Actions

Work Header

Cold (enough to chill your bones)

Chapter Text

After Ragnarok, as they all make it back to Earth, beaten, tired but full of hope, they aren't quite welcomed in the way Thor has made promises of. The King has spoken loudly, with joy of a race that's own kindness and hospitality is unrivalled in the Nine Realms. A race that would not – could not – turn them away.
Thor said they'd welcome him as a hero, and with him, Asgard as an old friend. He made mentions of his comrades, his Brothers and Sister in arms, who would surely be waiting eagerly for their arrival.

Loki, in turn, has scoffed and talked of their brief, fleeting lives, and their unmistakably human temper, but his words lost their hurtful edge, they sounded rather tame, coming from the God of Mischief himself. He sounded – Odin help them – almost fond in a way he hadn't in a long time, and Asgard looked forward to seeing a race that left such an impression on both sons of their late King.

And so they left an impression on the people of Asgard, too. Just not in the way they expected.

 

Ltltltltltltltltlt

 

 

They were seated in a large, circular room, their belongings taken away, rounded up like animals!

After their long journey to Midgard, and their expectations all but shattered, they sat quietly, dare say, brokenly and listened as Thor and Loki tried their best to fight this impossible, verbal battle against Midgard's ruthless authority.

They've been addressed as uninvited, unwanted extraterrestrialsand their status as refugees was “highly questionable in the light of recent events”. The terrans demanded explanations, for them to relive the tale of their beautiful home burning down like the universe's most cruel bonfire.
The humans called it justice, a hearing they said.

 

Asgard roared in fury.

 

 

Their help, their salvation came in a form of a man, who stood tall and regal – a leader in his own right. He was the same height as a growing child of Asgard, but somehow, in the heat of the moment, he seemed larger than life itself.

The look in his eyes was fierce, and none of them doubted that Anthony E. Stark was ready for a fight. He was ready to win.

 

When he reached the front of the room, he sat down beside the two Odinsons, and although the people of Asgard didn't understand the significance of that, they could feel the change of atmosphere, hear the whispers and gasps around.

Could that be...?

 
“On an interesting side note, ladies and gentlemen, according to the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, Thor is the 76th most popular boys name in Norway. And although Loki didn’t quite make it to that list, there was quite an uprise of people naming their kids Loki in the 70’s if I recall correctly.”
“Thank you, Doctor Stark for the very educational side note, as you called it,“ spoke a woman, her aura reeking of dangerous energy, her sharp eyes demanding attention. “Please keep the irrelevant interruptions to the minimum in the future as we-“

“One second Your Honour, I'm not done yet. Thor, hi, it feels like forever since we last saw each other, right? I thought a late birthday present wouldn't go amiss. How many did I miss out on again? A thousand, give or take a couple hundred?” This man with a smile that should have long landed him in Hel's arms has pushed a rack of papers over to Thor.

“Doctor Stark, this is not the time. Please take your reserved seat on the committee or leave the room, but don't hold up the proceedings in such unprofessional manner.”


“I'm sorry, Madam Rhube. Shannon,” came that awfully self-satisfied smirk again. “You know me, I just couldn't resist. You seeone of my close friends, who happens to be the crown prince of Norway has so kindly taken these lovely Asgardians as their own citizens. They agreed to recognise Asgardians as a minority of their own people last night, so I fear this hearing has become a bit pointless. I have him on speed dial should you want to double check the legality, he'll be happy to help. He could probably explain it better than me, anyway.

 

I was thinking about the fact that I happen to have a private island governed by them, it was a present from a business partner of mine years ago. Never been there, but apparently it's rather beautiful this time of the year. I was just handing Thor the paperwork that now names him and Loki as the new, rightful owners of it.”

With the last word leaving Tony’s lips, the relative quietness of the room ceased. “If you boys could sign those papers real quick, then we'd be all finished here.”

“You can't sign that!” came a vehement shout from across the room, from a short, sturdy man whose face was getting redder the longer Tony's been speaking.

“Surely you don't mean this piece of documentation?” Loki has picked up the paper that now had both his and Thor's signature. “I do apologise, perhaps you should have been clearer.”

“This is against our laws!” protested the man again. “They're UFO's, for God's sake, they can't own a land!”

“Actually, Mr. Burman, they're Norwegian, and you should probably consider some racial sensitivity training. You know what they say! A diverse place is a happy place. Okay, maybe nobody says that, but they most definitely should.”

 

Many members of the committee started voicing their concerns out loud, some stood from their seats to take a better look at said Asgardians.
Tony couldn't blame them much, in all honesty.Norway just adopted a race of aliens and their previous dealings haven’t been all pleasant. Still, Tony was sure it would all end up okay in the end.

Thor was smiling broadly at him, while Loki was scanning the room, expecting the heated discussion to turn violent at any moment. He looked ready to bolt, fight and set fire to the world at the same time, but that was Loki for you.


Tony tried to avoid eye contact with the two of them - he needn’t work excessively on that with Loki as the man seemed content enough ignoring him.
Hisskin was itching to get out of there, to get away. One brother lifted him by his throat and tossed him aside like the piece of trash he felt like, the other kissed him hard and broke his heart.


Thank fuck, he knew he didn’t have to stay much longer - he got in touch with Haakon as soon as the news of Thor, Loki and their people arriving has reached him, and their overnight conference call which involved Tony’s own personal lawyers, Pepper, Haakon, his assistant and their Minister lasted long into the morning hours.

They had the plan worked out and the contacts drawn up neatly so Tony could deliver them promptly - and deliver them he did.

He was oh, so careful not to involve any of the New Avengers – as they were called - or of the UN professionals that has even the briefest ties to the group; he was acting as a civilian. Just a philanthropist billionaire, or a good samaritan if you will – though most wouldn't agree with the latter.

Bidding goodbye to the loud room he left, knowing that regardless of them not liking the situation one bit, there wasn’t much they could do without turning against Tony or Norway itself. Strict and fearful they may be, but no government in their right mind would declare a war on country over something like this.

And if Tony's empire didn't had the status or glory of a small country, it certainly had the potency of one. Although, he admitted begrudgingly, it might had to do with Tony's own reputation than SI's.


They could throwhim in prison if they wanted - not even the Hulk's cage could hold Tony.
Apart from the fact that he hasn't done more than a bit of meddling – which was not illegal last he checked - he’d never be a prisoner again and they damn well knew that.

“Jarvis, let's make sure we have those two Stark Industries planes ready for take off.” Tony said tightly, making his way the car waiting for him out front.

“The planes are in position sir, just waiting for the signal.” came the answer into his earpiece.

“Everything's alright, boss?” asked Happy as soon as Tony sat down in the back. They locked eyes in the rearview mirror, but a heartbeat later Tony turned his attention to his phone instead.

“Yeah, just peachy.”

 

Tony was typing away at his phone, sending the previously written up instructions to one of his lawyers. His job was to take care of the Asgardians' paperwork, get those ID's sorted out and put them on those planes to María Island. He's had a crew of over a hundred people putting up the luxury bungalows they got shipped there overnight, and getting its own mansion ready.

It wasn't a palace, but it was a start. Tony would provide them with whatever else they wanted as long as it was within his power. Not as a personal favour, not to get anything out of it, and definitely not because he couldn't stand the thought of Loki and his people suffering, no.

After all, it's merely disaster relief. He was part of a couple different alliances that housed people in need – this was just another case of that.

Nothing more, nothing less.

 

 

ltltltltltltltltltltltltltlt

 

 

 

Tony spent the next three days working relentlessly in his workshop. Or, maybe hiding away would be a better description. He'd been in contact with his lawyer, James, who was still on María Island, making sure everything got sorted out seamlessly.

“What do you mean they refused the clean energy power station and the water purification plant?” Tony was gobsmacked. The water they currently had running in the mansion wasn't suitable for drinking on its own and their filtration system would not be able to keep up with so many people. It couldn't suffice for all those other houses either. 

“They were adamant that they have their own way of dealing with these things, which they put Loki in charge of.”

“Magic, huh?” Tony wondered out loud.

“Apparently so, Mr. Stark.” James laughed in his ear, and Tony had to match it with a smile of his own.

“Alright, thanks for keeping me up to date. Remind me to give you that pay rise you most definitely deserve.” Tony said goodbye before James could humbly disagree with him and had Jarvis cut the call.

 

It took a very loyal employee to spend three days with an alien race on his say so. Even though the man's safety was guaranteed by Jarvis monitoring the situation and running surveillance on James' phone; listening, it must have been an unnerving experience.

He knew he should have been the one to go. Of course he knew that.

Thor was his team mate and Loki was his... whatever, but it wasn't like he could just leave for a few days at a time.

It wasn't even that Tony didn't trust the two brothers, because he did. To a certain degree, and with others more than himself, but that was okay.

He couldn't go, not with Ben watching every step he made, plus the UN on his ass. It would have been a bad idea.

 

See, he didn't go, he sent his best lawyer, and look how well everything turned out to be!

Still, he knew should have made sure of it himself if only he wasn't so damn busy. Or such a fucking coward.

 

 

“Anthony?”

 

Speak of the devil and he shall appear.

“Hey” looked up Tony from his work. Ben stood tall in his workshop, the doors previously opened for him. He had clearance everywhere in the compound, although he preferred to share Tony's space at all times. “You good?”

“I've been looking for you. I'm craving some of that seared, dripping red meat.” informed him Ben. Now that Tony was paying attention, he did look a bit hungry.

It was a bit hard to tell with those glowing red eyes, but Tony was getting better at that.

“Jarvis could have gotten some for you.” Tony murmured, but he was already standing up and making his way towards the man. They took the elevator to Tony's floor, heading to the kitchen. Ben had to walk slowly, taking small steps in order to allow Tony to keep up with him.

