Nuisance Next Door

He's Mine

Today's goal, Tony decided, was to befriend the friendless and elusive Loki before the day was out. As he got dressed for school, Tony considered which way would be the best way, but in the end he figured it was probably best to leave it up to fate.

After throwing a red t-shirt, Tony glanced out the window, looking for any movement in Loki's room but the curtains were still drawn, revealing nothing. His eyes flickered away and he maneuvered around the piles of boxes to pick up his backpack on his way out.

He left the empty house to his car but paused just as he pushed the button to unlock his car. The Odinson's door banged shut as Loki and Thor appeared outside with Loki marching angrily away from his brother. "I told you to stay out of it, Thor!" Loki shot at Thor, turning on him. His eyes looked positively murderous and Tony felt a little bad for the guy.

"I would have stayed out of it if you hadn't brought me into the conversation, Loki!" Thor yelled back, looking just as ticked. Thor paced around Loki and unlocked the car with his remote, and continued to his side of the car.

Loki stayed where he was on the lawn but his hands curled into fists at his side. "This isn't about you!"

"Then why do I keep getting dragged into it?" Thor said, slamming a hand down on the roof of his car in frustration. "What did you even do to father to make him hate you so much?"

Oh, Ouch. That had to hurt. Tony moved slightly so that he was in better view over his car. "Sorry to interrupt," Tony started. Both brothers turned with heavy glares to look at him. "But… Loki do you want a ride?"

Thor glanced at Loki with a look of surprise but Loki avoided his gaze, holding his chin high. "You know what? Yes," Loki said in defiance. He started across the lawn and Thor rolled his eyes before disappearing into his car with a slam of his door.

Tony watched Loki approach with a grin. "Having a little tiff with your dear brother?"

"No talking," Loki said sulkily. He pulled the door open and ducked into Tony's car without another word.

"Okay then," Tony said. He moved into his own side of the car and started it, basking in the sweet roar of the new car. He looked to Loki for his reaction but Loki was looking out the window, watching his brother pull away from the curb. "Loks, you okay?"

Loki looked up. His fierce green eyes were jaded with hurt but he immediately threw up his mask of rage. "Fine, Stark, just drive."

With a sigh, Tony backed out of the driveway before following the route Thor had just taken. "So what did Thor-?"

"I don't know if you know," Loki interrupted, "but we're not friends. You don't need to talk to me." To Tony, something from Loki's words bothered him. "I don't want you bothering me constantly, okay?"

"I got it loud and clear," Tony replied, staring straight forward at the road. But, that didn't mean he would stop his pursuit. "Just concerned is all."

Silence settled over them as they drove on. It was a rare thing for Tony keep his radio off but he was waiting for something and if he was right… Loki shifted uncomfortably in his seat and Tony had to hold back his grin. Tony waited a second before saying, "Are you sure you don't want to tell me?"

"Stark, would you just shut up?" Loki said, throwing his head back into his headrest.

"So you and Thor had a fight-"

"It wasn't just Thor!" Loki blew up. "It was Odin, he-" Loki snapped his mouth shut, realizing what was happening. "Just forget it."

Tony didn't want to give up, but he let it drop regardless. He didn't need Loki to hate him anymore than he did now. So he pulled into the school parking lot in silence and Loki was out the door before another word could be said.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Loki couldn't say he enjoyed Tony's constant hovering. In fact, he absolutely loathed it. At home, he was there. At school he was there. There was no place to hide! And when Loki even took the long way to chemistry, Tony even found him in the freshmen's hallway and began walking with him.

"Don't you have anything better to do than to follow me around, Stark?"

"Aren't you ever going to call me Tony?" he asked in his annoyingly cheerful tone. Loki wanted to strangle him. How can one lone person be so happy?

"Haven't you pestered me enough?" Loki was still unsure of what Tony wanted. He was being nice and nice was something Loki was not used to. Surreptitiously, Loki glanced about the room, searching for anything suspicious. "What do you really want?"

Tony stopped in front of Loki, forcing him to halt. Suddenly his face had turned serious. Loki didn't know what to make of it. "Last night," he began.

"You will not speak of last night," Loki growled out. He was mortified beyond description. Tony had seen him cry. No one has ever seen him cry! Well, at least since the ninth grade. It was degrading.

Tony tilted his head, suddenly looking tired, and casted Loki a sad smile. "Look. I'm not trying to trick you or mess with you or do whatever you think it is that I'm doing. I'm just trying to be a friend, Loks. I know what you're going through."

