Warnings: bad grammar and multiple mistakes
Disclaimer: most of the characters are not mine, but all the mistakes are.
It was extremely hard to breathe as the air was freezing cold and lack of oxygen made the lungs ache, but Loki ignored his bodily protests and continued strenuous work on a set of protective spells.
He was stranded very high up in the Midgardian sky, right on the border where the planet’s atmosphere ended and vacuum of space began. Beneath his feet were kilometers of open air and if he looked down it would have seemed he was standing on the carpet made of clouds.
Over his head stretched the limitless blackness of space, ogling the prince with its myriads of eyes and going on around him infinitely.
Down on the planet, where the day turned into the night, a nature spectacle continued, grandiose in its beauty- Loki could not resist casting quick glances at the northern Aurora from time to time, bright and colorful splashes of liquid light firing up the darkened skies where the highest layers of atmosphere collided with solar winds.
It was truly a mesmerizing sight- fairly reminding Loki of Rainbow bridge, also radiant and majestic amidst the darkness of space, only Midgardian version of it was much …wilder, like a gust of freedom.
He was literally hanging in the middle of nowhere by sheer power of his will and strength of his magic. Since he never possessed Thor’s ability to levitate, he had to think his way out of the predicament- and so, he was teleporting himself between several almost identical locations each passing second. To a witness it would have seemed that Loki was “flickering”, as if he was a projection suffering from interference. Not that he could get any witnesses there, of course.
The plummeting temperature in the upper atmosphere crystallized all the moisture into the ice immediately, turning Loki’s clothes, still drenched in the ocean water, into the wood hard mess. He had to triple his efforts just to be able to move, and that was when he needed all power he had left to complete the task.
Loki flexed his rigid fingers.
Sparks of greenish energy flowed from his fingertips and weaved into intricate ornaments that glistened in the sunlight and then dissolved without a visible trace.
One spell for initial impact, one layer for the deep freeze, one to crush the rock into pieces.
The humans miscalculated the time of the hit, though this once error was in their favor- Loki could see the approaching asteroid as it grew bigger and bigger, locked on head on collision course from the depths of the space, glowing brighter with each moment and already almost outshining the Sun.
However, there still was time- seconds before it enters the atmosphere, not enough to create something elaborate but just enough to set up a number of traps to slow, cool, and break down the culprit.
As soon as his first set of spells was complete, Loki re-positioned himself deeper into the atmosphere.
This area was quite remote from the sight of earlier disaster, and bore no traces of the meteor shower that hit the navy party.
That did not seem to matter from the first thought, but when new wave of cosmic boulders, turned into fireballs by friction, started showering the space around him with fireflies, he did shortly appreciate the fact.
They were small, only the outriders for a larger missile hurdling through space, but the air already started to warm up.
Loki called upon his powers with triple force, fastening the speed.
He was in the middle of conjuring another barrier when a particularly large asteroid lunged past him, slicing the air with a streak of fiery tail.
Loki paused his spell for a brief moment, musing that the size of that asteroid was too large to let it fall down and perhaps he should have done something to stop it...The moment was short, but the prince got distracted long enough not to notice the airborne missile coming into the asteroid from down below.
The very next second the rock exploded into Loki’s face, scorching his skin and knocking lights out of him. He instantly forgot about the spell and threw his hands to his face, cursing and moaning in pain, and plummeted down.
Tony Stark slowed down right at the predicted crossing point of the asteroid. His personal satellite allowed Jarvis to calculate the passing window with the highest accuracy and all Tony had to do now is to wait for the rock and blow it up.
Tony put the thrusters on hovering mode and switched the visor to the scanning mode.
“ETA of the asteroid?”
“Two minutes forty seven seconds, sir.”
“Estimated amount of ammunition needed for take down?”
“Three rockets and two dozen missiles to shut down the residual debris. Sir, I am reading lots of preliminary satellite stones coming ahead of the main body, what are your plans on that?”
