Warnings: bad grammar and multiple mistakes
Disclaimer: most of the characters are not mine, but all the mistakes are.
As the casualties and injured reports flowed in from the USS Monterey, Loki listened to every word, every syllable, waiting to hear the familiar name – but it never happened.
On Coulson’s inquiry of Steve’s whereabouts Jay could only shrug and say that the brave captain was MIA, which in current situation was as good as dead.
That would not suffice, not at all.
Over the short time of being on Earth Loki unwillingly, but unavoidably came to think of Steve as his friend. His true and so far, the only friend. The one whose interest in Loki was not based on any possible profit, or respect, or fear, but rather on personal preference.
Captain too had attracted Loki like a magnet. Was it his innocence and righteousness? His heroism and willful spirit? Or maybe the fact that Steve took interest in Loki with no regard to Loki’s status, even showing disdain towards regal superiority- and that fact alone made Loki think that there was something more, concealed beneath the façade of born-to-be-but-never-destined-to king of Asgard, the trickster and the shadow of Thor? Something even Loki himself had never known existed?
Whatever the reason, the prince was sure he had to intervene. That was unsuitable moment for a force demonstration, even planned one, but if Loki ever learned anything from Thor, it was that a true friend is the one whom you help in time of need and later hope he would do the same for you.
Loki dimmed his senses and concentrated, breathing slowly, letting magic flow through his veins freely and manifest itself in his perfect image, only not on the bridge, but further away, on the deck of USS Monterey.
He took some time to adjust his vision and hearing. The projection was weightless and transparent, it bore no strength or physical presence as it was designed solely for watching.
And watching he did.
Loki navigated through mostly deserted corridors, full of smoke and ocean water and flickering lights, evaluating the extent of devastation at the same time.
It did not seem too comforting. The ship was harmed beyond repair, at least while she was in the open sea, and it was a matter of time- minutes most likely, before she sank or exploded- whatever would happen first.
While looking for his friend, Loki took a liberty to whisper words of reassurance or correct directions into the ears of several seamen, making sure they remained calm enough to perform or follow the instructions, since the quality of their actions in a moment of chaos was a difference between life and death.
Finally, when Loki was about to conclude that Steve had left the ship. Though it seemed extremely doubtful, hence, the captain is insatiable need to insure everyone else’s safety before his own; the Aesir heard shouts and noise of struggle in a corridor that should have been abandoned long ago.
He speeded up only to see a group of people desperately trying to get a heavy door open.
That did not make any sense since the ship was doomed, unless they were trying to help a person. Loki slid through the wall into the adjacent bay only to find out that the person was, of course, Steve.
The human was sitting near the door, face redden with heat and exhaustion, reciting some sort of a prayer.
Loki cursed at him.
You fool; words are not going to open this door for you! Get up and find another way out before it is too late!
But Loki’s own words were of no help either. He looked around searching for alternative route, but found none, and hit the door in desperation.
Steve’s head jerked up and blue eyes wondered through the darkness as if he felt Loki’s presence.
The prince took a breath to calm down and stepped out.
Steve most likely saved the men at his life expense, but that sacrifice was about to go to waste since the men were still there, battling with the metal, already submerged up to their hips, and they were not leaving.
Loki snapped his eyes open and in that, instant he was back to the safety of the Victoria.
“I need to go there, now!”
Iceman reacted with delay, turning his head only after he finished adjusting something on the panel, “Go where?”
Loki stepped into the center of the room, ignoring questioning looks his brother shot him.
“To USS Monterey. I saw Steve, he needs my help.”
Iceman threw his hands in the air in a mocking gesture of desperation,
“Oh my god, are you shitting me right now? Have you two made a bet…”
Loki tensed – how could the human now of their interaction with Thor, when the Captain continued, “a bet on who could piss me off more?”
Loki stepped closer, hissing through his teeth, “It has nothing to do with you, I wish to help and I know how, I just need your permission…”
“Permission for what? Go outside and be disintegrated? Have you lately looked out of the window, your highness?”
Loki thought of a smart retort, but glanced out of the window involuntarily, only to witness the burning Monterey deepen her tilt further, stripping Steve and others on board of time they already didn’t have.
That infuriated Loki to no extend.
He felt his anger fueled by despair overtake his blood in a second.
“Your people are dying out there and I know exactly how to help them and yet I’m standing here, wasting time on idle semantics while you are trying to determine whose cock is bigger!”
Loki’s voice certainly sounded loud enough to get everyone’s attention, but he secretly hoped it also was regal and intimidating, and may be a little vulnerable, just enough for Iceman to understand that all Loki wanted to do was help.
