Monday, April 3rd, 2017 02:19 am

Heart's Desire

panicnhysteria: (matt)
[personal profile] panicnhysteria
Title: Heart's Desire
Author: [livejournal.com profile] panicnhysteria
Pairing: FrostIron
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None. Lots of fluff and a bit of swearing, I guess
Summary: Everyone is born with their soulmate's name on their wrist. Finding them was nevertheless not that easy. Tony never even bothered registering in the first place, the name on his wrist was an indecipherable mess. Loki on the other hand was obsessed with looking for his soulmate, the one person who would accept, respect and love him for sure, just like he always longed for.
Feedback: Always welcomed and appreciated.
Disclaimer: I do not own MCU, I'm just playing with some characters.
Author's note: FrostIron is my most recent and well-loved favorite ship. I adventured into writing it as part of a "event"? I felt challenged but I'm happy with the final result. There is art for this one, made by fightacrosstheconstellation, you can find it here if you're interested.


“Congratulations, Mr. Stark, it’s a boy.”

Howard looked up and noticed that the doctor was speaking to him. He frowned when he noticed the uneasy expression on the doctor’s face. “What is it? What’s wrong?” he asked.

The doctor frowned. “It might be nothing, but… the soulmate mark on the baby seems to be somehow… distorted.”

"What do you mean with that?” he demanded. “That’s my son you’re talking about.”

“Please, calm down, Mr. Stark. I admit it’s uncommon, but not unheard of. Maybe the mark will be legible as the boy grows older, and-”

“Let me see him.”

Howard was led to the maternity ward. The doctor left him alone after he pointed to his son, saying ‘that’s him’. Howard watched the baby’s sudden movements, his gaze catching on to the baby’s tiny arm and the green blurb on his wrist. Howard frowned, scoffed and turned around to leave.

***

“What is that on his wrist?”

“You know exactly what it is, Frigga.”

“I know, but I wanted to see the name so that he-”

“Frigga.” The All-Father was stern now. “We are to keep him safe, nothing more,” he stated.

“No.” Frigga’s reply was firm, leaving no room for further arguments. “His happiness is part of keeping him safe. As soon as he is able to understand it, he will know everything about his origin and his soulmate. I personally will take care of it.”

“You will do no such thing,” Odin said, his cold expression making Frigga bring the small bundle on her arms closer to her chest. “I will allow the infant to be raised as an Asgardian, you may treat him as you wish, but you must not reveal the child’s heritage. Do you understand?”

Recognizing that the All-Father wouldn’t budge, Frigga nodded.

“As you wish, All-Father. I will arrange for the baby’s sleeping quarters.” With that, she bowed and left.

Once in the hallways of the palace, she glanced down to the pale-skinned creature. She noticed the red mark on his wrist, and she smiled softly.

“Anthony. Interesting name,” she murmured, placing a kiss on the baby’s flailing hand. She smiled. “Oh, Loki, you shall grow to do wonderful things.”

***

Tony turned his hand around, smiling widely and running downstairs to look for his parents. “Mom! Dad! I got it!”

Maria Stark looked at his son and raised an eyebrow. “What are you talking about, Tony?” she asked patiently.

“My mark! I know what it means!” her son exclaimed.

Maria rolled her eyes but put on a smile. “I’m sure you have,” she said condescendingly.

“I did it!” Tony insisted, looking rather desperate. “It’s a wave!”

Maria blinked slowly in disbelief. “A what?”

“A wave!” Tony repeated, stepping closer to his mother. “Look! If you see it like this…” He displayed his wrist proudly, turning it so his mother could see it too. But Maria refused to see the mark.

“The mark is a name, Anthony, not a wave. You are too creative for your own good,” she gave him an empty smile. “Go back to your room, Tony.”

Tony looked at his wrist. A name? But this is not a name, he thought. Feeling confused and a little hurt, Tony went back upstairs.

***

“You must resist, brother! Again!”

The raven haired boy scowled and rose from the dirt where he had fallen after his last attempt to take his brother down.

