(E03) 03. Supernova

And I feel like taking off, Let me be your supernova, Before you make the biggest mistake of your life, Just give me the chance to get it right, get it right.

Mr. Hudson feat. Kanye West, “Supernova.”

Thor was not easily put off.  “How is she not blue?” he demanded of Loki, yet again, a year after Loki had last been on Midgard.  “Why won’t you tell me, Brother?”

Svanhild was on the floor, playing with her toys and carefully drawing on some scrolls Loki had scared up for her.  She had a mop of brown hair, big brown eyes, and Loki’s nose.

“Is it not enough that she is a healthy Asgardian baby?” Loki deflected, not wanting to answer the question.  “Why ask questions that matter not?”

“If you used magic—“

“I did not and there will be no consequences,” Loki hissed.  “I speak no lies to you, Brother.  I would do neither you nor Svanhild that disservice.”

“And yet you do not tell me the whole truth.”

Loki’s lip quirked up.  “Is that not the way with us?” he questioned.  “Do not question your niece’s appearance.  Do not question her heritage.  Do not question her.  You do the princess a great dishonor.”

“I am her uncle!”

“And I am her father,” Loki whispered quietly, his voice cold and deadly.  “Some things will never be spoken of.  She should never even know that she was cold to the touch or that her skin was blue.  As far as she is concerned, that would be a laughable jest.”

“You would lie to her?”

“I would protect her!  You may never have had children thus far, Thor, so you do not know, but Svanhild will always be my priority.”

Thor remained silent, looking down at Svanhild as she broke a stylus.  “There is nothing of me in her face.”

“No,” Loki agreed, crouching down and repairing the stylus with a wave of his hand.  “There is much of her sire in her.”

“I wish to meet him.”

Loki looked up at him in surprise.

“We can go the way you sneak down to other realms,” Thor proposed, having been told by their mother that Svanhild’s sire was Midgardian.  “I want to meet Svanhild’s sire.”

“That would be unwise,” Loki said carefully.  “He does not know and he is—free with his affections.”

“As you are not,” Thor noted out loud.  He sighed.  “What do you intend to do, Brother?  Wander down to Midgard every few years and see your Midgardian, hoping he will take you back to his bosom, all the while keeping Heimdall from seeing you?  Father will eventually find out.”

“Father knows I travel between the realms,” Loki scoffed.  “And I hadn’t thought.”

After Thor had gone and Svanhild was asleep with her attendant, Loki’s feet made their way to the familiar entryway to Midgard.  He hadn’t bothered to change, still dressed in his royal garments, but he didn’t think Angela would mind.  It was just the forward cloak in royal purple and deer hide boots.

She had screamed when he appeared in her office at about half past ten in the morning.

“Sir!  Did you—go to a Renaissance Fair?”  Her eyes were large and wide but he could see a hint of amusement in them.

He decided to ignore the comment.  “Where does Tony Stark happen to be at the moment?”

Angela’s face fell.  “You haven’t heard.”

“Heard what?”

She looked at him pityingly.  “Perhaps it’s better if Pepper Potts met you for coffee—after you’ve changed.”

“Tell me, Angela.”

She sighed.  “He was kidnapped in Afghanistan and hasn’t been heard from in nearly four days.”

Loki blinked.  “I’ve missed him by four days?”

Angela sat down and nodded.  “I don’t think he’s very happy with you.  He had a few choice words for me when I came to clean out your suite at the Waldorf Astoria.”

“That could not be helped,” Loki said tiredly, taking a seat.  “Afghanistan, you say?”

“Somewhere near Agrhab.”  That was all Loki needed.

Within ten minutes he was shifting from Los Angeles to the mountains near Agrhab, walking invisibly among caverns and caves as he let his magic pull him toward Stark.  He finally came to a settlement where he saw a stockpile of weapons, which would have interested him more if he hadn’t been so set on finding Stark.

He was in a small enclosed room behind a locked door.  Stark was sleeping with a breathing tube up his nose while an older balding man was shaving at a small mirror.  With a downward movement of Loki’s hand, the stranger was falling asleep, the razor slipping from his hand into the dirt floor.  Loki looked up and saw the video camera.  He blinked.  Another twist of his hand and the same image with enough variation to seem real was placed in the eye before whoever looked into that camera.

Technology was so boring sometimes.

