When Tony Stark contacted Reva Anderson, a young psychologist, she was rather stunned. He had been cryptic about the reason, only telling her that he needed a 'session'.
She immediately suspected that something was not being shared with her deliberately, for why would someone like Tony Stark contact someone like her, when he probably had the number of the best therapists on the Eastern Seaboard?
She wasn't one of them. Not yet, at least. She had only begun her practice a few years ago.
However, her suspicions deepened when she was brought to a gargantuan flying machine, called a 'helicarrier,' and given a file that contained information about a Norse God-cum-alien named Loki. She was vaguely familiar with the name, thanks to her penchant for random internet surfing. He was the God of Mischief and Lies; that was all that she knew.
Reading the file, she soon realized that she wasn't dealing with mere mischief. This man had recently launched his campaign for world domination in Stuttgart. And he was also really obsessed with making people kneel before him.
So much for first contact being peaceful and friendly.
Stark had promised a handsome paycheck to her for the job. He wanted her to engage Loki somehow, to get him to talk. All attempts at interrogation had failed so far. So this was Stark's version of a last ditch effort—bringing someone non-SHIELD and try to ease him into conversation. Someone non-threatening would lower his barriers and perhaps, he'd let something slip about his evil plans.
Now, Reva did want recognition and a career boost, and working for Tony Stark would certainly earn her that, but did she really want to deal with a possibly psychotic space Viking?
Another thing, this whole operation was to be kept covert and no one else on the heliecarrier was to know about its details. As far as anyone else was concerned, Reva was Stark's personal therapist and he needed some sessions to deal with the stress of the present situation.
"Am I supposed to know what SHIELD is?" she asked, baffled as she read about the details of the Stuttgart attack.
"Basically, they're FBI on steroids." Stark shrugged as he paced before her. They were in his personal quarters, the only place without bugs. "Don't think you need more info than that."
She nodded. The lesser she knew, the better.
"Do you really think I could make Loki talk? I'm not very confident. I don't even have enough experience, I think."
"The lack of experience is what makes you perfect for this. We need to make him feel like he's in complete control. We want him to feel smug."
"I wonder how safe this is." She kept turning the pages of the file nervously. "It's not like I go around chatting up criminals for a living."
"Don't worry," said Stark, looking at her reassuringly, "we have him in a solid cage. It was built for something much stronger than him. He won't be able to do anything, besides throwing some insults here and there."
She nodded, thinking about that paycheck again. She could do this.
"But how exactly are you going to sneak me in there? You said it was going to be covert. Isn't he supposed to be under constant surveillance?"
"Yes, I'll help you with that," he stated smugly. "I'll disengage the cameras to his cell and will install prerecorded feeds. And I'll be keeping tabs on the situation. You will have all the night to yourself."
"The whole night? Does he not sleep?"
"He hasn't shown signs of it so far."
"Okay then, take me to him."
She could do this. She was just going to have humdrum conversations with a psychotic space Viking. The night will be over soon and she will be let off. Hannibal Lecter, here I come.
Stark quietly slipped Reva into the chamber holding the reinforced glass cage and gave her a thumbs up. The door was closed on her face before she could even respond. She then turned her attention to the glass cage.
The captive was already observing her. His stare was severe enough to make her knees quake. He was tall, and clad in a strange costume-armor hybrid. His pale skin glowed under the fluorescent lights, giving him an aura of otherworldliness. Even his long raven hair looked menacing.
Suddenly, the urge to turn around and run away struck Reva hard. Oh, what the hell had she gotten herself into?
Very slowly, she made her way to the front of the cage and introduced herself.
"Hi, I'm Raina," She cursed herself as her voice wavered a little under his intense scrutiny, "and I'm here to give you company for the night."
"Starting off with a lie," he crooned, his voice like a dagger wrapped in velvet. "Why am I not surprised?"
His stern expression gradually gave way to a grin—possibly the most wicked grin she'd ever seen. It made her shudder, which didn't slip his notice.
His sharp seafoam eyes roamed all over her body, from head to toe and back. Reva tried hard not to squirm. She realized then, that he wasn't just scary, he was also strangely seductive in his mannerisms.
"Reva," she said, with a lot of effort to keep her voice stable this time. "My name's Reva Anderson."
She had decided it was better if she didn't lie to the man who was known to be the god of lies. He would certainly catch each and every one of them, making her job difficult in the end.
"Smart decision," he said, as if reading her mind. "You understand that lying to me is futile."
She nodded, averting her gaze from his for once as she perused her surroundings… or pretended to.
