|iron man's number is (atomic26) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2014-03-16 23:06:00
|Entry tags:||door: marvel comics, iron man, loki, thor|
Who: Loki, Thor, and Tony
What: Loki prisoner transfer. Also spit.
Where: Bifrost zapping, Stark Tower party crashing
When: Backdated to a bit ago, before the Avengers found out about the sneakin'.
Warnings/Rating: Safe, no swears.
There were many on Asgard who believed Loki held some sway over the Marauders. While he wasn't given to listening to every bit of gossip that the courtiers gave voice to, those voices were becoming angrier. And given Loki's penchant for causing mischief, it was only going to be sooner, rather than later, that he provoked them. They weren't the same as his mortal friends on Midgard, there would be no pause for questions only a fight that would either end with Loki broken (to Thor's displeasure), or with him having beaten his opponents (to the displeasure of Asgard's people).
Better to put him somewhere safer, where Thor wouldn't have to concern himself as much Loki's well being and could concentrate fully on the ongoing attacks by the Marauders. Yet, he could not leave Loki's defense solely to Tony. Four Einherjar were to journey with him, those that would not tell Loki anything and, perhaps more importantly, they were chosen from an ever smaller pool of those still willing to keep him alive rather than to see him dead. To Loki, Thor said nothing of his plans until he arrived in Loki's chambers with the four that would accompany them to Midgard.
Clad in his sleeveless armor, with Mjolnir strapped to his waist in his gift, he entered without bothering to knock. "Loki. Get up."
There was nothing Loki liked more than to hear his brother was going to need to jump to his defense because the populace wanted to murder him enough that he needed to be moved to an undisclosed location. Really, it made him chuckle. That he was to be remanded into the custody of one of Thor's mighty Midgardian friends, however, was even better. Oh, he had heard of the plans for him. Not who he would be staying with, of course, but it was no secret that the Thunderer needed to get his troublesome brother off world before he publicly took responsibility for the Marauders just to make Thor's life more difficult.
So it was no surprise when Thor burst open the door as he was in the middle of a book. He sighed. Such things would have to wait. He was fully dressed, however, leaving no illusions as to whether he knew Thor would be coming for him. His guards did chatter away. "Is it time already?" he asked, striding toward the door, ignoring the imposing Einherjar who would protect his life only because they fell just this side of the knife's edge of loyalty to the crown, even in situations such as this. "Well, let us make haste. I am sure my hosts must be wondering why I have yet to arrive."
If he noticed that Mjolnir hung in his gift, he did not give any indication.
To find his brother with a book was no more surprising than him bursting through the door was to Loki. And though he did his best to make sure not all knew that Loki was being moved off world, apparently he could not keep that knowledge from his brother. A small, almost amused smile pulled his lips upwards as he spotted Loki, fully dressed, as if they were leaving on one of a thousand quests like they had when they were younger.
This was no such quest. Not now. Perhaps once Loki had fulfilled the terms of the kvidr and once the threat of the Marauders was over, it could be again. "It is." And once Loki was with Tony, he would make a brief stop to fulfill his promise to Cupid since the Man of Iron had not yet found his courage to do so, and then back here where he could concentrate fully on the annoyance of the Marauders. "Eager to see Midgard again?"
"Most," Loki replied, halting close to his brother, feeling the gaze of his bodyguards on his back. It was true enough that the people of Asgard had been likely to come seeking their favorite traitor sooner rather than later, and perhaps preventive measures were for the best. Loki was, at least nominally, reforming himself. Murdering the populace would have done little to help his case or his long term plans. His hands were folded behind his back, but he presented his wrists to his brother. "Will I be bound for the trip?" he asked, sweet and compliant as could be.
