He Without Sin

Magical Boxes

Loki kept his eyes down as he pulled away from the large arms engulfing him, trying to hide and push down the waves of embarrassment he felt.

"Loki?" Thor's voice questioned him. The look of confusion was familiar, if a little off from Thor's normal expression.

"You may stop now, Raven," Loki said quietly. "I thank you for your help, but I am fine now."

Raven returned to her own form, watching Loki closely, though he refused to meet her gaze. She watched him for a moment before throwing herself into his arms and Loki looked down at her in surprise as he returned her embrace. "I thought Doom was going to take me apart while you were gone."

Loki's gaze hardened at that. "Why? What did he do?" He asked sternly.

Raven shook her head. "He used to Doombots to force us back here."

Loki stroked her hair gently. "You know that you can always call upon me," He told her.

"I know, but I missed having you here," Raven told him. "I was with Amora most of the time and she did protect me but, she isn't really..." She paused trying to think of the words to describe Amora.

Loki chuckled. "Fear not, I know exactly what you mean." He let out a sigh. "It seems Victor is rather good at making an ass of himself. I suppose I should ask Amora what happened while I was away. I should like to watch Victor's attempts at forcing her back into his care. If it was anything like his attempts with me, I expect it was not very well received."

Raven was quiet a moment as she traced a hand along his blue skin and Loki's entire body stiffened. "Loki," she spoke quietly. "What type of form is this?"

"Jotunn," He answered quietly. "A frost giant."

"We match, you know."

Loki tried to swallow down his instinctive reactions, not wanting to say anything that would hurt Raven. "Yes, I suppose we do."

"You've never been unkind to me, Loki. You've never looked at me the way humans have." She grabbed hold of his shirt with her other hand and it trembled as she held on as tightly as she could. "But when you were panicking, you looked at yourself that way. Why?"


"And Amora and Doom both acted as if something was wrong. Amora looked like she would run away at any moment. Doom looked at you like he thought you'd tear off your own flesh if he let you!"


"Why would you look at yourself that way when you never looked at me like I was anything but normal!" Raven was yelling now, but she remained buried in Loki's embrace. Her grip on him was tight, as if she thought he would run, but she didn't look up at him. "So why would you-- why would you--"

"It is not the same," He told her as calmly as he could. "You are no monster to me."

"Why is it different?"

"Because Frost Giants are monsters," He said matter of factly. "They are no better than animals! They abandon the runts of their litter to die, they attack foreign entities without provocation! Everyone knows that they are monsters. All I've been told is of how monstrous they are."

"People think mutants are monsters!" Raven yelled, finally looking at him. She looked both angry and sad, eyes filled with rage and tears steaming down her cheeks. "Does that make it so!"

"It is not the same," He insisted.

"Why? Why is it not he same?"

Loki took her face into his hands. "Because you are not a monster," He told her gently.

"I am not human, either," She replied softly. "So why do you get to be a monster when I do not? I say that you are no monster. Doesn't my opinion count?"

"It isn't the same."

"You say it's not the same, but you haven't told me why?" Raven pointed out. "Parents hide their children from mutants. The government wants to take us out or study us or build machines to hunt us all down! They'd take any one of us apart given half a chance and everyone thinks that mutants are terrible things. How is it not the same?"

Loki looked away from her. "I hate this form," He told her quietly. "I hate this skin. It's nothing but a lie. Filthy lies and deception and proof of my failings. Proof that I am wrong! That I have always been wrong! Why should I feel anything but hate for this skin when no one else will?"

"I don't!"

"That is only because you do not know and you do not understand."

"I understand enough," She insisted as she met his eyes. "I understand."

"You think that you understand, but you cannot," Loki responded softly.

"Fine! Fine. I don't understand. I don't understand anything!" Raven yelled. "I don't understand why you think you're a monster but not me. I don't understand why Amora loves Thor when every time he shows up he immediately thinks the worst of her. I don't know why Doom cares about whether or not we're here, or why you help the Avengers, or even you try to help all of us! I just want to be as useful as the others."

"Oh, Raven," Loki sighed. "You are not obligated to help me nor are we obligated to help you. You are wanted here, nothing more than your presence is required."

"I want to help anyway."

"Very well," Loki told her. "Doom and Amora have gone off somewhere, haven't they?"

Raven nodded. "Amora went to try and break the spell on you and Doom went out to... to find out who... um, upset you."

