Recalibration AKA that awkward moment when you fall in love with your spouse Chapter Four: Forgiveness is a two-way street

Story Summary: In this timeline, Loki finds out the secret of his heritage long before Thor’s coronation. Tensions and frustrations lead Frigga to suggest Loki take a vacation for a few years, and he decides that Midgard would be the perfect place to lay low from expectations. The last thing Loki expects is to find herself falling in love with someone she can’t help but find familiar.

This is chapter four! Make sure you start this story at chapter one.

Author’s Note: Hi 👋🏽 I know it’s been over a year, but I’m hoping that you will all be so pleased by the fact that I updated at all that you won’t judge too harshly the fact that I wrote this on my phone and it’s low-key all over the place. Thank you to everyone who has supported this story in my absence. I hope that this chapter is to your liking 🙏🏾

Chapter Four: Forgiveness is a two-way street

Tony stepped off the plane, his heart lurching. The bond had settled now, more or less. The calm and reassuring thrum of Loki’s soul against his was a balm better than any of the triage from the plane, better than the fitful sleep he had gotten. 

His godhood still was not restored, and he still had a battery in his chest, but he could also feel his love again, and that was what catapulted him forward now.

He knew he needed to find Loki, needed to know that they were okay. The way that “Lola” had left was a wound that had never healed, and now knowing that it was Loki who had left him made it all the worse. Hopefully now that she could feel the bond she would seek him out and there would not be anything that he had to do except wait for her.

He hated waiting.

Shaking off his thoughts he focused on all of the people surrounding the plane. He waved off the paramedics with the stretched and addressed Pepper. She had been a true friend for so long, how was she going to react to all this? He decided the safest choice was to slip into their usual banter, that should do the trick.

“Your eyes are red. A few tears for your long-lost boss?” 

“Tears of joy. I hate job hunting.” 

He gave a wry smile before refocusing. 

“Yeah, vacation’s over.”

Tony finished his cheeseburger in the car, wiping away all of the crumbs before sweeping into the conference center. He handed his spare burger to Obie and swept past all the people who were trying to get to him before he officially started speaking. He did not need a hospital. He needed to share his story to the public and make his stand. He knew he probably should have gone home first, put on something nicer, but this could not wait. If he went home to his lab the first thing he would do is start looking for Loki, and as much as he loved his spouse, he needed to get this out of the way first. 

Standing behind the podium he looked out of the crowd of reporters, all of them staring in shock and wonder at his return. Rhodey, Obie, and Pepper stood to the side near him. They were all clearly uneasy, none of them sure why he had called the conference together on such short notice. 

“I never got to say goodbye to Dad. I never got to say goodbye to my father, or my mother. They were taken from me when I was young enough that I never faced them eye to eye as anything more than a child. There are questions I would ask my parents now. Every orphan thinks of questions they would ask their parents. Everyone who has lost someone has unanswered questions. When I think of what I would have asked my father, I would have asked him how he felt about what this company did, does, what we do. I would ask him if he was ever conflicted, if he ever had doubts.” Tony took a deep breath before raising a steely gaze. “Because I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them. And I saw that I had become a part of a system that is comfortable with zero accountability.”

There was a clamor of reporters, and Tony called out one in particular. 

“Hey Ben!”

“What happened over there?”

“I had my eyes opened. I realize that I and this company have more to offer this world than just making things blow up. Stark Industries already has numerous successful departments unaffiliated with weapons manufacturing. And that is why, effective immediately, I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark Industries—” all of the reporters stood up, and Obie started to make his way toward the podium “—until such a time as I can decide what the future of the company will be, what direction it should take, one that I’m comfortable with and one that is consistent with the highest good for this country, as well.”

Obie came up next to him, clapping a hand on his shoulder as if to steer him away and opened his own mouth to speak. Tony stood his ground, however, refusing to be moved, and beat him to it.

“I am happy to have the support of my business partner and chairman of the board of Stark Industries, Obadiah Stane, in this matter.” Tony continued with a charming smile. Obie’s smile froze on his face, and Tony knew that he would pay for that later.

“Now I know that you all most likely have many more questions, however my company will be going through a large transition as among other things I make sure that we shut down manufacturing effectively while still ensuring that those dependent on Stark Industries for employment through the weapons divisions are still able to continue living comfortably. Thank you for taking your time out of your busy schedules to come here on such short notice. I will be taking no further questions.”

Tony swept out of the room before anyone else could get a work in edgewise. He faintly heard Obie addressing the crowd. What we should take away from this is that Tony’s back! And he’s healthier than ever. We’re going to have a little internal discussion and we’ll get back to you with the follow-up….

