to ask what Loki was doing, but it didn't feel bad and he really didn't want the raving psycho version of the demi-god back. It was his turn to gasp as the tingling increased in a wavelike motion from his head to his toes. He might have been able to think a little more clearly if some of the sensation hadn't decided to pool in his groin.
Tony found his gaze pulled to Loki's whether he liked it or not and the gently glowing eyes seemed to suck him in.
"Oh god," he whispered as the vibrations began to pulse through him.
There was no doubting that the experience was of a sexual nature. If there was one thing Tony knew it was sex and it might have been ethereal, but it was definitively sex. Letting go did occur to him, but that would probably have been a bad idea and the fact he wasn't sure he could made it a moot point.
He could feel a hum under his fingers, pulsing in time with the sensations in his own body, and he could only conclude Loki was in the same kind of state he was. Tony had thought he was hard before whatever was going on had started, but now his cock was aching and very much making itself known. That only usually happened to him when he was in bed with his partner of choice, these days, Pepper. He was often aroused at other times, but never so completely.
"Wh..at?" he couldn't help himself, the question just had to be asked.
Loki just moved closer and the grip on his neck now was almost gentle.
"Not to your liking?" Loki asked, each word forced and stilted as if they took an incredible amount of effort. "I warned you."
"Didn't ... say ... that," Tony replied breathlessly.
He was always open to new experiences and this was nothing he had ever experienced before. At the back of his mind there was a vague guilt because of Pepper, but it wasn't as if he could do anything about what was happening. He was a practical man and he tried to enjoy all things pleasant that life threw at him.
The tingling vibrations were increasing in frequency, causing his blood to pound and his cock to throb mercilessly. He couldn't help noticing that the glow from his arc reactor was increasing as well. The analytical part of his mind that usually only ever shut up in the midst of orgasm noted it was probably something to do with the reactor that had dragged him into this situation in the first place. He really wanted to know what was going on, but his voice had totally deserted him.
Loki's pale eyes were now very, very green and all kinds of pretty; Tony could appreciate the aesthetics even if said eyes were attached to a deranged god.
The fact was, Tony hadn't felt so turned on without something tangible to concentrate on ever and it was beginning to blow his mind. When he noticed that his skin was glowing a fainter, but similar green to Loki's eyes there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. He felt as if his heart might explode through the arc reactor, but all he could think was what a hell of a way to go.
When Loki moaned it was such a low and debauched sound that Tony almost came on the spot, but the magic, because he was sure it had to be magic, wasn't finished with him yet. He was dying to come, almost literally, and he could only breathe in short, sharp gasps. His whole body was reverberating with energy that was sending signals only one way. The wave of increased tingling was now almost so fast it was a resonance and yet Tony could not move. He was held immobile by the forces running through his body.
He had no idea how long it went on. All he knew was that it was building and building and he was just about ready to pass out. He was right on the limit of his endurance and then his orgasm ripped through him and he sobbed in relief and lost track of anything except the exquisite pleasure swamping all his senses. Nothing so much as made an impression on his perception for what seemed like an eon.
Of course it couldn't last forever and he came to lying on the floor; not quite so pleasant.
Pushing himself into a sitting position, Tony blinked to reassert which way was up and which way was down. His whole body was still tingling, even the tip of his nose, which was disconcerting. His underwear was also definitely sticky, which was gross, but, hey, what a ride. He glanced over to Loki, who blinked back at him owlishly, apparently as dazed as he was. Of course he should have done something, tried to incapacitate Loki before the God of Mischief regained his senses, but thinking really was kind of hard.
When Loki shook his head as if trying to clear his thoughts, Tony tried the same thing. He was a little slower, apparently, as Loki surged to his feet.
"The portal," Loki said, sceptre in hand.
At least the little break had been fun and Tony did his best to prepare to start fighting again.
"We have to stop the portal."
Tony just sat there for a moment as Loki ran for the stairs.
"What?" he said, shaking his head again.
Loki didn't even bother to reply, just charged through the doors towards the Tesseract and Tony had to scramble to follow. He made it onto the roof just as Loki knelt down next to Selvig.
