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Being back on Midgard is annoying. The memories Loki has of this wretched planet aren’t exactly good ones, and all this stress doesn’t make it any better. He should probably consider himself lucky - after everything that happened, it’s a surprise that he is alive at all, and Norway isn’t actually a bad place to be. Loki likes the landscape. It’s a pretty landscape. Everything else… not so much.

It’s all a little bit too familiar. It feels like, well, like Asgard ; things are too similar to how they had been before Loki fell. There is Thor, with one eye less and shorter hair and a grin that’s more brittle than it was before, and there are the Asgardians - or what is left of them, anway - who gather around their king and expect him to solve every single one of their many, many problems. And then there is Loki, who whispers into his brother’s ear and does the actual problem solving, only that nobody acknowledges that.

Well, Thor does, sometimes. Or at least he tries. He tries so hard, Loki can tell - but Thor is tired, and he has his own demons, and king is not actually what he wants to be. Loki is better at it, much better; they both know that. But Loki is not who the Aesir want, Loki is not who the Aesir will listen to, Loki is, and that is the crux of the matter, not an Aesir. Everyone knows that, now. Thor is the only one who actually trusts him, and even that trust is fragile.

Loki stays in Norway, though. He has nowhere else to go, and how could he leave Thor alone now? I’m here, he said, and so he is.

He’s the one who takes care of all the negotiations with humans, mostly. And maybe that’s the most annoying part - the way humanity works, the way they see each other and themselves, it’s… disturbing. Revolting, bizarre, familiar - yes, familiar. That’s the most disturbing thing about it. Loki talked about it to Banner, who explained everything with a vast amount of patience. And it makes sense, really. The Aesir don’t have doms and subs, not like the humans do, they don’t have or understand or want the dynamic that is woven so deeply into Earth’s society that you can’t make ten steps without being confronted with it. 

Loki is not an Aesir.

He is in Oslo a few hours before the actual meeting starts. He has to admit that he likes Midgard’s cities. There’s a touch of pleasant anonymity clinging to it all, the option to just disappear into this great pool of buildings and streets and people, where nobody recognizes or knows Loki as he passes them. He wanders the city, buys himself a new book and a coffee that tastes like caramel, and tries to think of nothing for a while. He’s always liked people watching, so that’s what he does. He does it every time, always, and always ends up feeling like he’s seen too much, more than he wanted.

The man who is standing in line in front of him wears a collar, and Loki can’t help but stare at it. The sub is alone, but he’s talking on the phone to someone who is obviously his lover, and the whole time he is stroking his fingers over the leather around his neck. Loki catches the glimpse of a smile whenever the man turns his head just enough.

He sits on a bank, reading, and there’s a couple walking past him. The woman is talking to her companion in a low tone that has Loki looking up reflexively, and it’s only thanks to coincidence that she is looking in his direction and catches him staring at her. Her hand on the lower back of her sub, she stops walking and looks at him for a moment, then asks if he is alright. Loki nods, turns back to his book, and a few seconds later they have walked off.

There is a woman with him in the elevator, and Loki counts the marks he can see on her throat and neck. Someone has bitten down there hard enough to draw blood, and judging by her brilliant smile and lifted chin she isn’t only showing the marks but showing them off . Loki doesn’t quite know what to make of that.

He isn’t the first one who enters the meeting room. Everyone present treats him with respect, but as always some of them give him odd looks now and then, and as always he’s annoyed because he can’t figure out what the looks mean. 

Tony Stark is the last who arrives, because he always is. The grin on his face is the kind that many people would like to see wiped off, it’s cocky and annoying and challenging. Loki finds it oddly alluring.

“Hey, Lokes,“ the human says, dropping on the chair next to Loki’s. 

He takes off his scarf; Loki’s eyes follow the movements of Stark’s hands even though he doesn’t want them to. Stark makes a displeased sound as he tries to warm his hands up,  and the sound nearly makes Loki flinch. He drags his eyes back up to Stark’s face and forces them to stay there.

“Fuck, I think my toes are freezing off or something,“ Stark complains. “It’s ass cold outside. Why couldn’t you have chosen a warmer place to settle down, huh? The Bahamas or something?“

It’s not even that cold. Not for Loki, anyway, but then again, he never freezes. He raises a brow and smiles. “I suggested them, but Thor was very set on Norway.“

“So if I want to complain about the weather -“

“Thor would be the right address, yes. He is a weather god, after all.“

“Right,“ Stark says with a snort. He wants to add something, but then a young woman passes them, on her way back from bringing two carafes with water and enough glasses for everyone in the room. Stark turned on his chair to look at her. “Hey, sorry - do you have time to get me a coffee? ‘Cause I’m in dire need of one.“

“Of course, sir,“ she says at once, then looked at Loki questioningly.

“Nothing for me,“ he says before she can even open her mouth again, “thank you.“

“Yes, thanks,“ Stark agrees, his smile charming enough that Loki has to look away. “You’re a dear.“

She blushes and then runs off. Shortly after, the meeting starts, and Loki has to concentrate on it rather than on the human next to him. They’re here to arrange New Asgard’s power supply, and they have been negotiating about it for several weeks already. The government is still not entirely happy about having a whole new and also alien people on their land, suddenly, so they keep trying to lay stones in their way. Stark has been helping since Asgard’s call for help reached Midgard and has offered to provide New Asgard with clean energy, but his sort of clean energy hasn’t been used in Europe yet, so there were quite a few things to be discussed. They are in the final state of negotiations now, and while they have already reached an agreement, one or two of the other humans are obviously less than pleased. One of them has been trying to get under Loki’s skin since they have first seen each other, and today he finally manages.

They’re both standing, shooting arguments back and forth across the table, and it doesn’t take long until Loki snaps and tells the man to shut his mouth because does he know who he is talking to?

“I’m not taking orders from you,“ he human snaps - he is clever and not actually an unkind man, and most of all just a mortal ; Loki should not flinch back in reaction to the sharp tone. 

“Sit down and be silent for five goddamn minutes ,“ the human tells him, even sharper now, and Loki is so overwhelmed by the sudden wish to obey that he is speechless for several long moments.

The human wins the argument, and all Loki can do is flee the room.

 

-

 

There’s a knock at the door he has hidden behind, but Loki doesn’t react.

“Hey, Loki? I know you’re in there. Are you okay?“

Loki pinches his eyes shut. No. No, no, no. 

“Loki. Come on. I’m a bit worried.“

Loki opens the door he locked with a spell, and just a second later it opens. And it’s Stark, because of course it is, looking down at where Loki is sitting with an indeed worried expression on his face.

“A cupboard,“ he says. “Why are you hiding in a cupboard?“

Loki huffs and drops his forehead on his drawn up knees. 

“He won’t do it again,“ Stark says. “And he’ll apologize next time he sees you, I think. They all didn’t know.“

“There is nothing to know.“

“Okay,“ Stark replies lightly. “Well, then. The meeting’s over for today, anyway. You want to go and have drinks?“

Loki is so shocked that he lifts his head. “Pardon?“

“Drinks,“ Stark repeats. “You and me.“

“Oh.“ Then: “Yes.“

And so it starts.

 

-

 

Somehow - who knows exactly how it happens; Loki certainly doesn't - they become friends, and a few weeks later he is once again in the penthouse of Anthony's tower, pacing and venting. He’s been here often lately. Anthony has become Loki’s focal point when he feels like this - angry, frustrated, confused - and the human doesn’t seem to mind. He keeps inviting Loki, actually, and he lets him ramble and hiss without complaint. 

Usually, at least. Today there’s a change, and Loki doesn’t see it coming. He is too worked up, too tired - norns, so tired - from having been awake for almost a whole week now and taking care of the few Aesir who decided that they are not content with the development of things. Of course Thor has done nothing to help - oh, of course, he tried , he always tries, but that does not solve any problems, in fact it makes matters so much more complicated, and duels are not the right way to sort this out.

Loki is in the middle of a tirade of curses when Anthony says, “That’s enough. Come here.“

Loki stills. He is breathing raggedly and his feet want to move, they want to move so badly, but Loki doesn’t let them yet. He sees no reason to. He should be angry, he knows, because - who does he think he is talking to? - because not even Anthony has a right to treat him like this, to give him what was so obviously an order and expect him to follow . Loki isn’t angry. His head is horribly blank, he doesn’t know what to think, he doesn’t know what he wants , and most of all he doesn’t know what to do.

“Loki,“ Anthony says, speaking calmly and quietly even though he’s sitting on the other side of the room on the sofa. “I won’t repeat myself.“

So Loki goes.

He ends up sitting on the floor at Anthony’s feet - not kneeling, he had enough of his senses together to remember not to kneel - and, oddly enough, Anthony is soon sitting on the floor with him. He slid off the sofa when Loki started panicking, which he did as soon as he’d sat down. Now, Anthony’s warm hands are cupping his neck, their foreheads are touching, and Loki keeps his eyes firmly closed because he does not want to see anything right now.

“Breathe with me,“ Anthony orders. 

Loki concentrates on the breath he feels against his lips, the warmth and rhythm of it. He breathes and Anthony praises him for it, murmuring soft words against Loki’s lips. There is a hand running through Loki’s hair, wandering down to his neck; he melts into the touch. His breathing evens out.

“Come here,“ Anthony says, tugging at Loki's arms. 

His tone is soft, but there's no doubt that it's still an order, and Loki doesn't question it. He just lets himself be pulled against Anthony's chest, his head resting on his friend's shoulder, and continues to breathe. 

He has no idea how much time passes. It feels like hours, like eons, like seconds; Loki doesn't care. He listens for more words - more orders - but when Anthony finally speaks up again, it's not a command.

“I'm sorry, Loki, but we,“ a soft sigh, “we can't stay like this, okay? Not without - we have to talk first. I need you to listen to me, and I need you to answer.“

Loki doesn't want to talk. He wants to listen , yes, but answer? No. But that is what Anthony wants, apparently, and Loki wants to give him what he wants. He would give him anything right now. 

And that is the thought that chases a spark of anxiety up his spine; he tenses. He'd give him anything. It's true, it is, and it frightens Loki without end.