The prince could see with the corner of his eye Thor’s jaw dropped in shock but now he did not give a single damn about his brother dearest.
Iceman kept silent for a moment, then leaned in so close the tip of his nose was almost brushing with Loki’s, and whispered, as if betraying a secret,
“No one’s is as big as mine.”
Then he straightened and sighed in resignation.
“But if you have a death wish – fine, be my guest, go on. But I will not be held responsible if you get fucked up.”
Loki gave the captain a curt nod, “I have no plans on dying today.”
Iceman waved him off, “And I had no plans on having any hiccups on today’s exercise, and look where it got me.”
Loki nodded again and vanished into the corridor.
Iceman smirked to himself, “Smug bastard. Jay, tell Javier to turn around, I need him to pick up Monterey’s crew. What?”
The Captain was pinned dead by the glare of Coulson’s icy blue eyes and one raised brow of doom.
“What?! It is your boyfriend he is saving right now, isn’t it?”
The glare continued.
As Loki made his way through the busy corridors of Victoria, he sorted out multiple spells to use in present situation- he needed to physically get to the Monterey, and do that so that he actually could come back- with Steve. Thor’s hammer’s flying capability would certainly prove useful, but Loki could never wield it- he was never good enough for the damn bludgeon, so last resort was his own magic.
When Loki pushed himself out of confinement onto the flying deck and ran through the rain of fire right to the edge of the ship, he smiled and concentrated, and started to concoct.
What a weird sight would it be for humans- to see him, standing on the edge among the ruins, smoke and fire, the raged wind tousling his raven hair, green light of magic flowing from the tips of his fingers and enveloping him in the cocoon of sparkles...
However, the humans were too busy to pay attention to artistic detail.
The magic condensed and slowly formed a bridge below the edge of the platform. Shiny, glistening bridge that stretched far from Victoria to Monterey, solid to walk upon but completely nonexistent when another meteorite struck it.
It was a petty copy of the Great Rainbow Bridge of Asgard, fished out of the memory and recreated with the finest detail- not that anyone on both ships would know that…
Thor would, but he was too preoccupied with nurturing his injured self-esteem to notice.
Loki gazed through the burning darkness and jumped up onto the fence, balancing atop of it while conjuring small balls of light and scattering them across the rainbow bridge, marking the way. Then he leaped, swirled through the air and landed graciously onto the gleaming surface.
A small sigh of relief escaped his lips.
Good thing my magic did not fail me. It would be an embarrassment of riches to drown before my rescue part had even had a chance to begin.
He almost flew over the bridge, feet barely touching the surface, in such a hurry he was. It did not stop him from turning for a second a moment he felt additional pressure falling on the bridge and making it bounce.
Loki’s eyes pierced through the smoke only to find Dr. Macmillan leading a group of corpsmen ahead to help the injured on Monterey.
The uninvited humans seemed startled by sheer strength of Loki’s magic, but moments later their amazement had been forsaken in favor of helping fellow crew.
Brave fools, Loki thought as he conjured another spell, fortifying the bridge to sustain all their weight. It must be epidemic- this burning need to risk one’s life for someone else.
Loki thought for a second, and it certainly is contagious, as even I had fallen ill from it.
The prince glanced one more time at the humans running in single file, whose lack of grace was complemented by stubborn determination, and charged ahead.
Steve’s lungs reached the boiling point- or so it seemed to him as blinding pain sent every nerve in his body on fire.
The noise outside the door suddenly stopped, and Steve feared for a second that it was just his hearing giving out, but the roar of the engine was yet deafening, and the captain realized- the crew must have finally given up futile attempt to rescue him and abandoned the ship.
There was a loud crack and screech of tearing metal and then the cold ocean water rushed into the room, engulfing Steve.
He welcomed it with a smile playing on his lips, a thought of comfort echoing through his mind, that everyone else was safe, that everyone else survived.
For a split of second he felt a presence- a familiar and somewhat comforting, making fear and pain drain away from his body.
It must be presence of my guardian angel…
Then there was nothing.
Loki ran through the familiar corridors, ignoring smoke and heat that burned his eyes, just fighting for the balance as the ship’s hull tilted more and more with each second.
When he finally reached the blasted door, the humans were still there, fighting with the mechanism, spitting and cursing as the water lever had risen almost up to their necks.
The prince pushed through and snapped at them,
They stared at him for a brief moment, then turned back and resumed their petty efforts.
Loki’s patience began to wear thinner and thinner.
“I said, get out, until it is too late!”
Again, it was to no avail.
