Reverse Games - MsMoonstar - The Avengers (Marvel Movies) [Archive of Our Own] (2024)

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Room Assignment Chapter Text Chapter 2: Breakfast and Charity Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 3: An Accord and A gift (part 1) Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 4: Camping and a Gift (part 2) Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 5: A Time to be Thankful Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 6: Christmas Part 1 Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 7: Christmas part 2 Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 8: Christmas part III Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 9: Loki is Sick Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 10: Asgardian Master Chefs Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 11: Jeopardy Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 12: Pies Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 13: Tokyp: Part one Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 14: Tokyo Part 2 plus school! Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 15: Kobe Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 16: Kyoto (Part 1) Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 17: Kyoto Part 2 Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 18: April Fools Day Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 19: Doctor Who Marathon Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 20: Missing Scene: Loki gets a Job (or several) Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 21: Missing Scene: What's Appendicitis Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 22: July 4th and the Captain's Birthday Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 23: Baby Loki (Part I) Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 24: Baby Loki (Part II) Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 25: Baby Loki (Part III) Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 26: Baby Loki (Part IV) Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 27: Mentor and Hero (Deleted Scene) Part 1 Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 28: Mentor and Hero (Deleted Scene) Part 2 Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 29: Mentoring III Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 30: Deleted Scene: Mentor and Hero IV Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 31: Hero and Mentor Chapter V Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 32: Winter Olympics Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 33: Missing Scene-Tokyo Children's hospital Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 34: Loki has Chickenpox Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 35: Added Scene: Loki's Heart and Sorrow Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 36: Beach and Solar Eclipse Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 37: A Picnic with the Queen Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 38: Thanksgiving with the Family Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 39: Loki's Birthday (FINALE) Part 1 Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 40: Loki's Birthday (FINALE) Part 2 Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes:

Chapter 1: Room Assignment

Chapter Text

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"NO Thor, that is final!" The voice of Loki echoed through Tony Stark's voluminous living room.

"Come brother, why must you be so obstinate?" Thor shouted in frustration.

"It's because you're a dolt and won't listen!" Loki snapped, throwing his arms to illustrate his frustration.

The Avengers stood in the kitchen and collectively rolled their eyes. Thor and Loki had been here only two hours and already had started to fight with one another. Thor had brought the prince turned villain to Earth. He had explained that their father, Odin had sentenced Loki to help rebuild parts of New York that had been destroyed in the invasion and to work alongside the Avengers, though he was not wholly responsible for it, as he was under the power of another. It had taken the super-heroes a while to agree to this, but with Thor at Loki's side and that his magic had been suppressed, they felt somewhat re-assured that Loki would not be too much of a risk to have in the Tower.

"Seriously," Natasha growled rolling her grey eyes, "how long are we going to have to put up with these two fighting?"

"Tony, do you really think it's a good idea to have him here? I mean, you don't want your tower smashed up again." Steve remarked, eying the billionaire nervously as the shouting escalated.

"Please be reasonable, Loki!"

"I doubt even Mjolnir can knock any sense into you if it hit that thick skull of yours!" Loki sneered.

"Is it too late to send them back to Asgard?" Clint remarked ruefully, taking a sip of his coffee.

"We'd better do something, Tony, or they will really starting using the tower to take out their aggression." Sighed Bruce while he munched on a bagel.

Tony let a sly smile slip onto his face, "Oh, I've got an idea alright." He chuckled and finished downing the coffee mug. "JARVIS, can you scan Thor and Loki and get their measurements without them knowing?"

"Will do sir." The computer responded. There was a pause and then, "Done sir."

"Order up a bunk-beds, ah-whatever would be suitable to their sizes. Also clothes for both of them, t-shirts and jeans for Thor, and button down long sleeved dress shirts and black slacks for Loki. And uh-whatever else they'll be needing in clothes and grooming items."

"Very good sir, they will be delivered within the hour. Are we expecting children?"

"You can say they're already here." Tony groused, as the two Asgardians continued with their fight.

"By the way, when are we going to tell Fury that Loki is back on Earth?" Natasha asked tensely, not wanting to incur the wrath of the SHIELD director.

"Oh, I'm sure Popeye already knows; we'll probably get an angry phone call sooner or later."

At this reference, Steve Rogers actually snorted with laughter.
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Tony convinced Thor to participate in a training session with Steve, while Bruce showed Loki his lab. This of course, was to keep the two gods distracted while their living quarters were arranged on the higher floor. Tony had instructed his teammates to keep the two gods busy the entire day.

When they re-convened for dinner, (which happened to be Tony's favorite Chinese), Loki eyed his brother with annoyance.

"By the way, I forgot to give you both the grand tour." Tony said between mouthfuls of food, "specifically where you'll be stayin'."

"We thank you for your hospitality, Man of Iron." Thor replied courteously. "Right, brother?" He glanced over to Loki who grimaced, but nodded.

"No need to say thank you or anything," sniped Clint, earning a glare from the god of mischief.

"Don't provoke the Rock of Ages, Clint. "Tony grumbled.

When they had finished dinner, the Avengers and Loki watched a movie (Avatar) that caused an argument and some playful popcorn throwing. The group of heroes broke up for the night around 11 o' clock.

"Loki, Thor follow me, I'll show you to your floor. Uh, Bruce?"

"Sure." the physicist remarked and his eye darted towards to the two Asgardians, squeezing into the small elevator.

"Bruce has a level above me so we can keep an eye on one another when he Hulk's out and I have nightmares and Pepper isn't here." Tony explained as he pushed the button for level eight.

It was a short trip, and before long, the quartet stepped from the elevator and followed Tony.

"Sir," the voice of JARVIS called out and made both Thor and Loki jump slightly, "I scanned Mr. Laufeyson's brain pattern, and detecting a high intelligence level, I recommend installing a library in the main atrium of their living quarters."

"Thank you Jarv," the billionaire replied then turned to the two gods, that's my artificial intelligent butler JARVIS. Call him and he'll help you with anything you need." They stepped in front of an industrial looking door, "and this will be your room."

It swished open, and both gods blinked owlishly at their new surroundings. There was a set of sleek modern bunk-beds made of light pine, the top that was horizontal covered in green and gold. The other was a full sized bed that was vertical and was draped in red and silver. The ladder to the second bed was in fact an actual miniature staircase. On either side of the beds were dark stained wardrobes, a stylish full length mirror, a large wardrobe, and a television that was mounted on the opposite wall.

"What is this, Stark?" Demanded Loki, sending a vicious glare towards the billionaire.

"I too am a bit confused, Man of Iron." Admitted Thor, though he didn't look as offended as his brother about the accommodations.

"You don't have bunk-beds on Asgard?" Tony asked innocently, deftly ignoring the mutters from Loki that were no doubt foul language in ancient Norse.

"The Einherjar do, but they are mere peasants. We're princes and gods!" Loki snarled.

"Loki," Thor chided him, "Do not forget your edict. Do you remember nothing Mother taught us?"

His brother still protested vehemently, "We would neither of us, fit in the beds!" Loki still protested after a moment.

"Here's the deal, you can sleep in here, or in Central Park." Tony stated flatly, jerking his thumb at the large windows that twinkled with lights in the distance. Bruce watched the tension with unease, wondering if either would stand down.

"We will accept your most gracious offer." Thor echoed the words Loki had spoken that made the younger god wince. "Right, brother?"

Loki grimaced, but nodded curtly, but did not say anything.

"Good," Tony returned brightly, clapping Thor on the shoulder, "Breakfast is any time you want to get up and whatever the hell you can find if Thor hasn't eaten yet."

The Thunderer looked a little embarrassed, but nodded. "We again thank you for your hospitality, Stark."

'' 'Night." came the response and the door slid shut.

When Tony and Bruce were at the elevators, Bruce finally spoke up, "Do you think this is a good idea, Tony? I mean," he glanced back down the hall, "They don't exactly get along. "

"Just the point," Tony replied when the elevator opened and they were whisked to the next few floors. "If they are going to be staying with us for an undetermined amount of time, I'm going to make sure my tower doesn't suffer an Asgardian sized war between them. Besides, the two of them don't realize how fortunate they are to have each other as brothers. I never had any siblings and maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to care about other people if I did."

Bruce nodded, "Mother-my mother never had any kids other than me. I was often alone after she died, even with all the love my aunt gave me. Natasha is an orphan. Clint is estranged with his brother, and Steve lost all his family and friends after 70 years. I just hope that Loki sees that trying to find his place by war is not going to work. Loki doesn't suffer fools gladly, especially not with Thor."

"Yeah, but you can tell, he still seeks his brother's approval. " Tony remarked, "Maybe living in Thor's shadow did screw him up. It did me. Living under my father's name made me reckless and careless." There was a shadow of sadness that passed over his face for a moment, they a wry smile appeared, "I have plans for those two to get along." He stepped out of the lift, "G'night Bruce. Don't be surprised if you find me in the lab at three in the morning."

"I never am," Bruce chuckled, and pressed the button for his own floor.
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Loki was surprised by the bed's relative softness when he climbed the steps and flattened himself onto it. He also noted that it was perfect to his proportions, and thus not too small or too cramped. His pajamas were of course, emerald green and made of a soft material that was not as comfortable as his sleep clothes on Asgard, but decided that they would do.

Thor stepped out of the bathroom after washing his teeth. Luckily the washroom had two sinks so as two not force them to wait to do their ambulations.

"As I understand it, Stark is quite rich and this tower of his has quite a few levels. I know not why I must share a bedroom with you." Loki snarled.

"Loki..." Thor sighed with some exasperation as he climbed into his own bed. "Be pleased that you are being given a chance to stay here at all. They would have thrown you out into the streets or handed you to S.H.I.E.L.D."

"Mayhaps I was better suited to a cell in Asgard's dungeons." Loki groused, "If you think that you and your little friends will cause a change in me by playing nice, then you're sorely mistaken. I can see through those facades, they don't want me here. "

"If they didn't, then you wouldn't be here laying in a bed now, would you?" Thor responded.

Loki deigned to answer, but his eyebrows rose with some surprise. Thor was slightly perceptive after all.

"Good night, brother." Thor mumbled, then called for JARVIS to turn out the lights...

TBC...

Chapter 2: Breakfast and Charity

Summary:

Natasha makes French Toast, and Tony teaches Loki about charity.

Notes:

Thanks for the Kudos!

Chapter Text

Loki woke at the crack of dawn dressed and slipped out of the room while Thor was still snoring in a heavy sleep. Loki rolled his eyes at the Thunderer's laziness as the door slid shut behind him.

"Jarvis?" He called out uncertainly, wary of Tony Stark's technology, "May I- go into the kitchen?"

"Of course, Mr. Loki. Sir has extended the use of the kitchen to you as well as Mr. Odinson."

At the mention of Thor's name, Loki grumbled under his breath and stomped to the elevators, and remembering which level the kitchen was on, pressed the button to go downstairs.

When he reached the kitchen, Loki smelled a sweet fragrance of food wafting from its depths, and the Black Widow leaning over the stove.

"Good morning Loki. I knew you were coming downstairs, JARVIS alerted me." Natasha greeted him, but didn't turn around.

"Good Morrow, Lady Natasha. What fare are you making?" Loki inquired curiously.

Natasha finally turned around with the spatula in her hand, "French Toast. I don't get to cook very often, but it's one of my favorite things to make when I get time. Would you like to try some?"

Loki hesitated for a moment; Romanov was a trained assassin, so poison would be part of her trade. But remembering what Thor had said the night before, Loki consented to the offer of food.

A moment later, he was presented with a plate with a fried but fluffy piece of bread covered in a brown gooey substance. Pancake syrup, Natasha had said. Loki bit into the food and was pleasantly surprised by the taste.

"How is it?" Natasha turned around again with her own plate.

"It is-favorable fare, I suppose." Loki muttered, not willing to let her know that the food was in fact delicious.

"Steve went for his morning jog a little while ago, he should be back any time now." Natasha stated, trying to make conversation. The meal had continued in silence for a while.

When Loki finished, he stood and said, "Thank you for the meal. I believe I shall go and read for a while." He had turned and started to saunter off, when Natasha stopped him.

"Wait a minute. You've forgotten one thing." Natasha insisted, pointing to his dirty plate.

Loki raised one elegant eyebrow and looked abashed, "You expect me to do the dishes? I am a prince, and a guest in this house!"

"You're temporarily part of this team and will follow the house rules. Put the plate and silverware in the dishwasher." She commanded coolly, pointing to a silver box that was tucked under a cabinet.

Loki snatched up the dish and with a growl, opened it to find dishes already placed within the strange contraption. He put his in and shut the door then looked up curiously at Natasha. "This...machine, it cleans dishes?"

"Automatically." She replied simply.

"Am I dismissed now, Lady Natasha?" Loki quipped, once again turning on heel and heading back towards the elevator before she had even answered him.

He did not hear her murmur something in Russian.

Hours later, Loki had been sitting in the "library" of his floor learning about the modern technology of Midgard. Thor had passed on his greetings for the day, and went down for some food. JARVIS interrupted his solitude, making the god jump again.

Sir is requesting your presence on the main floor, Mr. Loki.

Loki sighed with annoyance, snapping his book shut, "I'll be right there." He called back as he rose from the armchair.

When he arrived in the living room, he heard Natasha insist, "I really don't think this is a good idea, Tony. I mean, can you handle him?

"I can!" Quipped Tony, "I can call for my suit if he tries to make a run for it."

"I think I should come with you, Stark." Came the voice of Thor, "he is my brother and I am able to control him."

"Fighting over me already?" Loki commented with a snarky tone as he came into the living area. The argument seemed to cool.

"I am going to be doing something important today, and I would you like to come with me." Tony stated flatly.

"And if I refuse?" Loki inquired smoothly.

"I could get the Hulk to drag you along." Tony retorted with ease, crossing his arms over his chest casually.

Loki tensed and looked over to Bruce Banner, who looked surprised by this declaration, but who nodded in agreement. He seemed to sign with resignation and finally said, "very well, Stark."

"Good, be ready in about 15 minutes and we'll get going." Tony instructed.

Loki nodded and heard Clint mutter as he turned to go, "I hope you know what you're doing, Tony."
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"So where are we going, Stark?" asked in the car of Tony's apple red Porsche.

The answer was interrupted by a phone call, that came on a holographic screen. A dark skinned woman with designer glasses who reminded Loki of Heimdall appeared on the screen.

"Tony, you're running late. The troops are getting a little restless over here." She said in a scolding tone that was tinged with a little humor.

"Sorry Gab, we hit a bit of traffic. Be there shortly." Tony responded as he kept his eyes on the traffic signal.

"You stopped off for doughnuts again, didn't you?" She asked with a chuckle.

"I'll be there in ten minutes." Tony replied with one of his trademark smiles. The hologram disappeared and Loki was still in the dark about where they were going.

"The troops? If it the army, I believe Captain Rogers would have been a better choice, Stark."

Loki heard Tony chuckle, "That's not what she meant."

"Then what did she mean?" Loki hissed impatiently. This game was getting tiresome.

"When I get bored, I like to take the kids in group homes out to a store to buy whatever they want."

"Group home?" Loki inquired.

"They're kids are in custody of the state, waiting for foster families."

"And you let them buy...food at this store?"

"Um no...mostly clothes, toys, games, whatever." Tony replied with a shrug.

Loki sat back in his seat and sighed, "I do not know why you dragged me to meet a bunch of orphan brats."

"Because it'll teach you something." Tony responded very much like a father speaking to his son.

When they arrived in the parking lot, Loki found that there were only a handful of cars, and a larger blue colored version of a vehicle they were driving.

Seeing Loki's attention draw to it, Tony said, "It's a bus. Like a car but bigger, holds more passengers. It's what the kids come here in." He parked the car, and both exited from it to stand in front of a tan nondescript building with what looked like a huge target hoisted on the exterior with the words "Super Target" next to it. Loki scoffed at the obviousness and went through the doors with Tony.

He'd never been to a "store" before, but was fascinates with the aisles of clothing, food, and housewares that he had never seen before on Asgard.

"Hello Mister. Stark!" The group shouted in unison. Loki looked at them and found the children to be fifteen of both genders. Some were fair skinned like the billionaire, and others were dark skinned like the woman Stark had spoken to on the phone. Behind them were surely the employees as they were wearing the same colors that the building offered.

"Hey kids!" Tony returned cheerfully, "This is Mr...Laufeyson, my business partner. We're going to be helping me today. You all can grab a cart and fill it up with anything you want. But you only have an hour, so be mindful of that. These nice folks (he gestured to the helpers), Mr. Laufeyson and I will be walking around the store if you need help, okay?" There was a yell of acknowledgement, and then Stark clapped his hands, "Alright, let's get to it then!"

The bigger children got their shopping carts for themselves, while the younger ones were helped by the store's employees. When they all had departed, Loki turned to Tony. "And just what am I suppose to be doing to help?"

Tony shrugged, "Act natural. Take a cart and pick something out. It's on me."

"I need no charity from you, Stark!" Loki sneered.

"Then help out the kids." Tony ordered. "And try not to insult them, they're young."

Loki hissed under his breath and stalked towards the men's clothing section of the store He then made a sharp turn to the right and found himself in the sports section, much to his chagrin. There, standing about the odd shaped tools of sports was a slightly thick set, sandy haired boy with the name "Jason" on his name tag.

"Hey Mr. Laufeyson, can I ask your help?"

Loki groaned internally, but then sauntered over to the teen. "What do you wish of me?" He asked impatiently.

"Man, you got some messed up language there. I was gonna ask you if I should take up a sport." Jason asked.

"You are old enough to decide for yourself, are you not?" Loki replied in a condescending tone that was obviously not caught by the child.

"Yeah," the boy suddenly look embarrassed, "The other kids say I'm too fat to."

"You shouldn't care about what others think of you. If you want to take up sport then do so. And in time, perhaps the exercise involved will improve your physique to your advantage."

The boy's face lit up with that encouragement, and he punched Loki in the arm lightly, "Hey, thanks man!"

The hour seemed to pass slowly for Loki, who helped a little girl pick out an outfit (what did he know of Midgardian fashion for small girls?!), pick out a book for another (much to his own admitted pride), and near the end, found himself in the toy section where a young man was trying to reach the higher shelf. He stopped suddenly at this, and determined that the child was close to tears and he jumped and missed a few times.

"Would you care for some help, boy?" Loki said, and made the child start and whirl around. The little one was dark haired and had brown eyes. "Alex" was the name of the kid.

"Yes please," Alex muttered, still sniffling, pointing to the Iron Man action figure.

Of course Loki thought as he stepped on a smaller shelf and easily reached for it. Turning, he handed the figurine to the boy, who now hugged it to his chest. "Thank you, mister!"

"Why do you like Iron Man...Alex?"

"Because he's rich, and he's got cool suits and he helps people!" the boy chirped.

Loki seemed to consider this a moment. Stark did indeed have impressive technology that he created from scratch. And rather than spend money on himself, he spent it on the less fortunate. He could see why one so young could look up to Stark (though not other less desirable traits like the drinking).

Nodding, Loki looked over to the partially filled cart. "Would you like me to help you find some more things?"

The boy glanced up at him, "Yes please."

The rest of the time was dedicated to playing fake pirates with fake swords, a make believe war scene with toy soldiers, and bouncing a ball down an aisle.

"You look like you're having fun!" Called a voice behind him, and Loki stopped dead in his tracks, the rubber ball bouncing away before rolling to a stop. Loki whirled around to find Tony Stark leaning against a column, grinning like a Chesire cat.

"Alex and I were checking the quality of these toys." Loki said, trying to cover a lie.

"Sure," Tony retorted playfully. "Well, 'fraid playtime is over., it's time to check out."

When they left the store and were on the way back to Stark Tower, Loki finally mustered the courage to ask, "Stark, why do you give away your money so freely? Surely those children are not poor. Why do you insist on charity?"

Tony's face turned stony, "Well to be honest, I wasn't always charitable. Sure, I had a charity in honor of my mother, but that was about it. I spent a lot of my money on parties and airplanes and whatever from weapons sale. Then one day I was captured in Afghanistan and I found out my weapons were being used by the bad guys to harm helpless people. That's why I gave up making weapons and focused on helping the environment with new clean energy. A man named Yinsin helped me escape my captors and the cost of his own life."

There was a long silence, then Tony continued. "He told me I had a second chance and not to waste it. Those kids may not be poor, but the state can only afford so much, I just...ease the burden a bit and let them have some things they might not get otherwise."

"I see..." Loki said. He did not care that Stark was trying to teach him charity, but his heart warmed slightly at the fact that he was able to assist those who were not afraid of him. For once, he was happy not to be a god or the second prince of Asgard.

TBC...

Chapter 3: An Accord and A gift (part 1)

Summary:

Loki reaches an accord, and both Thor and Loki are given an assignment by Tony.

Notes:

A/N: Sorry this is so late! My life has been a rollercoaster lately, and I keep getting distracted. Thank you for kudos and watches, I appreciate it. This next chapter will be cut in two.

Chapter Text

When Loki woke and went into the kitchens to find that no one was at the stove today. Wondering what to make, he looked up to the ceiling to find Stark's machine voice.

"Machine?" What had Stark called it? "Jarvis?"

The AI responded calmly, "At your service, Mr. Loki."

"I wish for something simple to break my fast. What is there to eat?"

The ceiling machine replied, "Of course, sir. Please allow me to direct you to cabinets that you seek."

Five minutes later, Loki found himself at the kitchen island eating a bowl of what the Artificial Intelligence had called, "cereal."

He turned when he heard someone behind him approach, and found Bruce Banner clapping a hand on his shoulder. "Good Morning," the doctor greeted him warmly. "I see JARVIS has helped you find breakfast. How do you like it?"

For a moment, the god contemplated ignoring him, as their last meeting had caused him to be smashed into the floor several times. Instead, Loki wrinkled his elegant nose at the spoonful of bran.

"This is quite bland and tasteless, how do humans even eat it? And why for that matter?!"

Bruce just shrugged at this, "Because it's healthy. I tell you what-" he looked up to the ceiling, "JARVIS?"

"Yes sir?" the machine piped cheerfully.

"Would Mr. Stark mind order some fruit? Bananas, peaches, strawberries if we can get them." He said, then looked over to Loki, "You like apples?" When Loki nodded in the affirmative, Banner continued, "and some apples; red and green ones. "

"There's a green grocer ten minutes away. It will arrive in fifteen sir, due to morning traffic." JARVIS complied with confidence.

Loki glanced at the doctor, his eyebrows drawn together. "Why would you do that for me? Do you not hate me?"

Bruce smiled was a little disconcerting, "Don't get me wrong, the Other Guy hates you. But me, I'm a doctor. It's my job to help others. The moment you stepped into the tower, the Other Guy wanted to smash you into the floor again. Luckily, I have better control of him." He put his hands up defensively, "How about you and I try to get along so that we don't have that situation again?"

Loki hopped of the stool and extended his hand, "We have an accord, Doctor Banner." They shook hands.

Banner laughed, "Besides, the fruit will get eaten by everyone. Pepper always has lectured everyone at the tower about his or her eating habits. Clint likes to play William Tell with the apples." Loki shot him a perplexed look and he explained, "Pepper is Tony's girlfriend. Oh, and it was an old legend of a guy shooting an apple off his son's head. Fortunately, Hawkeye lives up to his name, though only Tony has volunteered to have apples shot of his head when he has been completely drunk."

At lunchtime, Loki was summoned to the kitchen space to dine with the other members of the Tower.
Loki found that Rogers was cooking the mid-day meal with some interest. Who knew the old soldier even knew how to do so?

Thor beckoned from the table, "Come brother, I have saved you a seat!" Loki rolled his eyes at his bro-at Thor, as they saw each other everyday. But part of him was glad that he was at least welcome by his once sibling.

"So Cap, what's for lunch?" Tony inquired.

Steve turned around with a grin across his face, "Stew."

The billionaire grumbled about wanting Chinese food but was deftly ignored by the others.

When the meal was served, Loki found himself daydreaming of a day in their youth when they had each had carried a rabbit home for dinner that was made into a stew.

We played together, we fought together, do you remember know of that?

"Loki?" Thor stirred him out of his reverie, "does something ail you?"

"No..."The dark haired god murmured, "just a memory."

A bowl was pushed towards him. "Try this, it's peaches." He heard Bruce say.

"Seriously, you live on a floating paradise city and you don't have any fruit?" Barton sneered.

"We have fruit, yes." Thor acknowledged, "But only apples and grapes."

Loki bit into the fuzzy fruit, and delighted in it's sweet and slightly tart flavor. Midgardians had some interesting food after all.

"By the way, I have an assignment for our two resident gods." Tony remarked in between sips.

"What do you wish us to do, Man of Iron?" Thor looked up from his stew.

Tony stood up and handed a blue plastic card to each of them, "These are debit cards. They each have $5000 dollars on them. Your task is to get a gift for one another, but it has to be significant you one another personally. You both have three days. Let's see how well you still know one other."

Loki paced in the newly made library with his hands intertwined behind his back, while pacing back and forth. Something that Thor was passionate about? All Loki thought Thor felt strongly about was fighting. But he had Mjolnir, so he would have no need for any other weapon. And he had a passion for women.

Loki stopped pacing suddenly, his head lifting. What was the name of that woman? He wracked his brain. Jane! Yes, that was it! Jane Foster that Thor had become infatuated with during his exile on his Midgard.

"Computer, can you tell me the location of the female Jane Foster?"

"Yes Sir. She is still located in Puente Antiguo, New Mexico." The A.I. answered.

"Can I-" Loki pulled out the card, looking at it, "Send for her, using this card Stark gave me?"

"Of course sir. If you'll just use the StarkPad on the left?" J.A.R.V.I.S. instructed.

It had taken an hour, but after learning to navigate the internet, Loki had successfully had bought a ticket for that astrophysicist, and arranged for her to be picked up by something called a "limo". Now all he had to do is muster the courage to call her to arrange her trip here.

Taking a deep breath, he made the call with prompting from the A.I.

"Hello?" The airy voice of Jane Foster came over the phone.

"I just wanted to inform you that Thor is back on Mid-on Earth. Would you come to Stark Tower in New York to see him?" Loki kept his tone level.

"Who is this?" Jane replied. Her voice was slightly nervous, but she remained calm.

"Will you come? Your ticket has been paid for already." Loki pressed, rolling his eyes at the human's hesitation. Surely she knew that Thor was indeed here, S.H.I.E.L.D. would certainly have told her.

There was a pause, and then the woman replied, "Yes."

"Very well, we'll await your arrival." Loki replied. He rubbed his hands nervously, hoping that the plan would come to fruition.

By the time the sun began to set over the city, The A.I. alerted the residents of the Tower. All of them looked slightly surprised.

"Friend of yours, Stark?" Steve asked off-offhandedly.

"Nope. Yours?"

"Sir," JARVIS interrupted, "It is a one Jane Foster in search of Thor."

Thor stood up suddenly, while his blue eyes widened, disturbing the dishes on the table and making them rattle. "Jane? Jane is here?"

"Let her come up, Jarv." Tony instructed.

When the main doors slid open, they observed Jane, looking slightly disheveled from her trip with one suitcase in her hand. She dropped it and ran towards Thor, wrapping her arms around his neck.

After they had broken apart, Jane raised her arm and slapped Thor across the cheek, that made the men wince. "Where were you?! I waited, I cried, and tried to move on. I couldn't."

Thor had the decency to turn his gaze to the floor. "The Rainbow Bridge was broken. I only returned to find my brother and the Tesseract."

Her face softened, and she only seemed to nod. She smiled up to him and decided at the moment to kiss him in front of company.

"But how-Jane, how did you know that I was here?"

"I-I got a message that you were here and that I had a plane ticket to New York." She stammered, as she looked up to meet his eyes.

Thor looked confused and glanced about the room, all which shrugged with confusion. "Don't look at me!" Tony spouted with a laugh, taking a swig of beer.

"I did," Loki said finally, stepping near the pair. "I'm Loki, you may have heard of me-" he was stopped by a slap across the jaw ( that was even harder than she had slapped Thor).

"That was for New York!" She growled.

Loki only smiled, "I like her. You may regret that in a moment, for I am the one who arranged your passage here." He flashed the card again, then placed it in her hand, "And I give you the rest to spend as you like, with Thor."

Thor however, had looked astonished. "Brother, you-" He embraced his brother in a bear hug, "Thank you! Thank you brother."

Out of view of the Avengers and Thor's beloved, Loki allowed himself a small smile creep over his features.

"Will wonders never cease?" Steve whispered, with his head in his hand. All the others could do was nod in agreement.

END PART 1

TBC

Chapter 4: Camping and a Gift (part 2)

Summary:

The gang goes camping, and Thor reveals his gift to Loki.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Thor and Jane walked through one of the quieter residential streets of Manhattan, one evening hand and hand. They had gone shopping in the upscale shops (something that Jane had always wanted to do in New York). Next, they had gone to see something she had called a "musical" called Wicked, and Thor could not help but feel like the relationship between the two witches were like those of him and Loki. His brother had changed so much, angry, bitter, and vengeful, much like the antagonist of the musical.

Jane had been chatting about her astrophysics work and research and he had unintentionally tuned her out. He still had to get a gift for Loki as per Stark's instructions, but was still unsure as to what would be best. Books? No, Stark had seen that he had gotten as many books as he wished in the library. In truth, the billionaire super hero could give Loki anything he desired at a whim, and it made Thor feel like nothing would be as good.

"Thor," Jane's voice floated to his ears and got his attention again, "Are you listening?" She didn't seem annoyed at his tuning her out; rather, she seemed perplexed by his troubled expression.

Thor had the modesty to flush with embarrassment, "I am sorry, Jane. Stark tasked Loki and I with buying one another a gift to see if we still know one another as brothers. I am at a loss, Jane. He's not the brother I grew up with anymore. He always was scholarly, while I preferred to train with the Warriors Three. I do not know how or when we began to drift apart. I was always too busy to take part in activities that he liked. I always found them too boring for my restless nature. He and I always went hunting trips, though truthfully, I believe that it was only to appease me. I'd find him laying outside of his tent gazing at the stars. Loki would often sneak out of the palace to the observatory and watch the stars with Heimdall."

"That's it then!" Jane exclaimed, "you can buy him a telescope to watch the stars."

Thor's blond brows creased, "Telescope? Is that the scope from which you can see stars close to?" Jane looked a little surprised but he continued, "My father sent a convoy to Midgard to explore its progress-"

"And landed in the Renaissance era." Jane finished his sentence, looking starry eyed. "Wow. Well, we can look for a telescope tomorrow. The Leonid meteor shower tomorrow night, so it will be perfect."

"Thank you Jane!" Thor exclaimed sweeping off her feet and kissing her on the lips, while passersby gawked at the Norse god.
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It had taken some time and some research, but the couple had found an an astronomy shop on 23rd and 67th called "Telescopium Telescopes". Jane rolled her eyes at the name as Thor opened the door for her. Around them was a tiny space filled with models of the planets hanging from the ceiling, dozens of telescopes in boxes laying on shelves along with replacement parts, and a few models that were set up as displays.

At the counter was a quintessential older man with half moon glasses and a visor, polishing a lens of telescope with a grimy cloth. He looked up at them, "Yes? May I help you?" he asked in a squeaky high pitched tone.

"I am looking for a very good..." Thor began, then paused to try to remember a word, "telescope."

"Of course." The withered man said, and came out from behind the counter to guide the pair down the narrow aisles, and stopped in front of a rather large looking silver colored telescope. "This is the best one we have in stock. It is the Celestial 245 A. 450 magnification, navigation guide, tripod and so on."

Thor looked at Jane a little nonplussed by the technical information and shrugged. Jane turned to the shop keeper. "How much?"

"Ahem-it's $2099 dollars, little lady." The man replied, almost in a tone that said, You don't look rich enough to afford it, miss.

He was taken aback when Jane said, "We'll take it."
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Later after they had finished a late lunch at Stark Tower, Thor scooted out his chair and stood up, a grin washing over his face. "Loki, I have a surprise for you."

"I'm not to be an uncle am I, Thor?" Loki quipped nonchalantly.

"Not that kind of surprise. Really brother, I wish you'd be a little more polite. No, we-" here he gestured to the rest of the Avengers and his beloved, "are going camping."

An elegant eyebrow rose on the Trickster, "Camping? Even the modern man there?" Loki inquired, gesturing to Tony.

"Even him." The thundered remarked.

"Not like I can't handle being in the great outdoors or anything." sniffed Tony.

"I think we'd better pack and get ready to go." Steve directed to the team, and they all dispersed. "And Tony? No tech." he nodded to the cell phone in the billionaire's left hand.

Tony had opened his mouth to protest, but a serious glance made Tony grumble, "Fine!" and put his phone down on the counter.

When Thor and Loki were the last to leave the dining room, Loki said, "Thor?"

"Hm?"

"I'd give all of Asgard to see the Man of Iron camp."

The two brothers looked at one another and broke into quiet chuckles.

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It had only taken an hour by car to reach their destination. When they got out, Loki could hear the crashing of waves on land. In the fading light of day, he saw that they were on some lake, trees growing wild and only a few houses appeared in the distance, including a large sprawling looking home that no doubt was Stark's property.

"I don't know why we have to camp out when my house is just up the hill." Groused Tony as he helped unload the tents from the cars.

"It's good to get away from tech once in while," Bruce shrugged and begun to set up one of the tent's poles. "Loki, can you help me with this?"

Loki nodded, a sudden memory of helping Thor do the same thing flashed in his mind.

"Thor, " Captain America directed, "You and Tony can look for wood for a fire."

"What about you, Spangles?" Tony sniffed.

"I'm going to get the stones for the campfire. Natasha, Clint, can you rustle up some fish?"

The pair nodded and headed off.

"Jane, will you look around for a good place for...the other surprise?" With a nod, the astrophysicist went the opposite direction of the two assassins.

With tasks assigned, the team got to work on making camp for the night.

By the time the sun had gone down, the group had settled in around the newly made camp fire, and had finished their dinner of fish, complete with bottles of beer (which Loki did not partake of).

"Oh yeah, I forgot!" Tony said suddenly then ducked into his tent, reappearing a moment later with a grocery bag and plopping back onto the sand. "Have to have these," he announced, pulling out a bag of marshmallows.

Natasha rolled her eyes, "What are we, kids?"

"Hey, don't knock it," Steve said, and took a marshmallow from the bag to place on a stick, "I haven't had marshmallows since I was eight."

All of them snagged a marshmallow from the bag and when Thor handed Loki one, the trickster could only stare bewildered at the sweet.

Tony rolled his eyes, "Seriously? It's not gonna bite, you know."

Thor elbowed him, "Come on brother, the archer is right, this marshed mellow is quite good!"

Loki popped the confection into him mouth. It stuck to the top of his mouth and made his throat scratchy, and no doubt had begun a few cavities.

Clint laughed, "Wow, that's the look I'd give my mom when she made me eat green beans!"

Thor frowned, "Do not tease my brother so. He is not fond of overly sweet things."

"Good of you to try, Loki." Jane commented, sipping at the canister of coffee.

"Don't patronize me." Loki sneered.

"Whoa, whoa, let's not heighten tensions between us." Bruce remarked, "here Loki, have some coffee." Bruce remarked, and handed over another canteen. The liquid was warm and strong and stuck to his veins.

There was a pause, then Steve spoke next, "This reminds me of my childhood when I was a Boy Scout."

Natasha lifted an eyebrow, "You were a scout, Cap?"

Rogers nodded, "I was an Eagle Scout when I was 16. Believe me, it saved my life and the lives of others on more than one occasion during the war. Navigation, first aid, that sort of thing." His tone seemed a little distance, as though reliving a memory.

"So Cap is an overgrown Boy Scout after all," Tony sniffed.

"TONY!" Came a chorus of reprimands. The billionaire just shrugged and took another drink.

There was quiet for a few more minutes, then the Avengers began to talk among themselves, sometimes breaking into the laughter. Occasionally a question would be directed to Loki. It reminded the Trickster of the times when he, Thor and Warriors Three had grudgingly accepted him and went on adventures. This time however, Loki actually felt welcome. Banner conversed with him about his trips off world, for which Thor would jump in and reminisce with Loki about certain sojourns into the wilds of other planets.

Finally, Bruce looked at his glow in the dark watch, then up to the moonless sky. "Thor, I think we should spring the...surprise."

"Yes, I think so too," Thor said brightly, standing, then extending a hand to help his brother up. Loki chose to stand on his own and dust off the slacks.

"I'll bring the coffee." Natasha remarked.

It was only a five minute walk to wherever they were going. Loki, in the meantime, was silently try to guess what the surprise was, even though he had a slight inkling of what it was.

The group arrived at the shoreline, where Loki could see from Clint's flashlight, a chest high object that was covered in a cloth.

"Ready?" Thor asked

Loki nodded, and the cloth was pulled off by Thor and Jane.

"It's a telescope!" Thor bellowed, "I remembered that you liked to look at the stars."

"I am aware of what a telescope is Thor, we have one on Asgard if you remember." He paused, and added, "Thank you."

"Loki," Thor added, stepping forward to put his hands on his little brother's shoulders, "If ever you need a place to escape for peace, please let me know. I will fly you here and leave you to your stars. Never forget that I love you, my brother." With that, Thor pulled Loki into a hug. Loki was a little taken aback, but was grateful that his brother still cared about him despite everything that had happened between them.

"Alright, enough of this mushy stuff," Tony exclaimed, clapping his hands, "let's get to some star-gazing!"

"Way to ruin the brotherly love, Stark." Steve muttered with a roll of his eyes.

"Hey, I'm a man of the moment." Tony admitted with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders.

"There' a meteor shower tonight." Bruce announced, stepping next to Clint to flip through an astronomy magazine, "The Leonids. They can be observed with the naked eye, but perhaps even better with a telescope."

The night went on, and Bruce and Tony took turns pointing out constellations, distant stars, and planets. The group watched as meteors littered the night sky, while the stars seemed to slowly shift.

When he got too tired, Loki sat a grass knoll, and found himself leaning his head on his brother's shoulder. Before falling asleep, he decided that this puny planet might have some merit after all.

TBC...

Notes:

A/N: Steve would have been seven or eight in 1927/28. Marshmallows had been invented then, because a 1927 Girl Scout guidebook had a recipe for S'mores that included them.

Chapter 5: A Time to be Thankful

Summary:

Thor and Loki experience fall and Thanksgiving for the first time.

Notes:

a/n: I apologize if this Thanksgiving chapter is late. Can you all forgive me? Thank you again for all the kudos and follows. I appreciate it!

Chapter Text

When Loki woke and went downstairs to the kitchen, he found Barton rather than Romanov leaning over the stove, concentrating on making a meal. Loki approached cautiously, seeing as the Hawkeye would not take well to his presence after being brainwashed over a year ago.

"Good morrow, agent Barton. I-" Loki began to pull a chair at the bar and began to sit down, When he was a confronted by a plastic spatula.

"Listen. You hurt Natasha, or Bruce, or any of them, I won't hesitate to put an arrow through your head! Got it, Laufeyson?" He hissed, eyes narrowed towards the god, while gripping the spatula tighter.

"You're not a man of idle threats, Man of the Hawk." Loki sniffed, and traced his finger on the granite counter-top. "I don't suggest you start now."

The archer threw down his spatula and gripped Loki by the lapels, "Look you arrogant-" he seethed.

"What's going on here?" A voice rang out behind them. Both of them turned to see Rogers in his running gear, looking sweaty but non the less imposing.

"I only wished Barton a good morning and he threatened me. I don't suppose you do that for all your guests?" Loki asked snidely, as he pushed away Clint's grip on his shirt.

"Clint, whether you like it or not, Loki is temporarily part of our team. We have to be respectful of him, unless you want Thor's hammer engraved on your head." Steve replied calmly. He then turned to Loki, "And Loki, you don't goad the other team members, clear? Unless you'd like to have a prison cell as quarters for the remainder of your stay."

Loki crossed his arms across his chest. "At least I would not have to listen to Thor's snores."

"Clint, what are you making for breakfast?" Steve asked as he tried to defuse the tension in the room.

"Omelet." The archer said simply, "Want one?"

"Yes please." Steve spoke, as he went to the fridge to pull out some juice. "Would you like some juice, Loki?"

"Please." The demi-god muttered and took his seat next to Steve.

Breakfast was served (Clint begrudgingly made Loki an omelet as well), and again there was tense silence that was only broken by Rogers.

"The trees are starting to turn. You two are here near Thanksgiving." The captain remarked.

At this, Loki stopped mid bite to shoot a bewildered look towards him, "Turn into what, pray tell? And what is this Thanksgiving you speak of?"

Now it was Steve's turn to raise an eyebrow. "They don't have autumn on Asgard?"

"We have perpetual spring and summertide, but no actual seasons." Loki answered between bites, "There are other realms, such as the Jotunhiem that have constant winter."

"Here in the autumn, the leaves turn different colors and fall off the trees. It's why we call it 'fall'." Steve explained, and Clint rolled his eyes at the explanation because it sounded like something one would tell a first grader. "Thanksgiving is-well...it's a holiday where we give thanks for our first harvest in this country. Maybe when Thor get's up, we can take a walk in Central Park?"

Around eleven o'clock, Steve, Loki and Thor had headed out to Central Park. Thor and Loki watched leaves falling from the trees. Both were wide eyed, pointing in every direction at the different hued leaves. Laughs from both gods erupted at the sheer amount of foliage that was around them.

"Do they always change these colors, Rogers?" Loki asked curiously, bending to pick up one and holding it up between his slender fingers.

"Without fail," Rogers affirmed, "Though, some parts of the country are close to the equator, so they don't get fall the same way we do here in the North."

A shiver passed through Thor, and the thunderer wrapped his arms around himself in an attempt to stay warm.

"It-it is cold!" Thor complained.

"Rogers warned you to wear something warmer, brother." Loki teased as he and Steve continued down the walkway, "And as usual, you didn't listen."

Steve looked Loki up and down a moment. "You don't seemed to be affected by the cold as much as Thor," he remarked.

Loki shrugged dismissively, "I was born on the Jotunhiem, and as I told you, the beings there are made hardy for the cold."

"You were born there? And yet you were a prince on Asgard," a questioning glance went to Thor next, "I think you should tell me the whole story."

A beverage stand was around the next turn. The three men ordered hot chocolate on Steve's recommendation, and the trio proceeded to walk through the Mall while Thor and Loki told their tale.

"I was left on an altar on the Jotunhiem, too small and therefore abandoned and left to die. Odin only saved me as a political pawn, to broker my life for the peace of Asgard." Loki explained with bitterness in his voice.

"Yet he made you part of his family, and a prince on Asgard." Steve said thoughtfully.

Loki snorted, "Only to keep up the ruse that I was an Aseir. It was only a matter of time before I would be used for his purposes. Perhaps I would even be returned to the Jotunhiem."

"But that's good, right? you'd be back in your homeland?" Steve inquired.

"I killed Laufey, the king of the Jotunhiem. No doubt there would be reprisals if I stepped foot on it." Loki explained.

"If I may interject?" Thor interrupted, "Loki, though what father had planned for you was wrong, but do you not feel anything for the family that raised you? Not even for Mother?"

Loki pursed his lips for a moment, and both men thought he was going to answer. Instead, Loki said, "I'd like to return to the Tower, Rogers."

When Loki returned, he shut himself away in the library, trying to read anything to get his mind off the conversation from earlier in the day. He was grateful for a private space. Loki tried to focus on the words, but the words floated in his brain and he found himself reading the same passages over and over again. He hated being the second son, the other prince that was ignored by the general population in favor of the crown prince, Thor. He hated being the butt of jokes, or ignored by his brother's friends growing up.

What little concentration that he had was broken with a very strong knock that it would knock the door off its hinges, and he looked up from the book.

"Brother?" Thor's voice boomed from the other side of the door, "May we speak?"

Loki almost yelled for him to go away, but then sighed, and magically unlocked the door from his seat.

Thor almost seemed timid as he entered the library. It was unusual as the Thunderer always seemed confident in everything he did.

Silence prevailed between the two Asgardians, then Thor cleared his voice and began, "I was wondering if we would avoid each other when we were angry, as we have in the past."

"Ah, so you are angry with me," Loki finally said, snapping the book shut.

"Only at shutting me out, brother." Thor confessed, "I didn't understand your actions on the Rainbow Bridge, or in New York. I was more despondent of those...moments than angry. I understood your action on Asgard and you were totally correct; I was arrogant and unwise in my behavior, and believed that the crown would be given to me and not have to be earned. You Loki, deserved it more than me, and I believed that Fath-Odin would have found a good king in you had I remained on Midgard."

Loki's eyebrows rose with surprise. For Thor to admit that he was not worthy of the crown took him aback.

Again, there was another interval of silence and Thor continued, a frown over his features, "That does not mean that I trust you. But I believe-that being among the Avengers will begin to change you for the better, brother. You must see, as I did while in exile here on Midgard, that humans are the most worthy of creatures. I- I did not realize that my actions in the past would harm you so, and brother, I want us to be as close as we were before all of this happened. Please don't shut yourself away, nothing will be gained by it. If you earn their trust, my friends will see you not only as their equal, but as a friend."

Loki seemed to ponder this a moment, then looked into his brother's blue eyes and nodded.

Beaming, Thor pulled his brother to his feet. "Come brother, friend Rogers has said that the Feast of Thanks is ready!"

The table reminded both Loki and Thor of a feast back home. In the middle was a large cooked bird, and around it were dishes filled with foods of all sorts of colors or textures. Loki could not help but feel his appetite returning tenfold at the huge meal, as his stomach rumbled.

"Come, brother." Thor remarked, pulling out a chair and sitting in the one next to him. The other Avengers had taken their seats and had begun to dish out the food when Rogers seemed to pause.

"Does something ail thee, friend Rogers?" Thor inquired, looking up at the Captain.

"I was just thinking, maybe we should say a prayer of thanks or...something before we eat?" Steve muttered and then looked at his plate embarrassed, while Tony rolled his eyes at him.