Tony smirked, “Well, we came well packed, didn’t we? I bet I have a bit of ammo to spare, so…Let’s see if we can practice a little.”
Iron Man swirled in the air, locking sensors on the biggest pebble approaching and sent out the missile.
The rock blew into pieces rather spectacularly, covering Tony with a cascade of burning rubble, but it was not the shower of debris battering on his suit that got Tony’s attention- the sensors wailed about something unusual, an anomaly picked up by the radar higher in the atmosphere.
“Jarvis, put it on the home screen.”
The AI complied and Tony gaped, not believing his own eyes and the data displayed on his visor.
“What the hell?”
“Sir, it appears that a human is falling down through the upper level of the…”
“I can see that, but what the hell?!”
“I conclude that was a rhetorical question.”
“Ugrh,” Tony pushed repulsors on maximum and bolted through the air towards the falling figure.
He already dismissed inconsistent- but nonetheless funny- thought about Con Air, and was desperately searching for a plausible explanation through his memories and logical assumptions.
There were none- the upper layer of atmosphere was never used by commercial airlines, sometimes by military, but even if so- the aircrafts were usually unmanned.
An astronaut, perhaps?
Possible, but then again – if there was a space crash, all victims would become morbid satellites on the Earth orbit rather than fall down, besides, anything that comes from the outer space ignites on impact with the atmosphere and the person Stark now was certain it was a male- was not on fire.
Moreover, his vitals were normal- heart rate was a bit elevated, but other than that – nothing out of the ordinary, which was borderline insane considering the circumstances.
That was weird- even for Stark.
And it only got weirder, when right before Iron Man dived under the falling man and caught him, a flash of bright light enveloped the body and the “normal” clothes transformed into something much more…pretentious. A full-blown leather jumpsuit with leather overcoat and tons of intricate golden and green ornaments to be exact.
When the man fell right into Iron Man’s open arms, Tony expected anything- but not a fully conscious and very angry someone burning holes in his suit with a pair of emerald eyes.
“What did you think you were doing?!”
Stark struggled to overcome initial shock and a sudden sensory overload from the stranger’s voice- despite being so angrily loud and filtered through the acoustic system, it washed over Tony’s body as a touch of velvet.
The stranger wriggled in Iron Man’s arms, trying to assume vertical position.
“You’ve just blown up the asteroid right into my face!”
Tony blinked several times, coming to terms with the outrageousness of the encounter and the furious face staring at him right through the visors.
To his surprise- pleasant this time- the stranger was rather good looking. Not super model sugary cute type, but more of refined aristocratic beauty, one that was harder to acknowledge but that lasted for ages.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t know you were on my asteroid…”
The stranger exploded, “Your asteroid? Are you mad?!”
Tony grinded his teeth, “Hey, I said I’m sorry, pal, so cut it!”
The stranger’s handsome face distorted with a big frown and pout mirroring it.
Tony blinked couple of times, appreciating the view, then inquired, “How did you end up here anyway? And who are you?”
Burning storm in the stranger’s green eyes subsided and they suddenly turned colder, a color of cloudless sky.
“Oh, now we are into pleasantries, aren’t we?”
Tony did not have a time to respond since another huge boulder closed in on them. In a split of a second Iron Man fired another missile and flipped, shielding the unidentified man from the hail of fire.
The man protested again, as Tony not very gently manhandled him into position that is more comfortable- for Tony-. Stark chose to ignore the outcry.
Carrying the man by the waist with one of the arms, Tony looked up, only to see the main asteroid approaching the atmosphere.
“Jarvis, I need exact spot of impact for a rocket launch…”
His trail of thought was cut off by derising comment from the stranger,
“Oh, splendid, not only you are a churl, you are a downright lunatic, talking to your imaginary friend in a moment of danger.”
Tony pointed an accusational finger at the man, “Enough bickering.”
The latter arched his eyebrow.
“Enough or what? You shoot another missile into my face?”