 

“Nobody does it like you.”

“Yeah, I actually don't doubt that.” Making those ridiculously big, 22oz steaks the way Ben liked them was a goddamned health hazard. Tony had to heat up a griddle pan to the maximum temperature, until it was almost smoking, and have each side of the meat touch it for a few seconds.

Barely enough to give it the illusion of it being seared, while leaving it raw and uncooked. It was done right if the inside of it was still cold.

Just the way Ben liked it.

He did try and get Tony to eat it a couple times, feeding it to him by hand, but Tony's delicate, human stomach couldn't deal with it.

Almost made him gag.

Of course, Ben thought the whole thing was charming. Go figure.

 

 

“I've seen the report of you fighting for those of Asgard.” mentioned Ben icily, with blood running down his chin. His thin lips were covered in it, and Tony found himself pinned by the other's cold stare.

“Thor's a friend, you know that. I couldn't leave them without any help. I had the means for it, so I did,” Tony was starting to get defensive, so after a deep breath, he changed tactic. He knew he wouldn't get anywhere like this “I didn't mean to overstep. If I had the chance to discuss it with you, I would've, but the situation was very time sensitive.”

He hated feeling this submissive, this meek in their conversations. It killed him having to look down on the floor while wordlessly asking for an apology he wouldn't have asked for in a million years under normal circumstances.

But normal went flying out the window all those months ago when the Jotunn came and attacked Earth, and now he didn't had the luxury of it.

 

“They don't deserve your generosity” Ben spat venomously. His words shook Tony out of this thoughts, and he shot him a half-smile. It felt weak and fake, but it seemed to pace Ben.

Or Beinir, as his full name was.

Beinir was the third in line for the throne of Jotunheim. Well-mannered in his own way and mild-tempered in contrast of the rest of his family, and Tony was grateful that he was the one that got chosen for their peacemaking marriage.

After losing many lives in the war the Jotunn had wrung upon Earth, when they approached SHIELD with an intent of uniting the two races in an alliance through marriage, they were eager to agree. They would have been stupid not to, right?

After all, it wasn't that unusual to end a war this way. What's one ruined life if they could save everybody?

 

It all started getting a little strange when their peace talks had lasted longer than the war itself.

 

They wanted a leader, a figure of power, but they refused each person that came up in discussion. Member's of royal families around the globe, US army generals, people of high profile jobs from all across Europe – but none of them were acceptable in the Frost Giants' eyes.

After the second full moon of their ongoing meetings, they requested for the man who fought the chitauri, the destroyer of the Mad Titan's army. The man whose armour was second to none in the nine realms.

They knew him by name – and so they asked for Stark.

 

Tony had little choice in the matter. He spent long days training with the elite of SHIELD personnel, creating a new image, this perfect damnbride the Jotunns would expect. In the meantime Fury and his team were negotiating the best possible treaty between them.

 

The day he met Beinir was when he threw away all that knowledge about etiquette, behavioural study and plain old submission that he spent days learning.

It looked like he actually lucked out in the fiancé department – Beinir was polite – if a bit bloodthirsty at times, looked at Tony like he was sex on legs and thought Tony's intellect to be unmatched far and wide.

Pretty sweet, right?

He didn't seem bothered by Tony's endless babbling, and if anything he only encouraged Tony's long hours in the lab.

He didn't demand Tony to leave his job and everything he's worked for, to give up whatever little he had left of his found family and he didn't touch Tony intimately without permission.

 

They were off to a good start.

 

Unfortunately, he also threatened to tear apart everyone that looked Tony's way for a second too long. Tony could look someone in the eye, or smile another's way, and Beinir's rough hands would find his waist, holding him into place on his side. Tony would shiver every time for a reason that had nothing to do with the cold creeping up on him.

 

Still, never one to back down from a challenge, he created a new brand of repulsors, one that had less thrust, but it had the capability to generate enough heat to burn even the coldest of Frost Giants. He wore it at all times on his wrist, disguised as a watch, and hoped that he would never have to use it. 

 

 

ltltltltltltltltlt

  

 

“Sir, Mr. Thor and Loki Odinson are asking for permission to enter the building. I refused entry on the grounds of our house guest's presence, but I believe the situation calls for your aid.”

“Great” said Tony angrily in reply to Jarvis. He didn't feel like dealing with whatever the brothers wanted.

He knew he promised to help them with anything they needed and he meant it. It's just that he never meant to do it person – he really could have gone without seeing them.

“Where's Ben right now?” asked Tony while making his way to the elevator.

“In the bedroom, Sir. Shall I inform him of your whereabouts?” Tony almost walked into a wall upon hearing that. Tell him?! That sounded a lot like asking for intergalactic trouble. No way.

“No, definitely don't do that. While we're at it, override Alpha Echo 2-5-8-1 Tango. You know what to do.”

“Sir, I must insist...” started Jarvis.

“Be a good boy and override Alpha Echo 2-5-8-1 Tango, please. Daddy's got this.”

Security code 2581 was in place so that if Tony would get attacked whilst in the Tower, Jarvis would ask other residents to assist him.

 

While the possibility itself wasn't ruled out, he still doubted that Thor and Loki came all the way to the US to rough him up a bit. Though even if they did, he didn't want them impaled on a sharp piece of ice.

 

He had his armour within calling distance and Jarvis to back him up. It was fine.

“He may still come and look for you, Sir.”

“I guess we're gonna have to take that chance. Let me know if that happens.” decided Tony as he got to the ground floor. He could see the two of them outside, and although the glass door was one way see-through, he could feel their gaze upon him.

“Aren't you two looking like lost puppies outside my home?” was the first thing out his mouth and he almost regretted it as he saw he friendly grin in answer on Thor's face.

“Tony!” he bellowed. “I'm grateful that you and friend Jarvis are both well, my friend. I merely worry he's forgotten about me, as he refused my entry.”

 

“He thought it'd be best if I came down to get you” Tony deflected lightly. He was a bit surprised about how easy it was to get back into the old habit of wording things in a way so that Loki couldn't call him out on his lies.

Not that it'd be that easy. Loki usually got this pinched look whenever he thought somebody may be trying to trick him. Like a dog with a bone – he wouldn't let go until he's uncovered everything.

And sure enough, as he looked at Loki, he was looking back at him with a suspicious glint in his eyes.

 

Can't trick the trickster, as they say.

 

Tony couldn't help it, he really couldn't. It's been so long, and Loki was just so close! His breath hitched in his throat as he they stared at one another, Loki unmoving and silent in a way he never used to be in Tony's presence.

The air felt almost heavy around them. Tony felt like he couldn't fill his lungs enough, while Loki seemed to be holding his breath. Tony tried to count every breath that the man took, but his chest was rigid, almost like he was made of stone.

Long seconds ticked past them, but neither of them seemed to be able to lift their gaze away, not until Thor cleared his throat awkwardly.

 

“Shall we go inside, my brothers?” he asked with a smile on his face, stepping towards Tony. He lifted his right arm and patted Tony's shoulder with feeling. An old, familiar gesture Tony knew, but that felt like a lifetime away.

He couldn't help it. The moment Thor's hand touched him, he jerked back violently and cupped his left elbow with his other hand. 

His whole left side went numb.

 

“Let's go to the training room.” Tony said without missing another beat, and turned around promptly. He walked quickly, and while he knew the two would follow him readily into the heart of the compound, he just needed to be a couple steps ahead.

As subtly as humanly possible, he took out the medicine bottle hidden away in the inner pocket of his jacket and put two pills under his tongue.

Nothing to see here.

Absolutely nothing.

 

“Sir, please note-”

“Not now Jarvis, mute please.” He didn't need Jarvis to nag him about his heart. It was fine. He was fine!

Jarvis was the only reason he got the medication at the first place. If Jarvis hadn't locked him out of his own lab, refusing all override codes, he would have never gone.

He shook the pill bottle while staring down one of the security cameras right before he put it away.
See that, Jarvis?

Daddy is being a responsible adult here.

 

Just for being such a brat he'd leave Jarvis on mute.

Okay, he wouldn't last longer than five minutes but Jarvis didn't have to know that! 

As they made it into the reinforced training facility, he turned to face the two brothers, and unsurprisingly, both of them watched him with worry. Although Loki hid it better than Thor, Tony couldn't help but note how their concerned looks were near identical. Funny that!

Almost like the siblings Loki still claimed they aren't.

“So how do you like the compound? I got rid of the tower, it was too 2010 for me.” said Tony jokingly. He used his light words to distract the two of how he was moving a couple more feet away from them.

He had to tell them about Ben, and it made him so damn frustrated! This whole talk could have been easily avoided had they only accepted the power plant and the wireless internet with it as he offered.

 

Because if they got the information from the general press, they wouldn't want to be near Tony anyway. Especially not Loki. 

Back when they were... whatever they used to be, Loki's jealousy felt like it could level buildings if they didn't contain it. Even though Tony's never been anything but loyal and devoted, the possessiveness never ceased.

He knew there was nothing to worry about on that front though – Loki's been perfectly clear the last time they met about how little he values Tony.

And why would Loki ever want someone so utterly useless?

 

The thought that Loki's explosive jealousy would show its head was probably wishful thinking on Tony's part.

“It is indeed beautiful in structure. Is this where the avengers live now?” enquired Thor politely.

“Yeah, some of them. You see, um... how to put it? The Avengers broke up. There's a new team –really, it's only me and Rhodey from the old crew. The newbies are probably dying to meet you, though.” Tony was wearing a tight smile, hoping that Thor wouldn't press for details.

 

“Broken up?” repeated Thor, confused. “Like two lovers?”