“I refuse to partake in your silly games, Thor. Leave me alone,” he replied. “Go and spar with your friends.”

As he walked away, he couldn’t help but listen to the people’s whispers around him.

“What is his problem?”

“He is strange, he never wants to spar!”

“I heard in the court that he’s learning magic.”

“He should be learning the ways of a warrior. The least he should look up to is to be at least a competent match to his brother.”

Loki scowled at that. He looked down to his hands and softly rubbed the red name on his wrist, sighing. Then his hands glowed green for a few moments and someone behind him screamed. Loki smiled.

***

“Tony! Hey, Tony! Can you answer some questions?”

“Tony! Are you graduating early from MIT?”

“Tony! A picture!”

Tony walked through the campus, trying to keep a vacant expression on his face. Coming from the Stark legacy, Tony had become used to being followed by annoying reporters even before he learned how to walk. This didn’t mean that he felt any sympathy for them, however.

“Hey, Stark! When are you gonna remove that green thing, huh?” One voice rose above the rest, halting Tony’s thoughts.

He stopped walking. He could hear flashes all around him. Slowly, he turned around and punched the bold reporter square in the face. Some reporters gasped and looked at Tony as he walked away, clenching his hands, trying his best to cover his marked wrist.

***

“Loki!” a blond yelled.

The other man sneered and rolled his eyes. “By the Norns, Thor, stop speaking like I was across the realms.”

Thor tried not to smile. He failed. “Heimdall is displeased with you, brother.”

Loki smirked. “What horrible offense have I committed on this occasion?”

“Apparently, Heimdall lost sight of you last evening. He suspects you are using your spells to hide something from him,” Thor narrowed his eyes. “What are you planning, Loki?”

Loki huffed. “Of course, I’m hiding something. Or,” he added mischievously, “I have found yet another blind spot to disappear when the entirety of Asgard is busy being boring and Heimdall’s pride has been damaged once again.”

Thor ignored the last part of Loki’s sentence. “I don’t know why you don’t simply ask Heimdall to open the Bifrost for you,” he scolded him. “I am certain there is no place he is unable to take you to.”

“Heimdall seems to always be unavailable whenever I am in need of his services,” Loki replied. Thor shook his head but Loki ignored him. “Admit it, brother. Heimdall has always disliked me.”

“He would be more tolerant of you if you were not adamant on displaying his flaws,” he suggested. “Where do you travel to when you disappear?” he questioned.

Loki unconsciously rubbed his wrists. “That is not any concern of yours,” he retorted.

Thor suddenly smiled. “Are you looking for your soulmate? I know that name to be common in Midgard, is it not? Is there where you have been-”

Thor.” Loki’s cold tone stunned him. “What I do and where I travel are not of importance to you. If you care about your brother, you shall stop speaking on this instant.”

Thor smiled sadly, slowly raising his hands in surrender. “I apologize, brother. I shall not bother you any longer. We will meet again in the afternoon.” With that he left. Loki, however, wasn’t alone for long.

“Look at you, fighting with your brother again.” The voice grew closer to him. “Have you started looking for him?” Loki smiled sadly at his mother.

“You know I have,” he replied. “You must also be aware that I have not been successful.” He allowed his disappointment to show on his face.

“You must be patient, my son,” Frigga said softly. “Midgard has a large territory; you cannot give up hope so soon.”

Loki sighed. “But I have done it, Mother. I have looked for every Midgardian baby, child and man – young or old – with the name,” he avoided saying the name directly. “There are thousands, Mother. Thousands of them and I have seen them all. They are not him,” he explained desperately.

Frigga soothed him. “You must remember this, Loki. Midgardians’ lives are so brief. He might not be there now, but he shall be on a future generation.” She smiled and squeezed his shoulder. “Don’t lose faith yet, my son.”

Loki watched her walking away, resigned. “Or perhaps his existence has already ceased being,” he whispered, closing his eyes to avoid looking at his mark. Perhaps I have lost my opportunity to have a soulmate and I’m a fool still waiting to be saved by him, he thought bitterly.

This couldn’t continue any longer. It was then that he decided that his quest had to stop.

