Warnings: bad grammar and multiple mistakes
Disclaimer: most of the characters are not mine, but all the mistakes are.
p.s. I'm super overloaded with homework and full-time job, hence almost 2 months break in updating- but I'll do my best to be quicker :)
“You shouldn’t laugh at me, Mr. Odinson.” Phil’s tone would have passed as reprimanding if not for obvious humor tones hidden underneath the seriousness.
“I’m not; I am simply observing your struggle.” Loki had to bite his cheek to conceal a stubborn smile crawling on his face, then quickly asserted, “With great sympathy, of course.”
“I don’t need you to sympathize; I need you to help me with the choice.”
“I’m afraid I am not knowledgeable enough to assist you in question of such tremendous importance.”
Agent Coulson gave Loki a long look full of doubt at only then turned back to ogling the display of donuts through the glass reflecting the light of the midday sun.
Outside the donut shop streets basked in the summer heat as people hurried away from the offices and to the snack stops to get their share of lunch break supplies. The sky was spotted with only two tiny spots of clouds, and even through the glow of sunshine in the air Loki could still see the siluhette of the Stark’s resident skyscraper towering in the distance.
Loki closed his eyes for a second, feeling the sun glints lick his cheeks, enjoying the pleasant warmth they brought with the touch, and then turned back to Coulson.
“Why don’t we start with eliminating the least attractive options?”
Coulson gave it a quick thought and nodded, noticing the desperation on the store assistant’s face as he lost his hope of finishing the transaction fast, rolled his eyes and resume playing Tetris under the counter.
Five minutes later Loki held the door open while Coulson carried the acquired variety of donuts in a firm grip and said good bye to the greatly relieved cashier, stepping outside.
“Here, take one” – before continuing Phil took a good mouthful of a Boston Crème donut and stretched his free arm to Loki, offering another untouched one to the prince.
“And I should indulge in this extraordinarily healthy looking human treat, why?”
“Ugh, just try it, it is delicious.”
“I am grateful; however…I don’t understand why people from Earth have such an unstoppable desire to feed me?”
Loki eyed the chocolate-glazed pastry with suspicion, then accepted and brought closer to his mouth, smelling before taking the first bite. The taste was rather delightful to his great surprise.
Coulson chuckled at Loki’s reaction, “Well, for one, sharing food is a custom when welcoming guests. Plus, you do seem a bit malnourished.”
Loki pushed the last piece of the puffy ball into his mouth, indulged into the sweetness for a moment, and then licked his fingertips.
“I see no fault in not sharing my brother’s taste in day-long meals and banquets. I prefer how I shall put it, mind food over the sustenance for the flesh.”
Coulson nodded, smirking, “Your preference is noticeable. Now, back to business. S.H.I.E.L.D is releasing the information about your true origins and mission on Earth by midnight. When New York wakes up tomorrow, it will be in every single newspaper and on every TV channel. There will be a bit of panic, then, by lunch time, The UN will call an emergency meeting of General Assembly and the Security Council to address the issue. Now, I strongly recommend you to attend it and deliver a speech, it will be the best chance to introduce yourself to the people of the Earth and disclose your agenda.”
Loki fidgeted his fingers while fully concentrating on Coulson’s words, then realized with the back of his mind that his fingertips were still irritatingly sticky from the donut he had previously consumed, and brought them up to his mouth to lick away the remaining sweetness without giving it a second thought.
Coulson watched prince’s movements intently, than added, “The first impression is very important. You might want to prepare well for it, your first public appearance is the best chance to win the people’s hearts over and make your and my job a lot easier.”
The prince nodded, already laying out a plan for the speech in his mind.
“You can count on my full involvement.”
Coulson pulled out another donut out of the bag and took a bite, “You are not my concern, but your brother is.”
“You doubt he will perform well?”
Phil tilted his head a little, “He is too easily offended and hot tempered- and when you face the politicians they will do everything to throw you off balance.” The agent looked around, evaluating the influx of people from both directions, and positioned himself in the shadow of the building, tugging Loki along from the busy middle of the street closer to the walls.
“There are two main groups of people you will have to deal with in the government, whether it is UN or any national one. One group will see you as a threat and treat accordingly. Usually they have either military background or strong roots in religion,” – Loki involuntarily smiled when Coulson mentioned military.
While the prince’s new human acquaintances had been rather lovely and hospitable, he couldn’t have helped but noticed the commanding staff was weary and suspicious of the Aesir. He even wondered for a while whether all those clashes between Iceman and Thor were in fact carefully planned before head with one simple purpose in mind- evoking negative response from the older prince and seeing how he performs under the pressure.