"Is there a way to stop it?" he heard Loki ask in a very urgent tone.
"No ... my lord," Selvig said, although he clearly wasn't in the same state Tony had seen him in before.
"Enough," Loki said firmly obviously seeing through the attempted deception, "you are no longer under my control as I am no longer under Thanos'. Is there a way to stop it?"
Tony walked up in time to see Selvig looking utterly astonished.
"Yes," Selvig said nodding.
"How?" Loki demanded.
"I built in a safety to cut the power source," Selvig replied; "the sceptre can reach it."
"Show me, quickly," Loki said, helping the scientist to his feet in a none too gentle manner, but since the Tesseract machine was beginning to make some very interesting noises, Tony couldn't complain about the haste.
"There," Selvig said, just as the machine began to spin.
Loki moved fast, but a blast of energy went straight up and Tony could see the black shape of a portal beginning to open. The moment the machine activated it clearly became harder to get near it, but Loki held firm.
"JARVIS, get ready with the suit," Tony said, just in case.
"Already prepared, Sir," JARVIS replied.
The portal was getting bigger, it could only be moments now before the Chitauri arrived. Loki had both hands on the sceptre when Tony glanced back and was forcing it through the energy field. When the point hit the spot the whole machine pulsed and Tony stared up at the portal, seeing the first tiny blobs coming out of it. To his great relief the portal flamed then died, taking the tiny blobs with it and the Tesseract machine hummed and spluttered to a stop.
That apparently was Thor's cue to arrive as the big guy landed on the roof and all Loki did was sit down with a bump and put his hand to his head. Far better than what Tony would have expected from previous displays. Tony's legs were also still shaky from his and Loki's little foray into magical whatever, so he decided to give them a rest as well. The world looked far steadier sitting on the floor.
"It's over, Thor," Tony said as Thor strode up to them, "at least I think it is."
Loki looked up then and said nothing, but put the sceptre on the ground.
"Brother," Thor said carefully, "are you well?"
That made Loki laugh and Tony almost joined him.
"Oh, I am very well," Loki said, still laughing.
Tony didn't find the whole situation quite that amusing, but Asgardians were very strange, so he let it slide.
"Brother," Thor walked closer to Loki, "what have you been doing?"
"Ask Stark," was not the most charitable of things Loki could have said, but Tony could kind of see that maybe he was responsible for this.
"Loki, look at me," Thor demanded and Loki did; clearly the blown pupils and, yep Tony was sure he saw a spark, still occasionally glowing eyes, were a dead giveaway. "You ... you ..."
Thor rounded on Tony. "Tony Stark, did you have sex with my brother?"
By the looks of it Loki found that hysterical.
"It was an accident," Tony defended himself and he thought Loki might fall off the roof from laughing too hard.
"An accident?" Thor did not sound happy.
"I still don't know how it happened," Tony replied, "but since it cured his bout of homicidal megalomania I think I'm owed a bit of credit."
Thor did not seem to know what to say to that.
"Loki, what do you have to say?" Thor demanded.
Loki did sober then with Thor's full attention on him.
"The ... completion," Tony was pretty sure Loki had been going for a more blatant word, but changed his mind, "released the hold Thanos had on me. Thank you, Stark."
"Don't mention it," Tony shot back with a grin and Thor glared at him.
"But why would you ..?" Thor asked, clearly perplexed.
"I believe the device in Stark's chest gives off certain frequencies and, for a human, Stark is a very virile individual," Loki replied. "It was, as Stark so eloquently put it, an accident."
Tony might have preened a little bit at that, even if Loki had qualified the statement. He'd given a god an orgasm big enough to blow said god's mind, he was not apologising for that, well except to Pepper.
"Want that drink now?" he asked and looked at Loki.
Loki lifted an eyebrow, considered that and nodded.
"Why not," Loki replied and picked up the sceptre and threw it at Thor. "I think, Brother, your companions will be less trigger happy if you keep this."
Thor caught the sceptre and offered his brother a hand up as Tony climbed back to his feet.
"What about you, Selvig," he asked, "what's your poison?"
"Whiskey," the scientist said, "a large one."