Thor did not expect Loki to object to returning to Midgard. He'd made friends there, the last that Thor knew, and while he might not be able to see them, depending on Tony, they would be closer in terms of proximity than they had since Loki's sentencing. What he did not expect was the compliance, the offering of his wrists for the cuffs that dangled on Thor's opposite hip. They weren't the same ones that had stolen Loki's seiðr from him, nor the wrist and ankle shackles that most prisoners wore outside of the dungeons. These ones were simple, if bulky as Thor placed them on the offered wrists. The gears slid together, locking in place before he pulled a smallish round piece of metal with a narrow protuberance from his pocket.
Only when it was placed between his teeth would the metal plating slide out to frame his jaw and keep him silent. A secondary precaution. Loki's silver tongue was even less inclined to obedience than the rest of him was and Thor knew it. "Do you wish for a drink before?"
Loki could handle being bound without issue. Being muzzled, however, evoked an altogether different reaction from the Liesmith. He liked his tongue just where it was, in his mouth, mobile, constructive and destructive. It was one of his best assets, really. Not only was being silenced a nuisance, since it rendered much of what he was good at very difficult indeed, but it served as an indignity that stoked the fire in him. Muzzled, like an animal. It was a link in the chain of self-fulfilling prophecy. He despised it, but the reactions of the citizens when he had been dragged through Asgard the first time, gagged like a beast that bit, did bring him some wicked, bitter satisfaction. It put him in the mood for sharp teeth.
He chose not to respond. His hands were already shackled, so he couldn't exactly gesture. He merely parted his lips and watched Thor, perfectly blasé and expectant.
No jibes came, as they might have if one of the guards or another warrior of Asgard would have given if they had been the one to bring the muzzle before Loki. Thor expected more of a fight beyond the hardness now held in Loki's eyes and half expected to feel his teeth as he fit the rounded edge of the muzzle between his teeth. Another time, and in another place, Loki had led him through Jotunheim under the guise of being shackled and leashed. Thor had no such seiðr to cast such a rouse, and no inclination to lie even if it had been possible. If their positions were reversed, he would expect the same.
But as always, there was what he must do -- the shackles, the muzzle -- and what he wanted. The plating slid out of the central piece like a sword from a hilt and along the sharp bone of Loki's jaw up to his temples where it stilled. He hated the look of it on his brother, but there was little else that could be done to still Loki's cutting tongue. It didn't stop him from following the line of metal with a stroke of broad palm, his fingers curling around the back of Loki's neck as they had so often before. "You know why this must be done," Thor said lowly, even as his thumb rubbed against the soft spot beneath his earlobe. It was all he could offer his brother before he stepped back and nodded to the guards. They formed up behind them and unlike how it had been before, Thor matched his pace to Loki's, to keep them side by side instead of falling into older habits and forcing Loki to keep up with him if he wanted to remain within the honored position of behind and to the right. That was a place for a trusted second.
It was the patronizing that finally managed to climb under Loki's skin. Not the muzzle, not the irons clasped around his wrists, but Thor's vaguely regretful tone of admonishment, as he put his hand on the back of Loki's neck like a wild thing to be placated. He did not move, or jerk his head away - he was on his best behavior, after all. He kept his head down and his eyes turned low, adopting the posture of resignation. Yet he filed it away, that touch, that tone, on his long list of things not to forget. He was no rabid dog to be put down or muzzled, or placated with the petting of his master.
Loki did keep up, and he did stay just a little behind Thor, where he had always walked, where he had always been second. It was where everyone was most used to seeing him, and where he was used to looking, never a clear view of the pack, always a peer from behind. Things not forgotten, things that had been set a long time ago. Well, he was no one's second anymore. Even the people who had once seen him as such knew that now. All the penance in the world would not make them forget, and in that way he had succeeded. He could walk a step behind his brother, but no one saw him as merely the second son, not anymore.
Loki's refusal to meet his eyes, as equals did, even the lack of stubborn anger that had so often colored his eyes stuck like a burr in his mind. He'd heard the calls for Loki to be left in the dungeon, to emerge only when he was broken, the other cries to have him kneel in submission before all of Asgard, and the others still for him to be cast out, home and Asgard forever taken from him. None of these would he grant. Perhaps this trip to Midgard, even in the care of Tony, would be good for him.