Carefully, Loki bent down and was confused by the large box that had wires going into Stark’s chest.  It was gruesome, like something out of a horror novel.  Loki touched it gingerly, afraid that it would somehow hurt Stark if he looked at it the wrong way, but he could feel the electricity humming through the cords and into Stark’s chest.  Loki knocked on something large and round in Stark’s chest.  He felt a jolt of electricity and with that Stark’s eyes flew open.

“Stark,” Loki greeted, touching his greasy hair.  “You’re alive.”

“Of course I—“ Stark stopped midsentence and seemed surprised by whatever he was remembering.  Quickly he tore the tube from his nose, muttering curses all the while.  Finally, he looked around and asked, “Are we in Afghanistan?”

Loki nodded.

“How can you possibly be here?”

“I went to Los Angeles and I was told that you were missing.  Here.  I probably should not stay long.”

“You cannot possibly leave—“

“I will return,” Loki promised.  “And I will be waiting for you once you return to America.”

“What about Svanhild?” Stark asked, clearly still a little confused and not able to grasp exactly what was happening.

“I left her with her uncle.”

Stark’s eyebrows shot together.  “I thought you said—“

“My brother adores her and quite wishes to be married so that he can have younglings of his own,” Loki laughed.  “All is forgiven.”  Though not forgotten.  Never forgotten.

Stark was now looking at the large box and the cords that ran into his chest.  “What the–?”

“I cannot account for it,” Loki admitted.  “It is electrical, at least.”

“I think it’s a car battery.”

“Perhaps your companion will know more,” Loki offered, tilting his head toward the sleeping man.  “You should probably not tell him of my visit.”

“Maj—none of this is making any sense.”

“Of course not and I’ve confused you.”  Loki made to rise, but with a strong grip on his tunic Stark pulled him back down.  Kissing him suddenly, Stark held tighter as if he never wanted to let go.  “You left me again,” he accused, once they’d separated.

He was now examining the oxygen tube that he had pulled out of his nose in such haste.


Stark smiled that charming grin again.  “Well, I’ll forgive her anything.”

“You haven’t even met her,” Loki responded silkily after Stark had pulled him in for another long kiss.

“I had a dream about her.”

Loki looked at him curiously. 

“We were in your suite and you were holding her.  She was so tiny and blue.  Actually blue.  I’m not joking.  I’m not talking about a heart condition I just—“

“Stark, I know.”

“And I touched her and she turned pink.  Like a fairytale.  And she had my eyes and my chin and your ears.  And she was ours.”

Loki blinked being unable to help it.  How had Stark remembered?

“I know.  I’m crazy.”  There was that same charming grin again.  “Put it down to my fun-v being blown up.”

Loki had no idea what a fun-v was.  Still, he couldn’t look Stark in the eyes.

“Wait, it isn’t–?  It is–?” Stark looked half baffled and half hopeful.  “Is there a little baby Stark toddling out there?  And are you really a hermaphrodite?”

“My family thinks the sire died in a war.”

“The War in Afghanistan?” Stark asked, eyebrows raised.  “Well, he very well might.”

“That’s not funny, Stark.”

“Tony,” Stark said happily.  “And don’t you think I should know your name?”  He was now trying to sit up and Loki moved forward to help him.  Stark caught his lips in another warm kiss.  “I’m being held captive and this is a hallucination, isn’t it?”

“I’m nearly certain you’re being held prisoner,” Loki agreed, “but I’m not a hallucination.”  Looking around, he saw a pen on one of the tables.  He picked it up.  “Here,” he said, writing Svanhild on the inside of Stark’s arm.  “So you won’t forget us.”

The stranger groaned and Loki looked up at him, startled.

“I should go.  Tell no one of my presence otherwise it will be harder to sneak in again.”

“How’d you do it this time?” Stark called as his companion began to shakily move on the floor.

“Magic,” Loki laughed and then he had gone out the locked door.

Finding a room in Kabul had been easy.  Loki had shimmered out of his royal garb and into casual Midgardian slacks, waiting for the days to pass until he could visit Stark again.

The next time he snuck in, he found Stark smoldering wires while in his cage, a light disc emanating from his chest.

“I swear it didn’t look like that last time,” Loki commented.  He’d put the stranger to sleep again and the camera would show Stark still playing with those wires.

Stark glanced up and looked shocked.  “You weren’t a hallucination.”

“I thought I promised you I wasn’t.”

“That’s what a hallucination would do.”  Stark was now standing and washing his hands in a basin.  “Maybe I’m hallucinating now.”