No, it would certainly ruin it, although I am not that certain at this point…
“No, but I’ll give you a good slapping, may be that will teach you some respect.”
The stranger grinned, baring his pearl-white teeth.
Tony cursed silently as the warmth from that grin spread all in the wrong places.
Last thing at the moment was for him to get excited …
“Truly that? I wish to see you trying.”
“No, you really don’t.”
Not the best time to argue, really, hanging in midair with a huge piece of space shit hurling down at you, but Tony just could not stand when someone tried to out dispute him.
Nobody ever could come on top in the argument with Tony Stark- that was an unspoken law of nature. Except for Pepper- but that was solely out of respect for the woman.
And Coulson- now that was out of self-preservation instinct developed after agent made good on his promise and tazed Tony. Which was absolutely not Tony’s fault.
But this son of unknown species didn’t show a slightest inclination to back down.
“And why is that I wonder?”
The man casually leaned on Iron Man’s shoulder, tilting his head inquiringly, and Tony could have sworn he felt waves of heat radiating from the man’s body, even though the layers of the metal and wires separated them.
“Why exactly are you wearing this metal can? Are you hiding something? Or is there simply nothing to show?”
All Tony’s excitement instantly converted into anger.
“Oh, you are a cheeky one, aren’t you? Skilled with words, huh? Is there anything else your tongue is good at?”
Stark was delighted by the ashamed expression on the man’s face but it immediately backfired- the slightly open mouth that truly looked very…kissable and those huge bottomless eyes forced Tony’s blood to boil.
“Not that I would let you know.”
Oh, what a stubborn sample this one is.
Tony would have loved to open the helmet just to frown disapprovingly at the man he was holding in his embrace, and may be punch his blushed cheek a little, just to tease him, but it was not wise since he would suffocate in the matter of seconds and they both will fall and die.
At least he will.
Therefore, the staring contest had to wait.
Besides, the time has run out- the asteroid came closer to the atmosphere and accelerated, as the Earth gravitational pull became stronger.
Tony did not see it but the sensors showed abrupt rise in temperature.
“Listen, Alice from Wonderland, I’d love to continue, but it’s not a good time- so, how should I put it gently? One more word and I’ll drop you.”
“Here is one. And one more. So why are you still hol…”
Iron Man released his grip and waited couple of seconds as the man plummeted down through the air.
Then Tony swirled and dived after him, catching him in his arms just as he did the first time- like a damsel in distress. Needless to admit, Tony started to like it.
When the man was once again secured in Iron Man’s grip, Tony finalized, “Do not tempt me again.”
The man’s eyes went ablaze with fury, turning bright emerald again.
Oh, so there is a correlation between his eye color and his mood…Fascinating.
Speaking of fury…
“Are you one of Fury’s freaks?”
“You belligerent fool; I am not a fre…Wait.”
Tony stopped a question forming on is tongue just to watch, yet again, how the man’s eyes changed their color back to pale blue, as the man looked up, then around, then stared right into Iron Man’s visors.
“Did you see the green flash when you shot me down?”
Incorrect structure of the question, but Tony let it slide this once.
“The green flash, did you see it? Above the explosion?”
“Um…” Tony suppressed an urge to massage the bridge of his nose, not that it was physically possible, but the urge still existed, “You were glowing, but nothing green, why?”
The man closed his eyes and whispered, “Damn.”
The asteroid slammed into the atmosphere, igniting instantly and heating up the air around it, turning it into white-hot plasma.
The blast came first, throwing Iron Man off the balance until he shifted and repositioned the repulsors, then the sky kindled.
The light was so intense it made the man’s flesh almost transparent, burning flash flames onto the suit and letting Tony see the man’s bones for a split of a second.
Iron Man shielded his companion and prepared to fire all weapons, when another – blinding green blast came.
The explosion rippled through the space and matter like a giant shamrock tsunami. Stark did not know what it was- he had never seen anything like it before- akin to lightning, though going in all directions at once. He only got a glimpse of it before it hit him and his burden and everything went black.