“Shh.“ Anthony cards his fingers through Loki's hair, nails gently scraping over his scalp. “It's alright, you're doing good, you're safe here. I won't ask anything else of you right now. Just listen and answer, okay? Can you do that for me?“

A few seconds pass, then Loki nods against Anthony's neck. He can, yes. He will.

“Do you want to sit up?“

No.

Loki sits up, very carefully, and he doesn't meet Anthony's eyes. No, he keeps his gaze lowered, and he's fiddling around with the hem of his shirt, and he… He feels like he is going to burst, just a little. He knows what this is. Banner explained it, Loki read about it, he's seen it. And he knew that it's a possibility, for him. He's been living on Midgard for months, of course he knew. But how much he craves it now that he got a first taste catches him off guard. There is nothing he wants more than to curl up against Anthony's side again and wait for him to tell him what to do, tell him how to please him , and there are images in Loki's mind that make it hard to think clearly. He could have knelt. No, he should have knelt. It was awfully rude not to kneel.

“Loki, are you with me?“

Loki nods.

“Look at me,“ Anthony says, so Loki does.

It's ridiculous, really. Anthony is a mortal, sitting cross-legged on the floor in jeans and a t-shirt that has a few holes from being worn in the workshop, and Loki should not want to please him as much as he does. He shouldn't crave the firm voice and soft words and gentle touches. But he does, he does ; there's something about this man that makes him want it all, and more. 

Anthony holds his gaze - of course he does - and yes, there is a hint of nervousness in his eyes. It makes Loki nervous in return, so he looks down again. Anthony doesn't reprimand him.

“I'm sorry,“ he says instead. “I shouldn't have ordered you around like that, but I didn't know what else to do. You were really working yourself up there, and I didn't - I was worried.“

Loki continues staring at his knees. He doesn't know what to say.

“Tell me how you feel?“ he says. “Because I - I honestly can't tell.“

Why does he have to start with the one question Loki does not know the answer to? He doesn't say anything for a while, then decides to be truthful, mostly because he simply doesn't want to lie to Anthony right now. That's an odd feeling.

“I don't know,“ he says.

Anthony leans forward a little, watching Loki attentively. “Have you ever subbed before?“

“No,“ Loki snaps, unable to keep his tone in check. “Of course not.“

“I'm just asking,“ Anthony says.

There's a tone in his voice that makes Loki shiver and curl in on himself, knees pressed against his chest. He has to bite down on an apology - he will not apologize for getting irritated in reaction to what was basically an insult.

“Why not?“ Anthony asks, still calm.

Loki glares at his knees. “Degrading oneself is not exactly common among the Aesir.“

Silence, for a moment, then, “Okay, we don't have time to unpack all of that right now. But that's - it doesn't have anything to do with degrading oneself, okay?“ He pauses, then adds, “I mean, of course degradation can be a thing if all parties are into it, but you're certainly not degrading yourself just by submitting. Alright?“

Loki doesn't quite believe him, but Anthony's tone tells him that he won't like being contradicted about this. Loki wants to contradict him anyway - Loki likes contradicting people, usually -, but something keeps him from doing so. (Anthony could send him away. Very easily.)

“It's okay if you don't believe that yet,“ Tony says gently. “God, Asgard is fucked up. Okay. So, different question. Have you ever wanted to sub before?“

Another question that makes Loki speechless for a few minutes. 

He thinks about the lovers he had. The last time seems like a long time ago; he didn't have any time for affairs these last years (a side effect of committing treason, then trying to commit suicide, then being tortured, then invading another realm and being imprisoned for it, then faking his death and  finally triggering Ragnarok). To be fair, he didn't have a lot of lovers before all of that, either, and the ones he had left him quite… dissatisfied. He was never really interested in that sort of thing, because he never knew someone interesting. And no, he didn't want to submit to any of his lovers - of course not - but…

Suddenly, he remembers an elf he lured into his bed - or maybe the elf lured Loki into his bed, that's hard to say. He remembers a hand pulling his hair and pushing him down, one side of his face pressed against the sheets, and that - that had been…

He doesn't even know.

That memory has nothing to do with this, of course. Not really.

“I don't know,“ he says again, quietly. “I have never… thought about it.“

“Do you think about it now?“

Loki opens his mouth to lie, then closes it again. He doesn't look at Anthony. He thinks about Anthony's hands, that special tone of voice, and about how much he likes it when Anthony looks pleased.

He swallows, his throat feeling tight, and nods.

“Do you think about me?“ Anthony asks, careful.

Loki nods again.

“Okay,“ Anthony breathes. “Okay, that's - yes. Okay.“

Loki lifts his head to stare at him, wide-eyed. “You mean -“

Anthony is already nodding. “Yeah. We can - try things out. If you'd like? And if you figure out that you, you know, don't like being my sub - or you know, a sub, we don't have to - I mean, we could -I'd still like to take you out. For dinner. Or something.“

Loki feels like the ground has been swept away from under his feet. He's quite glad that he is already sitting. “You don't mean that,“ he says.

Anthony looks at him for a moment. “Do you want to try things out, Loki?“ He asked then. “With me?“

Loki's thoughts are reeling, but he is nodding before they can convince him that a no would be the more appropriate response.

“Well, then.“ Anthony shifts onto his kis knees and moves closer, cupping Loki's face to make sure that he doesn't look away. “Some ground rules. Are you listening?"

"Yes," Loki breathes.

"If you want me to be your dom, then you'll treat me as such. I'm not talking about calling me 'master' or only crawling in my presence - I really don't need that 24/7 - but I want you to keep in mind that I'm in charge, and that I'm here to take care of you. Which means that you'll let me take care or you. Yes?"

"Yes," Loki says again, tone soft.

"Alright. Then: Never accuse me of lying to you again. Understood?“

Loki feels his heartbeat speed up. Anthony's hands are very warm, their touch certain and grounding, and the human is so close that Loki forgets how to breathe.

He nods.

“Good,“ Anthony says, smiling. “In return I promise that I won't ever lie to you. I expect the same from you, by the way.“ He gives Loki a pointed look. “I can't take care of you properly when I don't know what's going on in your head. Do you understand?“

Loki nods again.

“Repeat. What are you not going to do?“

Loki gulps. He tries to get his brain to think. “Lie to you,“ he says slowly. “Or accuse you of lying to me.“

“Perfect. We'll talk about other rules later - and limits too, of course. You will tell me immediately whenever I do something that's too much, or simply not something you want. Actually - do you know about the traffic light system?“

Loki nods.

“Explain it.“

Loki does.

“Very good,“ Anthony says, brushing Loki's hair out or his face. “You're doing so well. We'll go with that system for now. You can safeword out at any given time, I will never be angry because of it. Understood?“

Loki nods.

Anthony hesitates, looking at Loki carefully. He's chewing on his lower lip. “You should know that I…,“ he begins, but trails off. “Er. I haven't done this in ages. So I - I mean, we'll have to figure a few things out together. Is that okay for you? I'd understand if you would rather have someone -“

“No,“ Loki says, grasping Anthony's shirt to keep him close. “I don't - I do not want anyone else.“

Anthony lets out a breath, then nods, and smiles. “Good,“ he says, hands coming up to grasp Loki's wrists. “Put these behind your back.“

Loki hesitates.

“Now, Loki. On your knees.“

The tone of voice again, the look - Anthony is so casual about it, but he expects Loki to obey. He gives him orders like Loki's following them is as certain as the next sunrise.

Loki gets on his knees and puts his hands behind his back. They are kneeling in front of each other now, but - at least not in Loki's mind - there is no doubt as to who is in control here. And even though that should make him want to get up and leave, maybe even to attack this human who has the audacity to think that Loki will just do as he says, Loki doesn't want any of these things. 

He wants this.

The look in Anthony's eyes is so soft - so thrilled - that Loki can barely handle it. He lets it happen when Anthony leans in, lips almost brushing Loki's own.

“You're gorgeous, you know,“ Anthony murmurs. “I want to kiss you.“

Loki stares into Anthony's eyes. He doesn't know if he is supposed to say something.

“Do you want me to kiss you?“ Anthony asks. His tone makes Loki shiver.

He nods.

“Use your words.“

“Yes,“ Loki breathes, only half aware that he already sounds wrecked. “Yes - please.“

Anthony hums, pleased, and kisses him. Loki melts into it at once, content with letting Anthony set the pace. It's slow, and deep, and Loki forgets what thoughts even are after mere seconds of it.

He keeps his hands behind his back.

 

-

 

The next morning, Loki is back in Norway. His phone rings just as he sits down to have breakfast. He glares at the damned thing - useful invention, admittedly, but so annoying - and lets it ring. After a while the caller hangs up. Loki knows who it is, of course.

A minute later it rings again.

With a sigh, Loki goes to get it, but hesitates before picking it up. He isn't sure if he wants to talk to Anthony, but he still accepts the call, and is proud to say that his voice sounds very even.

“Hello?“

“Hey, Loki,“ Anthony says, his voice warm. “I know it's early, but I, er. I wanted to catch you before you're off being awesome and stuff.“

Even as nervousness creeps through his veins, Loki is physically unable to keep from smiling. “Good morning,“ he says.

“How are you?“

“Tired," Loki says, because he always does when Anthony asks him that. "But overall fine. And you?“

“I'm fine,“ Anthony echoes, sounding vaguely impatient. “You're not having second thoughts, then?“

Loki stills.

They are not just going to pretend that nothing happened, then. Alright. He can deal with that. (He can't.)

The thing is, nothing really happened. They kissed for a while and had dinner, then Loki had to return to New Asgard. They said goodbye to each other like they always did, and a part of Loki thought that - that it was just this one time, maybe. Because Anthony can't possibly want it to be more than just one time, can he?

“Loki?“ Anthony says, alarmed. “What's wrong?“

Loki slowly sinks down on a chair. It's early enough that he's alone in the kitchen, and he is glad for it. “Nothing,“ he replies, his tone flat. "Nothing at all."

“You are having second thoughts, then.“

And Loki realizes that he can still end this. He can tell Anthony that yes, he is having seconds thoughts, and actually he would like to forget it and never talk about it again, thank you very much.

He can't, though. He lied to Anthony once already, even though he promised not to. Even though Anthony ordered him not to.

