All Elizabeth wanted was a job. Unfortunately, due to Loki’s mischief, she finds herself at the newest position in Stark Industries… but she’ll need more than the Avenger’s initiative. She can’t return home, and her friend Theresa ends up alone again… except for the occasional visit.
Chapter 8 is here at last! Sorry that it’s taken so long :| This chapter was a little difficult to write, just because we both wanted it to be perfect. Not to mention our schedules have been hectic till now. Luckily, things are evening out a bit :)
Much love to leximander and Kiwifruit for their reviews :3 We’re so glad you enjoyed the last chapter. We both liked it as well… well, one of us really liked it. The other one is still complaining about how cruel we are to Loki even though she acknowledges that the conflict is necessary to the story… :) She’ll get over it after this chapter. Also, hugs and hearts to water-iris-hetalia for following the story. You made our smiles happen :)
Speaking of last chapter, the one of us that writes Theresa’s segments is surprised that no one mentioned the easter egg that we threw into the last chapter :o She wrote the whole Loki/Avengers/Dinosaur scene, and she included something from another show she used to watch that she thought would fit well into this fandom. She’s surprised that no one noticed/mentioned it…
Enough babble! On to the show! Also… heart strings will be tugged during the reading of this chapter. Proceed at your own risk.. you have been warned.
Theresa sighed as she turned the coffee pot off. She’d just finished a three hour writing session. She fully intended to do a bit more research before diving into the zone again, but right now she needed a break. Her eyes were ready to cross just from staring at her own handwriting.
She put the dishes that were soaking in the sink in the dishwasher. She had to be careful because River decided to do figure eights around her ankles. Vlad made an annoyed sound in the back of his throat which got her attention.
“What’s wrong, Vladdy-Vlads?” she asked. Theresa stood still, listening and waiting. She learned to listen and wait when her cats acted squirrelly because their senses were keener than hers. She let out a tiny shriek when Loki descended into her living room with a loud thump. “Loki!” she cried, running to hover over him. She knelt near him, her hand fluttering to his neck to check his pulse. It was fast but strong. She gasped when his hand closed over her wrist. “Loki, what happened to you?” She asked. “Please tell me this isn’t all your blood.”
“Unfortunately so…” He wheezed. “I’ve only just managed to stop the bleeding.” He panted as he attempted to roll on his side. “I could not manage a transport of any great distance, though.” He said almost apologetically.
“We need to get you cleaned up.” Theresa noted. “Can I help you stand?”
He nodded. “I’ve few options, and I’d very much like to get off this floor.” He replied. It took some time and there may’ve been more stops and starts than usual, but Theresa finally got him on his feet. After lacing his arm over her shoulders, she led him down the hall to the last door on the right. He was slightly surprised to find it led to a bedroom with a king sized bed. She steered him to the left where the adjoining bathroom was.
“Okay. We need to get your clothes off.” She murmured, letting him rest by perching against the sink’s countertop.
“I… I suppose.”
“Remove your coat first, and we’ll get to working on the chest piece and straps. I’ll get you a towel…unless you need help?”
“I think I can manage.” He grumbled. She stared at him for a moment before approaching him. “What –”
“No need to be bashful.” She murmured. “Roll your shoulders back.” She instructed, reaching for his long coat. He complied hesitantly and she carefully slid it off of him. She was very careful with the armor clasps and leather straps that held his armored chest-piece in place. She figured it was the only thing that protected his ribs. Under it was his leather tunic which fastened in the middle.. There was a nice green linen shirt underneath all that. “Shirt next, okay?” When he nodded she slowly removed his shirt paying attention not to hurt him further as she brought it over his head. “It looks like the worst of the blood was soaked up by your shirt..” she observed. “Though…a lot of it has dried in your hair.” She continued grimly before kneeling.
“W-What are you doing?”
“Removing your boots.” She said as though it were obvious.
“Oh.” He said. He was somewhat shocked when she lifted one foot, perching it over her shoulder. She then shimmied it off gently before setting his foot down and repeated the process.
“Okay. I’ll get you a towel to wrap around your waist.”
“I am wearing underwear.” He announced. She eyed him as she reached for a towel in the cupboard.
“And you wish me to see this underwear?”