"A fine idea, Captain!" Thor boomed, "I shall go first. I am grateful for the chance to save a world that I love. I am very thankful that my brother is alive and sharing a meal again with and my friends."

"I am thankful for friends who accept me for who I am, even with...the Other Guy, and to have a home where I am always welcome." Bruce jumped in next.

"I'm thankful for Natasha." Clint said simply, then bit into a piece of turkey.

"I'm thankful for Clint, and like Bruce said, a home where I don't have to stand on pretense, but only be myself." Natasha added.

Tony stood up, "Well, for starters, I'm thankful that I'm rich." This earned a chorus of chiding Tony! "And I'm grateful for a team that can get along so well and I can count on."

Steve went next, "I am thankful that I am alive in this era and to have met all of you. I am also grateful for being able to lead such a fine team of people."

"For a minute there I thought you'd say you're grateful for all the things you didn't have in the old days," Tony joked between sips of wine.

"That too," laughed Steve. "Loki, you're last."

The Trickster seemed far away, and it took a moment for him to respond. "I-I am grateful to be alive. I am thankful for Thor, who has never loosed his brotherly feelings towards me. And..." there was a stagnant moment, "I am thankful that you allow me to stay here and show me what humans are capable of doing, no matter how primitive it is."

"That's as modest as he's gonna get." Tony put in. "Okay, enough with the schmaltzy stuff, let's eat!"

In a matter of minutes, Loki's plate was filled with turkey, mashed potatoes (whatever those were), greened beans, cranberries, and biscuits, among other things. All of these were delicious; a fare competitor with a festive meal on Asgard. Later, something called apple pie was served as a dessert. He found it sweet, yet tart; a delectable ending to their Feast of Thanks.

When the dishes had been scraped clean of food, the group found themselves arguing as to who was going to help with the dishes.

"I will." Loki announced. The group fell into silence and all gaped at him with shock.

TBC...

Chapter 6: Christmas Part 1

Summary:

Loki experiences Christmas (part 1)

Notes:

A/N: I'm sorry that it took so long to get this posted. I know it's past Christmas, but I wanted to write a chapter about Loki's experience with the holiday, so this will be in two parts.

Happy New Years to everyone!

Chapter Text

Loki was woken by a shake of his shoulder. He blearily opened his eyes and turned over in his bed to yell at whoever had woken him.

"Wake brother, the Man of Iron wishes us to see something downstairs." Thor boomed while peering over his bed.

The Trickster threw his covers over his head and ignored his brother, but Thor tugged them off with some exasperation, "Brother!"

Loki groaned but soon got up and dressed before following his sibling down to the living room. What greeted them made both the Asgardians men reel with some disbelief.

In the living room, in front of the floor to ceiling windows was a huge pine tree that reached the highest point in the room. On various surfaces, huge ribbons, bows, and apple sized glass spheres, and strings of lights. All of the Avengers seemed to be busy putting these decorations up onto the limbs of the tree, while Stark in his iron suit was hanging shiny red garland from the top of it. Around them loud and joyous music was being played by Stark's computer.

"What is this?" Thor asked, bemused.

"Grab a bulb and we'll explain," Bruce remarked kindly and pointed to the apple sized glass spheres.

Both brothers took a bulb and following the example of Bruce, placed the ornaments on two different branches.

"In some places here on earth, we celebrate something called Christmas. I suppose at first, back in your father's time it was a festival celebration of winter. The tree is a symbol for the spring to come." Bruce explained while hanging more decorations.

"But then, the holiday was associated with a religious prophet named Jesus. Christmas is the celebration of his birth." Steve added, "We give each other presents because presents were given to Him after his birth on the 25th of this month."

"We have something like this on Asgard," Thor mentioned, "Well, a celebration of the winter called the Yule."

It had taken an hour, but when the tree was finished, the entire group stepped back and admired the tree now decked with gold and red decorations.

"It looks nice," Natasha commented, pulling out her smart phone to take a photo. When she had finished, Natasha called out, "Alright, everyone in front of the tree for a picture!"

All of them crowded in front of it, Loki squeezed next to Thor and Natasha took a photo with her phone again.

If you'll allow me, Ms. Romanov, I will gladly take a picture for you. JARVIS pipped in.

"When did you get a camera insta- you know what, nevermind. I don't think I want to know." Tony groused.

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The month wore on, and the two brothers saw the mortals buzzing with activity. Every morning when they went downstairs to the kitchen, found that there were more presents piled underneath the tree. Thor and Loki were still contemplating what to get the others for Christmas, especially for one another.

One day, Thor found Loki staring out of the window of the library.

"Loki? Does something ail you?" Thor asked.

"Mmmm." Loki answered, not taking his glance away from the snow falling outside. Finally, he spoke. "Thor, do you miss Mother?"

The thunderer nodded, "Of course I do, brother."

"But you can go back to Asgard if you want to see her Thor, I don't have that luxury." Loki sighed.

"You will, Loki, in time." Thor intoned.

The trickster snorted, "Not if Odin has anything to say about it, and you know that."

"Odin wishes for you to atone for your...crimes. And you cannot deny that you have been treated well here."

"That's not the point!" Loki snapped, "I was lied to by Odin and Frigga about my heritage!"

"And yet," Thor retorted sharply, "you tried to take a planet that was not yours to rule out of spite and greed, and ego."

"That seems to ring a bell, does it not, Thor?"

There was silence, and then Thor said, "But I learned why this planet is the most important in the nine realms, as well as its people while exiled on it. It is the reason I fight along the others."

Another pregnant pause wafted through the room until Thor spoke. "We will speak of this later. For now, the Man of America wishes us to join him to watch a film called "It's a Wonderful Life."

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A day later, Thor took Tony aside after breakfast after Loki had retreated back to his library.

"Man of Iron, I wish to return Asgard for a short trip. I will be back before the sunset."

"You're not going to take Prince Crazy with you?" Tony asked with a slight sound of trepidation in his voice.

"Do not speak of my brother so." Thor commented sharply, "No, I cannot take Loki back to Asgard."

"Okay big guy, we'll take care of the Trickster." Tony conceded.

"Thank you son of Stark. I wanted to ask..." Thor paused, "If I might bring my mother from Asgard. I believe that Loki misses her."

The inventor's expression lightened, "Of course. God knows I have the room."

Thor chuckled, "Please do not tell my brother where I have gone, I wish it to be a surprise for Christmas. And do try to be polite to my mother. I have heard from Natasha of your...amorous nature."

Tony stood stock still for a moment trying to analyze that last sentence before bursting into laughter, "Those days are long behind me thanks to Pepper. Don't worry I''ll behave in front of your mother, and so will the others."

The thunderer smiled and went outside onto Stark's launchpad and called out to the heavens, 'Hemdall, open the Bi-Frost!"

End Part 1

Chapter 7: Christmas part 2

Summary:

Thor returns to Asgard, and Loki has a discussion with Bruce.

Notes:

A/N: I know you all have been patiently waiting for this chapter. I'm sorry to say that my Christmas chapter is not done yet and there will have to be a third installment. Thank you for the kudos!

Chapter Text

When Thor stepped from the vortex into the observatory, Hemdall nodded his head in greeting. "Welcome home, Prince Thor. Your mother awaits your arrival in the courtyards."

"Thank you, Hemdall."

The thunderer decided to speak to Frigga before doing so with his father. After being greeted by his comrades, Thor strode to the royal courtyards.

His mother turned to and embraced him when he reached the outdoor gardens and embraced him as soon as they crossed to meet.

"Hello Mother, I have missed you." He said warmly

"And I you, Thor." She returned with a smile, intertwining her arm with his as they began to walk together through the grounds. "I take it that life on Midgard is suiting you as well as Loki? I hope that he is not causing...disquiet."

Thor shook his head, "He is behaving himself, mother. The mortals would put him in his place if were not. But they are treating him as one of them. " The thunderer continued, "Loki and I share bunk beds."

Frigga paused, "Bunked beds? You've not share one since you both were of toddling age."

"I believe it was so that I could look after him, and perhaps to enrage Loki. It annoys him, but he tolerates it." There was another silence between them and then he smiled, "The mortals are celebrating their version of the Yule; they call it 'Christmas'. I was wondering if you'd like to join us.'

Frigga allowed her lips to curl upwards pleasantly, "Now I know from experience that is not the only reason you wish me to visit Midgard."

The beam on his face faltered, "You have not spoken to Loki since his sentencing, and then only briefly. I believe...that he misses you."

Elegant eyebrows rose, "He told you this?"

Thor nodded, "It took me aback as well. His ego may still be intact, but he still longs for the solace of family. I did not tell him that I have returned to Asgard."

The queen of Asgard seemed to contemplate this for a moment, then squeezed her son's arm tighter.

"Come, let us speak with your father. I do not have any royal obligations for the next week, so perhaps we can persuade him. Meanwhile, tell me of your time on Earth."
Still walking arm and arm, Thor told his mother about the task Stark had assigned them, and of the telescope he surprised Loki with.

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On Earth, Loki and Bruce were playing their fourth game of chess in a matter of hours. It had only taken Bruce one game for his opponent to learn the tactics of the game. The huge paneled windows revealed a snow storm raging outside, as frost clung to the glass.

There had been some snippets of conversation, but it fell to the wayside for the most part as the two players concentrated on the game.

Bruce finally spoke as Loki captured his knight, "I am glad not to be out there in the cold today. I hate frigid temperatures, that's why I moved to more tropical places like South America and India."

The Asgardian moved another piece on the board, "Perhaps it is just as well as well that I am not outdoors as well. The cold doesn't affect me but..." Loki seemed to pause.

Bruce seemed to pause and looked over his glasses at the god, who seemed to be choosing his words. "Go on?"

"Should I touch snow or ice, my...true form will be revealed." Loki stated with visible unease.

"You said you were of Jotun origins, right? I take it that this," the scientist gestured to his form, "is not your natural...look."

Loki nodded, stood, and strode over to the window with his hands behind his back."Thor told you nothing of this?" When Bruce's reply came in the negative, Loki continued. "A seoir-a spell was placed upon me by Odin so that I would look as any Asgardian would. When I became older and began to learn magic, I was able to manage the upkeep of the form. In my Jotun form, my skin turns blue, and my eyes become red." While he said this, Loki placed his hand onto the glass, and reverted to his true self. "Truly, I think I'd frighten the populace, including the others in this tower should I regress to it."

Bruce snorted, "I very much doubt that, given that they have seen an angry Hulk. Blue skin, huh? I know two of Xavier's colleagues have blue fur." When Loki shot him a confused glance, he explained. "Charles Xavier has a school for mutants-people with abilities that are not exactly...human."

He stood so that he was face to face with the Asgardian. "You know Loki, we are monsters by circ*mstances. I became a monster from gamma rays, and you-well, you were taken from your own realm. But I chose to help people. I know it's not easy, but maybe you can let go of the lies you've been told and move forward with your-very long life. You have a brother and mother who love you, that's more than any of us have."

They were interrupted by the voice of JARVIS, "Sirs, Thor has returned with a guest and asks if you will come down to the living area."

"We'll be right there, Jarv." Bruce answered, and then looked at Loki. "I guess we'll finish our game later. I wonder if Thor brought Jane for Christmas."
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In the living room, four of the Avengers and the CEO of Stark Industries were looking rather dumbstruck at the woman that was arm and arm with Thor. Some of her long dark blond hair was in a plait while the rest flowed down her back. Her aquamarine dress was partially silk, and partially velvet and had elaborate patterns pressed on. It reminded Tony of something the celebrities would wear at an award show.

"Ladies, gentleman; may I introduce my mother Frigga, Queen of Asgard." Thor announced rather grandly

"Tony Stark, head of Stark Industries. Welcome to my home." Tony stated, stepping forward to shake hands with the queen who awkwardly took it. "And this is my girlfriend, Pepper Potts."

"M'am," the red-head sputtered clumsily, shaking her hand.

"Steve Rogers, M'am." the super soldier addressed her courteously, bowing slightly with respect. Beside him he heard Tony murmur "brown-noser."

Next Clint Barton and finally Natasha shook hands and introduced themselves.

"Well now, we're missing two of our merry gang. JARVIS? Where are Loki and Bruce?" Tony asked, noting with some amusem*nt that the queen jumped at the AI'S voice. "Don't worry, that's JARVIS or Just A Rather Very Intelligent System. He's my artificial intelligence butler."

"They're in the elevator now sir, they'll be on this level in a matter of moments." JARVIS replied smoothly.

Just as that sentence was spoken, the lift doors opened and both men entered the common room. When Loki looked up, he stopped dead. "Mother," he rasped.

"Loki," she responded, walking to him and holding his hands, "I have missed you, son."

He looked over her shoulder to Thor, who was grinning ear to ear. "And I have missed you, mother." He gestured to the physicist, "This is Bruce Banner."

"M'am," Bruce said, bowing low with respect.

"Okay, NOW that we're done with introduction, maybe we can have some dinner." Tony purposed.

"Tony!" Pepper reprimanded him with an equally scornful look that the others were giving him. He chuckled and said, "do you like pizza, your majesty?

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That night, while the brothers were in their respective beds, Loki had the light above his bed. Thor turned and had his pillow over his head, trying to block out the light. Finally he groaned, "Loki, what are you doing?"

"Thor," Loki answered, choosing to ignore the annoyed tone in his brother's voice, 'You know that Christmas is soon do you not?"

"Yes, what of it?"

"I was thinking, perhaps we ought to give a gift for mother."

Thor sat up and stood on his bed so that he was eye to eye with Loki, "What did you have in mind?"

Loki showed Thor the Starkpad and the thunderers eyes widened, "Do you think she'll like it?"

"Without a doubt, brother." Loki returned. "We'll discuss it with the others tomorrow, if you wish."

Thor nodded, "Very well brother, but if we are to begin to search in the marrow, we must get some sleep."

Loki nodded, turned off the light, and put aside the computer. "Goodnight brother."

"Goodnight, Loki." Thor responded. It was the first time Loki had wished him goodnight since they had arrived on Midgard. With a smile on his face that was hidden in the dark, Thor went to sleep.

TBC...

Chapter 8: Christmas part III

Summary:

The days leading up to Christmas.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Breakfast was a loud and happy affair, where the six Avengers, Pepper and the queen of Asgard sat around a ultra modern table that the table that Tony had designed.

Thor and Natasha were in the kitchen making the morning meal.

Frigga leaned over to Loki and whispered, "I did know that Thor was skilled at cooking."

"He told me that Ms. Foster taught him while he was exiled to Earth, m'am." Steve replied.

"Still a brown-noser." Tony muttered under his breath, and gained an scornful look from the Captain for it.

When breakfast was served, the members of the Tower talked among themselves.

"Lady Pepper, might I ask if you are busy today, or if you have a few hours free?" Thor asked politely between chews.

"I have a meeting later this afternoon, but not till 2pm." Pepper informed him.

"I was wondering if you might take Mother shopping today. I think she would enjoy a ride in a horseless carriage." Thor continued.

Loki looked up from his eggs to catch her reaction. A generous smile laced the queen's lips, "That sounds quite lovely, if it is not too much trouble, Lady Pepper."

The CEO of Stark Industries shook her head, "I've been meaning to go Christmas shopping anyway, I've just been too busy to do so."

"Good!" Thor exclaimed while pounding the fist on the table, making the dishes clatter. A moment later he had the decency to blush and mutter, "sorry."

The Queen of Asgard could only chuckle, "I have a feeling that you are trying to be rid of me for a few hours. It reminds me of when you both tried to keep me from finding out that Loki had cast a spell to make Sif's hair not only short, but jet black."

The Trickster just shrugged and sipped at his glass of juice. "I remember, she cried for days. She got over it after a while. Sif confided in me that she wanted to be the first female warrior and her hair would allow her to stand out."

"Doesn't make it right though," Clint muttered, eyeing him with disdain.

"I was only 150!" Loki huffed in defense.

"Anyway, getting back on topic!" Tony groused, "I can have Happy drive you. JARV, have Happy bring around the limo."

Will do, sir, The A.I. chirped.

"Mother, perhaps you should prepare to go." Loki said as he and Bruce began to collect the empty plates.

The queen nodded, and excused herself along with Pepper.

Almost out of earshot, they heard her say to the CEO, "I did not know Loki washed dishes."

There was a sigh of relief when JARVIS announced that Frigga and Pepper had left the tower, the remaining members of the house sighed with relief.

"Okay Loki, so what's this thing you wanted to talk to us about?" Steve spoke first.

"Have you heard of Norwigen Forest cat?" There were several nods, and Loki continued. "Mother has never had a small creature to care for on Asgard other than them. You perhaps have heard the legends in the old stories. I feel she would feel lonely while Thor and I are on Midgard."

"So you want to get your mother a cat, is that right?" Steve questioned him.

The Trickster nodded. "I thought we ought to ask your permission before bringing a small feline into the Tower."

"It's fine with me." Tony remarked with a casual indifference. The others also soon voiced their agreement.

Thor spoke up next. "I have some money left on the card you gave me, Son of Stark."

"Nevermind that. JARV, Where's the nearest shelter with Norwegian Forest cats?"

"Calculating sir," there was a pause and then the A.I. reported, "approximately ten miles due east, sir. It is called-"

"Yeah, yeah," Tony said impatiently, "just give us the address."

340 East 93rd street, sir. I will call to expect your arrival. Should I bring around the car?"

"Yeah." He turned to his other teammates, "Who wants to come along?"

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Nearly twenty minutes later, the two Asgardians, Steve, and Tony arrived at the shelter.

Thor noted that the across the street was a bookstore. A thought came to his mind but was suddenly was torn from his concentration by Stark.

"Coming, Thor?" Tony called over to him as the thunderer kept glancing over at the shop.

"Yes, I am coming."

As they entered the building, a mousey looking woman with co*ke bottle shaped glasses looked up at them from behind a counter.

"Hello, Mr. Stark isn't it?" She said, and glided out from behind it, "Can I shake your hands?" She spoke rapidly and shook each of their hands before any of them could speak. "I just wanted to thank you for saving New York two years ago. You saved my sister."

"Glad to be of help, m'am." Steve replied gently, with a charismatic smile.

"Now, what can I help you with today?" She inquired while clapping her hands together.

"We are looking for Norwegian Forest Cat. I would like one for my mother."

She glanced at Thor and beamed, "We have several ladies and gentleman of that breed." She opened the door behind her and gestured them into another room.

There were several cats of various breeds and color, but none really caught their attention. The lady pointed out several of what they were looking for, but either seemed to aloof or uninterested in interacting with them.

Finally they saw an sandy colored adult with a white tuft on its torso. The cat that looked up with a glance of curiosity and hope with amber eyes. The lady opened the door of a glass partitioned room and allowed them to enter.

"She's about two years old, newly arrived to the shelter. She was a stray that was caught and brought here. She's had shots and all. The only thing is she doesn't have a name yet."

They bend and pet its back, scratching behind its ears and under its neck.

"These small creatures are quite affectionate, are they not brother?" Loki remarked, as he too bent to pet her. Then the cat began to purr.

"I think this one is ill, it is making an odd noise!" Thor exclaimed, all the while stumbling back with a little confusion.

"It's called 'purring', Thor. It's a way a cat shows contentment." Steve answered patiently.

"She would be a fine gift for mother, would she not, Thor?" Loki asked while still scratching the cat's ears.

Thor gathered the creature in his arms, and asked the lady, "May we take her?"

"There's an adoption application that you have to fill out, but I don't think it'll be a problem. If you'll follow me to the reception room, we'll get them filled out. "

While they were walking past each cat's cage, one with black fur and green eyes glanced at Loki with a look of curiosity and interest, and which made him stop in his tracks.

The others noticed and the attendant said, "That's Silvester. He's about three years old. His owners gave him up because he was quarreling with their dog."

"May I?" Loki inquired, and with permission, entered the little room. The cat backed up with some trepidation, but when Loki held out his hand, the cat cautiously approached him. A few minutes passed, and the creature allowed Loki to scratch his ears.

It was a few moments before Thor called, "Come brother."

Loki scratched its head sadly one final time and followed his brother and the other Avengers.

When they reached the reception room, the lady attendant gave the two brothers a form for them to fill out, while Tony and Steve prompted them when there were question either of them didn't understand.

Meanwhile, when Loki was being instructed on how to care for the feline, Thor tapped on Tony's shoulder and pulled him aside.

"Could you keep my brother occupied a moment? I wish to traverse to the store of books yonder."

"Ah, so that's what you were looking at earlier." Tony said casually, "sure thing. What are you-?"

"It is a gift for Loki." The thunderer interrupted, "Jane took me to one whilst she shopped."

"Okay big guy. I'll keep an eye on your little bro. Thought it won't really be a problem with all the talking this lady is doing."

Thor clapped a huge hand on Tony's shoulder, "Thank you, son of Stark. You are a good man."

The billionaire chuckled softly, "Just don't let it get out."

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The afternoon of Christmas Eve after lunch, Thor said, "Mother, I wish to return to Asgard. I need to extend my Yule greetings to Father and my friends. I shall be back in a few hours, perhaps before the evening meal."

The Queen nodded with approval, "Of course, son. Please extend those greeting from me as well."

He smiled, raised his arm to summon Mjlonir, and soon was transformed back into his battle gear.

"Allow me to walk you?" His mother asked, looping her arm around his.

"I am returning to Asgard, my friends, I shall be back before the evening!"

Meanwhile Stark was on the phone and the conversation (or what they could hear of it) was a very interesting one.

"No M'am, this isn't a prank call. I am Tony Stark and I want to pay off all the layaways at your store!" Tony huffed with acrimony. "Check your caller I.D. I am calling from Stark Tower, 450 E 45th Street." There was a pause, and they all heard the woman on the receiver yell, Oh maw Gawd, it is him! "Could you tell me how much the layaway amount is?" Tony inquired patiently.

Meanwhile, Loki and Steve were playing chess in the sitting room and not really listening to the conversation the billionaire was having on the phone.

Finally Tony threw his hands up. "Congratulate me! I've paid off the layaway of 4399 Walmarts and Clubs, and it only cost me 1.3 million."

"What is this lay away he speaks of?" Loki asked Steven with furrowed eyebrows.

"It's when people pay off things the cost of what they want in small incriminates. Mostly, because they can't afford to buy it outright." Tony explained, "Mostly, parents put toys for their kids on layaway 'til Christmas. When I paid off the store's layaway total, it allows them to get the gifts and keep some money in their pocket."

"And why would you do that?"

"Because it's a nice thing to do. Most families can only afford the essentials, and Christmas makes it harder for them. Mothers and fathers work extra shifts to buy gifts and things for the holidays." Steve inserted, "I remember, it was the same back it my day too."

"I see," Loki muttered thoughtfully.

While Tony announced he was going on some errands, Loki returned to their room, he made his way up to the steps to his own bed. He did not understand why Stark seemed so happy to throw away his money to poor people so willingly. The cat both he and Thor had chosen for their mother climbed up and laid against his side and began to purr. Loki petted her absentmindedly, still thinking. It was not as though there wasn't poverty on Asgard, but took it as an equal balance, as if there were rich there would certainly be poor. But seeing the children Stark had helped that day at the store had opened a door long shut in his heart.

Thor had given him back the card after their sojourn into the pet shelter without thinking, and he turned it in his fingers.

"JARVIS?" He called out to the ceiling.

"At your service sir." The A.I. chirped.

"Can you tell me how much money is left on this card Stark gave me-us?"

"One minute sir," a pause, and then, "Two thousand, four hundred twenty dollars, and thirty one cents, sir." JARVIS announced. him back the card after their sojourn into the pet shelter without thinking, and he turned it in his fingers.

"JARVIS?" He called out to the ceiling.

"At your service sir." The A.I. chirped.

"Can you tell me how much money is left on this card Stark gave me-us?"

"One minute sir," a pause, and then, "Two thousand, four hundred twenty dollars, and thirty one cents, sir." JARVIS announced.

"Can I-give money to that store Stark and I went to eight weeks ago?" He tried to remember its name, "that Super Target? Can I pay of the Lay-Aways like Stark did?"

"Of course, sir."

Loki smiled internally.

On Christmas Eve night, he and the Avengers were watching the news when the newscaster began a story that made them all perk up their ears with interest.

"The Christmas spirit was in full swing today when someone phoned in an paid over two thousand dollars in lay-aways at Super Target on East River Plaza, on East 117th today. 50 layaways were paid in full by this generous person, who only identified himself as L.L. " Then the footage showed the happy faces of several shoppers. "We don't know who this person is," said one, but we are eternally grateful. I was laid off three months ago, and I wasn't able to pay for the presents I set aside for my kids."

Loki stretched and acted as though he was tired, "I wish to retire. Goodnight, Mother." He nodded to the others.

"I think we can safely say who was the Layaway Angel." Bruce chuckled.

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Thor returned well after dinner. In fact, he did not appear on Stark's landing pad until well after one am with his arms filled with goods slung over his shoulder. The security system allowed him in, and JARVIS pipped, "Welcome back, sir."

"Please be silent, machine," Thor hissed as he reached the Christmas tree, which was still lit. Thor bent, and placed several parcels underneath it along with the others that owned spaced around it. His task done, Thor smiled with pride and headed of to bed.

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The morning that followed was filled with the muted sense of excitement for the the Avengers and their two guests.

"Loki, wake! It is Christmas Morn."

The Trickster blearily opened his eyes.

"Merry Christmas, brother!" Thor said warmly. "It is what Stark has been saying." When he got a perplexed look from him. "We must dress, or we shall be late for the Fast Break. I cannot wait to give Mother her gift."

Loki had a feeling of happiness that bubbled through him as he dressed and went downstairs for the morning meal.

After this, Tony clapped his hands together, "Right, who's up for opening presents."

Most of the morning, and part of the afternoon were spent opening packages of every shape and size. Thor had gotten rare summer wine for Tony, throwing knives for Natasha, a rare plant for Bruce, a set of golden arrows for Clint, and huge bottle of mead for Steve, much to the super soldier's dismay.

Thor in the meantime, had torn open the present from Loki, which turned out to be a large framed image of the thunderer and himself standing together. "Thank you brother, I shall cherish it!" And pulled his brother into a bone crushing hug.

"Shall we give Mother ours, brother?" Loki asked Thor with one of his mischievous smile. Thor grinned too and politely excused himself. He called back, "Do not open my present until I return, Loki!"

Tony chuckled, while his mother looked slightly perplexed, but nonetheless amused. In five minutes time, Thor arrived with a large box tucked between his arms, which he laid upon his mother's lap. "It is from Loki and myself, mother."

Her eyes widened with delight as she lifted with care the cat that both Asgardian sons had chosen days before.

"Oh, she is lovely!" Frigga gasped while scratching the feline's sensitive ears. Tears sprung from her eyes. "She is quite beautiful. Thank you both!" With the cat still in her arms she got up, and kissed both on their cheeks. "Does this being have a name?" They shook her head. The queen seemed to think for a moment, "I think Astrid is perfect for one so lovely, is it not?." She said, while holding the cat close to her.

Thor bent down under the tree and placed the last gift from beneath it on Loki's lap. "This is from me, Loki."

The trickster tore aside the paper to reveal a black leather journal with his name in green, and embroidered with gold. "I had a spell cast so that it would only open if you took hold of it."

A look of delight sprung to his features. "Thank you Thor!" he whispered with a gratefulness the thunderer hadn't heard in a long time.

"Ah," Tony interrupted, there's actually one more gift for ya, Lokes. It's from all of us." He reached behind him and handed Loki the rather large box. Opening it, (for it had only a bow on it) Loki gasped with surprise as he found the black cat from the shelter within its depths.

"Silvester!" He cried with almost a childish delight. The cat jumped out and found a place on his shoulders.

"My, that cat has taken a shine to you already, my dear." Frigga chuckled.

Now Loki could not help but beam. "Thank you everyone. This indeed has been a Merry Christmas." And Loki felt his heart grow warmer in the presence of those who cared for him.

TBC...

Notes:

Whew! I am sorry it took so long to finish this part of the story. I promise I will try to post more promptly in the future. I have changed the schedule so that this fic is posted on Thor's day (Thursday), so see you then!

Chapter 9: Loki is Sick

Summary:

Loki gets sick, and the Avengers have to deal with it.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Loki woke with his throat ablaze and his head loaded down with cotton. With bleary eyes, he looked up at the clock which read twenty minutes past noon. He groaned, threw back the covers, then stepped heavily out of bed to the bathroom for a shower. When he was dressed, Loki drearily thought of going back to bed, but decided that he didn't want Thor or the others to know that anything was wrong.

He leaned against the elevator as he entered it, "Kitc-" he rasped, then broke into a cough.

I'm sorry, sir. I didn't quite catch that, level please?

"Kitchen!" Loki groused, while clutching his head, where a headache began to blossom.

When the doors slid open, he was greeted by Bruce, Steve, Thor and Tony, who had turned when they saw him.

"Good Morning, or rather good afternoon, Loki." Steve greeted him with kindness.

"It is unlike you to sleep in so late, brother," Thor added with concern as Loki made his way to the counter. Loki only shot him an annoyed glance.

"May I have glass of juice, Rogers?" Loki asked quietly, ignoring his brother.

"That kid must have given you a run for your money the other day when we went to visit the orphanage the other day." Tony commented behind his cup of coffee.

Loki just groaned quietly and finished his glass which he slammed onto the counter.

His brother drew nearer, and his eyebrows drew together as he placed a hand on Loki's forehead.

"You are burning with fever, Loki. Are you not feeling well?" Thor's voice boomed with concern.

Loki shoved away from his brother and turned his back.

"I am fine, Thor!" The trickster croaked, but then dropped his head into his hand. His legs suddenly too tired to carry his weight. He stumbled forward, only to be caught by Thor.

Bruce stepped next to the pair, "I think I should check you over in the infirmary. I don't think that it's anything serious, but we should confirm it."

The thunderer nodded, and swept his little brother into his arms, all the while Loki squirmed and shouted, "I am not a child, Thor! Put me down, I can walk!"

"You are ill, brother. I shan't put you down when you are obviously are took weak to even stand. "

Head aching even more, Loki grew silent in his protest as they reached the elevator.

Thor was told by the physicist to wait outside the examination room, and had taken to pacing the floor, occasionally looking through the large clear window at his sickly brother.

Thor felt a clap on his shoulder and turned to see the other Avengers behind him.

"He'll be alright, big guy." Tony reassured him with his trademark smile and a between a sip of what appeared to be alcohol. "Probably just a cold or something. By the way, I would have though tall, dark and tricky would be immune to mere mortal diseases."

Thor looked crestfallen, "Tis the bracelet on his wrist. It suppresses both his magic, and his god-like physiology. I haven't seen him this ill in years. I should have noticed that he was suffering sooner." Thor trailed off.

About after ten minutes and a thorough examination by Bruce, followed by his brother who was looking more miserable. The younger god's nose was slightly crimson and his eyes were puffy with congestion. His cheeks and eyes were flushed with fever. Behind Thor, Clint winced, and Tony clapped a hand over his own mouth in hopes of not catching any of the germs now gallivanting around the hallway.

"He's alright, " Bruce said, putting up his hands slightly, "just a bad cold. Evidently, I wouldn't go near Loki unless you've got a good immune system. I've given him some cough syrup to fight it off." He addressed Thor next, "Can you take your brother back to your rooms, Thor?"

Thor nodded and swept his brother's arm around his shoulder for support while sluggishly making their way to the elevator.

"Jarvis," the billionaire called, "make sure the infirmary hall and the elevator are sanitized when they reach their rooms." He subconsciously wiped his hand on the seam of his blue jeans, as the A.I. chirped Will do, sir.

Thor was patient as he saw that his brother got back into his pajamas and got back into bed, though it had clearly taken a toll on the trickster. Loki finally lost his patience as Thor sat on his bed, hoping that he would need something.

"I don't need to be looked after every second, Thor!" Loki hissed as he reached for a book. "Why don't you go and play with the other Avengers. I'm sure it'd be an apt time for all of you to talk about me behind my back."

Without even a farewell, Thor stood, and exited the sleeping quarters. Chin in his chest, the thunderer did not even deigning to look back at his brother as the doors slid shut.

He took the elevator down to the main living space where the others seemed to be watching television or talking among themselves. All of them turned when Thor entered the sitting room.

"Let me guess," Tony asserted, "Loki kicked you out of your rooms."

Thor didn't look up but nodded. "He seemed to think that we would speak ill of him in lieu of his presence."

Clint snorted, "Well it would, really." He was rewarded with a sharp smack on the arm from Natasha.

"We wouldn't do that," Steve interjected, "It's rude for one thing. And for another.." he paused and stirred the ice cubes in the glass he was holding, "it's not as though he isn't behaving himself or isn't trying to change." The soldier looked around, "Well you've all seen it, right?" The five others looked at each other dubiously but nodded in agreement.

"Don't worry Thor, just let Loki rest for a while." Bruce said, "I'll bring up some soup and check on him."

"If anything, I can set up another room for you, if you want." Tony interjected.

"No. I will stay and look after my brother." Thor asserted.

"Suit yourself, but I'm telling you that a cold is not pretty, and it's even worse for guys." Tony sniffed.
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A day had passed, and Loki did not seem to be getting any better. He groused and complained whenever Thor tried to bring him some books and snacks, Loki shouted that he was a pest and ordered him out of the room.

Thor finally lost his temper, "You wish me away, brother? Very well, I will leave if being here annoys you so. 'Tis a shame, I thought I had seen the brother I knew once more."

Loki opened his mouth to reply but Thor had stormed out, brushing Steve as he passed, and nearly knocking the tray out of the super solider's hands. Luckily, he righted it and looked up at the trickster. Loki looked paler than usual, his hair actually curly, rather than in the slicked back style.

"Bruce is helping Tony in the lab and asked me to bring this up for you. I take it you and Thor had an argument." Steve began, and placed the tray on his patient's lap. "You know, he is trying to look out for you. You're lucky to have a sibling, it's something that none of the rest of us can say we have."

"If you're quite done with your speech Rogers, may I have my lunch?" Loki quipped without looking up.

Steve just shook his head, "Fine. I'll be back later with some ice cream to soothe your throat. Oh, and Tony wanted you to see this movie. It's called Lilo and Stitch. Jarv, can you set up the television and start the movie?"

"I don't-" Loki began to spout, but it was too late, the TV came down from the ceiling and the movie began. Loki just leaned back and scratched Sylvester's ears.

The story was about a quirky but lonely little girl in a place called Hawaii who befriended a dangerous alien disguising itself as a canine. The mischievous alien reminded him of himself, complete with the hi-jinx that ensued. Loki couldn't help but think of the tricks he had played on Thor and his friends. He remember on one occasion casting a spell that made his brother's backside visible for the whole court to see during a ball, much to the chagrin of his mother.

Nearly halfway through the movie, Steve came in with the promised, which Loki quietly thanked him, though his attention was still on the screen.

When Steve returned to the sitting room, everyone seemed to be awaiting his report.

"He's fine. Just getting to the sad part of the movie." Steve reported.

"Oh really?" Tony pondered, "Hey J, get a feed of Loki and Thor's room, including audio."

"We're really going to do this? We're going to spy on Loki?" Steven objected, but the complaint fell on deaf ears.

They watched and listened as the audio played.

Our family's little now, and we don't have many toys, but if you want, you can be a part of it. You could be our baby, and we can teach you to be good.

Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. But if you want to leave, you can. I'll remember you though, I remember everyone who leaves."

The blue alien glanced at his storybook and spoke the words "L-l-lost." turning the small creature called out to the forest, "I'm lost."

Much to everyone's surprise, Loki began to sniffle. At first, Bruce thought it was only sinuses, until tears began to roll down the trickster's cheeks. "What have I done, Sylvester?" They heard Loki whisper hoarsely to his pet.

The Avengers (except for Thor) all glanced at the screen with their mouths half open, not a word was spoken between them for a few minutes.

"All be damned, the crazy son of a b-ch has a heart after all. And his hair makes him look like he could to be in a 90's heavy metal band or something." Clint muttered.

Bruce turned to Tony now, "You knew that would make him cry, that's why you suggested he watch this?" Bruce

The billionaire shrugged, "Nah. I figured it would be a good movie for him, I mean adoption of a blue alien into a family." He grinned at Thor, who looked a little bemused. "I think now would be a good time to go check on him, Thor."

The thunderer nodded and was quick to return to his ailing brother.
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Loki quickly wiped away the few remaining tears, paused the movie, then called out shakily, "Come in,"as he heard a knock at the door.

"Are you feeling any better, brother?" he heard the sotto voice of Thor ask while climbing the ladder and sitting atop the small landing.

The trickster nodded and put a hand to his forehead in an attempt to hide his face. Both were quiet for a moment.

"You're never at a loss for words, brother." Loki chided.

"Nor are you." Thor quipped back with a kind smile. A pregnant pause passed between them. Loki coughed wetly and pet his cat. "Thor," he finally pipped up, "I am sorry for what I said earlier. You always have had my back when we were growing up, even when the Warrior Three were making fun of me. You always took care of me when I was ill, even abandoning your royal duties, and made fath-Odin angry."

"It's because after all this time, you will never stop being my brother. As for the Warriors Three were not being good friends, Loki. I am proud of you for trying to improve since being here. " Thor praised. "Loki, have you not noticed, that the others seemed concerned when you fell ill?"

This time, Loki looked up with genuine surprise. Thor nodded and placed his arm around the younger brother's shoulder. "Bruce, Steven, and even the son of Stark. They are starting to see you as their friend."

"Stark too?" Loki snickered.

"He suggested this film. Speaking of which, shall we watch the end of the movie together?" Thor answered gently.

Together, they sat and watched the final third of the movie, smiling as the blue creature said, This is my family. I found them all on my own. They're little, and broken, but still good-yeah, still good.

The next few scenes showed his ordinary lives with the humans, including traded a rather large lollipop for a bottle. When the creature bounced around with a garment on his head an a crimson robe tied around it, Loki remarked, "That reminds me of when you were six and we both tried on our helmets, then you convinced me to play war with you. Mother told us to take them off before Odin saw us."

Thor laughed heartily and clapped a hand on Loki's shoulder, "I remember, you were yet young to play war, and fell over in your helmet!"

As the film finished, Thor stretched and stood to go, "Sleep now, Loki. I shall bring you some supper tonight, if you wish."

"Thor?" Loki coughed. When it subsided, he continued, "Will-you keep me company?"

The thunderer chuckled, "Of course, anything to make my little brother happy."
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The next morning, Loki awoke to find his head clear, and his coughing lessened by the terrible syrup the doctor had prescribed. Getting out of bed, Loki preformed his morning ablations, dressed, and went downstairs to the living area.

Most of the Avengers had gathered around for breakfast, which Natasha and Bruce were cooking at the stove. Steve looked like had returned from his morning run, and Clint was slowly drinking a glass of red liquid that puzzled him.

"Good morning, Loki." Steve greeted him politely while sipping at a bottle of water. The rest turned when they heard this declaration and several polite smiles were to be had on the faces of Thor's friends.

"Good morning, Loki. I see you're feeling better." Natasha commented.

"Quite, thank you." The trickster chirped, sitting next to Clint, who just nodded his head.

"Natasha and I are making bacon and eggs. Would you like some?" Bruce inquired.

"Yes please. Shall I go wake my brother?"

"If you would." Suggested Steve.

"We'll have to make double of everything the way that guy eats," grumbled Clint.

Loki just snickered. Looking around he didn't see Stark.

Steve cut in, "Don't worry about Tony, he'll probably come up for breakfast, then go back down to his lab and fall asleep. He pulls all-nighters pretty much every night."
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In said lab, Tony sat tinkering with the mechanics of a robotic arm. The billionaire sneezed twice, and was quietly cursing to himself as he continued his work.

TBC...

Notes:

A/N: Inspiration for Lilo and Stitch movie came from: https://www.tumblr.com/search/Loki+%23ohana

and little Thor and Loki story idea came from: http://wikigiuli.deviantart.com/art/Loki-the-art-of-growing-309962264

Thanks to Kiomori for the review.

Chapter 10: Asgardian Master Chefs

Summary:

Loki and Thor have an adventure in cooking.

Notes:

Thanks for all the kudos and the comments.

Chapter Text

Loki woke at his usual time, and gravitated towards the kitchen for breakfast, receiving his normal greeting by the rest of the Avengers. Today's breakfast consisted of eggs that were scrambled, pieces of pork, and toasted bread.

While they scarfed down a large stack of pancakes that Steve made, Tony spoke up.

"I have another task for you both," He stated while nodding to Thor and Loki who were sitting next to one another.

Thor paused at this, "What do you wish of us, Man of Iron?"

The billionaire rolled his eyes, "First of all, you can actually call me Tony. Second of all, I want you two to make dinner tonight. We're all going out of town. Clint and Natasha are on assignment in Florida, Bruce and I are going to Chicago for a business meeting. Steve has paperwork with S.H.I.E.L.D. We all should be back by seven tonight. Let's see what if you can work together.

Loki nodded, "That should not be too difficult."

This time, Thor shifted uncomfortably, "I have only cooked eggs and meat when I cooked for Jane and Darcy when I was in New Mexico"

"By the way, you two are on dishes," Clint muttered, while getting up from the table.

When the Avengers left for their separate tasks, the Asgardians began to collect the dishes.

"Perhaps Stark has some cookery books." Thor began.

Loki snorted, "I doubt Stark can even cook water."

Actually sirs, Masters Banner and Rogers have recently purchased cookbooks to brush up on their cooking skills. Jarvis pipped up.

A drawer popped open and a cook book appeared.

"This is a cookery book?" Thor wondered aloud, picking it up and opening it to read the first few pages.

"Yes, Thor, it has words and everything." Loki sniffed.

"Shut up, Loki."

The brothers through the pages, bookmarking a salad before proceeding to the entrees.

"How about this one?" Thor pointed to a recipe that read Chicken A la King.

"Too simple," Loki snipped, and flipped more pages.

It had taken them less than ten minutes for them to read the entire recipe book cover to cover. One pointed out a recipe that was evidently shot down by the other, only gaining knowledge about kitchen measurements and very little else.

"Well, what do you suggest now, Loki? Because we've found nothing in this book." Thor asked tersely, while Loki casually sat on a bar stool.

"I suppose we can make Asgardian dishes, brother." Loki shrugged casually.

Thor wheeled around, "And how, pray tell, do we do that? We don't exactly have the same types of foodstuffs as we do at home."

"It's the same thing, Thor." Loki rolled his eyes, "Pork, chicken, fruits and vegetables and the like. Unlike Stark, more food than just "takeout" is at hand in this realm. JARVIS, where is the nearest market?"

Four blocks east sir, at 59th Columbus Street.

Loki nodded, "Shall we go, Thor?" He began to head to the elevators with Thor close behind him.

Without another word, they descended downstairs to the lobby and the awaiting world outside.
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When they arrived at their destination, both Asgardians looked rather in awe of the sheer size of the building with it's sleek design not unlike that of Stark Tower. It's many windows gleamed in the early morning sunlight.

"I thought this was going to be some small shop. Mortals are so industrious!" Thor laughed. "We may get lost."

"There are such things as maps, Thor." quipped Loki.

Entering the multi-level shopping center, they were consumed by the sight of shoppers and prettily laden store windows with extravagant items. Thor was so engrossed and bemused by the odd level of to be had, that he scarcely heard Loki hiss, "Thor!" which soon brought him back to reality. "We must go that way." Loki pointed to the left.

The traversed the wide but crowded paths, stopping occasionally to glance at something that caught their eye in a window, until the brothers found themselves at the market that they had been searching for.

Thor shifted uneasily as they entered the market, some looking up from their shopping at him with recognition.

"So..." When Loki gravitated towards the vegetables, "What exactly are we making for supper?"

"Meat soup with bread." Loki replied simply and went back to examining a long white vegetable.

"That's all? Is that not...meager by Stark's standards?"

A ghost of a grin formed on Loki's lips, "Not if we make it, Thor."

After negotiating the vegetables, the pair then decided after a short debate, to put both chicken AND pork in the soup for good measure. Next were the spices, which Loki had more knowledge of than his brother as he had researched, and so picked them out, followed by the bread flours.

In little time, the basket had been filled both with essential ingredients, and some things that intrigued either one of them that they wished to actually try.

When they stepped into the check-out line, the cashier, who was a dark haired twenty something man gaped and fervently thanked them for shopping at the store, which made Loki roll his eyes.

Bags in hand, Loki commented, "I have a venture on the fourth floor."

Thor groaned, but followed Loki into the elevator (neither were brave enough to traverse the traveling stairs with such heavy bags) to a place called a "La Maison du Chocolat."

"What do we seek here, Loki?"

"Dessert, obviously."

"Isn't that...cheating?" Thor asked hesitantly while the smell of the sweet confectioneries made him suddenly hungry. Both men stopped at a tray of thin pastries that were covered in chocolate.

"We do not have time to make such a thing with all we must do," Loki shrugged, then a devious smile came over his face again. "Besides, we don't HAVE to tell them from whence this delight came from."

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After returning home, the two brothers got to work starting dinner. Thor was tasked with making bread, which JARVIS explained step by step. It wasn't like the Midgardian bread, but rather a heavier Asgardian equivalent with honey and walnuts. Loki, meanwhile, worked on the honey glazed root vegetables that would go along with dinner, followed by the salad they had bookmarked earlier in the cookbook.

Together, they worked on the main course, washing and cutting vegetables, mixing the broth and stirring in ingredients as needed. When Thor accidentally cut too hard into a carrot which flew into Loki's cheek, the Trickster angrily ordered Thor out of the kitchen to set the table.

That done, Loki said, "You can place the dessert on a platter and be rid of the packaging."

By 6:30, the Asgardians were not only exhausted, but famished and could not wait to indulge in the dinner that they had worked so hard to make. Steve was the first to arrive home.

"Wow, that smells delicious, Loki, Thor. I'm famished." Steve commented.

Natasha and Clint arrived next. "I could smell that all the way from the 4th floor. I am looking forward to dinner." Natasha commented.

