Title: we are not funeral homes
Summary: ate mythology and dreamt – a multifandom mythology ficathon. Prompt: Avengers, Tony/Pepper, the original Loki and Sigyn.
Words: ca. 1000
Disclaimer: I don’t own the Avengers franchise in any way, so. Title from Buddy Wakefield’s we were emergencies.
Rating/Warnings: R for gore, death and Norse mythology.
A/N: I had so many feels about this prompt, but I’m not sure I managed to put them into words. Sorry?
we are not funeral homes
“I make my own destiny,” Tony Stark says, smiling winsomely at the cameras. Beside him, Pepper Potts bites back a laugh that, if she let it loose, would ring with ten thousand years of spite.
The lives of the Aesir are cyclical, every story will tell you that.
Loki is the villain. The stories will tell you that, too.
But Loki is also the god of lies and tricks and bending reality to his will and after a few dozen lifetimes of nothing but loss and poison, well.
The stories don’t tell you that, though.
Loki’s greatest trick is that there are no more stories. Not about him. Not about that.
Tony Stark builds a missile that can flatten a mountain rage with a single shot. Press one button and literally reshape the world.
After the first successful battery of test runs, he sits in his office and watches the chaos of twenty nations slinging mud at each other in an attempt to get to the Jericho first. The most powerful men of this world are squabbling like children over a new toy.
He leans back in his obscenely expensive swivel chair and smiles, cigar dangling from the corner of his mouth.
“Careful,” Pepper admonishes from where she’s perched on the edge of his desk, long legs on display only for him. “One day they’ll wise up to your games.”
He grins, points a finger at her. “But you gotta admit they’re pretty spectacular games, Pep.”
She reaches over, then, traces a hand across his forehead and down the bridge of his nose, where venom once made his skin bubble and burn.
“Careful,” she repeats and he nods, because in all the worlds and all their lives, it’s only ever been her. Her who saw. Her who even bothered to look.
Her who held the bowl and wept when she had to empty it, not because the venom burnt her hands, but because she couldn’t do it faster to save him pain.
He writes her name on the warhead of every Jericho he builds, small, sloppy letters that he only ever shows her.
“All the world on fire,” he whispers into the skin of her long, pale neck, into the red of her hair. “For you, my dear.”
In the dead of night, when she’s asleep, he mourns for all the children they will never have in this life, their viciousness and beauty and cunning.
He builds mortal, metal versions of them, a computer that holds the virtual worlds in his virtual coils, a bomb that rips into human flesh like teeth and other, more silent deaths, that come like a little girl, innocent looking and sweet. He builds a chemical bomb that only explodes if you combine two compounds in exactly equal doses and through he never markets it, he keeps a prototype around, same as he does all the others.
He offers them to Pepper, who smiles and cries and tells him to take them away, please. So he does.
She visits him, sometimes, though, in his workshop, trailing delicate fingers over edges and plains, murmuring softly to them in a language no mortal has heard in a thousand years.
To each their own grief, he figures, and forces himself not to avert his gaze.
This is what the stories never tell:
One day, Loki has enough.
One day, the venom burns too deep, the screams of his children echo too loudly, his wife’s hands tremble too hard around the bowl above his upturned face and he wants to burn the world to the ground.
Instead he simply says, “No more.”
And makes it so.
He breaks his chains and he rips a hole into reality and with Sigyn by his side, always only her, he steps through it into another life entirely.
Let them have their Ragnarok, if they want it. He’s fucking done with this shit.
And then there is the other one, the new one, green and gold and broken pieces and Tony looks at him and wants to croon, wants to hold him close, his little other-self.
He wants to beg forgiveness because it was his leaving that made this new Loki necessary, that forced the universe to regain its balance through this new him, this little boy with death in his eyes.
He wishes Pepper were here, to soothe this savage beast like she soothes him, always.
But she isn’t. There is only him and he spreads his hands by his side, talks and talks and talks until he gets himself thrown through a window and, as he falls, thinks, give them hell.
It doesn’t take much, in the end. A simple flick of a finger has the muzzle loosened enough for the boy to eventually break free. If he’s smart -
- and he is, because he is Tony -
- he will lead Odin on a merry chase. Maybe he’ll find his way back here, to Tony and Pepper, who were once someone else.
Maybe they’ll have a real flesh and blood child after all, in this life.
“He’ll make it,” Pepper says, her fingers wrapped around Tony’s wrist like a bracelet, right where the chains once bit into pale skin.
“It’ll be fun,” he agrees.
The lives of the Aesir are cyclical.
But every road has an exit and every prison has a backdoor and if you’re a god and you want something enough, you can simply make it so.
“We make our own destiny,” Pepper says, words heavy with the victory and sorrow of all they imply.
Tony takes her hand, kisses it, and simply says, “Yes.”