He shrugged before wincing. “I’ve nothing to be ashamed of.” He announced.
She chuckled softly, more than a little nervous at such a statement. “I’m sure you don’t.” She said handing him the towel. “But I’d be more comfortable this way.”
“Noted.” He said somewhat sourly.
She darted into the shower and turned the hot water on immediately, while he shed both leather trousers and underwear and wrapped the towel around his waist. Once it was hot she turned the cold on and angled the shower head away. When she walked back out she couldn’t help but think that the towel was a little shorter than she’d assumed. She thought it would hit beneath his knees, but it was a couple inches above. Still she went to his side and helped him into the shower.
“Okay, there’s a step… good. Now just sit on the bench there.” Once she had him comfortably seated, she leaned away. “I’m going to start at the top, okay?”
He nodded, tiredly. “Do what you must.” was all he could say. Theresa could see his endurance was waning. He needed to rest, but this would help.
As carefully as she could, she rinsed the blood off him, starting by soaking his hair and then down his neck. His back and chest was a simple step to drenching everything else. She carefully worked shampoo into his hair, then let soap suds fall down the length of his skin from his chest. She tried not to see his body, because it wasn’t something she should be noticing at a time like this… but, well…his body was there. Somehow she managed to rinse him off without embarrassing herself. She sighed in relief when she could finally shut off the water.
“I’m going to go and get you some warm, dry towels, okay?” He only nodded wearily. She quickly dashed in the other room, bringing back three towels. Somehow he’d managed to stand up. Without looking, she removed the wet towel from his waist and replaced it with a dry one. She draped another over his head and offered the other to him.
“I can take care of myself.” He groused, and she wondered if she’d crossed some boundary.
“Okay. I’ll be in the bedroom if you need me.” She said, backing off. Weakened as he was, she certainly didn’t want to get on his bad side. She left him, but left the door to the bathroom open so that she could hear if he needed her. She surveyed the bed… she’d changed the sheets a few days ago. Somewhat of a custom left over from her mother to just wash all the sheets in the house and put fresh bedding on all the beds. She pulled down the covers and rearranged the pillows so that they were more functional as opposed to decorative. She turned and found him paused in the doorway. He looked so haggard. “Come lay down.” She invited. He came forward slowly, as though he were unsure his legs would carry him. He sighed heavily as he lay down, and she covered him up. His eyes closed in bliss as his head hit the pillow.
“I’ve no need of a nursemaid.” He grumbled.
“Shh.” She soothed, leaning forward and pressing a kiss on his forehead. She felt him tense up, his eyes widening in shock as a tiny gasp managed to squeak past his lips. “My house. My rules.” She murmured against his temple. His head lulled to the side slightly, his forehead brushing just against her chin. It was then that she realized that he craved the same human contact that she did… and just like her, he was incapable of attaining it. “Now rest.” She murmured. “I’d say you’ve earned it.”
Loki let out a soft sigh, closing his eyes again. This time he relaxed and let sleep take him.
Theresa softly padded around the room, turning out the lights. She went into the living room and found the drawer where she kept the LED pens. They had little lights in the tip of the pens, which made for great writing lights that didn’t interfere with anything else. She snatched her cellphone off the kitchen countertop, switching it to silent. With that in hand she went back into the bedroom, carefully tiptoeing to the lounge at the foot of the bed. She reached under the foot of the lounge and found a notebook (it was her policy to keep them stashed away in every room). She wouldn’t be able to do the research she’d planed on, but she could still keep herself occupied. It felt wrong to leave the room or fall asleep.
She lost track of the time, softly scribbling at the notebook with tales of warring elves and humans. Luckily she could Google anything she randomly had questions about on her cell phone. It was around 2 in the morning when she felt the barometric pressure change. She heard the thunder rumbling, albeit distant. It wasn’t long before the storm had rolled over them, and Loki sat straight up in bed.
“B-Brother!” He cried hoarsely, looking at the ceiling in a panic.
“Loki, it’s just the thunder.” Theresa tried to sooth, swiftly coming to his bed side.