“Loki,“ Anthony says, his voice firm enough that Loki winces. “Talk to me. What are you thinking about?“

Yesterday. Loki is thinking about yesterday, about his hands behind his back and being kissed. He thinks about Anthony telling him to kneel next to his chair, then feeding him bite after a bite; he thinks about the pleased and adoring look in Anthony's eyes. He thinks about you're being so good for me and do you know that I've been wanting this for months?

Loki. If you don't talk to me right now, I'll take a jet and fly to Norway, I swear it. I can be there in a few hours.“

Loki takes a deep breath.

“No,“ he says. “No, you don't have to. I am fine. I'm not having second thoughts, I merely… have trouble understanding what… happened, exactly.“

Anthony lets out a relieved sigh. “Okay. Yes, that's fair, I understand. I should - I should be there with you. I'm sorry I'm not.“

“It's alright.“

“Not really, but it can't be helped now.“ Anthony pauses, then adds, “Okay, then. Would you like me to come to Norway?“

“You don't have to.“

“That's not what I asked, Loki. Answer me.“

Loki stares at nothing for a while. “No,“ he says then.

It's silent for a moment, then Anthony says, “Alright. Why not?“

Loki swallows thickly. “I do not want Thor to know. Or any of the others, for that matter. At least not - not yet.“

“Ah. Okay.“ Anthony doesn't sound disappointed, only thoughtful. “We'll talk more about that at another time, when we’re not on the phone. For now, I want you to come to New York as soon as you can. When would that be?“

Loki thinks about it for a moment. “Tonight?“

“Perfect. Could you stay longer than just a few hours? A few days, maybe? I understand if you can't.“

“You want me to stay at the tower?“ Loki asks, surprised. “With you?“

“Yes, sure. I'll have a room prepared for you. You're welcome whenever.“

“Oh.“

“I asked you a question, Loki,“ Anthony reminds him, sounding amused.

Loki blinks. “I could stay for a while, yes,“ he says then, slowly. “Thor should manage on his own for a few days.“

“And he'll leave you alone?“

“I may have to lie to him a little.“

Anthony laughs. “I feel like I should tell you not to, but. I won't. I just want you here with me.“

Loki feels warm all over. 

“Okay,“ Anthony says. “Then we'll see each other tonight. Bring clothes and everything else you need, and call me before you come over. Understood?“

“Yes,“ Loki agrees.

“Oh, and - did you miss my first call? Or did you just ignore it?“

Loki closes his eyes. “I ignored it.“

“Thought so. You knew that it was me?“

“Yes,“ Loki admitted, quiet.

“And you lied to me, too, didn't you?“ Anthony continued. “When I asked you if something was wrong?“

Clenching his teeth, Loki said, “Yes, I did.“

“We'll take care of that when you're here, then.“

Loki's mouth goes a little dry.

 

-

 

Loki appears in front of the elevator, because that's the spot he always teleports to when he visits the penthouse. It seems a little more polite than manifesting in the middle of Anthony's living room - although Loki did that quite often in the beginning, only to be annoying. He doesn't quite know why and when he stopped wanting to be annoying.

Anthony is already waiting for him, and now he approaches Loki with a smile on his face. Loki doesn't smile back, and he doesn't quite manage to hold Anthony's eyes. He isn't sure what to do. He has seen subs drop to their knees to greet their dom, even in public, he has seen hand and forehead kisses and also simple hugs; none of that seems fitting right now.

Anthony solves the problem by standing on tiptoes and kissing Loki's cheek, his hand warm and grounding on the other side of Loki's face. It feels like a blessing, Loki thinks, and immediately mortification makes him flush. A god, blessed by a mortal. Certainly not.

“I'm happy you're here,“ is the first thing Anthony says after taking a step back, still smiling. He doesn't give Loki a chance to answer. “Come on, then. Take your bag, I'll show you to your room.“

He leads the way and Loki follows after him, subtly looking around when they reach the more private part of the penthouse. Loki hasn't been here before; so far he has only seen the living area and the kitchen and, just once, Anthony's workshop a few floors below.

“Here, this is your room,“ Anthony says brightly, pushing open the door. “It goes with a bathroom. I won't enter without permission and JARVIS' cameras are turned off, too. He's still listening, though, so if you want something - anything at all - tell him and he'll see it done. If you need me, just say the word and I'll be with you as soon as I can. Understood?“

“Of course.“ He doesn't manage to keep the slightly disgruntled tone out of his voice. This constant asking if he understood is starting to get a bit annoying. Most of all it's unnecessary, he is clever enough to understand what a human is telling him, thank you very much.

“Something wrong?“ Anthony asks. He probably noticed the tone. Of course he did.

“No,“ Loki tells him. “Everything is fine.“

Anthony raises a brow. “Second lie today.“ 

He still sounds casual, but a colder tone sneaked into his voice, and Loki has to fight the urge to duck his head. He grits his teeth instead.

“I know there's something bothering you, Loki. I can tell. Do you want to tell me what it is?“

“It hardly matters,“ Loki snaps at him, looking stoically past Anthony into the room that is now Loki's.

“I think it does,“ Anthony replies simply. “Put your bag on the bed, you can unpack later.“

Loki gives him a wary look, but finally does as he was told. It's a nice room, though a little impersonal. Loki wonders if he could change the colors at some point.

“Come,“ Anthony says, and Loki turns to see that Anthony has already walked off.

Expecting Loki to follow him on his heels, no doubt. What is he for him, a dog ?

Briefly, Loki contemplates simply staying where he is. The problem is that he wants to follow Anthony, and Loki has never been good at not doing things he wants to do. 

So he goes and finds that Anthony is standing a few steps down the corridor, waiting for him. Anthony doesn't smile at him, but his expression isn't unfriendly, either.

“My bedroom is just down the hall,“ he says, indicating the direction. “I'd like you to sleep in my bed, but if you don't want to yet, that's what the bed in your room is for. So just think about it and do what you're most comfortable with for now, okay?“ He waits for Loki to nod, then says, “Good. You said you haven't eaten yet, right? Are you hungry?“

Yes, he is. He hasn't eaten anything since breakfast. “I could eat,“ he allows, and Anthony nods and starts walking again.

“I've had the fridge stocked with stuff,“ he says when they enter the kitchen. “So if you want -“

“I am not going to cook for you.“

Anthony stills at Loki's sharp tone and slowly turns around to look at the god, who is still standing in the doorframe. Loki's hands are clenched to fists as he forces himself to hold Anthony's gaze, and he feels a little like he is brimming over. There's something hot and harsh creeping up his throat, tasting sour in his mouth - anger. A familiar feeling.

“Why not?“ Anthony asks.

He sounds so damned calm that Loki only gets more furious. “I'm not your servant !“ 

Anthony cocks his head to one side. “You're my sub,“ he says. “If you haven't changed your mind, that is.“

Loki sucks in a breath, but not enough air finds its way into his lungs. He doesn't say anything.

“Tell me what's wrong,“ Anthony says. It's unmistakably an order. “And don't lie to me again.“

“You have no right to demand that,“ Loki spats, taking a few steps toward the human. “You have no right to demand anything from me. I don't enjoy being spoken to like I'm daft , and you can't expect me to follow you around like a dog and wait for commands like I need them! I could crush you with but a thought, you are not in any way above me, and I am not your servant.

Silence, for a while.

Loki stares down at Anthony, breathing harshly, and Anthony stares back, unwavering.

“Kneel,“ is all he says, and Loki's reeling thoughts come to an abrupt halt.

“What -“

“I said kneel, Loki.“

Loki falls to his knees even before Anthony has finished saying his name. He stares at Anthony legs, lips pressed together, trembling hands clutching at his pants.

A hand strokes his hair, then settles down on the back of his neck. Warm and calloused fingers rub soothing circles into the tense muscles.

“There we go,“ Anthony murmurs, his voice low and grounding. Then, “Don't speak, just nod or shake your head. Do you want to be my sub?“

Loki closes his eyes. Every inch of him wants to nod, so he does.

“Then this is what we are going to do,“ Anthony says, and doesn't stop massaging Loki's neck. “You will do as I say. I won't stop checking if you understood an order, but that has nothing to do with thinking you're daft, Loki. We both know that you're not." 

A pause. Loki wonders whether Anthony is waiting for some kind of reaction, so he gives him another tiny nod.

"If a command makes you uncomfortable," Anthony continues, "or if you feel like you can't obey it for other reasons, you will tell me and explain. I will decide what to do. I promise not to ask anything of you that will endanger your health or your status. I want you to be comfortable, Loki. I want you to be happy. Do you believe me?“

Loki's breath hitches. He nods.

"Good," Anthony says. “If I ask you if there is something wrong, I expect a honest answer. You can talk to me anytime, about anything that bothers you in any possible way, and I will listen and, if I think it's for the best, try my best to make you feel better. Nod if you understand.“

Loki nods.

The hand leaves his neck. Anthony puts his fingers under Loki's chin instead and lifts it until Loki has to meet his eyes. “If I ask you to cook for me,“ Anthony says, “or serve me in any other way, it is because it pleases me, because I think it will please us both. It will never be because I think you are below me or that I can do with you whatever I wish. I respect you, and I expect you to respect me in return. You will not shout at me like that again. Nod if you understand.“

Loki nods, and Anthony returns his hand to his hair. Loki is grateful for it; he closes his eyes again and hides his face against Anthony's thigh, searching for something to hold onto.

Anthony lets him, even makes a soothing noise and starts stroking Loki's hair. “One last thing, then we're done for now,“ he says softly. “If you disobey for no reason, or if you act against a rule we agreed on, you will be punished. Nod if you understand.“

Loki nods against Anthony's thigh. He knows that he has already earned a punishment, and a part of him isn't even angry about it. He lied to Anthony, twice even, he shouted; he's been nothing but a disappointment so far. (Not that that's surprising.) The thought makes him feel slightly sick.

“Alright,“ Anthony says. It sounds almost like he is cooing. “Thank you. Well done, sweetheart. You can stand up if you want.“

Loki doesn't, for a while, and Anthony waits patiently and just keeps petting him. Eventually, Loki swallows and straightens, then slowly gets up on his feet. Anthony's hands stay on him, as if he wants to steady him.

