He Without Sin

Boss Fight (Svadilfari Edition)

It wasn't often that Natasha and Tony were in the same place at the same time, especially when there wasn't an Avengers related reason for them to do so. The spy spent most of her time at Shield, but since Hawkeye had all but moved into Stark Tower, she made more appearances. Tony hadn't gone out of his way to have much to do with her. Aside from not trusting the woman that pretended to be is assistant while actually working for a spy agency and that said agency was Shield, which couldn't be trusted as far as you could throw it, everything about her seemed to rub him the wrong way.

Since talking to Loki, he was thinking about trying to change that. Loki wanted the Avengers to be a team, that meant more than just working together. Tony had made an effort to get closer to the others. Bruce already lived with him and he went out of his way to bother Cap every now and again, but even though Thor and Hawkeye both lived both lived at the Tower, he didn't really know them very well. Natasha even less.

The trouble with trying to get closer to a spy was that she was far too perceptive. Tony was keeping more secrets than usual now and trying to keep them from her while also trying to befriend her seemed impossible. On the one hand, the team as a whole seemed more sympathetic to Loki than not, but on the other hand, Shield probably wouldn't care.

The notable thing about Natasha's appearance in the Tower now was that she seemed to be particularly in a bad mood. She sat on the common floor he kept for the Avengers looking distinctly irritated. After watching her sulking for a while, he finally decided to just ask Clint what her problem was.

"Cap got sent on a mission without her," The archer answered.

Tony raised an eyebrow. "What's the big deal about that?"

"She's been on every mission they've given him so far," Clint shrugged. What wasn't said, but Tony could easily infer, was that she was suppose to keep an eye on him. The fact that Steve was sent alone either meant they were no longer keeping an eye on him or that they no longer trusted her. Tony had a feeling it was probably the latter. "Also the new girl got to go, so she's a little upset about that."

"New girl?"

"Some mutant that helped with Magneto before," Clint answered. "Coulson's been handling her, but Nat was keeping close as well. She's a little sore that they're cutting her out. Hill was sent on the mission with them instead."

Tony took a moment to consider that. He knew about what had happened in the aftermath of Magneto's breakout from Shield's, not that anyone had bothered to tell him about it. (He had pouted and given Bruce the silence treatment for an entire day after he'd hacked Shield and learned of the man's involvement, which would have been more effective if the man had at all noticed.) It made sense that Shield would be a bit skeptical about one of their top spies after she suffered an unknown injection, Tony just hoped that it would work out in his favor if it caused her to break away from Shield.

"Wait, why did a new agent get to go if they're still keeping an eye on her?" Tony asked. "Who is she?"

Clint shrugged. "Goes by Lockley, has some history with the guy, but I don't know anything else. Obviously." The last part was added with a bitter undertone.

"Hey!" Tony said cheerfully, hoping to cheer the archer up a bit. "We should do something fun! We should all go out somewhere!"

Clint shook his head, but looked amused. "That's your solution?"

"It's a good solution!" Tony replied.

Raven was out of practice with telepathy.

Loki had encouraged Raven to talk to Charles and make nice with the other mutants. She was reluctant, not only because of the way things had ended between them, but also because of the general awkwardness that was left to their relationship. And dealing with his students was much more enjoyable when she was trying to subdue them than trying to make nice. But Loki thought they could be useful and she did have to agree.

Not to mention that Raven had learned her lesson about letting humans try to deal with Magneto. (Not that she ever really had faith in humans to begin with.) So after reaching out to Charles and giving him (reluctant) permission to speak to her mentally, she told him about what was currently happening. As Lockley, she thought it unwise to have their conversation via phone, so she made the concession of telepathy. After all these years, she'd learned how to shield her mind, but that wouldn't make much of a difference if Charles was determined.

She wasn't certain what was more irritating to her; that he didn't seem surprised about her coming to him, that he seemed at least partially appraised of the situation already, or his general willingness to take her back. Charles' optimism and trust had always been something of a sore spot with her. First when it was at odds with her own cynicism involving humans and then with his inability to completely distrust Magneto. (Not that she was free of that particular sin, but still!)