It was that thought that carried him through the streets of Asgard, past his people and their homes, their shops, their watching eyes as their little group moved through the city. His steps continually slowed until he finally had to reach back to the place where he knew Loki to be, thick fingers closing around leather and metal before he yanked him forward. Only when they were even did he let go and continue onto the Bifrost, the bridge quietly chiming with every footstep. It did not entirely dull the smack of the waves beneath them, but as they moved further from the city, the low thrum of people talking, moving, of weapons meeting in the training yard, of the hammer on the anvil, the farmer coaxing his mule along, waned. And at the end of the Bifrost, the shell of Heimdall's observatory, not yet complete. Yet the bridge still functioned and as they crossed inside, Thor closed his eyes, reaching for that connection that spanned Yggdrasil.
Light shot out and on Midgard, the skies darkened, clouds bunching together until light sparked down from the sky to the road in front of Stark Tower. And not trusting Loki to blithely follow, Thor took him by the elbow and went through first. Even on the most sobering of occasions, travel by the Bifrost could still make him laugh, and now as no exception, though his smile was gone by the time they landed heavily in the middle of Midgard's street. He waited for the answering thud of the Einherjar landing before letting go of the bridge. Beneath them, the knotwork continued to smoke and glow orange, even after they had left it and begun to cross the plaza to the front of the building.
Tony was waiting in the lobby. He wasn’t in armor, nor was he in a t-shirt, and he resembled the boring, substantial men who populated this part of his world, exhibiting a fitted black suit and white shirt open to the chill New York winter air. He had his hands in his pockets and a sober look on his face, expression clean of any of his usual humor and his carefully groomed appearance the perfect amor against the suggestion of any significant change in his life or personality. For Loki, Tony planned on being pointlessly eternal, with nothing of significance around him, and he stared into the pale bastard’s face and wondered how much he remembered about the last time he’d been here.
And, true to character, Tony just said what he was thinking. “You remember being here before, Smurfette?” Loki had been pretty blue then; literally. Tony smiled slightly to think of it, a mocking smile that had a double-edge most people didn’t see. When Tony mocked, he was usually mocking himself at the same time, in one capacity or another.
Jerking his head toward Thor to indicate they proceed to the doors behind him, Tony turned in the center of the lobby, which was hauntingly empty of any staff, and led them farther in, trying not to think about the last time Loki had been behind him, because the amount of required physical therapy after the experience still made him a little grumpy. Their footsteps echoed in the silence, and only half the lights were lit, like a store closed for the day. Tony’s blue chest light glowed strong in the gathering shadows as they moved away from the center of the lobby. Strolling toward the elevator, he said, “I’d like to go on the record as saying this is a bad idea, and also, ‘I told you so,’ so you can remember I was the first one to say it when things go wrong.”
Loki was not entirely fond of being yanked around by a lead by anyone, but he kept willfully upright and unbent as his brother dragged him through the streets of Asgard to the bridge. The trip over it, hurtling through space at terrific and powerful speed, offered a brief moment of respite. When he had been younger, traveling to other worlds had been a cherished thing, time away from the often stifling atmosphere of court, excitement and danger everywhere. While battle had never been his strongest suit, there had been a certain exasperating thrill to cutting his teeth on new enemies, and triumphing in foolhardy quests that his brother set out for him and the Warriors Three. Even as his patience had waned and his joy soured, he had still love to go, to leave Asgard for places yet unknown and learn their secrets, to be party to the winning side.
If the method of travel brought back memories of anticipation, their arrival back in Midgard brought nothing but disgust. The air in this 'metropolis' smelled of rancid food and chemical dust, and it was merely another sign of the inferiority of humanity that they could stand for it.