“A lot like that, actually.” laughed Tony bitterly. He wanted to change the subject and explain the role Ben filled in his life, but he was stopped by the man himself appearing in the door.

Ben growled dangerously, taking long, quick steps to approach them.

Loki and Thor moved too, trying to position themselves between Tony and Ben, looking beyond ready to fight.

“Oh for fucks sake.” cried out Tony, cutting the brothers off before they could do any damage. “Are you serious? Does he look like a threat? He's wearing one of my band tee's and a pair of jeans, barefoot! Just out of curiosity, which part of that screams bloody murdering intent to you?!”

His words seemed to freeze the Asgardians. Thor was shocked, but Loki lost the partial mask he's been wearing around Tony ever since they met again. His hands were shaking by his side, his eyes looking distraught and his pale face had lost whatever mere colour it had.

“Is that an Avenger? A half blood?” Thor guessed in a low voice, addressing the question to Tony, though his gaze was locked on the Frost Giant. 

“You dare to mock me?” shouted Ben, losing the precious little control he possessed. He must have taken that as an insult to his size, as he decided to take on his battle form. Tony had learnt early how the Giants didn't like showing their ordinary forms with threats around – and they hardly ever changed forms in front of anyone.

 

He knew Ben preferred this form – huge, deadly with jaws stronger even than vibranium –, but stayed in the other, looking like a tall human. Well, if a human had red eyes, horns and blue skin, maybe. “I am Beinir, third in line to the sacred throne of Jotunheim, and you shall die for questioning my standing beside my beloved!”

“Whoah whoah whoah, let's just stop there for a minute. Thor, this is Ben, he's with me. Ben, this is Thor, and he's only here to reclaim his position as an Avenger. I told him that there's a long process which involves interviews, the votes of the present Avengers, a green light from the United Nation as well as a mock fight, so he's actually just leaving to get right on that. And Lokes here is his ride so they'll be on their way. Right. Now.”Tony demanded, and made a shooing motion with his hands. He didn't want to break up a fight between these three knuckleheads – the room may be reinforced steel, but his body wasn't.

 

Beinir made a long, guttural sound from his throat before answering.

 

“Then as your wedded to be, I must insist I claim that fight in your place.”he decided with a pleased look, looking down his would-be opponent.

“The mock fight? We're still talking about the mock fight, right?”

“Of course, my heart.”

“Cool, cool. Just double checking. Although, on a second thought, why don't we do that right now, you and me, so Thor can decide if that's something he's even interested in?” asked Tony with a too-quickly beating heart. He was sure all three of them could hear it loud and clear, but he would deny it with his dying breath that it was anything beyond excitement about the upcoming fight.

 

“Anthony. What's the meaning of this?”Thor broke their banter, cutting through the fragile peace Tony tried so hard to create.

He didn't even get the chance to reply as it got taken over once again by Ben.

“My bride just asked me for a dance of power, you fool. Now step back and let me take what has been offered to me.”

They took up fighting positions at two ends of the room, and Tony called the armour to him.

The Odinsons were still standing too close for it to be even remotely safe, but it was as good as it was likely to get.

 

“You ready?” asked Tony as the suit wrapped itself around him.

“For you, always.”

“First to draw blood?”

“Mm-hmm. Your blood does smell so mouth watering every time.” said Ben, and while he was smiling, he wasn't looking at Tony, no. He was once again staring at Loki, and Tony was trying his best to stop the tension.

“I better win then, before you can decide to eat me up.”laughed Tony.

“Love, you know I would not do that.” Ben stated, and Tony had to fight to keep his smile in place. What a bulletproof way of killing a perfectly good joke.

“Jarvis, talk to me buddy. Find me a weak point to hit.”

“On it, Sir. If I may mention, this situation could have been avoided if you'd listen to reason every now and then.” Oh. Yes, that's right. Jarvis was only trying to warn him in a fashion that wouldn't be recognised by Thor and Loki.

 

Nevertheless, it was too late to worry about that.

Tony would have to make it up to him later by being super extra nice and obediently taking breaks to eat and rest the way Jarvis always wants him to.

Tony couldn't last longer than a day doing that, he was way too likely to hyper fixate on something whilst working in the lab, but he guessed it was the thought that counts.

Too bad you can't send a virtual edible arrangement.

 

Tony shot Ben with his repulsor between the man's ribs, and the hit pushed the him back to the back of the room. He wasn't using the H.A.T.E (Heat Activating Target Excoriator) technology, he promised himself it'd only be used as a last resort.

Ben pushed himself up, roaring viciously, and he ran towards Tony, only to be hit again; repeatedly. It seemed as if he created a shield of pure ice, strong enough to withhold the repulsors at twenty percent capacity.

Tony had to increase the power of each hit, five percent at a time. He barely reached sixty percent when Ben reached him, with his shield broken to pieces, but steadily holding his ground.

 

Tony was ready to take off and move to the other end of the room when two strong arms grabbed him around his middle. Even in the suit he only at eye level with Ben's chest.

Worried that Ben would tear his faceplate off, he made it retreat fully, leaving his head exposed. An idea made itself known in his head, a crazy one, and he looked up, staring into Ben's red eyes, panting heavily.

“Beinir” whispered Tony, licking his dry lips slowly. “You've got me.” He made this observation, moving as close as he could get, tilting his head upwards – offering it, offering himself.

Tony hoped Ben would take his rabbit-beating heart for eagerness, the glint in his eyes for a wanton expression – and sure enough, Ben moved closer, bending down to bring their lips together. The moment Ben closed his eyes, his tongue peeking out to take a taste for himself, Tony fired his repulsor right into the middle of his chest – at full power.

 

Ben stared at him from the wall of which he got flown into, his face looking stormy, but his eyes full of desire.
“You tricked me.”
“I guess I did, big guy.” smirked Tony, and he happily noted Beinir matched it. “Good job over there.”
“Yes, good job.” Ben agreed, and together, side by side they turned to face the Asgardians.

Chapter Text

As they were walking closer to the Aesir, Tony was trying – and failing – to keep his eyes off Loki.

Not to be too obvious or anything.

Tony was wondering if he'd catch even the smallest glimpse or jealousy in Loki's eyes, but the God of Mischief had a look of pure, unfiltered disgust on his face. That hurt Tony more profoundly than the indifferent way Loki had been treating him. Although he supposed; he shouldn't really be shocked by that.

Tony knew he was like a leach, and if Loki hadn't pushed him away he would've never let go. Of course Loki didn't stay – nobody ever did.

Yes, maybe he found someone that actually wanted to marry him, but that took an alien invasion, and a hundred and five dead civilians – and that was on Tony, too.

 

When he got labeled as a genius, it wasn't just for show or because they wanted to compliment him. Oh no, that was the least of their intentions, probably.

The thing is, he was smart. IQ level of 215 smart, and he could read between the lines quite well.

He knew the Frost Giant wanted him from the beginning. He's got chosen because expected protection from him.

They want far enough that they didn't rely on his sense of marital duty, but convinced Fury to include a mutual protection pact in their peacetreaty, supposedly beneficial for all parties involved; still, Tony wasn't so sure.

 

Beinir brought him trinkets, different choices of weapons, wiring stronger than vibranium, and uru.

Heart of a dying star kinda uru.

When this apparent courting didn't stop after the first couple of days, Tony's wary happiness had turned into suspicion, and it had only gotten worse the longer it went on.

He was the easier fucker on his planet, alright? Okay, so maybe that's not something to be proud of, but he would've jumped into bed with Ben the first night if he wasn't that worried of being impaled on an ice dick and getting an internal frostbite.
This suspicion had turned into full-blown paranoia when he's spoken to Beinir about sex – well, not exactly about that, but he did need to take his measurements.

He had told Ben about how he was working on a condom that would make a sufficient barrier between them, so when they get all down and dirty, Tony wouldn't freeze and Ben wouldn't overheat either.

The guy actually said not to worry about it!
Beinir confessed that although he wishes the could get closer to Tony, he understands that his work is very important, and there's simply no rush for the two of them. That they'll have plenty of time for everything.

Nobody did that for Tony. Not Pepper, not Loki and the less said about the others the better.

So when this Frost Giant, who had known Tony for three whole days said this – he knew he couldn't trust it.

So he didn't.

 

“Man of Iron, I applaud your victory.” Thor's voice brought Tony back to the present. The man looked a bit closed off, keeping his distance, but he didn't look half as disturbed as Loki.
“Thanks.” Loki looked up at the sound of Tony's voice, and took the first step closer to Tony for the first time since his arrival to Earth.

“Let me congratulate on your engagement.” he said with his eyes still glaring draggers at the two of them. Ben's hand had found Tony's waist at that, caressing the armour for show.

“Yeah. I was actually surprised you guys didn't know, the press is quite well-informed for once. It's been all over the news since it happened.” Loki's closed off expression had meant that he's got the message loud and clear. Tony wasn't entirely sure why, but suddenly it was incredibly important to him that Loki knew the circumstances of this agreement.
He felt like the worst person in the universe, having another's hands on him with his heart still beating for Loki, and though he didn't sign away his soul with that contract, he'd always thought – foolishly –, that one day he'd marry for love.

So much for that.

 

“We must be on our way now Son of Stark, Beinir of Jotunheim. Thank you for your hospitality.” Thor said formally, and sure enough, him and Loki fell into step beside each other, making their way to the exit.

Jarvis confirmed there were no words uttered by them until they were outside the building, away from his influence.

It was out of Tony's hands now. He'd given an excuse to the two of them to come back if they wanted, and reminded them to do their own research of the situation.

He was hoping – probably for the first time in his life – that they wouldn't favour the liberal news coverage of the recent events. He had never been shown in such a flattering light before, and while all platforms made him the perfect martyr of their last war, the republicans – as always –, were a bit more deprecatory of him.

