Title: A Knock at the Door
Prompt: Rule 63
Pairing/Characters: female Tony Stark/Loki, Phil Coulson/Clint Barton, Fury, Selvig, random SHIELD red shirts, others
Genre: sentinel fusion, angst, drama
Word Count: 1945
Warnings: Tony’s sass, Coulson’s deadpan, Clint’s . . . Clintness, Loki being the Universe’s chew toy.
Notes: Yes, I did fanfic my own story. This is a kind of AU of my Tony/Loki Sentinel story. I’m not sorry.
Synopsis: So her day starts with plans to ruin Fury’s week, and ends with a portal to the end of the universe spitting out her sentinel. That’s . . . not actually the worst day she’s ever had. In fact, it’s not even in the top ten.
Tony stalked through the SHIELD super-secret base in custom-made gold Chucks and a sleek red dress as if she belonged there. Between her attitude and the evacuation, only one of Fury’s band of GI Joe wannabes had tried to stop her, only to beat a hasty retreat under the combination of her snark and a glare.
Fine, Coulson walking in her wake might have contributed. But only a little — her awesomeness was still a significant factor.
“Try not to get any smug on the floor, Stark; we just waxed.”
“Relax, Man In Black, all the awesomeness I exude will absorb any stray smug.”
He sighed. “One day, Stark, you will find a sentinel. And I will enjoy explaining exactly what they’ve gotten themselves into.”
“Coulson, any sentinel worthy of me will be just as epically awesome as I am.”
“There’s a thought.”
Her fierce grin was the first thing Fury saw when she hit the Tesseract laboratory.
“Stark, what the fuck?”
“Hello to you too, Nicky. A little more secret lair than cutting edge science lab, isn’t it? Very atomic age. Glad to see you’re flare for the dramatic and overdone is intact, Fury. Find the answer to everything yet, Selvig?”
The scientist — flannel, really? — looked from Fury’s bitch please face to where Tony was poking at one of the display screens. “Ah — not yet?”
“Pity. Interesting findings — nice radiation numbers. Love the exponential energy output graphs. Also, you’re all fucking morons.”
“Get the fuck out of my base, Stark.”
“Wanna know why? This is why.” She manipulated a touch screen. “Selvig, what does this look like?”
“It’s an irregular, asymmetrical energetic reaction to an unknown stimulus.”
“And for those of us without a Physics degree,” Fury sighed.
“The Tesseract is . . . behaving. Oddly.”
“Hey, Barton? There’s a doorway into the end of the universe and it’s acting up. What’s your assessment?”
Her fellow guide fast roped down from his perch in the rafters. “Sounds like someone, or something, is knocking on the other end. Doors go both ways.”
“Congrats, Coulson — smart, sexy, good with hard shafts.” Tony stared down Fury. “See? Fucking morons.”
One Eye glared down at her. “Stark, this is SHIELD property and SHIELD business. You can just march your —” and the universe called ‘bullshit’ on the one-eyed pirate.
“Huh,” Tony said after the light show ended. “That’s what a gateway to the end of the universe looks like.” And if all extraterrestrials looked like that, Tony was going to increase her investments in space travel research. “You feel that, Hawkman?”
“Sir — put down the spear.”
Tall, Dark and Half Dead grinned viciously — and Tony and Clint both opened their empathic shields.
The glowing spear of doom clattered to the floor. Tony staggered under the empathic weight of darkcolddoomdeathTitansentinelpainnoicefallingOthernopleasehelpThorguideguide
“Oh, fuck me sideways,” Barton gagged and caught Tony before she made and undignified sprawl.
“Guide —” the hot alien sentinel managed, electric blue eyes fading to bloodshot green before he collapsed.
“Sometimes being right sucks.” she muttered, casually shoving several scientists and Fury away from the main computer.
“Trying to stop that little energy discharge from dropping a building on our heads, Fury.” She typed frantically; mentally, she reached for the blue cube of cosmic power.
Barton had been right when he called her. The damned thing was aware.
“Nicky, as the person in this room who is the least useful right now — shut up.”
<reabsorb that energy and sleep> she thought at the Tesseract. Well, in command code, anyway.
The — device? object? being? — was reluctant. The energy on the other side was familiar to her, an old pathway that the Tesseract’s energies could follow easily. But Tony was stubborn, and she spoke machine better than english some days.
Selvig cursed in Norwegian as the storm clouds of doom were sucked into the Tesseract, which slowly grew dim. Tony pulled the cube and deposited it in the case Barton offered.
“Newton, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Coulson spoke just before a SHIELD agent — really, these guys might as well be wearing red shirts — got too close to the collapsed sentinel. Said agent fell on his ass, scrambling back, when a spirit animal appeared protectively over his sentinel.
“Well, that’s new,” Katniss muttered, eyeing the wolf.
The eight foot tall black wolf with red eyes and visible wounds, bound in chains.
Another stooge aimed an assault rifle at the wolf, only to get Coulson’s elbow in the gut and a sharp blow to the back of his head.
“This is a Sentinel/Guide matter, Director. Please refrain from interfering.” He accepted the Tesseract case from his guide. “What do you think?”
“I think it takes a hell of a lot of pain to break down an online sentinel.”
“Mind control and conditioning; those wounds look like the manifestation of torture,” Tony agreed. “He feels — fractured. Like shattered ice. And he’s fucking terrified.”
“That’s one way of putting it,” Barton murmured and shrugged his shoulders, resettling his quiver. “Shall we?”
“Sure, let’s get closer to the mega wolf and the mysterious alien. What could go wrong?”