Loki’s temper reached the breaking point, fueled by fear, excitement and intoxicating rush of blood cast by his crazy beating heart,
“GET OUT, OR I’LL RIP YOUR BLOODY HEADS OFF!”
His roar was so mighty it overlapped the growls of engine and Loki smiled in sadistic delight as humans backed from him, terrified.
A second passed, than they finally obeyed, vacating the place for him to stand.
Loki grabbed the door’s handle and examined the structure briefly.
The lock was automatic, powered by the ship’s hydraulics. There was no way to open it in time, unless…
His muscles screamed, as deed the metal, when Loki let his anger loose and simply tore the door off its sockets.
The wave of water pushed him inside, knocking off his feet for a second, but then Loki regained his posture and strained his eyes to search for Steve.
It did not take long- Steve had never moved aside from the door, he only slid to the floor when heat and pain made him unconscious.
Loki rushed through the water towards his friend, ignoring for a second ominous hiss and steam sipping from the engine as the waves had reached it.
The prince had scooped Steve in his arms and rushed back to the surface.
USS Santa Ana
Javier’s gaze darted from the radars and panels to the window, where a tiny strand of glowing magic bridge hang over the raging ocean.
His team had deployed several rescue boats and half of them were back, flooding the ship with scarred and burned men from Monterey, but small part of the crew still remained unaccounted for- including Captain Rogers and that sassy Loki.
Not that Javier had suddenly become enamored of both those men, but Steve was a decent fellow of rare qualities and courage, and Loki…well, he certainly was smart and cunning- and brave, as he chose a fiery chaos over the relative safety of the Victoria’s bridge to save his newly found friend.
A deed worth of notice.
Finally, the forward looking spotted Loki carrying unconscious Steve away from burning Monterey, and pointed the direction.
Santa Ana was going on full throttle, but Javier could not help asking his First Officer,
“Can’t you go any faster?”
The officer snapped, “What do you want me to do? Go outside and give it a push?”
Javier growled irritably, “A, cabron!” and turned back to watching the consoles.
Loki took a moment to catch his breath as the rescue boat slowed down near the bridge and a seaman reached down to help the prince. The moisture gathered on his cheeks, soothing the molested skin and bringing comfort. He looked up- the skies were gray now, clouds dissipating in many places, leaving openings through which the light reached down.
The hail subdued and now the air, past scorched and smoky, was cooling down, and small droplets of rain condensed in the atmosphere.
The meteorites still fell now and then, but it was an aftershock, no more, and did not seem to bother all those who just survived the disaster.
With a bit of an effort the crew dragged Steve aboard the ship, securing him in his place, and came back to help Loki up.
But as much as Loki wanted to finally set his foot on a steady surface and forget the whole ordeal, he chose to wait and help the last of Monterey’s orphaned men first.
He might have been exhausted, indeed-but as remaining sailor extended his shaking arm to help him up, disregarding his own paleness and buckling knees, Loki just rolled his eyes, scooped the human into his arms and hurled him up, landing him into the boat with one well-aimed motion and smirking at the human’s whine of protest.
Loki’s humor, however, was ill fated since they all had just ran out of time.
The USS Monterey’s engine breathed its last breath and finally gave in, ferociously exploding, tearing its mother’s hull into tiny melting pieces and sending a huge shock wave through the ocean’s surface.
As one end of connection was lost, the bridge immediately collapsed, falling into tiny sparkles and soaring down into the ocean.
The very second Loki felt his feet lose the ground he reached up, desperately, and held onto one of the humans who rushed to grab him in return.
But the attempt was doomed to fail – as soon as the wave hit him, the human’s fingers gave in, too weak to secure the saving grip on Loki’s wrist and Loki fell, choking on the salty water, plummeting down into the depths.
He struggled to swim, to overcome the flow but lost his moment, the current was too strong even for a god, and the water column crushed Loki with its enormous weight, seizing his movements and dragging him deeper and deeper.
He fought the storming ocean, his tiredness and panic, and thought,
I am weak, I need help, Thor, I need you now, brother, please!
But nothing happened - the help did not come.
As the last bubbles of air left Loki’s lungs, he thrashed and threw his arm out in final attempt to grasp the boat which outline was looming over the surface.
His fingers grasped nothing and Loki’s eyes widened in fear, but then a strong hand grabbed his wrist and did not let go.
Loki continued staring at the hand for a second, ignoring burning eyes and lungs screaming for air, happy that his brother did not abandon him in his peril, and realizing after a moment that the hand did not belong to Thor…
Then he had to shut his eyes since the hand and the body it was attached to pulled Loki up onto the boat.
“Don’t tell me you decided to die on me today, highness.”