“I'm beat, gonna go to bed. Coming?” he asked Ben, but the man just shook his head.

“I'm going to find you something to eat in the inventory. Would you like to have it in the workshop?” Inventory. That's what he called the fridge, and it made Tony laugh every time.

Actually, food sounded quite nice, and he did have a couple high priority projects that could use a few extra hours of work tonight.

“Not gonna argue with that.” smiled Tony, and with a last long look at Ben's battle form, he left the room.

 

He stopped abruptly when he reached the door of his workshop.

That...! That son of a bitch had got him again!

 

This obsession of his with Tony's work was out of control.

Instead of trying to pry Tony out of the lab he encouraged it, giving him ideas by telling stories of won battles in vivid detail, providing him with elements and modules he didn't even begin to understand let alone be able to work with!
And although Tony had sworn not to build weapons for anyone he didn't trust explicitly, what kind of husband would refuse protection if it was within his power to give?

The lines been blurring ever since Ben moved in with him.

Tony sat in his seat, throwing that old, ratty tennis ball for DUM-E every now and again, and bobbed his head to the rhythm of the music playing.

 

Sighing deeply, he was thinking; if he gave Beinir, and with him Jotunheim the weapons and protection they were asking for, who's to say they wouldn't turn it against Asgard? Tony didn't claim to know all the history between the two worlds, but he knew enough.

He wouldn't let that happen.
He couldn't let that happen.

With a plan outlining itself in his head, he pulled up the original files of his planned team updates from 2014 – from back when he was still trying to win the friendship of his teammates with high-tech gadgets.

Thor didn't have his hammer anymore.

And okay, maybe Tony didn't have magic, but he's had a shit ton of uru, and a very detailed plan of a hammer he wanted to make for the God of Thunder before he realised that Mjölnir was truly one of a kind.

 

So... it was time to get to work.

 

ltltltltltltltlt

 

It actually took him a lot longer to finish the weapon than he originally thought it would.

By the time he's done craving the runes into the head - yes, okay, they had no real purpose other than looking absolutely freaking dope -, it was Friday afternoon, and Peter was there to stay for the weekend.
The kid would come over every other week right after his last class.
Truth be told, Tony has never been on time for work on a Monday, but ever since he started dropping Peter off at school after their sleepovers it quickly became the new norm.
And Pepper; sweet, responsible and sensible Pepper was so over the Moon she bought Peter an entirely new wardrobe as thank you.

 

Tony wondered who did she learn that from?

 

And so what if his ideal Monday morning didn't involve meetings from eight thirty up until four in the afternoon? Peter huge smile, and that little, awkward wave he got every time made it worth it.
When he was with the little brat, life was good.

“So what do these things mean?” asked Peter, running his hand along the hammer's head.

“It's more of a fashion statement than anything. I got it from an Old English-Old Norse dictionary. This one's for strength, “ Tony pointed to one “ the others are for initiation, clarity, wisdom, kinship and the warrior's path.”
“That's so cool.” breathed Peter. “You think it'll make him stronger?”
“I ain't no magician kid. I'm only providing the armament, Thor brings the wonder to the table.”

“I don't know, Mr. Stark, I think this is pretty awesome already.” Came Peter's cheerful voice, and adoration swell inside of Tony. He loved his boy so much!
“Thanks” he said then, and if he sounded a bit choked up, it was only because there were no windows in the workshop.

That's it, just some good ole' oxygen shortage.

“Sir, I must initiate code silver.” Jarvis said, and his voice held a level of urgency Tony matched immediately. He pushed Peter behind him, activated his H.A.T.E. Repulsor watch, and turned his head where Jarvis's sensor's were pointing.

“Show yourself, Reindeer Games. Tick tock.”

“Am I code silver, then? I do feel that green would be more appropriate.”Loki seemed the just step out of the shadows of the room.
“Oh no, silver is just for your unsocialised visits.” answered Tony honestly. He knew Peter wouldn't take him seriously, and he needn't him to – this was for Loki. The man would know perfectly well what Tony meant.
“You think I came for a fight?”

“You have no other business here.” hissed Tony through his gritted teeth. He had to get the kid out of here. “Let's go someplace else, shall we?”

“You seek to protect the child?”enquired Loki, looking mildly curious.
“With my last breath.” Tony kept his tone light, almost teasing, but he held his repulsor up, aiming as he stared at Loki intently.

“No! I'll fight, too! I won't let him hurt you.” cried out Peter. “Let me help!”
“Well, I suppose it's good that I come in peace then.” mentioned Loki, his head slightly tilted to the left.
“Excuse me if I don't believe you.”spat Tony, his arms still hiding Peter behind him. He was aware that the kid could shove him aside easily – Tony was no match for him in strength without the suit –, but decided to respect his wishes instead.

He's never been more grateful for Peter's misplaced hero worship.

 

“What is that?” asked Loki, walking to the table that held the hammer. “Is that for...?”
“Thor. I made it for your brother.” clarified Tony before Loki could come to the wrong conclusion. Even if the man did come in peace, an Asgardian-style hammer made of precious uru, forged with the H.A.T.E. repulsor itself, just to be given to the Frost Giants would change his mind real quick.

Tony was sure of that.

Loki made a long, considering sound before he replied.

“If I bring it to life, will you trust that I mean no harm to you and your son?”he addressed Tony, looking him in the eye.

“Will it drain your magic?” At Loki's nod, he continued. “You have my trust 'til the beginning of today's sunrise, and not a minute longer.”

Loki's grateful smile made Tony very uneasy. Although he did try and word it in a way that it wouldn't bite him in the ass later, he was questioning it now. Did he make a mistake? It'd take Loki at least a few hours to gain his energy back, and Tony could hold his own against him until then.
So why then, was Loki happy about it?

 

Not finding the answer, Tony watched in silence as Loki put his hands above the weapon. His mouth was forming words, but no sound came from him.

He emitted a green light – his signature colour as Tony used to call it –, which seemed to fill the room at large, then after minutes of it, it stopped. Loki stepped back, looking a bit disoriented, his hair messy and tangled, then he looked up.

“It's done.” he said.

“What did you do exactly?” Tony demanded. There was a time when he would've trusted Loki with his life, but it was probably time to move on from that. He really shouldn't anymore. It was a good place as any, to start that.

“I bound it to Thor. I also sewn my magic across your runes. They're very...” Loki stopped to take a shallow breath, perhaps to think. “They're very well done. You've done Thor a great service.”

“Yeah, well...” Tony couldn't find the words to say to that. “He's my friend.”

“I know he is.”Loki looked at him, and Peter chose this moment to move beside Tony, staring the man himself.

“Mr. Loki, I just want to say that Mr. Stark is very important to me, and I don't like hurting people, but if you don't keep your promise, I'm going to have to stop you.” said Peter very seriously, and Loki's smile just got bigger at that, while Tony shook his head, sighing.

“Peter, if Loki doesn't keep his promise, Jarvis will call Beinir faster than you can say ice cream. There's nothing for you to worry about, alright?”

 

“Hmm... where is your fake fiancé exactly?” A grinning Peter asked.
“For the last time Spiderling, Ben ismy real fiancé.”
“Everybody knows you need a ring for an engagement to be real. The more expensive, the better!”Tony was going to drown himself in a teacup before he turned fifty at this rate – he was sure of that.

“Where did you read that, kid? Reddit? 9GAG?”guessed Tony.

“I may have seen it on Instagram...”
“On Instagram? I didn't think anyone would say something like that there. Who was that, do I know them?”
“Erm, it may have been in the comment section under a fanart of you and Ben.”Scratch that, Tony wouldn't live 'til forty-five. He's had enough.

“I don't think I've seen that.” he said patiently though. He'd rather die a painful death than be anything but supportive towards Peter.
“Yeah... you'd have to scroll down a lot to get to it.”murmured Peter, looking guilty – but not guilty enough in Tony's opinion.

“That's it, I'm calling May and we're taking away your wifi privileges for a month. You clearly can't be trusted with the internet. Who in their right mind reads anything but the top comments?”
“Hey! That's not fair! I mean you're no wrong, but that's still not okay! I can't live without internet – also, I need it for school.” grinned Peter, and Tony had to snort at how self-satisfied Peter looked. Like that would stop him!

“Oh, I'm sure me and Karen can sort something out for you.”

“Ugh. Mr. Loki, can you tell Mr. Stark that he's being completely unreasonable?”And with that, they both turned to Loki, who's been watching the banter between them attentively.

“You leave the other adults out of this.” demanded Tony, smiling. “Me and May are already co-parenting you, do you really want another overbearing person on your case? He may look like he's one of the cool ones, but he'd be the first one to yeet your backside to the moon to keep you out of trouble.”
“If you say so, Mr. Stark.”

“I do.” he put his arm around Peter's shoulder, pulling the boy to his side when he addressed Loki again. “What did you want then?”

“I came to say thank you. For what you did.” admitted Loki almost softly.
“I didn't do it for you.” Tony couldn't stop himself from saying it, but he immediately regretted his words as they registered for what they were – Lies.
And they both knew that.

“Mr. Stark helps wherever he can.” exclaimed Peter proudly, like a child talking about their parent. “It's just the way he is.”

“Just trying to be decent.” he replied, giving Peter's shoulder a squeeze.
Tony felt like he was having two conversations at once, so when he asked the boy to wait for him upstairs, and he actually agreed, he was very grateful.

“You shouldn't be here.” Tony said accusingly as soon as the door closed behind Peter.
“I couldn't stay away.” confessed the trickster. He looked a bit out of place in the workshop, like he didn't quite fit into Tony's space anymore – and maybe he didn't.