Loki could not believe it. "Friends?" He was shocked to the least but it wasn't a good feeling. He felt sick and miserable. "If you haven't heard, Stark, I don't do friends."

"It's Tony," he corrected. But he wasn't smiling. His eyes were searched Loki and he almost felt naked in front of Stark. Exposed.

"You're hopeless." Loki shook his head and headed to chemistry, ignoring Tony as he followed closely behind. In that moment he felt it in his bones that he would come to regret meeting Tony Stark.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So Loki had ignored him all through chemistry, even when they were paired up for the assignment. And Loki had avoided him in the hallways and at his locker. But Tony's resolve was stronger than ever. He liked a challenge; In fact, he welcomed it. So when lunch rolled around, Tony had a plan.

Tony held his tray steadily as he scanned the cafeteria, looking for one black-haired boy in particular. His new-found friends, of course, waved him over but he ignored them in favor of the plan. Stick to the plan…

There. He spotted Loki at a table in the back of the cafeteria, the only one sitting by himself. Tony moved towards him before he realized what he was doing.

Without a warning, he dropped down in the seat next to Loki's and set his tray down with a slam, catching Loki's attention. Loki looked up with wide, surprised eyes. "What the hell, Stark?"

"Tony," he said back.

"You can't sit here," Loki hissed back, leaning towards him threateningly.

"Geez, I didn't realize I was in the middle of Mean Girls. Do you only wear pink on Wednesdays?"

"I'm serious, Tony," Loki said.

While Tony should be surprised Loki had finally used his first name, he was more concerned with the scared expression that was suddenly shrouding Loki's features. Tony was sure that he'd seen all sorts of emotions from Loki, but fear was not one he had seen yet. "What's wrong?"

"I don't want to be friends with you," Loki bit out. "I don't need you to be friends okay? Right now, I just need you to leave me alone. I can protect myself."

"Protect yourself?" Tony repeated in confusion. What in the world did Loki think was going to happen?

"Just leave," Loki practically pleaded.

Loki kept getting more and more complicated, Tony realized. One moment he was fierce and mean and the next he was vulnerable and scared. Tony was getting whiplash.

"Hey, Loki! Did you get a new friend?"

Loki stiffened as a boy Tony had not seen before approached the table. Suddenly, Tony realized that most of the lunch room had plunged into silence, watching and waiting. "Bucky," Loki said evenly.

"I'm sorry, Tony, we haven't met before," Bucky said cheerfully, offering up his hand. Tony took it lightly, noticing how Loki watched them with steeled eyes.

Suddenly, two more people appeared by Bucky's side; Fandral and Sif. "I didn't realize I was getting a welcoming party," Tony replied, slipping his hand from Bucky's.

"Nah, we just wanted to save you the trouble. Loki is not friend material."

Tony was beyond pissed. "I don't remember there being rules on who I can be friends with."

"Tony's not my friend," Loki spoke up. Tony glanced at him questionably but Loki's glare told him to shut up. "Never will be."

"Good," Bucky said. He held out his hand and Sif passed him a cup. "That's all I needed to hear." He dumped the contents of the cup over Loki's head and splashed over the table. Some kind of dark soda. Tony jumped out of his seat, just narrowly avoiding the spray.

Bucky started laughing and then the other two joined in, and soon half the cafeteria was laughing. Tony glared around the lunchroom in utter surprise at their cruelty. His eyes caught Pepper's and she looked pale, not laughing. Natasha sat just as rigidly by her side.

He turned back to Loki to find him frozen in his seat. His hair dripped with the sticky mess and his clothes were soaked. "Loki," Tony whispered.

Loki stood up, painfully slow, not making eye contact with anyone. He turned and pushed past the three. He had walked only a few feet down the aisle when Thor jumped into Loki's path. "Loki! Are you okay?" Thor looked all kinds of worried and pissed.

Loki shoved Thor aside and continued his silent walk out of the lunchroom. Thor turned on his friends and his face turned red as his yells echoed through the cafeteria. Tony tuned it out; His eyes were focused on Loki as he left in complete humiliation.

Tony turned back to Thor who was hollering up a storm at Fandral and Sif. Bucky, on the other hand, just had this sick, disgusting grin on his stupid smug face. Tony grabbed Bucky's shirt, and pulled at him threateningly. "What the hell was that for?"

"You better stay away from Loki," Bucky said, not caring that Tony was twisting up his shirt. "He's mine." Tony did not like the way he said that. All possessive. It ran chills up Tony's spine.

"No, you stay away," Tony growled back. "Because the next time you mess with him, you're dead."

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