***

“Tony! Did you see the news?” Pepper Potts said as she entered the workshop.

Tony didn’t bother to look up from his current machine, only humming a negative response. Pepper rolled her eyes and stepped up to him, shoving a newspaper to his face.

Tony grasped the newspaper and gasped in horror. “Pepper! What is this monstrosity?” he held the newspaper away from his body with a scowl. “You know these antiques belong out of my workshop.”

“You wouldn’t listen to me any other way,” she replied.

“I don’t need to read this,” Tony shrugged, tossing the newspaper away. “You’ll tell me anyway, right?” he smirked.

Pepper rolled her eyes. “You’re lucky I know you’re trying to be funny,” she mockingly glared at him. “They have announced an update in the Database. They keep asking for your help.”

Tony laughed. “They, who? Matchmakers?” he scoffed. “You know I want nothing to do with that stuff.” Pepper frowned.

“Tony, the Matchmaker Database won’t be able to help you if you don’t do the same,” she reprimanded him.

“They are going to help me?” Tony rolled his eyes. “There is nothing they can do for me.”

“Tony,” Pepper sighed, exasperated. “How can you expect to find your soulmate if you don’t access to the Database?”

“I’m not expecting anything, Pep,” Tony said nonchalantly. “Can’t you see I’m busy? I have no time for a soulmate, or whatever they have for me.” He made a vague gesture with his gloved hand, turning back to his machine. “Besides,” he added, more quietly now. “You know as well as I do that the thing in my wrist can’t go in the Database.”

“They are experts, Tony! Maybe they can-”

“Stop it, Pepper,” Tony interrupted her, a fake smile in place. “I’m better than the experts. Everything they can do to help, I’ve already done it. This name, if that’s what this is, isn’t written on any language known on Earth. So either this is not a name, or aliens are real,” he shrugged. “Either way, I’m screwed.”

“Don’t see it that way!” Pepper exclaimed. “Come on, Tony! You know better than anyone else how fast technology can advance with the right people. Maybe in a few years marks like yours will be understood,” she suggested desperately.

“There are no other marks like mine,” Tony pointed out. “I’m unique and a mystery to matchmaking and biology itself, remember?”

Pepper ignored him. “If you helped them, they could find your soulmate quicker!”

“Pepper,” Tony sighed. “There’s nothing to find. Either I don’t have a soulmate – which everybody already claims as the truth – or I’ll never meet them because there is no language or symbology like this one on Earth. Anyway, I have more important things to do than make other people happy.” Tony smirked, apparently unaffected. “You know what? Start planning a party. Haven’t had one in ages!”

It was obvious Tony wouldn’t speak about the mark on his wrist any longer. Pepper just smiled, resigned.

“Sure thing, Tony. I’ll take care of it.”

***

“You wouldn’t tell the All-Father about this, would you?”

A tanned throat gulped nervously. “I am afraid I must let the All-Father know of this situation immediately.” The guard actually tried to sound stern and definitive. Loki smirked.

“Oh, guard! This is nothing of importance!” he widened his eyes. “I see now. You thought I was a threat,” he sighed slowly. “Rest assured, my intentions are not harmful to Asgard in any way.”

The guard looked unsure. “My Prince, I must insist. I-”

“Enough,” Odin All-Father’s voice boomed behind them. Loki sighed resignedly. “Perhaps another time then, guard,” he said before turning around and facing the patriarch. “Father. Is it something the matter?”

“Loki. What are you scheming this time? I do not have the time nor the desire to reprimand your problematic behavior. You are expected in the throne room. I have an announcement to make.”

Loki nodded slowly, allowing his boredom to show on his face once his Father left him alone. Curious for once, he headed towards the throne room. When he got there, he found his mother and Thor. They looked happy and wary at the same time.

“Loki,” Frigga greeted him with a hug.

“Mother,” he replied. “Do any of you know what Father is planning to announce?”

Both Frigga and Thor shook their heads, but Loki could notice the telling signs of his mother lying to him. “Mother,” he said again. “What is happening here?”