Tony Stark did not intimidate Loki, not in his bland black suit and his ivory tower, not at any time. He was pulled along at equal bearing with his brother (some misguided attempt to rebuff any thought that they might not be equal? Ha.) until they came to a stop in the entryway of the massive building.
Oh, he remembered this place. He had not forgotten the living quarters on the highest floor, nor the cage on the lowest. His green eyes burned, fixed dead on Stark, but there was no hint of recognition for 'Smurfette'. The word meant nothing to him, though it didn't take a brilliant mind to pick out an insult in the tone. There was, of course, no option for him to reply, even if he might have liked to, the muzzle keeping him quiet for the time being. But while he might be edging into reformation, or at least following the script, he saw no need to pretend a fondness for Tony Stark. That would be beneath both of them, and so little could be beneath Stark that it had to be a pointless thing indeed to be granted the distinction. He kept his chin up, walked stiff and upright, and bit down on the metal in his mouth.
'Smurfette' was lost on Thor as well, his brows pushing together in a frown, but he did not ask. On the best of days, even with all that Thor had learned of modern Midgard, Tony's words were confusing. Had they been here under better circumstances, Thor might have asked Loki, but no question was posed as they filed into the elevator, the Einherjar as silent as Loki was.
And as welcome as that silence could be, it had only been for Loki's own good that he had gone through the streets of Asgard silenced. Here in Tony's tower there was no need for it. The most he could do here was to provoke Tony into a fight, not all of Asgard and for all that Tony had seemed to want that fight whenever they met with Loki before, Thor trusted him. He hadn't proposed torture for Loki, nor had he seen any evidence of unduly harsh conditions imposed upon his brother when he had been here last. He fared nothing worse than he would have gotten within Asgard's own dungeons.
"It will not be for long. If he causes any disruptions, that is why the Einherjar are here. You know how to reach me if you must," Thor stated as he reached over to depress the front of the muzzle, the sliding metal arms retreating into the rounded piece in the front. Of all the realms, this was possibly the safest for his brother and the one where he was least likely to raise an army to do his bidding. Cupping his hand beneath the sharp point of Loki's chin, he waited for the muzzle to be spit out, his head turning towards Tony. "And you have my thanks."
Loki let the bit of the muzzle fall from his mouth with a hint of a snarl, swiftly reigned in, as the metal slid past his teeth. The second it was out, he slid his chin from Thor's grip with a jerk of his head. The touch was all kindness, the last thing he wanted in front of a man like Stark. He would brook no weakness - he would offer no quarter, reform or no. "Why not drop to your knees before him?" he asked, the moment his tongue was loosened, low, sardonic, and surprisingly even, the moment his tongue was loosened. His eyes slid back to Stark. "It would save some time."
He glanced around the foyer. "Rather ostentatious, don't you think?" He straightened on his feet, pulling his arms back a bit further behind to get a good look at the expansive room. Behind him, the Einherjar didn't so much as blink. "Almost as if the man who built it had something to prove. Fit for a king, even." His gaze narrowed, his smile turning to amusement. "Do you aspire to be a king amongst men, Mister Stark?" The thought itself was clearly a joke.
Then he took a step back, inclining his head to Thor. “I think my new king and I will do well together. We have had practice.” He straightened. “Run along, now. You do have nine entire realms to keep from being sacked at random.”
Tony watched the de-muzzling with distinct distaste but obvious interest, as if he was visiting a zoo. Privately he thought Thor was being a little too soft on the arrogant mass-murderer, but hey, there were people who said that about Pepper, too. Tony left his hands in his pockets and smirked as only he could smirk once all of Loki’s face was presented. He focused on Loki almost exclusively for several seconds, enjoying his attention, to all appearances. “Oh now I recognize you, sorry, I couldn’t tell with the moron medal attached to your face. Were they worried you’ll tear your stitches?”