They both glanced at his arm.  The letters of ‘Svanhild’ could still be made out. 

“You know, Yinsen asked me what Svanhild meant.  I told him that she was my daughter.  Actually,”—there it was, that same charming smile—“can we talk names a second?  Why Svanhild?  That’s a name in Old Norse.  I’m American.”

“I am not.”

“No, you’re the hot British sounding guy, who has so much money that no one blinks when he calls himself ‘The Magician.’”

“I’ve been called worse.”  Such as Liesmith.

“Maj, we have a daughter together and I don’t even know your name.  I googled you and could find nothing.  There’s nothing on Svanhild even existing!”

“I have an excellent publicist.”  And he did.  “When I travel I like people to divorce my money from who I actually am.  And I cannot bear aliases.  They get too confusing.”  There was a slight mocking in his tone, but Stark seemed to take it in stride.

“You probably then won’t even tell me my own daughter’s last name if you’re so protective of your identity.”

“Lokidottr,” Loki answered instantly.  “She is Svanhild Lokidottr.”

“I may not be an expert on languages but that just sounds like you called her the daughter of a Norse god.”

There was a pause.  Loki just stared at Stark.

“Where will she go to school?” Stark finally asked.  “I know you won’t bring her to Malibu.”

“She’ll have the best tutors,” Loki offered.  “Nothing but the best for our little princess.”  He used the word casually, knowing that Americans viewed their daughters as princesses.

“I’d like her to carry the Stark name.”

“Svanhild Stark Lokidottr?”

“If you like.”  It was clear he wanted the name the other way around.

Loki sighed.  “I could never explain it.  Her sire supposedly died and wouldn’t have had the name Stark.”

“Sire.  You keep on saying Sire instead of Father.”

“I’m the father,” Loki answered.  “I’m a man, Stark.  You of all people should know this.”

“Of course I—I just—Can’t she have two fathers—?“

“If the nine realms were more perfect,” Loki sighed wistfully.

Stark looked at him strangely.

He glanced over to Stark.  He was fiddling with whatever tool it was he was holding.  Loki knew absolutely nothing about Midgardian engineering tools.

“Then I want visiting rights.”  Stark’s voice was firm and brooked no refusal.

Loki laughed.  “Are we really talking about this here?  In a cave in Afghanistan?”

“It’s as good a place as any,” Stark commented as he walked up and wrapped his hand around the back of Loki’s neck.

Loki loved it.

“Visiting rights.  Me.  Svanhild.”  Brown eyes battled green and after a long second Loki kissed him. 

He could never get tired of this.  The warmth, the firmness, the intoxicating taste.  Loki snuck a hand between them and pressed it against Stark’s firm stomach, inching up his tshirt.  Stark moaned, but pulled away.

“Visiting rights,” he demanded.

“Don’t make me promise what I can’t give.”  Loki moved forward to kiss Stark again, but the Midgardian put a hand against Loki’s shoulder.

“I could take you to court.”

“No one knows my name, Stark.  They don’t know my nationality.  Not even my publicist.  We both know that even you couldn’t find me.”

“There’s always a paper trail.  And you underestimate me.”

“I don’t underestimate you, Stark,” Loki swore.  “But there isn’t a paper trail with me.”  He paused.  “Why is this such an issue?  Surely you have other offspring.”

Stark looked at him surprised.  “Clearly you haven’t done your homework.  I have none. I’ve been very careful.”

“I figured you had erased any trace.  And we can all think we’re being careful when apparently we aren’t.  I’m still surprised you’re not angry with me.  I’m just some stranger who graced your bed.”  Loki’s tone was silky to hide his nervousness.

“No one has graced my bed, as you put it, since you left.  God, Maj, I didn’t know if you were ever coming back to me again.”

Loki had the sense to look away, ashamed at that.  Effortlessly, he changed the subject.  “You’ll be happy to know that Svanhild is now fully accepted by the family.  Thanks to you.”

“You make your family sound like some kind of patriarchal clan.”

“It is,” Loki agreed.  “I’m sure you’d be surprised, but my father has the last word.”

“And you left Svanhild close to him.”

“I left her with my brother who, since he is now permitted to see her, thinks the moon hangs on her brown hair.”

Stark’s eyes lit up.  “Brown hair?  Not black?”  He ran his greasy fingers through Loki’s short black hair.  Loki couldn’t seem to mind.

“She has your brown eyes, too.”