“You will soon know, my sons,” Odin said behind them. The whole family kept silence immediately. Pleased with this, he continued. “As you have always known, only one of you will be crowned King, and since you have become of age, the time has finally come to choose which of you will carry such honor.”

Thor smiled widely, but Loki frowned. “How shall you make the choice, Father?” he questioned.

Frigga took over. “Your father has decided to observe both of you for a period of time. We consider telling you the exact period would be unfair, since you would be going out of your ways to be considered the best,” she explained. “However, you shall know that your Father will choose based on what he observes in you. Only he is aware of the features required in the future King of Asgard.”

Odin smiled proudly at his wife. “Your mother is right. Soon, one day, I shall let you know my decision. Please remember that, regardless of my choice, both of you are Princes of excellence and, as your father, I find myself very proud of you.”

Both Thor and Loki smiled and nodded in reply to their father’s words. However, there was an underlying tension in the atmosphere. Maybe Loki was imagining things, or the knowledge of his father’s plan had created an anticipation none of them were expecting.

***

Tony was alone. He was sure of this. But he didn’t know exactly where he was. He was full of questions. Where was he? How did he get there? Was this a dream or a nightmare? Was he drugged? The list went on.

The room was simple yet modern. He could imagine himself living on a place like this. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a door opening. He tried turning around but found out he couldn’t. This was a dream, then. After the door closed, he heard footsteps approaching him.

“You always get ideas in the middle of the night,” a male voice said behind him.

“You know me, babe,” he found himself answering without thinking. Who was this person? “You can’t complain now.”

More footsteps, and then he heard and felt a chuckle in the back of his neck, followed by a pair of arms wrapping his waist. “I told you there would be consequences if you left the bed again,” the man said with mock rage.

“Maybe I’m up to the challenge,” he replied, smiling without knowing exactly why.

Another soft chuckle, the press of lips against his neck and a resigned sigh. “I was afraid you would say that.” After a comfortable silence, and then: “Come back to bed.” And somehow he managed to make it sound like a plea and an order at the same time.

“Sure thing. Jarv, we’ll continue this in the morning.” The lights went off and he prepared to follow the man back to the bedroom. The arms holding him were gone and finally he could turn around…

Tony woke up with a gasp. What the hell had he just dreamt about?. He looked around and noticed he had fallen asleep on his workshop. Had he really dreamt about some unknown guy? He loved women, and yes, the idea of being with a man wasn’t completely rejected by his mind.

But why now? And who was that guy?

He had a nagging feeling on his mind, like he was supposed to just know , but he didn’t. Out of instinct, he looked at his least favorite wrist and frowned. Could it be possible that he was so desperate that he dreamt that his non-existent soulmate was a man? This was getting crazier the longer he thought about it.

“What am I doing?” he asked to himself. Deciding that the dream had been just the result of avoiding sleep like the plague, Tony decided to go to his room to get some proper sleep. But, when he stepped into his bedroom, he couldn’t help but remember his dream.

How would it feel like?, he wondered. To have someone that understood his middle-of-the-night escapades to brainstorm. To have someone that made him want to put his work on second place. To finally have someone to wake up next to.

“I’ve lost it now,” he sighed, looking at the ceiling, waiting for answers that wouldn’t come. Finally, he changed his mind. I can try looking for him. Just once, and then I’ll leave it alone, he thought. He cracked his knuckles and cleared his throat. “JARVIS.”

“Sir,” the AI answered immediately.

“Create a new project and leave it on the local network. I don’t want anyone to see it, okay?”

“What shall be the name of the project, Sir?”

He thought about it for a second. “Heart's desire,” he decided.

“Right away, Sir.”

***

Things were tense in Asgard and anyone could notice it right away. There were rumors about the new King, which would be announced today, and people were not ashamed to let their opinions be known by everyone.

“Thor shall be a great King. He will make the All-Father proud.”

“Was it really necessary to say the King had to choose between his two sons? I have to say to me it seemed obvious since the beginning.”

“What if Prince Loki is chosen?”

“I can’t even imagine.”