"You are to be my company for the night, and yet, you are so distant." He tilted his head a little as he approached her, as if truly confused. "I don't think the expression 'company for the night' holds the same meaning for you as it does for me."
Reva's eyes widened as she caught his inference.
"N-not that kind of company." She tried to appear unaffected, but he was already getting to her. She could feel goose bumps forming on her bare legs. Damn, wearing a pencil skirt was a bad idea.
He laughed, a low, throaty sound that didn't do anything to dispel her nervousness. The fact that he was immensely attractive was also messing with her head. If anything, it made him even more terrifying in her eyes.
"So, how do you suggest we spend our time?" he asked, coming to stand as close to her as possible, given the glass barrier. She had to tilt her head up to look at him. His height was intimidating.
Reva remained rooted to her spot, though the urge to back away was strong. "Umm, perhaps we can get to know each other better? The night will get boring very fast otherwise."
She gave herself a virtual pat on the back for her effort at conversation, given that her calve muscles were really wanting to give out.
"Oh, trust me, it's not going to be boring for me. I have you to play with." He was grinning again, creepy and alluring at the same time.
That was cue enough for Reva to finally sit down on the chair in front of the cage. She felt worn out already.
Surprisingly, he did the same, gracefully folding his long limbed form to sit on the floor, facing her. Reva couldn't help but notice that he had very well defined thighs. It was hard not to, with his leather pants hugging them so snuggly.
"So…," she began, a bit hesitant in where to start, "you want to rule the Earth."
"Yes," he replied, giving her nothing new.
He was obviously an expert at evasion, having been interrogated before. So she decided to switch to a more sympathetic tone.
"It's a planet in mess, I agree. So, do you have any plans as to how you'll rule?" She genuinely wanted to know that, curiosity and all.
Loki seemed a bit surprised by the question. Reva took it as a small victory.
"As a benevolent God, of course," he replied, folding his arms and looking at her evenly, the creepy smile gone for now.
"Would you hold court and listen to your subjects' pleas and grievances?"
"After I consolidate my kingdom."
"And how do you plan to do that? There are nearly two hundred countries in the world, seems like a tall order."
Loki's eyes seemed to soften as he smiled at her again. Probably the least threatening smile she saw him give so far.
"Fear is a great motivator and also a unifier."
His words rang true and honest for once. She nodded in response. She briefly wondered if Stark was listening on through the receiver attached to the file.
"But to take over the world, you'll have to deploy some serious firepower against our defenses."
"What makes you think I don't possess that?"
"I don't see you commanding any army. You've been captured and put in a cage. Where's the firepower?"
"Oh, believe me, it'll come."
She could feel that he was getting annoyed, so she decided to change gears.
"So when you take over… would you make everyone your slave? Or will people still have some control over how they lead their lives? Like, opting for careers they want to, taking vacations, things like that?"
He raised an eyebrow at her. "I'd say I'll have to choose the worthy ones who will be in my service. They'll be the most capable from your lot. The rest will be generally useless to me."
"So… what about the useless ones?"
"Perhaps I'll leave them be in their mortal lives, so long as they don't create trouble for me. Their lives will be fleeting anyway."
That response stung. How little he thought about human beings…
"Would you grant wishes?"
"Do you think me a Djin or a Fairy God Mother?"
Reva was shocked by his awareness of those terms. Suddenly, a slew of images popped in her head. Loki as a Jinnie. Better still, Loki as the Fairy God Mother from Cinderella.
An involuntary giggle slipped from her. Loki's eyes narrowed to slits. She immediately regretted having a fertile imagination.
"Care to share what's so amusing?" He looked and sounded like a pissed off professor reprimanding wayward students, with his jaw set in a hard line.
Oh, Professor Loki with spectacles… Somehow, that imagery didn't engender a giggle. It caused a tingle down her spine.
"It just surprised me that you know about Jinnies and Fairy God Mothers." That wasn't a lie, so he let it pass, she assumed.
"I've been visiting this realm for a long time now. It's why I'm present in the legends of the old."
"How old are you?"
"More than a millennium."
"Wow, you're super old." Reva honestly wanted to take that back as soon as it slipped past her lips.
He sneered at her. "Is that a bad thing? I have seen and experienced much more than anyone on your pathetic planet."
She shrugged, trying to act casual. "I suppose living that long does give you a lot of experiences, and also, the creativity in how to spend your time."
"Oh certainly. I am very creative, especially with magic at hand."
She had read about his magical capabilities in the file. However, even Stark wasn't aware of the extent of its power.