He was still as cheerful and kind as she remembered and she half hated him for making her miss him a bit. She half hated him for changing enough that he was actually cautious about working directly with humans when he never listened to her arguments on the matter. She half hated that he was calm and understanding and even after everything that had happened, he was doing what he had always wanted and she was still forced to hide in plain sight.

Overall, this mission was making her bitter.

She had no idea what Magneto thought he was trying to prove at this point. Something involving Extremis and the president and the entire thing was one big confusing cluster.

Captain America kept trying to be nice to her (reminding her of Charles!) while Maria Hill gave hers suspicious looks that she was all too used to. Agent Coulson seemed as unflappable as usual and he proved the better option if she chose to speak to any of them. She was a little irritated that Black Widow wasn't with her and no matter what reason they gave her for the woman's absence, she knew that it was because of the woman's new status as a mutant. Shield didn't want to have to keep an eye on Lockley and Black Widow at the same time and Lockley had already proven to have a specific vendetta against Magneto.

That the army ended up involved only soured her mood further. She didn't think that there was any part of this mission that didn't involve something she hated. That fact was proven when she met War Machine, her entire impression of him colored by the fact that he was friends with Tony Stark who had the audacity to think he was good enough to date a god.

She took out her frustrations by utterly destroying everyone she could in Magneto's Brotherhood. It helped that she felt entirely vindicated that he didn't know she was the one taking him down.

She assumed the president came out fine, but that wasn't really her priority.

"Hey, good work out there," Captain America said to her. His sincerity rubbed her the wrong way and so did Charles' voice in her head encouraging her to 'be nice' and 'make friends.' She knew she shouldn't have let him into her head. Already he was trying to be a bad influence on her. She bit her lip to keep from responding with some biting comment. Lockley was suppose to at least seem co-operative and Amora liked him, so there had to be something decent about him.

Under that argument, though, the same could be said about Tony Stark, which she refused to accept. That thought had her nearly scowling.

Her only saving grace was that Charles hadn't told them that she was part of the mission, so no one went out of their way to (irritate) talk to her. If Logan hadn't been preoccupied with Creed, he probably would have noticed.

Some woman was being carted away for crimes against the president, Maya something, which she only noticed because of a debate between the army and Shield as they were deciding who was keeping her. Magneto had, of course, escaped, but without any of the Extremis injections he'd had with him, without any Extremis soldiers, and with only half of his brotherhood. If nothing else, this would keep him crippled for a while. (She tried not to be hurt by the fact that so much of his plan had been kept from her. She had thought that she was more trusted than that and the truth of the matter that she was just as much a pawn as anyone else stung. Charles could commiserate with her, but she wasn't willing to outright state that she was wrong, so she bottled that thought away to herself.)

Maria Hill spent an extended time talking to Storm, but whether it was interrogation or something else she couldn't tell.

"That was some battle," Jean said to her in a congratulatory manner. "You were great out there."

"I know," She answered without meaning to. She pressed her lips together tightly, trying to renew her resolve not to talk to any of them.

"I never expected to see you working for the good guys," Jean added.

Raven glared at her at that, practically snapping her answer. "I've always been working for the good of mutants."

"That came out wrong," The red head said, back tracking. "I meant that it's good to see you doing something a little less extreme."

"I don't need or want your approval," Raven told her. "Though maybe if Charles had you doing something more extreme, you'd actually be making progress instead of hiding away at the institute."

The woman frowned, clearly getting upset and trying to hold back her retort. She either had good control of her temper or Charles was intervening, either way, Raven decided to end the conversation there.

She wondered if Loki would be disappointed in her. She was suppose to be making nice with these people, after all. At least she wasn't making a bad name for Lockley with Shield. After thinking about it for a moment, she decided to find Coulson. They probably wouldn't appreciate her interrupting Hill's talk with Storm, but she was the only mutant that Raven hadn't met before breaking with Magneto. Whatever connection they had, she could break it and better to try and get one for Loki than losing her Charles' team.

