Chapter Five: Home Again
When they got back to Stark Tower, it was dark out, and apparently the others were having dinner, because they were all in the kitchen with a bunch of pizza boxes. They all looked up when Natalie, Loki, and Thor came in, and Tony asked, "How'd it go?"
"Loki will be living with me, and according to Thor I'm lucky to still be alive," Natalie said cheerfully.
"You told my father he was scum; you are lucky he did not order your beheading right then and there," Thor said dryly.
"What happened?" Steve asked.
"I snapped and told Odin EXACTLY what I thought of him and his parenting methods," Natalie said. "I didn't get to castrate him, though. Too bad. But he was extremely angry by the time I finished chewing him out, and told Thor to take Loki and I back here and 'make sure we never darken his realm again.'"
"So Reindeer Games is free?" Tony asked.
"Yes," Loki said. "Though that is NOT my name. And I will be living with Natalie once her window is fixed."
"That reminds me, it should be fixed tomorrow," Tony said. "Steve said that since it's technically our fault Thor smashed your window that I should pay for repairs."
"Wow, thanks," Natalie said.
"I also got some clothes for Loki," Tony said. "I figured he'd need human clothing, since what he's currently wearing would really only work at a Renaissance fair or something."
"Thank you, Stark," Loki said.
Tony just waved a hand nonchalantly and asked, "Are you guys hungry? We've got lots of pizza."
"I am," Natalie said.
"I must get back," Thor said. "I will try to visit soon."
"Next time you come, please remember that I have a front door," Natalie said dryly.
"I shall," Thor said. He left, and Natalie and Loki sat down to eat with the others.
The next morning: Natalie woke up and smiled happily as she got up. She had really enjoyed her stay with the Avengers, but it would be nice to get home. And she was happy that Loki would be coming with her.
After they both showered and dressed, Natalie and Loki went downstairs hand in hand, and found everyone else already in the kitchen. "Morning," Natalie said.
"Morning," Tony said, the others echoing him. "I got a call saying your window is fixed, so you can go home anytime you want."
"That's great, thanks Tony," Natalie said. "Loki and I both are packed up, so I was thinking we'd leave after breakfast."
"How far away is your place?" Clint asked.
"It's about a twenty minute walk," Natalie replied. "It looks like a nice day out, too."
"How did you manage to get here ten minutes after Thor took Loki here, then?" Tony asked.
"I ran," Natalie said. "I nearly knocked a few people over, but I ran all the way here because I was worried about what would happen to Loki. Thinking back, I think you're right; I wouldn't be able to break the door down."
"You would set off a lot of alarms if you tried," Tony said.
"Good thing you let me in then," Natalie said as she and Loki sat down to eat.
After breakfast, Natalie and Loki said their goodbyes, and headed back to Natalie's apartment with their bags. When they got there, Natalie opened the door and said, "Don't take off your shoes yet, I have to sweep up the broken glass first."
"Okay," Loki said. "I can take our bags to your room."
"Thanks," Natalie said. She had been working on getting him to talk in a more modern way, and so far it seemed to be working. She smiled as she got the broom, and carefully swept up the glass on the floor, then swept the glass on the sofa bed into the trash as well. Loki came out as she finished, and said, "Your smaller bag is playing music."
"That's my cell phone," Natalie said, already running to get it. She missed the call, but noticed the number was her mother's, so she called back. "Hi Mom, what's up?" she asked.
"I've been trying to get in touch with you for the past two days!" Mrs. McKenzie said. "Where were you?"
"I was staying with a new friend of mine, because my front window was shattered by some idiot, and it needed to be fixed," Natalie said. "Sorry I left my phone behind while I was at my friend's. Did you need something?"
"I thought you were coming home for a few days," Mrs. McKenzie said.
"I said I'd come home Thursday; it's Wednesday today," Natalie said. "I'll be there tomorrow. Can I bring my boyfriend? I'd like you to meet him, since he's staying with me."
"You FINALLY got a boyfriend?" Mrs. McKenzie asked.
"Yes," Natalie said. "You sound like you believed I'd stay single forever."
Mrs. McKenzie ignored that and said, "Yes, you can bring your boyfriend, just warn him about your father, okay?"
"Sure Mom, love you," Natalie said.
"See you tomorrow!" Mrs. McKenzie said.
"Yup, bye!" Natalie said, and hung up. Then she went to find Loki.
He was in the living room, and asked, "Your mother?"