"I thought magic wasn't possible. Were you always gifted in it or did you have to learn?"
"A bit of both," he replied, his eyes twinkling. "Want to see some of it?"
She had a feeling she might come to regret it, but she gave him a nod nonetheless. Stark might find this useful.
"But you will have to stay still," he murmured, looking at her with an unreadable expression. "The moment you move, the spell breaks." He appeared to be conveying something deeper with those words as his eyes darkened.
"I don't even want to know why you're looking at me like that." She tried to lighten the mood, seeing that his expression was beginning to look borderline psychotic now. "I mean, it's just a trick, right?"
"Magic is more than tricks." He brought his hands together and wiggled his fingers in some sort of pattern. A greenish gold spark seemed to emanate from them.
Suddenly, she felt a sensation on her knee. It felt like a cold hand. Panicked, she looked at her knee and back at Loki.
He was grinning like a Cheshire cat. Oh, this was bad… really, really bad. Reva considered moving her hand to stop it, but she wanted to see the extent of his capability. Stark would want that.
She gasped as the hand spread its fingers over her knee. How was he doing it? He was still inside the cage.
"L-Loki…" she started, but couldn't even form a coherent sentence. She was equal parts terrified and curious… and even a little bit aroused. She quickly dismissed the latter.
Reva tried to get a hold of herself, breathing in and out slowly. Panicking would not help, this was new information about Loki that no one here knew. He could manipulate things outside the cage. It was a possible security threat.
"Tell me about yourself, Reva," he crooned seductively, looking superbly delighted in her reactions. "We've been discussing only about me so far. Very unfair."
The hand on her knee didn't move, but its grip tightened.
"I—I am just a young psychologist in New York, trying to make a successful life for myself."
"More." He was looking at her avidly, as if hanging onto her every word.
"My parents are both doctors. They divorced when I was seventeen." She spoke rapidly and tried to add as much random information about herself as possible. "I have a younger sister, studying to become a doctor as well."
"I have no interest in your family of healers, tell me about yourself. What interests you?"
"You mean, like hobbies?"
The hand eased its grip and languidly caressed her knee now, sending jolts of sensation all through her body. Keeping still was becoming difficult.
"I like making art. Nothing spectacular, just sketching once in a while. I think I can sing decently, when the mood strikes. I also love the internet."
She knew she was pretty much rambling now, just to please him.
"More," he demanded, as she felt another hand on her shoulder, slowly creeping to her neck.
"L-Loki, what are you—"
"Tell me more." Loki's hands were still twiddling away, manipulating the invisible hands on her. Reva wondered if she should move now, feeling the hand fiddling with her shirt's collar.
"I have few friends, most of them are scattered all over the mainland though. I want to travel when I have enough time and money. True vacation, in a sense." She gulped, and then continued. "Presently, the only vacation I can manage is visiting an ancestral Victorian style cottage in the middle nowhere, in Oregon."
Both his hands moved, the one on the knee crept up her leg, and the other one clasped its long fingers around her neck. Their touch was gentle and oh so sensual.
'Move!' her subconscious shouted at her, but she was suddenly frozen in place.
"I see," said Loki, now whispering directly in her ear. An odd sensation crept up her spine while she listened to his silky voice. She chalked it as her response to being utterly terrified.
Her whole body gave an involuntary shudder. She tried to remind herself that this was just a trick, that Loki was still inside the cage, but it wasn't comforting her.
"Do you have any suitors, Reva?"
She was taken aback by that question, and flustered. Her name on his lips was pure sin, sending jolts of pleasure right between her legs.
"What? No… No suitors."
He laughed quietly in her ear, rousing both terror and lust within her.
"What a waste of time. A pretty woman should not be left alone for long." Oh, his husky whispers were killing her now, so much that she momentarily forgot about his hands.
"I—I want to move now," she said, mostly to herself.
The hand on her neck tightened a little, but not enough to hurt. "Then move, nothing stops you, little one."
Loki, still inside the cage, stood up and watched her with hungry eyes as his magic working hands glowed brighter.
The hand on her leg began creeping up again, sliding beneath her skirt. She wondered how far he'd go, and just how far she was willing to allow him.
Another thought occurred to her—was Stark even listening? He should have stopped this long ago. The fact that she was relying on Stark to stop this… situation, was really pathetic. All she had to do was move.
Oh but she also wanted to see where Loki was headed. There was a morbid curiosity within her to see how far he takes the mischief.