Loki tuned out the people and concentrated on keeping his face calm, hiding his anxiety from the people of Asgard. The All-Father rose from his throne and everyone was silent at once.

“People of Asgard,” he started, “I have gathered you here to announce who shall be your next King.” The people clapped and started making noise again, calming down after a few seconds. “I have observed Princes Thor and Loki, taking notice of their qualities to decide which of them would be a better King for this realm.”

More clapping. Seriously, Loki thought stressed, must they always celebrate every word Father says?

“Now," Odin continued, pausing for a second, "Thor…” he started speaking, and Loki…

Loki couldn’t hear anything else. He saw his brother’s smile widening and the concerned glance his mother threw his way. He clenched his fist and in the blink of an eye he was gone.

***

“Alright, JARVIS. Again.”

“Sir, this is the sixth attempt in one hour. I would suggest-”

“Not now, JARVIS. Do it.”

JARVIS gave no response, but soon the base of his portal started showing some sparks. Tony was waiting for something else. “Increase the energy input.”

More sparks, and then a weird blue glow at the base of the portal. Tony got closer to it, but then the glow seemed to dimmer and he panicked. “More, JARVIS!”

“The device might not support that much energy, Sir. I strongly suggest you stop the energy input now.”

“It will work,” Tony snapped. “Increase it, now!” his voice rose when the glow disappeared. The generator started buzzing as it increased the level of energy. The glow reappeared and started to grow. “More. And don’t even think about saying no, J,” he ordered. The glow grew brighter but not bigger. “Full power,” he demanded. The noises were louder and then…

Boom.

Tony barely had the time to duck behind a table when the blue glow exploded , destroying the base of the portal and half of the workshop along with it. The place was suddenly silent, and Tony lost it.

“Dammit!” he yelled, picking up a wrench to throw it to the smoking spot on the floor. Unsurprisingly, this did nothing to appease his frustration. He yelled and sat on the floor, holding his head on his hands.

“What… Tony! What happened here?!” Pepper entered the workshop and her eyes widened. “This is too much, even for you, Tony,” she scolded him. When she found him sitting on the floor, her tone grew softer. “Hey, Tony, what’s wrong? Talk to me.”

Tony looked up at her and considered lying. It would be pathetic to admit he had reached the conclusion that his soulmate was an alien based on a dream . Even worse, that he had tried to find extraterrestrial life because he didn’t want to be alone. He prepared a simple enough lie, but he ended up blurting out the truth.

Pepper made him stand up to sit on a chair and listened as he explained his dream, his idea and his failure of an experiment. Once he finished speaking, he looked at Pepper, expecting a scolding or a long talk about not giving up.

When Pepper spoke, she managed to surprise him. “Are you giving up?” was all that she said. No ‘keep trying, Tony,’ or ‘have you lost your mind?’. It made him realize that giving up depended only on what he wanted.

“I said I would only try once,” he answered slowly, clearing his throat embarrassingly when his voice broke at the end of the sentence. “I had given up before and I think it’s for the best.”

Pepper nodded and squeezed his shoulder. “It’s okay, Tony. I don’t want to see you suffering like this, even less risking your life,” she looked at the mess in the workshop. “Finding your soulmate… might not be worth it.” She bit her lip as she said this, like she was omitting something.

“Pepper,” Tony said. When she looked at him, he continued. “You’re not telling me something.” She avoided his gaze now, which only served to confirm his suspicions. “Come on,” he tried to sound like his usual self, “of all people, you should always tell me what’s on your mind.”

He waited for a few moments, and then Pepper sighed and looked at him. “Fine, just don’t get mad,” she warned him. Tony nodded so she went on. “It’s okay to give up trying to find your soulmate by your own means, whatever those are, but…” she inhaled deeply. “Could you please let me give your mark to the Database?”

“Pepper…”

“Just hear me out,” she interrupted him, raising her hands. “I’ll just work with them to figure out whatever they can about your mark, and I’ll make sure that whatever findings they have-”

“If there are any findings,” Tony mumbled.