"Yep, I told them I'd be home tomorrow for a few days," Natalie said. "I told them you were coming with me, is that okay?"
"I would like to meet your family," Loki said.
"Great!" Natalie said. "Just so you know, my dad's a bit overprotective, so please don't be offended or kill him if he starts interrogating you."
"I won't," Loki said, smiling. "It seems overprotectiveness runs in your family. You seem to have inherited that trait, if yesterday's actions were any indication."
Natalie blushed, and Loki smirked.
The next day: Natalie and Loki got ready to go, and took the subway to the neighborhood where Natalie's family lived.
"This is nice," Loki commented as they walked down the street. This neighborhood didn't have apartment buildings; instead there were large houses.
"My parents are pretty well off, so they can afford a nice house," Natalie replied. "Here we are. My little brother's probably at school right now, but my mom should be home, at least."
"You have a younger brother?" Loki asked.
"Yeah, his name's Kevin and he's fifteen," Natalie said. "He's also a brat, but I love him anyways. Just don't tell him I said that, he'll start teasing me."
"Alright," Loki said as Natalie led the way to the front door and rang the bell. The door was opened a minute later by a woman who looked similar to Natalie, except she had shorter hair and was slightly taller. "Hi Mom," Natalie said- and promptly got half strangled by her mother. "Mom, I can't breathe…." Natalie said.
Mrs. McKenzie let go and said, "Sorry, I was just happy to see you. It's been MONTHS!"
"I call you more than once a week," Natalie said, rolling her eyes. She took Loki's hand and said, "Mom, this is my boyfriend, Loki Laufeyson."
"It's nice to meet you, Mrs. McKenzie," Loki said politely.
"You as well, Loki," Mrs. McKenzie said. "Come in, both of you. I'll have lunch ready soon."
"Thanks," Natalie said. "I was going to put Loki in the guest room, since you know what Dad will be like if we share."
"That's fine," Mrs. McKenzie said. "Shoes off, both of you."
Natalie and Loki took their shoes off, and Natalie started showing Loki around the house. She ended with her room, which was blue and had a bunch of anime posters on the walls. There was also a large bookshelf and a desk, and the dresser was in the closet. "This is a nice room," Loki commented. They had already put his bag in the guest room.
"I like it," Natalie replied. "Mom let me decorate, despite the fact she believes anime is only for kids."
"Anime?" Loki asked.
"The posters on the wall are from different anime shows," Natalie said. "It's basically Japanese cartoons, but most of them are far more sophisticated- and sometimes more graphic- then what you'd see here in America. I'll show you sometime; I've got lots of anime that we can watch on my laptop."
"Alright," Loki said.
Natalie was about to respond when her phone rang. Checking the caller ID, she asked, "When exactly did Tony get my number?"
"I have no idea," Loki said.
Natalie sighed and picked up, then asked, "Tony, why do you have my number?"
"In case of emergencies and because Loki doesn't have a cell phone," Tony replied. "I called because Thor came back with his mother, and they both want to see Loki, but they came back here and said you weren't home."
"I'm at my parents' house till Sunday," Natalie said. "I suppose you could send them over, but this begs the question of what I'm going to tell my mother."
"I'll come too and explain," Tony said. "What's the address?"
"1256 Mercer Street," Natalie said. "And tell Thor he can't bring that hammer, or I will kick him out."
Tony chuckled and said, "Alright, we'll be there soon."
"Okay," Natalie said, and hung up. She looked at Loki, and said, "We're having more company; let's go tell my mom."
"Tell me what, exactly?" Mrs. McKenzie asked from the doorway.
"Loki's mom and brother are in town for a short amount of time and I said they could come over, since I'll be here till Sunday and they won't," Natalie said.
"I'll go make more sandwiches," Mrs. McKenzie said. "How many?"
"Three extra, they're bringing a friend," Natalie said. "Thanks Mom."
"Sure sweetie," Mrs. McKenzie said cheerfully, and went to make more sandwiches.
Natalie looked at Loki, who looked emotionless, and said to him, "It'll be fine. Chances are they just want to get away from Odin, who is probably ranting and raving about how a human got the better of him."
Loki gave her a half-hearted smile, and said, "I hope you're right."
"Let's go back downstairs, we can answer the door when they get here," Natalie said. She took Loki's hand and led the way to the living room.
Fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rang, and Natalie ran to get it, followed by a decidedly less enthusiastic Loki. She found Thor, Frigga, and Tony at the front door, and said, "Please come in, my mom made lunch for all of us."