"You haven't moved," he said, slipping his hand to her inner thigh and purring deeply. "So warm…"
"Your hands are cold," she whispered, closing her eyes at the alien sensation of cold fingers rubbing on her warm skin.
"I'm always cold." The hand was threateningly close to her panties now, and she wasn't sure she wanted him to stop. Something had surely broken down in her brain.
"Because you're a Jotun?" She immediately, instinctively knew that was the wrong question to ask as his grip tightened on her.
Her eyes flew open and met his. Loki looked livid now. His green eyes seemed to glow in the dimmed fluorescent lights.
"I suppose Thor has fed all of you everything he could about me," he all but growled at her from the cage. "But even he doesn't know everything there is to know about me."
Outside the cage, his grip on her throat tightened further, almost painful.
"Loki, please let go. I didn't mean to anger you, I—" she tried to placate him, but his withering glare was enough to silence her.
Gathering all her courage, Reva finally found the motivation to move her limbs. She grabbed at the cold hand gripping her neck.
"I haven't even met Thor," she groaned, trying to pry his fingers off. They didn't budge even a bit.
"I moved! Let go!"
At that he laughed loudly, both in the cage and in her ear.
"I lied." His hands still glowed with magic as he watched her struggle with glee. "You should never believe a trickster, little one, least of all me, the God of Trickery."
Her eyes watered and she was sure her face was red with the effort of pulling at his hands.
"Still want to chitchat with me?" From the cage, the challenge was apparent in his frenzied eyes. "No amount of casual or deep conversation will reveal my plans to you. But I already know enough about you to torment you for a long time. You have evidently bitten more than you can chew, little one."
"Please, this isn't personal. I was just trying to do my job," she gasped, the words barely audible. His grip eased, but he still held her in his clutches. The hand on her thigh moved to her waist and held her down on the chair.
"Oh, but it's personal now. You've spent more time with me than any of these imbeciles did." He gestured as his glowing hands spread, alluding to the people inside the helicarrier. "I dare say that's quite a record, and it's left an impression on me."
She whimpered, sweat breaking across her forehead now. Still, she kept trying to pry his fingers off her throat. He looked on keenly, taking pleasure in her struggle.
"Loki," she moaned his name almost like a prayer, "I'll leave immediately and not bother you again if you let me go."
"But where's the fun in that?" he whispered in her ear once again. She shivered in fear, hoping Stark or anyone else, for that matter, would come to her rescue.
Inside the cage, Loki sat down on the white bench and licked his lips, enjoying every second of her misery.
"I'm glad to be so entertaining," she all but growled, digging her nails into the hand on her throat. She may have chipped one or two of them but his skin didn't yield.
"Aha! I knew you had a feisty side, little one." His laughed heartily. "Oh the things we could do together."
Reva eyed the file, lying on the floor now due to her struggles. Where the hell was Stark?
"That receiver has been dead ever since our little magic trick began," said Loki, following her gaze. "And Stark's been trying to open the door to this chamber for the last five minutes."
Reva gasped in shock, adrenaline rush hitting her with full force. Loki was so much more dangerous than any of them had thought. She was going to be so dead. Suddenly, her whole body jerked and she put all her energy into thrashing against the phantom hands.
If anything, Loki laughed harder at her feeble attempts.
"S-Stark! Help! He's gonna kill me!" she shouted at the top of her lungs.
"Kill you? You wound me, dear Reva." Loki rolled his eyes, looking exasperated. "I only intended to play."
The door to the chamber blasted open with a clang, Tony Stark bursting through it in his Iron Man suit.
Immediately, Reva was released. In that moment, she didn't wait to thank Stark, she just ran, away from the cage, away from this chamber. She only wished she could jump away from the damned helicarrier.
But even as she ran, she could hear Loki's evil laughter chasing her. She knew it then, it would be a part of her nightmares for a long time to come.
As she reached the deck, she saw morning sun rising in the distance. A blast reverberated through the ship, making her lose her balance. As she fell down on to the tarmac, she felt the helicarrier tilt sideways. There was no doubt in her head as to who the culprit was.
The helicarrier was going down. She could feel it. There was commotion all over. People were shouting and screaming, running helter-skelter.
Reva tried to stand up, but shock of the situation was too much to bear, and she struggled to even sit up. Then came the nausea, making her eyes roll in their sockets. She fell on her back with a thud, looking up at the lightening sky as she contemplated about her impending death.
The helicarrier tilted further. As her disorientation increased, Reva knew she was about to lose consciousness. As her eyes fluttered close, she felt a pair of cold hands slipping beneath her and picking her up quickly.
And then she passed out for good.