Tony had come to the conclusion that Natasha was a kill joy. Not that he hadn't already thought that, but it was even more pronounced now as he continually tried to offer suggestions for going out and she continued to turn him down.

"You are a difficult person to get along with," Tony told her.

Natasha just rolled her eyes at him. "Talking about yourself, Stark?"

Tony had a snarky reply ready, but a very unexpected voice interrupted him.

"I was expecting him to have showed up by now." They all jumped to their feet, turning to stare at the newly appeared Svadilfari as he watched them. "I've seen the second prince watching you all before, protecting you. I suppose the only way to draw him out at this point is the direct approach." He summoned dark red energy into his palm. "I hope you won't make it too easy for me."

"Shit. Jarvis!" Tony yelled out. Then the sound of the windows breaking drowned out everything else, the glass shattering outward as a dark red wave of energy filtered through the room.

Clint was already picking up his bow and aiming it at Svadilfari. Natasha backing away and reaching for her own weapons as Tony waited for his suit.

Svadilfari had eyes on the assassin as he slowly approached her, a dangerous smirk on his lips. "Let's start with you, shall we?"

Arrows were already speeding toward the Vanir, but a burst of red energy destroyed them all. He looked curiously at the archer, before shooting a blast of red energy at him and knocking him out of one of the glassless windows.

"Clint!" Natasha screamed, rushing toward the ledge. Iron Man was flying out the window by the time she was able to look over the edge, rushing toward Clint.

"I thought so," Svadilfari said and Natasha quickly spun to face him. "I told you, didn't I? How beautiful you would look with fear in those eyes."

Rage filled her in an instant and she had daggers in both her hands.

"What would it take to earn your tears, my beautiful one?" He continued as if her anger meant nothing to him. "His death, perchance? Yes, that would do it. I will leave you for last, then. Something to play with until the little prince finally shows. Do wait for me." Then Svadilfari was gone.

Natasha stood, seething in her anger a moment before she heard the sounds of battle outside. "Jarvis, we need Thor and Banner, now!"

"They are already on their way," He assured her.

"Good. Tell Stark he needs to catch me." Then she preceded to fling herself out the window.

Pepper was a mixture of tired, irritated, and pleased when Loki finally took her back to Malibu, and it was all Doom's fault. The man was more annoying than dealing with Tony. He only deigned to speak to her when he was forcing her to train, was unaccountably rude, and was liked enough by Loki that whenever she tried to attack him, the god stepped in the way. Loki himself had become easily tolerable to her, but she wasn't certain if that was due to some likability on his part or just that he was better by comparison.

"Finally!" Pepper exclaimed as she fell onto the couch.

Loki chuckled. "You've done very well," He told her.

She huffed. She was not in the mood to be praised for what was half Loki's fault. Loki still was chuckling at her and she lifted a vase from the table and tossed it at him. He caught it easily. "Don't laugh at me! You haven't been training all week with a virus in your system trying to turn you into a fireball."

"No, can't say that I have," Loki replied with a smile. "Shall place the fire proofing on the rest of your clothes?"

"Please," She said.

"Excuse me, Sir Loki," Jarvis' voice interrupted. They both froze, Pepper sitting up straighter on the couch and looking uncertainly at the god.

"Yes," Loki replied cautiously.

"Sir is rather in need of assistance," Jarvis informed.

"Tony's in danger?" Pepper questioned.

"What is endangering him?" Loki asked.

"Mister Svadilfari has returned," Jarvis replied. "His plan seems to be to attack the Avengers until you come to him. Captain America is away on mission and the Hulk has been contained."

Loki froze for a moment as he took in the information, then he turned to Pepper, holding out his phone. "If you could do something for me, my dear, please call Doom and inform him of the situation."

"What are you going to?" Pepper questioned.

"Rescue Stark, of course," Loki told her, tossing her his phone.

"But--" Pepper didn't get to finish voicing her objections before Loki vanished. "Dammit!" She fumbled with the phone, recognizing it to be one of the ones made by Stark Industries. She paused a moment as she stared at it. "This model isn't even out yet!" She complained to herself as scrolled through the contacts for 'Victor.'