Tony and Bruce were the last to arrive right at seven. "What do the two Asgardian Master Chefs have for us in terms of dinner?" Tony asked clapping his hands together.

"Please have a seat everyone. The meal shall soon be served." Loki announced, while Thor set about placing the vegetables and bread onto the table. The men and women tucked into both, and after Thor and Loki joined them at the table, there were a few raised eyebrows and some eyes lit up with delight.

"This is delicious! I've never tasted bread this good before in my life." Bruce commented.

"God, if Pepper saw me eating vegetables, I think she would call the newspapers and tell them I was out of my mind."

"I've heard her threaten to take away your robot toys if you don't eat your vegetables, Tony. Really, are you that much of a child?" Natasha snorted.

The soup was served next, and again, the faces of the Avengers lit with appreciation and surprise at the delicious food.

'Okay, inquiring minds want to know. How the hell are you good at cooking?" Clint inquired, "I thought princes were waited on hand and foot."

" I gradually grew interested in how food was prepared and eventually the head chef of the kitchens began to teach me to cook."

"Didn't you have-I dunno...royal duties?" Steve looked up from his bowl.

"What royal duties? Thor was the first born, he bore all the responsibility for learning Asgard's inner workings and royal obligations. I was just the second." Loki spat bitterly.

"Whoa, sorry for asking, jeez!" Tony huffed and the meal lapsed into silence.

With the dinner plates put aside, Thor and Loki served the cake.

"Oh my god, this looks amazing!" Natasha said under her breath.

"No offense, but there's no way you made this." Tony asserted, "Jarv, where did this cake come from?"

I am not allowed to divulge such information,sir. came the reply.

"Do you want me to reformat you, Jarvis?"

There was a pause, then, It was purchased at Le Maison du Chocolat.

"Ha, you were right Tony." Clint laughed but took a bite of the cake all the same.

"Stupid machine!" Loki groused and crossed his arms.

"We only purchased it as we though there would be no time to prepare a dessert." Thor soothed.

"I think we can forgive you since it's the best chocolate maker in the city of New York." Bruce joked, and polished off his piece.

Tony clapped his hands together. "How about we all have a movie night as a reward for the Asgardian Duo's amazing dinner? We'll even let you pick."

"Oh good, I've been meaning to ask about this 'Indiana Jones' man. " Loki replied happily. With a dervish grin, he turned back to Clint. "By the way, it's your turn to do the dishes."

TBC...

Chapter 11: Jeopardy

Summary:

A "friendly" competition of a game show....

Notes:

A/N: Thanks so much for the reviews and subscribes, I greatly appreciate it. Also, forgive me for being late, I blame the black hole that it Tumblr for my laziness.
A/N 2: I love watching Jeopardy on TV and thought of this while out on a walk. It was fun to write!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Loki was in the library after dinner (which was served early due to a short battle with a minor villain), when he hear JARVIS call him.

"Mr. Laufeyson, Mister Stark would like everyone to gather in the media room."

"I'm busy," Loki replied, all the while turning another page in his book.

"I'm afraid that Mister Stark is insistent. The others have all assembled in the media room."

Loki snapped the book shut, "Fine. I shall be down momentarily."

The Trickster sauntered down into the media room and found the others in the theater seats with the large television already flickering garish commercials about motor vehicles onto the screen.

"And what, pray tell, are we going to be subjected to tonight? Please tell me we are not watching one of those ridiculous spy films again." Loki huffed.

"Nope, a quiz game show called Jeopardy." Tony replied calmly, "It's only half an hour, it won't kill you."

Loki glanced about and saw Clint with a raised eyebrow that was caustically challenging him. Loki responded by plunking himself in one of the theater chairs and crossing his arms over his shoulders.

The program began, and three contestants, one female and two males, were introduced. The first male contestant was introduced was a male college professor. He had hooded gray eyes that were like two pieces of steel. His fine, straight, yellow hair is worn in a style that reminds you of a flower's petals. He has an over-muscled build and his skin was dark, and had a low forehead. His wardrobe is flattering, and is mostly red and brown. The second was a woman. She had beady eyes the color of blueberries. Her fine, straight, white hair is worn in a style that reminds you of a pair of horns. She was short and had a feminine build. Her skin was china-white, and her wardrobe is unusual, with a lot of brown and black. The third contestant was a freelance writer. He had narrow brown eyes that were like two splotches of mud. His thick, wavy, ebony hair is shoulder-length and is worn in a precise, utilitarian style. He's got a small beard and a stylish mustache. He is very short and has a graceful build. His skin is tan. He has a low forehead and thin lips. His wardrobe was uncomplicated, with red and black clothes.

"My money's on the computer technician. " Tony said with a casual wave of his arm.

"Mine's on the lady college professor." Steve pipped

"Mine's on the free-lance writer." Bruce replied with a shrug, "You never know. Writers have a lot of research they do."

The prompter was an old man with large glasses that spoke behind a podium before the game began.

"These are the categories" The host announced, "Ballet, Science and Technology, World War Two, Literature, and finally Myths and Legends"

The college professor contestant went for Ballet at two hundred dollars.

"This term to means bent or bending of the knee or knees."

"Pilate," Natasha called out while drinking her beer.

The computer tech selected World War Two next.

"This Captain was the leader of the Howling Commandos and was responsible for the capture of over 100 German soldiers."

"Captain America!" Bruce, Tony, Natasha, and Thor all called out together, while said Captain grinned sheepishly.

"Duh!" Tony snorted with the roll of his eyes while elbowing Steven.

The writer chose Myths and Legends next. "This thundering god is the brother of a Trickster, and the uncle of Slephnir."

"I wonder who that could be." Loki snorted devilishly, "Who do you think it is, Thor?"

The next question was also from the Myths and Legends category, "This mythical creature grew two heads in the place of the one that was sliced off."

"Hydra," Steve said through gritted teeth. There were some looks of tension, which thankfully disappeared with the next clue in the Science and Technology category.

"This 'wheelin' scientist has revolutionized the Big Bang Theory, and has been on the show of a similar name."

"Stephen Hawking." Bruce called out then added, "I met him at a lecture 5 years ago, he's quite a nice guy."

Tony pretended to be hurt, "Whaaa? You met Hawking and didn't invite me?"

"It was before we all met, Tony." Bruce soothed.

The writer then called on the Literature category. "This arch nemesis of Sherlock Holmes was a known blackmailer that met his fate not by the detective, but by a woman."

There was silence from the contestants for a few seconds before Loki shouted, "Milverton, you morons! Norns even I can get that one!"

An awkward silence permeated around the room as Loki fumed at the screen.

"Gosh Loki for someone who did not want to join in, you seem to take this show very seriously." Clint feigned innocently which earned him a glare.

By the end of the first round Tony chuckled, "Just in case you weren't keeping count, I have 26 points Bruce has 24, Natasha has 20, Clint has 12, Loki has 22, and Thor has 4. Come on Point Break, are you even trying?"

"I am not familiar with these questions," Thor confessed sourly, then turned for the kitchen.
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In the second round the categories were much more varied and not many that the team knew. They included music, a category about the nose ear and throat, missing letter rhymes, National Parks, Books turned Movies, and Sense of Style.

The first question came from the Missing Letter Rhyme category, "This means to take a plane, or to put on the boxing gloves."

"Fight or Flight," Bruce answered with a shrug, "Heaven knows that I've done enough of that in my life."

After this was a clue from the nose ear and throat category, "This can beat to it's own rhythm in your inner ear,"

"Ear Drum!" Almost all of them called out.

"Is it suppose to be this easy?" complained Loki.

Next was a Sense of Style clue, "This company is known for it's fashion, and the "devil" seems to wear it in a movie."

"Prada." Natasha called out, "Had the pleasure of wearing that on a mission once."

"Yellowstone National Park was founded in 1872 by this president."

"Ulysses Grant!" Steve answered, "History was my favorite subject in school."

"Of course it was, Boy Scout." Tony quipped back.

"Mockingjay is the sequel in this series that takes place in a dystopian society."

"The Hunger Games," Natasha said.

"Didn't know that you were into teenage novels, Nat." Clint teased, and she gave him a cold glance, "I happen to like dystopian novels, alright?"

For the music category, they were presented with this clue:

"This song:

Living easy, living free
Season ticket on a one-way ride
Asking nothing, leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Don't need reason, don't need rhyme
Ain't nothing I'd rather do.."

"Highway to Hell." Tony shouted when the three contestants didn't get it right.

By the end of the second round, Tony had 56 points, Bruce had 50, Natahsa had 48, Steve had 40, Clint had 32, and Loki had 42.

The Final Jeopardy topic was Short Stories. As the program went to commercial, Tony said, "Okay, who wants to make a bet that they get the answer if it's right?"

"Five bucks," Steve affirmed, followed by Clint, Natasha and Thor.

"I'm not a betting man, but I'll wager 10 bucks, Tony." Bruce acknowledged.

"I'll wager 20 Stark," Loki boasted, "Seeing there's no way that you can get this correct."

"Done. We'll see about that, Lokes." Tony sniffed.

The question was finally revealed and all of them were keenly listening.

"This story, about the character of Fortuna by Edgar Allen Poe, ended with another being walled up."

There was a pregnant pause in the room as the 'thinking music' came on and all of the Avengers seemed to be struggling for the answer.

"I've heard of this, I just can't remember the name!" Tony groused.

"What is The Cask of Amontillado" Loki lobbed at the screen with a triumphant smirk. All of them looked at him with a look of shock that he got the answer so quickly, and horror that they would have to pay up.

When the answer was indeed revealed to be "Cask of Amontillado", a collective groan sprung from both Clint and Tony.

"How-? I suppose you've been doing a lot of reading these past few months Loki," Bruce commented even as he handed over his money, "Good job getting the answer. You stumped all of us."

Loki nodded, "I like Poe's tales of woe and darker nature. We shall have to play this again. It is rather satisfying to take your money on the final question. "

"Don't count on it, Rock of Ages." Tony growled, handing over his money.

"Well, I think I shall return to my reading." Loki chuckled and spun on heel to stride to the elevator.

Tbc...

Notes:

Next time: The Avengers are going on vacation! But where will they end up deciding to go?

Chapter 12: Pies

Summary:

The Avengers and Loki partake of pie shops.

Notes:

Oh my gosh, has it been a year since I've updated?! I'm so sorry, I forgot that this fic was here.

Chapter Text

Loki looked up from his book to see the formidable form of Thor in the doorway of his library. The lumbering demi-god who was wearing what his mortal friends called a 'pea-coat' in a maroon color.

'Out on another adventure with your little friends, Thor?" Loki sneered from over his novel.

Thor nodded, "From Steven wishes to partake of some home made pies. He tires, as do I, of Anthony's 'fast foods'."

"I am glad you invited me." Loki sniffed disdainfully, "Or is it just for your Avengers comrades?"

"As I recall, you don't like sweet foods, Loki." Thor snapped.

Loki waved his hand dramatically, dismissing him with wave of his hand, "Fine, leave me here. I'm sure I wouldn't want to interrupt your bonding time." Then, he returned to his novel.

Thor groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose, "Very well, I shall ask Steven if you may join us."

Grinning with triumph, Loki snapped the book shut.

Twenty minutes later, the trio found themselves in the bureau of Brooklyn. Steve regarded his hometown with nostalgia and perhaps a little melancholy.

"I grew up here. It's changed quite a bit in 70 years." Steve spoke up while keeping his eyes on the road.

"Tis quite…quaint, friend Steve." Thor commented with an affirming nod, but Loki only snorted.

They walked down the sidewalk for a short pace, until they looked up to see a sign that read "The Blue Plate". It was still rather chilly for the early days of March, and the three men couldn't wait to duck into a warm building.

They were greeted by the abundant smells of pies being cooked and the aroma of fresh coffee. There was a large display case that held variously dressed pies on elevated pie plates. Thor and Steven each ordered a coffee and Loki ordered Earl Grey Tea.

"I'd like to try a piece of apple pie." Steve said finally.

"As would I," Thor agreed.

"I would like chicken pot pie," Loki said.

The trio sat and soon were digging into their treats with vigor, their eyes lighting up.

"This is quite delicious!" The Thunderer exclaimed, between bites.

Steve nodded in agreement, then, after a sip of coffee, looked to the younger god.

"How is your pot pie, Loki?"

Loki, who had better tables manners than his older brother, finished his bite of food, put down his fork. "It is quite savory. The vegetables and chicken are quite an interesting combination. " Loki observed, and the super soldier chuckled lightly.

Thor and Steve each devoured three more pieces of pies before they departed from the little cafe.

It was near the afternoon when they returned to Stark Tower. Tony had greeted them in the kitchen, where he had come up from his lab for leftovers.

"Where have you guys been? I couldn't hear loud stomping footsteps or have the gym completely destroyed," Tony quipped with a plate of cold pizza in his hand.

"We've been out sampling pies in this fine city, friend Anthony!" Thor remarked cheerfully.

Tony's eyebrows rose, "Sounds like fun. I'm invited next time, right?"

Thor slapped him on the back, causing the inventor to reel forward a few inches. "Of course, Anthony. Forgive us, it was rude of us not to ask you before our journey. "

The following week, Loki was in his library when there was a knock at the door. Grumbling, he thought it was it brother and looked up from his novel.

"Come in, he groused. His eyebrows rose at the sight of not his brother, but of Bruce Banner, who was attempting to smile.

"I hope that I am not bothering you." He said, stepping in at a nod of Loki's head. "How is your book?" Bruce pointed to novel in his hand, which was Les Miserables.

"It is quit...interesting. Thank you for recommending it to me. I'm quite taken by the journey of Valjean, he's quite an interesting character. Inspector Javert is perhaps the most intriguing of them. I think it quite remarkable that such a man, and that of Valjean rose from the dregs of society to become respected men. The antagonism they have for one another is subtle but powerful."

Bruce nodded. "I've heard you all have gone to some pie shops, it's too bad I was in South America. How would you like to go somewhere with me? There's a spot where I like to go for quiet, and some edible food." He chuckled at the last words.

"Oh?" Loki's eyebrows rose with some curiosity. "And you've never spoken to the others of it?"

At this, Bruce chuckled again, "Well to be frank, I think Tony would laugh at me."

They drove again into the bureau of Brooklyn, and luckily it was only Thor and Steve and even Natasha that joined him, as Tony was busy in his lab and Pepper was in a meeting.

The five of them walked a block from where they parked, thanking their lucky stars that it it was a warm 65 degrees that day. The building was a large rectangle with a slight curve at the top, with two smaller buildings on either side of it, with long slender windows. Thor and Loki were awed by the huge obsidian panels decorated on either side by what looked like paintings like those found on old Grecian vases and gold reliefs of animals on the matching doors. Entering it, they were greeted with what seemed to be a exhibition on the American Civil War that reminded Steve of the display about the Howling Commandos at the Smithsonian Museum. On either side of the atrium were to curved corridors.

"This is an extraordinary," Loki said aloud, more to himself than to his companions. "It's not a grand as the library on Asgard, but it fairs close to it."

Bruce grinned, "Shall we go check out some books or should we eat first?"

The other four agreed that they wanted to find a book of their own interest (which caused Thor to groan at such a boring task) but followed his brother diligently through the book stacks. He grumbled as Loki looked at books, read from it, and put it back with an uninterested snort of displeasure. It soon dawned on the Thunderer that he was doing so just to irritate him. Finally, Thor found that Loki seemed interested in, eyebrows raised and flipping through pages, rapidly reading the text on each page.

They met the others at the cafe called Four and Twenty Blackbirds, and were rewarded with fresh pies. Loki had lemon chess, Thor and Steve both had salted caramel apple pie, Bruce had chocolate chess, and Natasha had Chocolate Julep. All the while, they spoke about the books they had chosen and hoped to read.

Loki enjoyed his pie and happily engaged in the conversation, feeling for the first time in a long while that he was accepted for his intellect by men who were very much of the same nature. At last, he felt as though he belonged in a world that was an equal balance of brawn and brain.

TBC...

Chapter 13: Tokyp: Part one

Summary:

Tony invites The Avengers and Loki to join him on a trip halfway across the world.

Notes:

A/N: I know it's been a long time, but here I am. This chapter was meant to be longer, but I decided that you guys deserve something for patiently waiting for an update. Thanks for sticking with me, and thank you for all the subscribes and reviews. This part will be split in three, parts one and two in Tokyo, and part three in Kobe and Kyoto.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Chapter 14:

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"No, I really do believe that you owe me...$500 dollars, Steve." Natasha insisted with her hand out.

"What is the point of taxing these worthless properties, anyway? " Loki groused aloud.

The three of them were playing Monopoly on a particularly cold and rainy March day in New York City. Loki had made snide remarks at first, now found the exchanging of money and property to both gain and lose wealth interesting. Steve had not played the game for quite some time, so he bought it in hopes of getting the others to play.

"No, you landed on my hotel, you have to pay the amount for the rent." She affirmed, still holding out her hand.

"Good news, everyone, " Tony called out from the stairs he was ascending, "we're going on vacation!"

There were several open mouths from the members of the Avengers.

Natasha turned in her seat with narrowed eyes, "What's the catch, Tony? Please tell me don't have to go to one of your conventions."

The inventor feigned innocence, "Wha-? What makes you think that?" There were more doubtful looks, and Tony finally raised his hands in defeat. "Alright, I do have a presentation...in Japan."

Clint's eyes lit up, as he jumped off the couch, "Sounds like a good deal to me. C'mon Nat, let's get packin'."

"Now just a minute, Clint." Steve intervened, turning to the industrialist, " Tony, what exactly are we going to be doing?"

Tony shrugged, "I do have an energy presentation, but I sorta...promised to visit the children's hospital. Might want to pack your suits." He confessed, while rubbing the back of his neck.

"Still not a bad deal," The archer remarked with a grin. "Have you seen the weather outside?" He thumbed at the window, as the city was covered in about two inches of rain and cold temps. "A little bit of sun would be great right about now, can't be any colder than here. "

"So...are you all coming?" Tony asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes!" Thor boomed, "Let us enjoy the sunshine!"

There were scurried looks of wonder, before they all scurried to get packed.
============================================================

The difference of the landing in Japan's weather in comparison to what it was in New York was almost similar. The cold gave way to a green landscape and slightly warmer temperatures.

When they stepped from Stark's jet and to the awaiting limo, Clint said, undoing the zipper of his jacket. "This is what kind of weather I totally needed."

It is quite nice, I wondered what it is outside right now." Bruce wondered aloud, taking off his shades.

Tony looked at his StarkWatch, "About 68 degrees."

"This reminds me of Asgard in early summer tide, doesn't it, brother?" Thor elbowed Loki, who was still getting his bearings of this new place.

"Indeed it does," Loki admitted with a shrug.

A dark haired man in a blue business suit with slicked back hair and co*ke bottle glasses, and a woman with a crimson suit that reminds Tony of Pepper stepped forward. Both bowed deeply, saying, "Konbanwa, welcome to Japan. We are greatly honored by your visit, Mr. Stark and Avengers. I am Uchida Masaki. This is my assistant Hayashi Kaori." The man spoke in practiced but clipped English.

"Wareware wa koeidesu." Loki and Thor each replied, earning looks of disbelief from the other Avengers. "We are blessed with All-Speak." Loki grinned, "Plus I might have brushed up on the language and culture during the flight."

They all piled into the car, enjoying the sight of pretty Sakura trees and blue skies outside the windows, Thor and Loki the most enthralled by their new setting.

"Hellava lot better than New York, huh?" Tony teased his friends, and leaned back with a scotch in his hand.

They drove for a while, while Tony explained what his plans were for the next couple of days. "I have three meetings here in Tokyo this week, and two next week in Kyoto and Kobe, so we can relax for the next few days. This coming Friday, I was thinking the children's hospital would be a good idea to visit. Agreed?"

There were nods of agreement, but it was Loki that spoke up, "And what am I suppose to do? I'm not exactly one of your happy go lucky hero if you remember?"

"You'll be a translator, since you're gifted with language. That'll be your job." Steve informed the younger god.

All of them except Tony, gaped as the limo neared an elegant sleek ultra-modern white hotel that had to be at least a hundred stories high, overlooking the bay.

When the sliding doors opened, they were greeted with a large lobby with high class furniture. At the desk, a slender woman with her hair pulled into a tight bun, wearing a navy blue uniform bowed, greeting them again in well practiced English. "Welcome to the Imperial hotel."

"Hello, eh...reservations for Tony Stark." The inventor said, wondering if he should speak Japanese or English.

The desk clerk checked her computer and then with a smile, said "Yes sir. There are seven rooms for you on the 33rd floor, numbers 230-237."

Tony thanked her (in Japanese), the Avengers followed up their bags that had been taken up by porters in the next elevator.

When they all disappeared into their chosen rooms, Loki could not help feel a slight twinge of loneliness after having shared a room with his brother. Loki snorted at this, as he had has his own separate chambers on Asgard for years. Sentiment was getting the best of him.

He forced down the emotion while taking in the expensive furniture of a sitting area that was a mixture of white furniture and gold facets. The white curtains had been opened, allowing a rather expansive view of the city lit beyond it.

A knock at the door jarred his thoughts as he called for whoever was on the other side to come in. Bruce entered with an apologetic smile. "Er...Thor wanted me to come check on you. "

"We have only been separated for minutes, perhaps. He needn't check on me as if I were a child." replied with a tone that was not entirely annoyed.

Bruce only shrugged, nodding to the window, "How do you like the view? Have to admit, never thought I'd get to visit Japan."

Now it was Loki's turn for the non-chalant response. "It is not unlike New York, I suppose." He pointed a finger out the window to a red and white tower. "What is that?"

Following the god's gaze, Bruce saw what he was pointing at, "That's Toyko Tower, it's modeled off the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Natasha has never been to that one, so she insists going up Tokyo Tower." He explained, with a chuckle.

-============--=============----------------

The next morning, when several of the Avengers had recovered from their jet lag (namely Nat and Clint), they attended a special tea ceremony by the company Tony was working with in the city.

Sitting on their feet proved to be challenging for the two gods, though more for Loki as he was now a human. Despite the outward appearance, he soon felt his feet falling asleep underneath him. Meanwhile, the tea-master was silently preparing the tea.

Noticing his discomfort, Thor whispered, "Are you as bored as I, brother?"

"I am not bored, I'm uncomfortable, Thor. You should know by now how to behave during ceremonies." Loki gritted between his teeth.

Grunting, Thor looked away at his friends, then unexpectedly pinched Loki on the foot. The younger brother gasped, while his head shot up to glare at Thor, who was grinning with mirth. They had done such things while on Asgard, earning admonishments from either, Odin, Frigga, or teachers. Natasha shot them a menacing look, Steve sighed, Bruce deftly looked as though nothing had happened as he sat meditating, and both Tony and Steve rolled their eyes. Barton on the other hand, snickered at the antics.

Not to be deterred, Loki likewise punched Thor's foot, which made the Thunderer yelp, and Loki to grin wickedly at him.

After the tea ceremony, Natasha continued to glared at the two brothers. "I thought Asgardian princes were taught better manners than that."

"Loki started it," Thor mumbled lamely, and that caused another eye-roll from various members of the Avengers.

Bruce interrupts by clearing his throat and inquires, "Well, should we have lunch? The tea was nice, but...I'm hungry."

"Aye!" Thor agrees loudly, slapping him on the back and causing the scientist to lurch forward.

At this, Tony added, "I know this great place not far from here. It'll be perfect, it's got a great tamura plate."

They arrived on a small side street, and Thor and Loki looked confused at the hole in the wall restaurant. "Is this the spot, friend Anthony?"

"Yup," The billionaire grinned, lifting the entrance flaps while the head chef greets them. All of them order some plates filled with soba noodles and glasses of sake. The meal arrived soon thereafter, and Loki watched as Tony separated the chopsticks, and pinched the noodles between them and brought it to his lips. And all of them slurp. Both Thor and Loki and glanced at one another, a little horrified at the sound.

Tony looked up from his meal and speaks between noodles, "Aren't you hungry?"

"We are princes, we don't...slurp." Loki said, a little disgusted.

"It's the custom here, gentleman, the louder you slurp, the more happy the head chef is." Natasha pointed out.

Understanding this, Loki took up the chopsticks and with ease (after eating numerous Chinese meals at Stark Tower) easily using them. Thor struggled with the chopsticks, finally having to give into using a fork instead. The more mortal of the group became more drunk with the seemingly endless supply of sake, and even Loki felt his head swimming and his coherent thoughts distance.

"Do you knooow brother, that I looove this land? 'Tis quite splendid. I would move here if I had a chance."

"An' move outta the Tower? Rude duude, that's not very hospittth-hosthiptalable." Tony slurred, also three quarters drunk.

"Uh...least we wouldn't lose our money betting on Jeopardy," Natasha remarked, almost in a whine.

And we'd stop slipping on bannannaa peels at night in the damn kitchen." Clint added, "You know what you are, Loki? You're a royal pain in the-"

"Okay, I think it's time we went back to the hotel for a nap." Steve appeased, helping his drunken teammates to the door.

Needless to say, their exploration of the city did not pick up till the next day.

TBC...

Notes:

Next Chapter: Tokyo part two: more sightseeing and an visit to a school.

Chapter 14: Tokyo Part 2 plus school!

Summary:

Loki and the Avengers explore more of Tokyo, and go to a school.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

By the next morning, with their hangovers a distant painful memory, the Avengers ventured out to explore Tokyo again. They began with a tour of Tokyo Tower before hours thanks to Tony who had a meeting that morning.

Thor glanced out The sight of the city was visible through the enormous glass window panes to the towering mountain in the distance. "What is that?"

"That is Mount Fuji, is it not? The sacred mountain of Japan, or one of them. It's name 'Fujiyama' roughly translated as 'sacred mountain' or 'mountain of immortality due to a myth." Loki rattled off, while the others gaped at him.

"Ah, you've been reading Japanese folklore haven't you?" Bruce chuckled.

"There was not much to do on the long flight, after brushing up on the language and culture," Loki grumbled.

Bruce smiled broadly with surprise and bemusem*nt. "Too bad it's not the climbing season, I've heard that the view is amazing."

"I could fly you to the top friend Bruce!" Thor boomed.

Bruce shook his head but still grinned, "Uh no thanks, I'd rather not freeze to death. And if the Other Guy sneezes, he might cause an avalanche." Everyone chuckled at this.

"Where should we go next?" Natasha asked with their laughter quieted, and Steve looked at his watch. "We're to meet Tony at Jinnan Elementary School at 1 pm, and Shōtō Junior High School is after that."

"How about we go upstairs to the aquarium? Bruce suggested with a shrug.

"The aquarium?" Clint echoed incredulously with a wave of his hand. "I've been there, it's not all that."

"Okay..." Steve pulled out a guidebook he had stuffed into his pocket and flipped through it.

Clint raised a caustic eyebrow, "A guidebook to Tokyo, Steve? Really?"

The Captain just shrugged and put the book back into his coat pocket.

"C'mon, let's get outta here and get something to eat. All this walking around has made me hungry and maybe we can figure out where to go next. I know the perfect place to eat." Clint declared.

The archer took them to Shibuya, and both Asgardians were in awe of the huge crosswalk and all those crossing it in turn. Around them were tall structures made of concrete and glass that shimmered in sunlight. Above some were huge billboards and signs, all in Japanese. On one was plastered a huge LCD Monitor that flashed with various consumable goods.

"You know, I heard somewhere that Tokyo has twice the population density of Manhattan. About 2500 people cross at the same time. " Natasha remarked, watching a as men and women of all walks of life as they crossed the street along with them.

"And it seems that everyone in this city is crossing at the moment," Loki snarked.

"No complaints, Loki. We're on vacation." Thor said, jabbing him with his elbow and beamed a smile at an older lady whom he accidentally brushed against in the crowd, and gaining stares from others. When the group had finally made it to the other side of the street, motor traffic picked up again as though it had never been slowed by pedestrians.

The seven of them walked down a side alley to a little hole-in-the- wall restaurant, it's owner greeting them in Japanese as the heroes entered it. The team partook of fresh sushi served by the owner himself, who praised them in his native language. At Steven's insistence, they drank tea instead of sake, since they would be appearing in front of school children later in the day.

"This sushi, I like it!" Thor announced loudly while pounding a fist on the table.

"Just wait till we get to Kobe, big fella. You're gonna love Kobe Beef." Clint remarked between chews.

With their meal finished, the Avengers and Loki wandered around and found themselves at Shibuya Mark City which was in essence, a large multi-level shopping mall.

"Really? What are we, teenagers?" Natasha muttered but went along with the rest into the sprawling center.

Ignoring the latest fashions (because they weren't young and wouldn't be caught dead in some of it) the team explored bookstores, and video game stores.

Bruce glanced at his watch, "We'd better get going to the school, guys."

When they arrived, Tony was waiting for them on the steps of toward the entrance in his Iron Man suit with his mask flipped up.

"Finally decided to get here?" Stark said with his arms across his chest. Then he thumbed his thumb towards the building. The principle wants to see us."

"Uh-oh, what have you done, Tony?" Clint joked while hiking up the steps to meet the billionaire.

Entering, they were greeted by (what most of the Avengers knew) looked like schools they had been in before.

Thor and Loki were more intrigued by their surroundings, looking at the drawings created by the second-grade class. "So these are the halls of learning that mortal children attend." Thor murmured.

"No school is nearly cool as Hogwarts." Tony quipped.

Two men approached and bowed to the group. The first was a clever looking gentleman has almond-shaped midnight black eyes. His silky, wavy, white hair was worn in a way that reminded Tony of Draco Malfoy. He was very tall and has an over muscled build. His skin was very pale and he had a strong chin. His wardrobe is severe, with a lot of blue. He looked more like a gym teacher than a school official. The man next to him was a curious man that had almond-shaped black eyes that are like two dark pits. His thick, straight, coffee-colored hair was very short and worn in an impractical style. He had a small beard. He was also very tall and had a boyish build. He had prominent cheekbones. His wardrobe was tight and attractive, with a mostly gray color scheme.

"We are honored by your visit. I am Yasutake Tomoyuki, principle. And this-" he gestured to the gentleman next to him is Kasuse Hiro, the vice principle."

The vice-principle stepped forward and shook their hand in turn rather vigorously, "It is such a great honor to have such esteemed people here! I hear of you everywhere on the news!"

They all attempted to look humbled and smile graciously, but shot a puzzled look at Loki. Catching it, Tony said in Japanese, "This is Laufeyson Lucas. He's our translator since a few of our group isn't fluent in Japanese."

The men seemed to buy the lie and both bowed and shook hand with the Trickster, the spoke again. "Shall we allow you to dress before you meet the children? They are still assembling in the auditorium." They looked at each other but nodded.

"The gentleman's changing room is that way-" Yasutake informed them pointing down one direction of the hallway, "And the ladies' changing room is the other direction."

Ten minutes later, the all reappeared at the entrance of each changing room. Natasha was dressed in her S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform (as was Clint) wearing a crop top beneath so as to not leave anything to the imagination. Thor had excused himself to go outside, where he called lighting from the crack of thunder, they all heard and reappeared in his full Asgardian regalia. Steve had changed into his Captain America costume, but Bruce just smiled sadly at them. "I'm afraid they'll be disappointed to see me and not the Other Guy." Even Loki had changed into a black suit and tie for the occasion.

The school's principle and vice-principle appeared again and led them up the stage steps of the auditorium. Loki felt a small tinge of nervousness as they stood in front of the entire student body. What if they recognized him as the person who had invaded New York? Some of them would have been old enough to understand what was happening in Manhattan.

Happily, his fears seemed unfounded as the children began to shout with delight at the sight of their heroes.

The principle walked up with the mic in hand and called out in Japanese, "Everyone, The Avengers have arrived. Let's give them a kind welcome!"

The entire assembly rose and bowed, and the Avenger and Loki did likewise in turn.

When they were seated in the chairs provided for them, Tony was given the mic. Much to their surprise, he began to speak in fluent Japanese. "Everyone, we're glad to be here! I am Tony Stark, Iron Man!" which caused an even louder uproar.

The microphone was then passed to Steve who calmly said with some prompting by Loki "I'm Captain America!" Nastaha introduced herself as Black Widow and Clint as Hawkeye only. Bruce calmly said that he was The Hulk but didn't want to introduce the other guy because he was scary and that brought about a quiet silence in the room. Thor introduced himself in a booming tone as the mighty Thor, prince of Asgard.

When it came to Loki's turn, he suddenly felt a tinge of panic soar through him. Should he say he was Thor's brother? Or should he just keep up the alias he had been given? Deciding on the latter, Loki cleared his throat and said "I am Lucas Laufeyson, interpreter for the Avengers." which garnered polite applause. He was relieved to sit back down, and the attention was drawn back to Yasutake.

The Principal spoke up. "Everyone, the Avengers will now take questions!"

The entire student body raised their hands and shouted. A girl with a pink bow and short dark hair stood up. "Hai!" in broken English she asked, "Hawkeye-san, are you married?"

Clint chuckled, and answered in Japanese responded, " Yes, I am married. I have two children of my own."

A collective ooh resounded within the entire student body. A taller boy, probably a fifth grader was picked next. In Japanese he prompted a question to Natasha next.

"Have you ever had to break someone's heart?"

When Loki finished translating into English, Natasha's eyebrows rose slightly at the question, the usually indiscernible agent was slightly taken aback by it. She paused for a moment, but then with a staged sad smile, replied "Yes I have broken a few heart before, maybe a few times. I never forget those people."

After an slightly awkward pause, another child (a little girl) asked Thor his height, which the Thunderer cheerifully responded that he was 6'6" (198 cm) by Earth standards.

A taller boy with glasses asked Tony if it was true that he graduated from high school at 15 and MIT at 19. The boy said that it inspired him to work hard, and even want to take advance classes later on in middle and high school. Tony replied with "Ganbarou!" (Good luck!)

A older fifth grader asked Captain America if he was happy living in the 21st century. Steve seemed to think about this for a moment before responding. "Um, I don't really miss the 1940's because I've learned so much about this time and have great friends."

Bruce was asked what made him turn into the Hulk, for which he responded when enemies hurt innocent people. The questions rolled on, most of which were mundane questions, and some even awkward.

Another young boy asked them each what they were doing if they were not Avengers.

Steve replied that he'd be an artist perhaps, Tony said that he'd still be CEO of Stark industries, Bruce remarked that he'd be a doctor, and Thor replied that he'd still be defending Asgard's realm as a Prince. Natasha and Clint were more hesitant with their answers. Finally, Natasha remarked that she'd maybe be a ballerina in Russia, and Clint said that he would still work in the circus.

The last question was fielded to Loki, who seemed to snap out of his bored stupor in a moment when asked if he was a member of the Avengers team by a willowy fifth grade girl. Smiling with a shark like grin, the other members of the Avengers were on the edge of their seats awaiting his answer.

"I am an unofficial Avengers team member. You could say that I'm...on trial for the team.
The others released their collective silent sighs at the answer.

When the principle finally said that the question time was over, he handed them a large sheet of blank paper and said, "Perhaps if we politely ask, the Avengers will honor us with autographs!"

They all happily signed. Bruce signed his name neatly, and then with an attempt at a sloppy signature signed "The Hulk." Loki simply signed his L. Laufeyson in elegant handwriting. At the questioning glance from Natasha, he just shrugged. This way they do not not if it is Lucas or Loki Laufeyson."

This finished, the principle and vice principle instructed the students to thank the Avengers for their visit. The whole auditorium called out "Arigato, Avengers-tachi!" (Thank you, Avengers!)

As soon as they had gotten dressed in their street clothes and had hopped into the limo, they collectively let out a breath. "God that was awkward Tony! Do us a favor and don't book any more school visits."

"Some of those questions were sort of insightful though, don't you think?" Steve asked.

"What, like what you shoe size was?" Clint muttered.

"I think this calls for dinner and some sake after all those grueling questions!" Tony announced, and Steve just shook his head because he knew where that would lead again.

TBC...

Notes:

Next Chapter: Kobe!

Chapter 15: Kobe

Summary:

second part of the Kobe leg.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The trip down the peninsula was an interesting experience for both Thor and Loki. The group had taken the bullet train to their next destination in a private car that Tony had acquired for the journey. The two Asgardians were surprised at the speed while zipping by rice fields and small towns, and were enchanted by it. Loki could not help but feel that aside from the structures' style, it reminded him of the small hamlets of Asgard. When they arrived, Loki as well as the others felt a slightly warmer climate of Southern Japan. Kobe seemed to the second prince of Asgard, very much like it's capital; filled with tall sleek buildings, a plethora of cars and people. But in a way, it also felt a little more relaxed and laid back.

Later in the evening, Clint took the out the main drag of Kobe to a small low lit restaurant for the promised Kobe beef that he had raved about their travels in the country.

"This beef, I like it!" Thor proclaimed loudly with a fist pounding thud on the table, making the dinnerware and the others jump slightly, and had other customers staring. Loki could not but agree. The meat was tender and buttery spiced only slightly alongside rice that made it a filling meal. Served with this was sake for all but Bruce and Loki

"Knew you would, buddy." Clint chuckled, "but try not to be so enthusiastic, okay?"

"So, what do we have planned?" Bruce asked between sips of his tea. The billionaire just shrugged, "We've only got two days here, and I have a meeting on one of them, so do whatever."

The morning after said conversation, it was Steve who recommended the Kobe Ropeway from his guidebook and which was agreed upon, but not before Clint made fun of his team-mate's by-the-book version of tourism.

They climbed into two different cable cars; Bruce, Loki, and Thor in one, and Steve, Tony, Clint and Natasha in the other. While they were drawn up the peak, Loki was slightly impressed by the mortals' ingenuity. He had seen their transportation and weaponry before, but this seemed a feat that he almost made them worthy of his admiration. Kobe soon disappeared into forested mountains. The sight of a waterfall that was cascading down a small crevice seemed to catch Bruce's attention. "That's Nunoboki Falls." He said, pointing it out, "there's a pathway that tourist follow to see it.

At the summit, they could loo k down and see the early fauna that had began to break out even in the cooler, thinner air. All of them except Thor and Steve were worn out by the jog, Loki felt most comfortable. The group followed the waterfall path to it's origin, following the sound of rushing water, crossing a bridge that looked as though its supports had been constructed with vines. The waterfall itself was small, but reached high into the the cliff side. Thor asked an old woman if she would take a picture in Japanese, which the lady happily agreed. The Avengers crowded together and grinned for the photo (all but Tony who complained that it was too cold.)

Another short hike took them to herb gardens. They climbed stone stairs up to the garden space, capped with beautiful blooming Cherry Blossoms. While the others felt the chill, and Loki pointed to a flower with a white petals that had a trumpet in its center between his fingers. "What is this?"

Bruce smile and knelt to examine it, "It's a Narcissus cyclamineus." At the Asgardian's confused glance, Bruce chuckled. "It's called a Narcissus; a nd daffodil that blooms in the spring. Actually all of these plants are spring flowers."

Loki knelled near a patch of round yellow weedy blooms grouped together on one plant, blowing in a gentle breeze that swept over them. "And this?"

"Cowslip, " Bruce answered promptly. He nodded and pointed to a long petaled flower with white tips and a pink bud, " And those are Fruit Sage."

Tony gave a staged yawn, "This is has been a fascinating botany lesson, but I'd like to get the hell out of this cold air. It's March, for God's Sake!" His arms were clung to his to chest to conserve body heat.

The other scientist sighed with somewhat of exasperation. "Fine, Tony." Then turning to Loki, "Do you want to see the other gardens?"

"It is why we traversed up here." Loki returned with some snarkness. Bruce continued, "Alright, we'll meet you in the tea room."

"I'll stay too," Steve added, "I'm not affected by the cold and this was my idea anyway." He shrugged. The three of them spent the better part of an hour exploring the rest of the herb gardens, followed by the roses that Loki could not help reminding him of his mother's own garden. Next was the glass house gardens filled with all sorts of tropical plants, and Loki pointed out bananas.

"When we were at war in the 1940's and the war before that, we were encouraged to grow our own fruits and vegetables." Steve remarked, eyeing a row of large cabbage.

Finally, slightly tired and hungry the trio trudged to the specialty restaurant, "Cafe Mint."

"I know you like this weather, but I'll be glad to get out of the cold too!" Bruce laughed

Loki ordered the specialty mint tea and stepped onto the deck, taking in the panoramic view of Kobe in its tiny spread at this height alongside the Avengers, who were chattering about this and that. He drowned it out to listen to Nunobiki falls distant rush and the birds call. Loki felt the happiness of being allowed to join in their adventures. Thor had asked him to join him on hunts, but was not a welcome sight with Sif and the Warriors Three. His presence so annoyed them and tired of the jabs at his skills, Loki soon quit joining them in favor of practicing his magic. He was at least welcomed, if not tentatively into Thor's circle of mortal shield warriors. It was a welcome change from the years of rejection and ridicule he had endured on Asgard.

"You look happy, brother." Thor said next to him, causing the second prince of Asgard to start slightly and nearly spill the cooling tea on him.

"Indeed I am," Loki began, gauging whether or not to be sarcastic, "Surely Odin must be pleased that I am not holed up in a cell deep under Stark's tower."

At this, Thor's face clouded over a little. "Loki, you are not-the entire idea of your...reform is that you have experiences in this realm." He placed a large hand on his brother's shoulder gently, "I am glad that you could travel with us on this expedition."

Loki snorted, "It's not as though we traversed the wild savannah of Africa in search of animals, Thor." The thunderer tilted his head and Loki just waved it away with his hand. Smiling slightly at his brother's sincerity in his expression, he said kindly, "I am glad I was able to travel with you too, brother."

TBC...

Next Chapter: Kyoto!

Notes:

I'm borrowing a family member's computer till I get mine back in two weeks. Again, sorry for the delay, and thank you for being patient. Thanks for the kudos. Also please forgive any jumbled words, this stupid computer keeps jumping lines for some reason.

See you next time!

Chapter 16: Kyoto (Part 1)

Summary:

Trip to Kyoto, part one.

Chapter Text

The final leg of the journey was a short train ride into the city of Kyoto. Like it's sister city, it had the laid back atmosphere of a small city, despite it being very large in size. A sleek black limousine was waiting for them at the station, and again were greeted by a smartly dressed businessman who introduced himself as Saito Ryuu. Loki equated it to perhaps the long and tedious meeting with dignitaries on Asgard.

"Saito-san is putting us up in the best traditional inn in Kyoto." Tony informed them cheerfully after their companion spoke.

Bruce's eyebrows rose, "You mean a Ryokan. Wow those are very...nice." Even Natasha and Clint shot surprised looks at each other.

It was Steve that spoke up, bowing his head with diffidence as it was custom in this country, "We are grateful for your hospitality, Mr. Saito."

There arrival in front of the inn made Natasha's eyebrows rise with a little bit, as it looked like a traditional Japanese home, only on a much grander scale with it's curving eaves and wood pillars in the front entrance. Even Loki was oddly impressed by the sprawling structured and wondered if this how the rich of the country liked to live.

Entering, they were greeted by an older couple, both wearing voluminous robes in contrasting colors, his were in black circles, and hers in red. The man was wrinkled with age, but still was very pleased to meet their new arrivals with a generous smiling with twinkling eyes. The woman was also wrinkled with advanced age, her silver hair pulled tightly back into a bun, and a motherly expression.

"Konnichiwa. Hajimemash*te, watashi wa Hohki Shiro desu." The old man bowed, then the woman who was evidently his wife did likewise. "Konnichiwa, watashi wa Hohki Michiru."

Mr. Saito spoke next in his native Japanese. "I am Ryuu Saito. This Is Mr. Stark and his friends. They are my guests for a few days. Please treat them well!"

The pair both bowed, "Please leave it to us!"

The businessman smoothly reminded Tony of their meeting the next day, then excused himself.

Tony and the others introduced themselves with a bow.

"Please come in." The old woman said with a polite tone. They all took off their shoes and exchanged them for slippers before they were shown to their rooms. Clint and Natasha shared a room, as did Steve and Thor, and Bruce and Loki, while Tony had a room all to himself.

As Mrs. Hohki pushed open one of the flimsy screened doors and Loki was slightly taken aback. The room looked like it was marked off with precisely measured squares. There was a low dark oak table in the center, and in the corner a media stand with a flat screen tv. To the right of this was a five-tier dresser.

"Where are the beds?" Loki inquired in Japanese, still a bit confused as to where they would be sleeping.

The old lady just smiled and bade them to follow her to a closet, which she opened to reveal two sets of bedding that she instructed that would roll out onto the floor.

"The floor?" The Trickster was a bit alarmed at this. He thought the Midgardians would be far past sleeping on the ground, or was this a trick by Stark?

Bruce reassured him with a nod, "It's a tradition that goes back a thousand years, plus most inns like this one. They're really comfortable, trust me. The bedding is rolled out each night to go to sleep, then rolled up and put in a closet to allow for more space in a small room."

"I see," Loki muttered, but looked non the less unhappy the prospect.

Mrs. Hohki then gestured to the table where she removed the tabletop, threw a blanket over it, and replaced the top again. She told them it was a kotatsu, a table with a heater underneath that would allow them to stay warm on colds nights like tonight. Loki's eyebrow rose, perhaps they aren't completely hopeless he thought.

Lastly, the lady slid open another thin paper door that had a view of a garden that Loki had never seen before. It had plants to be sure, and they could hear bird calls from the trees. However, in the middle was a large, partitioned space low to the ground filled with gravel and several boulders protruding from several spots, an smaller flat circular stones that surrounded it as part of a path.

At the quizzical look, Bruce said, "It's a Zen or rock garden. It's supposed to imitate nature. Some Japanese use it for meditation."

Loki's eyebrow rose to accompany the other one. This was a strange culture indeed! How would a gravel garden help with meditating?

Mrs. Hohki handed them each robes to change into and excused herself to let her guests do just that.