Whatever the blast was- electro-magnetic, gamma or something else- it fried all the circuits in the suit instantly, killing the power and cutting off Jarvis in mid-sentence.
A moment later Stark felt the suit relax and plummet down as a dead weight, useless.
Tony tried to fight, to turn on the backup system to no avail, and he was running out of time. Falling down from such altitude meant certain death but it was not the fall Tony was worrying about.
As the asteroid descended, it burned brighter then thousands of suns- Stark couldn’t see it, immured in the tight darkness of his suit, but he could feel it- searing heat from the air set on fire, turning into plasma with each passing seconds, and transforming the atmosphere into an overheated oven.
Sweat was flowing in thick streams down Stark’s face, burning his eyes as he descended, and he knew- he is not going to make it to the ground, by the time he hits the dirt he will be broiled alive.
Tony counted to ten, trying to stop his heart from thrashing in his chest and control his breathing- not so much to conserve oxygen then to prevent lungs from burning with the hot air.
Then a thought flashed through his mind- his arms were empty.
His heart sank.
Although it might have been for the best – the guy have gotten mercy of a quick death, incinerated in a split of a second, without even a chance to realize what was happening, all moisture vaporized from his body and flesh turned into dust in a blink of an eye.
Than something heavy collided with the suit.
Tony thought absently that it was a plot of imagination of his brain that started to boil from the heat, as the asteroid would’ve hit him and bounce off and this weight clang on, dragging him down faster.
Then he heard knocking on his helmet.
It was clearly a hallucination.
The knocking intensified, and something- someone- tried to shake the suit into consciousness.
Tony frowned, not fully believing what was happening.
When the power of will took over the panic, he tried to answer, shout something through the helmet- not that it would help, of course- the sonic wave from the asteroid might have created vacuum around it’s trail, rendering any communication by sound impossible.
Then the lightning stroke.
Or so it seemed- a blinding burst of light shot through the suit, reviving all the wires and turning it back to life again.
Seconds later Tony put thrusters on full and balanced himself upright, when his visors finally started working.
The glowing had lessen now and Tony could actually see what was happening around him- first and foremost, he saw the stranger- disheveled, but almost unharmed, shouting something into the visors.
Tony motioned to his ears, trying to explain that the sound does not travel through the vacuum…and then he heard the voice.
“We need to go, now!”
Right in his head.
Like an echo. Or his own thoughts, but pronounced with less delicacy. Like a brush of velvet on his cortex.
“What was that?”
Tony thought, wondering, if the communication went both ways.
“My spell. I didn’t finish it because of you, but …”
The man turned away, and Tony followed his example just in time to see the asteroid split in three parts with a bright explosion, each part going on its separate marry way.
Well, magic or not, it worked after all.
“Not as it supposed to.”
Stark’s eyes jerked up, “Can you read all my thoughts?”
The man glared at him, “Is privacy of your thoughts really the primary concern for you right now?”
Tony pursed his lips- the person had a point.
“Did you just turn my suit back on?”
“Yes, I woke you up, indeed, now tell me – can you shoot it down?”
Tony fastened his grip on the man’s waist and swayed his arm- nothing happened.
He tried to manually lock the missiles onto the targets, but the only response he got was a shower of sparkles bursting out of his ports. Whatever the green thing was, it destroyed the weaponry system.
Tony called Jarvis several times, but nothing there too.
He shook his head, “No, systems are fried.”
“Then fly me after it. Come on, onto the chase, at once!”
Tony stared at the guy, “What are you going to do, convince it to turn around?”
The man actually growled, “Well since you are impotent at the moment, I am the only one who can stop it!”
“I am not an impotent…”
“We are wasting our time!”
Tony finally obliged, accelerating to the full speed in pursuit of the asteroid- all three parts of it. Thanks god, or, more likely, thanks the man that at least the basic systems were still working- thrusters, conditioning, power.
Moments later Tony had to make a choice on which boulder to follow.
