Loki: I still don't see why we have to be /here/ right now, isn't there -
Thor: *Tired of his complaining.* Mother said that if she hears you complain one more time, you will regret it.
Loki: *Glares at him, but doesn't stop anyway. Just quietens.* The last time we were here, Thor, we did not exactly come out /unscathed/.
Thor: Well, while /we/ have grown, Anthony will have as well.
Loki: Growing and /maturing/ are two very different things.
Thor: /Yes/. And the line between them both is something that /you've/ yet to find, yourself.
Loki: *Opens his mouth to argue back, but then - *
Maria Stark: *Announcing her presence.* I'm so sorry to come down so late, everyone. We had a little ... /issue/ with "dress" code for a while.
: *Some of the guests laugh at that, and move aside as she comes down to meet her husband.*
Maria: *Turning toward the stairs.* Tony? Come on down and meet everyone now, the party's for you remember.
Loki: *He tenses then, aware of the pranks that Tony used to play on the "Odinson" brothers when they were younger. And though it was years ago, the memories are still fresh in his mind.*
Tony: *Holding onto the bannister carefully, he slowly begins to come down the hovering stairs, his head bent down to watch his step.(
: *Turning 21 today, he's in traditional 'Earth' clothing. The shirt that he wears is glitteringly white, and contrasts with the black, flowing trousers he has. Each step that he takes is slow, deliberate, and so unlike the bounce that he'd had when he'd been younger.*
Thor: *He straightens when his father does, not so used to the "Elite" measures of manners, yet. When he sees Tony, he clears his throat, glancing at Loki with a raised eyebrow.* Well. He grew up ... nicely, then.
Loki: *Vaguely, staring at him.* Mm.
Tony: *Guests crowd around him when he finally reaches the main floor, and he takes their compliments and wishes with a smile, taking a glass of champagne from the waiter-bot.*
Tony: *He then walks around for a while, looking for his father, before pausing when he feels someone else's eyes on him; turning to see Loki standing by the punch-table.*
Loki: *He doesn't look away when Tony begins to approach him, but his face does harden.*
Tony: *To both of them.* The Odinson brothers. Hello again. *Smiles at both of them.* You're taller than I remember.
Loki: Well, we were children then, were we not. So /obviously/ we've grown now.
Tony: *Blinks twice at his tone, but recovers easily.* ... Well then you'll remember that /I/ was a child then, as well. So I'm sorry for all the pranks that I used to submit you to, Sir Loki, I can tell that they're still upsetting you.
Loki: *Since when was he "Sir"?!*
Tony: But I hope that you'll find me better company now that I'm older, and a lot more /maturer/, too.
Loki: *Not quite sure what to say to that.*
Thor: *Nods.* Of course. What was past, will stay there.
Tony: *He smiles at him, gesturing behind.* Thank you. Oh, and please. ... try the punch, won't you? *Giving Loki one last, long look, he walks away toward his father.*
Loki: *Watching him go.* ... that didn't seem right ...
Thor: *Eagerly drinking some punch, now.* How do you mean? I think prefer him like this.
Loki: *Murmurs, giving him a suffering look.* Thor. No one can change /that/ much in only a few years ...
Thor: *Doesn't really care all that much.* Why not?
Loki: It's not right. /He/ didn't seem right.
Thor: Perhaps this is only his "/public/" face.
Loki: *He watches Tony's plastic smile as he follows his father around, asking if the guests are doing okay.* ... perhaps.
Tony: *He's drinking from another glass, on his own now in a separate room. Turning around, he suddenly comes face-to-face with Loki and almost spills the champagne.* God - ! Do you fucking mind, you - *He stops, glancing behind Loki to see if his father's there.* I mean - *He clears his throat, glancing down.* ... sorry. You - you scared me.
Loki: *Narrows his eyes.* ... Did I.
Tony: Yes. ... you shouldn't sneak around like that, Loki. *Takes a step back.* But - anyway. *Holds the glass up with that same, plastic smile.* No harm done. *He walks past then.* Have you tried the punch - ?
Loki: *Grabs at his arm to stop him.* Would you mind if I had a talk with you, actually? In private?
Tony: *Freezes, catching his father's gaze across the crowd.* ... I - the cake's going to be cut in a minute, I can't. *He pulls his arm free, as graceful as he's been this entire time. Like he's not even human anymore, but something far more pure.* ... Another time, maybe?
Loki: *Grabs him again, pulling him away.* No. /Now/.
Tony: Wh - Loki! You can't just -
Loki: *He pauses, looking back.*
Howard: You're a lot more /learned/ now, aren't you? A lot older?
Loki: *Releasing Tony.* I suppose.
Tony: *He stands next to Howard now, pulling his shirt back into place and looking down at the floor.*
Howard: Then you should know not to act like that. You are an Elite, remember, so behave that way. Or else your father will have to hear of it, and I'd rather not mortify him that way.
Loki: *He straightens, his face cold.*
Tony: *Glances up at him, the expression in his eyes scared for a moment before it vanishes.*
Howard: Good. *Looking at his son.* Tony? *He sweeps a hand in front of him.*
Tony: *Follows him out, but not before glancing back at Loki just the once.*
Loki: *Frowns, standing there a little lost now.*
Tony: *Looks away, gliding back through the crowd.*
Rhodey: *He scoops some punch into two glasses, holding one out for Loki to take.* Loki Odinson ... right?
Loki: *Takes the glass, his eyes still on Tony.* Yes.
Rhodey: James Rhodes. Though - Tony calls me 'Rhodey'.
Loki: *Looks at him now.*
Rhodey: *Explaining.* I grew up with him. ... and I've got a feeling that you've noticed what I have.
Loki: *Narrows his eyes, not wanting to answer, so instead he lifts the punch up to drink.*
Rhodey: I wouldn't. /Pretend/ to drink it, if you will, but don't actually do it. You'll be asleep in three hours if you do. It's timed that way for everyone, with the chemicals inside it.
Loki: Timed? *He moves to one side, covering himself in shadow.* ... For /what/?
Rhodey: *Truthfully.* I don't know. But it's not good, whatever it is. Not /natural/.
Loki: *Annoyed.* But you don't actually know anything /more/ than that, then?
Rhodey: *Raises an eyebrow.* I know where we can find out, if you're in.
Loki: *Looking over Rhodey's shoulder at Tony, watching the way that he walks so /slowly/, elegantly, with his eyes almost sorrowful despite the smile that he has on his face.* ... what do you have planned?