“Come, sit down,“ he says, already leading Loki to one of the barstools at the kitchen isle. “How do you feel?“

Loki sits down and rubs his eyes. He feels disoriented, and at the same time like he has finally found firm ground to stand on. That doesn't make sense, which annoys him. 

“You constantly ask me that,“ he says.

“Yup, and I'll keep asking. So?“

“I'm not sure.“ Loki frowns. “I… don't know what to do. Nothing about this is… something I have experienced before.“

“It's a lot, huh,“ Anthony says softly, but then he smiles. “Look. Right now I just want you to sit here and look pretty. That'll be the easiest thing in the world for you, gorgeous.“

It's obviously a joke. Loki snorts and shakes his head. “You are ridiculous.“

“It's part of my charm,“ Anthony teases, squeezing Loki's shoulder. “I mean it, though. You've had a long day, this is all very new and weird for you, so just let me take care of you for a while, okay? I'll cook, you can tell me about whatever idiotic things Thor did today, it'll be fun. How does that sound?“

Loki frowns. “What about…"

"Yes?"

Loki clenches his jaw, doesn't look at Anthony. "I thought you wanted me to cook.“

“Yeah, I never said that. You jumped to conclusions there.“ 

“Oh.“

“Yes, oh . I might want that another time, though.“

Loki swallows, and nods.

The next twenty minutes are easy. Anthony cooks and gets Loki to talk, and eventually Loki relaxes. He's absolutely exhausted for some reason and is already looking forward to going to bed, but he is also quite hungry, so he just stays where he is and lets Anthony entertain him. It's nice.

“Let's eat on the sofa,“ Anthony says when he's done with cooking, his smile bright. “I was stuck in a meeting all afternoon, I've sat on enough chairs for today.“

“Fine,“ Loki agrees, chuckling. “If you wish.“

“I do. Take the plates, I'll bring the drinks.“

Loki slides off the bar stool and brings the plates into the living room, where Anthony joins him just seconds later. Anthony makes himself comfortable on the sofa, but Loki stays standing for a few uncomfortable seconds.

“Do you not want me to…“ He trails off, doesn't know how to put it into words. That's a feeling he hasn't encountered often, and he can't say that he cares for it.

Anthony gets what he means, though. Thankfully. “Would you like to?“ He asks.

Loki doesn't know what to say to that, either.

“You seemed to like it yesterday,“ Anthony adds.

Loki swallows thickly. He can't deny it. He did like it, even though he can't say why. A few more seconds pass, then Anthony decides this for them both.

“On your knees,“ he says, and Loki obeys. Again. His blood is rushing in his ears, but the feeling is accompanied by a strange sort of calmness.

He shouldn't like this, he knows. He has never knelt for anyone before. But the carpet is soft and warm beneath his knees, and as soon as he's on the floor Anthony looks at Loki like he adores him, and all of it feels… right, in a way.

Anthony sets one of the plates on his lap and takes a fork. “I haven't cooked in literal ages,“ he warns, “but I'm eighty percent sure you won't be poisoned by this.“

Loki manages a brief smile, then takes a first bite when Anthony offers it to him.

Anthony watches, seemingly nervous. “Okay?“

Loki swallows, then nods. “It's good.“

Letting out a relieved breath, Anthony loads the fork again. “Thank god.“

“You cooked, not me.“

“Have I ever told you that you're the funniest guy I know?“

“No.“

“Good, because you're not.“

“That's harsh, Stark.“

“None of that,“ Anthony says, firmly. “It's Tony.“

Loki averts his eyes. In his thoughts, he's been calling Anthony Anthony for weeks now; he just took care not to do it out loud, too.

“Anthony,“ he says. “That's your name, isn't it?“

“Er, yes. Do you like that better?“

“Yes.“

Anthony snorts. “Okay. Fine with me.“

He proceeds to feed Loki bite by bite, and looks rather pleased while doing so. Loki feels like Anthony spends the better part of the next fifteen minutes taking care that Loki is sated, rather than eating himself. The thought warms Loki up, pleasure pooling somewhere low in his belly.

“You do like this,“ Anthony murmurs at some point, briefly stroking Loki's hair again, and Loki can't do anything but nod.

 

-

 

Loki doesn't sleep in either bed tonight, because they both fall asleep on the sofa, watching a movie. In the morning, they are woken up rather roughly by a ringing phone.

As soon as Anthony is awake, he curses under his breath and disentangles his limbs from Loki's. Then he goes to take the call. Loki's ears are good enough that he can hear what Tony is saying, even though he isn't in the living room anymore. 

“Yes, he's here,“ Anthony says, and “no, I won't come to any meetings the next days,“ and, “I like him, Pep.“

Pep. Miss Potts, then.

Loki sits up slowly and runs a hand through his hair, trying to wake up properly. It doesn't take long until Anthony returns, without his phone.

“Sorry,“ is the first thing he says, sounding like he means it. “You want to sleep some more? Or - are you hungry? I'd like to shower first, but then we can have breakfast. Order something in, maybe?“

“She knows about me,“ Loki says.

Anthony blinks, then shakes his head. “No, she doesn't. Not that it's you , at least. I did tell her that I've taken a sub. Sorry, maybe I should have - talked to you first. Are you okay?“

Something about that makes a pleased shiver run down Loki's spine. He looks away and nods, fiddling around with his shirt.

“Hey.“ Anthony sits down next to Loki and leans in, pressing his lips  to Loki's cheek. They wander down to his jaw, then to corner of his mouth. His beard scratches a little, and Loki can feel him smile. “Good morning.“

Loki has lost his voice somewhere. His breath, too. The only thing he can do is lean into the touch and close is eyes, allowing Anthony to nuzzle his cheek.

“I want you,“ Anthony says lowly, and his smile widens when Loki lets out a soft sound. “Very much. But we still have a punishment to take care of. We put that off long enough.“ He presses a last kiss to Loki's jaw, then pulls back. “First showers and breakfast, though. And talking. Talking is important. Alright?“

Loki nods, and Anthony stands up. He holds out his hand and after a moment Loki takes it, letting himself be led out of the room. On the way to their bedrooms, Anthony complains about his aching back and apologizes for letting them sleep on the sofa, so Loki lets a bit of magic seep into the human's aching muscles. Anthony doesn't notice.

“Take a shower,“ Anthony directs when they arrive at Loki's door, “and then unpack your things. I'll take care of breakfast in the meantime.“

Loki makes himself nod. He has already turned to go when Anthony holds him back, a gentle hand around his wrist.

“One last thing,“ he says, and smiles when Loki looks at him. “Don't touch yourself. As long as you're here, I don't want you to come without permission.“

A spark of arousal flares up in Loki's groin, his mouth going dry. He manages a nod, and Anthony smiles at him. He stretches and kisses Loki's lips, keeping it firm but brief.

A few seconds later, he's gone, and Loki goes into his room and closes the door behind himself. He checks his phone and answers a few texts from Thor, who finally learned how to handle a phone, although he needs a new one every few weeks because he keeps breaking them. Anthony's orders are circling in Loki's head - shower, unpack, don't touch yourself. He feels himself getting nervous now that he is alone, but at least he has something to do.

He showers - without touching his cock, even though he wants to - and unpacks his bag, then leaves his room. JARVIS tells him that Anthony is in the kitchen, so that's where Loki goes.

Anthony is indeed there, making pancakes of all things. Well, at least he is trying to; actually he is frowning at the pan and muttering curses to himself. He brightens when he notices Loki, though. He also looks him up and down, not all too subtly.

“Hi,“ he says, as if they haven't seen each other fourty minutes ago. “Damn, you look good.“

Loki glances at him, wary. “Thank you,“ he says, not sure if that's the expected answer, then looks at the pancake that looks frankly quite ruined. “Let me?“

Anthony willingly hands him the spatula, then sighs when Loki peels the pancake off and puts the remains on a plate. They look odd, but are edible. Probably.

“I swear I'll get better at this,“ Anthony says.

“Why do you want to?“ Loki asks, confused, and pours batter into the pan.

“Because making pancakes is an important adult skill,“ Anthony informs him. “Also I like the thought of it. Cooking for you. And, I mean, I managed yesterday.“

Loki's frow deepens. “That is not something I would expect someone like you to say.“

Anthony snorts a laugh. “Someone like me? You mean, a top?“

“Yes.“

“Well, I've always been a bit of a switch, to be honest.“ Anthony shrugs. “Also it's not that uncommon, wanting to take care of their sub, is it?“ Do you want coffee? Or tea?“

“Tea, please,“ Loki says slowly, then watches Anthony prepare it. “A switch?“

“Yeah. Do you know what that is? Or -“

“Of course I know what it is.“

“Thor didn't.“

Loki lets the spatula sink and turns his head to stare at the other man. “When did you talk to Thor about this?“

Anthony raises a brow and leans against the counter, sipping his coffee. “2014 or something? He asked about it.“

Loki turns back to the pan and glares at it.

It doesn't take five seconds, then a pair of hands brushes his hair away from his neck. He holds his breath when he feels lips there, mouthing gently - teasingly - at his skin. The hands come to rest on his stomach.

“You're jealous,“ Anthony murmurs, voice low enough that Loki shivers. “I like that, though there's absolutely no reason for it.“

He likes it , Loki thinks, but what he says is, “I'm not -“

He cuts himself off.

“Yes?“ Anthony asks, still pressed against Loki's back. He sounds amused. “You're what?“

Loki thinks very quickly. “Not sure the pancake is ready yet, so if you'd be so kind and stop distracting me -“

Behind him, Anthony starts to laugh. “Yes, right. Sure.“ He kisses Loki's neck again. “This is distracting?“

“Yes,“ Loki says.

“My bad,“ Anthony replies. His fingers stroke over Loki's belly, pulling up his shirt just a little. “I want to touch you. You'll let me. Yes?“

“Yes,“ Loki breathes before he can stop himself.

“Good boy,“ Anthony praises, squeezing Loki's hips.

Loki blushes despite himself.

 

-

 

Later, when the pancakes are ready, they sit down in the kitchen to eat. Loki is waiting for Anthony to tell him to get on his knees, but Anthony shakes his head and pats the bar stool next to him.