"What?" She was a little gratified that he answered Loki's phone call just as poorly tempered as he was when he talked to her.

"Loki told me to call you," Pepper said. "Tony's in trouble!"

"It's no concern of mine what happens to Stark," Doom replied tersely.

She could sense he was about to hang up when she blurted out quickly, "Loki went to help him! He's fighting that other alien asshole!"

Doom was quiet a moment. "Is that all?"

"I... yes," She answered through gritted teeth.

He didn't even say anything, just hung up the phone. Pepper let out a yell of frustration.

Natasha knew they weren't doing very well. Svadilfari was stronger than them, more powerful, and it showed. She couldn't fight him one on one, her widow's bite hardly did anything to him and he was physically stronger than she was. At most, she could be a distraction for the others as Svadilfari seemed to focus on her, but it wasn't doing them much good.

Hulk had been trapped in some sort of magical cage and Tony's suit had taken a lot of damage. Thor was the only one that could really do anything to him, but Svadifari had used his magic to continuously evade him.

"I tire of this hiding game, little one," Svailfari said from behind her as he grabbed her wrist. In the distance, she saw Iron Man falling in a flash of dark red magic. She spun around, trying and failing to pull her arm away from him.

"Let go!" She said fiercely. She unleashed the full force of her widow's bite, but his body barely jerked.

"She said, let go!" Hawkeye yelled.

Svadilfari turned in time to see the archer's arrow moments before it plunged into his eye. Svadilfari cried out, dropping her arm, one hand reaching for his injured eye. Natasha swiftly put distance between them. The Vanir pulled the arrow from his eye, covering the bleeding socket with one hand as he glared at the archer.

"Clint, run!" Natasha yelled.

Svadilfari teleported to the human and grabbed him with one hand, lifting him from the ground. "I tire of playing with you mortals," he said curtly, dark red magic gathering into his hand. In a flash and with a cry from Clint, the energy gathered by the mage tore through him. Svadilfari tossed the bleeding body of the archer to the ground, watching as he gasped out desperately. Svadilfari looked up to meet Natasha's eyes and smirked. "Yes, perfect," He told her. "I knew those eyes were meant for tears." The Vanir's body shifted into equine form and he reared up over Clint, but before the hooves came down he was knocked off course by Mjolnir.

The horse changed course to charge at Thor, but Natasha only had eyes for Clint. As soon as Svadilfari was gone, she was rushing to Clint's side. "No, no no no," She mumbled to herself as she ran over to him. She didn't notice that tears were in her eye as she fell to her knees at his side. He was bleeding everywhere, his body torn into by the harsh magic that had been unleashed. Her hands shook as she reached out for him. "No, no, no, no..."

His eye had already lost focus, his breathing harsh. He wasn't going to make it. She could tell that just by looking at him.

"I can't lose you, Clint! I can't!" She told him, holding on tightly. "I won't!"

For a moment, her body completely seized up and all the air rushed from her lungs, then she found herself blacking out.

Loki arrived in time to see Iron Man being blasted from the sky and made that his first destination, catching the heavy metal contraption as it fell. His eyes were scanning the battle field, taking note of where everyone was. The Hulk was trapped beneath an energy barrier, but Loki had no idea how long that would last. Thor was pulling himself from beneath a pile rubble, clambering out of the side of a building. Svadilfari's attention was being held by the Widow, and the Hawk's attention on him.

Everyone accounted for, Loki turned his attention to Stark. "Are you alright?" He asked immediately.

He heard a groan come from inside the suit before Iron Man replied. "Loki?"

"Yes. Are you in need of healing?" Loki questioned.

"I'm... fine. The others..."

Loki could hear the strain in the man's voice. They were too soft, too mortal, to take on Svadilfari. As if to emphasis that point, a cry from across the battle field caused Loki's attention to snap to Clint just as his body was being tossed onto the pavement, broken and bleeding. Loki's hold on Iron Man tightened. "You are to stay out of this battle," He said immediately.


"Thor and I shall take care of the rest, you are too stay out of it."