“No. He’s searching for me.” Loki gasped, panting, his eyes still on the ceiling. “If he finds me now…”
“Loki, look at me.” His eyes floated down to her. “Do you remember what I did the time you caught me unaware in the pantry?” she asked. His eyes moved back and forth furiously as if searching for the memory. “When I was sitting on the sofa, and I vanished?” Loki nodded dazedly. “If anyone, anyone comes into my house looking for you… they’ll only find me. You hear me?” There was heavy silence in which only Loki’s shuttering breaths intruded on.
“You would…” he swallowed hard before continuing. “..shelter me?” He asked and she nodded. “Why?”
“Because as much as I hate to paraphrase Bella Swan, this house is Switzerland. As long as I am in this house, and as long as you haven’t done anything to harm me or mine, you’re safe here.” She smiled softly. “You understand?” At last, his breathing had approached a normal pace. He nodded slowly, reclining back against the pillows. “Now, go back to sleep.” His eyes scanned the ceiling again.
“I’m not sure if—” He winced as another thunderclap resounded through the air.
“The rain will come.” She said softly. “It’ll sooth the thunder’s fury… connect the angry sky to the lonely earth.” Almost as if responding to her words, the tiny tap-tap-tap of rain against the tin roof started to sound before it was joined by chorusing droplets. “See? Doesn’t it sound nice?” He nodded absently. “Want me to tell you a story?” she asked.
He chuckled softly but nodded. “Perhaps…that would be nice.”
“I’ll tell you a story you already know… so it won’t keep you awake. Something you probably know better than I do.” She let her voice take on a dreamy tone as she began. “In the beginning was Ginnungagap, the great emptiness…the unending void.” He smiled and nodded, so she continued. “It was a region so vast, that it went on in all directions forever with room for a billion universes. No one knows the secret of creation, but billions of eons before our world was formed, two distinctive regions came into being. The realms of fire and ice. There is Muspellheim, the realm of fire. It is a place of dreadful light and heat. Only its natives, the Fire Giants, can tolerate its flames. The other realm was Niflheim, the world of awesome dark and cold. In this world are where the rivers and seas of the universe gain their origin.” Almost as an afterthought, she began stroking her fingers through Loki’s hair. She was surprised by her own behavior, but couldn’t stop herself. Especially when he was leaning into the touch. “When the wind, rain, ice, and cold meet the heat and fire of Muspellheim in the center of Ginnungagap, a place of light, air, and warmth is born.” She noticed his face become grim, but she continued.
“Where fire and ice first met, thawing drops appeared. Beneath the melting ice lay a Giant named Aurgelmir Ymir, or Ymir as his offspring call him. Ymir lay sleeping for eons while the elements that composed him mixed. The water, snow, ice, clay, cinder, ash, and poison from the waters of Elivagar … After some time, his body solidified and he began to sweat. Under his left arm there grew a couple, male and female Giants. One of his legs begot a six-headed giant son with the other. These first creatures were to found the races of the Ice and Mountain Giants. Elsewhere in Ginnungagap, another being had been formed. This was the giant cow called Audhumla. Audhumla was formed at the same time as Ymir, but none of the poison of Elivagar was added into her creation. From her udders ran four rivers of milk that fed Ymir. No grass or trees were growing, so Audhumla fed herself by licking salty ice. And then, something strange began to happen. After one day of licking salty ice blocks, she freed a man’s hair from the ice. After two days, his head appeared. On the third day the whole man was released from the ice. The man’s name was Buri. He was huge and powerful and awesome to see. Buri had a son named Bor. Bor married Bestla, the daughter of a Giant, with whom he had three sons, Odin, Vili, and Vé. Odin, in association with his brothers, is the ruler of heaven and earth. He is the greatest and most famous of all Gods.”
Loki blinked rapidly, looking at her in awe. “Are these your legends?” She could tell he was starting to get very tired, but somehow he was still making himself stay awake.
She smiled. “The Norse legends of creation..” she paused, trying to gauge his mood. “There’s more.” He nodded, and she wondered how someone could be weary and eager at the same time.