“I remember,” Stark said wistfully, before kissing Loki gently.

Loki stewed for another two weeks in his hotel room, wanting to go back to that damnable cave, and calling himself too weak for his obsession with this Midgardian.  It defied everything that Loki had ever thought about himself.  He never believed he could ever love anyone but his mother and his oaf of a brother.  Didn’t think anyone but the Allfather would win his respect.

Now, a simple Midgardian had done both.

The next time he went to the hideaway, there was chaos and fire and smoke.  Loki followed it out, careful to avoid detection, until he saw Stark in a suit made of metal.  That’s what he had been working on.  He followed him through the battle and out into the desert, where he finally made himself known as Stark sank to his knees in defeat.

Loki held out a bottle of water, which he had materialized.  “Drink, Stark,” he murmured, putting the bottle to his lips.  With a few soft spoken words he had healed some of the burns on Stark’s skin but he didn’t want his work to be too noticeable.

“How are you here?”

“I’ll stay with you ‘til help comes.  I’m at The Ritz in Kabul.”

Stark just looked at him questioningly and Loki chastely kissed him.

He wasn’t surprised when, two days later, Stark appeared at his room with a man dressed in desert combat uniform.  Stark was in a wheelchair, the other man behind him.  “See, I told you he’d be here,” Stark commented to his friend before wheeling himself forward.  “Maj.”

Loki stood and came over to him, taking Stark’s head in his hands and kissing him softly.  “You’re alive.”

Stark’s mouth quirked up, obviously in on the secret.  “I’m alive.”

That night, Loki slipped back to Asgard and startled his brother awake who was sleeping next to Svanhild’s crib.  “Brother!  You have been missing for more than a few days.”

“How sweet of you to notice,” he responded silkily.  “There was an unexpected occurrence shortly before I left that I was not aware of.”

“You speak in riddles and you shall wake the child.”

Loki glanced into the crib and kissed Svanhild’s forehead.  He whispered a sweet song in her ear and knew she would not waken for another few hours.  “She will sleep,” he promised.  “I am surprised to find you here in my apartments, Brother, and not an attendant.”

“I watch the Asgardian princess while she sleeps during Asgard’s nights,” Thor explained.

“I thank you,” Loki responded quietly, his words hanging between the three of them.  Finally, Loki shifted and admitted, “I promised Svanhild’s sire that he might see her.”

“You intend to take her to Midgard?”  Thor sounded horrified.

“Not for long,” Loki defended himself.  “And it is for only a few days, Brother.”

“It is an entirely different realm.”

“Midgardian blood runs in her veins.” That was the simple truth of it all.  While the Allfather might be none the wiser, both he and Thor knew that Svanhild was a child of not only Asgard.

“I cannot stop you, Brother.”

Loki bowed slightly, showing his appreciation.  Going back to the cradle, he lifted Svanhild up into his arms and turned away.  “Tell Mother not to worry,” he murmured, and then paused.  “Thor?  You get on well with Freyja.”

Thor looked at him confused.  “I know the lady, yes.”

“She has never liked me,” Loki confessed.  “I would have one of her apples for Svanhild in case her Midgardian blood shortens her life.”

“Why not ask Mother?”

“She would disapprove.”  Loki knew that Frigga disapproved of Svanhild’s heritage although she had kept it a secret from Odin Allfather.

“Then you shall have it, Brother,” Thor promised, looking at Loki with his impossibly blue eyes.  “I would not like to live to see our swan die.”

“Nor would I,” agreed Loki before turning and leaving the palace.  Quietly, so as not to attract attention, he traversed the well-known path back to Midgard.

The road was long and by the time he installed himself in a Malibu hotel and reacquired his phone, a whole two days had passed.

Angela answered his phone call with a quick, “You’ll want to turn on the news.”

Loki, never one to distrust her words, turned on the news and saw Tony Stark standing in front of several microphones.

Two commentators were sitting in front of the image, discussing it.  “Yes, Jessica, what is perhaps surprising on a personal note is this admission—“

The two Midgardians turned to the screen where Stark’s face was being replayed.  “First, I would like to announce the existence of my daughter.  She remains in the loving care of her other parent, but one thing this ordeal has taught me is that I shouldn’t be afraid to admit that I love her to the entire world.  I will not keep that hidden.  I will, however, ask you to respect her privacy.”

Loki’s jaw dropped.  He dialed Angela’s number again.  “Angela—“ he warned, only to hear a sigh.