Loki momentarily froze, but then shook it off. "I see... Well then, we should probably stop him from making a mess of things." Loki took a deep breath. "I realize that your last escapade involving Shield did not turn out favorably, but would you be willing to work with them once more?"

"What do you need me to do?" Raven answered immediately.

"You recall the form of Lockley?" Loki asked.

Instead of answering, Raven shifted into the form of Lockley, looking at Loki expectantly.

"It is up to us to keep Victor in line," Loki sighed. "I cannot show myself like this. I should not show myself at all, now that he... I need you to warn Shield that an attack shall be imminent, even if we won't be able to preempt it. Please tell Amora to watch over Victor so that he does not find himself in too much trouble. I will remain nearby in case I am needed, but I do not want to be too near nor do I wish to be seen."

"Okay," Raven nodded.

"This is the phone used to contact Shield. Only one number has been dialed from it, call it. Do not turn it on until you are in the city and turn it off once you've completed your call."


Loki let out a weary sigh. "To your task, Raven."

"Miss Lockley!" Agent Coulson's voice was slightly surprised when he answered her call. She recalled her last interaction with Shield, being kidnapped by Doom and then never heard from again. They probably thought Lockley was dead or something.

"There will be an attack today," Raven said without preamble. She was already in the form of Lockley, prepared to lessen whatever damage she could from Doom's attack, even if she didn't yet know where that attack would be. "I don't know where, but I know it will be soon."

Agent Coulson shook off his surprise quickly. "Thank you for informing us, Miss Lockley."

Raven could tell that more would have followed, but she didn't wait for it. She hung up the phone and turned it off. She had to keep her distance. Lockley didn't need to be more associated with Doom any more than she already was.

"Show yourselves, Avengers!" Doom yelled, explosions breaking out around him as his doombots attacked the city. "Doom will not be ignored!"

It was only a few minutes later when the Avengers appeared, Iron Man in the lead with weapons blazing. "Give it up, Doom!"

Doom turned to face the newly gathered heroes. "Which one of you was it!" Doom demanded.

"What are you talking about, Doom and gloom?" Iron Man asked.

"You come here to hunt a god?" Doom yelled. "Show yourself! Face me! And undo whatever spell you've wrought!"

"What is he...?" Steve began, but cut off in surprise as Svadilfari appeared before the raging man.

"You challenge me?" Svadilfari questioned, standing before Doom. He waved his arm, sending a wave of magic to destroy the nearing doombots. "Are you his champion, then? Loki's taken a mortal to fight for him?"

"I am no mere mortal!" Doom replied, unleashing a blast of electricity at the mage. Svadilfari was pushed back by he blast until he moved out of the way of the attack and charged Doom. He plowed into Doom, hands around the other man's armored throat and squeezing. The metal groaned as it began to tighten, but Doom ignored it in favor of attacking. He grabbed onto Svadilfari and unleashed another jolt of electricity. The man made a grunt of pain and tossed Doom aside.

The Avengers were busy fighting off the hoard of doombots, leaving Svadilfari and Doom to battle uninterrupted. Svadilfari smiled at the fallen mortal. "To champion Loki, he must be quite fond of you. If I were to kill you, would he shed tears? Would he come to me in vengeance? Could it be so easy to have the prince seek me out?"

"I am not so easily defeated!" Doom responded. He sent another wave of electricity at the mage, but Svadilfari dodged easily.

"You are mortal. You are all easily defeated." Svadilfari's form began to change, skin changing to match his black hair, eyes red and blazing, black hair becoming a black mane waving in the wind as the now equine form reared up on his hind legs. The horse was large and intimidating, wasting little time in racing forward and butting his head straight into Doom's middle. The blow tossed Doom into the side of a building hard before collapsing to the ground. Svadilfari reared up over Doom, hooves lined up with the man's head.

"No!" Amora yelled, teleporting herself to Doom and disappearing with him right afterwards.

Svadilfari's hooves crashed down onto the ground hard, cracking the sidewalk beneath him. Svadilfari returned to his normal form with a frown. "Lost opportunity..."

"Hey, what was that?" Iron Man questioned, flying next to him.

Svadilfari affected a confused expression as he turned to the hero. "A problem?" He asked.

"Yeah, you almost killed him!" Iron Man objected.

"He was an enemy, was he not?" Svadilfari questioned.

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean kill him!" Iron Man snarled.

"Oh?" Svadilfari turned his gaze toward Thor, fighting off in the distance. "The prince never told me that Midgard was so... squeamish. Asgard has a habit of slaying it's enemies, I did not expect Prince Thor to work with beings of such conflicting ideals."