“Odin, Vili and Vé quarrel with their loathsome neighbors the Giants… and during their war, Odin and his brothers killed the Giant Ymir. His blood rushed out in a great tide, drowning most of the giants, except for one… The three brothers carried all of Ymir’s remains to the middle of Ginnungagap and created a world they called Midgard from his body. Midgard, for it was the middle realm. Ymir’s blood became the sea and lakes. His skull became the cover of the sky which was set over the earth. Ymir’s brains were tossed into the air, and became clouds. Then sparks and burning embers from Muspellheim were placed in the middle of Ginnungagap to give light to Midgard. They named the stars and set their paths. Ymir’s skeleton became the mountains of Midgard. His teeth and jaws became rocks and pebbles. His flesh was ground into dirt in the great mill Grottekvarnen. Ymir’s hair became trees. Maggots appeared in Ymir’s flesh and became Dwarves, who had human understanding and the appearance of men, but lived in the earth. Under each corner of the sky the sons of Buri put a Dwarf. The four Dwarves are called Austri of the East, Vestri for the West, Nordri in the North, and Sudri for the South.”
There was a long moment of silence before Loki spoke. “So…” he began sluggishly. “…your legends say that Ymir began the Jötunn and the Æsir?” he said dazedly.
Theresa nodded. “Yes. And then, with his entire body, Midgard was made.” She said with a smile. “It is a fantastic story.”
“Do you believe it could be true?” He asked, sounding adorably child-like. He seemed completely comfortable now that the thunder had all but stopped and only the sound of the heavy rain intruded.
“I have Loki Lie-Smith in my bed.” She said with a tiny smile. “At this point, I’m liable to believe anything’s possible.” He gave a halfhearted chuckle at that. “Go to sleep now, Loki. You’ll feel much better in the morning.” He nodded weakly even as his eyes were closing.
Theresa eased away from his bedside and stood looking down at him. For all his mischief and malice, he looked like a lost child really. She wondered how long he’d been craving simple contact… something that wasn’t fury and battle. She sighed, picking up her cell phone and lazing back on the longue. Only 2:30 a.m.? She hunkered down for a long night. She’d let him sleep as long as he needed.
I sighed as I looked at the stack of papers on my desk that I had to have done for Mr. Stark. I shook my head and decided to take the rest of the night off and finish the papers tomorrow.
As I straightened up around my desk, I heard a knock at the door.
“Come in!” I called as I turned to put stray files back in the filing cabinet.
I made sure everything was in alphabetical order and turned just in time to see Mr. Stark drunkenly stumble in to my office.
“The deadbolt system is up and running. You should come out and celebrate with me!” Mr. Stark said excitedly.
I chuckled at the pathetic sight and said, “It looks like you’ve done enough celebrating for the both of us.”
“C’mon.” he scoffed, trying to lean himself up against the doorway. He slipped and tried again. I cracked up with laughter and walked up to him.
“How about we stay in? You’re too drunk to act civil in public.”
Mr. Stark laughed and put his hand on my cheek, making me look up at him. “When have I ever acted civil in public?”
This was true. Although, I haven’t personally known Mr. Stark for very long, I had seen some of his frivolous behavior on the news.
“Look, it’s great that the deadbolt system is working. Really, it’s fantastic. I’m just not in a drinking mood. Why not go drinking with Steve?”
“That American-made pansy can’t get drunk!” Mr. Stark scoffed, crossing his arms. He then stumbled a bit in to the hallway, laughing as he fell backwards.
“Okay, fun guy, let’s get you to your room.” I said, grabbing a hold of his arm.
Still holding on to Mr. Stark, I closed my office door behind us and locked it.
“We should go out.” Mr. Stark insisted again. “Just you and me.”
“Why me?” I asked, struggling with him up the staircase to his bedroom.
When we got up to the kitchen, I saw a bottle of wine on the kitchen island, along with two wine glasses.
“Is this for us?” I wondered aloud.
“Yes.” Mr. Stark said, stumbling to the island. He looked back at me, as if he’d forgotten I was standing here, and grabbed my arm, walking me to one of the stools. He pulled it out for me and grinned, obviously proud that he still had at least some tact in his drunken stupor. I was impressed, as well.
“Well, I suppose I could drink a couple glasses.” I convinced myself, eying the wine.
“Great!” Mr. Stark shouted, pouring us a glass each.
Before I took a drink, I asked, “Where is everybody, anyway?”
