Tony probably shouldn’t have been surprised when he learned that, on the long list of archaic traditions Asgard followed, this was still one of them. Really, Tony’s first thought when it started was that it seemed a little barbaric, that it was more suited to the times of cavemen than it was to the halls of his beautiful and oh so easily destroyed tower—
Then he saw it play out before him, and… oh, then he could see the allure.
It started when he and Loki decided to announce their engagement to the Avengers– and they had chosen a nice, quiet afternoon for the exact reason that it was nice and quiet. They hadn’t wanted a fuss, and they hadn’t wanted a fight– they had just wanted to tell the team and then go back to the penthouse together for some nice, quiet alone time.
Thor, however, seemed to have other ideas, because he had charged out of nowhere – well, out of the kitchen, semantics – and had tackled Loki to the ground.
“I claim Anthony’s hand!” Thor exclaimed, shoving Loki’s shoulders harder into the carpet, causing the floor to creak.
“Okay,” Clint said slowly from his seat on the couch. “I admit that I was not expecting this.”
“Thor, my friend,” Steve said, his voice pained. “Tony just said that he’s marrying Loki, and they’ve been together for months. I am sorry, but I think that the time has passed to—"
“I claim Anthony as he is my shield brother,” Thor continued, taking absolutely no notice of any of the others. “It is my right to ask you to fight for him.”
Loki, rather than looking confused, tilted his chin so he could look Thor in the eye, and bared his teeth in a deadly smile. “I accept,” he replied, dark and dangerous. “I will fight you for Anthony’s hand.”
Then, without warning, Loki pushed Thor away with a shove that sent him flying into the ceiling, cracking the plaster and causing dust to fall down onto the Avengers’ heads before Thor slammed back into the ground once more, creating yet another dent. Tony winced at the damage, and Loki frowned– then he grabbed Tony’s wrist in one hand, and Thor’s in the other—
And suddenly, they were in the middle of a forest. Tony didn’t recognise it, but he supposed it didn’t matter– forests were forests, and the clearing they were standing in would serve as a good arena for… for whatever was about to happen.
Well, hey, he wasn’t going to know if he never asked, right?
“What’s going on, exactly?” Tony asked.
“In Asgard, it is traditional to fight for the one you wish to marry, so that you may prove your worth, your devotion, and your willingness to put yourself on the line to protect them,” Loki explained. “No one else would issue a challenge for you, so Thor is going to fight me for your honour.”
“Oh,” said Tony. “Of course.”
As the pair of brothers got into position, Tony turned it over in his mind a few times, inspecting the idea from every angle. Because… yeah, it was definitely something that belonged way back in the Stone Age, but on the other hand…
Tony would be lying if he said that the thought of Loki fighting for him didn’t send a spark of pleasure curling through his chest.
So, heh. Maybe instead of complaining, he just leaned back against a tree and settled in to watch.
It wasn’t exactly what Tony had been expecting– Loki did not pull a dagger from a pocket dimension, and Thor did not call for Mjölnir. They stood opposite each other, carefully observing their opponent, staring each other down as they fell into their usual ready poses.
Thor was leaning forward with his fists clenched before him. In contrast, Loki’s knees were slightly bent, his hands open at his sides and held out slightly from his body– a crouch that Tony recognised from when Loki was preparing to spar. But the fire in his eyes and the snarl on his lips did not suggest that Loki would be willing to show mercy or take prisoners, and Tony knew that this was not going to be a simple training bout. This fight was real, it was serious– and there was the chance that it would have serious consequences.
After all, this was clearly a tradition that both Loki and Thor put a lot of stock in, and – especially when taking into account the dramatic flair that they both shared – it was highly unlikely that they would ever do this halfway.
They stood waiting and assessing for only a few moments before the fight began in earnest, and the atmosphere in the clearing shifted from quiet to bloody in a matter of seconds.
Thor moved first, his lips pulling into a snarl as he charged with a terrifying battle cry. Loki, in contrast, remained silent, waiting—
And again, Tony was expecting Loki to flash away, to use his seiðr like he always did. But Loki’s eyes were blazing with determination, and Tony knew that Loki wanted to do this ‘properly’, by the rules of the Aesir, even if Loki did not normally think those rules applied to himself.