Planned provocation or not, Iceman shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near Thor for the sake of all realms of Yggdrasil- not because he was inferior only to Loki himself in his skill of pissing older Odinson off, but because he derived great pleasure from doing it.
“Just don’t let them offend you, remember- that is exactly what they are aiming at.”
“Your concern has a reasonable ground. I shall definitely aware Thor of this to avoid unnecessary complications. However, do you truly believe all of them will be so hostile?”
“No, not really. The rest of them will be alarmed but mostly favorable. Do not full yourself though- it will interest them as another way to make more money.”
Loki considered Coulson for a moment, “you seem to be depreciative of the system of governance on your planet, Phil.”
“When you are my age, you’ll understand.”
“Should I remind you that by Asgardian standards you are but an infant?”
Coulson smiled at Loki’s remark, “I might be an embryo, but I still have more experience with the human politics than you do. Perhaps, when your kin last visited our planet, the population indeed treated personal traits, honor and strength as basis of power, but now- no, now the only power everyone recognizes is money.”
“How exactly money can compete with the brutal force, like military potency or weaponry?”
“It can’t if it comes to face-to-face confrontation, but weapons deplete and force diminishes in time, and in the long run the winning side always is the one with more money.”
Loki shook his head, “This isn’t right. And nothing can be done about that?”
“Not really. If established order crumbles, the whole world will be plunged into chaos, and nothing good ever came out of that. It is unfair, but it’s something you just have to accept if you want to succeed.”
When the prince lifted his chin and shot Coulson a glance full of emotion that agent couldn’t identify, Phil decided to play safe and apologize,
“Don’t take it as offence- I simply am trying to prevent some nasty surprise from throwing you off course and derailing the negotiations. Just keep that in mind.”
“Now, the general population…”
Coulson didn’t get a chance to answer because a sequence of loud gun fire echoed through the air and a cloud of smoke burst through the huge doors of a building on the opposite side of the street.
The agent pushed the donut bag into Loki’s grip and ordered the prince to wait for him in the safe distance.
“Stay here, I’m going to check this out and come back.”
“I can be of assistance.”
“I’ll take care of it, please, do not get involved. “
With that Coulson nodded Loki quick good bye and ran to the sight of the mayhem.
The prince contemplated his options for a brief moment, than concluded that restriction of involvement did not prohibit him to peek. If only just a little.
Loki looked around at the panic- stricken crowd rushing in all directions away from the sight of danger, put the paper bag down on the concrete and headed after the agent.
“Where is he?”
“Where is who?”
Tony lazily sipped the hot coffee from the mug proudly carrying “I heart Stark” print as the Pentagon representative burdened with heavy decorations on his official uniform and excessive weight around the waist challenged him into staring competition.
“Do not play games with me, Mr. Stark.”
“Do not threaten me in my own house, Mr. what was your name again? “
“Hand him over to us before it is too late. We do not want any problems or any unnecessary information leaked to the public.”
“Information like what? Like “oh, we’ve got an alien in the house?” – Tony tsked and shook his head, putting the mug down. “They already know, my dear, I suggest you for a change tell your people the truth, they deserve it.”
“We will not allow that!”
“We, we, who’s we? We, King Henry the V?”
The representative came forward and put his heavy meaty palms on the Stark’s table with a loud thud, sending ripples through the coffee’s surface. Tony observed them vanish and turned his attention back to the visitor.
“You will not discuss past evening events or any knowledge gained since with anyone outside of this room. You will surrender the man you brought here yesterday into our custody and you will call a press conference where you will deny any allegations of his extraterrestrial nature.”
Tony bended over the table, stretching his back and getting face to face with the official, their heads so close tips of the noses almost touching.
“Not going to happen.”
“Why?!” Tony threw his hands up in frustration, making the man back down hastily in attempt to prevent his very important face from colliding with Tony’s gesticulating limbs. “Because yours overinflated stupidity will look bad on me! People already know that we have an alien presence here, you can’t deny, you can’t cover it up, it’s just not going to work!”
“Worked before, will work now.”
“Before…what do you mean, before, there was before? You knew…for how long has the government being covering up alien existence?”
“This is none of your business, Mr. Stark; I suggest you keep your long nose to yourself. Now, where is the person in question, did you put him under surveillance?”
“You must’ve mistaken my home for a prison. “
“You don’t seem to understand what chaos it will unleash, what social upraise it will cause…”
Stark pulled himself out of the leather chair and stretched. “I understand everything perfectly, but my coffee is getting cold and I want another creamer. So why don’t you save your pleasantries on me and explain all the problems directly to the public?”