Loki was clearly on a high and Tony had to admit he was still buzzing quite well himself, which probably helped with all the awkwardness of the situation. By the time Rogers, Bruce, Natasha and Hawkeye arrived, Tony, Loki, Selvig and Thor were sitting around with very large glasses of alcohol.
"Come in," Tony greeted with a shit eating grin; "one alien invasion put to bed. Have a drink, we are."
"Stark, what is going on?"
Tony was impressed Captain America didn't swear given the situation.
"Make love, not war," Tony replied and Loki giggled, honest to god giggled.
"Are you high?" Natasha wanted to know.
"Kinda," Tony admitted, "after sex glow."
Thor glowered at him, but he just grinned wider. The four new arrivals clearly had no idea what to think.
"There is no way even you had time for that," Bruce decided and then headed to the bar, ever practical it seemed.
"Oh, it was magical sex," Tony replied, utterly pleased with himself for having stopped a war; "seems I'm irresistible to Asgardians."
"Only to those who would take the female role," Thor all but growled.
"Oh don't be such a prude, Thor," Loki said, "just because I enjoy making the magic during sex does not make me any less a man. You can ask any of those I have taken to my bed."
"Magical sex?" Rogers seemed to be a little stuck on that fact.
"There was glowing and tingling and shit like that," Tony replied, enjoying the good Captain's discomfort way too much. "How does that work anyway?" he added, looking at Loki since he was still short on the details.
"As I understand it foreplay is very much the same on both our worlds," Loki said, clearly not in the least bit shy about discussing details, "but on Asgard the man then exudes a magical field which encourages the woman to produce magic which causes the energy signatures of those involved to interact and does everything else. I've never seen the point in leaving my partner to do all the work."
"It is how it should be," Thor said, blushing an incredible shade of pink.
"Sheer laziness," Loki shot back and it was like watching two perfectly ordinary brothers bicker.
"But," Hawkeye broke through the conversation with a very loud interruption, "what does that have to do with the Tesseract?"
"Loki was under the control of some guy called Thanos," Tony said, since he was pretty sure Hawkeye was not going to listen to anything Loki said, "and a magical orgasm was just what he needed to shake it off."
"Explain," Natasha said, looking straight at Loki before Hawkeye could dispute what Tony had said.
Loki did the switching from amused to perfectly serious that Tony had noticed the demi-god seemed to do a lot.
"When I fell from Asgard I was weak and vulnerable," Loki said, "and I landed in a very dark place. I still barely remember that time, only bits and pieces, but I do remember a being called Thanos, not that I believe I am supposed to. While I had no defences he placed certain compulsions in my consciousness, compulsions under which I have been acting since. What he failed to realised is that when he attempted to control my mind he also limited my magic. A magical orgasm, as Stark so poetically puts it, was enough of a neurological and magical shock to shake my power loose, at which point my own defences reasserted themselves and destroyed the compulsions. It then seemed a good idea to prevent the Chitauri from arriving."
"You closed the portal?" Bruce sounded surprised and Loki just nodded.
Hawkeye looked at Natasha.
"I got concussion he got an orgasm, how is that even fair?" the archer asked and Tony decided maybe things were looking up again.
"Then we came inside for a drink," he said, "the bar's fully stocked, so help yourselves."
Surprisingly no one argued.
"So are you two friends again?" Bruce asked, taking the seat next to Tony and looking at Thor and Loki.
For the first time Tony saw something other than confidence or amusement flash across Loki's face.
"We are brothers," Thor declared firmly and Loki appeared to relax just slightly again, "nothing will change that."
"But didn't you try to kill him?" Hawkeye said, clearly having seen the same weakness in Loki Tony had spotted and wanting a little revenge even though it appeared everything that had happened hadn't been Loki's fault.
"That is in the past," Thor said with a glare.
"But no compulsions then," Hawkeye insisted.
"I did not actually intend to kill him," Loki said and Tony was quite surprised the demi-god didn't leave it to Thor.
"Not what the report I read said," Hawkeye was not giving up.
"I was very angry, I was trying to humiliate him and I forgot he was temporarily mortal," Loki said, eyes flicking to Thor who looked surprised at the confession, "which made everything worse and when he returned to Asgard I may have panicked."