"Yeah, well, that isn't how we do things," Iron Man told him.

Svadilfari only nodded. "Your device to locate the second prince, we should use it now."


"That man was Loki's champion," Svadilfari explained. "It stands to reason that he would be nearby. We should find him before he disappears."

"The others--" Iron Man objected.

"They will be fine," He insisted. "Finding the prince is a top priority, is it not?"

"Fine," Iron Man agreed. The others did want him to find Loki. That wasn't why he was going to look for him, though. Tony needed to find Loki for his own reasons. He needed to question him, talk to him, ask him why... Tony took out his device. He spoke into the comms. "I'm going after Loki," He told them.

"Wha-- Iron Man!" Steve said, but Tony cut off the comm's and took off before he could continue. Svadilfari followed him through a series of teleportation. He followed the readings to an apartment building, to an apartment, bursting into the room the signal was coming from.

Loki looked to the door in startlement and Tony paused as he stared at the blue skin and red eyes. "Stark."

"Loki," Tony began, not sure what he was going to say, but he lost the opportunity regardless when Svadilfari appeared.

"I found you." Svadilfari's eyes lit up at the sight of Loki, and Loki's widened in fright. Svadilfari lunged into the room, but Loki sprang out of the way, falling to the ground in the process. "Don't run," Svadilfari said.

"Hey!" Tony objected. Loki backed away from Svadilfari, teleporting away when the man looked at him once more. "What the hell was that!" Tony yelled.

"What was what?" Svadilfari asked. "I merely tried to catch him. You should see if he is still nearby."

Tony glared at Svadilfari a moment before checking his device and finding no temperature reading low enough to be Loki's. "He's gone," He told him. "You should go back and help the others. I'll catch up."

Svadilfari left without further prompting.

Tony was rather relieved when the other man was gone and he could search through the apartment in peace. Something about the way Loki looked at Svadilfari left him feelings... unsettled.

He shook the feeling off as he wandered through he place. It seemed mostly empty until he came to the bedroom. There were three boxes spread out on the floor of equal size, red, blue, and green, along with a small satchel that held stones and a mirror. There was nothing else in the entire apartment, it barely even looked lived in, so it couldn't be Loki's base of operations. Still, Tony decided to keep this place in mind as he gathered the boxes and the satchel and took off.

Lockley kept herself out of sight as she watched the battle between the Avengers and doombots. She had never really watched one of the battles her team had orchestrated before. She'd watched them all spar before, seen the doombots in action first hand, but she hadn't really seen a full on battle. The Avengers were good, but they weren't better than her team. She'd seen The Widow fight before, but she wasn't stronger than The Enchantress or Lunatic. Iron Man was impressive, but certainly Doom was smarter.

This unknown person, however, was terrifying. This had to be the person that had frightened Loki. He must have had strength to match the gods, if the way he faced off against Doom so easily was anything to go by. That man's armor was made to last. He became much more frightening when he transformed into a beast of a horse and almost trampled Doom.

She waited a few minutes after Doom and The Enchantress disappeared before pressing the button on a her phone to detonate the Doombots. She didn't have to worry about tossing the phone. Even if someone found it and knew which button to press, Doom didn't use repeat frequencies. She hovered nearby until The Widow was able to catch sight of her, then she slipped away. She only had to wait a few minutes, wandering minutely away before Black Widow found her.

"Thought you might have been dead... or worse," The Widow said in greeting.

Lockley gave her a small smile. "I got lucky. Saved. It was a little... upsetting, however, so I decided to stay low until I was... calmer."

"Understandable," She responded. The spy didn't look as if she particularly sympathized, however.

"I wanted to ask about Magneto and the... exploding thing," Lockley began. "Did that get... taken care of?"

"Shield's handling it," She responded immediately.

"Successfully?" Lockley questioned.

Black Widow nodded.

"I'm glad that no one was hurt during this fight. I didn't really have much information. I wasn't sure where or what would be the result."

"How did you get the information? Blocked channels?"

Lockley only smiled before turning away, but without turning her back to the assassin. "I'll see you around." The Widow watched as the other red head walked around a corner, but even after a few minutes of watching, she didn't see where the girl went afterwards.

"You'd make a decent spy," She said aloud before returning to her team.

Tony went straight to his lab after leaving Loki's apartment, emptying the contents of the bag onto one of his work tables. "So... what have got here," He said aloud to himself. "A mirror, rocks, and boxes. Great." He stared at the seemingly innocuous items for a long moment.