“Shut up.” Pepper glared at him. “As I was saying, I’ll make sure they don’t publish or share any kind of information with people out of the Database system. If you are so sure they won’t manage anything, then you won’t lose your sleep anymore.” She smiled with sadness. “Call me delusional, but I don’t want you to cut all your ties with your soulmate, whoever that is. You know me, Tony, optimistic even in the worst cases.”

Tony kept silent, which started unnerving Pepper after a few minutes. “Please say something,” she said.

“Fine,” he replied. “Do it. I trust you,” he smiled. “But,” and now he raised a hand - his marked hand, “when nothing happens, it’s over, okay? We’ll pretend this thing doesn’t even exist and all talk about soulmates will be banned in my presence.”

Pepper rolled her eyes but nodded. “I see you’re better now. Fine. We have a deal.”

***

Loki appeared in the middle of a busy street and immediately started looking around frantically, trying to figure out where exactly he was. He ignored the confused looks people were giving him and then, when he saw the iconic tall building in the distance, rolled his eyes.

Midgard. Of course .

He prepared to teleport back to Asgard, uncaring of the humans surrounding him, when he remembered why he had left in the first place. Was it better to go back to Asgard where once again he had ended second best to Thor? Doing so might end up with someone dead or Loki on the edge of creating chaos to everyone around him. Midgard reminded him of his loneliness, but at the moment, that seemed like the least hurtful, most appropriate choice.

“Hey.” He turned around and found a woman smiling at him, holding small cards on her hands. She arched her eyebrows slowly when she saw his attire, but shook her head and continued speaking. “Have you registered to the Database?”

“I beg your pardon?” He replied, feeling a spike of annoyance at the woman for interrupting his thoughts.

The woman arched her eyebrows again, and shrugged. “The Database,” she offered one of the cards, which he took after a few seconds. “There is a new software,” her voice was chirping now, like she were trying to be friendly. “We guarantee a 90% chances of you finding your soulmate, showing results in the first two months after registering.”

Loki looked down at the card, scoffing slightly at the bright red and curvy letters.

Matchmaking Database for Soulmates
Now with a new software for efficient matches!
Register now!

To find his soulmate…

Loki had put those ideas in a far corner of his mind, but then he decided, with no plans in the future to go back to Asgard, why not try it again? It had been a couple of decades in Midgardian time. He wasn’t hopeful but he had nothing to lose… nothing at all.

At the bottom of the card, there was an address. Loki had enough knowledge of Midgardian social workings to know this, but he had to admit he needed help. Looking up to the woman, he smiled openly at her. “Thank you so much,” he said before frowning. “I’m afraid I come from another… city. Would you give me the direction to this Matchmaking place?”

The woman flushed and stuttered for a second. “S-Sure.”

Midgardians, he thought. Always easy to impress. He memorized the woman’s indication. Fortunately, this place wasn’t too far away. He would need to change his appearance, though.

“Thank you, again. Have a lovely day,” he replied before turning around and walking away without looking back.

***

Pepper walked into the Matchmaking building, holding a tablet close to her chest. She had only been here once before, when she registered her own mark. The receptionist in charge of registrations had inevitably asked her if Tony was registering anytime soon and she had left soon after, giving no answers. She guessed that receptionist would be happy now.

She headed straight to the reception desk, where a young man was giving someone some forms. As she approached, she heard, ‘Please fill these with your complete personal information. We’ll go on from there.’

The man receiving the forms frowned (strange, she thought, but promptly ignored him) but moved to the side, letting Pepper step closer. “Good morning,” she said to the receptionist.

“Good morning, welcome to-” the young man - Brian, his nametag said - looked up and froze when he noticed who was in front of him. “Miss Potts,” he greeted with a big, possibly fake, smile. “It is great to see you here!” Looking around, he lowered his voice. “Has Mr. Stark decided to work with us?” he asked excitedly.

Pepper rolled her eyes. “No.” That was the short answer. She enjoyed the disappointed expression on Brian’s face while she set the tablet down on the desk before continuing. “No, I’m here to register his mark.”

