“Sleep is for the weak—I could stay up all night and still beat your ass. Whether or not you would be able to compete is up for debate though.” He quirked an eyebrow at her gutsy statement of if he was ‘good enough.’ “I think I’ll have to prove my worth here, just to keep my reputation intact.” He tilted his head, staring down at her with a bemused smirk, just inches from her face.
“Oh, a lady doesn’t kiss and tell, Mr Stark. Have no fear for your reputation.” Her eyes darkened under the wash of his emotions. “If you’re proving your worth, shall I be submissive, then? Beg for your attentions? Or do your prefer a girl who knows her own mind?” This time she scratched her nails back down his arm over the fabric of his shirt.
“As much as I feel that I’d thoroughly enjoy your pleas for me, I prefer a girl who, as you so aptly said, knows her own mind. Now if this one would only be so kind as to enlighten me in what she wants from this particular encounter, we could proceed.” He smirked, eyes glittering with a heat despite his aloof tone.
“I want your hands,” Summer murmured, covering the one at her hip with her own. “You have the most beautiful hands I’ve ever seen on a man, and you look like you know what to do with them.” Stepping right up to him, so close their bodies touched, she went on, lowering her voice even further, “I want your hands everywhere, and your mouth. I want to slide my nails down your back while you call my name into the darkness.” Deliberately, she licked her lips, running her tongue along her top lip.
He absentmindedly rubbed his callused thumb over the knuckles of her hand. “You know, most people don’t care for my hands. Too rough, too scarred. They overlook their dexterity. But that, and then some…can be arranged,” he murmured before leaning down and kissing her.
Summer quickly hooked one arm behind his neck to help support herself. She flicked her tongue across his lips, demanding entrance to his mouth, and pressed close. “Mmmm.”
The shields crumbled away, leaving her all but drowning in emotion; his, hers, like whispers in the back of her mind. Hers poured out into the room: pleased surprise, terrible longing, aching fear, trembling hope. ”Your mouth is very persuasive,” she dared to say, a smile quivering at the corners of her mouth.
Tony felt the emotion in the air, even if he didn’t know exactly what it was. “You think so?” he questioned with an expression full of warmth. His eyes spotted the slight smile that was forming on her lips. He brushed his thumb across her cheek, gently grazing the corner of her mouth. “You should smile more often,” he offered warmly, a soft smile forming on his own lips.
“Sometimes I don’t have a reason to,” Summer responded. She turned her face into his hand, lightly kissing his thumb, eyes sliding closed. “You didn’t have to do that,” she whispered.
Summer felt her face heat and had to duck her head away from those eyes. “I just … tripped over my own feet.” This was not good. This was very not good. “I’m fine,” she lied, even though she could feel her ankle starting to throb a bit. She made herself pull away from him, and gave a gamine smile. “I think I owe you yet another apology now, for my clumsiness.”
He looked at her and looked at her foot, worried that perhaps she had strained it more than she did show or tell him that she had.
“Worry not of any apologies,” he said, “You need not do so for the likes of me.”
She laughed breathlessly. “No more concern for your own dignity than I have for mine. I … I think perhaps I had better sit down somewhere,” she added, as she began to waver.
He held her close as she spoke and he looked at her, concerned.
“Should I carry you, perhaps you had injured your ankle more than you do seem to show.”
Summer started to protest, then gave it up as a bad job when her ankle wobbled again. “Yes, please,” she sighed.
She laughed back, catching his hand. “Nowhere, now.” The ground was only a few feet below, and she let her wings go, dropping down with a slight jolt. ”You’ve caught me, what shall you do with me?”
He dropped down beside her, before pulling her closer to him as his flames died down. “Oh that’s a good question. What should I do with you?” A smile flirted at the corner of his mouth for a moment. “There are so many options here!”
He pulled her into a hug and set his head on top of hers.
Summer snuggled into the hug, slipping her arms around his waist and running hands up his back. “Tame, I suspect, but I’ll take it.”
“I have a twin. Our parents thought it was funny to name us Summer and Winter. We’re not the look-alike kind of twins, and she’s always been … ” Summer paused, her gaze seeming to turn inward. “Better than me.” She drank some wine, frowning. “She’s with SHIELD now.”
At her tone and her facial expression, the mood sobered some. Fenrir frowned slightly. He set down his own glass and leaned slightly against the table, arms folded before him as he looked her in the eye as candidly as he was able. “Do not sell yourself so short, Summer. I doubt any can be ‘better than you’, as you say. You are intelligent, caring, and brave. As far as I have seen, you are truly one in a million on this planet. The Nine Realms would be a safer place if those in the Realm Eternal were more alike to you.” He leaned back, taking a sip of his own glass.
“I am sorry to have made you uncomfortable with my questions. That was not my intention.”
Now Summer blushed hard. “Flatterer,” she said softly. “I wish you wouldn’t say things like that. You’ve never even met Winter, so how can you judge, anyway? I’m just … ” another shrug, “me. Not special. SHIELD doesn’t even consider me important enough to keep an eye on.” She blew out a sigh. “Sorry, didn’t mean to get all mopey on you.”
He shook his head. “You needn’t be sorry. It is true that I have never before met your sister, though I must stand by my words. I am no liar, Summer.” He smiled, resting his chin on his entwined fingers. “I like ‘you’. The way you are.” He pursed his lips, again tossing aside the comment with his hands. “SHIELD’s concerns should matter to you not. I am not ‘kept an eye on’ either. Even by those who put me in a cave. I am a great risk to the AEsir and yet I am disregarded. Perhaps SHIELD trusts you enough that they feel they needn’t keep tabs, mm?”