Tony’s thoughts of this not being a simple spar were proven correct immediately. They did not go easy, and they did not pull their punches. The two brothers pummelled each other, and blood flew as easily as their curses and insults as they fought for the upper hand. There was one moment where Loki had Thor shoved into the ground, and Tony almost thought it was over– but then Thor kicked out with his legs and used his superior strength to force Loki off him, and then their fight began again in earnest.
It was easy to see the differences between the two of them. Loki almost looked like he was dancing, moving elegantly through the air, one attack flowing into the next– an arm lashing out and then gracefully curving up to block a hit from Thor in return.
Tony was riveted, his eyes following every single move. Every hit to Loki felt like a blow to his own skin, and he was chewing on his lower lip when Thor managed to shove Loki up against a tree, his forearm pressing hard into Loki’s throat—
And fuck, it was hard to stand and not help—
But then Loki got Thor with a well-placed knee to the groin, and Tony was able to breathe easy.
So, yeah, it was hard, but Tony knew in his heart that Thor would not truly harm Loki, even though they were both battered and bruised and bleeding from more places than Tony was comfortable with.
It was dangerous, vicious, feral—
But oh, it beautiful to watch.
In the end, it came to a close with a rather underhanded move– though really, that only made it all the more impressive. Thor had managed to pull Loki into a headlock, and for a moment, Tony was afraid that Thor had won. But then Loki turned his head and licked as much of Thor’s arm as he could reach, and Tony saw that wherever Loki’s tongue touched, it left a trail of frost. Thor yelped and let go, which was all Loki needed to grab on to Thor’s tunic and swing out with his legs, knocking Thor’s feet from under him.
As Thor began to teeter, Loki regained his own feet and shoved—
And then Thor’s face was pressed into the ground, Loki’s knee pressed between his shoulder blades. Loki had one of Thor’s arms tight in his grip, and he held it over Thor’s head, nearly dislocating his shoulder.
“Do you yield?” Loki asked harshly.
“Do. You. Yield?” Every word was punctuated with a tug on Thor’s arm, and by the time Loki was done, even Tony could hear Thor wincing.
“Yes, yes, I yield!” Thor exclaimed. “Now get off me!”
But Loki only pulled a little harder, and arched a brow. “Say it,” he ordered.
“I, Thor, Prince of Asgard, do hereby grant you Anthony’s hand and bless your union,” Thor groaned. “Now, please, get off!”
Loki shoved Thor’s arm away and stood swiftly. He wasted no time in crossing the clearing, reaching for Tony with just as much determination as he had fought with.
Loki’s arms came around Tony’s waist, and then Loki’s lips were pressed against his. Loki kissed like he was still high on the adrenaline from the fight, his lips assaulting Tony’s with a frenzied passion that he was only too happy to return. Loki’s hands raked through his hair and tugged just right, causing Tony to groan deep in the back of his throat. And Tony could taste blood and iron but he didn’t care– because he might not truly understand the significance of what had just happened, but it meant something to Loki, and that was more than enough for him to find pleasure in Loki’s triumph.
“You won,” Tony said, the words whispered against Loki’s mouth.
“I did,” Loki replied, and Tony felt his lips curve up into a smile. “You are mine now, and no one would dare dispute it.”
“I wouldn’t have let anyone dispute that anyway,” Tony told him, tilting his chin to bring them back together into yet another kiss, needing the taste of Loki’s lips more now than he might have ever done before.
“Stark!” Thor roared, his feet thundering against the ground as he charged forward. “I claim Loki’s hand as he is my—”
Tony raised his hand, activated the repulsor hidden in his watch and fired, sending Thor sprawling to the ground with a heavy oof.
Honestly. He didn’t have the time to be messing around and fighting with fists, not when Loki had just won a fight for him. Tony had far better things to be doing.
“Good fight,” Thor groaned, face down on the floor once again. “Anthony, I grant you Loki’s hand.”
“And?” Tony prompted, not looking away from Loki’s terribly amused gaze.
“And I bless your union,” Thor groaned.
“Awesome,” Tony said. “Glad that’s over with.”
Thor muttered something incomprehensible, but Tony was a little distracted by the way that Loki started kissing him again, pulling him tight against his chest as he weaved his seiðr through the air, preparing to take them back home.
And as they fell together onto Tony’s bed, he was quite sure that their alone time wasn’t going to be very quiet, after all.