Tony slid into the car that Happy had waiting for him. Since there was no one else with them, he took the passenger’s seat. Happy was not just his driver and bodyguard. He was his friend. One thing he loved about Happy was that he would always give Tony the space he needed to process things. Happy was a fantastic listener, and he never pressed beyond Tony’s boundaries. It allowed Tony to open up to him more than he might otherwise have, which was potentially the point. 

“Hogan, drive.”

“Are we not going to wait for Pepper and Rhodey?” Happy asked. He started driving anyway, bless him.

“Nope. We’re going straight to my place in Malibu. Well, we’re actually going to stop and get more cheeseburgers first. I shouldn’t have given my second one to Obie.”

“Sure thing boss.”

“Thanks Hap. How have you been? Really? Were you and Pepper actually looking for new jobs?” Tony asked, feeling somewhat guilty.

“I’m sure Rhodey filled you in with at least some of the details, but we were all in a bit of a standstill. There was no body, and we figured that if someone had killed you they would be bragging about it. But there was no ransom either. The protocols in place meant that Obadiah was effectively running the company, and Pepper was his de facto assistant, though she was still on paper as yours. I think she was job hunting if only because, well…” Happy hesitated and Tony looked at him inquisitively. Happy kept his eyes steady on the road. “She could not tell me details in some cases because of confidentiality, but she said that some of the things Obidiah has done and said make her uncomfortable.” Tony’s eyebrows rose and he frowned.

“That’s unsettling. Pepper is generally a very good judge of character. I’ll have to ask her what is going on from her perspective that would make her want to quit just from working in close contact with him.” Tony’s gaze drifted off. “And you?” 

“I didn’t want to leave while Pepper was still here. I got myself transferred to her detail on the grounds that since she was your assistant and you had been taken she needed additional protection.”

Tony’s eyes danced. “And I’m sure it has nothing to do with the crush you have been harboring for her, right?” Happy’s face flushed. 

“We’re almost to the drive through, how many burgers do you want this round?”

When Tony got back to his house in Malibu, he was exhausted. How could he not be? He had just been through this one of some of the three most grueling months of his life as Tony Stark. However, his life as Tony Stark was not his only life. It was clear to him now that what he had gone through was more than just a mortal life, he had had a lot of time to think during those three months about what had happened about why he was there not just why he was in Afghanistan, although he had been wondering that because someone must have sold him out for him to have been captured that easily was a smooth operation. There was definitely a mole in his company, Stark Industries was compromised, but for all that his moral life had just gotten more complicated there was something that Tony valued more and that was Loki. 

He and Loki had been together since they were children in Asgard. Anton’s exile from Asgard had been one of the hardest things that had ever happened to him. Although, perhaps that is not exactly true, because he was only aware of his exile for a brief period of time before he was transformed into a mortal body. While he was Tony Stark, he had no memory of his life among the Aesir. 

Odin had a lot to answer for. Tony wondered how much Loki knew about his exile. Clearly Lola did not know that Tony was Anton, or else Loki did not love him the way that he thought she had. For all that Loki could be capricious, Anton felt that he knew his lover quite well. But at this point after the hundreds of years that they had spent together, there is no way that Loki would’ve abandoned him so abruptly without just cause, especially if he knew who he was. No, there had to be a good reason for what had happened. 

Tony only had to figure out what that reason was, and it appeared that he would be able to discover it quite soon as when he entered the mansion and greeted JARVIS for the first time in three months, his AI informed him that the person that had been at the center of his thoughts was in fact, sleeping in the guest bedroom. Even if JARVIS had not informed him, there was an energy about the place that Tony would have been able to sense as he felt that Loki was nearby, their bond manifesting with the two of them in close proximity to one another and both aware of their magic for the first time in decades

Loki must have sensed his entrance because soon after he arrived, she ran out of the guest room, hair still messy from sleep. They simply stared at each other, both of them full of wonder and unable to believe that they were finally in the same place for the first time in so long. After a moment of solid eye contact that could’ve lasted a lifetime, they were rushing at each other, and no words were spoken. Yet they felt the ferocity of each other’s heightened emotion echoing off their own. A void that they had not realized was there was suddenly filled.

After what felt like both an age and no time at all they pulled apart, sitting together on the couch, their hands still clasped tightly together. It was Tony who spoke first, cupping Loki’s face and looking deep into her eyes. 

“Why did you leave?” his voice cracked as he asked the question, agony in every syllable. “Am I not enough for you in mortal form?”

Loki felt something in her heart break, and shoved down her horror at the idea that Anton could ever think that he was not enough for her. 