But when they approached, the Big Bad Wolf didn’t growl — he crouched down and whined.
Tony Stark was a lot of things: a genius, billionaire, playgirl philanthropist, and a superhero — just as a start. But she was also a guide, for all she shunned the stereotypes, and a wounded sentinel was hard to ignore. “Hey big guy. Been through the wars, huh?”
“Starting to regret wearing your signature colour yet, Little Red?”
“I will hack your quiver, Barton.” He chuckled; there was a reason that she and Barton had bonded quickly during her post-Afghanistan vacation debriefing, and that reason was that they were both raging assholes with questionable senses of humor. Also, badass guides who defied stereotypes, but mostly it was the asshole thing.
“The chains make me think he’s bound, separated from his spirit animal and unable to break through from the inside. But he responded to an empathic scan, and this big guy is clearly asking for help.”
“Yeah, on three.”
Tony gathered up the feeling of safe and home; that moment of stepping on the tarmac, back safely from three months of hell. The relief and peace and power of her armour closing around her. Pepper’s laugh and JARVIS’ snark and the bots around her and Rhodey making terrible jokes over pizza and plans to revolutionize the world.
And flung it outwards.
For a heartbeat, she could feel the armour settle over her just as she felt a bowstring tense under her fingers; Pepper’s laugh and Coulson’s low murmur blended together.
Then chains clattered to the floor, and she was only Tony Stark again. And she had a massive wolf trying to bury his head in her stomach.
Barton snorted and slipped past them, catching hold of shaking shoulders and easing the sentinel over onto his back. “Better?”
“Guide — I — I am Loki, of Asgard.”
He staggered to his feet and nearly collapsed against his spirit animal. “My brother.”
“Yeah? He had a little trouble here on Earth a few months ago. Landed in the desert and someone sent a fire-breathing robot after him.”
“There was an attempted coup,” Loki murmured. “They sought to keep Thor out of the way while Odin slept; they felt that Frigga and I were of lesser concern.”
“Fucked them up, did you?”
The grin he gave Tony was full of teeth. “Indeed. But in the battle to reclaim control of the Bifrost I —” he shuddered, and his emotional landscape said it all.
“Through the void,” he agreed. “For an age — an eternity — and a moment. And I —”
He staggered again, and both Tony and Barton reached out to catch him. When she gripped his wrist, something inside her broke open.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Loki’s eyes took on a red hue, and the skin at his temples and throat grew blue. “Guide,” he snarled. “Guide.”
Fury stepped up behind them, three armed agents at his back. “Take him —”
Tony pulled Barton’s side arm and pointed it at One Eye’s chest. “Fury, we’ve talked about this — don’t take my stuff.”
“He’s a hostile —”
“He’s a Sentinel. My sentinel.”
“You don’t want to make me your enemy, Stark.”
She laughed. “Same goes, Fury. You think the last ten years of me fucking with you on a whim sucked? Wait until I put my back into it. And that’s not factoring the Sentinel and Guide Council.”
“He’s an alien.”
“Doesn’t matter, boss,” Coulson said calmly. “Also, you might want to step back before we find out what this particular sentinel looks like feral.”
“You’ve got guns pointed in the direction of my guide, Director. You need to remove them.”
Fury muttered something about fucking sentinels and stepped back.
“Excellent. Wolf, you bring the sentinel. Sentinel, come along peacefully. Barton, Coulson, bring the cube of blue energy. Helicopter’s up top. Chop chop, gentlemen, I don’t have all night. Oh, one of you — grab that spear, would you?”
Three days later, Tony stood on a quarter mile above New York, on a building she’d designed and built and put her name on; a beacon of self-sustaining energy and genius and how she wasn’t Howard Stark but Tony — taller and greater and shining more brightly than anything her father had built and, most importantly, still alive and here. She’d spent her whole adult life showing the world that she was the future; trying to change the world.
She’d just expected it to be through her scientific achievements, not by bonding to an alien sentinel.
Stark Tower rattled with the force and energy of the Bifrost touching down on it; she frowned slightly at the pattern etched into the surface. Good thing the solar panel bank wasn’t scheduled for installment until next month.
The God of Thunder — seriously, her life — strode towards her in all his pagan god glory. Tony already had two dozen hammer jokes lined up, but now probably wasn’t the best moment. “Lady Guide — you called for Heimdal with news of my brother?”
“Yeah, Jane Foster gave me a few tips on how to get his attention.” The Norse supermodel brightened a little at the mention of the latent Guide and astrophysicist that Tony had already poached and installed in her own state-of-the-art lab, complete with snarky assistant. “I have a message for you.”
“From Loki.” The desperate hope on his face was painful. “He said to tell you ‘beware the Chitauri’.”
“Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral! Return to Asgard and inform the General and the All-Father!”
“That’s not all,” the three viking warriors — had she mentioned that this was her life now? — paused. “Apparently someone called the Other commands them at the orders of the Mad Titan — and that definitely means something to you,” she finished as the blonde sentinel went pale.
“Go,” he said roughly, “report quickly. Lady Sif — inform my mother as well.”
“Thor, we cannot leave you alone.”
“Tell Asgard that Thanos is returned, and all the Realms will soon be at war,” he growled. In short order, the four had vanished in another bone-rattling flash of light — the papers and internet were going to have a field day.
Six-and-a-half feet of solemn alien sentinel gazed at her shakily. “Guide-sister — I would see my brother now. Please.”
Heart of Iron & Ice (MCU/Sentinel Fusion)