When they all reconvened for dinner, Loki noted that the others were wearing robes much like their hosts. All them were seated in around a long rectangular table; their laps covered by the blanket of a kotatsu. The table had been set out with small, flattened bowls with vegetables artistically decorating each one. In the middle was a red circular pot.

"'Bout time you guys got here, we're about to eat." Clint complained as he turned to look at them.

"Sorry," Bruce replied plaintively, before sitting next to Tony, "I had to explain the bedding to Loki." The Trickster nodded and took his place between Natasha and Thor.

"So did I." Steve remarked, "Or rather, Mr. Hohki did."

" 'Tis a interesting concept, to be sure," Thor boomed. "like camping within doors!"

"Pretty much," Tony rolled his eyes and sipped more sake. "Well, should we start?"

A nod of assent followed, while Mrs. Hohki repeated, " (Please dig in!"

Bruce interrupted by clapping his hands together and saying "Itadakimasu!"

The eyebrows of both Asgardians' rose, "What does that mean?" It was Thor who spoke up.

"It's a way to thank whoever made the meal." Bruce explained, "and 'gochiosama' is said at the end to express that we enjoyed that we thoroughly enjoyed it."

Following Bruce's example, the others clapped their hands together and said "itadakimasu!" before they finally partook of the meal.

The meal itself was delicious and unlike anything like had tasted on Asgard. The main meal was a soup made with meats, vegetables, and something called 'tofu' along with rice.

Tony pipped up midway through dinner, "Tomorrow, we have a meeting with the tech company CEO and his vice-president."

"We, Tony?" Natasha sent a scathing look towards the industrialist.

"Yup," came the nonchalant reply, "to a hanami or flower watching festival."

"Oh well, that I don't mind so much." Clint said with a snort.

"I will make you a bentou." Mrs. Hohki added politely.

"Bentou?" Loki looked up slightly puzzled and even Steve's eyebrows scrunched together at the unfamiliar term.

"It's a two tier box, " Clint explained, pantomiming it's length and width, "that holds small portions of food like what we have here, like rice and veggies. But sometimes it's presentation is different based on the season of the year." At the surprised glances, Clint looked a little abashed. "What? It's not the first time I've visited this country!"

Dinner soon was finished after this (and after saying 'gochiosama' to their host) all went to bed for the night.
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Bruce and Loki laid out their beds and slid open the paper screen to allow the air and the sounds of the evening seep through. Though it was a cold night, Loki enjoyed the sound of the breeze shuffling through tree branches, the sound of crickets and a distant fountain.

"It's nice to get away from the city and hear the nature just outside your door." Bruce commented quietly.

Loki only nodded, allowing those sounds to drift him off to sleep.

Early the next morning, Loki woke with a start, gasping he propped himself onto his elbows, a dream still fresh on his mind. His shallow breathing soon evened out as a shudder passed through his entire body. He pushed aside his sweat soaked bangs, and looking around, noted that Bruce had already stored away his bedding and gone out. Sounds from the garden led him to slide open the paper door and step onto the wood porch.

Bruce sat cross-legged, unaware of his presence for a moment, then nodded as a greeting when Loki sat down next to him. Mr. Hohki was sweeping the gravel with a straw broom, not seeming to notice the audience and continued with his work.

At Loki's puzzled glance, Bruce spoke up, "It's a form of meditation, a way to empty the mind of thoughts of the past or future. Even watching it is...relaxing."

After watching this for some time, Loki understood why it had relaxed the physicist. Mr. Hohki first sweep up the garden debris, followed by leveling them out with a push broom and finally making circular patterns with a wood rake. Loki felt his eyelids draw down and his head fell onto Bruce's shoulder as he fell asleep.

When he woke again, Loki felt the comfort of his bed, the covers over his shoulders. It was actually Thor that shook him awake.

"Loki, awaken. We need to depart soon." Thor said in a soft tone that he did not think the Thunder God capable of.

He rose, and scrubbed the side of his face, looking slightly confused.

"You fell asleep on friend Bruce's shoulder." Thor remarked with a grin. "He figured that you yet tired and needed more sleep."

Loki blushed slightly abashed at this.

"Hurry and dress brother, the festival will begin soon. Lady Natasha will be wearing something called a kimono!"

TBC...

Next Chapter: Kyoto part 2!

Chapter 17: Kyoto Part 2

Summary:

The final part of their trip in Japan concludes in Kyoto again.

Notes:

A/N: Yeah, it's been a long time coming you guys, but I wanted to finish this off as best I could.

Chapter Text

The group of men all waited in front of the inn; some (like Clint) was tugging with discomfort at their shirts. All dressed in long-sleeved button up collared shirt and trousers. Thor looking the most uncomfortable in the apparel. Loki himself was in a white collared shirt with a green vest over it. Tony was clad in a black suit and sunglasses, looking the least out of sorts in the formal wear. He impatiently glancing at his wrist watch, then to the door.

"Natasha, c'mon. We're going to be late!"

The front door slid open, and Natasha slipped out, wearing a kimono and tight bun, with a golden hairpin protruding from it, allowing a few auburn bangs to sweep into her face. At the gaping looks by the men, she sent them a withering glance. They all trekked down the sidewalks along with the throngs of people traveling towards the park. Around them, white blossoms drifted gently to the ground. Even with the din of people talking, Loki could filter them out to hear the breeze flitting through tree branches and birdsong. Putting his palm out, one of the Sakura blossoms landed in his hand.

"They're called Sakura or cherry blossoms. They bloom only for a short time each year. We actually have the same kind of festival in Washington D.C. where the same trees are planted. " Bruce explained as they walked.

Loki smiled, and gently slipped the tiny flower into his pocket.

They heard a deep male voice call out "Mister Stark!" and found the voice of Mr. Saito, who was motioning them his way. They were guided to the spot by a younger man who was clearly and inferior in the business to a large cobalt blue blanket already spread out under a sprawling cherry tree. Next to him were men of equal and younger age as well, inferiors and superiors no doubt. After introducing themselves, the Avengers and Loki were welcomed to sit.

All of them were absorbed into conversation, made easier with the constant flow of sake. Natasha easily glossed over her actually job description saying that she was the personal assistant of the actual CEO of Stark industries and Clint managed to spout that he worked as Stark's bodyguard, which made Loki snort. Eventually the question did trickle down to him and he struggled to find a suitable answer.

"I am a representative of the Avengers team." He answered calmly, and the conversation drifted off to calmer waters. Together, they dug into the huge bento box stuffed with, as it was explained with the help of the businessmen, ginger seasoned bite sized fried chicken (in fact, everything was bite sized), teriyaki beef, pickled vegetables, fried egg omelet in squares. After this was rice molded into a triangle called onigiri. Bruce said that they were usually had either a plum or seafood in the middle, and finally a rice cake with a sweet bean filling. After partaking in the meat, Loki decided to try the rice ball. The slightly salty rice gave way to a sweet tasting fruit that Clint told him was a plum. The rice cakes were also laden with a sweet red bean paste that was also flavorful to the palate.

Loki looked up at the falling petals for a while, thinking of Frigga's garden on Asgard. He jogged Thor's elbow, and his brother looked over to him slightly intoxicated.

"Thor, do you think mother would like a tree like this for her garden?" He asked, pointing up to the Sakura tree and Thor glanced up. "Indeed. It would be quite a wonderful addition." He grinned and patted him on the back.

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Later that night, they were invited to a dinner party that involved even more food, which Loki thought would be detrimental to his digestion given how much all of them had eaten at lunch, though it didn't bother Thor or the Captain. Of course, out of politeness, Tony agreed that they would attend. All of them dressed in suits while Natasha wore white blouse and black skirt. They were treated to a veritable feast, while Tony and Mr. Saito talked business.

When Loki looked up, two women shuffled in, wearing a kimono and with their faces covered with white makeup that Loki recognized at Geisha. In one of the women's hands was a stringed instrument with a square base which they set aside and padded over to the table. One was older than the other; the younger had a thick red ribbon bundling up her hair. Both bowed, the older introducing herself as Misaki, and the younger as a junior geisha, a maiko, called Keiko. They poured out sake for their guest, talking vivaciously towards Tony and the Japanese CEO. But as Loki was mostly observing the ladies keeping the conversation flowing, so he mostly kept quiet.

Not long after this, the two entertainers played a game with their guest that went as followed:

The two players count off and their hand with either a flat hand which was called paper, a fist called rock and a scissors. Any combination of scissors or rock would defeat his or her opponent. The loser would have to down a shot of sake. Each of them took a turn, though it was obvious to Loki that both Stark and Barton were trying to extend their turn by losing their game. Steve lost accidently and sheepishly drank his sake, as did both Thor Bruce. He and Natasha easily won, earning a gracious smile from the geisha.

After a very large business dinner, filled with expensive beef, a huge pile of rice and vegetables and both sake and tea, the two geisha rose from the table. The younger took up the square string instrument, which she began to play, while the other reached into her depth of her huge sleeve and produced a paper fan.

The maiko sat on her feet with the stringed guitar taken up into her hand with a triangular pick in another awaiting silent instruction. The older sat still some feet away, bowed so that her face was nearly to the floor, the gracefully rose. When the younger geisha began to play, her voice rang with a ballad sung clear and low. The older woman rose and with delicate gentle movements with the fan. Loki watching these beautiful intricate movements also listened to the words being sung.

Oh come here and see

The heads of rice have matured

And bow low with fruit

He wondered about the significance of rice plants had to do with this profession, and deeply admiring of their talents. When he found that the song had ended, and both geisha had bowed deeply, they returned to their place of honor at the table. The dinner party went on for another hour before all three quarters drunk, they all bade each other good night with a polite bow to sleep off their hangover.

When they had gone to bed, Loki lay under his covers and thought about this trip. He found this country exciting and pleasant filled with wonders he had never seen anywhere. A small part of him was glad that he had been allowed to join the Avengers, to be included without disdain or distrust. He was finally being accepted and cared for in a way that was unlike any treatment had on Asgard by Sif and the Warriors Three. This realm brought him peace and relative obscurity, as well as the enjoyment of living with Stark's makeshift team. He would strive from now on to not let them down. With the chirping of crickets and distant flowing fountain in his ears, Loki fell into a comfortable slumber.

TBC...

Chapter 18: April Fools Day

Summary:

Loki's Day is met with pranks galore.

Notes:

a/n: Loki's Day is actually another name for April Fools Day. I had a lot of fun coming up with how Loki would mess with the Avengers.
Sorry it took so long to post. Thanks for the reviews and watches.

Chapter Text

Winter faded away slowly in New York City. The metropolis still experienced odd yo-yoing of temperatures. But soon, the snow gave way to rainy days on the first day of April.

Tony was woken on that particular day at 5:34 am to the rambunctious opening score from Star Wars. Tony bolted upright with a yell, then glared at the ceiling.

"JARVIS!" Tony shouted, annoyed that his brief sleep had been so rudely interrupted.

I am sorry, sir. My system seems to have been hacked.

He grumbled and threw back the covers his sleep seemed to slip away. Grumbling as he took the elevator to the common kitchen. Still tired, he called for the A.I. to start the coffee maker while he fished in the cabinets for a mug. Wearily he poured the seeped coffee into his mug and began to open the sugar container near it-

"YAHH! DAMN IT!" Tony bellowed and took a step back as an army of ants began to scatter out of it and began to cover the counter, especially since the industrialist has accidently spilled some onto it. "JARVIS, GET AN EXTERMINATOR IN HERE!"

Done, Sir! Jarvis answered promptly.

Tony rubbed his temple and sighed, deciding that maybe he would get some work done and have a nap where it couldn't possibly be loud.

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Steve Rogers was an early riser by nature, partly because he was a soldier and partly because the serum left him in less need of sleep than the others in the Tower. The first day of April didn't go unnoticed by him, and he hoped that his day would be free of silly jokes and pranks. It wasn't that he didn't have a sense of humor (contrary to what Tony believed), but he hated for he or his friends to be humiliated or embarrassed by someone else.

He rose and put on tank top, and exercise shorts, as well as his phone for music before heading downstairs to the gym. Stepping into the elevator, he pressed '45' and waited as the doors slid shut. Steve looked around at the sleek doors and then to the floor. His eyes went to the floor that suddenly seemed to fall away so that he could see the elevator shaft under his feet. Using his soldier instinct, he moved around rapidly as pieces of the floor seemed to fall away. Only a few seconds as the last piece seemed to fall away, the doors slid open onto the floor and he jumped out in a dramatic fashion.

Breathing heavily, he sat on his haunches gathering his breath before looking up, "JARVIS, what was that?!"

I am not certain, Captain. I can tell you however, that you were in no danger.

"Not..." Was that a joke from Stark? He shook it off, thinking that the industrialist would play such a trick on him. He set up one of his punching bags, taped his hands and began to jab at it. After the fourth jab, the punching bag seemed to rip apart, sand spilling onto the cement floor. Steve groaned and inquired where a broom was so that he could clean up the mess. Sighing, he decided that maybe he'd have breakfast away from the tower today.

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Natasha Romanoff was not a woman that was easily frightened by anything, having been trained as an assassin from a young age. It was easy for her to conceal her emotion and even body language in almost all situations. There was one thing that she could not, could not stand: roaches. It seemed irrational, but it was a creature which harbor disgust to her very being. She'd rather flirt with the slimiest criminal than have to go down to the sewer system where rats and roaches dwelled in droves.

So it was no surprise that when she saw a silhouette of a rather large one (that seemed even more unlikely to find in New York City) of it on her lampshade. She opened her eyes and the sight made her bolt upright in her bed and reach for her gun in her side table and aimed it at the lamp, which shattered into a dozen pieces.

"Дерьмо!" She yelled as the roach skittered on the floor while Natasha aimed and fired at it, though it slowly marched towards her. She jumped from her bed and made a leap for her door, aiming one more time to hit the repulsive insect.

Thankfully, the door slid shut, leaving it in her room. Her room! Damn it! That disgusting roach would be crawling all over her possessions! She was going to have words with Stark and she stalked down her floor.

Ms. Romanov, Mr. Stark has already called an exterminator as ants were found in the sugar container designated for coffee.

"You'd think being so rich, he could keep bugs out of his tower!" she muttered with acrimony.

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Clint Barton loved days off. Not that he didn't enjoy his work, but long and tense missions were tiring after a while, and the rare day off was an oasis. Clint got up and looked at the clock that read 10:15 am. He decided to go downstairs for something to eat. Much to his delight, he found a box of doughnuts on the counter near the coffee maker.

"Hey, Thanks Tony!" He called out to the empty room, and took one into his hand which he instantly bit into with delight. That delight soon turned into disgust as he spat out the contents of the doughnut in the sink. "Oh my God, it's filled with mayonnaise!" Feeling slightly queasy now, he strolled to the fridge for a glass of ice and reached into it for some apple juice. Much to his annoyance, as soon as the beverage hit the ice, it fizzed and overflowed. Clint cursed and grumbled while cleaning up the slight mess.

Still miffed, the agent went to the couch and picked up the remote, hoping that a video game would calm him down and help him finally relax. The remote however, ceased to work and when the tv finally flickered on, it seemed to flash between channels. Even more annoyed, he threw down the remote.

"Stupid April Fools Day! Leave it to Tony to punk me." Clint grumbled, getting up.

"Friend Clint!" Thor boomed behind him, "What seems to be ailing you?"

Turning around, he saw the Thunderer looking perplexed at his teammate's ire.

"I think Tony's been pranking me! This is why I hate April Fools Day, damn! he complained while throwing up his hands.

"April Fool's Day?" Thor inquired.

So Clint explained that it was a day that was dedicated to playing pranks on people.

"That sounds like something Loki would enjoy." Thor admitted.

"You know April Fool's Day is called 'Loki's Day', right?" Bruce said from behind them, "Just for that reason."

Natasha stomped into the common room with a seething look on her face, "Where is Stark? I am going to throttle him!" She seethed.

"What did he do to you?" Clint asked innocently, but the glance she sent him made him suddenly sorry he had asked the question. "A roach, a big one!"

"Ah, that's why I heard shots in your room."

Steve re-appeared alongside them, "I don't mind jokes, but making the elevator floor look like it's going to crumble away is very..."

"Is a jerk move?" Clint asked when Steve wouldn't say what he really wanted to say.

He turned to Bruce, "Has he done anything to you?"

The scientist shook his head, "I think he was afraid of angering the Other Guy."

At that moment Pepper Pots stormed in, looking furious. "Where is Tony?!"

Steve asked meekly, "What did he do?"

The industrialist sooned appeared and was rewarded with several angry glances at his direction.

Tony put his hands up defensively, "Whoa, what the hell did I do? What are you all lookin' at me like that for?"

"Anthony Edward Stark, you can call of this joke right now!" Pepper yelled almost at the top of the lungs. "Honestly, you had to play the most annoying song for the last half hour? The entire staff on 35 levels are complaining!" She brought up the security footage of staff holding their ears as 'It's a Small World After All' played on a continuous loop.

"What the actual hell? I didn't do that! I was greeted with ants in the sugar bowl this morning!" Tony yelped.

All of them broke into an argument until the sound of laughter behind them. They all stopped to find Loki standing, holding a window for support, laughing so hard that he was nearly doubled over.

"Oh my, this has been such a pleasant event. I quite enjoyed playing pranks on my named day! And you all supposed it was Stark!" He laughed until his side ached and he finally managed to calm down. "Also, Thor, I would look down there if I were you." He pointed down from the window and they all looked down to street level. They could see Mjölnir on the sidewalk with a line (complete with a velvet rope for crowd direction) and one at a time were trying to lift the mythical hammer.

"I can easily end this," Thor muttered, raising a hand to call it, but it did not budge.

"I have put a spell on it so that you will not be able to reclaim it for 24 hours unless it is an emergency. Unfortunately, it means that none of these pathetic humans will be able to move it, either. I should have charged a fee for the effort, I could have made a fortune."

He still was laughing when he waltzed out of the room remarking, "I think I shall go down and encourage the rabble."

TBC...

Chapter 19: Doctor Who Marathon

Summary:

When Loki can't sleep one night, he finds Doctor Who....

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

On a rainy evening, Loki woke from a nightmare that he could not shake. Deciding he could not sleep anymore, he padded downstairs into the common room where Steve and Bruce were already sitting. The television flickered images of a black and white show on its screen. A white haired man dressed in an odd hat, black suit and stringy bow-tie stood next to a box that read "Police Box". This was far from the action oriented television shows that he sometimes got dragged down by Thor to watch.

What is this?" Loki inquired, pointing a finger at the television.

"It's called Doctor Who; it's about an alien from a made up planet who can travel through time and space." Bruce explained while only taking his gaze away from the TV for a moment. "Steve's never seen it, so I thought it'd be a good idea to watch from the very beginning before we get to the modern series. You're in luck, we're just watching the first episode."

"May I- may I join you?" Loki asked.

"Of course," Steve remarked, slightly puzzled that he should even have to ask. He gestured to the empty armchair.

Loki sat and watched alongside the other two. The young human looking girl spoke as around her the hum of the machine almost drowned out her words. In the middle of the room was a hexagonal console with many buttons. Square in the center was an equally odd shaped clear piece that went up and down when the machine 'took off'.

"I made up the name after the initials: Time And Relative Dimensions in Space." The girl said dreamily.

"So this police box is-" Loki began

"Yeah, bigger on the inside. That's kind of a running joke within this tv show." Bruce laughed. They didn't have a lot of budget at first, it really was shoe-string, but the show er-took off. The next episode is what cinched it. " He nodded to the set, "Just watch."

And indeed, they were soon introduced to a machine that Loki had never had seen the likes of before. The 'creature' had a shape as Steve described it, a "pepper shaker". From the top, protruded a mechanical 'eye sockets on each metal dome. Tapering towards the bottom were cylindrical protrusions. On either side of it were two limbs, ones which looked like the whisk in the kitchen and a bathroom tool, explained to him as a plunger.

"I have have only paralyzed your legs." The metallic voice rang from the creatures.

When Loki looked over, he could see the rather shocked face of Captain America.

Seeing this, Bruce leaned over and clapped a hand on his companion's shoulder. "You alright?"

The super-soldier cleared his throat and nodded. "Yes." he whispered, "Are they based on-?"

Bruce nodded, "Yes, they're based on the Nazis, since World War II was still fresh in the minds of the British people They're monsters who were humans, but because of radiation, they've retreated into these metal shells. They hate everything that is not like them."

This time, Steve spoke softly and with a little sadness. "Because it's true. It happened in my time and has remained important in history."

Bruce pointed to the man on the TV, "The Doctor tries to understand, to make peace, not always successfully, but he tries. I think that's the point."

Loki's eyebrows rose, "That is quite...profound."

The three of them soon found themselves gathering two or three times a week if schedules permitted to watch another episode. On one particular late evening, Tony had appeared from his workshop. Apparently he had decided to take a break to make some more coffee and rummage through the fridge for some quick leftovers. He halted in front of the T.V. while his Chinese food was heating up to look at the screen.

"What's that? Doctor Who? God, look at those old special effects."

"You're welcome to join us Tony; if you stop making fun of it long enough to watch." Steve returned with a little acrimony.

The engineer snorted, but plopped down in a leather armchair. "So what episode

is this?"

"The Tomb of the Cybermen." Bruce replied without looking away from the screen again.

Tony's scathing sarcasm continued at the Doctor and his companions as well as the expedition. He practically burst into laughter at the "Cybermen" when they appeared. "I mean, seriously, look at those outfits!" He managed between his laughter. He stood up and stretched, "Oh well, that was worth a laugh anyway. Time to get back to the lab."

Weeks later, it was Natasha that found herself drawn to the TV program as she stepped into the common room.

"Doctor Who? I have heard of it, but I've never seen an episode." She remarked.

"Please feel free to join us, Lady Natasha," Loki added politely gesturing to an empty chair.

"Which Doctor is this?" She asked as she started to focus on the television .

"The Third Doctor." Loki returned. "I have to admit that this old man is an improvement to the first." Loki remarked, gesturing to the T.V. where an old man with white curly hair was holding a fencing saber, "He actually fights." He is as you Midgardians tend to say...badass." At the rather astonished looks from the others, he merely shrugged. "'Tis a term I heard Barton express. I asked JARVIS what its meaning is, which from what I understand it is a rather...colorful metaphor. "

By the time they reached the fourth Doctor, Loki had secretly admitted that he enjoyed the evening forays into episodes of the show. He found that this Doctor was rather amusing, though the Doctor's fashion sense completely baffled him and he wondered how the actor never tripped over his scarf. One night, Bruce appeared wearing almost the same scarf (albeit slightly shorter) and offering candy called 'Jelly Babies" which turned out to be a rather chewy sweet confection. This turned into a ritual of sorts at every 'viewing party' that occurred; one or another of the Avengers would take to making or bringing a food. Natasha baked blue colored cupcakes with white frosting. When The Fifth Doctor first made his appearance, Clint joined in and jokingly handed out sticks of celery. For fun, when a Doctor complained about a food that he hated, it more than likely would appear during the next 'Doctor Who marathon', such as carrot juice that Loki facetiously served when the Sixth Doctor groused about it.

Bruce made a journey into the nearest Barnes and Noble to buy the Doctor Who movie featuring the Eighth Doctor. Clint rolled his eyes at the campy style (while Natasha explained that campy meant that it was ridiculous and silly and did not align itself with the tone of the old Doctor Who episodes). Though they all agreed that Paul McGann made an excellent Doctor.

Tony finally decided to join them when Steve told them that they'd reached the 'modern' series that had begun in 2005. During the 10th Doctor's episodes, Clint made 'Cassandra Lasagna', complete with fake eyes and lips as a joke that went over with hilarious effect among them. And Tony said during an episode with the new Cybermen, "See? That's how evil robots should look!" They also had drinking games in which a key phrase said by the Doctor (such as 'RUN!', 'TARDIS', the companion or enemy's name or ''Sonic Screwdriver' would illicit a drink of liquor that usually made Clint, Natasha and Tony drunk by the episode's end.

When it came time for the 10th Doctor to regenerate, Loki could not help but feel slightly sad at how it came about. The spiky haired man cried 'I could have done so much more!' and Loki felt that this was perhaps a struggle every person felt. Even the Avengers, who could not save every life, save buildings from crumbling, must have felt this way as well. Even he himself was subject to this on Asgard, feeling as though he had never done enough to garner the respect and attention he so desperately craved. His sadness soon gave way to laughter as the younger, floppy haired 11th Doctor appeared shouting and making an inventory of his new body. This Doctor was rather amusing, mixing his serious moments with hysterical ones, so it broke his heart slightly when this Doctor also regenerated, and said 'I will always remember when the Doctor was me.'

Loki enjoyed every single one of the Doctor Who episodes they had watched over the course of a few months. He finally had found something that Thor had not pulled him into. Loki could come downstairs to take in an episode and go to bed thinking about it and his dreams were less vicious. He drank, ate, and watched a television show that was just as meaningful to be made part of as being part of the Avengers would eventually come to mean in the future.

TBC...

Notes:

[i]A/N: Sorry it took so long to do this, I wanted to find a way to make this more interesting than 'they watched the 4th Doctor, then the 5th...ect. So, If you all like Doctor Who, who's your favorite Doctor? What's your favorite song or theme? Mine is 4th and 11th and 'I Am The Doctor'.[/i]

Chapter 20: Missing Scene: Loki gets a Job (or several)

Summary:

Beginning to fill in some of the gaps with missing scene chapters.
First missing scene: Loki gets jobs.

Chapter Text

Loki was greeted by a glaring Clint Barton on his first morning at the Tower as he entered the kitchen.

"Good morning, Loki." Steve said politely, trying to break the tension, "how'd you sleep?"

Ignoring the stares by the other Avengers he replied, "Very well, thank you, Captain."

His eyes caught sight of an manilla folder with no markings on the kitchen island.

Clint, seeing the puzzled expression on the Trickster's face, allowed himself a smug expression. "Oh yeah, S.H.I.E.L.D. has decided that you do menial labor for such time as they deem necessary." Turning his back and sipping his coffee he finished, "Enjoy!"

Still confused, Loki looked over to Natasha who was eating an apple. "What does he mean, 'menial labor'?"

She just nodded to the folder, "Just read the file."

He opened it, and after a moment, seemed to read in disgust. "You don't expect me to do these tasks? I am a prince!" Loki protested.

Natasha just gave him a hard look, "You will, or you'll find yourself in a nice insulated S.H.I.E.L.D. cell for an undetermined time.'

Grumbling, Loki muttered, slapping down the file. "Very well."

That afternoon, Loki appeared at his first job. His hair was slicked back and he wore black trousers and a long emerald green shirt. He was slated to label and process packages at a warehouse. He was met by a burly man who stood at least a head taller than him with a buzzed haircut.

"You the temp worker I was told would be workin' here?" the gruff man asked.

Loki, not at all intimidated by the man's height (after all he had had Jotun that were taller) said, "Yes. I am Loren Olsen."

"Fine, whatever. " the supervisor said with a wave of his hand, "You'll label these and stack them in the 'outgoing' section. Think you can handle that?"

Loki had thought of retorting, 'I shall surpass your other mortals in the task, pathic human' but decided against it. "Yes...er...sir."

He spent the better part of the day and evening sticking on labels and going back and forth with several in his arms to the appointed spot in the warehouse. By the end of his shift at 11:00, Loki could feel the muscles in his body straining and aching and he could not wait to soak them in a hot bath when he got home.

A heavy hand on his shoulder nearly made his knees buckle as the supervisor said, "You do good work. Look forward to workin' with ya again, Olsen."

'I'm certainly not' Loki muttered as he walked away.
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The second job Loki had was perhaps the worst, a garbage sorter at the local dump.

When Loki returned the night of his first shift, the Avengers were in the lounge drinking and watching a movie.

"I hope you all are enjoying yourselves while I was sifting through your Migardian rubbish!" Loki yelled over the dialogue of Star Wars: A New Hope.

They all turned around, and it was Natasha who noted his disheveled state. His hair was sticking up and he was covered in dirt and grime. His eyes were blazing with fury. It was then that they smelled what the Trickster God was stinking of.

"Damn Loki, you smell like crap!" Were the first words out of Tony's mouth. "Tell me you didn't go on the subway like that?!"

Loki looked dismissively at his clothes and then shook his head, "I did not. Though it would have been tempting for the mortals to get a whiff of all that they throw away."

Clint spoke up next, "Do us a favor and take a shower. Hell, take a couple of showers. You seriously need them."

"I intend to do so." Loki muttered.

When the Trickster stalked off to the elevators. Steve looked at his comrades. "I think we need to speak with Fury about re-assigning Loki's jobs."

There was a unanimous nod from the rest of them, then Natasha pulled out her phone.

Tony called out, "Jarv? Scrub the tower lobby, and the elevator, and...Loki's room while he's in the shower."

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After incessant calls from Tony to S.H.I.E.L.D. the Trickster was assigned to a new job...in a bodega. Loki wouldn't admit it, but this was perhaps the most pleasant job he undertook. The bodega stood several blocks from Avengers Tower. He had been three days a the job when Clint said, "Hey, wanna go check on Loki?" to which Thor and Bruce easily agreed.

They walked the six blocks to the bodega on 46th Street, which was a mixture of old and new buildings, a combination of old brick buildings and new glass ones. Small shops were strewn on each thoroughfare. On the corner was a large shop, which had cut flower bouquet and fresh fruit stands on the other side. Hawkeye, with his excellent eyesight, spotted Loki right away.

"There he is!" Clint said, pointing him out from across the street. Sure enough, Loki stood out on the pavement sweeping the sidewalk while in a green apron.

Crossing the street, they watched Loki look up, frowning. "What are you doing here? I need not any looking after." Loki groused through his teeth.

"Hey now, is that any way to talk to potential customers?" Clint asked, while picking up an apple.

Loki gritted his teeth but muttered, "Sorry, sir."

"That's better."

An short old woman wearing a pair of co*ke bottle glasses and hair in a tight bun on the top of her head appeared at the door.

"Loren? There are a few boxes that I need you to take from the basem*nt." Her accent was clearly one from the Bronx. Then she spotted the group in front of them. "Friends of yours?"

"I apologize, Mrs. Iosco." Loki gestured to them, "These are my-friends. The lumbering blond oaf is my brother."

After exchanging greetings, Loki turned back into the entryway and said, "Mrs. Iosco would perhaps appreciate your patronage. I must return to my work."

Two weeks later, it was Steve who turned up at the bodega, wearing a checkered shirt and leather jacket.

Loki looked up, but unlike before, he greeted Steve with courtesy. "Good afternoon, Captain. I suppose you have come to see if I am doing my job?"

Steve looked at him with just a little guilt. "It was my turn. How are you doing?" he stepped closer. "S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't taking your funds, are they?"

"They are, as reparations for..." Loki waved his hand, "well, you know. Though it will take several centuries of this menial labor to do so." He flashed a toothy grin. "Luckily I live at a certain tower and the owner also paying the majority of the rebuilding fund."

Steve nodded, "And you're being treated alright?" He nodded to the older lady behind the counter attending to a customer.

"Quite well. The lady is a widower with no family save for a few nephews. If I may be candid Captain, this is not an unpleasant job. There are times when there are many more customers than we can handle at a time. But patrons she knows often come here and buy items from her shop and she seems happy with my work."

Again Steve nodded, then smiled. "Well, it's lunchtime. I think I'll grab a sandwich and return to the tower."

"Allow me to make one for you, Captain. It'd be my honor." Loki returned in an actual tone of humbleness.

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Loki's final menial labor job was planting flowers and shrubs in Central Park. Much to his surprise, the Avengers showed up to help in the task.

"Figured we could help out the city, since we kinda helped destroy blocks of it." Steve chortled with a shovel in his hand. Tony appeared in his Iron Man suit, which no doubt not only raised questions with Loki, but with city workers as well.

They all split up, taking sections of the area to dig and plant. Stark used his repulsor blasters to make holes in the ground that Bruce filled with fauna or flora.

Loki went about digging with a smile on his face that seemed disconcerting to Clint and Natasha as the day worn on. At the end of the day, they gathered and glanced around to admire the park's new natural decorations.

Loki gestured for Thor to lift them into the sky, and together, the Asgardians got a glance of what Loki had been doing that day. The pattern would not be visible to anyone who walked by at ground level. Loki had arranged the flowers so that it resembled the legendary eight legged horse, Sleipnir in Black Pansies in a large design that would not miss from the air.

Thor and Loki glanced at one another before bursting into laughter and Thor shook his head at his brother's antics.

TBC...

Chapter 21: Missing Scene: What's Appendicitis

Summary:

One of the Avengers comes down with appendicitis, but what happens when Loki comes to the rescue?

Chapter Text

It was on a Friday afternoon when Loki first noticed that Stark seemed ill. The industrialist had come up from his workshop for lunch, and he noted that Tony looked more disheveled than normal, ghosting a hand to his lower left stomach, looking pale and haggard, as he sat himself at the table.

"Tony, you don't look well." Bruce looked up from his plate to him.

Stark just waved it away with a wave of his hand, "I'm fine Bruce. Just hit a snag with a design for SHIELD's new security operating system. Haven't really had time for food or a nap."

That seemed to be the end of the conversation, but at the end of the meal it was obvious that Stark hadn't eaten very much.

Grimacing, Tony rose and muttered, "Oh well, back to the grindstone."

When Stark had exited, Clint said, "Yep, something definitely wrong with him. No jabs, no sarcastic remarks at all from him during lunch."

"Are we not going to speak with him?" Thor inquired.

"You've lived with him for over a year, Thor. Do you really think that he'll admit to being sick?" Natasha replied with a shrug. "If he gets too sick, JARVIS will tell us, though Tony's got it rigged so that it's careful not to divulge too much." A few eyebrows rose at this information and she shrugged, "S.H.I.E.L.D. does work with Tony Stark. It's not like getting information is a one way street."

On another day, nearly two days later, Loki found himself practically alone in the tower. Stark had remained in his workshop. Thor was with Jane for the day, Natasha and Clint and Steve had been on a mission the last two days and would be getting back later, and Bruce was at a scientific conference about Gamma radiation research.

Loki was in the kitchen drinking a glass of juice when he heard the footfalls of Stark on the steps that lead to the engineer's personal lab. He was taken aback at how pallid and even more ill Stark looked now than he had three days prior. Sweat was causing a few strands of messy dark hair to stick to his forehead, and more sweat was making the t-shirt to stick in places.

"Norns, Stark, you look a sight!" Loki breathed.

"Nice to see you too, Lokes." Stark returned with less annoying vigor than normal.

"Do not call me that, Stark." He returned with a hiss, but drew in his breath when the inventor all but collapsed on a stool.

"Damn it all, Stark. What ails your puny mortal body?" Loki groused.

"Takes one to know one." The industrialist muttered, before half doubling over with a grunt of pain.

Loki went to his side, noting that Stark was gripping his lower stomach.

"By the Nines!" Loki said in a whisper. "JARVIS? What is wrong with Stark?"

"Sir has all the symptoms of appendicitis." The A.I. answered smoothly.

"And what exactly is that?" Looking from the ceiling to the stricken industrialist with some alarm, but keeping his voice level.

A pause and then the A.I. answered, "It is the inflammation and subsequent rupture of a tiny organ in the lower digestive track-"

"Alright, alright." Loki stopped JARVIS mid explanation, "He needs SHIELD or a healer."

"Mmmm...not a hospital...not sick. JARV is wrong. It's...just…." Tony protested, trying to stand. The billionaire swayed on his feet, nearly hitting the corner of a counter. Loki pulled him away in time, guiding the engineer to the ground, feeling the heat of a fever radiating from the ill man.

"JARVIS, call someone! Stark is in need of medical attention!" Loki ordered "With all do haste!"

Within moments, the A.I. spoke again. "Done sir. S.H.I.E.L.D. medical personnel will be on site in five minutes."

Loki strode to the freezer, pulled from it an ice pack which he rounded the corner with it, and placed it on Stark's forehead, then went to the couch for a pillow to place under the industrialist's head.

"C'mon Stark." Loki growled while sitting on his haunches next to him and ran a hand through his own hair, not knowing what further he could do.

Within minutes, a team of three men and a woman dressed in deep green garb appeared with a gurney and several pieces of medical equipment he could not name as he backed up to allow them to work. Oxygen was administered while the medical staff bounced off vitals. Loki shuddered, remembering the day when he had been badly injured by the beating Hulk gave him when he had invaded New York.

"Sir?" The lanky flaxen haired man shook him from the memory, "Would you like to come with Mr. Stark?"

"I-" he hesitated, wondering if that would be most prudent given his past with S.H.I.E.L.D. "Yes. I had better do so. Will the Avengers be informed as well?"

"They will." The shorter brunette haired woman answered without looking up from her patient. Stark was lifted into the gurney and Loki hesitantly followed, feeling as though he were going into a dragon's layer.

Nearly two hours had passed from the time Stark had been rushed behind the emergency room doors while he was informed that he'd have to stay in the waiting room for the time being. Loki read outdated magazines and wondered what was the use of such things. He finally magicked a book from his own library to fill the tedium. A third of the way through it, Loki heard the numerous footfalls on tile, announcing the arrival of his comrades and Pepper Potts. He stood, snapping the book shut and setting on the table. Loki noted the hunched shoulders and concerned expression on each.

"Tony?" Steve asked.

Loki's glance told them all. "JARVIS told me that he was stricken with...appendicitis? I think that is what the A.I.'s scan told me."

"That would correlate with his symptoms." Bruce agreed with a sigh. "I don't think that we could have gotten him to go to the hospital no matter how we tried to persuade him until he collapsed."

At that moment, a rather young looking doctor (one that Bruce probably guess was no older than 32) appeared in green scrubs and surgical gear, looking rather tired. He greeted them with a pleasant smile, shaking each of their hands in turn, introducing himself as Doctor Powers.

"Ms. Potts, do I have permission to divulge Mr. Stark's medical status?" She nodded and he continued, addressing them all now with a grim face after affirming the facts on the chart he held. "Mr. Stark had all the symptoms of appendicitis. We did a blood count and cat scan of his abdomen and found that his appendix had burst. Unfortunately that means that peritonitis is more than likely. The paramedics that brought Mr. Stark in said that Mr. Laufeyson called for help, then tried to bring down the fever with an ice pack. It was a smart move." Doctor Powers had shown them the A.I.'s footage of the moment of Stark's near drop to the ground, followed by Loki catching him and doing just as the doctor had described him doing for the billionaire.

Most of the astonished looks swung to Loki, who just shrugged. "We knew he was ill, and I knew it was bad when he nearly collapsed. What is peritonitis, by the by?"

Doctor Powers spoke again, "It's an infection of the intestines by bacteria after the appendix bursts. We have a nasogastric tube (a feeding tube through the nose, Bruce explained), fluids and antibiotics to fight it off." Of course with his condition, he'll have to stay in the hospital for a few days. We keep him under sedation for tonight, but we'll wean him off it tomorrow morning. We'll allow visitors then. For now, you all can go home. I'll go and check on my patient." With a nod, the doctor went through the admission doors and the Avengers went back to the tower.

Over the next two days, the Avengers took turns visiting Stark in the hospital. The last to do so was Loki. It was not that he was unconcerned, but rather that he was uncomfortable at the prospect of being on S.H.I.E.L.D.'S territory again. Still, he could not refuse as Tony had asked finally for him.

So that same day, the Trickster found himself standing in the doorway of the hospital room. Stark was surrounded various machines that again reminded him of his post Hulk beating. The billionaire looked pale, but seemed attentive when he walked into the door but looked better than the day he found the industrialist nearly collapsed.

Loki nodded to him, then strolled to the stricken man's bedside, shifting nervously (albeit ever so slightly). He cleared his throat, Loki held out a mug that had a male figure with a bandaged head and leg with an arm in a sling. On the bottom it read I do my own stunts.

Tony looked from it to Loki, slightly puzzled. Finally it was Loki who broke the silence, "Barton told me this is the type of gift Midgardians give to one who is the hospital."

The inventor was silent for a moment, and then burst into laughter, "I don't think you should take advice from Barton anymore." He said between laughs, while holding his side in pain. "But thank you. Actually this cup really suits me." Between a quiet moment the two men looked away and this time, it was Tony who spoke up. "I-uh" wanted to thank you for er...saving my life." Loki waved a hand as to swat away the words but Tony interrupted, "You threw me out a window a year back, but you came to my aid when I need help. I just er..."

"You're welcome Stark." Loki interjected, cutting off the awkward conversation. "Though you should not conceal your illness from team-mates that obviously worry about you."

"I know, I know, I got that lecture from Steve and Bruce and Natasha." Tony groused.

A nurse entered and regarded the Asgardian for a moment, looking him up and down, "I'm sorry, you'll have to leave now, I need to check Mister Stark's stitches."

Loki nodded, "Of course miss." He said smoothly, sauntering to the door to capture her attention with a pleasant smile and tossed a smug look back at Stark.

TBC...

Chapter 22: July 4th and the Captain's Birthday

Summary:

It's July 4th, and the team has a plan for Steve's birthday.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

"So..what's this surprise meeting about, Tony? I really had better things to do." Clint ask, while sitting in a backwards chair in the Avengers meeting room.

Natasha snorted, "Like watching 'Game of Thrones?" And the archer shot her a half-hearted glare.

"He's talking about Steve's birthday." Bruce added with a exasperated sigh. "It's on-"

"The fourth of July." Tony cut in, "We all know that."

Thor shook his head, "I did not."

"Anyway, what are we gonna do about his birthday? Or do we know if he had any plans?" Bruce added with some patience at his rather childish teammates.

Tony shook his head, "I'm betting that he thinks we'll be doing something for him, and of course-we will." A shark-like grin plastered his face. "I already have a plan."

Clint rolled his eyes. "Of course you do, Tony."

"I don't like the sound of that," Loki snarled while crossing his arms over his chest.

Tony rolled his eyes, "Thanks for the vote of confidence."
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The week leading up to July 4th and Steve's birthday was nothing less than a frenzy to all the other members of the Avengers. Tony was on the phone constantly, speaking about it to whomever was on the other end of the line, and even from those one sided conversations, they were still in the dark about Tony's plan. In the meantime, all of them had gone out separately to purchase gifts for the captain. Loki suddenly felt a rush of worry about what to get him as the others already had decided what their gifts would be. Finally, Loki confessed to Bruce while he was in the lab, "I know not what the Captain would like for his day of birth. I do not know what he is fond of, even after all this time."

Without answering him, the scientist called out to Tony's A.I. "Jarvis, where is the Captain?"

The computer answered smoothly, "Captain Rogers is currently in the common room drawing-"

"Thank you Jarvis." Bruce cut him off.

"A pleasure, Doctor Banner." The A.I. added with something akin to actual affection.

Bruce smiled and with a shrug said, "You can always try the direct approach."

"I shall try that, thank Doctor Banner." Loki nodded.

When he arrived in the common area, the Trickster noted the sketchbook in Steve's lap, the stubbed charcoals laid out neatly on the table.

"Good Afternoon, Captain Rogers. " he greeted the other man politely.

" 'Afternoon, Loki." Steve returned after looking up from his drawing.

Loki sat tentatively on the edge of the couch and after a pause said, "I did not know that you were gifted in drawing."

Steve looked a little abashed but said, "I'm not that gifted, but thank you. I've been drawing most of my..life. What about you?" He returned to his drawing, "have you ever drawn before?"

"I did when I was younger. But I got discouraged and...gave it up. "

Steve looked up from his drawing with raised eyebrows, "Why?"

Loki shifted slightly, "I...I do not know. Mother was doting and of course loved every drawing, Odin always seemed to busy or distracted to pay attention."

Steve looked up to Loki, "What about Thor?"

Loki looked away for a moment, then said quietly, "He wondered why I wasted my time doing something so sedentary instead of adventure and eventually….well. I wanted approval from Thor and his friends so I gave it up."

Steve went back to drawing, "It's a shame. I learned long ago that I can be a good man without changing who I am." He looked up, and then looked slightly embarrassed, "Sorry, I didn't mean to lecture you. I know, I was sickly as a child, so I didn't have many friends or play sports. I decided to work on something creative instead. In a way, I think everyone wants to be accepted, it's just natural instinct. " ,

Loki just waved it away. "It's alright. Perhaps I was trying too hard to impress Thor and his friends, only to lose myself when I did not and tried harder only to fail." He paused and then amended it with a curt nd of his head. "Thank you Captain. I know what I shall do."

The morning of the Fourth found them all in the kitchen just as Cap returned from his morning run. Natasha was making a huge pile of French Toast for breakfast, which the others eagerly awaited as they watched the morning news.

"Happy Birthday, Cap!" Chorused Loki and the other Avengers.

Steve looked slightly embarrassed, but nodded his head, "Thanks everyone. I greatly appreciate that." He replied, taking a seat at the island.

"French Toast, Steve?" Natasha asked, placing a plate stacked high as well as pancakes.

"Natasha's famous French Toast? Won't say no to that! Thanks!" And the assassin smiled graciously.

"So Cap, have anything planned for today?" Tony inquired, trying to look distracted by his StarkPhone.

"Well," Steve said hesitantly, today is July 4th, so I planned to go visit my comrades graves."

The group stilled, suddenly feeling sullen.

Thor finally spoke up, clapping Steve on the shoulder, " 'Tis a noble gesture indeed, friend Steven. But don't forget that today is also the day of celebration of your birth, a time to be happy and celebrate among friends." In a gentle tone that Loki did not think Thor capable of speaking to anyone.
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That evening on returning to the Tower, Stark's A.I. announced, "Captain Rogers, Mr. Stark would like you to be in uniform then meet the rest of the Avengers upstairs on the roof."

Steve's eyes shifted to the ceiling. "What has Tony and the others have in mind for me?" Steve muttered under his breath.

"I am not at liberty to say, Captain. But Sir has been alerted to your return. He has politely asked to move your person, if you please."

The Captain snorted, "Yeah, I'm sure he had a more colorful turn of phrase."