Anyone would’ve thought Brian had just discovered aliens were real by the face he made. His mouth opened and closed a few times without speaking. Finally, he seemed to remember he had to be professional and cleared his throat. “Did he manage to figure out the name on the mark?” he seemed to genuinely care about this, besides the obvious achievement in the linguistics field that it would imply. Maybe this is why Pepper chose to answer with the truth.

“No, he didn’t. He has decided this is simply a language that doesn’t exist on Earth, at least not yet. But he trusts your updated Database and told me that at least he wanted you guys to give it a try.”

Yes, maybe she sweetened the truth at the end, but Brian was none the wiser. She noticed some movement at her left and when she turned to look, she found the man from before looking clearly down to the tablet, where Tony’s mark was right on display.

Flushing with anger - both at the stranger and at herself for putting the tablet down - she picked up the tablet and glared at the man. “Listen, mind your own business, I…” This was when she noticed the man seemed to be frozen, his face a comical mix between confusion and something aking to surprise.

What was going on?

***

Loki hadn’t meant to look. Honestly, he was irritated already by creating false information to fill the unnecessary form. Why do they need a “ZIP code” to find my soulmate? Humans don’t make any sense. He was about to give the forms with fake information back when he noticed the woman talking to the man at the desk. Without meaning to, his eyes went to the squared device on the table, reading his name by instinct and thinking nothing of it. It took a second for that information to sink in. His name.

He looked again and, yes, there it was. Loki. Why was his name on that device? How had mortals managed to write his name on the Asgardian language? It was then that he overheard the conversation.

...figure out the name on the mark?

...this is simply a language that doesn't exist on Earth...

By the time he went back to himself, he felt his cheek stinging. Had the mortal woman just slapped him? He tried to pay attention to her ramblings.

"...unbelievable! And I told him I would be discreet! That's it, I'm calling a lawyer."

Considering the pale face of the man, he guessed this lawyer meant something bad, so he blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

"I know that name."

The woman stopped speaking and looked at him. "What?"

"That name on the... thing," he replied, "the language. I know what it means."

The woman's eyes widened in disbelief. Then she scoffed. "Sure. You can say that. Anyone can say that. As if it were that easy to..."

Loki turned over his form and started drawing. He didn't need to think about it. After all, writing his name was one of the first things he was taught as a child. He showed the woman his writing and couldn't help but smile when her eyes widened again. "You know it... How? What name is it?" she asked in a rush.

Loki's smile widened. "Mine."

***

Tony had been working on the design of a new car for hours. After the whole alien fiasco, he has decided to work on something simple. And he wanted a new car, so it was a win-win situation. His concentration was broken when the music JARVIS had playing was paused.

"Hey!" he protested immediately. "JARVIS, what's going on, bud? You wouldn't be that mean," he pouted.

"Sir, your presence is needed in the common room."

Tony frowned. "By whom? Pepper knows to come in here if she needs anything."

"Miss Potts, Sir. And a visitor."

A visitor?  "Who is this visitor?" he asked JARVIS.

"The man's identity is unknown, Sir. There is no register of his face in my databases."

Tony sighed, cleaning his hands on a rag. "I guess I'll have to go. Prepare the music for my return. I don't think this will take too long."

He walked upstairs at a slow pace, trying to guess what kind of visitor was requiring his presence. His guessing game had settled on either some new potential business partner or (finally) Pepper's boyfriend when he reached the common room and found Pepper. Just Pepper.

"So..." Tony started. "This is weird. Why are you here? You should've come to the workshop."

Pepper bit her lip. "Tony, your soul-"

"I told you that was banned in my presence, Pep," he cut her off, crossing his arms. "Really? The last thing we discussed and now you take me out of creating my new car for-"

"I went there and found him. " And Tony froze.

"This is not funny, Pepper," his voice was a little too loud. He winced in apology. "Sorry. But please be clear, I can't handle this pronoun game right now."

"You wouldn't let me say the word otherwise!" she protested, desperate. Taking a deep breath, she tried again. "I went to register your... you know," she avoided saying mark in case he felt that was banned too. "And there was this man... he said he could read the image on the tablet and he even wrote it!"she explained.