“No, come here. We need to talk about some stuff, I'd like to be at eye level.“

Loki slowly sits down on the stool. They each have a plate with pancakes that taste surprisingly good. 

“So,“ Anthony says, grabbing a tablet that has been lying on the counter, “Before the punishing happens, I'd like to talk about what you want.“

“What I want,“ Loki repeats flatly.

“Yup. I should have - should have asked you this sooner, I know. This is your first time submitting to someone, right? You must have some… expectations, or ideas. Things you want.“

Loki stays quiet for an awfully long time. Anthony waits patiently, but eventually he speaks up again, tone even and warm.

“For human subs, their dom is something like… a focal point. Someone they can rely on, no matter what, and who takes care of them and gives them the chance to give up control. Someone they can please. Would you like me to be that for you?“

Loki stares at his plate. He isn't sure. He likes being in control, usually. He also likes kneeling, though, and Anthony's smile when he obeys an order. “I think so,“ he says finally. He is certain that Anthony won't miss the uncertain tone.

“You said I couldn't expect you to follow my orders, yesterday,“ Anthony says. “Then you agreed to do as I say, which means that you would like me to give you orders, and to correct you when you act against them.“

“I don't -“, Loki takes a breath, then tries again, “Yes. I agreed, and I still… I do like them.“

“The commands?“

Shame curls up low in Loki's stomach. He can't meet Anthony's eyes, but he nods.

“You just don't like that you like them,“ Anthony states, gentle.

Loki nods again, still not looking.

“We'll work on that,“ Anthony promises. “And we'll figure the rest out, too.“

“But what about you?“

“Hm?“

Loki lets out a frustrated sound. “I have no idea what you want. From me.“

“Oh.“ Anthony blinks. “Your trust, first and foremost. I want you to give yourself to me, and to give you everything you need. If you enjoy giving up the reins, I'll enjoy having them. I'll enjoy having control over you. Does that sound - acceptable?"

Loki has, once again, forgotten how to breathe. He isn't sure what to do with… this much attention. Nobody - certainly none of his lovers - has ever been so focused on him before, so determined to make him happy. Of course, Anthony's determination comes with a price - giving up the reins , he called it, and that's the part that makes Loki's stomach curl with a strange mixture of anticipation and shame.

"Loki?"

Loki glances at him. "Yes, it's… acceptable."

Anthony smiles, then straightens again. “So,“ he says, “limits.“

Loki blinks. “Pardon?“

“Things you are unsure about, or definitely don't want,“ Anthony clarifies. “We should take about them before we try our hands on a first scene. We'll go through a detailed list later, but for now I'd like you to know if you can think of anything that you definitely don't want. Anything at all, from the top of your head.“

Loki thinks about it. It's not difficult to come up with something. “Electricity.“

Anthony nods and notes it on his tablet, then looks up at Loki again, waiting.

Loki swallows. He has read enough books about Midgard and how these systems work, there are enough ideas and examples in his mind. He takes a breath. “I do not want to be… muted. In any way. I have to be able to talk.“

“So, no gags? None at all?“

“None at all,“ Loki confirms.

“There's a story behind this, and I'm not sure if I want to hear it,“ Anthony says, frowning, and adds a point to the list on the tablet. “Alright. What about my hand on your mouth?“

Loki mirrors the frown. “I'm not sure.“

“That's okay,“ Anthony says, and starts another list. “Anything else?“

“No other people,“ Loki says. Anthony adds it. “I… I cannot think of anything else right now.“

“We'll talk about this many more times, so no stress,“ Anthony soothes at once. “This isn't final. What about pain?“

“Pain?“

“Do you want me to hurt you?“

Loki frowns at his pancake for a moment, then looks up to meet Anthony's gaze. “Do you want to hurt me?“

“I do, yes,“ Anthony says without hesitation.

Again, Loki thinks about a hand in his hair, pushing him down. That hurt. “I am not against it,“ he says carefully, wincing slightly when he hears how hoarse he sounds. “But I… I don't know if...“

“We'll go slow,“ Anthony says when Loki trails off. “We can try things out. But, the thing is - I'm not actually able to hurt you, am I?“

Oh. Loki has not at all thought about that. He frowns, thinking quickly. “You could be.“

Anthony raises a brow. “Okay? How? Magic?“

“Of course.“

“You could - like, what? Make me stronger?“

“That would require more energy. I could simply shift into a human form.“

Anthony stares at him for a long moment. “Loki,“ he says then.

“Yes?“

“You're goddamn amazing.“

At that, Loki does actually duck his head.

 

-

 

They talk some more, and it doesn't take long until Loki's head starts spinning. He gets nervous, even though Anthony's presence is as calming as it can possible be. He's thankful when Anthony finally sets his tablet aside and stands up to bring their plates to the sink.

“Stand up, then,“ he says, coming back over to Loki. He doesn't say what is going to happen now, but it isn't necessary.

Loki hesitates for a moment, but then he stands up.

“Turn around,“ Anthony orders, spinning his finger in the air. “Toward the counter.“

As soon as Loki stands facing away, he feels a hand on his back. It's just resting there, a warm presence he can feel through his shirt.

“Lower your pants and underwear,“ Anthony says, his voice quiet but firm.

Loki sucks in a sharp breath, and he can't bring himself to move for several long seconds.

“Loki.“

There's a dangerous sounding edge to Anthony's tone, something that isn't cold but hot , in a literal sense. It's not anger, but it's sharp; like a blade that hasn't yet lost the heat of the fire it was made in. Loki can feel his face warming up.

He reaches down and undoes his fly, then pulls down both his pants and underwear, like Anthony told him to. He absently curses himself for wearing Midgardian clothes; linen pants and a tunic would be more comfortable.

“Good,“ Anthony murmurs. The hand on Loki's back pushes, makes him lean forward. “Put your hands flat on the counter. Step back a little, I want you to straighten your back. Spread your legs.“

Loki does all that, and closes his eyes when he has assumed the position Anthony described. His breaths are shallow, but he tries to keep quiet. It's unsettling that he can't see Anthony and the position is as humiliating as it could be, but there's a part of him that craves the thrill of this - the warm, clenching feeling in his belly is hard to ignore.

“Yes,“ Anthony breathes, running his hand over Loki's back and pushing his shirt out of the way. “Exactly like this. You're doing so well.“

Loki wants to dive right into that voice. 

“Tell me your words,“ Anthony demands.

Loki needs a moment to gather his wits, but then he recites them - green, yellow, red -, his voice sounds raspy in his ears.

Anthony hums, pleased. “I'm going to spank you,“ be tells him then, managing to make it sound like threat and promise at once. “Five swats for every trespass. Does that sound fair to you?“

It does. Norns, it does , even though Loki doesn't understand why. He bites down on a sound that would have become a moan, and nods.

“How many does that make, then?“

Anthony can't possibly expect him to think like this. But, judging by his tone, he does expect him to, so Loki tries. He needs embarrassingly long, but eventually he says, breathless, “Twenty.“

“Explain,“ Anthony says.

Loki doesn't manage to stifle an impatient noise, this time. He squirms, but Anthony's hand presses down on his lower back.

“Hold still,“ he says, tone a little sharper now. “Don't move until I tell you to. Explain.“

Loki takes a deep breath. Then another. His forehead meets the countertop. 

“Five for ignoring your call,“ he says finally, not much louder than a whisper. “Ten for lying. Five for,“ he swallows, “disrespecting you, yesterday.“

“Exactly,“ Anthony says, sounding almost surprised, but mostly just pleased. "Very good."

Relieved pride flares up in Loki's chest.

Anthony's hand wanders down to Loki's ass, stroking the soft skin almost carefully. Loki's breath hitches.

“You will count,“ Anthony says quietly. “You will not say anything else, except if you need to use your safeword. Hold your position.“

A second later, a sharp spark of pain shoots up Loki's spine. He needs a second to realize that Anthony has smacked him, and at the burning feel of it his eyes fly open, surprised. 

He shifted into something more similar to a human - just the part of his body that is responsible for the experience of pain, really - and he has never done that before; the knowledge that he did it so that a human can spank him makes shame coil in his stomach. The fact that the pain is not unpleasant makes it even worse.

Anthony's hand caresses the spot it just hit. The gentleness of the touch makes Loki dizzy.

“Color?“ Anthony asks.

“Green,“ Loki breathes, and closes his eyes again.

“I told you to count.“

Loki swallows and nods. He wants to shift his feet, press up against Anthony's hand, but then he remembers that he is meant to hold still. “One.“

Anthony smacks him again, this time his other cheek. 

“Two,“ Loki gets out, trying to breathe evenly and failing. He knows how to deal with pain. He has endured far, far worse pain than this.

This is different, though. He is allowing this to happen, for one thing, even though he could keep it from happening. He deserves it, even - the last thing he wants is to displease Anthony, and he managed that four times already. 

This is different.

Anthony spanks him, again and again - seconds pass between the swats, seconds Loki spends breathless and expectant and impatient. He can't keep from making noises after number seven, but Anthony doesn't tell him to be quiet. He says nothing to it, in fact, he acts as if Loki isn't gasping and moaning and whimpering louder with every blow. 

He loses count.

“Count,“ Anthony tells him. His tone makes Loki feel like he is melting; Anthony sounds breathless, too.

Loki clings to the counter. “I don't know,“ he gasps, “I don't -“

“Thirteen,“ Anthony says, tone even, not sounding disappointed. He gives Loki a few seconds to calm down.

“Thirteen,“ Loki repeats then, his voice small.

By seventeen, he is standing on tiptoes. By twenty, his mind is blessedly blank. It's also possible that he is crying.

One of Anthony's hands is still on his ass, the other is stroking his back in soothing circles.

“Shh. You did so well, sweetheart, everything's fine now. Stay like this, just a little while longer. Would you like me to get you off?“

Loki can't think. He only knows that his backside hurts like hel and that his cock is aching, already dripping on the kitchen tiles. He nods frantically, and Anthony hushes him again and makes more soothing noises. He reaches down and wraps his fingers around Loki's cock, making him cry out. He starts stroking and it's merciless, far too much, utter bliss ; it takes barely ten seconds and Loki is coming.

 

-

 

Loki is not… entirely sure what happens after.