Loki smiled, trying to control his breath, “I learned from the best.”
Steve nodded in acceptance, muttered, “Thank you,” and fell down to the bottom of the boat next to Loki, gasping for air.
The Forward Seeing tapped the side and boat jumped a little, gaining speed and taking all the men away from the Monterey’s final moments.
The bridge met Jay’s message with cheering and clapping as all the people rejoiced after the rescue mission was complete.
Iceman clapped Jay’s back and ordered both Victoria and Santa Ana turn sail to port to get a more secure position and render assistance to all injured seamen.
Thor watched with disdain and indignation as the men around him visibly relaxed and started gossiping about his brother’s display of power.
All that human admiration of Loki did not please Thor in slightest- of course, his brother possessed many talents, but when it came to conflict, Loki chose to shy away or talk his way out instead of choosing noble fight.
Thor never approved the use of magic or tricks that his brother favored so fervently - they all were child games, unworthy of a true warrior.
Thor neither understood the humans with their lust for shine and show. Loki’s magic was pleasing to watch, but it was vain. The rescue of one person in human eyes bore enough weight to be considered as military prowess, but it was no match for Thor’s talent as a leader.
War is not won by personal heroics, nor by magical theatrics- it is won by overwhelming might.
Iceman continued switching between the channels, gathering reports of injured men aboard Santa Ana, when he got a distress signal from USAF Patterson.
Jay’s eyes rounded as he listened to the report – the Russians had just spotted a meteorite too big to be ignored, heading towards Pennsylvania.
Iceman suddenly looked worried.
“We have to shut it down.”
“It might hit way too close to Peach bottom nuke plant.”
Jay nodded, then inquired, “should I inform the army?”
Iceman shrugged it off,
“They have no active presence there, we might ask the AF but I can’t risk their fuck up.”
With that he turned on the inter comm and contacted the nuke batteries, “Prepare to fire, we have a biggie heading to nuke plant in Penn state. Be ready to launch in 1 minute.”
Thor’s voice boomed through the bridge, “No need for that. It’s time I showed you, humans, what real power looks like.”
With that, Thor swung his hammer and soared in the skies, crushing through the windshield first and showering the men with glass splinters upon his majestic exit.
Iceman wiped his face from raindrops, carried in by gush of wind, and looked at Jay.
Jay made puppy eyes,
“Can I shoot him?”
The Captain’s grin turned feral.
“Batteries, prepare to launch.”
Agent Coulson chose to intervene,
“Captain, I believe Thor promised us assistance. I suggest you postpone the launch- perhaps, he would be able to stop the meteorite himself?”
Iceman glared at Coulson,
“What the Goldilocks is going to stop it with, the magic power of his luscious hair?”
The bridge snickered, but Coulson pressed further,
“I strongly advise you not angering or alienating the ambassadors no matter how bad they irritate you.”
“About that- since we don’t have a…outsider presence at the bridge any longer, I suggest you start debriefing me immediately. On meteorites and the rest.”
“I don’t believe it is a right time.”
“I do.” Iceman started to sound irritated, “And I suggest you make it quick.”
He stared at the agent, eyes darting to the timer with launch countdown.
Coulson decided to submit.
“Fine. The Aesir…are not the only extraterrestrial race we came into contact with willingly or accidentally, and all I can say now is that…not all of those races are as benevolent as Thor and Loki.”
The captain was not even close to surprised.
“Peachy. But- benevolent or not, I’m not risking lives of people on the ground for prince’s chance to prove himself.”
He turned back to Jay and switched the inter comm, “Batteries, launch on my mark.”
USS Santa Ana
“What is he going to do?”
Steve’s puzzled look softened Loki’s concern a bit, and the prince smiled.
“Thor is going to call upon the power of Mjolnir and summon a lightning to strike down the meteorite. Your ancestors didn’t call him the God of Thunder for no reason.”
Apparently, the explanation was unsatisfactory, because Steve’s puzzlement immediately morphed into deep frown.
“But if he is so incredibly powerful, why then he just stood there and watched people around him suffer? He is supposed to be a hero, is he not? Or perhaps his bravery extends only to his own profit?”
Loki grinded his teeth. As much as his heart secretly rejoiced at Steve’s clear discontent with his brother, Thor was of his kin and, what mattered more- a representative of Asgard, and thus had to be referred to with higher regard, or it would set a bad example.
“I would have you to show more respect towards my brother, Steve. Besides, his power has a…well, a side effect.”
Steve stared at him with eyes shining with curiosity.
“What side effect?”
“Are you fucking kidding me?!”