Loki was still staring at Hawkeye's body when The Widow grabbed hold of him. He watched as her eyes began to glow and slowly, blood began drawing itself back into Barton's body. Iron Man had righted itself in his grip by now, also staring at the two Shield agents.

"Are you getting this, Jarvis?"

Loki couldn't hear Jarvis' reply. He watched as the Widow collapsed onto of Barton's body, snapping himself back to action. "Anthony, you are to take your comrade's away from this battle and you are to stay with them."

"What! No!"

"Do not argue with me!" Loki said, glaring sternly. "They are in no shape to defend themselves. Leave this to Thor and I." He glared just long enough to be certain there were no further arguments, then he teleported to where Svadilfari was.

The large, equine body was slamming it's hooves onto the ground as Thor narrowly rolled away from it, just in time to toss Mjolnir into it's side. Svadifari's body disappeared before hitting the ground, leaving Mjolnir to crash into the nearest building. When the horse reappeared behind Thor, Loki was already hitting it with a blast of green energy.

"Loki!" Thor called out as Mjolnir returned to his grip.

"Brother," Loki returned easily, eyes focused on Svadilfari.

Svadilfari focused on him in turn. "Little Prince, I was waiting for you." His entire manner became calmer as he returned to his normal form, a smile on his face. "Your mortal pets are not nearly so much fun. Though, the woman did have the loveliest expression when I broke her archer. Reminded me of how I would so love to see those eyes of your filled again with tears." Svadilfari's eye was a mangled mess, blood still running down that half of his face, but the man seemed no longer concerned with his own injuries, now that Loki was before him.

The sight of the man's smile made Loki sick. The sight of his injury brought Loki no comfort

"Do not speak to my brother!" Thor yelled fiercely, calling lightning to his hammer and turning it full force to the Vanir. The man seemed to actually be caught off guard as the force of the attack tore through him and tossed him off his feet.

Loki had to force himself to move, launching his own magical attack to the fallen man. This lasted only moment before Loki found himself being lifted off his feet and tossed into the side of a building. The impact dizzied him a moment and his eyes widened when his sight cleared to Svadilfari standing above him. Behind him, Loki could see Thor trying to wrestle down the freed Hulk. The beast didn't seem to be able to tell friend from foe.

"Finally alone, little prince," Svadilfari whispered. The man leaned forward to caress Loki's face and Loki cringed from the touch. Loki moved, either to fight or flee, but he was promptly stopped. Svadilfari's hands grabbed hold of him, one hand around his throat and the other fixed about his wrist. "Not this time." Svadilfari's grip on his throat tightened, cutting off is air, as the man leaned closer. "Did you think of me while I was away?" He asked softly. "I have been waiting for this moment."

Loki shut his eyes, resisting the urge to tremble, then he kicked out at the other man. Svadilfari only growled, moving closer. "Enough fighting! Submit to me!"

Loki kicked out harder this time and the man's grip lessened on Loki's throat. Then Svadilfari was crying out, hands leaving Loki completely, and Loki opened is eyes as he gasp in air.

Skurge had his axe buried in Svadilfari's back and all the man's angry attention was focused solely on the executioner. Loki blasted the man further away from him and Skurge went after him.

"Loki!" Amora called, running to stand beside him. She took hold of his hand and pulled him out of the indent in the wall. "Are you okay?"

"No," He answered quietly. "I am not." He swallowed down his fear as he asked, "How did you know?"

"Doom called me," She answered him, turning back to face the battle.

Thor was still restraining the Hulk, the beast seemed as likely to attack Svadilfari as Skurge. The executioner had lost his axe, thrown across the battle field as Svadilfari, once more in his equine form, charged at the man.

"We need to do something about that," Loki said, indicating his brother and the Hulk. "Do you think you can contain him?"

Amora's lips thinned, put out by the idea of working with Thor just now, but she nodded. "I'll see what I can do."