The A.I. seemed to answer with the same level of sarcasm. "Indeed, Captain Rogers."

Steve changed into his Captain America uniform and was in the elevator to the roof. When the doors swished open, the super soldier was genuinely surprised.

Red, white and blue paper lantern lights were strung across the whole of the roof. There was a loudspeaker was playing "In the Mood" There was a long table set with matching patriotic colors. Around him were huge framed movie posters of some of the movies he had seen before and during the war like Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and the Maltese Falcon. There was even a poster of Captain America copying the Uncle Sam poster with the words "Captain America wants YOU to join the Army!"

What surprised Steve the most was that his friends were dressed in the style of the 1940's that made him feel like had just stepped back to his own time. The men of the group were all dressed in suits (Bruce in blue, Loki and Thor in black and Clint in grey. and Tony was in a tan colored one that made the super soldier feel as though it was Howard Stark standing in front of him. Natasha was dressed in a crimson shirred dress with a v-neck. Next to Tony was Pepper, wearing a white sheer top dress. Next to Clint was a dark haired woman that Steve didn't recognize in navy blue peplum dress. They all turned as he stepped onto the roof terrace.

"Happy Birthday, Captain Rogers!" They all chanted.

He smiled graciously, "Thank you again, everyone!"

Clint called Steve over, and gestured to the lady next to him, "Steve, I'd like you to meet my wife, Laura. Laura, Steve Rogers, Captain America."

Steve blinked for a moment as he processed the information, but it was Mrs. Barton who broke the silence by gently elbowing her husband with a grin. "Nice to meet you, Steve." Then turning to Clint said, "See, told you no one would ever believe that I'm your wife. You owe me ten bucks."

The others gathered around each wishing him 'Happy Birthday" with a pat to his shoulder (and a kiss on the cheek in the case of Natasha.)

"Thank you everyone, this is a great surprise. I really appreciate it."

Pepper gestured to Bruce, "It was Bruce's idea actually, he wanted to make you feel like you were back home….a bit." The scientist adjusted his glasses and smiled sheepishly.

"Okay Cap, how about we cut the cake?" Tony asked, while Clint disappeared and reappeared with a cake on a cart. The cake was three tiers, the first was a deep blue fondant with white stars, and matching stars on sticks. On the next lower tiers were white with red stripes that seemed to follow the curve of the cake. On the bottom was a thin circle of blue fondant with tiny white stars. In the middle was a white fondant banner that had "Happy Birthday Captain!" attached at each in with a small blue star. They all sang 'Happy Birthday' while Steve blew out the nine candles on the top of it.

After their cake and ice cream (vanilla, which happened to be Steve's favorite), It was time for the presents. Clint presented him with a set of blue and red (of course). Natasha had given hone one of his own leather jackets from the 40's, just smiling knowingly when he asked her where she got it. Bruce shyly gave him a certificate that said that on behalf of himself and many New Yorkers, a donation was made to the widows and orphans fund of fallen soldiers. Thor presented him with a bottle of wine that was legened to be the sweetest and tastiest on Asgard. Tony had given him a StarkPod that not only had his favorite songs already loaded into it, but could also track his running each day. Pepper presented him with book filled with historical pictures from 1900 to 1945 in color.

Finally it was Loki's turn. He gingerly handed over the rectangular present, which Steve found was a sketchbook. Opening it, the first sketch was of the Captain himself, his shield in hand while the American Flag fluttered behind him. The next was an image of each of the Avengers, all posed for action. The next few were individual images of his team mates. Natasha practicing with her throwing knives, Clint pulling back his bow-string ready to fire at the target on the range. There was a picture of Tony in the lab with a tool in his hand; he had evidently said something funny because Bruce was next to him, laughing with all the mirth one never expected from the physicist. There was a drawing of Thor summoning Mjolnir's power, lightning shooting into the sky while the God of Thunder face drew an intensity seen during battle. There was even a picture of them (Loki included) dressed in kimonos during their trip to Japan. The last page had a full scale picture of both Steve and Loki back to back on either side of the page, holding a sketchbook in one hand and a piece of Charcoal in the other. In a scrolling text the page read:
"To Captain America: The man who helps us remember the good in all of us."

Steve nodded gratefully. "Thank you, Loki. This is really beautiful."

Having read the message, Tony exclaimed, "I'll drink to that!" And they all raised their glasses to toast the Captain.

TBC…..

Notes:


A/N: Yeah I know, this is over a week late, but you all can forgive me...right? I had this started last year but never got around to finishing it.

Also, I know this is more from Steve's point of view than Loki's but since it's his birthday, it made sense.

Thank you for the kudos and reviews, I am glad that you are all still enjoying this series!

Chapter 23: Baby Loki (Part I)

Summary:

Loki gets turned into a baby, and hijinx ensue...

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

To be fair, Loki's first battle among the ranks of the Avengers was not exactly going as he would have hoped. The hostiles turned out to be the Enchanters Three. Thor and Loki knew of them, but the others had of course, never encountered these creatures. Therefore the mortals were at a disadvantage during the battle. Loki was squaring off, alongside Captain America with Forsung and were trying at every moment to not only fight, but save civilians inadvertently found their way onto the way of the battlefield.

After a mother and child were caught in the middle of the street, Loki turned in time to see them and teleport them out of the way putting his back to the attack from Forsung, taking the brunt of it. Steve stepped in, throwing his shield as Loki shouted to the woman, "Take your child and find shelter, quickly!"

When the pair had disappeared, Loki turned and stood to face the monster. "Careful," he said into his earpiece, we are facing three very powerful sorcerers!"

"Yeah, we kinda got that." Stark muttered from his position high about the skyline. Any idea how to stop these Death Eaters?"

"You need to disable the amulet on their chest, that is the er...crux of their power." He returned, also snickering at the Harry Potter reference.

Meanwhile, Forsung threw a spell at Loki who dodged it easily by teleportation and re-appeared behind him.

"Hello!" Loki said, and when the sorcerer threw a punch, loki conjured a magical sphere, which he jammed into the amulet that was hanging from the monster's chest.

"Captain! Throw your shield!" He shouted from around Forsung. Steve's shield zinged into the sorcerer, making him fly backwards, while Loki stepped out of the way. The amulet sparked then dulled in color as the power from it and at the same time knocked Forsung out with the force of Cap's shield.

Before Loki could thank Steve for his assistance, he felt himself sideswiped from behind. He landing with a sickening 'thud' into a car, the impact great enough that it caused a huge dent to form in the car's body. Loki winced as his whole body now ached from head to toe.

Brona stepped in front of Loki, a creepy smile creasing his face. Still it did not deter Loki from saying "I see you've not improved upon your magic skills since we last met, Brona. Still a child among your older brothers."

Anger gripped the youngest of the Sorcerers Three who picked up Loki by the throat and sneered at him, "You dare call me a child?! We will see who is more the child after I am through with you!"

Steve was just about to throw his shield again when Brona turned and magicked a pair of golden bracelets onto his arm that bond them together.

"No!" the Captain shouted, but too late. The sorcerer placed a hand on Loki's chest, and after a burst of crimson light, the Asgardian disappeared.

A repulsor blast threw Brona a few feet from where Loki had been standing. Steve looked up to see Iron Man several feet off the ground. The monster threw a blast of magic energy towards Tony, but the billionaire easily dodged it, returning fire with a strong repulsor blast to the creature's chest. At that moment, the cuffs around the Captain's wrists disappeared.

Thor appeared, picked up Brona and tossed him next to his still unconscious sibling, while holding Magnir by the shirt in his other hand. Then noticing Loki's absence, looked around at the surrounding. "Captain, where is my brother?"

"Thor," Steve began desperately, "Forsung did something to him. He disappeared!"

The Thunderer's eyes widened and he called out "Loki?! Loki!"

There was a cry, and Steve almost thought it was the mother and baby Loki had appeared again, but it was coming from Loki's green cape. Thor ran to it, lifting it to reveal...

'Loki?" Thor looked at the child he was now holding in his arm that had short black hair and large green eyes.

Both Steve and Tony stepped next to him, looking just as astonished as Thor.

"Is that...Loki?" Tony asked pointing at the child, while Loki frowned at the billionaire.

"I-I believe so, Son of Stark." Thor said uncertainly.

"Loki called Forsung a child and he said that he would show Loki who was more of one. He put a hand on Loki's chest and probably cast a spell."

"So, he's a baby now?" Natasha he asked as he stepped next to Tony who jumped.

Thor placed Loki in Cap's arms before stormed over to Forsung, who was just beginning to awaken from his stupor.

"What have you done to my brother?!" He bellowed, raising his hammer high into the sky.

The monster sneered, "Just using his words against him."

Lighting crackles in the air, "Turn him back...now." Thor growled.

But Forsung just smiled grimly. "I cannot. Well," the devious grin grew wider, "not unless I wish to do so."

Thor grew angry and slammed Mjolnir over the three brothers, "Then you shall face the wrath of Odin. Perhaps that will change your minds." He looked seriously at the other Avengers who had gathered around Steve. "I must return to Asgard, perhaps my mother could help find a solution to our problem. I must ask you to look after my brother whilst I am gone."

"Whaa? In Stark Tower?! You're kidding, right?!" Tony protested.

But Bruce just nodded, "We'll take good care of him, Thor. You have our word on that."

Thor nodded, then called Heimdall to open the BiFrost.

As soon as the Thunderer had gone, they looked at the baby who had now begun to cry at Thor's departure.

"Here, give him to me." Natasha said with her arms. She took Loki in her arms, cooing and shushing him so that in a few minutes, Loki calmed down.

"So..."Clint rubbed the back of his neck, "What do we do now?"

"Guess we're gonna have to take care of him." Bruce said simply. In the meantime, Tony had JARVIS order pretty much anything a baby would need.

When they arrived back a Avengers Tower, Natasha had prepared a bottle of formula for Loki, while Steve, Tony, and even Clint worked on assembling the crib and changing table in a room on Thor's floor. Loki was slightly afraid of Bruce, but soon warmed to the physicist, allowing Bruce to examine him. When they were done, Natasha brought him up to 'inspect' Loki's new room.

The walls were white and the floors were a dull gray. The crib was black with green trim, above which was a mobile of a crescent moon and stars. Next to it was a grey rocking chair. The room had matching horizontal gray striped curtains as well. Natasha nodded in approval. "This looks fine." She flashed a brief grin. "Thanks for your help, boys."

"Never thought I'd being doing this so soon. Especially for a villain turned good-guy." Tony said, brushing his hands on his oily jeans. "By the way Clint, how do you know how to put baby cribs together?"

"Because," Natasha stepped forward "He is a father to two children."

This took all of them by surprise and Clint only shrugged. "I'm allowed to have a life out of S.H.I.E.L.D. right, auntie Natasha? " and the female could only smile slyly.

"We've gotten that together. What's next on the to do list?" She looked around, "does he have any clothes? "

They all looked at Tony, who merely shrugged, "I was waiting for Bruce to tell me how old he was first."

The Avengers looked at the child version of Loki, then it was Steve that spoke up. "I suppose we could just do it the old fashioned way."

Nearly twenty minutes later, it was Natasha and Steve were in the car, with Loki in a back seat car seat.

"So...where are we going?" Natasha inquired while keeping an eye on the baby.

"The shopping center, Bloomingdale's. Stark gave me a debit card. " Steve responded, also looking through the rearview mirror to the child. "Never thought I'd see Loki as a baby. But then again, magic, so..." He shrugged

"I think we should call him Harry while we're out at the store. We obviously don't want people know who he actually is."

"And I suppose it'd be weird to call him by the name of the guy who invaded New York." Then he looked at her and inquired, "So, why Harry?"

This time, it was her turn to hunch her shoulders, "I like the Harry Potter series. And you gotta admit, Loki kinda looks like him."

Soon after, they parked, and plopped Loki-Harry into the stroller that Tony had bought, and showed his displeasure at this by crossing his arms and looking annoyed.

Steve put his hands up plaintively, "Sorry, kiddo. You're too heavy to carry and this is the proper way for you to get around."

They were in the store a few minutes later, making a beeline from the toys and hardware sections to the baby apparel. The lady attendant stepped out from behind the counter and knelt in front of the stroller with a fake smile. "What a cutie!" Loki in the meantime, did not look impressed. She looked up to the 'parents'. "Is there anything I can help you with?" She looked them both up and down quizzically, "Don't I know you from somewhere?"

"I don't think so." Nat said smoothly, with an air of nonchalance that kept the sales associate from asking any further questions. "If you need anything, please let me know." She slinked off to attend to another couple.

"Thank goodness all the immersion training paid off," Natasha muttered as they made their way to the baby section. They picked out different clothes that Loki either was indifferent and wrinkled his at, or seemed pleased with the selection by sitting up. In the end, they bought a onsie in green and gray that said "Super Human", a boy's dog print vest, bodysuit & pants set, a green polo shirt and several jeans, several polo coveralls in either black or green (of course), a lightning bolt t-shirt followed by a moon one and another that said 'We are superheroes and rockstars', many sets of pyjamas and several pairs of white and black sneakers.

Utterly exhausted from their clothes shopping, Steve leaned down to Loki, "How 'bout we pick a toy since you were such a good boy?"

They strolled to the toys section, where Natasha and Steve took turns getting books and both stacking and puzzle toys. They were just about to head to the register when Loki shouted, "DA!" and pointed to a shelf. They looked up to see a golden colored teddy bear with Thor's outfit, including a cute helmet and stuffed hammer to look like Mjolnir. Steve handed it down to Loki, who instantly hugged it, while Natasha took a photo on her smartphone.

TBC...

Next chapter: How will the Avengers cope with a baby Loki? And can they figure out how to change him back to an adult?

Notes:

A/N: I know this is late. Last three weeks have been insane. Two weeks ago I had to go up to South Carolina and drop off a relative before Irma hit, went back down, had to evacuate to a shelter for three days, then didn't have internet for a further 5 days. Then last week my uncle who I was close to passed away suddenly. So hopefully next week everything will calm down and I will be able to write. Thanks for your patience and reviews!

Chapter 24: Baby Loki (Part II)

Summary:

The first few days are always the hardest with a baby....and Loki is no exception.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

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When they returned to Stark Tower, Natasha and Steve were greeted by the sight of Frigga having tea with Bruce in the living room. She had gotten up instantly when JARVIS announced that they were back, looking with glassy eyes at the child form of Loki.

As soon as Loki saw her, he sat up in his stroller and called out, "Ma! Ma!" Frigga rushed to him, unstrapped him from the pram and swept him into her arms.

After taking a moment to adore her son, she put her index finger to his forehead and closed her eyes, concentrating for a moment. Loki seemed unfazed. After a minute, Frigga turned to Bruce.

"Would you gather the others? I need to discuss Loki's…..condition with all of you." Bruce nodded and called JARVIS to do just that. In the mean-time, baby Loki yawned widely, eyes drooping. She kissed his cheek, "I think someone needs a nap. Is there somewhere we can put him down to sleep?"

"Of course, I'll take you up there. It's the same floor as Thor." Natasha commented gesturing to the elevator. Before they did however, Loki pointed to the stroller where his bear resided and whined, "De!"

Frigga smiled and knelt to retrieve it. "Of course, my love. We won't leave it behind."

Once they arrived on the correct level, Natasha showed her the door where the nursery lay. She smiled at the decorations, before laying Loki in the cot. Humming, she put Loki's stuffed animal near him and pulled up the covers. She gave him one more kiss on the head before whispering, "Goodnight, my darling." Much to Natasha's surprise, Loki did not fuss at their departure, he just closed his eyes and went to sleep.

When Natasha looked slightly bemused, Frigga just smiled. "He's always been a calm baby. Almost never fussed when we left the room. Thor on the other hand..." and she chuckled.

They headed back to the communal level of the tower, where the others were waiting and all stood when she came into the room. "Loki is taking a nap." She gestured to them to sit.

"I have examined Loki." She began, and Tony sat at the edge of his seat. "Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with the magic used on him." There was a collective groan. "However, I can do more research on Asgard and perhaps discover more. I do not know if he will remain this age and grow chronologically or disproportionately This sort of magic is unstable, so I would guess the latter."

"So Loki will be growing un-evenly?" Steve asked, looking puzzled. Frigga nodded, "I guess we can't enroll him in a school if he grows up." Tony rolled his eyes.

"Then there is the other problem of what we'll do with him if we're called to a mission." Bruce pointed out.

"That'll be easy," Tony remarked, "We'll get Pepper to babysit, or maybe Hill will do it."

"I will try to learn more about the type of spell placed on him. But from what I could gather, it may not last very long." She stood up to go. In an after-thought, She turned around, "Take care of my son, will you? Both of them." Frigga smiled.

"Yes m'am we'll do our best." Steve assured her.
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The first night, Thor was groggily dragged out of bed by JARVIS who announced that Loki was crying in his crib.
Groaning, Thor stumbled into the nursery across the hall. The baby turned his head as Thor came in, eyes still filled with tears.

"Shh...Loki." He hummed, picking his little brother from the crib and taking the child into his arms. "What's wrong, bróðir, hmm?" He took Loki to the kitchen on his level and warmed the bottle as Clint had showed him. The Thunderer hummed all the while and Loki's tears stopped, seeming interested on the goings on around him. When the bottle was warmed, Thor went back into the nursery and sat in the rocking chair, feeding his little brother. He remembered when he was just three years old; his mother was holding an infant Loki and feeding him. He watched with interest at his dark-haired baby brother while his mother hummed a little tune.

Remembering the song, Thor sung in a low tone:

Himmelen er mørk og åsene er hvitt

som storm-kongen hastigheter fra nord til-natt,

og dette er den sangen på storm-kongen synger,

som verden over sin kappe han kaster:

"søvn, søvn, lite søvn,"

Han rasler hans vinger og gruffly synger:

"søvn, lite søvn.*

When Loki eyes began to flutter shut, Thor carefully placed him back in the cot and pulled a tiny blanket over his brother's shoulders. He smiled gently.

Yes. Thor thought, It's just as though we are children again. Or rather one of them were.

Shutting the door, Thor left him in peace to sleep and went back to his own chambers.

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The next morning after breakfast, Thor went up to Bruce's lab as he had requested earlier in the day. When Thor and Loki entered the workshop, the Thunderer was dismayed and slightly ill at the site of several hypodermic needles set aside on a cart. Thor remembered when he was in the Midgardian healing rooms when he was struck with one and found himself restrained in a bed.

"Ah, good timing," Bruce said, looking up from his work. He patted the metal table. "Here, put Loki on the table."

Thor looked somewhat uncomfortable. "What do you intend to do, friend Bruce?

The physicist looked at Thor with a serious expression. "We don't know if Loki's magic shields him from human illness. It's better to be safe than sorry, since we're around kids. I'm gonna give him a few vaccinations so that he doesn't get sick and he doesn't get anyone else sick either."

Bruce bent enough so that he was now eye level with the baby.

"Now, now smabarn*" Bruce spoke gently, while Thor grinned behind him at the use of Old Norse. "How would you like a lollipop?" He pulled the candy from his shirt pocket and handed to Loki, who's eyes began to sparkle. The baby happily slurped the lollipop. Bruce continued, "And if your brother acts a little more brave, maybe he'll get a one too." he grinned at Thor.

He picked up a disinfectant pad which Loki took no notice of at the time. When the innaculation was injected, Loki's eyes filled with tears, then the child burst into very loud bawling.

"Oh, my Loki!" Thor yelled, sweeping the baby demi-god into his arms and bouncing him up and down.

Meanwhile, Bruce had an idea. Going around the table, Bruce picked up another syringe, "Thor, keep him busy."

Thor put a lollipop in his mouth, making a face as he didn't know that the candy was sour, which made Loki laugh. Seeing this, Thor continued with the silly faces.

In the meantime, Bruce completed the injections without any crying by either Asgardian. Bruce rolled his eyes, "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

TBC...

Notes:

A/N: I know, it's been a long time and this is a short chapter, but the holidays were hectic!

Would you all mind if I start doing these chapters every two weeks?

Next time will be the conclusion to this little adventure.

*smabarn-little child, baby

The sky is dark and the hills are white
As the storm-king speeds from the north to-night,
And this is the song the storm-king sings,
As over the world his cloak he flings:
"Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;"
He rustles his wings and gruffly sings:
"Sleep, little one, sleep.

-Norse Lullaby

Chapter 25: Baby Loki (Part III)

Summary:

Another fun age progression from Loki

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The next morning, Thor stumbled out of bed when he heard the voice of Loki calling his name. Instantly, he rushed to his brother's bedroom. Had Loki returned to normal at last? To Thor's surprise however, Loki was no longer a six month old, but rather around the age of three years old. Loki's eyes seemed even bigger now, and his raven hair was a scraggly mop on top of his head.

Thor could only grin at the boy as he lifted the child out of the crib into his arms. "Ah brother, what are we going to do with you?"

"I'm hungry, brather!" Loki exclaimed, looking slightly annoyed at kept from eating right away.

"Of course, Lokes. Let's go downstairs, shall we?" Thor chuckled.

The Thunderer hummed a little Asgardian tune as they rode the elevator down so to keep Loki calm. But the de-aged god didn't seem frightened at all.

"I want to walk!" Loki demanded. Thor put him down, and took him by the hand as they stepped from the living room into the kitchen. Bruce, Natasha and Clint were all awaiting breakfast, while Steve was at the stove. The Avengers all gaped at Loki as the pair appeared in the doorway.

"Good Morning, my friends!" Thor boomed in a tone that was much too joyful for this time of morning.

"Is that...Loki? Of course it is. Still has that imperious look on 'im." Clint muttered.

"Looks like we'll be shopping for some new clothes, I think." Natasha commented between bites of toast.

"Good Morning, Thor and Loki, by the way." Steve nodded to them both.

"I'd judge that he's about...three years old by my reckoning." Bruce commented, "I think a new bed is in order too. He'll need a toddler one." He quickly tapped at the Stark Tablet.

"What are you doing, friend Bruce?" Thor inquired, as he took a seat at the table.

"A little research." Bruce responded, not looking up to answer.

Loki was still frowning, but now his arms were crossed over his chest. "I'm hungry, brother!" He stomped his foot impatiently.

Thor put up his hands plaintively, "Okay, Loki, my apologies." He swept the boy up and placed him in the high chair, which earned another indignant look. "I'm sorry, Loki, but you're yet too small for the table."

Bruce got up and went to the stove, "I'll make Loki some oatmeal with some banana, I think that'd be best for him." It took only a few moments for the physicist to return with a small bowl and spoon. Along with this was a small sippy cup with orange juice in it, which he placed in front of the toddler, while Steve served the adults.

Thor looked over to Loki's bowl of oatmeal and slices of bananas. Puzzled, he said, "That is a small portion of food, Bruce."

"A child's stomach is much smaller than an adult's, Thor. We don't want him to over-eat. Besides, when Loki returns to normal, he won't be happy if he weighs an extra ten pounds. " Loki took up the baby spoon, holding it awkwardly and put it in his mouth. Some of the group looked baffled and shook their head.

"Hm...I wonder..." Bruce mused, "I want to try something." He looked to the toddler. "Loki? Can you tell us our names?"

Loki blinked for a moment, then began to point, "Thor broder." He announced, pointing at the Thunder God. Then he pointed to each around the table, "Bruce, Steve, 'Tasha.." He stopped at Clint and seemed to think for a moment, then blurted out "Lego!" For a moment, all them seemed perplexed, looking at the archer. Then Clint slapped his forehead, "Tony calls me, Legolas." He grumbled, before going back to his scrambled eggs.
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After a morning of somewhat frantic shopping, both Loki and Tony went to take a nap. Several hours later, late in the afternoon, Thor decided to take Loki to the local park.

"Before you do that, Thor..." Natasha started, then ducked next to the left side of the couch in the living room and re-appeared. She was holding a fire engine red tricycle with a white seat. She set it down in front of him and both he and Thor looked puzzled. "What is that, Lady Natasha?" Thor inquired, bending down to examine the bicycle's frame with some curiosity.

"A Tricycle. It's..." she paused, trying to think of an appropriate analogy "It's like riding a horse, but with wheels." At the bemused look of the others she just shrugged, then patted the seat "C'mon Loki sit here." The toddler regarded it for only a moment before doing so. A moment later, Natasha said very quietly, "Now we won't let you get hurt, okay?" She then put his feet on the pedals while holding the bike still and showed him the motion of pedaling. This done, they watched as he was let go, to petal around the hardwood floors of the kitchen in small circles. His green eyes lit up with delight at this new discovery. A sheepish smile appearing when he accidently hit the dishwasher head on.

Much to everyone's surprise, and Thor's delight, Loki was soon riding around the halls with only a few bumps into the wall.

Bruce's eyebrows rose. "Thor, I think that Loki is a gifted child. Most kids master riding a trike in weeks if not months; Loki's done it within an hour."

Thor just raised his shoulders. "Loki has always be advanced in learning. Mother has often told me that he learned how to walk and speak faster than I did."

When he had made a circuit on the common floor, they decided that it would be safe for Loki to ride outside, provided that Thor looked after him. Natasha strapped a green helmet to his head. "For safety, we don't want to to fall and get hurt." she explained to him in a gentle but firm tone. "You can take it off when you're at the playground, but you have to wear it when you're riding you're bike, okay?" Loki nodded. Thor just gaped at her.

She smiled slyly, "Who do you think bought bikes for Clint's kids and taught them how to ride them?" Taking out her phone, she directed Thor to kneel next to Loki and the bike while she got a picture.

Nearly an hour later, Thor returned, holding the sleeping mass of Loki in one arm, and the tricycle in the other. He looked almost as tired as Loki did. When he stepped into the common room, Bruce looked up from the documentary he was watching.

"How'd it go, Thor?"

A momentary stormy look on the Thunderer's face was enough to concern Bruce. "He did well on his bike. When we got to the playground, he demanded that the older children bow and obey him. They pushed him down, then Loki...turned them into frogs."

Bruce's mouth dropped slightly.

"Luckily, there were few parents around. Some were preset, though they seemed busy on their mobile phones you humans seem obsessed with." Bruce still gawked, so Thor continued, "I told Loki to turn them back right away, or he would receive a stern talking to by all the Avengers. I also lectured him that there is a time and place for his magic, and that people disobeying him is not reason to turn them into animals. That seemed to do the trick as you mortals say. He returned them to their human forms and we left the park. Loki seemed tired from his...trick, hence why he is asleep."

Nodding, Bruce still sat a little gobsmacked as Thor turned and took the elevator, and took Loki up their floor. He could only shake his head, and return to the documentary.

TBC...

Notes:


A/N: Sorry it took so long to write this; I had a virus on my computer that locked up some of my keys and made it impossible to write! I know I said this would be the last "baby" chapter, but I really want to write one more.

I have a picture of myself on a trike with my grandpa next to me, and that's what kind of what inspired that part of this chapter. I actually had to look up how to teach a child to ride a trike!

Chapter 26: Baby Loki (Part IV)

Summary:

Loki's five. What mischief can he get into?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Loki remained three for a further two weeks. During this time, Bruce, Thor and even Natasha taught Loki how to read. To their surprise, the Trickster soon was not only was able to read, but also to do so for the adults. Not only that, but Loki could do sums fairly quickly. He could do wood puzzles for children as well as 100 and even 500 piece ones, with ease. Thor also retrieved some of Loki's books from Asgard, which Loki relished and read happily several times.

Early one morning when Steve had gone to the kitchen to start breakfast after his run. He was making bacon when he heard a small yawn behind him, and turning, saw Loki. The Trickster was now about five years old, by Steve's guess, only slightly taller.

"Good morning, Loki. Did you come down here by yourself?" The boy nodded, then he continued. "I don't mind, but I think you should really wait until Thor gets up next time, okay?" Loki nodded again, and the supersoldier smiled, "How'd you like to help me make breakfast?" Loki's eyes lit up, as he magically conjured a step-stool so that he was the same height as the counter. Steve passed the boy a bowl and a few eggs. "Crack the eggs and then whisk them, try not to get the shells in the mix, okay?"

Loki succeeded in cracking an egg, using the fork to mix each one in turn. It was only when they heard the screeching halt of shoes on tile and Thor's cry of "Loki!" that the boy lost his concentration, and egg shell went into the mixture. Loki shot his brother an annoyed look that almost made Steve laugh.

"'Mornin' Thor. I take it you were worried when you didn't find Loki in his room. Don't worry, I've already given him the 'don't wander around alone' lecture." He turned back to the bacon, "How'd you like to make the toast?"

Loki returned to the eggs, frowning. Steve was just about to suggest he use a spoon to scoop up the eggshells, when the boy made a hand movement, and the egg fragments lifted out from the mix and to the counter.

By the time everyone piled into the kitchen even Tony (who had been told by JARVIS that breakfast was ready several times) Thor had sat Loki in his booster seat at the table as the food was laid out.

Tony had gripped his fork, about to dig into his food, when his fork changed into a snake. The engineer shrieked, falling backwards in his chair. Loki burst into laughter, and even Clint snickered behind sips of his coffee.

"Loki," Thor scolded, "apologize to Tony this minute."

The boy simply crossed his arms while Stark set his chair upright again, "no." Loki said simply.

"Loki..." Thor growled, but Steve held up a hand.

The supersoldier looked almost disappointed when he looked at the child, "It's too bad. If Loki was a good boy, we'd take him to the zoo today."

The boy's face fell. Quietly, he said, "Sorry Tony."

Tony muttered, "That's better."

===============================================================================

Unsurprisingly, it was Thor, Natasha and Steve that decided that Loki could use a day out after all, and took him to the Bronx Zoo. Tony, of course, excused himself with too much work, Bruce was doing research, and Clint said that he had business with S.H.I.E.L.D.

Natasha was the one who suggested the Bronx Zoo, instead of the Brooklyn Zoo. It was far bigger, and therefore would be more interesting for Loki. Since it was a weekday (Tuesday for that matter) the zoo was almost empty, leaving them a fairly quiet and peaceful day. At every opportunity, Natasha got a picture of Loki and Thor enjoying the Zoo. To their surprise, Loki found the barn animals boring, which Thor explained was probably because they had something similar on Asgard. The reptiles and Amphibians were Loki's favorite, as he could point out what each species was without looking at the information plaque.

"What's that one, Loki?" Thor asked, pointing to an alligator out of genuine curiosity.

"Alligator!" the child pipped up, "Know how the Crocodile and the Alligator are different? 'Cause the Alligator has a bump on it's nose and the Crocodile doesn't!" Loki grinned, pleased at his explanation to the adults.

Steve grinned, "He's pretty smart."

"'Tis because Loki loves animals," Thor replied with a pat to Loki's head.

They took a cart tour of through the "Africa" section of the Zoo. A lady with a distinct New York accent droned on in a monotone about the wild animals within their respective enclosures.

Steve felt a tug at his sleeve by Loki, who was looking up at him. "Uncle Steve, what does 'endangered' mean?"

The super-soldier thought for a moment before answering, "It means that there's a danger that a certain animal may-um-no longer be on Earth anymore."

To the adults' dismay, Loki's eyes began to fill with tears. "I-I don't want there to be 'no more' animals!" The child blubbered. All of them looked at one another, trying to come up with something feasible.

Finally, it was Natasha that spoke, carding her hand through Loki's hair. "We're working really hard to make sure that doesn't happen, Loki. That's why a zoo is-well here. It helps us learn about the animals and why we should protect them."

Those words seemed to reach Loki; his tears gradually stopped as he dug into Thor's ribs, who in turn wrapped an arm around his little brother.

"I have an idea." Steve seemed to brighten a little, "Nat, there's a bison enclosure here, right?" Natasha nodded. "I'll show you what we're doing to help the animals."

The group walked until they reached the Bison paddock, where a group of at least five of the burly animals resided. "See, Loki? Now back when I was growing up, there were only about 12,000 wild Bison left on Earth. You know how many there are now?" Loki shook his head and Steve glanced at Nat who did a quick search on her phone, '500,000' then mouthed the answer to him. "500,000. Do you know what that's called?" Again the child shook his head. "It's called 'conservation'. We humans are not only protecting the animals out in the wild, we're making sure that the species don't die out completely."

The child seemed to understand. Nodding at this explanation, his face took on a more happy expression.

They ended the day by first visiting the sea lions, which all made them laugh when one perched itself on the edge of the pool and another 'barked' while swimming around. The last stop was the butterfly garden, where Loki's eyes lit up at the sight of the insects flying about gracefully around the courtyard. The adults were all amused when Loki half chased the butterflies around. When he stopped one landed on his finger that he had out in hopes of one landing on it. Natasha quickly pulled out her phone and took a picture.

By the time the group exited the zoo, Loki's was in Thor's arm, his head laying on the Thunder's shoulder (and Natasha secretly took a picture of this as well).

"Nat, what's with all the pictures?" Steve asked. "Not...blackmail?"

The assassin gave him a genuine smile that she also flashed to Thor, "A present."

Thor looked puzzled, but Natasha didn't say anything on the way home further on the subject.

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That night, Tony was in his lab, working on a new energy shield for his suit when he felt a puff of air from behind him. Startled, Tony whirled around on his stool, glancing around. He heard nothing, and returned to his work. He heard a rattle and then a crash of some metal that was piled in a corner and again he pivoted in his seat and scanned his lab again.

"Rats, Jarvis?" Tony spoke up.

Is that an exclamation or a question, sir? The A.I. responded.

"Very funny, Jarv. Are there rats in here?"

There was a pause, then the A.I. said No, sir.

"Okay...then. But there's something in here rattling my stuff." Tony muttered. Suddenly he saw something dart from under his desk, which Tony hurriedly moved away from with a yell. There was a large crash as something hit a cart furnished with half finished projects. He heard a groan then curses in Ancient Norse, and stepping around his desk, Tony saw a fully grown Loki rubbing the back of his head while trying to shift some of the junk off of him. The God of Mischief looked slightly dazed, "You alright, Loki?"

"Stark?" Loki looked around, still confused, "How in the Nine did I get down here?"

Now it was Tony's turn to be flabbergasted, "You-you don't remember anything? At all?"

"If I did, I wouldn't be asking, Stark!" Loki snapped, refusing to take the hand of Tony who was offering to help him to his feet. The Trickster dusted himself off, owning to the fact he was wearing a green onesie that seemed to have grown with him. Tony tried not to laugh as he said, "Uh...you were turned into a baby for like...almost a month. You were six months old, then three, and then finally five." The industrialist explained. "That Forsung guy put a spell on you. Guess it finally broke. 'Bout damn time too." He addressed the A.I. next, "Jarvis, tell the rest of the team that Loki is back to norm-well that he's an adult again."

Loki seemed to notice his outfit, blushed, then turned into a black long sleeve shirt and green pajama bottoms.

Right away, Sir. The A.I. pipped. Thor has replied that he is quite eager to see his brother and asks if he'll come up to the common room.

"I'll be right there." Loki muttered warily, stalking off to the stairs.

"Hey Jarvis," Tony voiced another command to the house A.I. "Get rid of all the footage of me being startled. Save to when Loki crashed into the cart right up to where he changed his outfit." He grinned as he went back to soldering, "Because that's just funny as hell."

Right away, sir.

Notes:

A/N:

Note 1: I know, it's been a long time! I had some ideas suggested for this chapter but didn't know how to structure them. I also am on another computer because the power port of my old one went kaput and I haven't been able to use it. This bigger laptop is better, seeing as I can type normally with keys that actually work.

Note 2: Those pictures Natasha kept taking throughout Loki's de-aging will come up again...in May (hint)

Note 3: Do you want me to continue to do fluffy, fun stories? Or do you want some more serious ones? I think I'd like to keep them happier since I think we're in for a world of sadness when Infinity War comes out.

Thank you all for your patience, I will try to have the next chapter either next week or in 2 weeks. Thank you all for reading and reviewing this story!

Chapter 27: Mentor and Hero (Deleted Scene) Part 1

Summary:

Thor and Loki are tasked with mentoring a troubled youth. Will they be over their heads?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The Avengers and Loki were piled in the limo, traversing the traffic choked streets of New York City. Loki had only been living with the group for a while, and he grew tired of the antics and jibes by Stark and Barton, though the others remained either civil or ignored him completely (as was the case with Natasha).

“What are we doing again, friend Anthony?” Thor asked, a little hunched as the limo was not tall enough for his enormous frame.

Tony spoke up, “We’re mentoring kids, Thor.” He pointed to each of the Avengers in turn. “Cap and Natasha will be mentoring immigrant kids in English. Me and Bruce will be helping STEM kids with their projects, Clint’s teaching archery.” He turned a finger on the two Asgardians. “You two will be helping a juvenile delinquent.”

The two of them looked puzzled, “What is that?” Thor inquired.

“He means” Bruce cut in, “a child who’s been in trouble with the law, and now attempts are being made to set that person in the right direction before a more serious change may land him or her in jail.'

"Why would you think that Thor and I are qualified for this task?" Loki shot.
"Because...if anyone's capable of getting in an out of trouble, it's you two." Clint interjected, "'specially you, Loki. Thor's told us some pretty hairy stuff that you slipped out of."

"Also, Loki, "Bruce added more gently, "because you're trying to get back on the straight and narrow. You'll have to be called 'Lucas' or something while we're mentoring these kids."

They pulled up to a tall yet stunning sleek building with the words 'Met Building' emblazoned on it. The team went through to the lobby, where an older lady wearing an outdated looking floral dress sitting behind a desk, looking at a computer."

Tony cleared his throat, making the lady look up. "The Avengers. We're here to mentor, as per requested by the mayor."

"Ah yes," The lady stood, shaking hands with each of them. "I'm Victoria Temor." She picked up a clipboard and studied it for a minute, then spoke again. "Your mentees are all here. Captain Rogers and Ms. Rushman? You're on the 14th floor. Mr. Stark and Mr. Banner, you're on the 10th. Mr. Barton, you're on the 5th, and Misters Odinson, you're on the 12th."

They thanked her and crammed into one elevator, which stopped at each designated floor. As Tony and Bruce exited, the billionaire called back, "Good luck! You're gonna need it! Ouch Bruce!" The scientist had elbowed him in the ribs, and both Asgardians glanced at each other apprehensively.

The room they stepped into was by, for the lack of any other word was bright. The walls were a cheery yellow. There were white tables and chairs, as well as tall bookshelves. The room itself was virtually empty, save for one young man. Loki guessed that he was a teenager. He was holding a small square electronic device, not unlike Stark or the other Avengers seemed to carry everywhere with them. The boy was dressed all in black, including his hair which covered one eye, feet up on the table. Loki's mouth went dry as he was reminded of himself as a teenager.

The teen raised his eyes to look at them, then went back to his device looking bored and as though he didn't care a lick that he was being rude.

Thor and Loki shot each other another apprehensive glance before advancing, taking a seat at the table. Loki was only slight uncomfortable as the chairs were only slightly shorter than himself, but Thor's towering form looked extremely uncomfortable.

"You my mentors?" The boy looked up only for a moment from the screen.

Thor cleared his throat, "Indeed. I am Thor-"

The boy cut in, "Don't care."

There was some minutes of silence, then Loki stood and stepped away. "Come, Thor. He obviously does not want our help. Tis' a shame. One hopes that his next crime does not result in imprisonment as it did for me." He nodded for Thor to follow. The Thunderer hesitated, but realized that his brother had a plan, followed him. "I had hoped that your ruined coronation and banishment to Earth would be of interest, brother."

At this, the boy lowered the device and gawked at them. "No way!"

Loki gave Thor a little grin, before turning dramatically on his heel to face the child. "Way." Loki responded, adopting the modern language of his housemates. He and Thor sat back down, then Loki continued. "I let some-creatures into the weapons vault, interrupting the ceremony. They were dispatched quickly, but Thor-" he jerked a thumb to his older brother, "was not satisfied by that. I-might have suggested that we go to the realm those creatures came from, much to the anger of h-our father. Thor was banished, and I became king for a time."

The boy scrutinized them, then his eyes widened. "Hang on, I know you! You're the ass who tried to invade New York a few years ago! I remember seeing it on T.V. What was your name? Lackey? Leeky?"

Loki's lips tightened, "It's Loki. You're quite perceptive. However, for my safety as well as yours, I suggest that you don't use any name to address me as Lucas." The boy just shrugged. "I was- nearly killed. The Hulk-he smashed me to the ground, several times. I had to return home for my wounds to be healed. But it was decided that I would penance here on Midgard-Earth alongside the Avengers."

The boy rocked his chair back on its legs, "So what can you do?"

"Magic." At the teen's incredulous look, he continued, "Ah, I see that you don't believe me." He turned to Thor. "If you would, brother." Thor seemed to hesitate, but slipped the bracelet off of Loki's wrist. Loki felt his magic gradually wash over him like a second skin before it settled into place. "Now, what is it that you like to eat?"

The teen's eyebrows rose in almost an unbelieving look, "French fries." He finally said.

"Hmm" Loki muttered, before he spoke to Thor. "That is the thin potato strips that Stark likes to consume, correct?" Thor nodded. "Very well." A moment later, the shape of a plate began to form, materializing the confection on it. When it was complete, Loki sighed. It took some energy, as he hadn't used his magic for some time. He pushed it at the teen, who looked at it with some trepidation before he cautiously munched on one. Thor silently slipped the bracelet back on Loki's wrist while the Trickster marveled at his magic skills. "What is your name, boy?" Loki finally asked, "We cannot keep calling you 'boy' or 'child', it's quite rude to do so."

The teen stopped snacking and raised his shoulders, "Jason Briggs." he said simply.

"And how old are you, Jason?" Thor quizzed.

The kid raised his shoulders only slightly. "14."

Thor's face lit up. "14! 'Tis a good age! We went on our first boar hunt by ourselves, remember brother?"

Jason snorted, "Dude, did you swallow a Shakespeare play or somethin'?"

It was Loki's turn to shrug. "We've life on Asgard for nearly 1000 years, we're still new to this modern lingo." Loki commented with a little annoyance.

There was yet another awkward lull in the conversation when Thor spoke up again, "What is it, Jason, that labeled you a 'juvenile delinquent'?"

Jason stopped eating his french fries and snorted. Leaning back, he ticked off his misdeeds on his fingers. "Graffiti, too many pranks gone wrong, out after curfew, skipping school, pulled the fire alarm one too many times."

Loki chuckled, "A man after my heart, Thor.."

“Do you have parents, Jason?” Thor inquired now.

Jason’s face seemed to darken with anger, “I’m in foster care.” he muttered.

“Foster Care?” Both Asgardian chimed, looking confused.

Jason’s eyes rolled, “You really aren’t from around here, are you? It’s….when you go to a family temporarily until you get adopted. I’ve been in six since I was ten years old.”

“And before you were ten?” Thor prompted.

“It’s none of your damned business.” The boy snapped.

Knowing that they had overstepped their bounds, Loki took a careful step back. “So what is it that you like to do, Jason? Besides pranks, I mean.”

But the teen had clammed up, sitting back in his chair with his arms crossed over his chest.

Loki sighed melodramatically, “I fear we’re not suited for this task, Thor.” He addressed his brother. “Though I don’t suppose it matters that I am adopted.”

Jason looked genuinely surprised by this, “You’re adopted?”

“Indeed.” Loki remarked with a casual tone. “When I was an infant.” He jerked a thumb at Thor. “You really don’t think I’m related to this oaf, do you?” Which earned Loki an annoyed leer from the Thunderer and made Jason snort derisively.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loki and Thor returned to the Tower a little disheartened by their meeting. The others seemed to notice as they all sat down for dinner.

“Having trouble with your mentor kid?” Tony asked lightly, only to be elbowed by Bruce.

“We-I think we began to reach him, then Thor in his infinite wisdom asked about his family.”

The rest of the team stilled. Surprisingly, it was Clint who spoke up. “I know what that’s like, be shuffled from family to family in foster care.” Clint said quietly. “My parents...well my dad drank and abused us ‘till he and my mom died in a drunk driving accident. My brother and I….well, we were fostered in so many homes that we got sick of it and ran away.” He smiled ruefully, “Most kids dream about running away to join the circus, but we really did it.”

Thor ‘hmm’d’ and Loki looked pensive. “I do not know how to communicate with the boy. He has closed up to us since we hit that nerve.”

“What sort of...trouble has he gotten into?” Steve asked, piling mashed potatoes onto his plate.

“He’s a trickster, it seems.” Thor interjected, “Like Loki. He pulls pranks, stays out past a curfew and skips school, among other things.”

Natasha’s shoulder rose, “Not terrible by all account, really, There’s been kids who have been convicted of robbery or worse.”

“Try to find out his interests, what his favorite color is, what kind of music he likes, that’s a good starting point.” Steve suggested.

“You could ask to speak with his foster parents about his grades and behavior. That could be helpful going forward.” Bruce piped in quietly.

“How about you invite him to the Tower?” Tony added, stabbing ruefully at the vegetables on his plate. “He could play some video games? Watch some movies?”

Thor considered this, “Would you mind, friend Stark?”

“Not at all, otherwise I wouldn’t have suggested it.” Tony rolled his eyes. “I’ll make a few phone calls and see if you can meet with his foster parents. “

Twenty minutes later, Tony was on the phone with Jason’s foster parents, one ear to the phone and a finger pressed in the other so he could hear over the argument taking place in the kitchen.

“We should make something Asgardian, brother!” Thor exclaims in a tone that sounded almost like distant thunder.

“No Thor!” Loki hissed, “They would not like it!”

Thor looked crestfallen, “You liked the meal we made, did you not, Steven?”

“FINE!” Natasha snaps, “I’ll make Stroganoff if it will shut you two up!”

Several faces around the table lit up. “Agent Romanoff’s stroganoff? We are in a treat indeed!” Thor booms, and drew the ire of Tony.

“Will you all kindly shut up?” Tony hissed while covering the receiver of the cell phone, ”I’m still tryin’ to convince them that I am Tony Stark!” He returned to conversational tones, “Yes M’am, Stark Tower on 45th.” He tossed the phone to Thor and said in a low tone. Mr. and Mrs. Adams. Invite them over!”