A growl of uncontrollable anger immediately attracted Steve’s attention,
As the First Officer continued to profoundly curse, covering his face with his palms and rocking his head back and forth, Javier turned to Steve and Loki.
“Your dear brother flew to stop the rock, right?”
“Well, he did. He made a grandiose lightning show above some remote farm in Penn state. Scared lots of innocent cows, that is for sure. And may be some sheep too. And fried all the radars in the area and that damned Russian satellite with his little firework as well.”
Steve whispered, “Is this the side effect you mentioned?”
Loki frowned. “He damaged the satellite- regrettable fact, I admit, but he stopped the meteorite’s advancement as promised, did he not? What is the reason for your anger?”
Javier shook his head, “Oh, no reason at all. Well, may be the fact that meteorite was not the biggest one! We were tracking a much bigger piece of shit with our Russian comrades but guess what- we can’t do it anymore because all the equipment is fucked up now!”
Loki felt his blood chill with dreadful feeling,
“Where is the bigger one heading?”
“No New York City.”
The prince threw a quick glance at Steve and felt a limp of ice form in his stomach- Steve stared at Javier with sheer horror on his face.
“And what if it hits this New York City? What is estimate on casualties?”
Javier shrugged, “Thousands.”
Loki closed his eyes.
Damn. Damn you Thor and all your insatiable thirst for power display, damn you! Why are all of your deeds driven by impulse? Why don’t you ever think of the consequences? Thousands, Thor, thousands- and all endangered because you could not keep your hands of your damn hammer!
Loki’s mind raced through most of the possibilities of outcome and none of them was in Aesir favor.
Even if the humans managed somehow to get rid of the meteorite, Thor’s reckless actions and complete disregard of authority already brought irreversible damage to their image.
Though Loki might still manage to make amends if only there were no victims.
Which means he has to make sure the rock does not reach the city.
Now that would be nearly impossible.
He could not however just stand there and leave the outcome to the chance- the fortune did not seem to favor them at present moment.
Loki started to concentrate, calling upon the inner reserves of his magic, searching for it in the deepest parts of his body, in every cell, in every drop of blood.
“Javier, have you ever set foot to the city in danger?”
“Um, no, why?”
“I did, I grew up in Brooklyn, one of the City’s boroughs.”
Loki nodded in acknowledgement and commanded, “Describe it to me.”
“Just do it. Describe it to me in every detail, and please, do it quickly.”
Steve did not waste another second.
“Tall buildings made of glass, steel and concrete, piercing the sky. Bridges hanging over the river that glistens in the sun. Busy streets full of life, and people, and…”
“Please choose something more specific.”
“Um…An island, upon it a tall bronze statue of a woman wearing a crown and holding a torch and a book in her hands…”
Loki’s eyes snapped open.
And with that, he vanished.
Steve stared at the empty space beside him with his mouth open.
Javier cursed again and turned to the console, “Screw this magic, I better stick to missiles.”
“Gentlemen, we are fucked.”
Captain Iceman put down the headset and put missile launch switch on “off.”
“Jay, what’s the impact ETA?”
“5 to 6 minutes, sir.”
Iceman frowned, “Why so long?”
“It is on a gliding trajectory, sir. So…any chance that some AF pilot notices it on the way or something?”
Iceman huffed in disdain, “Right, hope for the miracle.”
All the men, even Coulson, stood there, waiting for the news to come.
Suddenly, Jay started to fidget.
No one would have noticed if the bridge was not so silent- so Iceman immediately turned back around,
“What is it?”
Jay shrugged, looking flabbergasted.
“I don’t know…I …um…I’m getting some sort of weird interference…”
“What sort of interference? Jay?”
Jay’s confusion grew with each passing second, “It is …I don’t know, it sounds like…Black Sabbath?”
Coulson immediately rushed to console and grabbed the vacant set of phones.
The music was distinctive now, and volume grew with every moment.
That could mean only one thing.
“Agent,” a familiar voice echoed through the mike, “You’re throwing a party and I am not invited? It hurts my feelings!”
Coulson’s lips curled up in a smile, “Why bother, Mr. Stark, if you always invite yourself?”
“How long have you been listening to our channels?”
A burst of static, then “Long enough.”
“Then you are aware of…”
“Yeah, yeah, a big space rock heads towards New York, yes, I’ve heard. Don’t worry, Coulson, I will take care of it.”
Another burst of static, and the signal was gone.
“Stark? Stark, can you hear me?”
“Sir,” Jay tugged on Coulson’s sleeve, “He just went MACH 3.”
Coulson discarded the phones carefully and turned to the men on the bridge,
“Well, gentlemen, I believe we’ve just got us eyes in the sky.”