“I told them all to go out and have fun.” Mr. Stark replied before gulping down his share of the smooth liquid. “I didn’t want them to bother us. Although, before they left, Clint wanted to have a few drinks, so he could spend less money at the bar, so he and I drank before they all left. You were still working. Besides,” He poured another glass of wine. “we don’t get enough alone time.”
“We’re boss and employee.” I pointed out. “Are we supposed to get alone time?”
“Why not?” He winked.
I slowly sipped at my wine as Mr. Stark went on about other possibilities of securing Avengers HQ. I thought to myself how this has been one of my dreams for the longest time; sitting alone with Mr. Stark, just chatting. I had admired Tony Stark for as long as I could remember. It was the happiest day of my life when I got the job to work directly under him. And now, the man of my dreams has invited me to drink with him. Could this be the start of a serious relationship? I knew how Mr. Stark was with women, but perhaps he liked me enough and would be willing to have a steady relationship. My heart swelled at the idea, but my train of thought was broken when he started mentioning mutants.
“I’m sorry?” I said, not catching his full rant. “What about mutants?”
“I said that maybe we could start building technology that could detect mutants. We could recruit strong mutants to join our team of Avengers.”
“You like mutants?” I asked curiously.
“I find them interesting,” he said coyly, looking past me.
I smiled and finished my second glass of wine. Since Mr. Stark isn’t against mutants, maybe our relationship really could work.
I poured us both another glass of wine, got up and grabbed the scones that Natasha likes, and listened intently on more of Mr. Stark’s ideas.
I giggled as Mr. Stark stumbled to his room. Carrying me was making it even more difficult, but he insisted.
“You’re going to hurt us both! Let me down and lead you; I’m not as drunk as you are!”
Mr. Stark made a face, as if he were offended by my offer. I giggled more as we finally made it to his bedroom. We had been chatting and drinking for a while, and no one had come home yet. Mr. Stark suggested we go to his room and continue talking, just in case everyone had decided to come back. He said he still wanted to be alone with me. I still couldn’t figure out why, but I wasn’t complaining.
After Mr. Stark closed his bedroom door, he grabbed me by the waist and pulled me close.
“Have I ever told you how pretty you are?” he asked sweetly.
I chuckled and said, “No, you haven’t. But it’s nice to hear.”
“You’re very pretty.” he said again, wrapping both his arms around my waist.
My heart started pounding. Somewhere in the depths of my drunken haze, I realized where this was going. Tony Stark DID love me. I pushed myself up on the tip of my toes and brought my face close to him.
“And you are incredibly handsome.” I gushed.
“Are you a good kisser?” He asked, grinning.
“Are you willing to find out?”
He nodded, wrapping his arms around me tighter, closing the space between us.
And with that Mr. Stark kissed me passionately on the lips. His breath reeked of wine, but I didn’t care. I kissed back with just as much force, pinning him up against the wall.
“You’re an amazing kisser. What else are you good at?” He asked. He grinned again, silently egging me on.
I eyed him and started unbuttoning his shirt, revealing his (chest piece). I only quickly glanced at it, remembering how Mr. Stark told me once that he was somewhat embarrassed of it.
Before I thought to do anything else, Mr. Stark picked me up and gently placed me on his bed. He looked deeply in to my eyes and started to kiss me again. He gently ran his hand up my thigh, leaving his hand at my waist line, his fingers curling around the top of my pantyhose.
“Go ahead.” I whispered in to his ear.
I was ready for this. Sure, I could easily push him off of me and leave to go to bed by myself, but, I loved this man too much to let an opportunity like this slip by.
I let out a soft moan as Mr. Stark started to undress me. I pulled his pants off as I felt his warm breath wander from my neck back to my lips. We passionately made out, his lips parting and our tongues dancing, his hands slowly wandering and caressing my body.
I shuddered as he suddenly got up to grab a condom. I was shaking from suddenly becoming cold, having had his body heat against me, and also from the excitement of the moment. I was absolutely enthralled. I pulled Mr. Stark back on top of me when he got back to his bed.
As bliss rushed through my body, I thought to myself how I unquestionably didn’t want this moment to end.
… yes. That is how we chose to end this chapter. We’d like to point out at this point that we did warn you o..o