“Anton, Anthony, Tony, by every name and in every form, godly or mortal, your love has long been a foundation for me. Leaving you is one of my biggest regrets, and I never want to experience the agony of being apart from you again.” Loki took a deep breath before continuing. “When you were erased from my life, the spell took such a form that I did not remember anything of you, and when I did any observations were immediately erased. I did not remember you, but I knew in my heart that something was utterly wrong. The only trace of you in my memory was that of our children.” Tears were streaming down Loki’s face. “And what I believed to be their deaths.”

Anton’s eyes widened in horror and his breathing nearly stopped. 

“No, Anton, it is not what you think. I do not think them truly dead, it was my memories… whoever removed them included the lie that we spread of their deaths as truth. I did not remember their survival, only the ruse. And I was devastated at the idea that Odin had succeeded in their destruction. I regret that we ever let him control our actions in any way. I was… lost. And then I found you again. And I did not know that Anthony was Anton, but I felt our connection, our love was still there. But I thought you mortal, and as strong as I knew you were, not strong enough to stand up to the scrutiny of Asgard, not if they found out I was with child.” 

It took a moment for Tony to fully Loki’s words, but his mind had always moved fast, and he recovered quickly. “You don’t mean…”

“His name is Peter.” Loki’s reply was steady, but Anton had known Loki for centuries, and heard the underlying tremble and weight if the words. 

“Is he—”

“He’s safe. As safe as I can ensure. No one on Asgard knows of him, to my knowledge. He is also mortal, though from examining him I know he possesses seidr, though I only have recently remembered that his readings were… off. Something about the spell that created this mortal form for you has caused him to develop as a mortal, it’s something that we will have to test when we have more information.” Loki felt, for not the first time, guilt over never telling Anthony he had a son. It was hard enough when she thought him a mortal lover, but at the time it seemed to be for the best. Now, though, knowing that Anthony was Anton… she hardly knew what to feel. And it appeared that Anton didn’t know how to feel either. They were both silent for a moment as Anton processed the situation. Suddenly he spoke. 

“These past few months have been awful. Not simply because of the physical torture, the attempted coercion, or how I was incapable of accessing my magic. It was the fact that I thought you had abandoned me to this fate. When I was exiled and reborn as Anthony Stark they sealed my memories, but my near-death had them rushing back. And I remembered you as Lola, and I had for years been pained by your leaving. I was preparing to propose when you left. I had begun crafting a custom engagement ring. Then to find that we had been married, and that our bond was shattered… in my darkest moments I believed you hated me. I could not find another explanation—” Loki felt bile rising higher in her throat as Anton continued, eventually cutting him off. 

“Anton, no. I would never— I love you. I have loved you since we were children. I loved you the moment we met again although I hardly knew why. Leaving you is one of the hardest things I have ever done, and one of my largest regrets. I prioritized protecting Peter, and did not realize the depth of what I was giving up.”

The part of him that was Tony Stark roared in anger at that she had kept his son from him. But the part of him that was Anton Oskarson knew that Loki’s logic was sound, and he would have likely done the same in her position. He cleared his throat before speaking again, blinking through unshed tears that he saw reflected in Loki’s bright green eyes. 

“When can I meet him?”

“Soon. I do not want to keep you two apart any longer than I have. But I have not seen him myself in months, and it will be an adjustment for him to see me again, I’ll need to provide explanations for those who were caring for him. But I know he will want to meet you. If you wanted to make arrangements for as soon as tomorrow we can. It’s already late tonight on the east coast, he’ll likely be in bed already. I think that we could both also use a good night’s sleep.”

“Thank makes sense.” Tony’s heart lurched, but he could not fault Loki her logic. Though he was still confused about one part of her statement. “Why haven’t you seen him?” 

“I’ve been checking in nearly every day, and I’ve made short visits. But I spent the past three months looking for you. Not that it did much good. You saved yourself in the end.” Loki laid her head on his shoulder again, and they slipped into easy conversation as they settled together in more comfortable positions while tangled on the couch. As they filled each other in on their lives, they steered clear of the subject of Anton’s banishment, having had enough heavy conversation for the moment. What mattered was that after so long apart they were finally together again. 

Notes: I know I switch between using Anton/Anthony/Tony a lot. Its mostly based on the vibe of how I feel like he would want to be referred to on a scene by scene basis. Also prepare for Loki’s pronouns to be all over the place. I plan to have them presenting a variety of ways over the fic and so I will be using multiple sets of pronouns for them, not just he/him and she/her.

If you have any questions or suggestions for what you want to see next please don’t hesitate to leave a comment! I sometimes take a while to reply, but I always do my best!