I don’t mean to be a nuisance,” she explained, her voice rough with some emotion Loki couldn’t quite identify.  “It’s just—he has a child, Sir.  You have a child.  Surely their mothers—Stark’s child’s mother—wants some stability and, forgive me, Sir, but Stark can’t act rationally around you.”

“Angela, just call Miss Potts and tell her I’m at the Ritz-Carlton in Malibu.  Stark is expecting my call.”

Yes, Sir.  Of course.”  There was definitely disapproval in her voice.

Loki rubbed his forehead.  “And never a word about my private life again, Angela.”

There was the slightest pause.  “Yes, Sir.  Of course, Sir.”

They hung up.

Loki wandered around the suite for the next half hour.  There was a large centerpiece of lilies that he had allowed Svanhild to destroy in her play and he carefully watched her to make sure she didn’t eat any of the flowers.  It would be another ten years before she would begin speaking and another forty years after that before she stopped putting everything in her pathway in her mouth.  By the time she resembled a Midgardian five-year-old, her sire would most likely be dead.

Svanhild would probably not even remember him.

He would have to remember for them both.

There was a knock on the door.  Loki answered it although he wished he could use his magic to open the doors, but he was on Midgard unfortunately.  Behind the door he saw the impressive business suit that was Miss Potts.

“Magician,” she greeted.

He nodded his head.  “You must have had a hard month, Miss Potts.”

“It was dreadful,” she admitted.  “I hear you’ve been in Afghanistan during the entire time.  That was—“  She bit her lip.

Loki sighed and took a flower from Svanhild’s hand.  “You may as well say it, Miss Potts.  I’ve already heard more than I should from my publicist.”

“It was romantic,” she answered simply.

Looking at her, Loki slowly smiled.  “I doubt anyone in my family would find me the romantic,” he admitted.  “I suppose I am, considering.”

“Considering,” she agreed.  She mentally shook herself and swiped back a lock of strawberry blonde hair.  “Mr. Stark has asked that I drive you and your daughter to his mansion in Malibu.  He suggests that you pack.”

“I suppose I should check out, then,” Loki sighed, picking up Svanhild.  “One moment.”

He entered the bedroom and conjured a suitcase where he packed Svanhild’s supplies.  He appeared a moment later.

“I’m ready.”

Miss Potts looked surprised. 

It took more than a few moments to check out of the hotel, but he was soon sitting in the back of a black car with Miss Potts.  There was a car seat for Svanhild and Loki had to enchant the straps to fit around his daughter, otherwise he would have remained entirely baffled.

Stark was impatiently waiting and told someone called Jarvis to “Shut up, already,” as soon as Loki walked in the door.

“Svanhild,” he greeted his daughter as he held out his arm for her.

“Are you strong enough?” Loki asked seriously.

“Perhaps you could sit,” Miss Potts suggested as Loki looked at the arm-sling Stark was in.

“Sitting.  Right.  Thanks, Pepper.”  He rushed into the house, probably more slowly than he would hope, and sat down on some modern looking furniture.  “I’m ready.”

“Greetings, Stark,” Loki laughed as he leaned forward to place their daughter in Stark’s waiting arm.  “Cradle her head and just let her rest on your lap.”

“I’ve held her before, you know,” Stark said defensively before kissing him softly.  “Hey, you.”

The two smiled at each other.

Miss Potts cleared her throat.  “Tony, what should I tell Obadiah if he wants to come by?  I trust you don’t want anyone to see Svanhild or her—other father.”

Loki sighed as he looked at her.  “Don’t tell Angela.”

Miss Potts looked surprised.  Loki supposed that she thought Angela knew.  She would be a natural candidate.  “Of course not, sir.  It’s not my place.”

“Tell Obadiah I’m meditating or something.  I don’t care what you tell him.  Maybe that I’m being tested for Meningitis and am quarantined in the house.  That will keep him out.”  He winked at Loki.

Loki had no idea what Meningitis was.

Potts stepped forward.  “She has your eyes, Tony,” she commented.

“Yes, doesn’t she?” he answered happily.  “A true Stark.  Svanhild Stark.”

“Svanhild Lokidottr.”

Stark fixed him with his intense brown eyes.  “Is that what your last name is?  Lokidottr?”

Loki just stared back at him, arching his brow.

“Alright, Maj, no questions about your name.”  He turned to their daughter.  “But you, Miss Lokidottr-Stark, are the most beautiful baby in the world.”

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