Tony glanced up into the foyer negligently. It needed something, he didn’t know what. It was elegant and clean, and there was something of the Guggenheim in the way it swirled gracefully upward, but Tony was rarely ever pleased with his creations, or the people he hired to create. The criticism didn’t bother him. He smiled again at the idea of himself as a king. Tony didn’t want to rule anything except his own creations, and it certainly wasn’t his fault they were so valuable. The view from the threshold of the elevator was not as imposing, focusing on the idea of departure and a narrowing of light and sensation as the grand foyer closed into a smaller hall.
To Thor he said, “If you insist on dumping your trash here, I expect prompt pickup.” Tony completely ignored Loki’s jab at Thor’s majestic pride and instead focused up on the man’s face, frowning slightly. Their brief argument about Pepper had been mostly in jest until the very end, but Tony couldn’t quite bring himself to forget it entirely. He wasn’t going to mention it in front of the psycho, so he stepped back a little and casually flicked his gaze over the tall guards. “You really think these guys are qualified?” He put one hand out and nudged the chest of the one nearest him, curious to see what would happen if they got poked out of sobriety. “Seriously, these guys are like the guards with the fuzzy hats in London. You just want to prod them.”
Unlike the other two, Thor merely took in size and shape of the grand foyer, his gaze not lingering on the lines of metal and glass -- graceful or not. Perhaps at some other time he could marvel at the difference in architecture, how it had changed over the centuries from the narrow halls of Northern Europe to these great behemoths that rivaled the Citadel in wanting to touch the sky. The elevator and the smaller hall received even less attention. "I wouldn't have you in my shadow again, brother," Thor quipped back.
Casting a glance around, refusing to use his cloak or the gold ones of the Einherjar, he finally used the back of Loki's armor to wipe the spit from the rounded end of the muzzle and promptly held it out to Tony. He trusted Tony to keep it and if not, he knew any of the Einherjar would take it and use it when they saw fit.
A momentary narrowing of his eyes came at the mention of guards with fuzzy hats, but as frequently happened with Tony, Thor ignored it instead of questioning the other man. "They prod back," was all he said about their qualifications. as one pointedly nudged Tony in the shoulder, more gently than they would have if the Man of Iron had been Asgardian. If he didn't trust them, he would have found others to guard Loki during his stay here. "It was only the dwarves of Nidavellir that stitched his mouth shut." And namely why Thor couldn't leave his brother there either, though they would have kept Loki firmly in place.
Tony looked down at the intricate mold of the muzzle as if Thor had just held out a Hitler keepsake. “That has got to be the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen,” he said, forthright in his distaste. “Really, as if I don’t have enough problems keeping down my lunch around this guy.” But he leaned forward and, with a steady hand, plucked the metal piece from Thor’s hand using two fingers. He held it a little away from his body as if it stank, avoiding looking directly at it. For a moment his mind went on a pleasant detour that featured his metal-clad arm shoving the thing onto Loki’s face in the middle of some dramatic fall, like in a lava pit, but the vision faded away.
Tony flashed a smile at the stoic guard as if he had not just tested to see how real the Einherjar were using only two fingers and a quip. He put on a look of delighted interest. “Someone stitched his mouth shut? That is brilliant, how come we never thought of that?”
Tony turned, ignoring the way his back twinged under his fine suit, and stepped back to point the guards and their prisoner toward the elevator. “Let’s get the Green Mile walk done, I have champagne to swill and women to impress.” He made that last up from whole cloth; he wasn’t going anywhere from now on, and he certainly wasn’t going to bring anyone home while Loki was in the basement.
Loki watched with interest and open amusement as Thor handed the device off to Stark, and chuckled as Stark took it between two fingers. "It doesn't bite," he remarked, even as the Einherjar elbowed him along toward the elevator. "Not nearly so much as I do, at any rate."