"Thank you," Frigga said. Natalie let them in, then blinked. "Why is Thor sulking?" she asked.
"I had to wrestle Mjolnir out of his hand and force him to leave it in his room," Tony said dryly. "So basically, he's sulking because I wouldn't let him bring his favorite toy."
"It is NOT a toy," Thor said sulkily.
"Thanks Tony," Natalie said. "Come into the kitchen, I'm sure my mom has lunch ready by now. Oh, and Thor, if you so much as come NEAR anything breakable, you will regret it."
"You are never going to let me forget that, are you?" Thor asked.
"Nope," Natalie said cheerfully, and led the way to the kitchen. Her mother looked up when they came in, noticed Tony, and asked, "Natalie, what is Tony Stark doing here?"
"He's here to explain things and make sure Loki's brother Thor does not break anything," Natalie said. "And this is Frigga, Loki's mother."
"It's nice to meet all of you," Mrs. McKenzie said. "I made sandwiches and put out some chips, I hope that's okay."
"That sounds fine," Tony said. "Are you the one who taught Natalie to cook?"
"Yes," Mrs. McKenzie said.
"She's good," Tony and Loki said at the same time.
Natalie giggled as they all sat down, and said, "I'm glad you like my cooking- though Tony, that was just pancake mix that was in your pantry; I didn't actually make the pancakes from scratch."
"They were still good," Tony said.
Mrs. McKenzie simply looked confused, and asked, "How do you two know each other?"
"Do you want the long version or the short version?" Tony asked.
"Long version is probably better, since I haven't told her anything about Loki besides his name yet," Natalie said before her mother could respond.
"Fine, but this should stay secret, or at least in your family only," Tony said.
"Which means Kevin can't know, or he'll start bragging," Natalie said dryly.
"Fine, we won't tell your brother," Mrs. McKenzie said wearily. "So what happened?"
"I found Loki on my living room floor with no idea how he got there on Saturday," Natalie said. "I decided to let him stay because he was sick and had nowhere else to go. The next morning, though, I woke up because Thor over there had smashed my window and was dragging Loki out of it. I wasn't able to stop him, but I noticed he had gone to Stark Tower, so I went over there and basically threatened Tony's AI until I got let in."
"I still don't think you'd have been able to break the door down," Tony said. "Anyways, I let her in, because she was demanding that my friends and I explain why we had kidnapped Loki. And considering it was our fault her front window was broken, I figured it was fair. We told her that Loki had escaped from Asgard, and that was why Thor had taken him to my tower."
"Asgard?" Mrs. McKenzie asked, puzzled.
"Home of the Norse pantheon of gods," Natalie replied. "That's the other part of this; Loki is the God of Mischief- and before you say anything, I KNOW that means he's not human. And I don't care what he is, because he's special and he's my boyfriend."
"And these two?" Mrs. McKenzie asked faintly, indicating Thor and Frigga.
"Frigga is the Queen of Asgard and Thor is her son, the thunder god," Natalie said. "Frankly I think the thunder and lightning fried his brain somewhere along the way, but that may just be me…."
Loki started laughing, hard. "And why do you think that?" Mrs. McKenzie asked.
"He's a complete idiot," Natalie said. "And he smashes everything in sight."
"I will never hear the end of this, will I?" Thor asked.
"Nope," Natalie said sweetly.
"Wasn't Thor in the news with the other Avengers a few months ago?" Mrs. McKenzie asked. "Something about the city being destroyed by aliens?"
"Loki was mind-controlled into attacking the city, and the Avengers defeated him and the army he had," Tony said. "He recently escaped Asgard, and somehow ended up in Natalie's living room. We had planned to just send him back with Thor, but Natalie went into overprotective mother hen mode and told everyone that she was going to castrate people who tried to take Loki away. I said she and Loki could stay at my tower until he recovered and her window was fixed, so that's where she's been for most of the past week."
"Overprotective mother hen mode?" Mrs. McKenzie asked Natalie.