“Perhaps you should have tried a little harder.” Tony argued, standing his ground. “There's nothing for you here. Leave.”

 

Tony felt his chest tighten painfully as he watched the man he loved move even closer at that.

Almost close enough to kiss.

The thought itself was tempting enough to send his heartbeat haywire, and uncaring if Loki saw he popped a couple pills from his hidden bottle. He leaned into the table, supporting himself as he looked back up.

 

“Take the hammer and go.”
“Do you need assistan– “ Hearing Loki's hesitant voice, he couldn't help but snap.
“Leave!”he saw as Loki nodded grimly, and respecting Tony's wishes, he turned around. “No, wait. I'm sorry.”

Loki stopped in his tracks, still with his back to Tony. The air between them felt thick enough to touch, and once again, Tony found himself struggling to breathe.

It was now or never.

 

“I have something for you too.” without any other explanations, Tony asked Jarvis to bring out Mark 84.
Mark 84 been sitting in storage since before they ended whatever it was that Tony and Loki used to share. It was Tony's escape from the world and his responsibilities when things got too much, or when he missed Loki.

Needn't to say, he worked on it a lot.

He's gone through numerous plans, different metals and forging methods before he found the one that felt perfect to him.
His little surprise project that ended up becoming a shameful secret after he melted down Rogers' shield for it, months after Loki was already long gone.

He didn't have to look at the man to know how shocked he was as he watched the armour.


Because that's what it was. Not a suit, no, that wouldn't suit Loki's agility. It wasn't packed full of weapons either – Earth's technology was useless to Lok; he's had his magic. Its main function was protection and comfort.
Made of vibranium, it would withstand some magical attacks even without further modifications.

The black armour glinted green in the workshop's unnaturally bright light, it's golden lines shining outstandingly.

 

“I've had this for a while.”said Tony. “A couple years, actually. Erm, you never had enough things of your own, and I just wanted you to have this.”
Loki didn't answer right away, he merely walked to Tony in silence. He put his arms around Tony's waist and pulled him into a gentle embrace.

“Thank you, Anthony.” he whispered. His lips were so near, Tony could feel the warmth of his words on his cheek.

He shut his eyes tightly, wishing to be a stronger person than he was.

“So let's make this goodbye, alright? No more unfinished business between us.”
“I can think of a couple more things.” Loki pulled him even closer, and allowing himself a moment of weakness, Tony rested his forehead on the trickster's shoulder.
“I can't afford to have you here, Lokes. I'm getting married in less than two months, it's already done... and you know I've never been a cheater.” Maybe that was more direct than what he should have let himself be, but the words seemed to come to life against his will.

 

“If I find a way,” started Loki slowly, carefully, like he was the one putting his heart on the line “if I find a way to get you out of this, would you follow me?”
“We tried that, remember?” smiled Tony bitterly. “Don't get involved. Just let me go, okay?”
“I don't think I can do that.” looking into Loki's soulful eyes, there was nothing Tony wanted to do more than kiss the man.

 

Instead, he wiggled out of his hold, and turned his back.

“I'll let you pack this up in peace. Goodbye, Loki.” his posture straight, and head held high, he walked out of his lab, leaving Loki behind – and though his heart got harder with each step, his breaths shorter, he knew he made the right decision.

Maybe Loki thought he missed him now, but that would soon pass. Of that, Tony was sure.

Chapter Text

Tony's steps were getting more uncoordinated with the increasing distance between him and Loki. He had to put a hand on the wall, supporting himself but soon enough that was the only thing keeping him upright.

So he still trusted Loki - that wasn't entirely surprising on its own, but that didn't make it any easier to accept.

He'd just left Loki - the trickster himself, the man who outright told Tony he wasn't worthy of a God's affections - in his workshop.
Jarvis' watchful gaze could only do so much, since being in the shop unsupervised was like taking a nice stroll in Tony's head – his very soul.

Loki could do literally anything. He could pry for secrets, find information unavailable for everyone but Tony, plant something nasty in Jarvis's software or manipulate the suits. Although none of these things would be fatal, they could still cause a major headache for Tony, having to deal with the fallout and the damage control after.

 

Leaving him there, on his own, unthinking of the hundreds of ways the man could screw him over was not something Tony was proud of.

 

What was even worse is that the deed itself said more than Tony could ever have, and once again he cursed himself for letting Loki have that.

Loki pushed, always. It's just the kind of man he was.

You could give him an inch, he'd want a mile. You gave him a smile, he'd want a date. Give him that, he wanted your body, mind and your whole being, and then, when you unconditionally loved and accepted him for who (you thought) he was – suddenly he wanted nothing.

It was something excruciatingly painful, and having lived that, Tony didn't want to go through it again – even partially –, so he sworn to keep the distance between them.

 

Tony was aware, that having this piece of knowledge in his grasp, Loki wouldn't leave him alone. Loki had his trust, and now that he's been showed the extents of it, he'd uncontrollably want more.

If Tony was a prize, and the competition a sworn enemy; a Frost Giant, Loki would be ready to conquer.

 

Only Tony didn't want to be conquered - he wanted to be free.

 

With this sentence ringing in his head, he found himself, not for the first time, wondering is things were different; betterif he was dead.

With a painful cough tearing itself free from his chest, Tony closed his eyes, thinking of sweet nothingness.

Maybe it was finally time.

 

 

ltltltltltltltltltlt

 

 

 

Peter was restless. He shouldn't have left Mr. Stark alone with Loki!

He knew Mr. Stark was only trying to look after him, but that didn't mean he shouldn't be looking after himself as well!

 

Or that maybe they should be looking out for each other equally.

He felt useless, walking back and forth in the room the man had given him generously.

 

Painted light blue and white, the room was completely empty when Mr. Stark first presented it – then they spent the whole weekend together, shopping and arranging all the gadgets and furniture they got.

He had a computer with all the (un)necessary accessories to go with it, some Spider Man art that they got from a street artist, and even a free standing hammock chair that Mr. Stark seemed to favour when he was there.

When Peter casually mentioned how many nights he fell off his own bunk bed, so perhaps they needn't bother with a frame, a mattress on the floor will do, Mr. Stark took a trip to the hardware store, got the necessary things for it, then built Peter a dock futon bed from scratch.

He was adamant that the ones from the shop would be uncomfortable and bad for his back, and that it's no trouble, really. That it would be a good workout at the very least.

So Peter spend an afternoon surrounded by blue prints, handing him screws, nails and various tools, watching the man he looked up to build a ridiculously low and ridiculously big bed just so he wouldn't fall out of it. It had wireless speakers built in, a few USB ports so he could charge his devices and a panic button – which he still thought was a bit over the top, but he wasn't gonna tell Mr. Stark that.

 

He wasn't even surprised (much) when he got home on the Monday afternoon, and there was a new bunk bed in his room, one with sturdy and secure rails on all sides. It was blue – his favourite colour – and was the (second) most comfortable thing Peter's ever slept on – the first being the futon bed Mr. Stark made for him with his own two hands.

 

Mr. Stark had also made it clear that friends, girlfriends and/or boyfriends alike were welcome, but he wanted Peter to inform both him and May when that happened.

He was also more strict than Aunt May in a sense, since he wanted to know the full names of everybody coming over, their parents phone number and their address.

 

Peter, he wasn't annoyed though, no. He was giddy with happiness that Mr. Stark cared this much about him, and got so involved in his life, while still respecting him as a hero and helping him be his best possible self.

He was incredibly lucky.

 

With a smile on his face, he left the room and started walking towards the workshop. He wouldn't go inside or try and listen in their private conversation, he only wanted to wait for Mr. Stark and make sure he was fine!

 

The smile quickly died off his face when he saw Mr. Stark lying on the ground. He ran to him, falling to his knees and trying hard to listen to his heartbeat, but he couldn't hear anything from his own blood rushing in his ears.

 

“Jarvis, did you call for help?” he asked frantically. Peter felt like the walls were closing in on him – he tried to take Mr. Stark's pulse, but unaware of his own strength he must have been too rough as the skin under his touch started to darken to an ugly shade of purple.

 

“Mr. Stark previously disabled the emergency procedure which I should initiate right now. I am unable to call for professional help, however I informed Miss Potts herself and she called Sir's medical team, their ETA is two minutes and thirty seconds.” Jarvis was uncharacteristically verbal with his long sentences and explanations. “Please calm yourself, young sir. Match your breathing to the light of my sensor on your far right. Red for intake, blue for out.”

 

“I hurt him.” Peter whispered, gasping for air. Jarvis' words hardly registered in his head as panic took over. “I'm so sorry. Oh my god, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean it!”

“Hey kiddo, how was school? … Oh, that bad? … You do look like you could use some ice cream before dinner. Salted caramel any good? … Well, as long as you don't tell May!” Tony's soothing, comforting voice cut through his panic effectively. With every word playing back on the recording Jarvis was supplying, Peter could feel his heartbeat getting back to something relatively normal.

He remembered the day this audio feed was from – he's had a really shitty day and as soon as he got home Mr. Stark looked after him. Called him his kid, gave him ice cream, and when they sat down to watch a movie together, Mr. Stark put his arm around Peter's shoulder.

Peter could remember leaning into him, basking in his warmth – and now he was hoping he wasn't about to lose that forever.

“The medication Mr. Stark is currently taking for his heart condition contains a particular brand of steroids which has caused his skin to grow thin, thus making him bruise easily – I assure you it's not your fault in the slightest. Please stand back now and allow the doctors to help Sir.”

Peter whispered a “Yes, okay” under his nose, squeezing Mr. Stark's hand one last time before he backed away, letting the team have their space.

 

Peter's never been a believer – with everything he's been through he could never find faith, not like his Aunt.