With that Tony pulled out a remote control out of the desk and pushed the button. That very second shades across the room disappeared, revealing a huge crowd or journalists standing behind the glass doors, listening to every word the representative had said through the providently provided by Tony speakers turned on maximum and looking downright murderous.
The Pentagon man froze in horror, “You’ve said there are no reporters on the premises.”
A smug smirk flashed through Tony’s face as he shrugged, unlocking the doors, “I lied.”
Coulson moved swiftly through the crowd, collecting bits of information from smells, sounds, scraps of words and shouts of the panicking citizens, trying to combine everything into one big picture that could shed some light at what was happening and reveal the possible ways of resolving the problem.
It wasn’t that hard after all.
The building in question was easily recognizable- the biggest bank in New York city, eight stores of brick, glass and concentration of countless money planted in the center of Manhattan, standing strong and proud among the shiny skyscrapers.
The attack on the wealthiest bank in the country meant only one thing- robbery.
Unless they are filming a movie.
Coulson frowned at the thought,
Which they are obviously not, judging by the horror-stricken faces of the people running away from the entrance.
Heavily armed group of bandits attacking the biggest bank in the city in broad day light… Either a statement of power for all competing crime organizations, or a downright stupidity and teenage bravado mixed with the poor planning.
If it was the first scenario, Coulson would rather stand back and do not intervene, as the culprits would have a wide range arsenal of weapons and means of suppressing the opposition- and last thing he needed was starting a shootout with all those hostages in the building.
But if it was the second scenario…He wouldn’t have any choice. Unless those attackers have some miraculous means of escaping the growing with each second group of police, the finale of the story might turn rather gruesome, and that Coulson could not allow.
The agent closed in to the main entrance, trying to steal glances of what was happening inside, but it was almost impossible with the wall of smoke shielding the interior from the bystanders.
Phil crossed the small alley separating the stairs to the central doors and turned left, into the shades and passage hidden among the trees, curving around the corner and looking for another way in, stealthy and quiet, away from the screams and sirens.
Soon enough he noticed a small open window right above the broken fire stairs, a gaping hole in the wastness of brick and stone, inviting him in.
Phil fastened his speed, pushed off the ground and with the last step jumped up and caught the edge of the stairs. The rusty metallic construction whined from unusual strain but endured, giving the agent enough time to pull himself up and sneak inside.
Loki watched with weird fascination how the emergency response teams came flowing from all directions, hushing away the crowd and encircling the bank into a tight ring of cars and live force, holding the entrance and the windows at gunpoint.
Abundance of lights, sirens and humans reminded him of the events of the recent past, when instead of the bank there were him and the meteorite in the middle of the frenzy. The prince didn’t give it a second thought right after the rock was stopped, as he literally lost ability to intellectually function, but now, safe and rested and nourished back to his full power, he recalled every minor detail- him, pale and shaking, the melting rock fuming with heat, and the humans- looking at him with wide eyes, shocked and mesmerized by his deed.
All eyes on him, and him alone.
No Thor in his shiny armor, no Odin in his regal gown, just Loki, burned and tired, in the focus of everyone’s attention.
It felt rather strange to be so suddenly and brutally pushed out of his father and brother’s shadow into the spotlight, but to say the truth…it felt like heaven.
Loki found himself smiling as if in foretaste of a special treat he has been craving for his whole life. He took the negotiations so seriously in strenuous attempt of proving himself to Odin and his brother dearest, that he completely forgot how outrageously pleasant it was to receive worship from the humans.
Not that they were going to treat him as one of their gods and raise temples and make sacrifices- those times had long passed, but human nature hasn’t changed – people around him still loved display of wit and power, and Loki was going to give it to them in fullest.
The prince hurried through the emptying street to the entrapped building and stopped for a moment in a small opening between the trees and bus stop, morphing his civilian clothes into a police uniform.
Once done, he put on a face as serious as he could do and charged to the cordon.
“Hey, rookie!” An officer called him out and motioned to the left, “Take place on your ten.”
Loki mentally frowned, my ten what? Toes? But obliged , as he was sent in just the right direction.
As soon as the trees hid him away from the police, Loki called upon magic again, this time changing his garments to the costume he assumed was traditional to servants of this public institution. Once done, he overlooked his outfit captiously, brushing astray leaf from his black pants, smoothing away wrinkles from the snow white shirt and fixing his tie. Last thing Loki conjured was a name tag on his left chest pocket, a small green rectangle with calligraphic letters “Odinson” on it.
The moment later Loki darted up and pushed off the wall, charging for the same window Coulson used to sneak in not long ago, threw last glance on the street and disappeared inside.