Thor awkwardly held the phone to his ear, then in an jovial tone said “Good day, Mrs. Adams!”
Loki actually slapped his forehead in disbelief. Ignoring this he continued, “I am Jason’s mentor, Thor, son of Odin. We, that is I and the other Avengers would like to invite your family for an evening meal. Yes, yes! I am Thor! A pause and then, “Yes madam, we will make all the arrangements presently. Friday evening? And your residence? 1215 Dean Street in Prospect Heights? Very well madam. We look forward to sharing our communal supper with you. Good night.”

When he had hung up the phone (or rather when he handed it back to Tony for him to hang it up) Thor beamed, “This will be quite an interesting evening, will it not, brother?”

TBC….

Notes:


A/N: *ducks behind furniture* I know I know this was supposed to be finished before Avengers Infinity War came out, but I just got a little stuck then decided to split it into two chapter to make it more believable. I hope this chapter wasn’t boring, but it gonna lead up to a pretty good second chapter, like Infinity War (but happier) I haven’t forgotten about the ‘becoming a hero’ idea. ^_^

Chapter 28: Mentor and Hero (Deleted Scene) Part 2

Summary:

The awkward dinner and Loki plans.....

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The Friday afternoon was in many ways “chaotic” at Stark Tower. Natasha and Clint had been called for a secret mission and had left early that morning. Luckily, Nat left her stroganoff recipe, which J.A.R.V.I.S. carefully guided them through making. Loki also made fresh bread that wafted through the whole floor. Thor was remanded to salad while Bruce set the table. Tony had ‘graciously’ ducked out of any preparations leading up to the dinner, citing a need to work on devices for the Avengers.

Five minutes before eight, they all had gathered in the living room to meet the guests. Even Tony had re-appeared from his workshop wearing casual jeans and a AC/DC t-shirt. “Jarvis,” Thor called up the A.I. “Please ask my brother to hurry in his dressing.”

Yes sir. Sir, Mr and Mrs Adams and their son Jason have arrived.

“Show them up, J.” Tony ordered the A.I.

When J.A.R.V.I.S. acknowledged the command, Loki appeared wearing his usual black slacks long white collared shirt and green vest.

A moment later, the elevator ‘dinged’, and an older couple, along with the teen stepped out of it, looking agape at the Avengers crowded around the common room. It was then that Loki took in the teen’s foster parents; both were of middle age (or what Loki expected the equivalent in mortals) with more grey hair than their original hair color, and wearing modest but smart clothes.
Loki snorted as he guessed as it was because they were meeting Tony Stark.

It was Thor who stepped forward to shake hands with the gentleman, and kissed the lady’s hand (which in turn made her blush). “I am Thor, son of Odin. And this-” he gestured to Loki ”Is my adopted brother….Luc.”

The two exchanged a glance, but smiled magnanimously at Loki who also shook hands with them..

Tony stepped forward next, shaking hands with each of them. “Tony Stark. Welcome to Avengers Tower. Natasha and Clint and are…..out, so they won’t be here for dinner.”

The Adamss and Jason gaped at the visage of Captain America and Bruce as they introduced themselves.

Sirs, Ma'am, dinner is ready. J.A.R.V.I.S. announced, making their three guests jumped.

“That’s J.A.R.V.I.S.” Tony explained, “My A.I. that runs this building.”

“Lady Natasha left us her Beef Stroganoff recipe which we prepared for dinner. It is the best meal I have ever tasted in all the nine realms!” Thor boomed, patting Jason on the shoulder, making his knees nearly buckle.

“Inside voice, Thor…” Bruce muttered.

The table was set with the best dishes (of course thanks to Pepper).

“We attempted to replicate an Asgardian feast on Midgard.” Thor boasted cheerfully.

At dinner, Mr. Adams inquired, “How long have you been living on Earth, Thor?”

Thor screwed up his face in thought. “I have lived in this tower for four years now.”

Tony nodded, “That’s about the time I asked everyone to come live in Stark or rather-Avengers Tower.”

Then Mrs. Adams spoke up, “What is it that you do, Luc?”

“I am a representative for the Avengers.” Loki answered smoothly, thankful for his silver tongue. “I’m also an-Avenger in training as it were, trained in hand to hand combat.” The others gave him a startled look, but the Adamss seemed to believe it and went back to their meal while the conversation drifted into more pleasant (and safe) conversation.

After dinner, Tony pronounced, “How about we show Jason our vast video game and DVD collection? You all can catch up a little later.”

When the four of them were left alone, Thor seemed a little awkward when he stuttered, “Shall we be seated in the living room?” Meanwhile, Loki wandered into the kitchen to make coffee and cookies to snack on. Loki returned soon after, carrying a fancy coffee set and served it with butter cookies.

Thor spoke up first, “How long have you been-”he scrunched up his face trying to remember the phrase, “fostering Jason?”

“About two months,” Mrs. Adams answered promptly. “Now may I ask a question?”

“Of course.” Thor acquiesced

“How long have you been Jason’s mentor?”

“Only a few days, to be truthful.” The Thunderer admitted. “I fear we have said something impertinent that closed him off from us.”
The two foster parents looked at each other then Mr. Adams looked at each other, then back to the two mentors. “And what was that?” Mr. Adams inquired.

“We may have asked about his family.” Loki said.

Mr. Adams spoke again. “Jason came from an emotionally and physically abusive family.”

Both Asgardians look struck, “He told us that he has moved from 6 homes since he was ten” Thor commented.

“You probably have been informed about know about his ability to be a prankster?” Mr. Adams asked. The two princes nodded and he continued, “We-that is the social workers think that his feels misunderstood, angry, anxious, suspicious, depressed, and concerned with approval. They think-it’s because that he came from a verbal and physically abusive family. Gerald, that is, Mr. Adams and I hoped that he would calm down if he’s given a stable home. But we were informed by social services that if Jason gets into major trouble again, he’ll be convicted of a felony and will be put in juvenile detention for four years. In four years, Jason will be 18, aged out of the foster care system and will have to fend for himself, without any family. Maybe it’s because he know he’s unwanted or is trying to test the patience of his foster parents. Luckily, we’ve had four children and have infinite patience with him. He gets along fine with them, even acting as a big brother to the younger ones. ”

Thor’s brows furrowed, “Surely he knows of this and will not take such a risk?”

“He does,” Mrs. Adams said seriously, “though I worry that he’ll do little pranks that will eventually add up to social services.All the moving around from family to family makes him resentful and unloved. It’s hard for foster children, especially teens.”

There was another uncomfortable silence, which Loki broke with another subject. “How does he fair in his classes? Is there anything he particularly favors or is good in?”

At this, Mrs. Adams’s face broke into a smile, “He’s actually really good in everything, his teachers have praised him and he’s even in honors classes for most of his subjects. Jason particularly likes English and Social Studies, though science seems to be a keen interest of his, as he previously made a stink bomb at his old school.”

Thor screwed his face up again, “English? I thought he was already speaking that?”

Mr. Adams’s eyebrows rose, “I suppose it’s because you’re not from Earth that you’re unfamiliar with our school system. English is another word for Language Arts, well that’s what it was called when I went to school it’s when you learn about topics of literature and human nature, or that’s what I thought anyway. Honors classes cover more subjects and deeper than what would be possible in regular classes, and more challenging.”

Loki, meanwhile was formulating a plan in his mind as the conversation drifted away and he concentrated on putting it into action.

As they went down to the media room, Loki asked in a casual tone. “What school does Jason attend, by the way?”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Sunday afternoon, Loki pulled Bruce aside and asked “May we speak in private, Banner?”

Bruce nodded and led him down to his lab, where he sat on a stool and then said, “Well, what is it that you wanted to talk to me about?”

Loki shifted on his feet, “I would like to have a first hand account of our mentoree’s school life, but am aware that I would not be able to do so as an adult.”

Bruce’s eyebrows rose, “So what do you plan to do?”

“I wish for you to take off this bracelet,” Loki said, lifting his arm so the little band around his arm was visible. Bruce was about to argue, but the Trickster raised his hand to stop him, “Be assured, that I will not bring about any inciting trouble with my powers restored. And if, by some chance I am revealed, I will make sure that the Avengers are not incriminated by my actions. You have my word as the second prince of Asgard.”

Bruce seemed to hesitate, but slid the bracelet from Loki’s wrist, all the while muttering, “I don’t think I condone this.You probably should just ask him about his interests rather than sneaking around.”

“It’s perhaps the best line of attack, so to speak, Banner. He has closed himself off to us and I think that we’ll not reach him.” Loki replied, allowing the magic to flow through his system and finally settle.

“So….what do you plan to do?” Bruce inquired again with some hesitation.

“This.” Loki shifted, his form becoming slightly shorter, more lithe, and Bruce could have sworn that this was Loki probably looked like as a teenager on Asgard. The ‘boy’ still had the same piercing green eyes, but his hair was short and slicked back and reached to the back of his neck.

The scientist rubbed the back of his neck. “You can’t just show up to a school without some kind of identification.”

A grin spread over Loki’s face. “I have my identification that S.H.I.E.L.D. issued to me that I can capitalize on, with some minor changes, of course. “

“I really don’t think this is a good idea.” Bruce muttered, but Loki ignored him. “You know you can’t use Loren Olsen for a name, right? That will be a red flag to S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Loki seemed to think for a moment and then said, “Perhaps...Kurt. Lawson, then.”

Bruce pointed to the birthdate on the papers, “You’ll need a more realistic birthday. The month and day are fine, but the year….” he seemed to do the calculation in his head, “It would be 2002 if you want to be 15 years old. That would be the normal age of a freshman in high school.”

Loki pointed to the papers, and with a zap of green, the name and birthdate were changed as suggested.

“Look, just…..go for a few days, don’t hang around too long. If-if something goes wrong, I’ll…” Bruce put a hand through his hair. “I’ll vouch for you, say that you’re my nephew staying me for a while.”

Loki nodded, “I appreciate that, Banner. Please don’t tell my brother or any of the others of my whereabouts. I will tell them I got a job….”

Bruce thought for a moment, “How about a mystery shopper?”

Loki chuckled, “That is suitable. “Truly, I thank you for your help and discretion, Banner.” He gave a little bow that caught the scientist off guard. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go research what I will be learning in this...high school.”

“Don’t forget to get school supplies,” Bruce responded, then went back to his work.

A few hours later, Bruce called up to Jarvis for Loki to call Loki down to his lab, but
J.A.R.V.I.S. reported to Bruce that ‘Mr. Laufeyson has gone out on some errands.”

“Probably for the school supplies” Bruce muttered.

On Monday morning, the scientist observed a dark haired teen, wearing a galaxy backpack slip out of the back of Stark Tower.

Loki looked up, and nodded to Bruce before slipping into the crowded streets.

Notes:

A/N: I know, this chapter took me so long to finish and I still haven’t gotten to the good part yet. I’ll have the conclusion next time.

Also: It goes without saying, but don’t ever falsify papers to say you’re a teen and go to a high school. Someone in my state got thrown in jail for doing just that.

Thank you for all the reviews, faves and follows, I appreciate it.

Chapter 29: Mentoring III

Summary:

Loki disguises himself as a 15 year old and goes to high school.....

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Before Loki entered Crossroads High School on East 108th street and Flatlands Avenue, he stood by the gate and watched the students flood in. Finally, he saw Jason walking alongside a blond haired boy much the same height and making the other laugh. The Trickster was relieved that the boy at least had a friend.

He followed the students into the building, and spoke with a man with a badge pinned to his chest that Loki identified as a school administration. He spoke with a Norwegian accent. “Excuse me, I have-er-just transferred here. Where is the-umm-office, please?”

The portly, gray haired, man seemed genuinely surprised at his politeness, but pointed up the stairs. “It’s the down the hallway second door to the left.”

Thanking him, Loki went up the stairs until he reached a large door that was labeled “Administration Office.”

Loki cleared his throat, hoping that his plan would work. “Excuse me. I am a new transfer student, I am to begin classes today.”

The lady behind the desk turned to look at him. She had deep-set gray eyes that were like two pools of mercury. Her fine, wavy, brown hair was worn in a style that reminded him of a pile of leaves. She was unusually tall and had a slender build. Her skin was china-white. Her wardrobe was tight and was completely white. Her name badge read ‘Mrs. McClain.’ The lady smiled at him, kindly. “Okay. Do you have all your papers?” .

Loki fished out the papers and slid them across the counter, which she perused for a moment, then nodded at him. “Let me set up your schedule.”

As soon as she had turned her back, Loki snapped her fingers and froze everyone but him at that moment. Going to the computer, he blessed the lessons both Bruce and Tony had given him during his time in the Tower, Loki quickly found the classes Jason were attending. He pointed a finger, then zapped the class into the time slots on the paper. He had changed only two classes in his schedule so that it would not seem that he was following Jason and those classes were Mandarin and an drawing class. Finally, Loki pushed the timetable back into the lady's hand and waited where he had been a few moments before. He snapped his fingers and made everything normal again.

Mrs. McClain blinked, then looked down at the paper confused, “It looks like you’ve already picked out your classes.”Her confusion continued for a moment, then she smiled.“I’ll let the teachers know that you’re going to be in their classes and add you to their class roll.”She looked at the schedule again.“Your homeroom and English class is with Mr. Issacs.” The lady pulled out a paper and marked where all his classes were on it. Then gave him a small slip of paper with a number on it. “This is your locker and the combination. It’s down this hall on the right.
“He’s down this hallway third left, on the left hand side.” She gave back the paper, “Chop chop, you don’t want to be late on your first day.”

Loki grinned and thanking her. He followed her instructions, stopping at a door with ‘Mr. Issacs. Class 9-2’ on the door. He took a deep breath and exhaled as he turned the doorknob and entered the classroom, all eyes falling upon him. Suddenly, he felt as though he were in Court on Asgard. He searched the room and saw Jason leaning back on his chair with his arms crossed, looking unimpressed.

Mr. Issacs was a tall, brunette-haired man with thick round glasses who seemed genuinely surprised at Loki’s appearance. “Yes, can I help you?”

Loki cleared his throat, and the lessons elocution and deportment as a royal. Raising his chin, he said, “I’m Kurt Lawson. I’m starting your class today.” He handed the teacher his schedule. Mr. Issacs glanced from it to his student roll, “You’re not on my list, but I guess that will be changed later. Why don’t you tell us about yourself?”

My name is Kurt Lawson, and I' m from Norway. That's all." Loki announced, not prepared to give more information than necessary.

Mr. Issacs raised an eyebrow. “Alright. Find a seat and we’ll continue.”

Loki was not affected by the many pairs of eyes when he sat down, two desks behind and to Jason's left.

“Alright, class. Let’s start where we left off. Beowulf was an epic poem that took place in the early days of Christianity.”

Loki raised his hand. “Actually sir, the story takes place before Christianity got a foothold in Medieval England in the 6th century. And it most likely took place in Scandinavia, not England.”

The teacher looked a little exasperated as he answered. “Thank you for that input, Mr. Lawson. Now if I may continue?” Loki didn’t seem to understand his annoyance and only shrugged.“The story was told by the Anglo-Saxons. Do any of you know who they were?”

There was only one hand that went up, and that was, of course, Loki’s own. “Yes Mr. Owens?” Mr. Issacs sighed.

“They were a Germanic tribe that invaded England. Though originally, they were from northern Germany and Denmark.”

“Very good.” Mr. Issacs remarked, “These Norman-Saxons, as Mr. Owens pointed out were from Northern Germany and Denmark. Although that wasn’t what it was called at the time that this story took place. The story is one that rings a lot from the Norse, with the warrior culture and mead halls.”Loki snorted which garnered the teacher’s attention.“Is something funny, Mr. Owens?”

Loki just grinned, “No, it just is familiar.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next class was World History. Loki had a special interest in studying the 10th and 11th centuries, as he was only just beginning to toddle roughly around this time.

The teacher, who’s name was Mrs. Whitfield explained the ‘Dark Ages’
“The Dark Ages wasn’t dark at all.“ The lady had round grey eyes. Her thick, wavy, slate-gray hair was very short. She was regular height and had a thin build.Her wardrobe was strange.

“Well in a way it was. This is the time after the Roman Empire collapsed, and it was wrought with superstition.” She explained, “During this time, however, China had begun to print paper money. But we’ll get back to world events later. Right now, we’re going to talk about Europe. First of all, there was something called feudalism…”

Loki listened intently, taking down notes as the teacher spoke, enraptured by the interesting details of Midgard in this period of their history. He found the massive cathedrals filled with colored glass panels and huge vaulted ceilings that awed the ordinary mortals fascinating. This was an age when color was awash in their world. He and Thor had only been taught some of Midgard’s eras, often in a sneering tone as they were not nearly as advanced as Asgard. Loki now saw that, despite their initial backwardness, the mortals were capable of doing more than his tutors ever imagined that they could.

His day continued thus the same way, shifting from one building and classroom to another. Science class was interesting, but Loki found himself snorting at the observations of astronomy, which garnered a dirty look from the teacher.

Physical Education class was next. As he had always changed in his own quarters, Loki didn’t feel abashed at going into one of the bathroom stalls. He changed into his slightly musty gym uniform, despite the whispers and audible jibes behind his back. Loki sighed. He’d heard worse he supposed. Following the other students, he wrinkled his nose at the smell of unwashed footwear and the stale stench in the air.

The teacher, Coach Ferrell, was a balding, burly man that would have put Volstagg to shame in terms of height, and his voice boomed in a way that made Odin look timid in comparison.

“He used to be a drill sergeant in the army.” Jason commented in a whisper, and Loki had no doubt that there were such leaders of the Einherjar.

After running several laps around the gym, which left them all sweaty and tired, the coach told them that the activity of the day would be dodgeball. Loki didn’t like the sound of that.

“You basically dodge a ball that’s thrown at you. If you get hit, you’re out.You can pick up a ball and throw it at someone to try to get them out of the game.”another student who was gawky and wearing glasses explained.“Though don’t throw it at that guy.”He pointed to a boy who reminded him of a taller even more oafish if not a meaner version of Thor.“He’s Kevin Bass, the neighborhood bully around here and at school. We let him win because he’ll beat up anyone that challenges him.”

“I am done with bullies.” Loki sneered.

The whistle blew, and the dodgeballs began to fly. Loki ditched and ducked each of them as one by one, students were hit and grudgingly sat on the sidelines while the game continued. Finally, this was an opportunity for Loki to prove himself, even though the game was easy enough.Thor had always been praised for his strength and power in training exercises when they were growing up, though it was brute action without any thought. Loki had been different; not only could he quickly move away from the path of a blow, but he could also summon any weapon to defeat his adversary and analyze the perfect time to strike. Though he had been teased relentlessly about using his magic, his mother and trainers approved of his skill.

Loki looked around for a moment, catching a ball that was headed straight for his face, before picking it up and throwing at an unexpecting student. He didn’t need his magic, as these were only young mortals with not the 800 years of training that he had on Asgard. The crowd soon thinned, leaving only a few on the field of ‘battle’, namely him, Jason and the bully.

When he and Jason were in hearing distance, Jason hissed, “Dude, just let him win! Rather not be at the receiving end of his fists!”

Loki snorted, “I’ve fought bigger opponents than him and his ilk.”

Jason gave him a strange look as Kevin Bass began to throw dodgeballs gleefully at them. They both dove out of the way, and at that moment, Loki got an idea.

When they were in hearing range, Loki said, “Can you flank him from the front?”

Jason looked confused, but nodded.

Loki whipped around as Jason threw ball after ball with no avail. The bully grinned, thinking that he’d foiled Jason’s plan to hit him.

What he didn’t know was that Loki called out “Surprise you clod!”and just as Kevin threw the ball at him, Loki used his super speed to sidestep it before throwing his own ball at the bully’s face.

Coach Ferrell blew the whistle and shouted, “OUT!”
There was absolute silence in the entire gym, then it erupted into cheers and applause. Loki felt a moment of elation. He had he won the game, and also earned the admiration from others at his skill.

That only lasted a moment when he felt something hit his arm. He turned to see Jason with his shoulders raised and an apologetic grin on his face. “Sorry dude, just the name of the game.”

Loki did not feel offended at all. It was his fault that he celebrated too soon, that he had forgotten the rules, he grinned and offered his"opponent" a smile.

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Lunchtime finally arrived. When everyone who had heard of his victory against Kevin, they clamored to invite him to join their group. Loki politely and adamantly refused, finding a spot outside to be alone under a shady tree to contemplate the day he had so far.

Despite the rather dramatic reading of Beowulf, Loki could not find anything remarkable about Jason’s school life.He had heard other students talking about the different sports and" clubs" they attended daily after school, Loki wondered if Jason would join either of them if he suggested it? Although he’d have to wait a while. First because he need to find out what “clubs” were in the first place. And secondly, because Jason wouldn't take any advice from a new foreign exchange student on his first day. He’d have to build the boy’s trust.

To his surprise, Jason hadn’t played any pranks. Maybe he was biding his time?
He himself did likewise on Asgard. Always waiting for the opportune moment to make mischief, then conveniently present in the great hall so as to not raise suspicion.
Was the boy doing the same? And what would he do to prevent it?
Loki didn’t know, nor did he have any answers either.

A shadow crossed over him and he looked up to see Jason and his friend who made a friendly little wave.

“Hey man,” Jason said. “I wouldn’t want to be sitting by yourself if I were you.”

Loki raised an eyebrow, “Why is that?” This was a new state of affairs. Would the boy challenge him now that the last bully had been defeated?

“Uh, you know, because Kevin Bass is looking for you since you beat his ass in dodgeball and humiliated him.” He jerked a thumb to the building behind him.

“I’m not afraid of bullies,” Loki sniffed, “I’ve dealt with bigger ones, and more intelligent for that matter.”

Both boys sat down next to him without asking first. Usually, Loki would have sneered at this breach of manners, but he supposed most Midgardian children lacked them anyway.

“Suit yourself, but I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.” Jason pointed to his friend, “This is my friend Mark, by the way.”

Loki nodded politely to him as he and Jason begun to dig out their lunches.

“So…” Mark tried to start a conversation. “What classes do you have left?”

“If I remember, I have Mandarin Chinese, Art, and Math classes for the rest of the day.” Loki remarked, already having memorized his day’s schedule and map of the school.

Mark’s eyebrows rose, “Damn, and I can’t even get through my Spanish class.”

They chatted about every subject while devouring their lunches. Loki had discovered that most lunches had little to no nutrition, so he snuck down to the kitchens to pack himself a sandwich, some fruit, crackers and a small container of fruit juice in a bottle that Steve swore by when Loki asked him about it.

Loki listened to the conversation and even joined in, even laughing once or twice. Though it was through false pretenses, he finally didn’t feel as though he were a nuisance, or forced to be polite to because his brother happened to be the crown prince. They admired him for his own merits.

After lunch was art class with Ms. Barrow. She had hooded eyes the color of ivy. Her silky, straight, medium-length hair was the color of red roses. Her wardrobe was plain, with a lot of white and red.

They spent the entire allotment of the class drawing whatever came to mind, as the teacher instructed them. Loki drew Avengers Tower from street level, complete with the two buildings on either side that led up to the plaza. Ms. Barrow went around the room, showing appropriate drawings to the rest of her class, and was actually quite impressed with Loki’s when it came to his turn. For homework, they were assigned to make a homemade sketchbook to draw in for each day’s assignment.

Next was Algebra 1 with Mr. Fairbairn. The man had droopy green eyes that were like two pools of stagnant water. He had thick, straight, iron-gray hair and a matching moustache. Loki rolled his eyes over the mathematical problems in his book, mixed with the numbers were letters, and it did not take long to solve them. He found the mathematics simple, as he had learned it over 1,000 years ago. Not to mention all the calculations he'd be given to study by his astronomy tutor back on Asgard.

The last class of the day was Mandarin Chinese with Mrs. Futaki She has almond-shaped green eyes that are like two chunks of jade. Her fine, straight, chocolate-colored hair is medium-length and is worn in an uncomplicated style.
She had explained that, though she was originally Japanese, her family had moved to mainland China for her father’s job where she learned the language before she moved to the U.S. and got married.

Their lesson consisted of saying ‘I am going to….’

When it came to Loki’s turn, he spoke though the words he said were not the ones in his book. He spoke in Japanese rather than in Mandarin. “Watashi wa yūshoku ni iku.”

Mrs. Futaki blinked, surprised that her student was speaking in her language fluently. “I appreciate that you are trying to impress me with your Japanese Mr. Owens. But we are here to learn Mandarin.”

It only occurred to him that his All-Speak was translating the wrong dialect. Embarrassed, Loki looked down at the book and forced himself to read the correct words out loud. “Wǒ yào chīle” before he sat down, embarrassed all the while. He’d have to read some of his Asgardian books on magic, or perhaps speak with his mother. There was no way that he’d tell Thor about this as he’d find out what Loki was doing and would never let him live down getting something academic wrong.

Finally when the bell rung that signaled the end of the day, students tiredly and drearily trudged out. Loki remembered that the school bully was still hunting him, so he made a beeline to his assigned locker and dumped all his textbooks into his backpack. Loki was not at all tired with his Aseir physique, he found the lessons invigorating. The backpack would have been impossible for anyone but him lift with his other-worldly strength and magic.

He rushed with the throng of other students, hoping to make a quick route back to the Tower. But something had stopped him when he was outside-the sound of a muffled yell and a chorus of laughs. He followed it discreetly only to find the Jason and Mark were being pushed to the ground. All the while being kicked, they were called words that were no doubt derogatory in nature.

“What’s the matter baby?” Kevin Bass said in a whiny tone as he kicked Jason, “Gonna call your mommy? Oh, wait, you don’t have one!” All the while,the other bullies laughed.

Loki wondered what he should do for a moment. He could neither reveal his true self nor use his magic. He just had to use his mind in this situation.

“I believe you’re picking on the wrong person, gentleman.” Loki announced loudly, stepping out from the building so that they could see him “And I use the word loosely.”

The three bullies turned, then grinned. “Cool, he’s not gonna make us go lookin' for him!” said a skinner dark haired boy.

“Goodness, your grammar is as atrocious as you are.” Loki looked around absentmindedly, “Three against three. I think our odds has been evened.”

The other boy, a shorter and dumpier looking kid, snickered, still holding the arms of Mark.
“What are you going to do foreign boy?"

Loki again looked uninterested taking up a small twig and putting it behind his back. Using his magic, he transformed the twig into a long stick. He ambled nearer to them and brandished it.
“You see, I was bullied my whole life. By my peers, by people I had thought were my friends, and even my own brother. I’ve grown up surrounded by it and it’s only made me stronger-and angrier. You gentleman have a choice,” he narrowed his eyes and let a sinister smile play over his face. “You can run OR...” he broke the stick in half, it didn’t take them a minute to guess what Loki was playing at.

The bullies didn’t run, they just looked gleeful at having another person to hit. Loki didn’t move though. “Maybe it’s as the saying goes ‘the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.” He pointed to the the two minions. “No doubt that this moron would turn and beat you to a pulp should you disagree with him. That’s why you do his bidding. He’s bullied long enough that no one dare stand up to him. Having his favor gives you the power to bully as well. Pathetic.”

Loki stopped a moment, looking from them to the stick in his hands.”You may think you have run of this school because you bully, but I can guarantee that if I win this fight, you won’t want to show your faces here again. I’ve had many forms of training that involves doing the worst damage without even breaking a sweat. Would you like me to show you?”

His foes stepped forward, grinning like cheshire cats as they suddenly rushed forward at him. Loki slipped off his backpack and swung it with ease at one of the bullies, knocking the bully in the face and then onto the ground. He looked over at the two backpacks that had been tossed aside by the ruffians that belonged to his new friends and picked them up. “Do you have anything of value in these?” Loki asked quickly. When they shook their heads, Loki smiled devilishly, “Perfect.” Without another word he swung all three backpacks (his on one arm and the other two on his another, he again hit at one of bullies, who was knocked out. Jason and Mark watched in awe at Loki’s strength, then feeling emboldened by him and defeating the thugs who had been terrorizing their neighborhood for so long, and decided to jump into the fray.

It didn’t take long for them to bring down Kevin Bass and his two minions. The three of them took swings, Loki moving faster than any of the bullies could move. Even if their tormentors got in a hit at any of them, they were soundly answered with punches that knocked them down hard.At last it was their turn to take on Kevin, though they were no longer afraid; they kicked and punched even as the large bully threw wild punches. Loki put a spell on his backpack, making it filled with heavy boulders instead of books and shouted, “Get back!”
He threw it, and Kevin Bass in his slightly dazed form, didn’t see it until it was too late. The bookbag slammed into his face and throwing him backwards, unconscious. Jason and Mark had their hands on their knees breathing heavily but grinning all the while.

Loki too was slightly winded, but shot a victorious look at them. “I think this would be a good time for us to leave, my friends.”
They didn’t have to be told twice as they picked up their bags (Loki returning the content of his back to books) and left the school grounds with all due haste.

“I-I can’t believe we did it! We defeated Kevin Bass and his lackeys!” Mark said giddly. He raised his palm to Jason who slapped it, then did the same for Loki. He was momentarily confused, but copied Jason’s gesture with a smile. “Oh my God, we’re gonna be the talk of the school tomorrow!”

Loki shook his head, “If those three dolts have their defeat revealed, they’ll come back angrier and look for another fight. If I were them, I’d keep the secret that they were defeated by us, only so they won’t be humiliated further.”

Jason shrugged, “That makes sense, man. How the hell are you not even tired after that fight?” He looked gobsmacked at Loki. Except for a few stray pieces of hair sticking up and slightly rumpled clothes, Loki didn’t look any worse for wear.

“As I said, I had a lot of training in many types of fighting techniques.” Loki said smoothly. Nevermind about the secret magic that he also wielded. “What will you tell your parents about your injuries?” Loki looked them over. Both boys would no doubt have bruises and abrasions (indeed some were beginning to surface) but Jason’s cheek was swollen where he had been hit, and Mark was limping slightly from a kick to the knee.

“Everyone knows Kevin and his little friends are the bullies, so parents aren’t surprised when kids come home after being beaten up by them.” Mark commented, rubbing his sore cheek. “Thank God I didn’t lose a tooth this time, I don’t want to go back to the dentist.” He brightened, “Hey, why don’t we get some victory milkshakes? It’s on me!”

They went to a restaurant where Loki got a first taste of the concoction. It was cold but thick, making his throat hurt slightly which made Jason and Mark laugh.

Finally at 4:30, Mark said that he had to go or else he’d be in trouble with his mother, and they said their goodbyes. When they were alone, Jason just stared at the straw that he was stirring the remnants of his milkshake with it.

“So, how long are you gonna keep this act up?” Jason said, not looking at him.

Loki look startled. “Beg your pardon?”

“The act, man. I know it’s you, Loki.” He started to sound a little angry.

Loki almost started to deny it, but the tone in the boy’s voice made him reconsider it. He put up his hands plaintively, “Alright you caught me. How did you know?” He was genuinely curious.

Jason just rolled his eyes, “The accent, coming from Norway, the weird speech pattern. It was kinda obvious, man.”

Loki nearly slapped his forehead. He should have had more discretion, he should have been more careful with his disguise. Still it was too late and his secret was revealed.

Jason looked up, his eyes blazing, “Why were you acting like a student at my school? To spy on me?”

Loki raised an eyebrow and said, “As a matter of fact, yes.” Jason’s mouth gaped slightly. “You wouldn’t talk to Thor or I, so I had to take matters into my own hands, so to speak. I thought by befriending you, I could….see what you would not tell us, and I could find out more about you.”

Jason just folded his arms. “Go on then, enlighten me. Have you found anything out?”

“Other than you are sufficient in your classes?” Loki shook his head “No.”

“Well then,” Jason said with a laugh, “you’ve really wasted your time, haven’t you?”

Loki’s response was calm. “Not at all, for now I can make a bargain with you that perhaps may interest you.” Jason looked skeptical, but waved his hand as if to say, continue. “If you agree to stay out of trouble, perhaps join a school activity and be more receptive to Thor and my attempts at mentoring you, then I will teach you how I fight.”

“I thought you said that Kevin and his crew wouldn’t want to show their faces again if you fought them?” Jason said scathingly. “Besides, it was you who really defeated them, not us.”

“Don’t sell yourself short. You and Mark fought and won against them just as much as I did. There is always the possibility that they make return to picking on you, your friend, or your classmate. Better that you should be able to defend yourself in that event.” He paused, weighing his words carefully, “No one likes to be bullied by any one, and learning not only how to fight, but finding a focus in something will benefit you in the long run.” He extended his arm. “Do we have a deal?”

Jason hesitated, but then it was his turn to smile wickedly, “One thing though. You’ve got to stay in classes till the end of quarter. I wanna see you take on high school.”

Loki didn’t even hesitate for a moment. Despite the risk, it was worth doing for the sake of the boy and his foster parents. Perhaps he would keep the child from descending the pit of, anger and loneliness he had felt at that age.

Loki smirked as they shook hands. “Deal”

TBC………………..

Notes:

I looked up quite bit about classes in high school in order to get this right. I had so much fun writing this! ^__^

Thank you all for the comments and kudos. Also, thank you for your patience. This chapter took some time to complete due to the ending. Last mentoring chapter will be in 2 weeks!

Chapter 30: Deleted Scene: Mentor and Hero IV

Summary:

Of Shakespeare and a bully's comeuppance.

TBC.....

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Mentor and Hero IV

Loki spent the next few months attending classes alongside Jason. He still found the math class remedial at best. His teachers saw his intelligence and excellent grades however, and placed him in an honors class, much to his excitement. It was still not nearly as advanced as what he’d learned on Asgard, but it was more challenging than his previous class. After scouring through his Asgardian books, Loki also learned a spell that would allow him to speak in any language that he was reading.

The other Avengers also couldn’t help but notice that Jason agreed to come to the Tower when Loki asked. The first time this occurred, he told the others. “I am going to teach him how to fight.” At the looks of dismay and disapproval, Loki just rolled his eyes. “I am going to teach him how to fight with his words, and only resort to violence in dire situations.”

Loki’s first ‘lesson’ with the boy didn’t in the Tower’s gym or training room, but in the main kitchen. Thor, Bruce and Steve were also present, mostly with interest in what Loki was going to teach Jason.

“So,” Loki began, fishing out what he knew were sodas that Tony made a point to have in the fridge. He placed one on the counter in front of Jason, while Loki held his. “Do you know why bullies bully?”

Jason answered dully, “Because like you said, they like to dominate over people who are weaker, They are deflecting their own problems by taking it out on someone else.”

Loki nodded, “That’s right.” He popped open the can and took a sip, snorting as the bubbly liquid went up his nose and he coughed. Jason snickered behind his soda, and even Bruce was trying not to smile.

“But…” Jason looked down at the counter after the laughter had tapered off. , “weren’t you a bully too? I mean, I saw what happened in Germany.”

The entire room stilled for a moment, before Loki cleared his throat and spoke. “I thought myself above the mortals of this realm.” Seeing Jason’s quizzical look, he simplified, “I believed I could rule this planet because the humans would be too weak to fight back.” He gestured to the others in the room. “But the Avengers, namely Hulk, ended that prospect rather quickly...by smashing me into Stark’s floor several times. There may be a bully, but there will always be a bigger meaner one.” He looked over to Bruce. “That will be your first lesson. Let us go downstairs to the gym.”

“Uh...wait.” Jason called out. “Before we start training, uh….” he looked slightly embarrassed as he opened his book bag and pulled out a copy of Hamlet. “Since you and Thor got that Shakespeare thing going, could you all….um help me with the lines...um please.”

Loki grinned. Because of course, he had the same book in his own satchel and had already learned the text by heart before this endeavour.

“I love Shakespeare, so if you’d like, I can help too, if you’d like. I’ll go get my book.” Bruce offered.

Jason shrugged, “Sure, if you want.”

Nearly 10 minutes later, they each had their copies of “Hamlet”, practicing a line in a round. Jason took the reading with gusto, and delivered the passages with the passion he found in actors on Asgard, much to Loki’s pride.

At the end of the scene they’d been practicing, both Bruce and Loki were surprised as how well the boy had done and not only remembering the lines, but reticing them with feeling.

“You are quite good at acting. Have you ever considered taking up a….” He pretended to think of the word even though he knew it, “A dramatic course at school?”

“Uh they don’t have a class, but they do have a club.” And there was an understanding smile between them.

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A few days later, Loki, Jason and Mark decided to have lunch in the cafeteria. Loki was
listening to Mark’s chatter about his Spanish teacher, when they all saw Kevin enter the cafeteria. They only spared him a glance before returning to their conversation. It was the taunts at a scrawny looking 9th grader that drew their attention to that direction again.
The bully had shoved the 9th grader from his seat and was insulting him by saying “Oh. did da baby fall outta his seat? Thanks, I have a spot to sit down!”

He saw Jason’s shoulders tense. Turning to them, the boy he said, “You guys behind me?”

“Dunno what we can do, but yeah man, we’re behind ya.” Mark affirmed.

The three of them strolled to where Kevin was now seated, and Jason was bold enough to tap him on the shoulder.

The bully seemed startled by their boldness to go anywhere near him. Then his nostrils flared, his jaw tightened and he stood up to face them. Suddenly, he burst into laughter.

“You think that you can win a fight against me by yourselves?”

Loki whispered dangerously, “Well, we did the first time, didn’t we, gentlemen?”

Kevin snorted, “You wouldn’t want to start a fight in front of everyone?” he waved his hand around to the cafeteria filled with students who all seemed to be paying attention now.

“You know,” Jason’s voice rose so that the entire student body could hear, “when someone bullies, it’s because they’re….” He looked the bully up and down, “compensating for something.”
Behind him, Loki let out a snicker of laughter. “ He looked over Kevin’s shoulder. “Don’t see your bully friends. Guess you’re not as tough now, are you?”

That sent the bully into a rage, his face first turning red, and then purple. Loki stepped in front of Kevin, reeled back, and with all his god-like might, slapped the bully clean across the face. There were gasps, and whistle of astonishment from everyone in the cafeteria.

Even Kevin seemed taken aback. “Did you….slap me?!” he roared

“I did.” Loki replied almost cheerily. Then in a darker tone, and with a shark-like grin, he whispered, “I’m not that subtle.”

The bully lunged toward them, mostly at Jason who swiftly moved aside. Loki meanwhile had grabbed the plastic tray from his spot at the table, whispering a few words to enchant it.

“Jason, here!” He called tossing it to the boy, who slid it in front of Kevin. The bully yelped with surprise as he stepped on it, sending him careening down the cafeteria. Mark had the foresight to push a trash can into his path so that Kevin slammed into it, and came to a stop with all the garbage now flung on him.

The entire student body roared with laughter as the bully looked around both dazed and humiliated.

Their amusem*nt was short lived as Mr. Ferrell boomed, “Mr. Bass, Mr. Adams, Mr. Owens, and Mr. Bowers! Principal's office, NOW!”

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Notes:

A/N: I know it took so long for me to post this, but I was really stuck on how I wanted this fight to work out. Speaking of which, I STILL haven’t finished with this section because Loki still hasn’t been the ‘hero’ yet, so one more chapter, I promise!

Thank you all for the faves and comments. I am having so much fun writing this!

Chapter 31: Hero and Mentor Chapter V

Summary:

An invitation to a school play goes wrong, and Loki finally gets to prove that he's a hero.

In Loving memory of Stan Lee, who gave us so many characters to love and aspire to be. We'll miss you 'Stan the Man'!

Notes:

A/N: I am so sorry this took so long! The fight scene and final scene really were tough to think out. My life has been a bit chaotic, so that’s why it took me so long to write this as well.

Thank you for all the kind comments and continued support of this fanfic I greatly appreciate it!

Chapter Text

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“I’m waiting for an explanation, gentlemen.” The vice-principal, Mrs. Veeder demanded, leaning on her desk with her arms folded. She was a formidable lady, tall with auburn hair in a tight bun. She wore large square-framed glasses and a purple dress suit matched with a equally severe scowl.

The three of them exchanged glances. Loki opened his mouth to begin taking the blame, but it was Jason who spoke up first.

“Uh...It was my fault Mrs. Veeder. I em….called him some names and insulted him.” He put his hands up, “But in our defense, he just pushed a kid from a lunch table and took that spot.”

Loki stepped forward next, “I also verbally provoked the bully and slapped him.” Loki admitted. The vice-principal’s eyebrows rose at this.

Finally Mark replied, “Ummm I sorta pushed the trash can in front of him so that he’d crash into it.”

“M’am” Loki said seriously, “we were just doing what Kevin has done for years: picking on someone weaker than he.. I do not like bullies and we decided it was time for his comeuppance.”

Mrs. Veeder seemed to consider this as she leaned back in her seat and consider their words, then looked at each of them.

“Very well. Though you should have let the administration hand this situation, I commend you for standing up to a bully. I will only suspend you for one day.” Loki snorted which got her attention.
“Is something funny, Mr. Owens?” she asked sharply.

“With all due respect, m’am, had the ‘administration dealt with the bully’, rather than turning a blind eye, we would not have had to take it upon ourselves to take care of it.” Loki replied boldly, while Jason and Mark gaped at him.

Mrs. Veeder’s eyes narrowed. “I believe your suspension will extend to five days Mr. Owens, for your insubordination.” A pause, then she continued with, “I’ve contacted your parents,” she nodded to Jason and Mark, “And your guardian.” to Loki.

They nodded then started for the door.

“And Gentleman?” Mrs. Veeder called out, causing them to turn. “Since you were trying to do the right thing, this will not go on your records.” Both Jason and Mark looked relieved, while Loki looked slightly confused. “Dismissed.”

All three of them thanked her, and quietly a slid into the hallway, breathing a sigh of relief.
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Loki returned to Avengers Tower after a lengthy explanation to Bruce as to what happened and how he had gotten into trouble.

Bruce seemed to understand, but was still concerned about being called by the vice-principal.
“I guess this is how normal parents are when their kid gets in trouble at school.” Bruce sighed.

When they arrived back at the tower, Loki returned to adult form, and was about to go upstairs to his room to deposit his backpack when JARVIS announced ‘Doctor Banner, Mr. Odinson, sir is awaiting your arrival in the common area.’

They shot a glance at one another and Loki’s stomach tightened even as his shoulders squared. This didn’t bode well.

Together, he and Bruce rode the elevator to the 70th floor where the common room lay, When the doors slid open, it was not only Tony who stood waiting, but the entire Avengers team, looking both dismayed and curious.

The billionaire's arms were crossed over his chest, though a slight look of amusem*nt clung to his lips. “So, which one of you is going to tell me what Loki was doing at a high school?”

Soon Loki divulged all that had occured. How he had gained the trust of the boy and had taught him how to defend himself, and encouraged him, and how they had fought off the bully, twice.
The Avengers listened, the incredulous looks increasing on both Clint and Tony.

“So you’re tellin’ me,” Tony began, pinching the bridge of his nose, “that for the last four months, you haven’t been a ‘secret shopper’, but a student in a New York public school?”

Loki shrugged, “That as you mortals say, is the size of it.”

Thor frowned, “Brother, I do not know why you didn’t include me in this plan or made me entirely ignorant of it. I could have acted as a student too and we could have both have helped the boy.”

“You would have given us away in five minutes, Thor!” Loki hissed.

There was a pause before Tony spoke again. “Alright, let’s see it.”

Loki glanced at him, puzzled, “What?”

Tony grinned, “I want to see how the superior God of Mischief faired in mortal school subjects.”

“Tony,” Steve replied, “That’s kind of rude…”

“No no,” Clint chimed in advancing as well, “I’m genuinely curious too.”
Loki huffed, “Fine!” then swung the backpack around his shoulder to hand it to the industrialist, but not before placing a weight spell on it so that Tony nearly doubled over as he took it.

“Geez, what do you have in here, rocks?!” he complained, dropping the pack onto the ground to unzip it.

Bypassing the textbooks (which were laid aside) he pulled out several folders and Loki’s sketchbook, among other things. Inside were several English assignments, all marked with A’s at the top. One of the comments read: Your analysis of the material was introspective and very interesting!

“That doesn’t surprise me, given how he devours books and has his own library.” Natasha commented.

Next was his history folder, again all marked with ‘A’s’. There was a rather long paper that was a term paper on the Scientific Revolution, which Tony skimmed before looking up at Loki with some surprise. “This is pretty well done. I’m… actually impressed.” They then divulged themselves of the contents of his math folder, followed by science. The Avengers all looked agape when there was a zero on top of one paper.

“Oh that,” Loki waved his hand dismissively when it was pointed out, “was only because I refused to dissect a frog for study. It was quite disgusting and barbaric, so I chose to not to participate.” He nodded to the tiny book that was now in Clint’s hand. “Captain, I believe that will interest you.” Clint muttered about dibbs, but handed it over to Steve. It had a green cover, with gold leaf at the edges of the book, and an image of Yggdrasil within a Celtic knot on the front. Flipping through it (while the others gathered around to see as well) were everyday objects that Loki had drawn in a beautifully detailed way. He had drawn Asgard for the prompt “Fantasy location”’ that made Thor’s eyebrows rise. In the front of the final folder were academic awards: attendance, one for each subject, and finally the Principal’s Honor Roll award.

“If you all are finished with intruding on my work, I’d appreciate my things returned to me.” Loki grumbled.

Shame faced, Thor packed everything carefully back in and handed it back to the god, all while apologizing in the meantime. “Tis no marvel that Loki would do so well, he eclipsed many of his age with his intelligence and penchant for learning on Asgard.”

“We-that is-I am not angry for what you did, Loki.” The Captain reprimanded them. “Only for keeping your plan to yourself and lying about what you were really doing. But I commend you for taking the inclination to help.
He faced Bruce. “And Bruce, I understand that you trusted Loki enough to allow him to take this on. But you both lied, and I don’t appreciate that among teammates. I ask that you don’t do so again.”