Loki nodded in return, conjuring daggers into his hands and running toward Svadilfari. The horse was preoccupied with Skurge, so Loki was able to easily teleport onto the others back and shove his daggers into his side. The horse reared up so fast Loki was immediately jolted to the ground. He returned quickly to his normal form, hands clasped to the wounds as healing magic quickly washed over him. The glare he gave Loki was as hate filled as he'd ever seen from the Vanir and it was more terrifying than all of the smiles the man had offered in the past.

Before Svadilfari could do anything more, two metal hand were clamping around his arms, two more wrapping around his neck. The two Doombots moved slowly into Loki's view as they held the man temporarily still. He gathered dark red energy into his hand and destroyed the two that were on him just in time for Loki to run up to him and slam his dagger into the man's other eye. Svadilfari let out an inhuman cry, immediately blasting Loki away from him and then releasing more energy on anything remaining in the surrounding area before removing the dagger from his eye and covering the wound.

Then the Hulk was behind him, eyes glowing green, as he grabbed Svadilfari and pounded him into the ground. Amora stood not far off, looking taxed, Thor on her other side looking between the her and the Hulk with unease. After tossing him into the ground a couple times, The Hulk released him, walking away and standing in place long enough for Amora to trap him within another barrier. The beast roared as soon as the green faded from his eyes.

When Loki's attention returned to Svadilfari, Doom was standing over him. The man reached down, lifting Svadilfari by his neck and squeezing tightly. Doombots approached from all sides, taking hold of Svadilfari's limbs and successfully restraining the Vanir as he struggled. Loki could tell that these were different from the usual Doombots, but that thought was quickly chased away as Doom lifted Skurge's axe.

"Doom does not suffer any harm coming to what is his."

Then he brought down the axe. It sank cleanly into Svadilfari's skull, stopping halfway. Doom released his neck, pulling the axe free, then brought it down once more on Svadilfari's neck.

Loki watched as the head fell to the ground, feeling his legs go out from underneath him. Dropping the axe, Doom lifted the head by it's hair and looked to Loki. "Nothing of mine shall want or fear," He told the god.

Loki had no words for the relief that filled him in that moment. Doom looked at him for a long moment before finally turning away.

"Enchantress. Come." Amora was staring at the head gripped in his hands just as Loki was, something almost like awe in her eyes when she turned to face Doom. Doom made a gesture towards Svadilfari's body as he added, "It comes, as well."

"Skurge," Amora said, almost absently.

The executioner moved to pick up the body, waiting for further orders. Amora's eyes remained on Doom as she approached. She averted her gaze for a moment to look to Loki. "Are you--"

"I will be fine," He told them, eyes still on Svadilfari's head. "I must check on Anthony."

Amora nodded, laying a hand on Doom and Skurge and teleporting them away. The Doombots were retreating, to where Loki didn't know nor was he inclined to care.

"Loki?" Thor called, but Loki couldn't worry about him just now either. He was, perhaps, in shock. Too many emotions to process were running through him, but he knew that he had to check on Anthony and almost on autopilot, he teleported to the mans side.

Tony had his face plate off, sitting top of a building and watching over The Widow and Hawkeye.

"Anthony," Loki said when he appeared, moving to the man's side. The man stood immediately, but Loki moved him back down. It only now occurred to Loki that he was probably a mess of battle roughness and blood, bruising around his neck and wrist, injuries both magical and not lining his body. "Are you alright? Do you need to be healed?"

"Are you alright?" Tony asked in turn.

Loki already had his hands on the sides of Anthony's face, streaming healing magic into him. It was only at this moment that Loki noticed he felt utterly exhausted. Every encounter with Svadilfari had left him drained, but knowing that this was the last he would have to suffer the man's presence... Loki still couldn't process it.

"No," Loki answered honestly. "I am not sure that I am. I..." Loki's words cut off as he felt something sink into his neck. Removing his hands from Tony, he reached up and pulled a dart from his neck. Looking behind him, he saw the Widow looking at him determinedly, despite the exhaustion he read on her. Mortals, breakable as they could be, were as utterly determined as they were foolish. "Was that really necessary?" He asked her, then he could feel him blacking out as he heard Tony yelling in the background.

"What the hell was that!"

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