8| /curls around Heather and Brigida.
fff. Got Peter’s, too. HAPPY DAY.
8| /curls around Heather and Brigida.
fff. Got Peter’s, too. HAPPY DAY.
I GOT ONE
It wasn’t so complicated, in hindsight. They each forged their own armor. How did the Frost cliche (excuse Tony’s cynicism, poem) go? Fire and ice. Not to say that Loki didn’t have a temper—but we’re talking confidence issues, here—not fits of anger. Although both had been forged in separate forms of fury. One in the desert storm and the other in icy Jotun—but both forges were fueled by the coal of lies, either of them could see that. They just happened to be so completely encased in their individual armor that they couldn’t see beyond even their self-made blinders.
That alone was damaging enough.
There was an awful lot going on in Tony’s head that he wouldn’t reveal on a good day. Today was not a good day, and the small loophole of time that one might’ve actually been able to extract inforation from him was closing fast. All he could even admit to himself was that he wished, for a brief moment, that Loki didn’t feel the need to hide—but no, he realized. Loki wasn’t hiding. He had chose this form for himself. He had a long time ago.
Why try to change something as solid as free will?
An argument for the religious folks out there, for sure…
“Watch it,” Tony warned, bristling at the mention of ‘birds and spiders’. “And don’t bother Clint while you’re here. The kid I couldn’t care less about.” He waved a hand dismissively. “Don’t kill him, though, that’s out of the picture, too. As for nightmares…” Something in his face shifted and twitched, his bright eyes darkening and losing some of their upbeat fire. For a moment, Tony Stark was very far away from Earth and from Loki. He was staring into a void of explosives so silent he thought he might’ve dreamt them…as a hundred thousand and then some Chitauri promptly ceased to exist. He shook off the chill with difficulty, rubbing his goatee. “What was I supposed to have seen?” Tony asked innocently. “Did your clothes tear in a more provocative place than I was looking? Rats, I missed it…”
Seizing Loki by the hand, then the forearm with his other set of fingers, Tony grunted and did his best to help heave Loki to his feet. “Please, you’re a mess wherever you go. A hot mess. Or lukewarm—well alright you’re a frigid mess, but still. My place is a dump anyway,” said the billionaire about his expensive playhouse in New York City. “You can have my room. I never sleep in it anyway.” Letting Loki lean on him, Tony began the slow trek to his room, holding fast to Loki as if frosted to him. Hell, maybe he was.
“I’ll get you set up with like. Water and bread or something. Poptarts, maybe. Thor likes those, I’m sure he’d share…”
How often were liars tricked by their own lies? It was how they tricked themselves into being happy, their sarcasm or their wit hiding their anger or their hurt. Loki didn’t know what Tony was blinding himself from, and perhaps he never would - really, that would be for the best - but he certainly knew what he was hiding from himself. And he refused to admit to it, even if asked. And that was the point, in the end. They were there to ignore all the ache that came with ice-and-metal fury.
He had chosen the form before he knew he had a choice. The one he hid was the one he thought of as false; the one he hid behind was the only one he would admit to being true. Loki believed his own lie, and if he had heard Tony’s brief thought he would have been less than pleased with what the inventor thought he was hiding.
As for free will, Loki and the religious could argue about that quite extensively - it was only fitting that a god argue about free will, wasn’t it?
“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it,” Loki said flippantly, leaning his head back and looking up at Tony with a slightly glazed expression - pained in a way he refused to acknowledge. “Not in this state, at the very least. And the spider-boy is not my insect to kill, but that does not mean I will help him keep safe outside, either.” He paused, focusing on Stark as he seemed to drift far, far away, and it was a look he recognized within himself when he thought of the void and his fall and all he had seen— “A shame for you,” Loki said softly, relaxing somewhat as Tony seemed willing to let go of Loki’s briefly blue moment. “Perhaps next time I appear bleeding you’ll catch sight of what you missed.”
“I’m curious as to what you consider to be tidy,” Loki mused, slumping over Stark’s shoulders and allowing him to lead him wherever he wished to. Not like the trickster exactly had the energy for anything else at the moment. In an hour’s time, maybe, but not right then. “Do you sleep at all, Stark?” Loki asked softly, forehead dropping briefly to rest near Tony’s temple before he forced himself to lift it up; walk with some dignity.
“Ice will do. While I’ve tried Pop Tarts they are not my favourite. I merely need ice. And possibly some quiet.”
Illusion was one particular magic trick Tony was very good at. Lying to himself was what had helped him as a boy, after all. It helped him in the desert, it helped him through betrayal and bloodshed and near-death experiences, over and over—and it helped him now, looking at the frozen mirror image from another world who’d once more crash-landed his metaphorical saucer in Tony’s backyard. This had to be some…R-Rated version of E.T. happening here, where the wrinkly alien was actually an attractive, lethal—
Oh, so Men in Black, then. Got it, subconscious.
…humor is just another illusion, after all.
So say the cynics.
Loki was a psychologist’s wet dream, but that was besides the point. Tony didn’t like shrinks and he certainly wasn’t here to try and steer Loki onto a couch for some poignant confessions and a sob-fest. He wasn’t honestly sure he could stomach it.
“Not in any state,” Tony shot back with a withering stare of warning, hazel eyes narrowing scornfully. “You don’t touch Clint, you don’t even look at Clint. He’s not your pet.” Stifling rising anger (like some overprotective p—no, he wouldn’t even finish that, let’s go with “pissant” and have done with it), Tony sighed and shook his head wryly. “Why do I even put up with you?” He muttered, mostly to himself. And to ground himself as fear crawled in his veins, pulling its cold, emotionless existence towards his dying heart. A black hole in his chest. A black hole…
“Perhaps,” Tony said vacantly, then rolled a shoulder back and sniffed, shaking his head. “I mean, a guy can certainly daydream.” He grinned at Loki knowingly. “You know, about your snow-white skin and your hair black as ebony, and all that…”
He snorted at Loki’s comment. “I’m not sure you want to know the answer, but I’ll tell you: if I know where something is, it so doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of my organizational skills…” He booted open the door to his bedroom, the bed unmade, but also unslept in, an untouched cup of coffee sitting on the bedside table; electronic blinds half-drawn to reveal glimpses of the glittering New York skyline through shafts of stainless steel in airbrushed eggshell.
“…not if I can help it,” Tony replied, voice soft and eyes fluttering briefly to the floor. They rose when Loki’s head made contact with his own, and for a moment, all was still and silent as hazel met green—before the alien swiveled out of orbit and Tony was left wondering when he’d started comparing Loki to the moon.
Shaking his head, Tony gently guided Loki to the bed to set him down with a shrug of wiry shoulders. “Right, noted. Ice, and—this room is temperature controlled. Where is the—ah.” He picked up a remote from the floor, turning it to toss it gently to the trickster god. “Turn thermostat down to whatever, I don’t care. I’ll be back when the ice machine makes more ice. I used the majority of it to throw at Natasha. She’s funny when she’s mad,” Tony said with a smile, turning to go.
In truth he just…needed a break to decompress.
Take this in and seriously rethink his life, for starters…