"Jarvis, scan the items."

"Already in progress, sir." The A.I's voice replied immediately. "The items give off a low amount of energy but not enough to be fully identified."

"Alright, then." Tony reached for one of the boxes.

"Sir, do you think that course of action is wise?" Jarvis questioned.

"Sometimes you have to take chances, Jav," Tony replied. He opened the green box, which immediately became larger as a bird flew out. "Whoa!" Tony jumped back. "What the hell is that!"

"I am Loki!" The bird spoke in a surprising clear and human tone. He didn't recognize the type bird, but then again, what did he know about birds?

Tony watched the bird warily. "Um... Did that bird just come out of that box?"

"So it appears, sir."

"That box was small enough to fit in my hand!" Tony objected.

"Not any longer, it seems, sir."

The bird was sitting calmly atop Dum-E and the robot was uncommonly still beneath it. "Uh... Hi?" The bird didn't respond. "So... what are you?" He could not have felt more ridiculous if he tried.

"I am Loki!" The bird repeated.

"Okay... I don't know what that means."

"Loki is Loki," The bird said insistently.

"Alright... What... why... How did you fit inside that box?" Tony questioned, more to speak aloud than to talk to the bird, but it answered regardless.

"Magic," It answered.

"Magic," Tony repeated, the skepticism heavy in his voice. "You were in there because of magic?"

"I am magic. It is magic. Loki is magic." The bird explained. If you could call that an explanation, which Tony did not.

"You aren't making any sense!" Tony yelled.

"Ask better questions," The bird said.

"Why were you in the box?"

"Because you wanted answers and I can give them."

"Then give me answers," Tony bit out in frustration.

"Ask questions," The bird retorted.

Tony was seriously getting a migraine. "Do you always talk in riddles?" He demanded.

"I am Loki, whose tongue was an anvil where the sharpest lies where forged. I am Loki, and I have things to say that you must know. I am Loki, who you must not trust." That said, the bird flew into the air, circling overhead before diving back into the box, which closed directly afterwards.

"Did we learn anything just now? I don't feel like we learned anything?"

"Perhaps consulting Thor would be wise, sir. He may be able to shed some light on the purpose of these objects." Jarvis suggested.

"Yes, good idea," Tony agreed. "Ask Thor to come down here, would you?"

Tony decided to poke around the other boxes while he waited. He opened the red box, which also became larger upon opening. Reaching inside, he pulled out a painting, a portrait of Loki in royal finery with his signature green cape. It was a beautiful, very detailed portrait. He placed it on the table, staring at it, wondering why it was in the box. He reached into the box again and pulled out another painting, a family portrait he assumed. Loki and Thor were standing in between two older people. A regal woman with a warm smile, who he assumed to be the queen, stood beside Loki, while a man with an eye patch and a spear, that Tony assumed to be the king, stood beside Thor. They looked happy and Tony was still staring at it when Thor arrived.

"My friend!" Thor greeted. "This is the first I have been invited to this sanctuary of yours."

"Yeah, I know. I don't usually like other people down here," Tony told him.

"I am flattered," Thor said as he came to Tony's side. "How may I be of service to you, my friend?"

"I found an apartment of Loki's during the fight," Tony explained. "He got away, but I found this stuff that I assume belongs to him."

Thor was on the opposite end of the table than Tony, so the stones and mirror caught his eye first. The god reached out to the mirror. "Those are healing stones," He gestured to the rocks. "They can repair large amounts of damage, restore lost organs or limbs if applied in a timely manner. They are one of our most valuable resources, only our healers or Idunn's apples have better restorative properties."

"And that?" Tony nodded toward the mirror.

"This is of a set. It belongs to our mother. She keeps the other and they can speak through it." Thor was silent a moment before he whispered, "I wish that this was still in Loki's possession. If he will talk to no one else, he will speak to mother. Of that, I am sure."

"I also found these," Tony gestured to the boxes.

Thor stared at the boxes, then at the paintings beside them as he set down the mirror. "It has been many a decade since I've set eyes upon these creations of Loki's. We were much closer when he showed these things to me."

"What are they?"

"They are linked to his magic," Thor explained. "Loki has always been better than me at... clandestine affairs. Our father sent Loki on many missions that involved lies and tricks. Sometimes he would tell me of it, but eventually he stopped. He used to say that he thought he would lose himself to it, all the lies and deceit, so he created these, tied directly to his magic, in order to keep track." Thor placed his hand on the green box. "Green is Loki's color. This box contains what he believes to be the truth. He once said that this is for all that he must not be and all that he is."

