The Star in His Chest
Tony was practically petrified.
You see what he did there? With the double p's? Pepper would be proud. Pepper Potts. Hmm...
Anyway, he was really, really scared. Terrified really.
He wasn't in the suit, and Loki was right there, and the only thing that would really help right now was- Yup, there's the scotch. Okay, just one glass for now and everything'll be fine. Good. All better. Okay, definitely not all. Much better? No, only 12% better. That's accurate.
Loki was smiling his wicked little smile, and Tony's heart thundered away behind his arc reactor. He really didn't want to admit it, but he felt really, really powerless and the booze really wasn't helping right now. No liquid courage then? Alright, fine.
"They won't have time to fight me when they're too busy fighting you," Loki smirked and pressed the scepter to his chest.
Tony refused to admit that his heart skipped a beat just then. He opened his mouth to retort, but Loki just tapped the arc reactor with the scepter again.
A small shudder raced through the brunette's body. "Look, you really shouldn't do that," he frowned and involuntarily took a step back. His arm came up to cover his chest, but he passed it off as rubbing his opposing shoulder. Ever since Obediah, he was sensitive about people touching his torso. Not to mention that the arc reactor was placed directly in his chest and any movement against it caused painful chafing.
"What was that sound?" Loki frowned. His eyebrows drew together delicately. "Are you wearing armor?"
"Obviously not," Tony growled and pressed farther back, until his lower back pressed into the counter behind him. The taller god continued forward. Again, he rested the tip of the scepter against the smaller man's chest.
Tony's breath hitched. His eyes immediately began to sting. Loki was close- too close- and he was touching his arc reactor- right above his heart- and he could feel the slight weight of the glow-stick of destiny. The puzzled god drew closer still. In a strange, tingly breath, Tony's shirt disappeared. He gasped.
"H-hey! At least take me out for a drink first or dinner! Definitely dinner!" The brunette stuttered out and tried to slip away. Loki gently grasped his arm to hold him in place. His head tilted to the side elegantly, and his curious eyes roamed over the arc reactor like he could see exactly what it was made of and what it did. For a moment, those brilliant blue eyes flickered green.
"There's a star in your chest."
It was such a simple statement, and it almost confused Tony. He glanced down to the reactor and realized it did kind of look like a star. Huh. Normally, he just saw it as an ugly hole in his chest. A weakness anyone could exploit to kill him. A curse.
But Loki, crazy-bag-of-cats-for-brains Loki, saw a star. Stars have the common connotation of being beautiful. Did Loki think the arc reactor was pretty?
Tony gasped faintly and blinked away tears. Wow. No one ever... ever really called him beautiful.... Especially not after Afghanistan... Only Obediah had seen the reactor up close, and all he had seen was an opportunity for more money. All Tony had seen was the dark cave that it came from. All Pepper saw was the creepy metal casing and scary exposed wires.
Loki saw a star.
"It's-It's not really a star..." Tony stuttered and finally managed to look up through his eyelashes. "It's, um, ahem, my arc reactor. Powers my suits. Keeps me alive. That kind of stuff."
"Really?" Loki breathed. He peered at it curiously. "It's amazing."
"Sure, I guess..."
The two men stood in a short awkward silence.
"This is what must have stopped the scepter from working properly," Loki concluded and held the scepter up to look at it. He pressed it to the left of the reactor, and Tony gave a pained whine as his world faded to black...