He isn't crying anymore, at least, and his breathing has evened out, but he feels disjointed ; he's lost track of everything but his burning ass and the countertop beneath his hands. He only realizes that Anthony's hands were gone when they return with something soft and wet, making him wince.

“Shh. I'm just cleaning you, got a bit on your belly. There we go, all set. You can move. Let's get you to the sofa, hm?“

Loki nods and moves - or tries to, his legs feel a little weak. He huffs in annoyance, but Anthony is there to steady him. They make it out of the kitchen, somehow, and then Anthony sits down on the sofa and pulls Loki into his lap, wrapping him up in his arms. He murmurs soft words into Loki's hair, tells him how proud he is, how much Loki pleased him, and Loki melts against his human and doesn't do anything but breathe and listen.

They stay like this for a long time, but eventually Loki starts to squirm, getting uncomfortable. His backside burns, and it doesn't stop burning when he slides off Anthony's lap.

“You could heal that, right?“ Anthony asks gently, keeping his hands to himself for now. Loki is grateful for the pause; his reaction to Anthony's touch frightens him.

His throat his so dry that he doesn't manage to speak, so he just nods.

“Do you want to?“

Loki shakes his head. Not right now, anyway.

“Alright. Can I leave you alone for a moment? I'll get some ointment, and - do you need anything else?“

Loki is busy rubbing his swollen eyes, but after a moment he manages to say, “I'm thirsty.“

“Noted. I'll be right back.“

And with that Anthony jumps up and leaves, as if he can't wait to fulfil Loki's wish. That's a nice thought, actually. Loki sighs and stares at nothing for a while, trying to regain his wits. He lies down on his stomach in the end, trying to keep all pressure away from his ass. He contemplates shifting back - the burn would be gone within seconds - but then, he didn't lie when he said he didn't want. Saying that he doesn't like the burn at all would be a lie, too.

It doesn't take long until Anthony returns. He puts the glass on the sofa table and unceremoniously straddles Loki's legs. A second later there's something cool and slick on Loki's ass, and together with Anthony's gentle hand it soothes the pain. Loki frowns into a sofa cushions.

“This is not necessary.“

“As long as your ass is human, it gets the full human treatment,“ Anthony says.

“But -“

“There won't be a discussion about this,“ Anthony cuts him off.

Loki lets out an annoyed sigh. “Fine, if you insist.“

“I do.“ Anthony pinches Loki's butt cheek, making him flinch in surprise. 

Loki props himself up on his elbows and glares at Anthony over his shoulder as well as he can. “What was that for?“

“For being a brat,“ Anthony replies. He's smirking, though, so he probably isn't truly disappointed - or surprised.

Loki feels his face heat up a little, anyway. He turns back again and buries his face in the sofa cushion. Behind him, Anthony chuckles softly. His hands are now kneading Loki's back.

“You took it very well,“ he murmurs.

Loki winces. “If that is well, I do not want to know what taking it badly looks like. “

“You liked it,“ Anthony says, disarmingly direct. “Didn't you?“

Loki can’t deny it, so he stays silent. Anthony waits a moment, continuing to knead any returning tension out of Loki’s back and shoulders.

“I’m glad, you know. That you liked it. Really fucking relieved, actually. I was a bit nervous.” 

Loki frowns. “You are good at hiding that.”

Anthony laughs softly. “Yeah, that’s my job. Still. This is… a bit new for me, too.”

Loki rests his head on his hands, enjoying the massage despite himself. Anthony is rather good at this. “You did say you have not done this in a while.”

“Mhhm. I missed it, though. And you’re….”, Anthony searches for a word and eventually settles on, “lovely.”

Loki snorts.

“I mean it,” Anthony insists.

"I'm not sure I understand," Loki says.

"Hm?"

"You said you missed this. It shouldn't be difficult for you, finding someone."

"Yeah, it's easy. But I've had enough one night stands and flings, it's… I don't know, I just had enough of it. And I've ever met someone who could deal with me, in the long haul. So I just… I don’t know. Stopped, I guess.” He sighs. "That's not exactly healthy, but well. I'd rather feel restless and useless than taking on a sub I don't really want."

Loki blinks, and he needs a few seconds to gather the courage to ask, "Why me, then?"

It's silent for a while. Anthony draws patterns on Loki's back, seemingly lost in thought.

"I like you," he says eventually. "I want you. You're clever and headstrong, and also… I mean, I like to feel needed. Useful. Not that you need help, but - you've been through a lot, obviously. I'm just happy if I can make you feel safe." He pauses, then snorts. "Don't know if I'm making sense, but…" He trails off.

Loki feels a great need to change the subject. “Did you? Like it, I mean?”

“Oh, yes. Definitely.”

“Why?” Loki honestly doesn’t understand. He has met more than enough sadists in his life, and while Anthony did say that he wants to hurt him, he doesn’t enjoy watching people suffer. Can barely stand it, actually; Loki knows that since Anthony visited New Asgard for the first time and decided to help them as much as he can.

“I told you, I want to give you what you need,” Anthony says, his tone still soft. “You letting me do that to you, that means the world to me. And I do like the power, just like you like giving it up, I imagine.” He chuckles, then adds, “Also, it’s hot, and you made the most amazing sounds.”

Loki’s blush has reached the tips of his ears. “You think I need it? The pain?”

“The control,” Anthony says. “My control over you. Getting a chance to atone for something you did wrong. Pleasing me.” He pauses, then adds, “I feel like it’s a lot about that, pleasing me. You definitely like the praise. Am I right?”

“You may not be completely wrong,” is all Loki says, primly, and Anthony laughs again.

“How very gracious of you to say that, Your Highness.”

“I am a very gracious man.”

“Sure you are.” Suddenly there are lips on the spot between Loki’s shoulder blades, breath fanning over his skin. “I’m sorry to put an end to your well-earned massage, but if I stay on top of you any longer, I won’t be able to keep myself in check.”

And with that he climbs off Loki, who, upon realizing something, immediately turns to stare at the human. Anthony blinks back at him, surprised.

“You okay?”

“You didn’t even -”, Loki begins, but trails off. He makes a quick glance downward.

“Come?” Anthony guesses. "This wasn't about making me come, Loki." He grins, more than a little bit lewdly, brown eyes sparkling. "You will take care of that eventually, though."

A part of Loki feels like he should argue, especially because the matter-of-fact tone is rather insolent, but he doesn't. Anticipation makes his breath hitch. Anthony throws a knowing smile at him and leans in to kiss him. It doesn't last as long as Loki wants it to, but after Anthony offers to make tea and then cuddle on the sofa, so Loki guesses that he can be forgiven.

 

-

 

When Loki wakes up the next morning, he is surprised to find that he actually feels rested. He needed ages to fall asleep - as soon as he and Anthony parted for the night, Loki felt restless and weirdly irritated -, so he can't have slept for very long, but well, when you haven't been getting enough sleep for years due to being in constant danger, you aren't tired after three or four hours spent in a comfortable bed.

It doesn't hurt that any Aesir are around, either.

Sitting up in bed, Loki rubs his eyes and glances at the clock on the nightstand. It's early. He listens for a while, but he can't hear any sounds coming from anywhere in the penthouse.

"JARVIS?"

"Yes, Loki?"

"Is Anthony up yet?"

"Yes, he is. I would have woken you up in two hours and four minutes, so you can go back to sleep if you wish."

"No, I have slept long enough."

"In that case, Sir wants you to take a thorough shower and then join him in to the workshop, with breakfast."

"Breakfast," Loki echoes.

"Yes, Loki. I will order something for you to take down to Mr. Stark."

Loki frowns, but accepts it and gets out of bed to take a shower. It’s a little odd how comfortable he feels waking up in the tower; he doesn’t even relax in New Asgard, and there he is basically the second in command. Here he is… not in command at all, actually, so he should not feel safe here. He does.

He has a bit of fun scaring the delivery man by manifesting right in front of him, taking the food and then vanishing into thin air again. Then he takes Anthony’s (their?) private elevator and rides down to the workshop, where he finds the human tinkering around with one of his projects. He looks up as soon as Loki enters and beams.

“You’re up! I thought you’d be asleep longer, you seemed so tired last night. How’re you feeling?”

“Fine.” Loki approaches Anthony’s desk. He was here only once before, and he makes sure to thread carefully. He knows that Anthony is picky about who he allows entrance to his workshop, and Loki doesn’t want to do anything to revoke that privilege. “I brought breakfast.”

“Breakfast?” Anthony blinks. “Why?” He catches himself and hurriedly adds, “I mean, that’s nice. Very good.”

Loki narrows his eyes. “JARVIS told me to.”

The surprise fades from Anthony’s expression. He sets his tool aside. “Really, JARVIS.”

“Some regular meals would do you both good, Sir,” the AI replies helpfully.

“Sometimes I wonder who’s the dom here,” Anthony mutters, then waves Loki over to him. “Come, let’s eat, then. What did he order, anyway?”

“Waffles, sir.”

“Healthy,” Anthony quips, making place on his desk so that Loki can set the food down. “Conjure up a pillow from upstairs.”

Loki raises a brow but does just so, willing one of the pillows on his bed into his hand. “This is not conjuring, it’s summoning.”

“I’ll keep it in mind,” Anthony says dryly. “Well?”

Loki sends him a minor glare that seemingly just amuses the other man, then drops the pillow on the floor and kneels. “The pillow is not necessary.”

“I want you to be comfortable.”

“But -”

“There won’t be a discussion about this, either.”

Before Loki can say anything else, Anthony cups his jaw and tilts his face up to kiss him. Loki gasps into it, surprised, then slackens into it because hel, it does feel good. Anthony is an excellent kisser, and he seems to have a talent for making Loki aroused and pliant within just a handful of seconds.

“You like this,” Anthony states when he pulls back, with a tony like gravel. “Don’t you? Kneeling for me, letting me kiss you…”

Loki feels himself blush, even though he tried his best not to. He nods, looking up into Anthony’s eyes. They are still so close that Loki can feel Anthony’s breath on his lips.

“Why?” Anthony asks, thumb stroking first over Loki’s cheek, then his lower lip.

Loki gives a minute shake of head, voice throaty when he says, “I don’t know.”