Tony frowned. "He wrote it," he repeated.

Pepper nodded quickly. "I would've thought he memorized the design or something, but Tony... he wrote his name as fast as you'd write yours and I... I brought him here."

"What?" A million of thoughts were in Tony's head, most of them directed at Pepper's lack of discretion that she had promised to have. "Where is he? He needs to go."

"But Tony..." Pepper saw Tony's face and sighed. "Out in the balcony." She raised her head and glared at him. "If you want him gone, go and tell him yourself."

Tony's jaw dropped as Pepper left as soon as she had arrived. She invited a complete stranger to his house and somehow he was the responsible of getting him out? Tony huffed. "Whatever." He walked towards the balcony but paused for a moment. "Jarv, if someone tries to kill me in the next five minutes, please call the police... and Pepper, and sue the Matchmakers, in that exact order."

"Yes, Sir."

"Okay, here goes nothing," he told himself before stepping into the balcony with a loud exclamation. "Well! Would you see that? I don't know what you did but you need to leave. Now." The man had his back to Tony, and he watched him sigh.

"I was afraid you would say that."

Well, there goes his sanity. That voice. Could it be the same voice he had heard on his dreams? He approached the man quickly and grabbed his shoulder to turn him around. "Who the hell are you?"

Green eyes, fine features, black hair. Completely common, yet not. "I'm Loki", he said. "And you are Anthony."

"Tony," he corrected him - Loki - without thinking. His mind was busy feeling something new.

All of those cliché reactions to finding your soulmate. Tony had always laughed at them, not really believing that one person meeting another could cause such a variety of overwhelming reactions. But here he was. His heart was beating fast, but he knew he wasn't afraid. Speaking without thinking, a racing heart and trembling hands. Check, check, check. And most of all, the feeling of this is the one. He spent a couple of seconds trying to decide if it really was that easy. Had he really found his soulmate when he decided to give up?

He took a moment to take in Loki's reactions. Based on the weirdly comfortable silence between them, he might be going through the same internal crisis. Only one way to find out.

"Show me your wrist," he demanded. Immediately, there was a hand in front of him. Slowly, Tony touched the pale skin and turned his wrist until he found what he was looking for.

Right there, on Loki's wrist. Written in a color and way that seemed undoubtedly his. Anthony.

"It's you" he breathed, getting even closer.

Loki did the same while he opened his arms and hugged him. And the weird part was that Tony didn't hug people. He barely hugged Pepper once a year, on her birthday. He didn't hug his conquests, and the mere idea of hugging seemed alien and uncomfortable, but this was not.

This was Loki. This was that feeling from the dream. His soulmate.

So he hugged back with as much feelings as he could give. Loki didn't seem to mind that. In fact, both appeared to be happy enough staying there, hugging in the middle of the balcony.

Eventually, their embrace ended. They were showing identical smiles. Loki grabbed Tony's hand and looked at his mark closely. "It's unbelievable," he whispered. He looked at Tony and asked, "What do we do now?"

Tony tried to go back to his usual self as much as he could. He smirked. "I don't know about you, but let me just do this." He grabbed Loki's face and let their lips touch for the first, but not last, time. This was not a deep kiss, yet it felt like the best kiss Tony had ever had. The idea of what things were to come was overwhelming in the best of ways. He couldn't wait. "Sorry," he said without meaning it. "Dreamt about that a while ago. I needed to let it out."

Loki chuckled, and the familiar sound made him shiver. "No need to apologize for that. We have plenty of time to let it out, as you say."

Tony laughed but quieted down when he felt Loki intertwining their marked hands. They smiled softly at each other, looking down. Seeing his mark had never been so satisfactory. Seeing his full name had never been so perfect. The simple contrast of green and red felt right, as did everyhing else. "We have a lot of catching up to do," he mentioned, squeezing Loki's hand. "But what on Earth is this language?" he exclaimed.

"The Asgardian language system," Loki replied. "It's a long story," he shrugged.

Tony smiled. "You said it, we have plenty of time. Come on, let's go inside."

And they did.
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