He was turned away from the pair of them as they began to discuss the incident with the stitching, so his face was out of sight. Yes, Loki did remember that, and Thor did so like to bring it up when he wanted to bring back echoes of past shame. "A just reward for showering favors on fools," he said, eyes fixed on the doors in front of them. From behind, his sneer was invisible. That incident had only been one of many where his inclination to mischief had tangled with his will to help and done him wrong. "Win someone a spear that never falters, and a ship suitable for a god, and have your lips sewn shut because a dull dwarf lost a bet." While the court laughed, and while his brother looked on and did nothing to prevent it.
It had not been the first of such slights, and of course it was not the last. But the pain and humiliation had scored deeply. The scars were gone, but it was a day he still thought of, particularly when his brother was lecturing him on the consequences of his 'mischief'. But he would set it aside, and speak no more of it. Stark obviously found it as entertaining, and Loki did not intend to be his entertainment. "What does it take for a man of your...stature. To impress a woman?" Loki asked, turning his head and casting a sharp eye back on Stark. "A tower as tall as the sun?" His arched brow lent the correct undercurrent of contempt. Only a man with fear built such an ostentatious edifice to himself and his ideals. "You build like a child with something to prove, and I doubt that women are the only ones you mean to prove it to."
Loki and biting brought back only one memory and it was not one that Thor was prepared to indulge in at the moment, one of clothes that were not his own and a forest he had never seen before or since.
Nor did he expect Loki to wander into the memory of his lips being sealed shut and he stared at the back of his brother's head as he recounted what happened. "You promised them your head and then would not let them take it on the grounds that they could not have your neck." While it was true that Loki had managed to wrest some of the best tools from the dwarves that day, the wager was a foolish one and Thor couldn't decide if it was some death wish that Loki had or only his inclination to mock those around him. And it had been one of the times when Thor wouldn't come to his aid. Better his silence than his death. He'd hoped that having his lips stitched shut would teach Loki when to keep his tongue still, but time had proven that to be impossible for his brother.
And 'lo, even now Loki continued to prove it. With Loki's back to them, Thor pointed to the two buttons at the top and the bottom of the mouthpiece that would make the metal fan out and cover his jaw. "You'll need it more than I will, my friend."
A smile flitted across Loki's face as the Einherjar shuffled him into the elevator, and he turned to look back at them. "I did, at that." It had been a good trick, one he still recalled with some fondness. Biting at the dwarves, taunting them, taking the greatest pieces they had ever forged and offering no payment but a smile and a debt no one could possibly collect. Yes, a very good trick. But silence had never been his way, and almost as soon as the thread had been stitched around his mouth, he had torn it out again with shaking fingers and bloodied hands, copper on his tongue, scarlet streaking his face. He had run to the woods, and, for a short time, abandoned the court.
He had come back, of course. He had always come back, always predicted change and been sorely disappointed. That day, though, he had learned a valuable lesson. Those that profited from his trickery were just was willing to let him suffer the consequences for it while they reaped the spoils. And so all the stories had been written - one arch-villain, neatly wiping away the good he'd done, the wisdom he'd offered, the trophies he'd won for each and everyone of them. Then and now, the story rolled on the same way.
"If Mister Stark cannot handle a little talk, then he is more fragile than I feared," quipped the god in the elevator. "Well, no sense in dallying. I have a handsome cell to be reintroduced to."
Tony looked up at Thor with an expression of tired resignation, ignoring Loki just to prove that he could. He really could’ve said any number of things in response to the blatant taunting, and comforted his inner child that any argument could have been won, if he wanted to bother. That’s right Tony, take the high road. He didn’t give the metal thing any further respect even after Thor’s dubious recommendation, refusing to pocket it, cuddle it, or otherwise acknowledge its spit-soaked existence. “Always good to see you, big guy. I wish you had better news for me when we do see you.” He turned back toward the elevator, paused, then glanced over his shoulder one more time. “I hope you’re working on your big speech to everybody else here, if they find out, because nobody’s else is paying my fan club dues right now.”
Tony got in the elevator, leaning into the wall and saying, as the elevator doors closed, “I can invest in a sewing machine if that’s really what works.”