There is a slightly panicked edge to it and Anthony picks it up immediately. He makes a soothing noise and kisses Loki again, softer this time. “It’s alright,” he says then. “You can like it, there’s nothing wrong with it. I love that you do. Okay?”

Loki takes a breath and nods. Anthony presses a kiss to his forehead and then straightens, starting to unpack their breakfast. It smells very good, but Loki would prefer the pancakes they made themselves. But well, that’s hardly worth fussing over.

“He’s not wrong, you know,” Anthony says, putting a waffle on the plate Loki brought. There’s fresh fruit, too. “JARVIS, I mean. What about - breakfast and dinner together, as long as you’re here? I don’t eat half as regularly as I’m supposed to, and I’ve a feeling you’re not much better.”

“That feeling would be correct,” Loki says, opening his mouth when Anthony offers him a first bite. It tastes as good as it smells. “Breakfast and dinner, then.”

Anthony smiles and nods, then continues feeding Loki. It’s a ridiculous act, really. It should feel pathetic, childish. Loki only finds himself winding down. He wasn’t fully aware how tense he was. Now he suddenly feels like he could go back to bed and sleep a few hours more, though that probably wouldn’t work if Anthony wasn’t there.

That’s a rather ridiculous thought, too.

“I still have to work a bit when we’re done eating,” Anthony says. “But you can stay and keep me company, if you’d like. I thought about setting up a corner for you here, where you can work on your magic projects or something. Would you like that?”

“Yes,” Loki says slowly. “But -”

“Yes?”

Loki squirms a little, frowning. “Nothing.” He opens his mouth to eat the strawberry Anthony is about to hold to his lips, but Anthony withdraws his hand, a stern look in his eyes.

“This won’t work if you keep that up,” he says.

“I don’t know -”

“Ah, no. Don’t. If you keep lying to me, I’ll eventually come up with a punishment that you will like far less than the one yesterday. Understood?”

Loki’s mouth twitches. “Yes.”

“Good. I need to know what you’re thinking, Loki. If there’s something bothering you, you have to tell me.”

“I would like to keep some privacy,” Loki retorts. “You have no right to want to know every thought in my head.”

Anthony looks at him for a moment, then lets his hand sink altogether, sighing. “No, I know. I don’t mean it that way. But I can’t read your mind, and I can’t always tell if there’s something making you uncomfortable. That’s not your fault and I’m not angry because of it, but you have to work with me here.”

“I will speak up if something goes too far,” Loki tries to dismiss this whole discussion. It’s so pointless.

“I want you to speak up about the little things too, though,” Anthony insists. “You can. I’m not used to this either, you know. I need to know I’m doing fine, that this is what you want.”

“It is,” Loki says, tentative. “I’m merely not… used to this. Nobody else ever…” He trails off.

Anthony understands, anyway. “I do,” he says. “I care about what you think. And I trust you to be honest with me. So?”

Loki heaves a sigh. “You do realize that I cannot stay here forever, yes? Having my own spot here, “ he glances around, “is a pleasing thought, but… pointless.”

“Why?” Anthony raises his brows. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m aware you can’t live here yet, what with you having to take care of New Asgard because Thor’s practically useless. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be gone forever. If you want to, you’ll come back, and that spot of yours will be waiting for you.”

Loki blinks. “But I thought… ‘A few days’, you said.”

“But you didn’t think this was limited to that, did you?” In reaction to Loki’s expression, Anthony groans. “Loki, no. God. I don’t take subs for just a few days - not anymore -, this will last… Longer. I mean, I hope it will. As long as we both want. I told you I’d like to take you out. For a date.”

“Oh,” Loki breathed. “You truly - you truly wish to court me?”

“Court, date, whatever. Same difference. Yes. I like you, Loki. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this.”

Loki looks away, thinking. “I like you, too,” he says eventually and, to his surprise, feels a hand ruffling his hair shortly after. He makes a face and lifts his head, wanting to get his hair back into order, but then Anthony’s lips are on his forehead again.

“I’m glad,” he murmurs; Loki can feel him smiling. Anthony pulls back again and the look in his eyes is far too soft.

Loki clears his throat. “I’m hungry.”

“Oh, sure. Sorry.”

They finish breakfast - Dum-E comes to take the remains away - and then just talk for some time, while Anthony works. Loki stays kneeling where he is and listens as Anthony describes what he’s doing and what stunt Peter pulled that has him improving his suit again . Loki watches, too; Anthony’s hands are a sight to behold, as are his easy smiles and warm glances. Every once in a while - meaning every other minute - Loki trails his eyes over the rest of Anthony’s body. The clothes he’s wearing aren’t by far alluring, or at least they wouldn’t be on someone else. The shirt is ridiculous, but it fits Anthony well, and the pants are tight enough that Loki starts feeling a little restless pretty soon.

“Go and get me my soldering iron, please,” Anthony murmurs at some point, indicating a vague direction. “I last had it somewhere there.”

Loki assumes that he is talking to one of his robots, but after a moment Anthony makes an impatient noise and says, “Loki. Go.”

Loki blinks in surprise and gets up, and only then realizes what is going on. His chest tightens and he narrows his eyes, staying exactly where he is. Another few seconds pass, then Anthony looks up and raises a brow at him, expectant.

“I told you,” Loki says, keeping his tone even. “I am not your servant.”

“I didn’t tell you to grovel at my feet and kiss them.” Anthony turns back to the piece of electronics he is working on. “I told you to bring me something. I think your ego will survive.”

“I am a prince.

“You’re my sub,” Anthony says, again, tone getting sharper. “And I gave you an order.”

“I told you -”

“An order that’s easy to fulfil,” Anthony continues, simply speaking over him, “and doesn't demand too much of you, I think. So do it or not, Loki. Your choice.”

Loki has to bite his tongue to keep himself from snarling. He turns on his heel and stalks off into the direction Anthony indicitated, letting his eyes wander over the work tables in search of the desired item. He doesn’t know what an soldering iron even looks like . Thankfully, Dum-E helps him out by rolling over and prodding the tool with his claws. Loki huffs and grabs it, then returns to Anthony, dropping the wretched thing on the desk with a little more force than necessary.

“Thanks,” Anthony deadpans, then holds out a hand. “Give me the pillow.” 

Loki stares at him for a moment, then picks it up and hands it over. Anthony puts it away on the other side of the desk. “Kneel,” he says then.

Loki continues staring at him.

“Is there a problem?”

“I thought you want me to be comfortable ,” Loki snaps, tone somewhere between angry and scornful.

“Yup,” Anthony answers, popping the p. “That was before you were disrespectful and difficult for no real reason. Kneel, and don’t speak.”

Loki grits his teeth and kneels. If Anthony thinks he needs the pillow, let him. Loki is a god, he has endured much worse than this. This is not a punishment, this is ridiculous.

It does get uncomfortable after two hours.

When Anthony tells him to bring him something else, Loki is almost relieved to get his knees off the floor. He brings Anthony the tool and sets it on the desk, a little gentler this time. Anthony thanks him and then hands him the pillow. Loki can't quite keep from glaring, but he takes it and kneels down on it again.

Better.

After a while, Anthony sends him again. And again. Resigning to his fate, Loki wonders if Anthony spread everything he might need around the workshop so Loki could get it at some point. It's annoying, but also - as soon as Loki gets over the initial reluctance - oddly… easy. Easy to fulfil, as Anthony said. Anthony starts looking very pleased when Loki stops huffing and glaring, and Loki realizes that it's, yes, easy to earn one of Anthony's smiles. He just needs to do as he's told, get this or that for the (his) dom, and Anthony will look at him like he managed something impressive. Loki starts to relax. He moves when Anthony wants him to and spends the rest of the time watching and listening, now and then voicing his own ideas for Peter's suit, which Anthony seems to like.

"See?" Anthony murmurs at some point, carding his fingers through Loki's hair. "It's not that difficult, is it?"

Loki closes his eyes, enjoying the touch, and shakes his head.

"You're being such a good boy," Anthony praises and puts his warm hand on Loki's nape. Loki likes it when he does that, even that particular praise makes him blush rather deeply. "Just perfect. Would you like to do something else?"

Loki's eyes fly open. "Why?"

"You've been kneeling here for almost five hours now," Anthony informs him, smiling. "Aren't you uncomfortable?"

Loki frowns. His body is a little stiff, but he doesn't actually mind that at the moment."No."

"Well, anyway. I'm done working. We can do something else. Whatever you want."

Loki swallows thickly. He has been dimly aroused for at least two hours, so his thoughts immediately wander to something rather indecent.

"Oh, I like the way you think," Anthony says, grinning.

He turns on his chair to face Loki properly, which leads to Loki kneeling between Anthony's spread legs. Loki tries to look away, but suddenly Anthony's hand is in is hair and pulls, making him look up again. It's not rough, more a matter of gentle insistence, but Loki holds his breath, anyway.

"What do you want?" Anthony asks, smiling. His eyes are dark. It feels a little like a trap, but then Anthony adds, "I'll give it to you. You've been so good, you deserve a reward."

Loki has to clench his jaw to keep from outright whimpering. 

"Tell me." His smile is positively predatory, and his eyes flicker over Loki's face as if he can't bear missing even the tiniest reaction. His thumb is back on Loki's lip, stroking softly. "I could get you off again. I want to. Did you like that, yesterday? My hand on your cock?"

Loki can't keep the sound inside anymore; it passes his lips as a barely stifled moan. Anthony's smile widens, which earns him a smoldering look from Loki.

"That wasn't a rhetorical question, Lo."

"Yes," Loki says, his voice hoarse, "I liked it."

Anthony hums, thoughtful. "Or do you want my fingers somewhere else? On your ass again? It doesn't hurt anymore, does it?"

Loki shook his head. He shifted back before going to sleep. 

"We could change that," Anthony says. "I could spank you again, just because you like it. Because you love it. Maybe I'd even touch that pretty hole of yours. You'd be gasping and whining in no time, no doubt. What do you think?"

"I think," Loki says through clenched teeth, "that you'd better live up to these promises soon, before I get bored."

Anthony's eyes flare up, darkly pleased."Bored?" He echoes, voice dangerously quiet. His thumb pushes until Loki's lips part, but Anthony doesn't slip it into Loki's mouth. Not yet, perhaps. "You're not bored now, honey, and you won't be anytime soon. This is the thrill you've been searching for years , isn't it?"