Right now though, when he's been told that Mr. Stark had to be taken into a hospital to get the best possible care – to get the chance tosurvive–, he caught himself praying to any God out there willing to listen; please don't let him die.

 

 

 

ltltltltltltlt

 

 

A couple hours later Peter was sitting in the hospital, his knees pulled up to his chest, making himself look as small as he currently felt.

They didn't... they couldn't...

 

The operation they wanted to do on Mr. Stark needed a signed agreement by his next of kin – the doctor said it was too dangerous, that Mr. Stark's odds weren't that good and every minute they waited decreased them slightly.

They had to act fast.

 

He had the strangest company, too. In front of him was Mr. Rhodes, walking back and forth on his braces, cracking his knuckles, murmuring to himself. He was visibly upset, his eyes bloodshot red, his body rigid and full of tension.

On his right, he had Loki sitting, reading a book, his face a picture of perfect calmness.

 

Peter wasn't stupid, though. With his enhanced hearing he could tell that this Loki was a mere dummy – he didn't have a heartbeat or blood rushing through his veins. The real Loki sat beside Tony, running his fingers along his warm skin, talking in a language alien to them in a hushed, broken voice.

Peter couldn't make himself invisible or slip into the room unnoticed, so while he didn't fully understand Loki sitting with Mr. Stark, he was grateful that he wasn't alone. Mr. Stark really hated hospitals, and although Peter could empathise, he was glad that Mr. Stark was receiving the care he needed, while still surrounded by people that cared about him.

 

Miss Potts was chasing after different doctors and nurses, making sure it all was kept quiet and maybe, possibly threatening them into giving her all the information and the variables she wanted.

She looked put together her usual, scary demeanour, and Peter tried his best to stay out of her way.

 

“Beinir wants to take Tony in something called a soul bond. He's confident it'd heal him without any future complications.” said Pepper, her lips a thin line, her voice untrusting.

“I beg your pardon?” Loki blinked at them. Within a couple seconds his peaceful bravado changed drastically – he almost looked like an entirely different person. “Did you just say a soul bond?”

“I didn't think I stuttered.” answered Pepper harshly. She's been very wary of Loki since he's arrived, going as far as being outright rough and impolite with him. Strange thing was, she never once questioned what he was doing there, or how he came to know about the situation. The strangeness of that irked at Peter, making him watch the two closely.

 

“I'm afraid you don't understand. The soul bond is an incredibly dangerous thing. If done for the wrong reasons, it'd make Anthony less than an animal; a slave.” The thought of Tony chained down, dragged to each and every whim of anyone was so surreal, Peter could hardly imagine it.

“Is there anything we could do?” he asked.

“I could bind him to myself instead.” the words seemed almost painful to Loki, their effect clearly visible. Although his posture was still perfect, not a hair our of place, his eyes were speaking of terror and fear.

“And you think I'll believe that you'd do it forthe right reasons?” emphasised the last words Pepper.

“It matters not what you think.” hissed Loki. “Can't you see we're running out of time? His soul is hardly clinging to his sick, broken body in that damned hospital bed!” He practically shouted the end of it, madness lurking in his gaze.

“Why would it be different?” Rhodes quiet voice made the three of them turn to him. “If you'd be the one doing it, why would it be different?”

 

“That has nothing to do with you. Mind your own affairs.” Loki was defensive, but Rhodey only stepped closer.

“It's my brother we're talking about. You wanna rethink that?”

“We've unfinished business. I won't let him die, he owes me.” The perfectly fabricated answer was delivered easily, as always when Loki had to lie.

“You're so full of shit.” growled Rhodey, looking ready to pounce on the God of Mischief violently. Loki stared at him, offended, matching the man's stance.

 

“If we need a next of kin for Mr. Stark, shouldn't we just find somebody that's an actual blood relative?” cut of their argument Peter.

“Tony doesn't have any family left.” said Miss Potts, with a sad smile on her face.

“At all?” whispered Peter, shocked. He had always assumed that Mr. Stark had at least a few cousins of his own, people that he wanted to leave out of the limelight so they couldn't get hurt.

“No.” Pepper shook her head. “At this point, we wouldn't even need a blood relative – anyone would do as long as it's legal. An engagement doesn't have a legality to stand above a familial tie of any kind.”

“I'll call my mom.” offered Rhodey seriously. “She wanted to adopt Tony back when he was a little shit at fifteen, and has loved him ever since. Her and my dad would take that step in a heartbeat.”

“Adopting an adult of such power and influence would take weeks – even with us fast tracking it.” pointed out Pepper. “Although after we've saved him, that's definitely something you should bring up with him.” Her and Rhodey shared a little private smile on their own, and the man nodded at her seriously.

 

“Could a minor make that decision?” asked Peter tentatively.

“You're a genius, Mr. Parker.” breathed Miss Potts in relief. She got a tablet out of her very expensive-looking bag, searching for something relentlessly.

“I don't want to force anything on Mr. Stark, but if this could save him...” Peter left the second half of it hanging in the air for a few seconds. “We could always undo it after, right?”

“I just called you smart; act like it.” Pepper's words are firm, but not unkind. “Tony and May filled out the forms of their unique shared-custody months ago – though he's been too much of a scaredy-cat to finalise it with you, I believe. It only needs your signature to be ready for filing.”

 

“Heart-warming as that is” starts Loki slowly, uncaring how Peter's world just got turned upside down, “if that brute wants a soul bond, a damned Midgardian piece of paper will not stop him.”

“But why now? If a soul bond could reduce Tony's rights and standing, why not do it months ago?” formed the question Rhodes, looking lost in thought.

“Anthony is very strong-willed.” In that moment Loki looked almost fond with a small half smile on his face, and Peter realised that this wasn't a ruse of a joke to him; he actually cared about Mr. Stark. He stared at the wall behind them, lost in thought.

Unknowingly, from that minute onwards Loki gained himself a supporter, someone that would stand by his side in this, because anyone who cared this much of Tony was a friend of Peter's too. “A soul bond was created for lovers, eons ago. If one side doesn't consent or there's no real affection behind it, the bond will turn to something ugly and wicked in case it takes.”

“So you are saying that if Tones was awake, the bond wouldn't take because he's too damn stubborn?” laughed Rhodes freely.

“Indeed.”

 

“So all we need to do is hold up Ben until Mr. Stark gains consciousness then?” murmured Peter. “That shouldn't be too hard, right?”

“I'm not sure.” admitted Pepper. “Jarvis can't find his energy signature anywhere, it's like he disappeared.”

“He's gone to Jotunheim to collect the necessary ingredients for the ritual.” said Loki without a trace of doubt in his voice.

“How can you be so sure?” asked Peter carefully.

“It's what I'd do.” The answer seemed to pace Pepper and Rhodey, like Loki just confirmed their suspicions. The two of them looked oddly pleased, and Peter could only hope they came to the same conclusion as him.

 

“Here are the papers. Sign on page three, four, seven and twelve.” commanded Pepper, giving Peter a StarkPad and a caress on the arm. “It will be alright. I can get these filed within the hour and the operation shouldn't take longer than a handful on top of that. We need to delay Beinir until tomorrow morning, Tony's ought to wake up by then. Loki?” The man looked at her upon being addressed, and gave a shaky nod.

“I'll take care of it.” he promised in a serious tone.

“How can we trust you after everything you've put Tony through?” questioned Rhodes, crossing his arms across his chest. His face turned into something vicious, ready to snarl, and Peter really hated seeing him like that.

He felt like that expression didn't belong on a funny, caring and good man like James Rhodes.

 

“If you truly know all like you claim to, you should be smart enough to realise that the only lie was the ending itself.” Loki said cryptically. He gave them a nod before he disappeared right in front of them.

 

“Miss Potts... do you think it's gonna work?” Peter was almost scared to say these words out loud, worried what the answer may be.

“I know it is.” she said after a long break. “Because I don't know what I'm gonna do if it doesn't.”

Chapter Text

“They're just preparing Tony for the operation.”Aunt May’s soft spoken words didn’t do much to comfort Peter - normally he’d be smiling by now, putting a brave face on for her sake. He was feeling jittery and shaken up, unbelieving of the last few hours.

He’d just gotten adopted by the man he looked up to the most, and the whole ordeal happened without Mr. Stark's consent.

Miss Potts and Mr. Rhodey could say whatever they wanted – Mr. Stark has never breached the subject with Peter. The man wasn't indecisive by any means, but he had gotten better at “controlling his impulsive nature” in recent times – as members of the press and the SI board had pointed out much to his amusement –, so the fact that he never spoken to Peter about it couldn't be anything but a sign of pure hesitation.

Peter hated that.

Don't get him wrong, he knew he was a lot of work, and that he wasn't the greatest hero out there – hell, he's never been popular, he only had a couple of close friends and he had failed at keeping his alter ego a secret from both of them.

Not something to be particularly proud of.

 

Still, the drawn up contract, his very own room at the compound (on Tony's private floor nonetheless) and the way Mr. Stark always seemed to look out for him was a shimmering ray of hope, just bright enough that he'd signed the papers reluctantly.

He wanted Tony to get better more than anything in the world.

If Mr. Stark had changed his mind and wouldn't want to be his... if he wouldn't want Peter anymore, they could do it back, right?

Like when sometimes people adopt a rescue dog only to realise how much work is it going to be so they just bring the dog back to the shelter?

Peter had never agreed with that, he'd always thought that putting a dog through that unnecessary stress was inhumane and people that aren't ready for it shouldn't take on such a responsibility, but that wasn't important now.

He wasn't a dog, obviously.

Yes, he was a teenager, but he could look after himself. It'd be perfectly reasonable if Tony didn't want to deal with Peter on a paternal level.