It was clearly a conversation the brothers should have been having alone, but Thor seemed to get it even though Loki was not saying everything.
"The past," Thor said very firmly and then glared at Hawkeye as if daring the archer to say more.
Natasha, spotting possible trouble brewing, if Tony was any judge of the situation, shoved a drink into Hawkeye's hand and gave him a significant look of her own. That, at least, seemed to work.
"So," Tony said and held up his glass; "to not actually having to fight an alien army."
"I'll drink to that," Rogers agreed, which actually lifted the man in Tony's opinion somewhat.
As one the whole group downed their drinks, even Selvig.
"So how long do you think we have until Fury is tugging on our leashes?" Bruce asked.
"He already is," Natasha replied and tapped her ear.
"But he can wait a little while," Rogers said and Tony actually thought he might end up liking the man.
"The Tesseract should be made secure," Loki said and then waved his hands and produced a case out of thin air. "I would offer, but I suspect you would all prefer someone else do it."
"I will," Natasha said immediately and stood up.
Loki handed her the case.
"Do not touch it with your bare hands," was Loki's only instruction and then Natasha was gone, all red hair, black leather and flowing grace.
Sometimes Tony wished he knew how to move like that; he always did his best to be smooth, but he was pretty sure that didn't count as graceful. Then again he wasn't an assassin who could kill someone with his pinky finger.
"Loki, should we be expecting any more surprises?" Roger's asked as the super soldier sat down.
"Not immediately," Loki replied, "but I doubt Thanos or the Chitauri will leave Midgard alone indefinitely. There is too much potential for death."
"Why death?" Tony asked.
"Because Thanos is interested in only that," was the straightforward reply; "that much I do recall clearly."
"Nice guy," Tony decided and took another swig of his drink.
"The Tesseract was his initial plan, but I am sure he will have another one ..." Loki trailed off as he was talking.
"Loki?" Tony asked carefully, the last thing he wanted to find out was that sane Loki was a temporary thing.
"Where is the one named Coulson?" Loki asked, standing up.
"Um ..." was the best Tony could do because, for once, he had no idea what to say.
"The Helicarrier morgue," Hawkeye said almost viciously.
"We must reach him immediately," Loki said, looking at Tony as if Tony could solve anything.
"He's dead," Tony said, "morgue means dead people."
"I am aware of what morgue means," Loki replied, "and he is not dead. He is, as you would say, plan B; the wound was very carefully placed. The magic I infused with his system began healing it the moment it was formed while his nervous system was gradually placed in a state of simulated death. He will wake up and attempt to assassinate Director Fury and turn the vessel into a flying bomb."
"And you didn't tell us this earlier because?" Rogers demanded.
"My thoughts are unordered," Loki said, "I have only just recalled these facts."
The demi-god even looked apologetic about it, which was a new expression on Loki's face.
"That's quite a big thing to forget," Tony pointed out.
"Much of the last few days is hazy," Loki admitted reluctantly; "I am still processing the information. I apologise for the sudden nature of my announcement, but I believe that is not what is important at this juncture."
It was hard to argue with that.
"Okay, boys and girls," Tony decided and stood up, "where did you put the jet?"
As it turned out the Quinjet was parked just down the road and it didn't take them too long to reach the Helicarrier. It did, however, take longer to get them all off the flight deck.
"Captain Rogers," Fury said, addressing their de facto leader, "what is going on here."
For once Tony kept his mouth shut, because they were short on time.
"We need to get Loki to Agent Coulson, Sir," Rogers replied; "it would seem he is not as dead as he may have appeared."
Fury fixed Loki with his one good eye.
"I was under another's control, Director Fury," Loki said very rapidly before any questions could be asked, "just as Agent Barton was under mine and Agent Coulson has been programmed to specific parameters for when he wakes up. It would be in all our interests to make sure he does not until I have removed the compulsions."
It seemed that Loki was not willing to wait for anyone else to explain.
"And you expect me to believe you just fought off this control?" Fury asked.
"That may have had something to do with my arc reactor," Tony decided it was time to speak up. "We'll explain right after we've sorted out Coulson."