Loki stops breathing. He liked that. The challenge, the snark, he liked that. Loki feels himself get harder in his pants. 

The kneeling? The serving? All possible, manageable, maybe even pleasant. But this? Both the challenge and the snark, the cat-and-mouse game - who is who? - and the fire in Anthony's eyes, Loki was made for this.

"Is it?" He retorts, wishing he would sound a little less breathless. "I wouldn't know. I am not exactly thrilled yet."

"Now that's a lie if I've ever heard one." Anthony leans down a bit, his other hand back in Loki's hair, keeping him still. "Just for that, you'll suck me off first. You'll suck me dry , and maybe, if you're good, I'll consider letting you come. Open your mouth."

Loki does. His heart is beating so hard that he can hear it, the blood rushing in his ears. He feels warm all over, his skin hot and tingling, cock aching between his legs. Maybe , Anthony said. Loki is very set on pleasuring his human until he can't think straight anymore. He has a very talented tongue.

"Tongue," Anthony says, his eyes fixed on Loki's parted lips, and Loki swirls his tongue around the thumb in his mouth. Closes his lips around it and sucks, watches Anthony take a sharp (pleased) breath.

Thrilling indeed.

"Look at you," Anthony breathes. It sounds like praise. "Acting so bratty, thinking I can't look right through you. You're desperate for this, sweetheart. You'd do anything for me right now, wouldn't you?"

Loki can't help it, he moans again. The thing is, he would. It's frightening, but also the best he's ever felt.

"Open my belt," Anthony says, and Loki's fingers scramble to obey. 

Anthony's jeans is already bulging where his cock strains against it, and suddenly Loki cannot wait to see it. Get his hands on it, his lips, his tongue. He hasn't felt like this in a long time, maybe never. But he wants it now. He remembers what Anthony said - you made the most amazing sounds - and finds it unbearable that he hasn't heard Anthony make any sounds yet, that he doesn't know how he tastes, what he looks like when he comes. When Loki makes him come.

"Color?" Anthony asks, voice still calm, but less dangerously so. He mistook Loki's staring for hesitation, probably.

"Green," Loki says, almost absently.

"Button and zipper," Anthony replies, and Loki obeys again.

Anthony is not wearing underwear, which earns him a raised brow.

"Makes it easier for you to get to work," Anthony replies, smirking. His eyes are even darker now, his breath already a little shallow. 

The pleasant spark of power Loki feels is familiar, though he wasn't aware you could feel it while kneeling at somebody's feet and offering your mouth for them to use.

"Don't make me wait," Anthony says (orders), so Loki pulls his cock free, taking care to avoid the zipper.

It's lovely. Not that long, but thick, heavy and warm in Loki's hand when he wraps his fingers around the base. He strokes once, from the base to the flushed tip, and Anthony lets out a breathy sound of approval. 

"Hands behind your back," he says. 

Loki look up against him in surprise. Anthony holds his gaze, waiting, and after a second or two Loki locks his hands behind his back. Anthony nods, satisfied.

"Keep them there," he directs. "They're clever, but you'll make me come without them. If you touch yourself, I won't even consider letting you come when I'm done. Understood?"

Loki nods, and then Anthony's hand is in his hair again, grip tighter now, and pushes him down. Loki takes a breath, somewhere between anxious and far too aroused to care about anything else. (He does not wonder what the Aesir would say if they saw him like this. What Thor would say. It doesn't matter.) His lips find Anthony's cock almost on their own, and then he remembers that he is good at this, even though he is out of practice. 

He breathes in, and out. Concentrates on the hand in his hair and the soft and hot skin under his lips. Then swallows Anthony's cock down to the hilt.

Anthony cries out, hips bucking, hand knocking something over when he clings to the desk for support. "Fuck, Loki -"

Loki wishes he could grin, but that's a little difficult with his lips stretched as wide as they are. He rubs his nose against Anthony's surprisingly soft pubic hair and just waits for a moment, giving Anthony the chance to regain his senses.

"If you wanted to impress me," Anthony says eventually, sounding deliciously hoarse, "congratulations, you managed."

Loki looks up as him as well as he can. Pleasure mixes with shame, hot and cold at once, but the wild look in Anthony's eyes is worth it. 

He swallows.

Anthony curses again, a little quieter this time. He keeps his hips impressively still. Loki slowly pulls back to take a breath, licking his lips when the head of Anthony's cock pops free.

"Show-off," Anthony mutters - fondly - and brushes Loki's hair out of the way. "Go on. Take your time, though. Or are you in a hurry to get this over with?"

Loki shakes his head. He closes his lips around the tip again, pressing his tongue against that sensitive spot right below the head. Anthony breathes out shakily and this time Loki does smirk, then takes Anthony's cock deeper again. He moves his head up and down, using his tongue and keeping his teeth out of the way. He very quickly he figures out what Anthony likes. He's very responsive, gasps and moans and utters praises, and soon Loki closes his eyes and concentrates on making him feel good, because that is what he wants. He doesn't remember ever enjoying this so much; he has to dig his fingernails into the palm of his other hand to keep from touching himself.

"Christ, you're good at this." 

The words are half groan and half gasp, and the pleasure in them is so clear and vibrant that Loki can't help but moan. Anthony's hips twitch and then his grip on Loki's hair tightens again.

"Relax," he tells him. "Let me use that perfect mouth of yours."

Loki closes his eyes. He needs to take a few breaths to steady himself, but then he opens up wide and relaxes his jaws as well as he can. As soon as he does so, Anthony's hand pushes him down again. A human would gag, but Loki just swallows around the cock in his mouth and relishes the strangled groan he gets in response. He lets Anthony tug him away and then back down again, allows it when he starts thrusting his hips and just takes what he wants, allows everything.  

It doesn't take all too long until Anthony gasps a warning, but Loki just presses closer and swallows everything his lover has to give.

When Anthony's breathing has calmed again, Loki's forehead is resting on Anthony's thigh. He is panting himself and his hands, still on his back, are trembling. He nuzzles Anthony's thigh, trying to get his attention, and thankfully he reacts rather quickly.

"Yes, of course, come here," he mutters, stroking Loki's hair with slightly jittery movements. "Up, in my lap, come on."

Loki scrambles into Anthony's lap, grasping his shirt, and immediately Anthony kisses him. His hands tug at Loki's pants, one of them quickly taking hold of his cock and stroking firmly. Loki gasps and breaks the kiss, giving Anthony the chance to mouth at his throat, licking and nibbling. He finally bites down on Loki's neck and Loki comes, moaning something that may or may not be Anthony's name.

Anthony gathers him up in his arms, keeping him from just sliding down to the floor again, and holds him close against his chest. Hands are soothingly rubbing over his back, and Loki can just bury his face against Anthony's neck and catch his breath.

"That was goddamn incredible, Lo," Anthony murmurs into his ear. "You'll ruin me for everyone else, I swear."

That is the best thing Loki has ever heard.

 

-

 

They take a nap after that, on the sofa in the penthouse. The rest of the day is spent playing board games, which is something Loki has never done before. Wasting a whole day away like this. They both invent new rules to justify their cheating, and it is… fun. Loki is much better at it, naturally, but Anthony doesn't seem to mind. 

It's an important realization. Anthony doesn't want Loki to be pliant and obedient, at least not only, and most of all he doesn't want him silent. Oh, he enjoys it when Loki obeys an order without talking back, but he enjoys the talking back, too. He likes the sass, the challenge, the chance to make Loki pliant and obedient.

It shouldn't be surprising. They spent the better part of the last months bantering, after all, it's clear that they appreciate each other's sharp wits and quick tongues. But Loki half expected that would change, and it's a relief that it seems like it won't.

It means that Loki can still be himself. It means that Anthony wants him to be himself.

The knowledge makes him feel light and pleased and sated the whole day, but somehow he still ends up feeling miserable in the evening. He doesn't even know why. He just knows that Anthony didn't ask him to sleep in his bedroom, even though he said that he wanted Loki to sleep in his bed. Loki wasn't going to ask for permission, though, because… no.

He's fine. Just feeling a little restless, maybe, and not tired enough to sleep. He tries reading, but he can't concentrate, and he tries watching TV, but that is just entirely pointless, so he just curls up on his side and is not pouting, thank you very much.

He does not immediately perk up when there's a knock at his door, either.

"Yes?"

The door opens a crack and Anthony peeks into the room. "Hey, Lo. You okay?"

"Yes, of course."

"That's a lie, but I'll let it pass if you tell me the truth right now."

Loki glares at him. Anthony raises a brow. Loki glares some more.

"Five," Anthony says. "Four. Three, two -"

"Not entirely fine," Loki interrupts him gruffly, turning onto his other side to bury his face in the pillows.

"Come on," Anthony says. "Get up."

"Why?"

"Because I tell you to."

Loki sits up, but doesn't yet get out of bed. Anthony stands in the door frame, in sleeping clothes, looking rather sleepy. And lovely.

"I thought the cameras were turned off," Loki says.

"They are. But I felt lonely, so I thought, hey, why not drag my stubborn sub into my bed before he spends the entire night sulking."

"Sulking," Loki repeats.

"Yup. You were already sulking when we said good night earlier, because I didn't ask you to come with me, and I was waiting for you to ask if you could come with me, but obviously all that sulking and waiting doesn't get us anywhere, and the wiser head gives in and all that, so here I am, and please get out of bed."

 Loki squints at him. "You are rambling."

Anthony huffs. "I'm tired and in need of a cuddle, of course I'm rambling."

"A cuddle."

"Yes."

Loki feels a lot lighter all of a sudden. 

"You could at least ask nicely," he says.

Anthony arches a brow. "You could do as I say without being a brat."

Loki rolls his eyes, but then he stands up and bows his head, hands behind his back. "I'm so sorry, sir. Allow me to make it up to you?"

"You'll be the death of me," Anthony mutters and turns, shuffling away into the direction of his bedroom. Loki can't see him anymore, but he hears him mumbling something to himself, and then, louder, "Come and make it up to me, smartass."

Loki smiles and follows Anthony into his bed.