“You are so sweet, Fen.” Summer shoved her chair back and circled the tiny table to hug him from the side.
He grinned, glad to see he could make someone so excited. “I look forward to it.” He almost felt spoiled, being able to do all of this on Midgard. He was actually surprised that no one had stopped him yet. Surely from his post on Asgard Heimdall could see Fenrir’s every move, could he not? The once-wolf allowed the thought to pass from his head, not wishing to allow it to spoil his time here on Earth. He followed Summer out of the dressing room when they were ready to leave.
She sang for him, on the way home, the lyric and tune to every song that came up on her iPod, sometimes flicking glances at him out of the corner of her eye and laughing. For herself, Summer felt like she hadn’t had this much pure fun in ages; the chance to show someone all the things she loved about the world. She let the happiness spill out of her, let it dance along her empathic senses, and hoped the mere brush of it would brighten someone’s day.
At her apartment, she unlocked the door quickly, pushing importunate cats out of the way with her feet. “Come in!”
He had listened to her sing in the car, temple propped on his knuckles whilst his elbow rested on the car door. She seemed quite happy, and he briefly wondered if all beings in this world shared her enthusiasm for life. Surely it wasn’t just his presence that was making her so chipper.
He was brought to a building with many rooms that all looked the same, save for some which bore decorations of welcome or mats on the floor. All had numbers on them and people came and went occasionally. He followed her into one of the many rooms and found it to be a living space. For a moment he wondered if this was what all of the rooms beheld behind their closed portals. He was surprised when a soft, warm figure bumped into his shin. Fenrir looked down to see a cat rubbing against his legs. Absentmindedly he bent to scratch the creature on the head, though it retreated from his touch. Not surprising. To them he probably still reeked of wolf—and of whence he came.
His eyes wandered about the apartment as he stepped further into it. “Is every Midgardian in this building your family? You all live together…” Or perhaps this was a type of inn? But then some doors would not be adorned with wreaths, he suspected.
Summer smiled, scritching the head of a big, fluffy seal-and-cream cat, who kept looking up at Fenrir with big blue eyes and an absurd expression of pleasure. “Not here, no. This is an apartment complex. Each door outside leads to a little private home. I actually don’t know many people who live here, because our paths don’t often cross.”
She plucked the bag out of his hand and rummaged around inside it, pulling out a pair of jeans and a green shirt. Deftly, she popped the tags off, dropping them on the floor, and offered them to Fenrir. “Do you want me to wash what you have on now? I don’t … this is a little awkward.” She made a moue. “And, um … customarily humans are a bit … shy about unclothed bodies. Don’t get me wrong, yours is … very nice, but if you take your clothes off in front of me again I’m not responsible for my actions!”
He nodded. A strange living arrangement, though he supposed that he had little room to talk. He glanced at the absurdly fluffy cat. The thing looked pleased where it was and the once-wolf made no move to pet it.
He was glad to see the obnoxious tags removed from the clothing, relieved somewhat to know that he wouldn’t have to wear them about. He accepted them from her, glancing down at the rags he had scrounged up before. He shook his head. “No need. They appear to be falling apart, and at any rate I’ll have little use for them now.” He raised both brows in mild surprise. Oops. “Forgive me, I knew not that I was causing discomfort.” He smiled slightly, gesturing to the clothing she had given him. “Is there a place in which I should change? I wouldn’t wish to cause another dilemma.”
That elicited a laugh. “Down the hallway at your back, first door on the right. I’m going to feed the cats while you get ready.”
“The ladies just call me Torch.” He winked at her before heaving a mental sigh of relief. In Johnny’s vast experience, if it’s weird it’s either going to try and kill you or be an Avenger. So far it seemed like the girl was going to be one of the latter.
“What’s your name?”
“Remind me to make a camera for the receivers- no, he’s not in trouble. I think- No, that’s unnecessary- Sue, Johnny’s an adult and highly capable of handling- If he’s in danger we’ll know, I can hear everything he can.” Johnny could hear his sister’s disapproving tone mumbling but couldn’t quite pick up what she was saying. “Johnny, your sister implores you to proceed cautiously. If you can, describe what kind of power she is exhibiting. Is it telekinetic, robotic-” Sue’s voice cut through again and Reed paused. “But most importantly stay safe.”
Oh, lords gods and minor deities, she’d forgotten his reputation as a flirt. “You can call me Naienko. Mr. Torch.” She tried to look repressive, and folded her arms, but her suit wasn’t really conducive to that kind of attitude.
He looked abstracted. “Are you okay?”
“Naienko, that’s a pretty name.” Johnny smiled charmingly at her as Reed started talking at light speed.
“Nai, is a Japanese negative though it generally comes after a word, Enko is a female name with meanings from charming to little princess depending on the characters used, enko is also a Slavic suffix meaning son of. What is she doing? Does she have any weapons? Nobody under the name Naienko is showing up in any of my searches.”
“I’m fine… just a little distracted. Sorry. Give me one second.”
Johnny put his hand on his ear. “Dude you have got to lay off the caffeine. She’s flying, and on fire, dude she has wings! I don’t think she’s going to attack so I’m signing off now.” He turned off the device ignoring Reed’s protests.
“Sorry about that.”
“You … have a handler. As a superhero?” Summer tried, unsuccessfully, to smother a snicker.