"He's dead," Fury was apparently in a stubborn mood.
"Simulated death," Loki snapped at the man. "I will be happy to demonstrate as soon as you take me to him."
Fury's gaze swept round them all and Tony saw Barton nod out of the corner of his eye. That seemed to be enough.
"This way," Fury said, but even as they entered the Helicarrier proper a unit of SHIELD troops appeared to flank them.
It took a good couple of minutes to reach the morgue.
"Do you require this, Brother?" Thor asked, brandishing the sceptre as they all crowded into the room.
"No," Loki replied and walked up to the steel drawers in the wall without being told which one was Coulson's.
Without waiting for the go ahead Loki pulled one of the drawers open and pulled the sheet off the body inside. Coulson was still in his suit and looked very dead. For just a second Tony doubted what had been happening, until Loki said two words: "Wake up."
Coulson's eyes opened instantly.
"Sit up," Loki instructed.
Coulson also followed that order efficiently, all but looking like Dracula sitting up in his coffin. There was no expression in the agent's eyes.
Before Loki did anything else, the demi-god placed a hand on Coulson's chest and closed his eyes. There was a small flash of light and Coulson shuddered once.
"The healing was not complete," Loki said before anyone could ask, "it is now. Look at me Agent Coulson."
Coulson turned his head so he was facing Loki, but there was still no expression in the man's eyes.
"Tell me your instructions," Loki said.
"Kill Director Fury and crash the Helicarrier into the nearest city," Coulson said with cold clarity.
Until then Tony hadn't quite been sure, but there was no doubting it now.
"Abort the mission, remove instructions," Loki said, hand still on Coulson's chest.
"Understood," was the one word response.
Now Loki leaned closer to the agent as if conspiring, but the morgue was a very quiet place. It was not difficult to hear when Loki whispered: "You are free."
Finally Coulson blinked and then looked around the room. When the agent looked at Loki his eyes opened slightly wider, which for Couslon was a show of abject shock.
"You were right," Loki said with a small, slightly twisted smile, "I lacked conviction."
"You changed your mind?" Coulson asked in the calm, considered tone Tony was used to hearing from the man.
"More I regained it," Loki replied.
"Right, bridge now," Fury said; "I want to know what the hell has been going on."
No one argued, not even Tony.
Fury's face was an utter picture and Tony made a mental note to hack in and download the footage.
"You had sex with Loki."
It was the second time Fury had said it and it wasn't any less funny on repeat. Tony had to try very, very hard not to laugh.
"Yes," he replied; "we explained this; magical sex. It was an accident, but it fixed him right up. Magical and neurological reboot."
"We could demonstrate if you like," Loki said in a perfectly reasonable tone.
Tony did laugh as Fury, Thor and Rogers all said 'no' equally as emphatically. Everyone else looked as if they were trying not to join Tony, apart from Loki who had the most practiced innocent expression Tony had ever seen. He was really beginning to like Thor's little brother; there as a wicked sense of humour under the princely exterior.
Fury looked as if he might be about to have a stroke.
"I want proof this is not some elaborate ploy," Fury said and glared at Loki.
Loki lifted an eyebrow.
"Director, while I admit my plans can be somewhat convoluted, giving up my most deadly weapon, preventing my allies from arriving on cue and defusing my only current backup measure would be idiotic moves," Loki replied. "I can think of no scenario where such actions would be useful except where I am telling the truth. Can you?"
"You gave yourself up once before," Fury pointed out.
"To a strategic end."
Tony supposed that Fury was paid to be a paranoid bastard, but even he thought this was pushing it. Besides which, Thor believed Loki and that was about all that counted, because Tony was one hundred percent sure Fury did not want to piss off Asgard. Not that it would count with Fury, but Tony believed Loki as well; it was the only thing that made sense.
"Look, Nick," he decided to step in, because he really wanted to stop all the grandstanding, "the whole surrender thing was like you and Coulson's trading cards, what just happened would be strategic suicide."
For the first time ever Tony saw a flash of what he could only describe as fear in Fury's one eye.
"My trading cards?"