"When I found out Loki had a severely abusive home situation, and that Odin was his abusive adoptive father, I decided that there was no way in Hell I'd let anyone do any harm to Loki," Natalie said. "Thor came back on Tuesday and said that Odin wanted to meet me, and that he had been ordered to bring Loki back as well. So I went with them to Asgard, and told Odin that the events of a few months ago were not Loki's fault and that as such, he shouldn't be punished. Then Odin asked about the crimes he supposedly committed on Asgard, and I spent twenty minutes chewing him out for being an abusive biased jackass and telling him he should be grateful I didn't castrate him for what he put Loki through. Thor claims I'm lucky he didn't behead me. By the time I was done yelling at him, he had apparently decided that as long as Loki and I never come back, that was good enough for him. He probably just didn't want me chewing him out in front of witnesses again, so Loki's free now- and living with me. The only reason I didn't start in on Frigga too is because she was looking at me the way you did when I aced my first gymnastics performance."
Mrs. McKenzie looked at Frigga, who said, "No one has ever stood up to Odin for Loki, and I am ashamed to admit that I did not do more to stop him from abusing Loki. The way Natalie spoke to my husband takes great courage, and she did it without thinking, simply because she cares about Loki, who has never had anyone who would do something like that for him. Mrs. McKenzie, I do not say this lightly when I say that you should be very proud of your daughter for her courage and kind heart."
"Thank you," Mrs. McKenzie said. "And I am very proud of my daughter, and have been even before she confronted your husband."
Frigga smiled, and turned to Natalie. "Natalie, you have my eternal gratitude for what you have done for Loki," she said. "Even though he will not be able to return to Asgard, I am grateful that he has someone as special as you to be there for him. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Natalie said, smiling. "I promise to take good care of Loki."
"I believe you," Frigga said, smiling back. "Would it be alright if I visit sometimes?"
"I don't mind; Loki?" Natalie asked.
"I do not mind either," Loki said. "As long as Odin does not come as well."
"If he does I'll castrate him," Natalie said.
"I cannot imagine Odin coming here, you do not have to worry," Frigga said. "However, Thor and I must return soon. I will make sure Thor uses your front door the next time he comes by."
"Much appreciated," Natalie said. "Thank you for coming by."
"It is I who should thank you," Frigga said. She stood up, and went to Loki, hugging him as the others did the same. To Natalie's surprise, a portal opened up and swallowed Thor and Frigga, then vanished. Mrs. McKenzie squeaked, startled, then said, "Well, that was…. interesting…"
"I should get back as well," Tony said. "Mrs. McKenzie, Natalie, thank you for lunch, and Natalie, my number is in your phone if there's an emergency. I should probably get a cell phone for Loki, though. You can show him how to use it, right?"
"Sure," Natalie said.
"Thank you, Stark," Loki said. "But how did you get Natalie's phone?"
"JARVIS informed me that her cell phone was ringing while you were in Asgard, and that made me remember that I was going to ask her if it was okay," Tony said. "I decided to find the phone and just put my number in while you guys were gone. Figured it would be good if anything happened, or if Thor wanted to come by."
"Thanks," Natalie said.
"Sure," Tony said. "I should go, but I'm sure we'll probably talk again soon."
"Do you need a cab?" Natalie asked.
"Oh right, I'll call someone," Tony said. He took out his phone and called a cab, then put his phone away. "You can wait inside if you want," Mrs. McKenzie said.
"Thanks," Tony said.
The cab came ten minutes later, and Tony left. Natalie walked him out, and when she turned around her mother was giving her the 'Mom Look'.
"Yes?" Natalie sighed.
"Did you really threaten to break his door down and castrate people?" Mrs. McKenzie asked.
"All of that was true, and you know how I feel about people being mistreated or abused," Natalie said. "Oh, and Loki has PTSD, so I really hope Dad's not planning on doing the 'you will die a painful death with pointy sharp things if you hurt my daughter' speech."
"I'll tell him to tone it down," Mrs. McKenzie sighed. "Your brother should be home from school soon, by the way."
"Okay," Natalie said. "Can I try to make Loki into an otaku while we're waiting?"
"Not too loud," Mrs. McKenzie said.
"I know," Natalie said, and dragged Loki to the living room as the confused god asked, "What is an 'otaku'?"
"A person who's obsessed with anime," Natalie said. "I hope you know I fully plan to convert you."
"We'll see who converts who," Loki said, smirking as Natalie took Spirited Away out of its case and put it in the DVD player. As she and Loki settled down to watch, a calico cat came into the room. "Lucky!" Natalie said happily as the cat jumped onto the couch. She put the cat in her lap as Loki asked, "Lucky?"
"My pet cat," Natalie explained, petting Lucky. Lucky purred.
"She is making a strange noise," Loki commented.
"That's her happy noise," Natalie said. "Look, the movie's starting!"