He quickly calculated the trajectories.
One of the parts was heading to the open ocean, that part he did not care about- no matter how big it was, the deep waters would absorb most of the impact.
The second one was falling into the shallow waters of the bay- he did not care about it either. The boom would be bigger, certainly, but as the water evaporates, the damage will be minimized.
And the third part headed straight to the middle of Manhattan.
Tony tilted the suit and locked on pursuing course.
“What is your plan?”
“Just get me there!”
Tony obliged, and swung around, outrunning the asteroid on the curving trajectory.
While closing onto the city, Stark took a moment to notice that the part of the rock was flying way slower than it was supposed to.
It had lost most of its initial momentum, and was propelled towards the surface only by the power of gravity, which made it incredibly less destructive.
As the Iron Man swooshed between the skyscrapers towards the impact zone, casting his reflection upon countless windows and leaving a fiery tail behind him, the man twisted from his grip and jumped onto his back, straddling him as if he was some weird sort of flying surfboard. He stood on Iron Man’s back, balancing with each turn without even holding onto the surface.
Tony didn’t see the man muttering spells under his breath, nor he saw long delicate fingers writing invisible ornaments in the air, calling upon the last bits of the magic- but he certainly felt the blast when the man sprang off of him towards the falling asteroid and spread his hands, letting bright green sparks fly from his fingertips, twirling in the air into a shield.
Tony lost his balance and collapsed into the building, crashing through the glass and steel on full speed. He could not get up from the wreckage soon enough and only turned his head to see the asteroid closing in onto the shield.
The only thing he could do at that point was pray that the magic barrier would endure.
Loki called upon the last scraps of his power.
He was exhausted, he was scared, he ached from head to toe and yet he refused to yield to the damned rock.
He landed on the pavement and threw his hands out, forming a massive shield up in the skies, blocking the way of the asteroid.
The impact was unbearable. It came crashing down, bursting through the shield into Loki’s body, cracking his bones and setting his veins on fire. He screamed in agony but held on, digging his heels into the ground to stop the shield from moving.
Sweat streamed down Loki’s face, and the blood boiled from the pain and the heat and he saw as the rock slowed down but kept moving, melting the glass and steel and the concrete around itself, leaving a trough in the buildings on both sides of it.
Loki’s legs buckled as the enormous pressure buried them deeper and deeper into the asphalt, ripping it open, and his skin burned from the scorching heat streaming down the asteroid’s core.
Yet he held on, not on his power but on his sheer stubbornness, until the asteroid stopped and the fire went out and the melted rock almost gently sank onto the street.
So close that if Loki wanted, he could just stretch his arm and touch it.
The Aesir was shaking violently, gasping for air and trying not to black out from pain and exhaustion. Skin on his hands was burned and now began to peel off in flakes, his face was red and spotted, and he had no powers left to even attempt healing himself.
But Loki was proud. For the first time in his life, he was proud of himself.
Yes, he used magic, but still- he stopped the disaster and saved the innocent people, and why should it matter how exactly did he accomplish it?
Father too will be proud of him.
And then it hit him.
All around him, hiding behind the cars and buildings and windows, were humans.
Hundreds, even thousands of them were watching his every move, his every step with eyes and mouths wide open and horror frozen on their faces.
They saw everything, which meant…he failed.
He had broken the promise to conceal himself from public and showed himself to the whole world not 3 days past his arrival.
He just broke the negotiations between two worlds and rendered the peace treaty impossible.
He, not his brother, was responsible for the failure.
Failure, as usual.
Loki’s heart sank.
He would have wept but there were no tears left in his eyes, so he just bit on his scorched lip, drawing blood and cursing himself.
He failed, again, failed in only chance the fate had given him to prove himself worthy.
Loki dropped on his knees and lowered his head.
He wanted to through himself into the fiery pit, to be buried under this rock just not to face the consequences.
He could not bear it any more. No more disappointment, not again.
And then the humans around him started to applaud.