Peter wasn't like a pet at all; he could promptly get over it, it's not like he would have to deal with the feeling of abandonment or the millions of issues that would follow.

 

They could just stay friends anyway, right? First on the agenda, save Mr. Stark, then play matchmaker with him and Loki – did Peter mention those heart-eyes in play earlier? –, and after all that he would breach the subject carefully.

You know, because perhaps Mr. Stark wasn't ready for the responsibility either.

 

If he didn't want him, no harm done.

Peter was only hoping Tony could forgive him too.

 

 

ltltltltltltlt

 

 

Loki was walking through dark, hidden paths of Jotunnheim with deadly intent, the road itself so dangerous no other living form would willingly come near it. In forbidden books and silent whispers they said; the ground itself would swallow you alive just so you'd live to fight the monsters after it spit you out.

Here he was nevertheless, The God of Mischief, Chaos and Fire, the man of no kin and the prince to no throne. He didn't dare to approach the frozen heart of the cold, lifeless kingdom of the Jotunn, still he'd come as close he possibly could without an army coming at him.

Maybe he'd always been this mad – from the first moment he's lived his truth, the first time he had tricked a servant in his parents' living quarters –, but never reckless. He had sworn not to come back to Jotunnheim; he killed enough, he died enough.

He caused pain and suffered continuously, the endless and excruciating fusion of it that was breaking down on his mind and it was torture unlike any other.

He never wanted to walk these frozen ways again, or to show his true (and yet so foreign) colour, but as the darkened path in front of him illuminated, he braced himself, ready for a battle.

 

Was a monster still a hideous beast – a doomed creature of the dark, beyond deserving redemption if he fought for love?

Loki enjoyed creating a persona that bore fear in people's hearts – he was powerful, a future king, or so he once thought.

It was merely wise to be intimidated by a presence such as his.

 

To think that he had spent so long trying to put the same agitation and fright into Anthony's soul – and when it proved too bright to be conquered, he wanted to own it.

Later to save his lover, he tried to destroy it, but nothing could pace the beast like the soft skin of Anthony.

Caught a flimsy prayer moved by the love of a son, he followed the trail to the healer's room where his lover lay.

 

Loki's never had massive experience connecting to others emotionally – maybe because he'd been too young by Asgardian standards –, but he was shaking violently as he held Tony's hand for those precious minutes, his lips stealing a bitter-tasting kiss from the man's unresponsive mouth –, and it moved him tremendously, an almost-forgotten feeling reviving itself in his very soul.

 

He loved Anthony.

He loved him from the first moment he's seen his truth, the first time he had tricked Loki in his living quarters, the star in his chest dazzling in perfect resemblance of the brilliantly stubborn man he was.

He loved him and now he was going to fight for him – come what may.

Chapter Text

“I didn't know Mr. Stark had a heart condition” said Peter. He was sitting down beside Mr. Stark's too pale and unnaturally still form, but he couldn't keep his eyes on the man.

Instead he was staring at the wall, his fingers grasping at the white hospital bedding, wishing – not for the first time –, that he was a normal kid; maybe then he could hold onto Mr. Stark without the risk of breaking him with a single touch.

He could see from his peripheral vision as Miss Pots eyed him carefully, but he refused to turn his head. If you don't see it, it can't hurt you, right?

 

“He doesn't,” she confessed slowly, “the arc reactor is wearing down on his body, and the lifestyle he leads is only accelerating the process. The medication gives his heart a bit of extra strength, helping it function normally.”

“I don't understand, I thought the reactor was already doing that. Mr. Stark said before that it's basically a glorified pacemaker.” Peter argued, blinking back the wetness in his eyes. He didn't want to offend the lady, but seeing her on the other side of the room, standing there all collected like it wasn't a big deal – Peter wanted her out of here as he watched over his... his Tony.

Mr. Stark would be fine – he was a hero. More than that, he was Peter's hero and he wasn't allowed to die!

“He had also said that the arc reactor in him is like running the latest Stark software on a vintage Macbook, and I'll quote; 'a damn waste of a near-perfect OS.' He's wrong, obviously. The pills he's taking are a blood pressure medication which is making his blood vessels dilate – his arc reactor definitely does not have that effect.”

“High blood pressure can lead to brain damage, dementia and, or, like, even a stroke!” Peter was breathing heavily at this point. He accompanied Aunt May to every single Doctor's appointment since they became two instead of three. He had read all the patient pamphlets, done his research both in their local library and staying up until the first light of the morning reading wikipedia articles – he wanted to be well prepared.

He wanted to know the enemy, any potential threat that could take Aunt May from him, so he could protect her the best he could. Getting exercise in the form of running together every Sunday, forgetting to get Aunt May the unhealthy chicken dippers she liked on Takeaway Thursdays just so they'd have to share the grilled chicken salad he got for himself. Insisting on doing the shopping himself, comparing nutrient charts endlessly, and scrubbing every surface of their home with the best antibacterial spray they could afford (which wasn't the best by any means, but Peter'd take what he could get).

 

Still, he knew that as people grew old, they got sick and while sometimes they'd recover, sometimes they wouldn't – because they simply couldn't.

Surely that didn't apply to Mr. Stark!

Aunt May was fifty-two (and yes, still kicking ass) but Mr. Stark was only forty-four!

He put on a gold titanium alloy suit of armour and fought villains restlessly all the time! It was only months ago that Peter brought over his broken laptop, asking if they could look it over together.

It didn't take longer than a few minutes for Mr. Stark to realise that it wasn't Peter asking for a new computer in such a backhanded way, not really. He only ever wanted to spend some quality time together, but he's pretty sure Mr. Stark thought it was the laptop he held emotional attachment to and Peter didn't want to seem like the dumb kid he was, so he let that be.

Mr. Stark opened up Peter's laptop with ease, cleaned it thoroughly, let him pick out the parts they'd later replace and Peter found himself staring in awe as his dad refurbished an over ten year old StarkBook with stuff found in various drawers in the workshop. He's done it easily, all the while cracking really old, and just as horrible IT jokes he thought Peter would appreciate. And he did. 

"Why did the geek add body { padding-top: 1000px; } to his Facebook profile? ... He wanted to keep a low profile!"

"Remember, there are only two hard things in computer science, Peter: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors."

Mr. Stark seemed so smart, funny and untouchable then, that in that exact moment Peter could have sworn that he'd live on forever. Just as he was standing there, smiling at Peter with an arm wrapped around him, Peter thought how he'd never felt safer before.

 

“That's why he has his medication, so that he'll be okay.” Pepper assured him, moving closer and running her fingers through Tony's hair with a delicate touch. “Peter, I promise you, Tony will be alright.”

“But how can you be so sure?!” he demanded, looking at her sharply. It was like all of the manners his Aunt and Uncle spent so long teaching him had just flown out the window, and he was helpless to react any differently.

“There's not many things I believe in, Mr. Parker,” stated Miss Potts, with an easy smile on her face, “but I'll never stop having faith in Tony. He'll bounce back, stronger than ever – he always does, and when that happens, he'll give you a very hard time for ever doubting him.”

“I could live with that.” said Peter quietly as he smiled right back at Virginia Potts for the first time that day. “I really could.”

 


 

 

“Show yourself!” bellowed Beinir, looking around with a manic look on his face. He appeared downright vicious, turning himself around to search for the intruder – oh, but Loki was closer than he'd ever think.

Loki didn't have a clear outline of a plan, and it showed; but no, he wasn't sloppy by any means. He preyed on the giants from the shadows of their home -- he knew he could fight his way through them, challenge the king for the throne – only to leave it to them and demand Anthony as a consolation prize.

Beinir would be dead – ice eating away at his cold, bleeding body, then Loki would throw him into the abyss.

Make him fall like he did, once.

 

And Loki, he would have Anthony – sweet, fierce Anthony, the man that kissed him when Loki was the face of danger itself, the man that turned Loki's frozen heart into something warm and beating again.
Once upon a time the beauty of their love could have competed with Frigga's rose garden and won.

 

Loki never hoped to find a love like that – he never dared to think of himself as someone deserving a love like that.
More than that, he knew he didn't – but Anthony gave it anyway; generously, fearlessly.
Anthony gave his heart like the precious gift that it was and Loki crushed it in his hands like he does with everything he touches.

He was well aware that he couldn't own a creature like that – he came so close to it before, holding him possessively every night, making love to him, tearing him apart just to put him back together all over again –, but Anthony was, and always have been; a marvel in his own right. Something ethereal that no God or Man could chain down, or hope to shatter – because Anthony would break free every time.

His Anthony was a wild thing, a free spirit.

Or at least he would be, after this.

 

As Loki walked out of the shadows, he remembered the broken look in Tony's eyes back when it all ended.

He was seeing it in his dreams every damned night, waking up gasping for air – perhaps it was his penance, but the pain on the face he only ever wanted to see smile was nothing short of his own personal Hel.

 

So what, that's it? Years of hiding, lying to people we care about just so we can be together and now what? You suddenly decided you had enough? I ain't buying it, Loki.” Anthony was moving closer, putting himself in Loki's space, and he had to step away before he could back down from this. He'd made this decision after long weeks of seeing the Mad Titan in his visions; pictures of their future becoming clearer than ever, and he decided that his lover had to be safe, had to be protected.

Surveillance and safeguarding he could provide from afar as Anthony could never be truly secure with Loki close by.

You precious child.” murmured Loki, holding Anthony's chin up with his fingers. Even after his harsh words, the man leaned into his touch.  “I've had whores in my bed longer than I had you by my side.”  After these words left his treacherous lips, he watched Anthony as the man tried to mend the bridge between them one last time - his sweet, loyal Anthony, always so forgiving when it came to others -, and now Loki was breaking his heart.