The tone was bland and gently curious, but the way Natasha looked at Coulson as the man spoke said otherwise. Suddenly the focus was completely off Loki and right on Fury and, if Tony hadn't known better, he would have said Fury looked awkward. In all honesty, Tony had had no idea what he was saying would cause this reaction, but he settled in to watch with glee.
"Tony, oh thank god," Pepper said and threw herself into his arms as soon as he walked into the penthouse, "I saw the news and I know that beam came from here."
"All fixed," Tony replied and hugged her before giving her a quick kiss, "and I may have brought a few friends to stay."
He'd left the others down in the lobby, but he'd had JARVIS sorting everything else out since they had left that afternoon.
"Tony, explain what happened now," Pepper said, standing back a little and giving him a stern look.
It was obvious she had been worried by the way she was acting.
"Well Loki, that's Thor's little brother, tried to create a portal to bring an alien army through to invade Earth," he decided to just come out and say it.
"Tell me he's locked up," Pepper said, eyes large and round since an alien army was out there even for a life looking after Tony Stark.
"Actually he's down stairs with Thor and the rest of the Avengers," he replied, "but," he added holding up his hands, "there was a whole heap of mind controlling going on and I wouldn't say he's totally sane right now, but he's at least on a par with me."
Pepper narrowed her eyes.
"I invited them all to use the spare rooms," he said in a hopeful tone.
"What spare rooms?" Pepper asked.
"The ones I had kitted out this afternoon while we were all being debriefed by Fury and bringing Coulson back from the dead and then stopping him killing Fury because of his trading cards."
"Phil? What happened to Phil?"
"Loki stabbed him." He realised it was not the best thing to say after he said it. "But it was totally a plan and there was magic and Coulson was never really dead. He'll be here in a couple of hours too, because Fury wants someone to keep an eye on the Avengers and we all agreed Coulson needs a rest."
"So no one's dead?"
"No one we know."
"And we have house guests?"
"Yep, seven of them. Looks like the Avengers are going to be around for a while and I was thinking of having some alterations done, to give everyone their own floor. I prefer it when the rest of them are where I can keep an eye on them."
The look on Pepper's face called him on his bullshit.
"Okay, I think we make a pretty good team, even if we didn't get to do a proper battle today and I kind of like them."
"Yes, Tony, you can have your friends to stay," Pepper said in her best put upon tone.
Tony grinned and kissed her again; there were many, many reasons he loved Pepper.
"So why is everyone still downstairs?" she asked.
"I have them being checked in by security," he said.
"You could have had JARVIS do that here."
"I know, but I wanted to see you first, alone."
That earned him another appraising look.
"What do you need to tell me?" she asked simply, before taking his hand and leading him over to the couch.
It was crunch time.
"Don't hate me," he said, "but the whole mind control thing, I might have been the one to break it."
"And why would I hate you for that?" Pepper asked in her usual patient tone.
"I might have accidentally had sex with Loki. It was magical sex," he barrelled on before she could say anything. "Seems they do it with magic in Asgard and my reactor gives off all the right signals and I was aroused thanks to the whole situation, you know I can't help it, and Loki had me in a neck hold so I grabbed him and seems I grabbed him in just the right places ... pulse points, I mean pulse points, not where you're thinking from the look on your face ... and well, it just kind of happened."
Pepper was silent for several long moments.
"You had sex with Loki."
Tony might have wanted to crawl away in shame.
"Magical sex," he corrected, "and neither of us meant it to happen. There was glowing."
"Glowing," another flat statement.
"And possibly the weirdest orgasm of my life, which might actually have saved the world."
Pepper was silent again for a while.
"Did you enjoy it?"
Tony had no idea how to reply.
"Yes?" he said eventually, deciding on the truth, but not sure he should be saying it.
Something in Pepper's expression changed then and she rolled her eyes.
"I want details later," she said and shook her head. "Tony, only you could have sex to save the world."
Which was the point he knew he was forgiven.
"Accidental sex," he replied, just to make sure that was understood.
"If I didn't believe that I wouldn't still be sitting here," Pepper told him, "now I think we should let your friends in. What should I order for dinner?"
"Shawarma," Tony said without hesitating; he'd had a craving for it all day even though he'd never actually tried it.