Loki appeared to be apologetic, though a smile was beginning to tug at the edges of his lips.
“I shall not do so again, Captain. Perhaps it is time for Kurt Owens to disappear.”

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During the next week, Jason frequented the Tower less each week, though he seemed more approachable and far less standoffish. Later, he and his foster family were invited over for dinner. This time, the entire team was present for dinner and Natasha had made her famous stroganoff again.

“So,” Thor asked more to break the ice than anything else, “How goes your schooling?”

The boy just shrugged, “Same as always.”

“Not so, actually.” Mr Adams had said, ruffling his head,”Jason seems to be doing better in his math and science classes. He even explains subjects that I don’t even understand!”

“I have Bruce and Luc to thank for that.” The boy replied nonchalantly. He paused and then said to Loki, “Oh yeah, did I tell you? I joined a theater club, that’s why I haven’t been here.” He remarked between mouthfuls of food. Loki and Bruce grinned while the others looked genuinely surprised.

“Really? Luc loved theater on A-er at home. What are you to perform?”

“Harvey. It’s a play where a man has an invisible six foot rabbit as a friend.” Both Thor and Loki looked confused.

Bruce chuckled, “I haven’t seen that play since I was in high school.”

The boy face lit with pride, “I got the main role as Elwood! I was wondering...if you all would like to come to the show on the 28th.” He looked like he was blushing a little. “Eh...wanna go see it?”

All of them looked slightly taken aback by the invitation, but Thor nodded. “It would be a great honor.”

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The school auditorium was packed with parents and grandparents, and unwilling participants of younger brothers and sisters. There were even a few teachers, whom Loki avoided when they were introduced to one another. Because of their status as Avengers, they were given prime seats in the first row.

Tony muttered. “I feel like a parent going to their kid’s school play.”

“Now you know how I feel, Tony!” Clint remarked with a grin.

When the lights dimmed all attention went to the stage. They were all immersed in no time. Bruce, Tony, Steve and Natasha all chuckled at the jokes, though Thor and Loki remained confused throughout it.

Nearly an hour into the play, the building began to shake, and they were sure it was not a stage effect. All of them rose as screams of panic came from the audience. Steve went into leader mode. “All of you, get these people to the exits and outside. EVERYONE FOLLOW THE AVENGERS AND DON’T RUN!”

Loki was helping people from their seats and guiding them to an exit, when the building shook
Again, bringing down the masonry. He heard a shout of “Look out!” and was shoved out of the way moments before it hit the ground. Loki looked over to find Clint looking over his shoulder.

Loki gasped, “You-you saved my life.”

Clint didn’t meet his eyes but muttered, “Yeah, don’t mention it….ever.” The building shuddered and Clint yelled, “Let’s get the hell outta here!”

Loki was just about to run when he heard a familiar yell,and turned back. He spied Jason trapped under some masonry on the stage. “Barton, help me!”

Together, they lifted the masonry to free Jason, before Loki hauled him to his feet. “Are you alright?” he inquired seriously, as he put a hand on the boy’s shoulder, giving him a cursory glance. “

“Yeah man,” Jason responded calmly, wincing a little. “Just a little bruised.”

“Good, then we need to leave, and quickly!”

“Couldn’t have said it better myself!” Clint rejoined, “Let’s go!”

The trio sprinted to the exit, into the hallway until Jason pointed to the left, “The exit is that way!”

They halted as a Doombot sped towards them, Jason rushed to the wall where a fire extinguisher was hanging from it. In a few seconds, he had released it and sprayed foam all over the bot. It remained suspended in the air before the teen swung the fire extinguisher at it, causing the Doombot to slam into a set of lockers, denting it in advance of falling to the ground.

Loki paused, his eyebrows shooting upwards. “I’m impressed.”

Jason grinned, “Learned from the best!”

“Praises later! Let’s go!” Clint called out. They all started to run again. Turning the corner, they were confronted with four more Doombots. Loki cursed in Old Norse and looked around to see if there was anything to defend themselves with in reach.

The archer griped as they began to run again, away the Doombots, “This would be a hella alot easier if I had my bow!”

They turned a corner, “I’ve got an idea!” Jason yelled, “Follow me!” Loki knew they were headed towards the gym.

“We need to get out of this building!” Loki shouted, looking behind him to see if the bots were still following them.

“I know, but we need to be able to defend ourselves!” Jason called back. They screeched to a halt in front of the gym doors. Jason threw them open and ran to the gym supply closet. Clint kicked them open and the three of them rushed in, grabbing whatever they could lay hands on. The archer gleefully took up a set of arrows and a bow, the teen picked up two metal baseball bats, and Loki took up a few javelins. It hadn’t taken long before the four bots that had been following them to blast open the doors and detect the three men.

“Stay behind us!” Loki shouted to Jason over his shoulder. He flung a javelin at one of the bots, sending it careening backwards halfway across the gym. Clint shot an arrow into another, bitterly disappointed that it only seemed temporarily phased. When it advanced towards Jason, the teen was not frightened. His eyes blazed, and with all his might, he swung at it. The bot was dispatched into the bleachers with a ‘clang’.

One of the Doombots’ blasts struck Loki in the arm, sending him to his knees in a flash of pain.

“Barton!” Loki gasped, holding his wounded arm. “You must release the bracelet and allow me my magic!”

“No way!” Clint argued, “What makes you thin think that you won’t vanish the moment I take the bracelet off?”

“If I did not care, I would have left without rescuing the boy!” Loki seethed. Do you really think so little of me?!”

There was a pause then Clint snarled, “FINE! Just this once!” He slid the bracelet off, allowing
Loki’s magic to settle back into his body, his godly strength rebuilding itself within seconds. He picked up a shot put, and hurled it to another Doombot, which was thrown all the way across the gym where it hit masonry and subsequently dropped to the ground.

The fourth bot proved to be more problematic as it began to dodge the attacks from both Loki and Barton.

“It’s adapting….Damn it all!” Loki hissed.

“Hey remember? Language!” Clint joked, sprinting out of shot of the Doombot.

It took Loki only moments to think of how to beat the bot at its own game.

“I’ve an idea!” Loki called out to Barton, “Keep striking it with your arrows!”

“What?! That didn’t work!” The archer complained.

“Trust me!” Loki hollered.

Barton continued to shoot arrows at th Doombot even as it advanced towards him and the boy. Loki snuck behind it. He shouted, “DUCK!” as he lobbed a metal discus at it, cutting the bot nearly in half before it and the discus were stuck to the adjacent wall.

Gasping for breath, all three of them retreated to the undamaged part of the bleachers.

“Stark, come in. Can you hear me?” Clint called through a watch on his right wrist.

“Stark here. You alright in there? We didn’t see you in the crowd. Sorry we should have gotten into contact sooner, but we had our own mess out here. Is Jason with you? His foster parents are frantic.”

“Yeah, Jason is with us, we’re fine.” Clint confirmed “Well, Loki’s arm is injured, but other than that….” Loki muttered something that neither of them heard. “Please tell me there aren’t any more bots to fight? I’d like to get outta here.”

There was a pause, then. “Scan shows no more Doombots. We’ve got the situation under control out here. Want Thor to come pick you three up?”

Clint looked over to the Trickster, who now was paler, and clutching his arm. He contemplated putting the bracelet back on Loki, but decided against it. “Yeah. Thanks Ton.” Clint glanced over to Loki. “Looks like we might have to borrow a few things from the nurse’s office. “Uh...we might have damaged some things in here as well. Good thing you’re a billionaire. Barton out.”

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Nearly a week later, Loki’s bracelet had been replaced after his arm had healed in a matter of hours. He wore a sling as Mr. and Mrs. Adams arrived with Jason for a communal supper. The Adams had hinted that it was a special occasion, so Thor and Loki both worked to make an Asgardian meal that would be fit it.

The family arrived, Jason standing next to a smaller boy that was no more than six with large green eyes and scraggly brown hair.

“This is our son, Andrew.” Mrs. Adams introduced the child to them.

“Glad to meet you, young one!” Thor boomed happily, shaking his hand, as did the others who also introduced themselves. “Dinner will be served soon. Shall we play some games in the meantime?” The boys happily agreed.

“Thor, Luc, may we speak with you?” Mr. Adams asked politely as the kids were ushered down to the game room.

“Of course.” Loki responded calmly, ushering them to a couch, before the Asgardians sat themselves in arm chairs.

Mr. Adams leaned forward, hands clasped. “First, I’d like to thank both of you. We’ve seen quite a change in Jason these past couple of months. He’s not gotten into trouble except for that bully incident. He really seems passionate about acting and it has helped him focus. And he’s more receptive to us. We’re very proud of him...and…” he took his wife’s hand, “We’ve decided to adopt him.”

Thor and Loki both beamed. “I am very pleased at this news!” Thor boomed.

“I am quite glad he will have a family. May I congratulate you both?”

Mrs. Adams smiled gently. “Thank you. We haven’t told Jason. We were hoping that can do so after dinner, if you don’t mind.”

Nearly an hour later, JARVIS announced that dinner was indeed ready. The table was spread with salted pork, fruits, and assortment of vegetables.

“Wow!” Andrew gasped. “Looks yummy!”

Thor grinned and helped the child into a chair (though Tony took a huge engineering book from a shelf for a booster seat). Together, they enjoyed the meal. At the end of it was bread topped with chestnuts and honey.

“This is quite delicious!” Mrs. Adams commented.

“Thank you! ‘Tis a recipe well known on Asgard that’s made close to winter.” Thor explained.

When they really thought they could not take another bite, Loki and Thor excused themselves from the table to go to the kitchen, re-appearing with a three tier chocolate cake that looked professionally decorated which he set on the table.

“Okay, tell the th truth Luc, you got this at Masion du Chocolat again, didn’t you?” Tony jabbed.

Loki shot him an annoyed look, “I’ll have you know that I baked this myself; I found the recipe online, and Youtube is a wellspring for cake decorating tips.”

“You’re a man of many talents, Luc.” Steve chuckled, and Loki bowed melodramatically. Thor was just about to cut into the cake when Loki cleared his throat and gave Thor a knowing glance. “Mr. Adams, I believe you had something to say?”

The aforementioned Mr. Adams stood. “I’d like to thank you all for hosting us several times at your dinner table as your guests. And for giving Jason a place to come for tutoring as well as the encouragement that he needed.” He spoke directly to the boy now. “Jason, we are so proud of you. And-” he paused, words seeming to be considered for a moment, “And we wanted to ask you, if you’d like us to be your parents-permanently. If-if you’ll have us, that is.”

The teen looked up, gaping with his eyes widened to their fullest extent. “Really?” Jason said shakily, “You’ll adopt me? Even after all the trouble I’ve caused?”

“We’ll continue to work to keep you on the straight and narrow, but yes, son. We want to keep you in our family.”

There was a scraping noise as Jason hastily pushed back his chair to embrace his new parents.

Loki looked over to see Thor smiling, first at the scene in front of him, and then at him.

“What?” Loki muttered

Thor just nodded his head magnanimously before sitting down. Its meaning did not escape Loki as the words of his mother echoed in his mind. You are our son, Loki. And we your family.

Even though he had spent years resenting Odin, Loki admitted that being rescued from that rock on the Jotunheim and given into the arms of Frigga had allowed him a family he never would have known. After everything he had done, Loki was trying to reform, and still had an adopted family that still loved him and saw his potential. He had seen it in this boy, and now the chaos in Jason’s life would be one filled with purpose and and a family of his own. They both were no longer alone.

“Okay, who wants cake?” Tony asked loudly, breaking up the moment of happiness between the family, as well as Loki’s reflections.

“TONY!”

TBC……

Chapter 32: Winter Olympics

Summary:

The Avengers watch the Winter Olympics, and Loki gets into them.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

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Loki could hear the excited chatter from the common area as he went downstairs for the evening meal. Already, the team was gathered around the large TV with their meals either on their laps or on the coffee table. Glancing at the screen, he recognized that the person was on skis.
“Change of pace tonight,” Bruce remarked cheerfully, “We’re watching the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics.” At Loki’s confused look, Bruce shrugged, “Just get your dinner and we’ll explain.”

Loki did so, and when settled between Bruce and Steve, the super-soldier spoke up next. “Basically the Olympics is a friendly sports competition between nations every 4 years. In the summer, there’s swimming, triathlon, wrestling and the like. In the winter, there’s skiing, skating, sleighing, and hockey. Every four years they trade off winter then summer and choose the city to host it accordingly. Take a guess where they are?”

Loki shook his head. Thor boomed, “They are in the land of our brethren, Norway, brother!”

“Hey Jarvis, how many times has Norway hosted the Olympics?” Bruce asked curiously.

The 1952 Winter Olympics occured in Oslo, and the 1994 Olympics took place in Lillehammer, Norway. Jarvis answered promptly.

“Thanks Jarv.” Tony called out.

“Oh yeah.” Clint added “They also have the paralympics for athletes and soldiers who have been wounded and those with physical disabilities for both summer and winter events, Cap. They have a seperate set of events built around their disabilities after the general Olympics..”

They watched as a narrator describe Norway’s founding all those centuries ago, alongside a visual of the Northern Lights, fjords and native people herding reindeer over old Norse song

“I bet they won’t mention the Jotun invasion when Odin literally came down to Midgard.” Loki sniffed.

The next part of the program was the Parade of Nations. As the announcement was made for Greece, which was the first country, Bruce explained, “Greece always goes first since it’s where the first Olympics took place over 1000 years ago, and the host country goes last so they can complete the opening ceremony.”

So they watched as each nation marched out onto the arena stage, some like Ghana with smaller delegations, and others like Great Britain with larger ones. When it was Russia’s turn, Natasha seemed to clap politely at the athletes on the screen. Cheers from the others were loud as the United States was announced over the loudspeaker. Loki made little American flags appear for Tony, Steve, Clint and Bruce, who waved them a little enthusiastically
“Why is it that our athletes sweaters always look like a bunch of grandmas made them?” Tony commented.

“Hey, be nice. I bet a lot of grandmas did work hard on those outfits!” Clint added with a laugh, which resounded in a collective chuckle from everybody else.

Thor and Loki applauded as Norway finally appeared, also making corresponding flags materialize for the country that had worshiped them over a thousand years before, while he and his brother grinned proudly..

The night’s ceremony was capped as an Olympic Alpine skier came down a hill holding the Olympic torch in one hand to the cauldron. From there a smaller octogonal shaped lantern on the ground was lit, causing more light on either side of the main cauldron.

“These lanterns are recreated from Medieval times and represent the spirit of the athletes in each Olympic and Paralympic sport.” The T.V. announcer explained as they all came to life and began to shoot fireworks. A man wearing a winter suit who was apparently the crown prince of Norway appeared, took the flame up the steps to the cauldron and lit it. Loki felt his heart warm; even though the Olympics were held every four years as Bruce had said, it felt as though he were watching something wonderful occur. And for all intents and purposes, it was; it was drawing him closer to the team.

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During the next week there was a small buzz about the days events. They had gathered for their mid-day and evening meals around the television to watch the sports offered that day. Even after missions, the team would come home to the tower and watch the games to unwind. There was a mutual agreement that some sports were dull, like curling and Biathlon.

“Who thought it was a good idea to add target practice to skiing?” Tony remarked one day when they were watching it. “It’s like something out of a James Bond film.”

Some sport Loki found to be crude in its own right, like hockey, though the others seemed to enjoy for that reason. There was a shared enthusiasm for some sports, such as snowboarding which both Tony and Clint loved.Loki could see the appeal as the athletes took on an obstacle course or what was called a ‘half-pike’ while performing amazing feats of artistry in jumps. Natasha was a fan of the figure skating, but everyone was dismayed by the scoring system. Several times Nat or even Loki would shout. “These judges have no brains! This scoring system is lousy!”

It was one day after lunch that they had gathered to watch T.V. Loki had gone upstairs to read for a while, but JARVIS announced that Thor would like him to come downstairs. Perplexed, Loki descended to the common area.
“Loki,” Thor boomed, “the luge competition has begun!”
The Trickster looked at the screen and beamed, sitting down with the others to watch.

A man called Elias Gurstung from Germany was first up. They watched as he slid down the icy track at speeds reaching 82 miles per hour.

“You kind of have to be crazy or extremely well trained to go down a track like that at top speed.” Steve asserted with a little wonder.

Clint snorted, “You think this is crazy? You should see Skeleton, Cap. They go downhill on a track, head first!”

“I thought you might like to see this Loki, as you helped to establish the sport!” Thor stated. The others all blinked were silent, then it was Tony that spoke up.

“Hang on, you mean Loki helped create the Luge? Seriously?” Tony barked.

“Oh yeah, I’ve read that legend.” Bruce added with a grin. “It gets lost between Celtic and Norse mythology, but there’s some semblance of a story there. The sport was made official in 500 A.D.”

“I’ve gotten quite good at the luge, I’ll have you know.” Loki sniffed. A shark-like grin appearing on his face. “And I will now endeavour to prove it!”

He disappeared with a ‘pop’, re-appearing as a blur on the screen in the background. They faintly saw him snap his fingers and appear now at the top of the hill, all decked out in a luger’s outfit complete with a sled that were of course in ombre shades of black and green. On the screen the name Ikol Oddinson (Norway) appeared and their mouths went a little dry.

“Is he really going to compete?” Clint wondered aloud.

As if in answer to this question, Loki or rather Ikol, took his stance, then begin the run. He flawlessly navigated the sharp turns and was blazing down the track at a speed of nearly 85 miles per hour.

“Wow, look at this, We may have a new Olympic record here!” The T.V. announcer spoke up with amazement.

At the end of the run, Loki popped up, put his helmet under one arm, held the sled with the same hand, and waved to the crowd who were loudly cheering now.
“Well. I guess Loki was right, he really is good at this sport.” Natasha said dryly.

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The dismay in the Avengers Tower soon was fully realized when Loki not only appeared for each competition for luge, but began to win them.

“He has to be cheating!” hissed Clint as he watched the Trickster slide.

“I think not, friend Clint.” Thor cut in. “He has been participating in this game for several hundred years. Heimdall always knows that Loki snuck down to Midgard for competitions.”

“But he can’t win.” Steve added firmly. I mean he’s good, don’t get me wrong, But he didn’t enter the games ya know, fairly. He’s taking the chance away from someone who might deserve it.”

Tony snorted, “And you really think he’s gonna give up a medal if he wins one? You’re naive, Cap.”

There was a collective, if not resigned sigh from the group while they all tentative held their breaths, some hoping that Loki would win, and others hoping that one little mistake would keep him from winning. Thor couldn’t help but shout ‘Go, Loki, Go!” as he made his run.

At the end, the announcer said, “And that clenches it, Ikol Oddinson has won the Olympic gold medal in Men’s Luge!”

Loki stood and threw his hands up in the air as he looked at the clock recording his time, shouting in what Thor knew to be Old Norse which was muffled under his helmet. He took it off as a female reporter came up beside him.

“Ikol, you’ve just won Olympic gold. How are you feeling?”

Loki looked as proud as a peaco*ck as he spoke in a Norwegian accent, “I am very happy and wish to say hello to my hero Thor and the Avengers if they are here on Earth.” They looked a little stunned that he’d mention them by name. “Also I’d like to say hello to my mother and father who could not be here, unfortunately. But I hope I’ve made them very proud today.”

“I’m sure they’re proud. Thank you.” The reporter affirmed.

“He won.” Clint muttered. “Loki actually won.”

“I guess I’ll be making him a medal stand.” Tony added dryly.

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When Loki came home, the gold medal was hanging around his neck, while Lok himself stood, chin up and looking a proud as ever.

Thor came up to him first and pulled him into a huge bear hug. “Loki, I am so proud of you!”

“Congrats, Loki.” Bruce continued, “You’re an excellent luger.”

The others congratulated him and gave him a pat on the back.

“We have something for you Loki.” Tony announced, appearing with a wood box. On it was the Olympic rings etched onto the glass, the symbol of that Olympic game, and at the bottom, a picture of Loki wearing the gold medal on the presentation stand.

“Thank you.. This has been one of the most exuberant times of my life. I think I’ll have to do it again in four years.”

NO!” came the united yell from the Avengers.

TBC……

Notes:

A/N: I know, I know it took so long to get this chapter up. But as I said, my life was chaotic until about a month or so ago, I had so much fun writing this chapter because it just popped into my head one day. The most difficult part was actually writing the Opening Ceremony, I didn't know how to make it interesting. I had intended for Loki to compete in the figure skating because they are really critical about the scoring, but ran out of time. I hope you all liked this chapter. I had planned to do a few 'missing scenes' from Halloween to Christmas since I pretty much missed those.

Please leave a comment or review. Thank you to all who have bookmarked or watched this story!

Legend about Loki and luge:

www . druidry library / gods-goddesses / norse-loki-and-celtic-lugh

Medieval Octagon Lantern:

www. jelldragon lamps. htm

Chapter 33: Missing Scene-Tokyo Children's hospital

Summary:


a/n: I know, it’s been a long time. I’ve had some issues I had to deal with and haven’t felt like writing because of them. Also this chapter was quite difficult to write due to the subject manner.
Thank you for the reviews and for following this story.


Next time will be a fun chapter!>

Chapter Text

Loki was shifting his seat as the limo headed to the children’s hospital. Looking around, he almost laughed at the ridiculousness of what sat before him. Both Cap and Thor were already dressed in their fighting ensembles. Tony was fidgeting with his bracelet under the cuff of his blue striped suit and adjusting his yellow striped tie. Natasha was in a black turtleneck and olive green pea-coat, while Clint was wearing a magenta t-shirt and gray wool jacket. As for himself, Loki was wearing a white long sleeved collared shirt, a green vest, and black slacks.

As if reading his mind, Bruce spoke up. “If you’re wondering about why the casual clothes, wearing formal wear, especially black suits is...well frowned upon. It invokes the thought of funerals and that’s probably not good for patient morale.”

Loki hummed nonchalantly and returned to his thoughts. It was not as though he was necessarily shy or unnerved by children. After all, growing up as a prince on Asgard, he was taught decorum. He and Thor would sometimes venture into the city. More often Loki would either go as himself or in disguise where children would shyly pay their respects in the former instance. But now he was obliged to entertain ill children and keep his identity a secret.

Before he could contemplate it any further, the limo stopped in front of a tall austere looking building that read 4th Juban hospital. Two older men, several doctors in lab coats and a few nurses all bowed as the team reached the steps. The older man with salt and pepper hair stepped forward to shake hands with each of them.
“My name is Samejima. I am the hospital’s director. We’re honored by your visit today. Please feel free to take your time visiting our patients.” Loki translated as he shook hands. To the director he said, “I am Lucas Laufeyson, interpreter for the Avengers."

After all the formalities were arranged and all the doctors were introduced, they were led inside the building. Each of them changed their shoes for slippers at the genkan. Loki almost laughed outright at Thor’s slippers with his armor, though the Thunderer looked slightly embarrassed himself. Clint observed this as well, but covered his laugh with a polite cough.

They followed the director to the first floor, which was filled with orthopedic cases. It was a large room with several beds in a row on either side of it. Each one of the Avengers fanned out and met with both the children and the parents. Loki stayed near the Captain, who seemed to struggle a little with his Japanese as he mostly knew phrases from a book. Meanwhile Thor stayed close to Bruce, who was also not fluent of the language.

The second level was the orthopedic cases. They all split up, taking turns visiting each patient, as there were not many on the ward.
Cap spoke to a six year old boy with a leg cast who’s eyes lit up. The child flew into a flurry of Japanese, then suddenly stopped as he realized that Steve might not understand.

Loki understood the boys words even as fast as they were spilling out. He translated, “He said that he can’t believe that he’s meeting his hero, Captain America, and he really excited that the Avengers are here.”

Steve chuckled, then reached out to shake the boy’s hand. “Ask him how he broke his leg.”
After receiving his answer from Loki that translated as, “I was doing tricks on my bike and broke my leg.” Steve smiled, but said in a sort of stern but friendly tone. “I know you’ve probably been scolded by your mother, but promise that you won’t do again. Okay, son?”

“Hai!” the boy returned with a sheepish grin.

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The Avengers went from level to level to greet the children, finally ending up on the 10th floor playroom where a plethora of children had gathered to meet them.

“Hello, everyone! I’m Tony Stark!”
There was a cacophony of exclamations and cheers. One of the younger ones shly approached and handed Tony a homemade greeting card, while bashfully explaining that the children had signed it. .It was then that Loki noticed a small girl, sitting in a window seat, reading a book. She only looked up once, before returning to reading. The others were occupied with the remaining children (Tony was showing off his new A.I., Thor was showing some the Mjolnir, Bruce was trying to convince the kids that bringing out The Hulk was not a good idea. Natasha was playing dolls with some younger girls, while Clint was teaching some older boys how to use a play bow and arrow set and Cap was showing a few his shield). Loki glided past them and the forgotten toys to where the girl was sitting.

“Are you enjoying your book?” Loki asked in Japanese, pointing to the tome in her hands. The little child jumped at the sound of his voice. He figured that like himself, if she became absorbed in a book, it would startle her to suddenly be spoken to. It reminded him of the time when he had been deeply immersed in a book and was taken aback by Thor who often teased him about having his nose in a volume of Asgard’s laws.

“May I sit?” Loki asked politely in Japanese, which she acknowledged with a little nod. “My name is Luc, I am a- friend of Thor.” He pointed to the Thunderer who was now telling a story in an animated fashion. “What’s your name?”

She hesitated for a moment before saying, “Akiya Cheiko. How do you know Japanese so well?”

“I am blessed with All-Speak. It allows me to speak, read and write any language in the world and even the universe.” He nodded to the book. “What are you reading?”

“A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.” Cheika answered, closing the book so he could read the cover. He had to admit it was not one that he’d read yet. He would have to remedy that when he got home. “Why are you in the hospital, Akiya-san?”

Her cheeks flushed, “I-I have leukemia.”

“Leukemia? Forgive me, I know not what that it is.”

“You’ve never heard of it?” She was surprised by this. “It’s a kind of cancer in my bone marrow.”

Loki did not know anything about mortal illness, but that sounded serious. Rather than say something uninformed, he looked around at all the parents that were speaking with the Avengers. “Are your parents not here?”

Cheika shook her head sadly. “No. I-I am adopted. My mother is housewife, and my father is am executive at a tech company and he’’s teaching my brother the same work. Mom comes to visit but…..” she looked away, “but my older brother is not sickly. He’s an athlete and really good at pretty much everything, um-except school.”

The Trickster pursed his lips. This reminded him very much of his own life and he suddenly felt for the child. Thor had always been the center of attention while Loki had been sickly growing up and struggled to gain approval from not only his peers and brother, but by his own father as well.

Clearing his throat, Loki said quietly, “Would you like me to read to you for a while?”

Her eyes lit up as she handed him the book. “Hai!”

The next 20 minutes please Loki to no end as he read the story of a rich little girl become poor, while maintaining her hope. This could not have been a better story for Cheika .Loki thought in the back of his mind. It had surprised him that while he read, her head suddenly was resting on his arm. He glanced at her for a moment and saw that she was starting to fall asleep, but he continued to read anyway. He only stopped when he heard Tony call his name. “We’re about to go.”

“Very well,” Loki sighed and closed the book. The little girl looked up at him with glassy eyes brimmed with tears. Loki almost didn’t want to part from her yet, then he had an idea.

“May I take Akiya-chan back to her room?” He asked a nearby nurse who looked puzzled, then nodded, remarking it was room 302 on the fifth floor. “Come my dear.” Loki outstretched his hand which she happily took and was followed by a curious Thor and Tony.

When the elevator opened on her floor, Loki was led down a corridor to a room that was occupied with teddy bears and a few books, but was oddly absent of her family. Loki’s heart dropped at this; if she were ill, he had hoped that the child’s parents would be a constant comfort to her. Pushing down this feeling, he picked the girl up, and placed her on the bed, tucking the bedcovers around her, while placing the book on a the side table next to her. Loki spotted a piece of paper on it and wrote down something quickly. “This is my address if you ever want to write to me. Perhaps, if you like, I can send you some books.”

The girls face lit into a smile that put a little hope in Loki, “Really? You would do that for me? Thank you Loki-san!” She sprang up and embraced Loki around the neck. When she had let go. Cheika fumbled around for a moment as if she were looking for something. After a moment she blushed and said, “It’s not much, but will you accept this?” She handed him a pink pen with a crescent moon mounted on top that matched the design.

It was a not something he would outwardly reject. So smiling he said, “Thank you Cheika-chan.”

As Loki, Tony and Thor entered the elevator, the industrialist joked with a grin, “Who knew you were good with kids. Color me surprised, Rock of Ages.”

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In the months that followed, Loki received a letter from Cheika every week or so, describing how she was feeling, about her treatments and about the books she had obtained from him. Tony had suggested he send her a small digital camera so that she could take pictures. This had resulted in a few pictures sent with each letter of her and the lastest book sent, pictures of the nature outside, and so on. After she had read “A Little Princess”, Bruce suggested “Matilda” by Roald Dahl after Loki had explained her home situation.

A few weeks later, after Loki had sent her “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” A picture arrived of her wearing some sort of cloth on her head, looking pale but still smiling at the camera. He seemed worried as he pointed it out to Bruce.

“Most people lose their hair during chemotherapy because of the aggressive medication. “ Bruce explained solemnly.

“Most kids can recover from cancer.” Clint pipped in. “There’s a 90% survival rate. When the cancer is stopped and doesn’t show any signs of growing, that’s called remission. They’re considered cured if they remain in remission for 10 years.”

“I see.” Loki muttered, glancing again at the cheerful letter.

Loki sent “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe some time later, but didn’t attain his normal reply as soon it was received by her. In fact, another week went by without a reply. He grew more and more worried as the days went by.

Then on a rainy April day. Loki and the other Avenger finally understood why. That day, a letter did come from Japan, but it was official looking, not in the childish scrawl of Cheika. Opening it with some trepidation, he read it. After a moment he stiffened, the letter falling to the kitchen table. Then in a slightly shaking voice, he said, “Will you please excuse me?”

They all looked perplexed at his sudden retreat, however it was Thor who picked up the letter. “It says” he began quietly, that Akiya Cheika succumbed to cancer and passed from this world last Monday.”

“Oh…..” A collective look of sorrow set in their faces.

“He was really attached to that little girl,” Nat commented, “every time I looked over, I saw him reading to her.”

““Why is he gettin’ upset about one kid though?” Clint bristled, “I mean there are plenty of kids with cancer and some who just don’t make it. It’s sad, but a harsh reality.”

After he explained her home life,” Tony added, “I understood why. He saw a lot of himself in that little girl, and finally he had someone he could connect with because of it. He wanted to make her a little happier.” Tony pulled out his phone and headed down the stairs to the lab, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to donate $10 million to cancer research.”

Bruce cleared his throat, “I’d better go talk to Loki. Where is he JARVIS?”

“Mr. Laufeyson is in his library, sir.”

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Bruce tentatively knocked on the door of the library, calling out, “Loki it’s me. Can I come in?”

A shaky voice called out, “Enter.”

Bruce stepped in to find Loki sitting near one of the large windows, knees folded towards his chest as he looked out at the falling rain. In one of the trickster’s hands was the pink pen Cheika had given him. Approaching him. Bruce could tell by the puffy red eyes and nose and the tear tracks that Loki had been weeping for some time.
Silence reigned for a few minutes before Loki spoke albeit with an unsteady voice. With a sniff he muttered, “Why am I languishing over the death of a small child? Mortal children are weak, fragile things, And yet……”

“Because you showed compassion and kinship to a little girl who for all intents and purposes echoed the life you had growing up. But it’s more than that, she was sick and you wanted to make her feel better, maybe even get well. There’s no shame in that. I wish there were more people in the world that is more sympathetic about the sick children. You gave her a few months of happiness and know what it is to have a caring friend.” He patted Loki’s shoulder. “It’s like what Steve says, ‘we can’t win every battle, but we can only fight to save more lives. Tony’s donating money for cancer research.”

Loki tried to smile, “I suppose you’re right. “

“Nat found an anime about the gods and it has you two in it if you'd like to come downstairs and watch it with us.” Bruce said off-handily.

"Would you go down without me please?" Loki responded quietly. "I'd like to be alone, if you don't mind."

Bruce put a hand on his shoulder. "Sure, but don't wallow too long, it'll do you no good." In a kinder tone he repeated, "You made her last few months happier, Loki. That must have meant the world to her. And that makes you a hero in my own book."

Loki allowed himself a small smile. "Thank you, Bruce."

To be Continued……

Chapter 34: Loki has Chickenpox

Summary:

The Avengers and Loki go to a kindergarten, and Loki gets chicken pox.

Chapter Text

When Loki woke up late one morning in March, he knew right away that he was not well. Sitting up, he felt a headache pounding in his skull and ached all over. He felt his stomach sloshing and miserably thought that he had caught some Midgardian ailment….again. Loki rubbed the side of his face, only to discover bumps on his skin. Alarmed, he threw aside the bed covers and trudged to the bathroom. In the mirror. Loki could see a rash on the side of his cheek, on his neck, and taking stock, found more had appeared on his forearm.

“Jarvis! What in the Nine is wrong with me?!” Loki yelped.

Scanning, A pause ensued and then “Sir, it appears that you have contracted chicken pox.”

“Chicken Pox?! What is that?!” He looked up at the ceiling.

“It is an infectious disease marked by fever and a rash of itchy inflamed blisters. Sir, I would advise you to seek medical attention from Doctor Banner.”

Loki sighed and prayed that the contents of his stomach would stay in place as he began to feel even more tired. “I am returning to bed. Send Banner up when I wake again.” He trudged to his bed and was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

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The Avengers had gathered for their morning meal as always but were surprised to see that Loki was not present.

“Wonder what’s up with Rock of Ages.” Clint muttered, “He’s usually one of the first people down here for breakfast.”

“Sirs, m’am,” JARVIS piped up, “Mr. Laufeyson has returned to bed and will not be joining you for breakfast. He has requested Doctor Banner’s presence when he wakes.”

Bruce’s eyebrows rose. “What’s wrong with him, JARVIS?”

Mr. Laufeyson is exhibiting the signs of Chickenpox, sir.” The A.I. answered promptly.

“Chicken Pox?!” Tony exclaimed over his coffee. “How the hell did he get that?”

“Probably from one of the kids we were helping out with at the kindergarten class last week. I noticed a kid itching but thought nothing of it.” Natasha remarked over her coffee.

“What is Pox of Chickens?” Thor asked in slight alarm, “Is it serious?”

“It’s a childhood disease where the person gets itchy rashes everywhere on the skin and a fever for a few days.” Steve explained. “I got it when I was a kid, and I bet everyone in this room did too,”

Tony raised a hand. “I didn’t!”

Bruce sighed. “I guess we’ll have to have SHIELD bring over some immunizations.”

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Loki groaned as he heard a knock at the door, pulling the covers even further over his head.

“Loki,” Doctor Banner called out, “It’s me. Can I come in?”

“Enter,” He groused tiredly.

“JARVIS told me that you had Chicken Pox.” His face was pensive and he reached Loki’s bedside. He took a bottle of water and a box from his deep pockets and place them on the side table. “That’s….not good.”

“You’ve heard of this….chicken pox before then?” Loki inquired as Bruce put a hand on his forehead.

The scientist’s mouth twitched. “It was pretty common for kids to get it during childhood.” He said. “JARVIS, Loki’s temp, please.”

“Sir, Mr. Laufeyson’s temperature is 101.8.”

“That’s a little high for you. I’ll get some ice packs. They’ll help with the rashes as well.”I have an intravenous anti-virial that will help. And don’t itch, that just makes it worse. Trust me on that.”

“What of the others?” Loki inquired in a tone that Bruce thought was worry. “Were they...exposed as well?”

At this, Bruce did smile. “The only one who hasn’t had it is Tony, but that has been remedied. The others have had it already and that usually makes them resistant to getting it again, and they received booster shots. Thor, and Steve and I are not able to the disease because of our immune systems. Don’t worry. We’re still trying to figure out how you got it.” Bruce’s tone changed to something more serious. “I guess it goes without saying that you won’t be feeling very good for the next few days.” Loki snorted. “I’m afraid that it’s going to be...unpleasant; chicken pox is generally worse in adults who may not have been exposed to it. ”

“Perhaps it was those rambunctious, ill-behaved Midgardian children.” Loki sneered while Bruce brought the trash can closer.

Bruce chuckled, “Now, now, that’s not very nice.” He stepped into the bathroom and Loki heard the water running for a moment. Bruce returned with a wet washcloth, which he folded and put on Loki’s forehead.

“You’re probably going to be bored for a few days.” Bruce commented. “You’ve read the Sherlock Holmes stories, right?” Loki nodded and continued. “Well there’s a modern adaptation series that Tony wanted you to see. JARVIS can run it back if you fall asleep. There’s only 3 episodes in each for four seasons, but they’re an hour and a half long ….so it should keep you entertained anyway.”

He took a few pills from the box and handed them to Loki along with a bottle of water. “Here, take these. It’s antihistamines, it’ll also help with the itching.” Then he called up to the A.I. “Hey Jarv, run the first season of Sherlock.” The screen descended and the show began.
“I’ll be back in a little while. Drink your water, you’re gonna want to stay hydrated. I’ll bring up some juice later.”
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“I like company when I go out. Talking aloud helps me think. A skull just attracts attention.” The tall curly haired man on the T.V. said.

There was a knock at the door and without having leave, Thor entered. “Loki! How are you feeling?”

Loki lay under his bed covers shivering and pale. He was just on the verge of falling asleep when Thor came into his room, and he was startled awake. “I would be better if you didn’t barge in here yelling at the top of your lungs, Thor.” he hissed.

“I apologize, brother. I just came in to see if you were in need of anything or in need of company.“

“No,” Loki muttered miserably.

“Do you not want something to eat? You have yet to break your fast.”

Loki’s stomach rolled again, the thought of food made him feel nauseous again. “I wish to be alone so I can rest, Thor.” he rumbled again.

The Thunderer was a little crestfallen, but he nodded. He sauntered over to the bed, removed the now dry cloth, and placed a hand on his ailing brother’s forehead. “You’re burning up, Loki!” He instantly took the washcloth into the bathroom, where he ran it under the faucet. After ringing it out, Thor came back to his sibling’s side and laid the cloth against his forehead.

There was a knock at the door, and Thor called out, “Come in!” which earned a glare from Loki.

Bruce entered with a canister under his arm and a bottle of juice in the other hand. “How are you feeling, Loki?” The face that the Tricker gave him made him smile sheepishly. “Sorry, stupid question. Is the Benadryl helping any?”

“Yes, I do feel a bit less….uncomfortable.” Loki replied grumpily.

“Good.” Bruce handed him the bottle. “I have just the thing to soothe the itching even more and help bring down your fever. How about a cool bath?”

“That sounds like a good idea, friend Bruce.” Thor agreed, outstretching his arms, “Come brother, I shall carry you to the bathing tub.”

“You will not!” Loki hissed, immediately throwing aside his covers and getting to his feet. “I’m not so unwell that I cannot walk!”

Bruce was trying not to smile. “Thor, why don’t you grab some clothes from his drawers while I get the bath ready?”

He nodded. Both went to do their appointed tasks, while Loki pondered how he managed to get waited on hand and foot again. He was both pleased at the concern, but vexed at being treated like a child. He didn’t contemplate this long, Bruce re-appeared and gestured to the door.

“It’s ready when you are, Loki.” The physicist said gently.

Loki glanced over his shoulder to the tub, then his mouth dropped slightly. It was filled with a off white brine.

“What is THAT?!” Loki nearly shouted. Thor winced, hoping that Bruce wouldn’t get angry.

Thor was looking now too, his face scrunched up, “It does look…..unpleasant.”

“It’s a oatmeal bath, it’ll help with the itching. Just….trust me on this, alright?”

Loki seemed to hesitate for a moment, then made his way to the tub.

“Are you sure you are strong enough to bathe by yourself brother?” Thor called.

In answer, Loki slammed the door in his face and heard Bruce chuckle, “I guess that answered your question.”
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Loki would never admit that despite the gooey oatmeal, his itching lessened. After a cool shower, he dressed and trudged back to bed. He was able to get through another episode of Sherlock before falling asleep.

After a restless night of tossing and turning due to the itchiness, he woke again as the sun was already well over in the horizon. He groaned at the knocking at his door.

“Loki, it’s me.” He heard the voice of Steve, “Can I come in?”

He grumbled at the idea of his quiet being disturbed-again, but said “Enter!”

The Captain entered with a tray of food. Loki’s stomach turn, but thought it impolite to refuse a food that had brought up to him. Loki couldn’t help but snicker at the sight of the mighty Captain America reduced to delivering a meal as if he were a servant as on Asgard.

“Good morning, Loki. How are you feeling?” Steve asked politely, holding a tray.
Loki sighed and rolled his eyes. He really wish would stop asking him that, it was becoming tiresome.

“ Sorry. We did a little research-well J.A.R.V.I.S did-and came up with some light things for you to eat.” Steve said setting down the tray. On it was a bowl of fruit, some milk and yogurt.

“Thank You, Captain.” Loki said quietly.

“You’ve been living here for a while, Loki. You can call me Steve.”

“Then thank you...Steven.” Loki added politely.

Steve laughed a little, “Aside from my mother, you and Thor are the only ones that call me by my full name.:” He called up to the A.I. “JARVIS, what’s Loki’s temperature, please?”

“Mr. Odinson’s temperature is 102.3. Sir, if I may direct you to the bathroom, Dr, Banner purchased some fever patches that will serve as useful.” At the A.I.’s direction, he took one from the box and placed the patch on Loki’s forehead.

“Those are handy, and a little more convenient to keep on your forehead. Future technology at it’s best.” Steve chuckled. “Tony wanted me to ask you how you’re enjoying Sherlock.”

“The characters are quite interesting. I quite like how witty how both Sherlock and Watson are in this series I’m on the second episode of the third season, already..”

Steve only nodded politely. “Well enjoy your breakfast. I’ll be a little while to check on you, okay.”

“I-I appreciate your concern for my well-being, Ca-Steven.”

“No problem.” Cap shrugged. “I was sick a lot as a kid, once with chickenpox, so I know how it feels to be constantly ill. I hope you’re going to feel better soon.”
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Loki spent the remainder of the day and most of the next in a high fever. Everything itched and he felt as though his body was burning from the inside like a fire through his veins.He sometimes felt Thor’s strong hand squeezing his own, or the voice of Bruce. At one point he felt a hard pinch of his wrist that registered on some level of pain. It seemed like an endless cycle of waking in misery or sleeping the day away.

He didn’t know how long he’d been so ill, but when he woke again, he felt slightly better. Loki weakly opened his eyes, dully bringing his arm to eye level, and saw that the rashes had begun to scab over. It was then that he noticed the I.V. needle.

Loki wasn’t long in contemplating this when Bruce came in. “Good morning-well almost afternoon, Loki. Are you feeling any better? You’ve been very sick the last two days.”
He pointed to the I.V. bag above Loki’s head. Then he called up to J.A.R.V.I.S. “Jarvis, what’s Loki’s temperature, please?”

“99.4, Doctor.All other vital signs are within the normal range.” The A.I. reported.

“Still elevated, but better than yesterday.” Bruce commented, while taking up Loki’s wrist. “It looks like they’re starting to scab over. You’ll be recovered in a few days.” He grinned. “Guess who else got Chicken Pox?” he grinned. “Tony. Turns out that “little angel” and the kindergarten came into contact with him. He was exposed with it and the vaccine doesn't work right away, so you’re in good company.” Loki just rolled his eyes while Bruce just shook his head.

TBC……

A/N: I was trying to do a Mother’s Day chapter for the whole month of may and couldn’t get it written out. This might not be a ‘fun’ chapter’ but we need a little more upbeat chapter after that sad one. LOL

Chapter 35: Added Scene: Loki's Heart and Sorrow

Summary:

Loki struggles after the death of a child, and the Avengers are there to support him.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

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Loki picked at his food during the evening meal. His elbow was on the table, holding his chin in his hand while he moved the food around the plate with the other. To Thor, this was shocking, as Loki was the epitome of manners and decorum, especially at the dinner table. There was no need to ask what was wrong, they already knew the answer, and it had come from Tokyo Hospital earlier in the day.

“Loki, you should try to eat something.” Thor said gently.

That garnered a severe look from the God of Mischief, who pushed back his chair and picked up his plate. “I am not very hungry. Please excuse me.” He cleaned the plate and put it in the dishwasher before walking out without another word.

“He’s not taking her death very well.” Bruce sighed with a shake of his head.

“If we cried for everyone we lost, we’d never get anything done, Bruce.” Clint countered sourily.

“I can see where he’s coming from though,” Natasha added quietly, also picking at her food. “I mean, how upset were we when we thought Coulson was dead?” There was a solemn nod from Clint and Tony.
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Hours later, Loki lay in his bed. Melancholy had pressed in on him so much he did not feel tired enough to sleep. Sylvester seemed to sense the sadness in his owner and cuddled up to him. Loki seemed surprised, then absent-mindedly patted the cat’s fur, feeling somewhat better.

His phone chimed, making him start slightly and turn his head. He didn’t pick it up though, as he wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone at the moment. It chimed again, and Loki picked it up so as to write that he didn’t want to be disturbed just at present. When he did, however, he was greeted with a picture of him and Cheika reading on the window seat, sent by Natasha. Another ping, and this time it was one of him holding hands with the girl, looking down at her, while she looked up at him. Another notification and this time it was followed by he and Cheika walking down the hall together. The final picture that was sent was with Cheika’s arms around Loki’s neck, smiling.

A message came after that:

You brought this little girl so much joy, Loki. -N.

Of all of the Avengers, he was surprised that it was the icy Black Widow that would be the one to comfort him in his troubles.

Thank you, Lady Natasha. Goodnight. -L.