For the guy that claims to love me, you certainly aren't making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside right now.”

That's because I don't.” said Loki, watching the fight leave Anthony's body. He turned his lips upwards in a weak attempt of a nasty looking smile. “You were a remarkable human to figure out, but I don't have time for pets right now. Surely you didn't think you could hold the affections of a God such as me?”

 

“Bow to me, Beinir of Jotunnheim.” Loki demanded, ready to fight. The hatred he felt against himself was a distraction, a weakness he had to turn around. It wasn't the time to think of the past, of how he hurt the man who taught him how to love again.

Both his shaking hands were holding onto a weapon each, and while his enemy concentrated on those, he planned to deliver blows of a different kind.

“You have the nerve, Sky Traveller.” the words were growled in his general direction. “I've seen the way you look at my bride, Loki of Asgard. I will not stand for such disrespect!”

“Oh, you have?” he smiled at that. Nobody could play with fire quite the way like the God that commanded it. “How about the way he glances back at me then? Couldn't blame him now, can we? I'm twice the man you are.”

“You dare?” shouted Beinir, coming closer. He was far enough from the rest of the Jotunns that Loki could kill him and leave before they even realised it. 

“Hmm, let's see. Yes, I do. You think you could come close to a God? I should make him scream my name in your bed so you'll learn. He'd never want you, given the option of a finer lover.”

“You lie, Trickster!”

“Prove it then, you coward! Let him go, let him choose! Unless, of course, you're scared.” mocked him Loki. Maybe Frost Giants weren't the mindless brutes everyone thought them be, but a man was still a man.

Easy to manipulate by grabbing him by his pride.

“The King would never accept that. We depend on the Man of Iron's protection!”

“He would protect the universe either way – he's a hero, the greatest one out there.” Loki shouted back, his anger not faked for once.

“Damn the universe! Nobody would protect us Giants, in this war coming we'd be the first ones to fall.”

“Not anymore – Anthony would protect you regardless of your role in his life. He'll be loyal to you given the chance.”

“The chance?” asked Beinir with a frown on his face, almost like the words had tasted foreign to him.

If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were.” Quoted Loki with ease. “Leave your King to me, Beinir of Jotunnheim. I believe you have more important things to do right now.”

“Why are you helping me?”

“We're all brothers here, under the light of the blood moon. You needed my aid, so I gave it.” answered Loki, his red eyes shining through his glamour. If Beinir was surprised, he didn't show, he only bid him a curt goodbye and left to join the rest of his tribe.

 

Loki looked at Beinir's retreating form – he wished to be back at Anthony's side, but he couldn't allow himself that luxury; he wasn't finished just yet.

 

 


 

 

Peter wanted to have it on record that he's been so worried about Mr. Stark, he didn't notice the rest of the world until it came knocking on their door – literally.

When Mr. Happy came to pick up Miss Potts earlier, she probably said they would be back in a couple hours time – to be perfectly honest Peter didn't really remember, he's been zoned out then, so she could have said something entirely different and he wouldn't have known.

Mr. Rhodes was getting a coffee (maybe) so it was just Peter, Mr. Stark and the continuous beeping of the machines around them.

Peter stood up and walked to the door unthinkingly when he heard a knock, he'd just assumed one of the adults came back; but he'd be happy to see Loki too.

He dropped his phone and stared at the small army of reporters that were asking for a comment, to be let inside the room.

Just a moment of your time, Mister!”

Is it true that Doctor Stark was a victim of gruesome bodily harm?”

What's your stance on Mr. Stark's alleged overdose?”

Is Iron Man bearing a child of the alien race called the Frost Giants?”

 

Peter's done the only thing he could think of.

“Fuck off and leave my dad alone!” he near-screamed at them, stepping back to shut the door in their faces.

Mr. Stark had once said that if he ever founds himself surrounded by reporters the best course of action is to give them a shocking one-liner, then remove yourself from the situation while they go crazy with it.

He could already see the headlines of tomorrow.

Stark Industries is creating Gen Z criminals”

Stark's own personal intern – splitting image in the lack of manners”

16 year old Stark intern dropping an F bomb on National TV”

 

Okay, maybe he was overreacting, but he couldn't think of anything better! He wasn't anything special out of the suit, just Puny Peter Parker, the best he could do was swear at the reporters and hope that they go with it.

He just hoped it wouldn't cause Miss Potts a migraine to sort it out.

 

1 New Text Message
From: Scary Miss Potts
Stay in the room, do not move. I'm sending someone to get you.

From: Peter
if this is about the press, i handled it! please don't make me leave Mr Stark please

1 New Text Message
From: Scary Miss Potts
I'll say. Both of you are getting moved to a new location, he'll need peace and quiet when he wakes.

 

A new location? Like, another hospital? Peter frowned, wondering if that was really necessary – although the operation went well, Mr. Stark was still on fluids and wouldn't be waking for hours. Peter didn't think he should be moved unless it was absolutely crucial.

Still, he wasn't about to argue with Miss Potts about this – he'll just refuse to move out of the way if the ordeal would sound too dangerous for his dad.

 

Mr. Rhodes peeked his head in the door, and Peter had to admit, the man looked dishevelled like he'd just fought his way through twenty odd members of the press.

“You ready to go kid?” he asked, closing the door for privacy. Before Peter had the chance to reply, he continued. “Gotta hand it to you Peter, you couldn't be more like Tones if you were his own kin. I think this little outburst will make as much noise as the infamous “I am Iron Man” speech. He'll be very proud once he sees the headlines, I can promise you that.”

“I'm so sorry Mr. Rhodes, I shouldn't have been so disrespectful, but they were trying to barge in, and their questions were out of line, and I really didn't mean to shout at them, I just wanted them gone!” Peter was trying his hardest to be worthy of Mr. Stark's attention and pride, and he couldn't remember where he went so wrong with it. Mr. Stark was always so collected on interviews, always twisting the reporters' words around, making them forget about their notes and engaging them in a conversation fruitful for all sides.

He was intelligent, charming and funny, and then there goes Peter shouting at the press on his first ever appearance. He knows that Mr. Stark will be disappointed, that Rhodey is just trying to cheer him up, but Peter still felt like crying.
Now Mr. Stark definitely won't be keeping him... he messed up.

 

“That's not the first, nor the last time that someone has shouted at these vultures, so don't worry about that. You didn't do anything wrong, nobody is mad at you, and Tony won't be either. We're just gonna have to move the two of you somewhere a bit more private until this thing dies down, alright?” Rhodey put his arm around Peter's shoulder, but the touch didn't help his anxiety at all – if anything, it made it harder to pull himself together.

“But why is it such a big deal then? I don't understand, Mr. Rhodes.”

 

“Peter, we didn't want to tell the press about the adoption until both you and Tony were comfortable with the whole world knowing it. It was a very effective way to create your exit, but this is a public hospital, we can't avoid them forever; you don't want me having to accompany you to the toilet just so I can stand guard, right?” Rhodey joked lightly, his gentle eyes shining with kindness.

“But I didn't...” Peter started, only to have the words stuck in his throat.

Fuck off and leave my dad alone!” it rang in his head like an echo, over and over again. He... Oh my God, what did he do? He just ruined everything!

That secret fantasy in his head of them being a family must have slipped out of his lips.
What is Mr. Stark gonna think? He'll be so ashamed of Peter!

“Knock it off, kid.” said Mr. Rhodes sternly. “You look panic-stricken. You realise Tony won't care, right?”

Peter just shook his head, unbelieving when Rhodey continued. “When he was sixteen, he once gave an interview where he said he's father drinks his coffee with motor oil, and keeps their housekeeping staff locked in the basement. Although the first fact made international news, the latter caused a house search warrant, and Howard wasn't happy about that at all.”

Peter laughed weakly at Mr. Rhodes story. The man never failed to make him smile, it seemed like that was his only goal from the very first time they've met. He was filling in the role of the doting uncle in the little fantasy Peter was nursing in his heart, and he thought to himself; this was not all that different from those illusions.

 

“Now come on, Thor is waiting outside, we're going to let some Asgardian healers patch Tony up a bit more. The plan is that you stay with Tony to make sure he's safe, and I'll have a chat with Loki to see how things went with the Smurfs.”

“Do you think Ben will come to get him?” Peter whimpered at the prospect of him trying to take Mr. Stark away. “We won't let that happen, right?”

“We most definitely won't.” tried to calm him Rhodey, and together they signalled for the nurse to prepare Tony for transportation.

They were ready.

 

 


 

 

“Tell me everything, my friend.” commanded Thor. He was facing Rhodes in the newly built throne room of the regal Asgard. Peter was in awe of the joint beauty of the Asgardian grand design and the very Earth-looking furniture, it made him feel like he was in a museum of sorts.

On their way to the mansion he could see the pavilions and bungalows Mr. Stark arranged for the island. He'd known what they looked like already, he was there when Tony was picking them out online, and he'd seen pictures of the mansion too – Mr. Stark mentioned how he didn't like going there, but he promised he would let Peter host the coolest birthday party there once he'll turn eighteen.

Of course, that offer was probably off the table now, still, he was happy to be here – if only the circumstances were different.

“This is Peter, Tony's son.” introduced him Rhodey. “He'll sit with Tony while I catch you up to speed.”

“It's my pleasure, Son of Stark.” Thor's voice rang through the room, and Peter found himself unable to correct him in his authority. “Please be assured, your father is in the hands of our finest healers, and they'll be thankful for you standing guard.”

“Yeah, I'm just... gonn' do that.” he said lamely. “Thanks Mr. Thor.”

 

He hightailed out of the room, and just as he hoped, the royal guards let him through to Tony without question – he didn't think he could've made out of another conversation without making a complete fool of himself.