Dinner had arrived at the same time as Coulson and Tony had spent a hell of a lot of time talking rather than eating, but he had also been observing. He did not miss the way Hawkeye, or rather Clint, since Steve was insisting all the Avengers treat each other more like comrades than colleagues, kept stealing things off Coulson's plate. It seemed to be the archer's way of showing he cared, at least that was Tony's conclusion, because Clint hadn't lost a limb yet.
Natasha had a healthy appetite and was apparently very practiced at fending off Clint's attempt to steal things. Tony felt a little warm inside when the archer tried to take something off his plate as well. In fact the only two people unscathed by Clint's attacks were Loki and Pepper.
Bruce made the occasional, highly intelligent comment, but otherwise seemed to be watching and noting as much as Tony was.
Steve was honestly trying to get to know the members of his new team, even Tony and Tony was pretty sure they were coming to an understanding. It was also highly entertaining watching Steve trying to be polite while consuming a huge amount of the food. Of course Tony knew all about Steve's accelerated metabolism, but being from World War II seemed to mean Steve was very careful to make sure everyone had their share and he was up against Thor. Thor was apparently a walking trashcan for any and all things edible.
Loki, on the other hand, ate sparingly, consuming less than Natasha, which, given his height seemed a bit odd to Tony. Tony also noticed that Thor kept putting things on Loki's plate when he thought his brother wasn't looking. What was very interesting to Tony was the fact that he could tell Loki saw it every time and let Thor get away with it. The thing was he knew for a fact Pepper had a tendency to do the same with him.
All in all it was an eye opening experience, even if it did include the great humous debacle of 2012 as Tony had decided to call it. One of the couches might never recover, but it had been worth it to see Loki actually fall off his seat laughing when Thor caught a face full of chickpea pulp.
"That was a well made feast," Thor declared when they had all finally stopped eating.
"Delicious, thanks Pepper, Tony," Bruce agreed with a smile.
"Our pleasure," Pepper replied and went to start tidying the mess of plates and boxes that was now on the table.
"Lady Pepper," Loki said, standing instantly, "allow me to assist you."
"Thank you, Loki," Pepper replied with a smile.
Another thing Tony was fast learning was that Loki could be suave when he wanted to be. He was beginning to realise Loki had earned his reputation as the Silvertongue rather than just being a raving lunatic who happened to be smarter than Thor.
"Me too," Tony said, deciding that he could do with the brownie points.
Pepper appeared almost shocked by that, but smiled at him as well and didn't comment out loud. Tony was all too aware he was not good at the domestic stuff, but he could try. He ended up carrying a couple of bags of trash while Loki dealt with the plates and cutlery and Pepper more directed than anything else.
"Someone pour more drinks," he said as he followed Pepper towards the kitchen he had been in precisely twice so far.
He wasn't sure if he really wanted to develop this more domestic side of his character, it didn't feel like a great fit, but he was enjoying himself so that was fine. He had friends sleeping over, and not in a needs an NDA way, and how cool was that. Tony hadn't really had that many friends in his life and some of those had betrayed him, so he liked the feeling that was settling in his chest.
The Avengers had stopped an alien invasion before it had even started and everyone seemed to be playing nice with each other. It was great and, thinking about it, the tower could do with some structural changes; he'd never been quite happy about the top floors.
Tony was just considering how best to make living spaces for all his new friends when he looked up and caught a glimpse of Pepper watching Loki. The Asgardian was just in front of Pepper as she directed with quiet words and the look Pepper was giving Loki's back was very interesting, very interesting indeed. It wasn't hostile or anything like that, it was speculative. Tony smiled and began planning on exactly how he was going to explain what had happened earlier in the day and in how much detail.
He was totally focused on Pepper these days; she had his heart and his loyalty, but everyone's love lives needed a little spice. The way Loki teased Thor mercilessly about sex showed that the god was open to the kinkier side of things and Tony knew intrigue when he saw it on Pepper. If he played it right there could be more magical sex in his future, magical sex that included Pepper, which made it perfect.
As they walked into the kitchen he grinned to himself; this was going to be so much fun.