"Pretty roundabout explanation, isn't it?" Tony asked.

Thor smiled. "Brother never was one to speak plainly." He gestured to the remaining boxes. "Both of these are for lies." He pointed to the blue box. "This one contains all the lies that Loki has told to others." He pointed to the red one next. "And this one contains lies that others has told to Loki. They are all connected to Loki, so they don't know anything that Loki does not, but memory is not infinite even for us, and Loki does not like to forget. I used to think it was foolish for him to dwell so on lies and deception, but now I do not know what to think."

"You ever looked through these before?"

"On occasion Loki would let me, but that has not been for some time." Thor's gaze lingered on the pictures and he traced a hand along the gilded frame. "Which box did this come from?"

"The red one," Tony answered softly, aware that that answer would probably cause his friend pain.

Thor nodded as if this answer made sense, but it still didn't sit well with him. He looked sad again and Tony almost regretted asking, but he needed the answers.

"So how does it work?" Tony asked.

"That is something only Loki could answer," Thor told him. "They are based on magic. Loki's magic, subject to chaos and change. It responds to the one that opens it. It is made to respond to questions and inquiries, but it is as tricky as Loki himself. The contents change to answer whatever inquires are asked, but they are connected to Loki, so they will not work for anyone. It will not respond to his enemies or those that mean him harm, and it is more favorable to those that Loki himself is favorably disposed toward."

"How can it tell all that?" Tony questioned.


"Of course," He replied derisively.

"If they respond to you, then it is not my place to keep them from you." Thor looked at Tony searchingly, his gaze hard. "Know this Man of Iron, if you bring harm to my brother, I will respond with ten fold the retribution."

Tony put his hands up in supplication and stepped back. "Hey, I don't even know how to work these things! What am I going to do?"

"I am not a fan of Loki's secrets, but even I know that they are sometimes needed." Thor held his gaze. "If you use this against Loki when he is obviously fond of you, I will not be pleased."

"I get it! I get it!"

Thor nodded and turned back toward the elevator. "Tread carefully, my friend."

Tony watched Thor until he disappeared into the elevator. "Did I just get the shovel talk from a god?"

"It appears so, sir."

Tony sighed. "This is so unfair. I'm not even..."

"Are you sure about that, sir?" Jarvis questioned.

"No one asked you!"

"If you say so, sir."

"You do realize that it was monumentally idiotic to do as you have just done, yes?" Loki asked as he appeared in the main room with Raven, his gaze on Victor and Amora. The two looked at him as he walked toward them.

"I am aware that it could have been more thought out," Victor replied.

Loki paused as he looked at them. He narrowed his eyes. "It is unlike you to stand down so quickly. What happened?"

"That beast almost killed him!" Amora yelled. "He turned into a horse, Loki!"

"I did not expect that he would resort to that among the mortals," Loki said slowly. "I suppose he is not taking great pains to keep his secrets."

"Who is he?" Victor demanded.

Loki paused a long moment. "I will tell you of him, but only once this spell is removed from me."

Amora approached, hands glowing as she reached for Loki. "This was a very complicated spell. Strong, as well"

"I expected as much," Loki murmured. Amora's eyes began to glow as she started chanting, taking hold of his skin. After a few minutes a faint glow shimmered across Loki's skin and then he returned to normal. She backed up just afterwards, looking at him with confusion.

"What kind of spell was that, Loki?" Amora asked. "It wasn't--"

"Later, Enchantress," Loki snapped. It felt good to be back in his own skin, again. It also felt good to be able to change what skin that was. He shifted to his female form, to that of a wolf, a bird, then back to normal. He took a few deep breaths, avoiding looking at them as he began to speak. "His name is Svadilfari. He is a Vanir mage, a traveler and a builder, a shapeshifter of some renowned." He paused taking a few steps away from them and looking off into the distance. "He was tasked with a project and, knowing something of me, requested my aid and assistance. This was after your banishment, Amora, so I doubt you heard of the commission until long after."

"The wall?" Amora questioned. "Svadilfari is The Builder? He is known for asking high prices."

"Indeed. The negotiations held for quite some time. He asked for the sun, the moon, Freiya's hand, all manner of things Asgard did not wish to part with. Eventually, father sent me to aid in negotiations and his desire changed. He asked for me, access to me, as an apprentice of sorts until the construction was complete."

"Why?" Victor interjected, but softly.

Loki didn't answer, so Amora took it upon herself to offer an explanation. "Loki is an anomaly of Asgard. On Asgard, men are warriors, women are mages, to be otherwise is greatly looked down upon. Loki is the second prince, his deviancy is well known because of that. It must have caught his interest."

Loki nodded. "Just so. He instructed me and I aided him. He was more advanced than the tutors of Asgard and I learned much. He taught me shapeshifting, magical construction, and once my skill and our work was nearly complete, he took a different interest with me. Father forbade me from returning to Asgard until the wall was done, so I ran and he gave chase. I tried any form I could think of to escape, to run faster, but he caught me regardless. He forced me backed into my normal form, used a spell ton stop me from changing. His magic was stronger than my own, he used it to hold me down, to trap me, and he... took liberties with me until such time as he deigned to finish his task." Loki shivered slightly. "There was a deadline. He failed to complete his task before that deadline so he was banished from Asgard and I was quick to disappear if I ever thought him near."

They were all quiet and Loki's voice was a whisper as he continued. "He is a nightmare to me."

"Loki..." Amora whispered.

"I am going to retire for a time," Loki said, walking away from them all.

It was only once after Loki was gone that Victor spoke again. "I will have that man's head," He promised. "Whatever it takes."

"The Vanir are not as strong as Asgardians, but they have more potent magics. His defeat will not come easily and Loki is not likely to be much help to us."

"And we will not ask him to," Victor commanded. "I will destroy him and have his head as a trophy."

"With that man after Loki, is he safe here?" Raven questioned.

"Yes!" Victor snapped.

"Loki and I have heavily warded this place," Amora assured. "Heimdall could not find us if we stood five paces before him, Svadilfari shall not either."

"What are we going to do now?" Raven questioned again.

"Loki has a plan," Amora said. "Loki always has a plan, we just have to get him to tell us what that is. Loki has never been one to put all the pieces of a puzzle in one place unless that place is his own mind."

Victor rose. "I have work to do. I will have new tracker bracelet's completed tonight and then I will begin work on how to decimate--"

"The Builder!" Raven interjected. "I don't like hearing his name."

"Names have power," Amora said. "The essence of a mage can often be conveyed this way, but it can also get a person's attention if they're looking for it." Amora paused, a dazed look suddenly taking over her eyes. When she came out of the impromptu trance, she swore in an unknown language. "I must go! Tell Loki I am going for Skurge!" That said, Amora disappeared.

"That... can't be good, can it?" Raven questioned.

"We will worry about it later," Victor said. "Inform Loki of her departure tonight. I have work to do." Victor headed to his lab.

Raven hesitated before asking. "Would I be in the way?"


Raven smiled as she followed after him.

"Alright. Let's try this again," Tony said to himself as he reached for the green box. He'd already put away the portraits and closed that box, before spending a few minutes contemplating what to investigate next. He'd thought about trying to figure out the mirror, but best case scenario, he didn't really want to talk to the queen of Asgard. What would he even say? "Hi, I'm hunting your son! Say, why did you let him out of prison?" Yeah, no.

"So, this is based on questions, so I need to ask a question. What's a good question?" Tony rambled aloud. He picked up the box as he thought, watching as it shrunk in size until it fit neatly in his palm. There were a lot of things to question about Loki. Where would he even start? "Alright, I got it! What is Loki up to?" He opened the box and a small explosion erupted from it, making Tony jump and drop the box, the lid falling neatly back on top of it. "The hell was that?"

"I believe it was the answer to your question, sir." Jarvis answered.

"So, what? Loki's gonna blow us up?" Tony yelled. He ran a hand threw his hair, flustered.

"I believe you are thinking about this too literally, sir."

Tony sighed as he picked up the box. "I didn't ask anything when I opened that other box, so maybe I'm going about this the wrong way." He opened the box again, sighing in relief when nothing else exploded or came out of it. He reached into the box and pulled out a lock. He stared at it in confusion before reaching in again. More locks. He overturned the box, larger once more, as more than two dozen locks fell out and one key. "Fine. I get it. It tells the truth but it doesn't actually have to be helpful."

Tony doesn't know why he expected different. Didn't Thor tell him Loki's magic was tricks and chaos?

He didn't have time to play around here. He needed to get back to Pepper. He hadn't gotten to do as much as he wanted to, and he needed to devote his full attention to her. Even thinking that, he still placed all the things back into Loki's bag and took them with him when he returned to Malibu.

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