Loki was about to turn off his phone when an idea struck him. He searched for ‘How to visit a grave in Japan.’ After successfully understanding the ritual involved, Loki turned off his phone, gave Sylvester one more pat, and finally closed his eyes.
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He woke just after dawn to head down to the communal kitchens. As he hadn’t eaten much the night before, Loki was hoping to at least grab some fruit to tide him over until he could break his fast. He wasn’t surprised to find Steve starting breakfast.

“Mornin’ Loki. How are you doing? Would you like some something to eat?”

“I am well enough, thank you Captain. As for breakfast, I would very much appreciate a meal.”

Steve nodded and returned to his cooking. Loki seemed to contemplate how to ask the question in his mind, when he finally decided to just ask it, “Captain?”

“Steve, Loki.” The Captain said, glancing back at him for a moment before returning his attention to the stove. “Did you want to ask me something?”

“Would-would it be alright if I…..took a leave of absence for a few hours?” Loki inquired calmly, though his heart was thumping wildly. What would he do if Steve said no?

Steve glanced at him, puzzled. “Of course, you’re pretty much free to go where you want in the city as long as you tell us where you’re going, Loki.”

“I don’t mean this city,” Loki responded quietly, “I mean Tokyo.”

The Captain’s expression was one of bewilderment, but he schooled it quickly and returned to his cooking. “I think it’s going to take more than a few hours to get to Tokyo and back.” He gave Loki a sympathetic gaze. “I take it you want to see Cheika’s grave?”

Loki looked up, startled, but his eyes remained lowered as he nodded.

“I figured as much.” Steve returned, kindly. “As leader of the Avengers, I hereby give you permission to pay your respects to Cheika.” A pause and then, “If you want, I can have Tony charter you a plane to Japan.”

Loki bowed his head in deference. “If I could teleport, I can go and return before I’m even missed.” He raised one hand as if he were taking an oath, which he did. “I swear, as a Prince of Asgard, brother of Thor. I will go to my destination and not flee the planet, or galaxy,”

Steve seemed pleased with this promise, and so slid off Loki’s magic suppressing bracelet without another word. He smiled kindly to Loki, then clasped the Trickster’s shoulder.

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The sun was just setting when Loki materialized at the deserted Narawaka Shrine. The crows cawed loudly above him in the silent graveyard. He wandered among the family headstones, until he found the Akiya family stone. Loki stood before it for a few moments to gather his courage. He glanced at the grave where the flowers had already wilted and died, which he revived with a wave of his hand. Remembering the rituals he had read about online, Loki magicked some incense, and some white roses. Then he magicked a vase for each, which he placed on the grave. Lastly, he materialized one of Cheika’s favorite foods, red bean paste fish pastry that she had remarked was her favorite, which was called Taiyaki, and placed that too on the dark slate.

Stepping back, he closed his eyes and quietly said a prayer, first in Japanese, then in English.

Guard of the spirits of the dead
Our friend Cheika has come to you now
As Cheika kneels before you, Hel
Know how much she was loved in this life
And how many she loved in return.
Before she crossed over she was an honorable soul;
A soaring spirit, a brave warrior.
Watch over her, Hel, as she crosses the bridge
From this life to the next.
And welcome her with honor and glory
So that she may live on forever
In our hearts and memories

“That was beautiful, Loki.” A familiar feminine voice said from behind him. Loki turned on heel to see all six Avengers behind him. Natasha held a vase of flowers in her hands, as did the others.

Loki looked flabbergasted. “How did you get here so quickly?”

“Stark’s private planes are quite fast, we got here in a few hours.” Steve said, “I couldn’t lie when Tony asked me where you were.” He shifted slightly, “We thought you’d like to have some company. And we wanted to pay our respects to her as well...if you don’t mind.” Bruce replied.

“Thank you,” Loki replied with a small smile. They had cared enough to be here, to take part in the ritual to honor the loss of a child who had become his friend. Natasha advanced with the flowers, which she placed on the grave next to the other things, while everyone stepped forward to place their bouquets as well. Bruce pulled something from his coat, which he also delicately perched on the gravestone: a copy of "The Secret Garden."

Loki paused, then completed the prayer with:

hail to you, our blessed dead
Stand with us if you would
smile on us if you will
may peace be between us, for all time.

“Amen.” Steve whispered.

TBC……

Notes:

A/N: I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but I’ve really been out of sorts and haven’t felt like writing. Thank you all for the kind comments and continued support!

Note: the first part is a “magic spell” I found on the internet. The second prayer is something I found on Reddit.

Also: I'm not over Tony Stark's death in Endgame. ;__;

Chapter 36: Beach and Solar Eclipse

Summary:

The Avengers go to a beach house to relax....and to see the solar eclipse.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The summer was the hottest New York had seen in years. The Avengers, like most New Yorkers, found refuge in their air-conditioned homes. They did not venture out unless it was for a mission or event. By the second week of August, they were all irritable, sniping at one another throughout the day, only tempered by Captain America.

One afternoon, Loki went downstairs to the kitchen to find the others’ eyes glued to the television. As they were still present, he figured that it wasn’t an attack on the city.

“August 21st will be a spectacular day for astronomers, as the solar eclipse will last for several hours.” The lady reporter announced. A map appeared that showed an arch from one side of the country to the other marking the path of totality.

“We won’t be able to see it from here.” Steve said with a little disappointment, pointing to New York, “We’re too far north.”

“I think we deserve a break,” Tony announced. “How would you all like to see the eclipse at my beach house?”

“Are you serious, Tony?” Clint gaped, dropping his fork. “That would be awesome. We’ll need eclipse glasses too.”

“Yup. Meant to spring this on you all earlier, but we’ve been busy fighting lately. Don’t worry, I’ve already ordered everything.” He spoke to JARVIS. “J- make sure the house has been stocked for our arrival.”

Yes, sir.

“We definitely need some down time. I could use a few days in the sun to get a tan.” Natasha remarked.

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Two days later, Thor and Loki were bought proper swimming attire (which turned out to be merely a pair of swimming trunks). After one more battle, The Avengers promised Fury that they’d return at the first sign of trouble, but Tony said in no uncertain terms that the team had more than deserved a vacation. They all finally made their way to Stark’s beach house in Georgetown, South Carolina on Stark’s private plane.

As they stepped off the plane after they landed, Loki felt the oppressive humidity tenfold on his Jotun physique. “It is hotter here than it is in New York.” Loki muttered.

“Be nice, or I’ll uninvite you to my beach house.” Tony shot back.
It was only a short car drive to a tall gate and the house beyond. They all gaped as they got out of the car. The house was geometric and modern, something they knew Tony liked. To Loki though, the house looked cold and uninviting. But like everything he had learned on Midgard, perhaps looks were deceiving.

“Welcome to Avengers’ vacation home!” Tony announced swiping a card over a keypad, causing the door to swing open automatically. Clint whisted, “Damn Tony, you have some seriously awesome taste in vacation houses!”

Loki had to admit, It was just as luxurious as Avengers Tower, but with a much better view. The floors were light wood, and the space was large, but not un-inviting thanks to its furniture. The couches and side tables were square, as was the built in shelf on one wall of the living room. To the right was a large modern kitchen and to the left of that was a dining room. The entire floor had windows that looked out onto to the ocean.

“Okay kids,” Tony said, clapping his hands together, “This place has 8 bedrooms and bathrooms, so one for each of us, and they all have en suites. Go on, make yourselves at home!”

“Thanks Tony!” Clint shouted and pounded up the steps. All of them thanked him in turn before going up the iron spiral staircase to the second floor. Loki took the last room on the right. Stepping in, he found the room that was spacious and open. A light oak King bed was against a wall, and light nearly sheer curtains framed a set of double doors out to the veranda. Opening them, he walked out into the sunshine. He heard the ocean crashing onto the shore and seagulls, while the scent of seawater wafted in the air. Below him, Bruce, Natasha and Clint had already begun to swim.

There was a knock at the door, and Steve stepped in. “Hey Loki, we’re going for a swim, wanna come along?”

Loki hesitated for a moment. It would still be too hot for him, even with the cool water. But he didn’t want to be teased for not being a ‘team-player’.

“I shall be down shortly.” Loki responded.

He changed into his swimming trunks and a light cotton shirt, grabbed a towel, and headed to the beach ramp via Jarvis’ instructions. He hissed as his feet touched the hot sand. The sun beat down on his skin as he reached the shore. The light, sand shifted to damp and firm as he reached the water. Remnants of waves lapped at his feet, before pulling back into the ocean. Loki watched the waves crash ashore with some awe. On Asgard, they had ponds and rivers to be sure, but he and Thor had never traveled far enough to see any oceans.

“It’s beautiful, is it not, brother?” Thor said, making Loki start and come out of his reverie. Loki nodded. Thor thumped him on his back. “Come brother, let us enjoy the water!” Thor shouted. He gave a mighty shout usually reserved for battles as he flung himself into the waves.

The water was cold but not freezing as Loki suspected was normal for Midgardian summers. It reached first to his ankles, then his knees, his chest, and finally his shoulders. When he reached Thor, the Thunderer grinned, “Welcome to the sea, brother!” And then, Thor pushed him down into the water. Loki bobbed back up immediately, coughing and grimacing at the brackish water that had gone down his throat and up his nose, making him cough. Loki was about to kick Thor, but missed as a wave pushed him off balance, making the Thunderer laugh.

The next few hours were spent swimming and splashing. Tony appeared with a ball, and they all played a game of water volleyball.

Loki waited out the game, feeling slightly nauseous and dizzy, swimming back out of the way of the game.

Bruce looked over to him, concerned. “Are you alright?”

“I-” Loki shuddered. He felt faint, sweating despite the water.

“Steve, I need your help!” Bruce shouted to the super-soldier, taking Loki by the shoulders. The carefree attitude had disappeared.

“Loki! What’s wrong?” Thor gaped, splashing next to them.

“He has heat exhaustion, Thor. We need to get him inside.” Bruce explained.

Loki felt himself lifted between the soldier and scientist, then his world oddly darkened despite it still being daylight.

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When he woke again, he felt the air conditioned room, laying on something soft and comfortable. His head still felt as though it was swimming as he opened his eyes. Next to him sat Thor. His eyes widened as they fell on him. “Loki! Are you alright?” He put a hand behind Loki’s ear as a sign of affection, his face filled with worry. “Jarvis, tell Doctor Banner that Loki has awakened!”

Right away, Mr. Odinson.

“Wha-” Loki rasped hoarsely. He felt a glass brought to his lips and he drank down the cool water.

“Slowly, don’t want to choke.” Thor said gently. He let the Thunderer ease his head back onto the pillow.

“You had heat exhaustion, that is what Bruce told me.” He looked away, “Forgive me, I forgot about your sensitivity to hot days.”

“I am not a wilting flower, Thor.” Loki hissed, his cheeks burning, but not with sunburn. He wanted to be angry, but looked down at the blanket instead. “The fault is mine, Thor. I did not get out of the water when I started feeling ill. I should apologize to the others for ruining their merry-making.” He trailed off.

Thor looked unusually serious. “Friend Bruce is the only one who knows of your…..origins, The others thought it was merely overtaken by the heat. As to the Avengers, they are by no means angry with you, but quite concerned.

Loki’s eyebrows rose. He had always been teased by the Warriors three at his reluctance to go outdoors, or fell ill on hot days and was remanded to his quarters to recover. The Captain would no doubt quash such jabs at Loki’s illness.

At that moment, Bruce stepped in, knocking on the door. “Can I come in?” Thor nodded and the scientist stepped towards Loki’s bed. “How are you feeling?” He put a hand to Loki’s forehead. “Your still a little warm, but we can remedy that.” He turned to Thor, “has he had any water?”

“A, full glass, Bruce.” Thor replied.

“I’m still right here, if anyone cares to notice.” Loki muttered.

Bruce did speak to Loki now, “It’ll help bring down your temperature if you take a cool shower Then you’ll probably want to take a nap again.” He smiled, “Doctor’s orders. We’ll wake you when dinner is ready. Make sure you drink plenty of water, there’s some in the mini-fridge.“ He pointed to a bulky silver rectangle in the corner

“Thank you Bruce,” Loki whispered still not feeling well to speak any louder. He grabbed a bottle of water to take in with him and made his way to the bathroom to fill the tub with cool water as the two of them made their way out the door.. He luxurated in it, washing away the brine from the sea. When he felt sufficiently washed, Loki was starting to feel tired again. He fell asleep not long after changing into his pyjamas and nestling under the covers.

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When Loki woke again, the moon was beginning to rise over the horizon of the ocean. Looking at the clock, he saw that it was nearing 8 pm. The dizziness and nausea had dissipated, but he still felt a little weak as he stood. Loki got up, and was about to change when JARVIS interrupted him.

Excuse me, sir. Mr. Stark would like me to inform you that you’ll want to dress in your swim trunks and t-shirt. They have been washed and placed back in your dresser.

Loki seemed alarmed. Did they not care that he had been unconscious due to heat stroke? Was this a plan to mock him by Stark? He contemplated refusing, but decided that Thor would not allow such cruelty after this incident.

Going downstairs, he found the Avengers not on the beach, but gathered on the pool deck, brightened by a flood light. Cap was in his trunks and t-shirt at the grill. It was then that Loki smelled the fragrance of sizzling meat. Clint and Natasha were working in tandem placing dishes and flatware on the long table, while Bruce and Thor were carrying smaller dishes.

“Hey Loki.” Steve greeted him, ‘“feeling better?”

“Much. Thank you, Captain.” His heart warmed a little at the general concern posed as questions by the others. Did he need anything? Did he need to sit down? Normally, he would not have tolerated this insufferable coddling, but he knew it was out of general interest of his well being.

After dinner Tony clapped his hands together. “Alright, who’s up for a swim?”

“I thought you aren’t supposed to swim for thirty minutes after eating food.” Steve wondered aloud.

“That’s actually never proven to be true. There’s no scientific evidence to back it up.” Bruce shrugged.

They all made their way into the ocean, swimming and splashing and laughing. Loki, meanwhile lounged at the shore, still feeling a little too tired. A splash doused him with water, and turning he saw Thor grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“You are in for it now!” Loki yelled, using his magic to create a huge wave that immersed all of them.

The next few hours were spent together playing games of volleyball and chicken (a game Loki enthusiastically played as his was pitted against Tony) and races across the pool.

Nearly two hours later, the party broke up and they all went up to their respective rooms to bed. Loki grinned and wasn’t at all regretful about coming downstairs. Still a little tired, he yawned and politely bid the others goodnight.
The following day, they all sat together eating a late breakfast while watching the news, the local anchors chattering excitedly about the upcoming eclipse.

"The eclipse will begin at 2:30 pm and will reach totality at 2:42 pm. The sun will be eclipsed by the moon for approximately 3 minutes." This is the first time in 40 years we've seen a nationwide eclipse." The female reporter turned to her fellow anchor. "It's going to be quite a sight to see. Now let's go to Tony Luvre to tell us how the weather is going to shape up."

"This is going to be amazing." Steve commented after sipping his coffee. The last time I saw a true solar eclipse was in 1925. Me and Bucky-" He paused at the name of his friend. "We saw the eclipse in Brooklyn. That's before the whole ultraviolet glasses was common."

"What did you use before that?" Bruce asked, genuinely curious.

"People who could afford it used smoked glass." Steve said. "We couldn’t, of course. My ma didn't let us go out to look at it till the sun was totally covered, not that we didn't take a peek outside once in a while to see it."

I was only six during the 1976 eclipse." Tony mused. “My dad....I think that was one of the times my dad bothered to pay attention to me. I kind of had been watching the news about the solar eclipse and asked my dad if the sun was going to go out." He shrugged, "Dad actually took me to the window and let me watch the eclipse and explained what happens to the sun as the moon passes over it." He suddenly came out of his reverie with his hand in his chin. "I'm not much into space science....well not until....." He shot a glance at Loki. "Still, this doesn't happen very often, so it'll be cool to see...again."

Throughout the day, the news channels showed the Solar eclipse over several cities through the across the country, followed by the map of totality’s path. At around 2:38 pm, Clint called out from the balcony. “Hey guys, I think the eclipse is starting!”

They all rushed out, holding their glasses and cameras to look up at the sky. The sun steadily disappeared behind Earth’s moon. The sky gradually darkened, until it was as though it were night, stars even began to appear. In the distance, they heard the exclaims of beach-goers who were likewise watching the penumbra. Several times, they lifted their glasses to look up at the Moon.

It was, Loki thought, wondrous. Eclipses were so uncommon on Asgard that the only place he had heard of them were out of books. For three minutes it seemed, the Avengers and the two Asgardians were transfixed by this natural wonder in the sky. They all seemed to be a little sad when the Moon began to maneuver out of the sun’s path, bringing back daylight. In only a short time, it was a normal day again, complete with a full sun and azure skies.
The Avengers all chattered while returning indoors, but Loki lingered a moment. It suddenly occurred to him that he was glad that he’d not taken over Midgard. He no longer felt like an outcast Jotun runt, he felt like a human (even though he’d never admit it). Being an inhabitant of Earth was not so bad after all. These people and this world were perhaps worth saving, after all.

TBC…..

Notes:

A:N: I wanted to post this in August because of the anniversary of the eclipse in 2017, Also, it was a long time coming because I got caught up in another fandom….Good Omens. I won’t forget to update this story though.
Sadly, I missed out on seeing the total eclipse because I was too far south. Even with the partial eclipse, it felt like the sky was on a dimmer light.
ALSO: I've hit over 100 kudos! you all are AWESOME! Thank you for watching/following and commenting!

Chapter 37: A Picnic with the Queen

Summary:

Thor and Loki invite Queen Frigga to an autumn picnic, but what will happen when it's rudely interrupted?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

October brought colder weather and rain to New York. It had been unbearably hot for the last few days, so the rain had been a relief at first. But now it rained for a full week and even villains decided to forgo causing chaos in this weather. Therefore, the Avengers had been put on reprieve, much to their relief. They all had something to occupy their time-Bruce and Tony were in their labs, Cap and Natasha were in the training room, while Thor and Clint were playing video games. Loki, in the meantime, was reading in the library. Normally, he enjoyed a rainy day, listening to the sound of raindrops falling on the window. But he had grown tired of it after the third day.

It was on a Monday that he got an idea. During lunch, Loki asked Thor.

“What,” Tony inquired between chews, “They don’t have Fall in the Golden City?”

Thor, not understanding the sarcasm answered seriously, “We do not, friend Tony.”

Loki ignored the lack of table manners from the industrialist and added, “Asgard is known for it’s spring and summertime. Though magic has been used to create snow for the Yule. Hence why I’d like to take Mother to experience autumn.”

“Sure,” Cap nodded magnanimously, “maybe take her on a walking tour if it’s nice enough.”

That sounds like a fine idea, Captain! Shall I go fetch her now?” Thor got up so quickly that he rattled the table, then muttered his apologies.

“Wait, Thor.” Nat cut in, “You’re going to want to bring her on a sunny day.” She called up to the Tower’s A.I. “Jarvis, when will it be a clear day again?”

On Thursday, Ms. Romanov. Jarvis answered promptly.

“Ironic.” Bruce muttered.

On that particular Thursday, Avengers Tower and the whole of New York City woke to a blessedly clear morning.

Good Morning, Mr. Loki. The A.I. spoke up as Loki got up, The time is 7:24 A.M. The present temperature is 60 degrees with a high of 72 and a 10% chance of rain.

Loki seemed satisfied by this, as he threw aside his covers and strutted to Thor’s room. He pounded on it, knowing that the Thunderer was a heavy sleeper. After a few furious knocks, the door finally opened to find the Thunder God, half awake. Thor rubbed his eyes. “Good Morning, Loki. Why have you woken me up at this hour?”

“You’re going to Asgard to retrieve Mother, Thor.” Loki hissed, annoyed.

“Can I go in a while? I’m still tired.” Thor whined like a petulant 7 year-old.

“Get. UP. Thor.” Loki snapped.

“FINE, brother.” Thor grumbled, shutting the door loudly behind him. Five minutes later, he re-appeared in his Asgardian armor. Together, they walked to the balcony, all the while imploring him not to give the surprise away to their mother.

Just as Thor was going to call up the Bi-Frost when Loki said, “Thank you, Thor-for doing this. I don’t think I can go back to Asgard just now.”

Thor nodded knowingly. He lifted Mjolinr and called for Heimdall to bring him home.

Loki spent the rest of the morning getting the picnic basket ready for the day. He took a trip to a nearby shop for cheese. He also baked some bread and made of fruits and nuts, sandwiches, cucumbers, and sliced red apples. Natasha made candied fruit cookies, while Bruce and Steve helped pack the basket with dishes, utensils and such.

When Thor returned to the Tower, the Queen of Asgard greeted them each with a hug She kissed Loki on the cheek which turned Loki’s face red right to his ears and made the others laugh.

She clasped her hands in front of her, as if she were a mother awaiting an exciting story from her children. “Thor told me that you have a surprise in store?”

Loki held out the basket. “A drive and a picnic in the park. Thor and I wanted you to see all the leaves changing for autumn.”

She smiled magnanimously, “That sounds wonderful!” She turned to the Avengers. “Will you join us? I’m sure we would like you all to share in our feast. “

There was a look of surprises from all the Avengers. “We would like that. Thank you, Your Majesty. I know the perfect place in Brooklyn if you all don’t mind a drive.” Steve piped up.

“Opps. I meant to stuff something in the basket.” Tony lifted one finger. “Be right back.” He rushed down the stairs, appearing again with several bottles of wine.

“Shordinel 1964 It’ll go great with lunch.” Tony remarked while holding them out. “Let’s get the lead out, shall we? While the weather stays clear.”

After climbing into a rather large, but sleek SUV (with Steve in the driver’s seat), they took a short drive over the Brooklyn Bridge and down the narrow, tree-lined striggeets of brownstones on either side of it.

Frigga looked out a little awestruck, this is where you grew up, Captain? It’s lovely….and quaint.” Loki couldn’t help but laugh.

“Well, it’s kind of nice here now, M’am.” Steve agreed. But when I was growing up here, it was filled with tenement housing. Many families lived in only a few rooms, my ma and me included. We still had corner markets to get the things we needed.” He pointed to one as they stopped at a light. “Parts of the city have improved greatly since then. “

They parked near a black iron fence, and all piled out into the warm sunshine. Above them, a gentle breeze shifted the branches and blew autumn painted leaves from them.

“I figured that we should go to a little less populated place.” Steve shrugged while the group went through the gate and walked down the path. “My ma and I used to go here during the spring. We didn’t have much, but we enjoyed ourselves.”

It hadn’t taken long for them to find a slightly more secluded spot which they all agreed on and began to set up the blanket. The team began to divvy out the food, and pour the wine. Meanwhile, FrIgga tilted her head upwards to the trees that were strewn with leaves of amber, red and orange.

“”This is so beautiful.” Frigga breathed, “Earth’s nature is wonderful.”

“I suppose we get use to seeing it every year that we just consider it a sign of time passing.” Natasha mused over her wine glass.

A loud rumble sounded in the air and shook the earth underneath them. All of them looked around, then took defensive positions.

“Earthquake? Wouldn’t be unusual.” Clint commented.

There was a frantic beeping on each of their wrists, then the image of Nick Fury appeared. “Avengers! Big plasma creatures are appearing in the East River. Get there A.S.A.P!” The image flickered out.

“Mother,” Thor turned suddenly, “Please return to the Tower. It is too dangerous for you.”

“Who do you think you are talking to, Thor Odinson?!” Frigga asked with narrowed eyes, “I am a warrior and defender of the Nine Realms.”

“We’re not sure what we’re facing yet, M’am.” Steve added. “We can’t risk the Queen of Asgard getting hurt defending the city..”

“Then I will protect my sons.” She affirmed in a tone that they all knew could not be argued with, or contradicted.

The team looked at each other for a moment before Steve called out, “Avengers, Assemble!”

Within seconds, the Quinjet appeared, which they (except for Tony) all boarded and found themselves near a walkway close to the river. The creatures were human-like, but that they were 40 feet tall and were covered in blue ooze which were dripping off their fingers into the water below.

“Oh great, We’re dealing with sci-fi monsters of the week.” Tony complained over the comms.

“Focus, Tony. Any weaknesses that you can see?” Steve commanded.

“None so far. I’ve blasted them with beams, repulsors and rockets, Nothin’ fased them. If anything, it pissed them off.” Tony responded.

“I have an idea.” Frigga turned to Loki. “Loki, use your ice. Freeze the river, see if we can’t stop them from moving.”

Loki bit his lip. “I don’t think I have that much power, mother.”

“You must try, Loki.”. Frigga affirmed.

Nodding, Loki bent at the water’s edge, then summoned his powers. Almost instantly, the river began to turn to ice. As it reached the two creatures, their screams pierced the air, bringing the Avengers to their knees.

“Avengers, Go!” Cap called out as they all rushed forward. The creatures reciprocated by throwing globs of acid at them. Frigga threw herself and Loki out of the way as some were lobbed at them. She tossed a spell at it’s hand, temporarily freezing it, while Steve and Natasha tag teamed to shatter it.

“Ice will destroy it! Aim for the chest!” Loki shouted into his comm over the roars of the creatures.

Natasha, Tony, Clint, Loki and Frigga all worked to freeze the two creatures in their place, while Thor, Steve and Tony worked to hack away at them. It took nearly fifteen minutes for them to completely destroy the two creatures. The team were exhausted as they trooped back to shore, and Loki snapped his fingers so that the river returned to normal.

Their watches beeped again, and Fury appeared again. “Good work Avengers, now report to headquarters for debriefing.”

There was a collective groan from everyone. "The sky went grey and the Avengers felt the crisp, cool breeze, that usually came before the rain, then a few minutes later, it did just did that.
“Great, as if our afternoon could get any better.” Natasha grumbled while pushing her rain-soaked bangs from her face.

“Mother, why don’t you return to the Tower now? We’ll be along in a while.” Thor insisted. The other nodded in agreement.

“Very well,” Frigga sighed. “I will be waiting or you.”

It was nearly two hours later when the Avengers trudged into the common room to an enticing smell from the kitchen. Much to their surprise, the picnic blanket had been set with all the trimmings. Next to it, the gas fire was discreetly warming the room.

Frigga turned and smiled at them, “Welcome home! I hope you’re hungry. The wall servant was quite helpful in helping me make a few things to eat. I imagine you all are cold and tired.”

Clint’s eyes widened with delight, “Ohh….I’m so glad that we didn’t stop for a burger!”

“Please, have a seat. I’ll bring out the dishes in a moment.” She gestured to the blanket. They did so, and it didn’t take long for the dishes of meat, vegetables and bread began appeared (Loki and Thor helping out since they were the least tired of the group) which they all greatly partook of for the remainder of the afternoon.

When their meal was finished, Frigga magicked away the dishes and things which disappeared back to their proper places. The Queen of Asgard clapped her hands. “Alright everyone. It’s been a long day. I suggest you go to bed.”

“I won’t argue with that.” Bruce replied with a yawn. “Thank you for your help today, Your Majesty, and for the delicious meal.”

The others echoed the same sentiment before heading off to their respective floors. Loki and Thor were the last to go,.

“Goodnight, my dears. Frigga said, giving each of them a hug and kiss. “I am so proud of both of you.”

To Be Continued…..

Notes:

A.N: Sorry this is a bit late, I was trying to figure out how to do the battle scene. I will try to have the Halloween chapter up next week. November begins Nanowrimo, but I’d like to post at least one chapter that month.

Thank you for the reviews and constructive criticism, as well as kudos and bookmarks. I greatly appreciate it.

Chapter 38: Thanksgiving with the Family

Summary:

An unexpected guest joins Frigga for Thanksgiving at Avengers Tower....

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Loki woke on Thanksgiving morning and was greeted with the smell of waffles in the kitchen. The T.V. was blaring from the common room which Loki could hear as he came downstairs. Steve was cooking with the confines of the kitchen, occasionally looking towards the TV.

"Good Morning, Loki. Want some waffles and eggs for breakfast? Steve greeted him while flipping a few onto a plate that were stacked on the counter.

"Yes, please." Loki obliged politely then glanced over to the screen. "What is that?" He asked looking slightly alarmed at a huge yellow creature that seemed to be hanging in mid-air.

Steve glanced at the T.V. "I'm not sure what that one is, but they're called balloons. They're filled with air and floated down the street for the Thanksgiving Day Parade and always takes place in New York City today. There's balloons like I said, parade floats, and several kinds of bands.”

"I see." Loki said while musing on this odd Midgardian tradition.

"Clint and Natasha should be down soon, they both like to get up early; so does Bruce, as a matter of fact." Steve said while flipping more breakfast onto it's designated plate. "Tony has had a long night and probably won't be up ‘till noon if not later according to JARVIS."

It was then that Loki realized that the table had been moved to the huge windows.

As if reading Loki's mind, the Captain nodded towards it. "I thought it might be nice to see it go by, so I moved the table."

Not long after this, JARVIS announced that Natasha was preparing to come downstairs, and had made in a general announcement to each of the Tower's residents that breakfast would soon be served. Bruce, Clint, and even Thor came down to partake in the morning meal.

"This smells delicious, Friend Steven!" Thor boomed with all his radiant energy. Taking a position next to Steve, he asked, "Might I make the eggs which are scrambled?"

In the meantime, the others took seats at the table, watching first from the T.V. then to the street below.

"Ah, the Macy's Parade? haven't seen that in a dog's age. I like watching it, but I hate all the awful lip syncing. Plus some of the subjects of various musicals are stupid." Clint spoke up. Loki shot him a confused glance, but shrugged it off.

Thor happily served the eggs and after sitting down to their meal, enjoyed the various floats and balloons that slowly ambled by, all the while taking in the commentary.

"What is this Pikachu that they speak of?" Thor asked.

"It's from a cartoon in Japan. It was really popular in the 1990's and has made a comeback." Bruce remarked between bites.

As the Felix the Cat balloon passed by, Steve had a happy glimmer come into his eyes, "I remember seeing Felix last time in the 40's!"

"It's been a traditional float every year to mark the first parade." Bruce again spoke up with a grin.

Santa's arrival towards the end of the parade lead most of the Avengers trying to explain the mythical legend of Santa Claus and his origins, leading both gods to just shake their heads.

Thor hesitated for a moment and then spoke up, “Friend Tony, would you mind if I invited our mother from Asgard?”

Tony shrugged, “Sure big guy. The more the merrier. I’ve ordered enough food to feed a small army anyway.”

“I shall go at once!” Thor boomed, getting up from the table, nearly knocking it over, and muttered his apologies.

A crack of lightning announced hours later that Thor had returned. They had all gathered in the living room.

The doors opened and…..Odin alongside Frigga stepped out.

Loki felt his stomach shift slightly. The All-Father, here? He could not wrap his mind around the idea that Odin would spend 10 minutes, let alone a full day on Midgard. Surely he was busy ruling the nine realms, but yet here he stood. At the disapproving glance, Loki’s eyes quickly scanned the room to find that most of its occupants had bowed, which he instantly corrected by doing the same.

“Welcome All-Father” Loki spoke up, “I believe you arrived a bit too early.” He smirked at the reference to Odin being the original version of Santa Claus. Loki heard a snort of laughter behind him and turning, saw Tony’s face distorted with mirth. He looked up to see Odin’s lips pursed in displeasure and the grin on Loki’s face disappeared. Tony turned his laugh into a cough.

“Welcome to Earth, your majesties.” Steve said respectfully. “We’re glad you can join us for Thanksgiving.”

“So,” Bruce said sipping his coffee, “What do we have planned? Other than our usual feast?”

Tony pretended to make a sour face, “Thanks to our dear Captain here, we’ve been roped into serving dinner at a homeless shelter.”

“It’s important, Tony.” Steve affirmed, “We need to remember those who don’t have a nice home in a tower filled with tech and as much food as we want.”

“I know, I know. Remember the humble roots that people come from.” Tony droned with a dramatic wave of his hand.

“That sounds like a worthwhile cause..” Frigga said, “Odin and I would love to help, if we’re permitted to do so.” She elbowed her husband. “Isn’t that right, dear? If we won’t be in the way.”

Odin blinked almost incredulous at the thought. “Of course Frigga. We must maintain good relations with those of Midgard.”

“Well. you know what they say, ‘many hands make light work’.” Natasha added. She looked them up and down, “Though, eh….you might want to change your clothes. Those might be a little um...out of place."

Loki couldn’t help but turn up the corners of his mouth at Odin’s perplexed expression as to what he had just gotten himself into on this day.

Nearly an hour later, they arrived in a back entrance to a rather standard looking red-brick building. It hadn’t taken long for the staff and volunteers gathered around them with excitement, shaking their hands and take pictures with their phones. It had taken a few minutes for them to break apart.

“This is my mother Frigga and my father Odin, my friends. I ask that you treat them with the same courtesy that you would me.” He clapped his hands, “We have come to help, so please tell us what you’d like us to do.”

Frigga, Loki and Natasha were assigned to help set up the tables, while the others were ushered into the kitchen to help with food prep. In the large hall, the younger volunteers placed long tables and chairs 30 in a row. Meanwhile, Loki and Natasha worked to put tablecloths on each, while Frigga skillfully created a centerpiece made of autumn leaves, then the other volunteers ‘oohed’ appreciatively.

“So,” Frigga said gently, “Who comes to this Thanksgiving dinner?”

A volunteer named Lisa looked confused. “You don’t know?”

The Queen of Asgard shook her head.

"People who live on the streets, who can't get a job, who can't afford housing, who are fleeing domestic violence, many reasons." A woman with caramel colored skin replied from the table next to her. “We try to feed them every week. And during the Holidays it’s especially important for them to know we’re here for them. It helps greatly that Mr. Stark donated money to the food pantry, and the Captain urged the community to donate food as well. We’ll have enough supplies to cover the entire holiday season”

Oh....I see." Frigga said rather sadly. She tried to smile. “Then we will make the occasion special then.” With a wave of her hand, the room was filled with red and orange banners and garlands of fake autumn leaves. The tables now each had platter with a pumpkin center surrounded by fresh apples. A blank corner was transformed into a roaring fireplace, giving the room some much needed extra warmth. The volunteers ‘oohed’ with delight and amazement at these new decorations.

“Can we hire you to do all our decorating?” Lisa ask with a mirthful grin.

Not long after, the populous began to arrive and were seated at the tables. Frigga seemed a little dismayed at all the children present, but resolutely charged on with her duiy of serving a full plate to each patron. In fact, while Thor, Steve, and Clint stayed behind the counter dishing out the food, Natasha, Bruce, Frigga, Loki and Odin served plates to the tables. There was some delighted looks when the Queen answered that she was Thor’s mother. They had heard so after the interview conducted by a local news station about the Avengers volunteering there.

“We’ve saved the world, but we’re also part of this community and we wanted to do what we can to help.” Steve had said.

The cameras had panned across the room showing the volunteers, especially since Thor had made slip that his mother and father were present.

”Did Thor refuse to eat his vegetables too?” A scruffy haired boy asked when Frigga placed in front of him.

“He did. And you know what happened then?” the boy shook his head. “He got sent to his room without dessert! So you had better eat yours young man!”

The dining hall was warm with chatter and laughter. For some reason, the three Asgardians felt like they were on the other side of the receiving end. Instead of enjoying a meal at the table, they now served like the servants on Asgard. Though none of them felt at all offended, the company was kind and friendly.

After dessert, Loki got a brilliant idea. He magicked.a book into his hand and called his father into the fireplace’s corner. “I believe the volunteers were looking for someone to read this to the children and chose you, All-Father.”

Odin looked blankly, but at Loki’s smile, relented. “Very well.”

He magicked a chair then called out loudly, “Children. Odin is going to read ‘The Night Before Christmas. Come gather around!’

A rush of kids did appear, all scrambling to find a seat on the floor to listen. Even the older kids stood in the back. Having Odin narrating a story was novel enough for them too.
In a loud baritone voice, the All-Father began: T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse….

Much to Loki’s surprise, the room became quieter as the adults had all but stopped chattering to listen. All too soon the end of the story came and there was a groan from the children. Loki chuckled, as did some of the Avengers. Even Frigga tried to hide a smirk with a polite hand to her mouth.

Late in the afternoon, the group returned to Avengers Tower, tired but satisfied with the result of the day's events. Before going to their respective rooms to change (Odin and Frigga had already magicked themselves back into their Asgardian garments) JARVIS piped up.

[i] Sir, the food for tonight’s meal arrived several hours ago. Ms. Potts has put everything away.[/i]

Frigga smiled. “Feel free to freshen up and take a nap if you wish. Odin and I will handle preparing dinner.” Odin looked at her with an expression that said ‘WE?’

Tony seemed to hesitate, then nodded. “Alright, but if you need any help, you can call on JARVIS, he’s my in house A.I.”

They had all retreated to their respective rooms, though nearly half an hour later Loki, then Steve appeared to help in the kitchen. Frigga was busy baking fresh bread that wafted a delightful smell through the entire floor. Loki was relegated to peeling potatoes, Odin was keeping an eye on both the turkey and the vegetables cooking in a pan on the stove, and Steve was setting the table.

At 7:00 they all reconvened in the dining room, enticed by the smell. Their eyes lit up at the beautifully set table that was gradually being laden with dishes.

"Good evening my dears," Frigga nodded to them in greeting. “Supper is ready. Come and have a seat.”

They did so, and as the last plate was placed onto the table (Loki pulled out the chair for his mother to sit down) they all looked to one another.

“Shall we...um...say Grace? Or what we’re grateful for?“ Steve asked.

Tony stood up immediately, “I’m still grateful for being rich!” There was a collective shout of “TONY!” by his team-mates, but grinned, “I’m grateful for my friends around the table, and to our guests.”

The others seemed to echo the same sentiment However Steve added, “I wanted to express my gratitude with helpin’ us volunteer today, and preparing this delicious meal.”

“Hear, hear!” Everyone agreed, raising their glasses.

Frigga rose. “First, I would like to thank you all for allowing Odin and myself to join you for your feast tonight, and for allowing my sons to fight alongside you as brothers in arms, so to speak. And I am thankful for my sons, and the good men and warriors that they’ve become now.”

There were murmurs of agreement. Finally, it was Odin’s turn to speak. “I would also like to thank our host for their generous offer of hosting us at their feast. I have learned much about the mortals today. And I thank you, Earth shield brothers and sister, I have seen how much my sons have matured. I too am proud of the progress that Thor and Loki both have made since being on Midgard. I love you, my sons.” He raised a glass.

“Cheers!” They all exclaimed, as they clinked their glasses together.

TBC……………...

Notes:

[b] I know, it's late (as always), but with Thanksgiving and putting up decorations, I didn't have time to post.
I hope you all had great Thanksgiving for the fellow Americans here and around the world that celebrate it.

Also some sad news: after five years of writing this fic off and on, I've decided that December will be my last chapter in the series. I feel that now that i've run low on ideas and motivation now that the Avengers era is over.

If the new Loki series sparks some ideas when it begins to air next year, I may write something new.

I have enjoyed your comments and feedback these last few year and appreciate all the support I've received with this fic. THANK YOU SO MUCH! [/b]

Chapter 39: Loki's Birthday (FINALE) Part 1

Summary:

Loki's birthday is discussed and a battle.....

Part one of the finale. The second will be posted on Dec 17th.

Notes:

Thank you so much to Indarian for helping me with this chapter!

Chapter Text

On a cold night in early December, Bruce was in the kitchen making dinner as it was his turn. Thor, being hungry, ventured in with hopes of finding pop-tarts to tide him over.

“Hey Thor. Would you like to help me?” Bruce asked congenially, while stirring the hamburger in a pan.

“Of course, friend Bruce!” Thor replied cheerfully, going to the sink to wash his hands. “What fare do we have planned tonight?”

“Chili.” Bruce responded, still concentrating on stirring the meat. At Thor’s confused face, Bruce just smiled, “It’s a Spanish dish made up of hamburger, tomatoes, beans and spices. You’ll like it, I promise.” He nodded to the fridge, “Can you make a salad? I know Tony doesn’t care, but I’d like to see us eat healthy once in a while.”

Thor bobbed his head, pulling out the ingredients which he placed on the counter and began to chop the tomatoes.

There was a space of silence, then Bruce said, “Thor, I’ve been meaning to ask: how old is Loki? I mean when we celebrated your birthday in August, you said you’re 1500 years old, so what does that make him?”

Thor seemed to consider this for a moment before answering. “He is 1070 years old. I know not how old he would be in human terms.”

Now it was Bruce’s turn to calculate, his eyes went wide. “You said that your people live about 5000 years right? “ That would make you 30 in human years and Loki….21?!”

Thor merely shrugged.”We were only a few years apart in age on Asgard.” He looked puzzled, “Why are you interested in his age?”

“Well, we’ve celebrated everyone’s birthdays, except his. I noticed last time we celebrated Clint’s birthday he looked a little morose. I think we should maybe pick a day for him to have a birthday as well.”

Thor broke into a smile. “He would never admit to it Bruce, but I feel that he would greatly appreciate it.”

“We’ll talk to the rest of the gang after dinner. Luckily, Loki likes to retreat to his library.” Bruce commented. “Now, let’s get back to work.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Steve placated firmly. “Loki’s been kind enough to go to our birthday parties and give us gifts.I think Bruce is right and we should return the favor.”

“Begrudgingly.” Tony muttered, but Cap ignored it.

“If we want him to be better, we have to remember that he’s a person too.” Bruce pointed out. Then speaking to Thor said. “Did you ever celebrate birthdays on Asgard?”

“We did, I in the summer, and Loki in the winter.” Thor affirmed, and then looked down at the table sorrowfully. “Then I began to overshadow his day. I went on hunts and forgot, and father praised my victories in battle on his day. It is no wonder…..” he trailed off.

There was silence within the room as they mulled over Thor’s answer. It certainly would explain some of Loki’s jealousy and coldness to his own brother.

“Do you really think that having a birthday party will make Loki happy-go-lucky all of a sudden?” Clint sneered.

“He’s really been trying, Clint. You’ll notice that he’ll join one of us in an outing if we ask him, engages in conversation on topics that interests him and he’s less spiteful when he talks to any of us.” Steve stressed to the entire group. “He wants to start over, to be accepted without the title, to have friends. Isn’t that what we all wanted in our lives?”

There was another pause. Some like Bruce nod, while Natasha’s distant gaze told Steve that he was perhaps thinking of a time long ago.

“Okay. enough with the rousing speeches, Cap What’s the plan?” Tony asked.

“First of all, we have to plan what day.” Bruce broke in. “Thor said he was born in winter. So we choose a day anywhere from December to February.”

It took 20 minutes and quite a few suggestions and dissensions on the date when Bruce spoke up. “How about…” He looked at the hologram calendar, “December 17th?”

They all grew quiet. “That sounds good to me, friend Bruce!“ Thor boomed.

“It’s fairly close to Christmas,” Steve pointed out, “but I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting him presents for both.”

“So we should be planning a surprise party then?” Natasha interjected, “I hope he likes surprises. Maybe a Harry Potter theme…..”

During the following week Loki couldn’t help that the other Avengers were keeping something from him. He could tell that when he entered a room, they suddenly became quiet and changed the subject. Loki figured that they were discussing Christmas presents, but could sense that there was something more than that. He could easily trick his brother into talking and revealing the secret.

“Brother,” he went to the fridge, “are you contemplating what to get me for Christmas?” He grinned, “I can provide you a list,”

Tony said loudly, “That would be helpful. Thanks Loki!”

The klaxon suddenly came to life loudly and JARVIS announced Sirs, m’am, there is a portal opening over Brooklyn and depositing aliens.

Thor looked over at Loki who put his hands up defensively, “Do not look at me!”

“Suit up and be ready in five minutes. Iron Man, do a fly over to see what we’re doing with. The rest of you to the Avenjet. Avengers, Assemble!”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The non flying Avengers piled out of the jet onto an adjacent roof of an abandoned building Cap looked around but saw nothing out of place but a few broken windows and missing masonry.

“Iron Man, Thor, have you got eyes on what’s attacking?” Cap called into the comm, still looking around to survey the ‘battlefield’.

“Don’t see anything Cap, unless we’re fighting the Invisible Man.” The billionaire replied.

“The Saurian race. This race has elongated limbs. They are able to render themselves invisible. By necessity, they are a race of mercenaries. Certain sensory extremes are painful to them.” Loki announced after typing frantically into his holographic mini computer in his hand.

“Great, just how are we going to attack these guys if they can turn invisible?” Clint complained.

Loki seemed to observe the scene for a moment, then pointed to the faint blue contrails that had appeared in the sky, “If you can follow the contrials, you can see where they land. One of you needs to restrain them and the other can destroy them. I’ll stay on the ground and direct you and fight from here.”

They nodded, taking off in opposite directions, except for Hulk “Hulk stay here.” The monster gruffed.

The pair took a defensive stance, while Loki summoned his magic and pummelled it into the air, felling several of the Saurians at once. “Barton, ten degrees to your left! Captain, 20 degrees to your left! Thor, look out!” The Thunderer was caught off guard, causing him to be pummeled into a brick wall. As soon as it turned visible again, Iron Man blasted it into pieces.

Loki heard one of the creatures hurtling towards him which Hulk pummeled. “Keep your head about you, Tiny God.” Hulk grinned.

The Asgardian nodded appreciatively before returning to his strategy. It was the sound of Widow over the comm ‘....Cornered, Anyone...hear me?” startled Loki from his concentration. Loki diverted his magic to locate the assassin. To his dismay, Loki found that Widow was on the 14th floor of a building two streets away.

“Hulk, stay here. I’m going to see if she needs help.” Loki explained while running off toward the signal, teleporting himself to it in a matter of seconds. In the darkness, Loki could see the outline of someone whom he assumed was Widow. It was only then that he sensed something had begun to creep behind him Loki turned and quickly magicked a shield to defend himself and launched an ice sphere to whatever was attacking him, which he heard struck home. Only then was he caught off guard for a moment and was tossed into the opposite wall. It was a few seconds before he shook off the daze, but instantly he manifested a shield and one of his daggers.

“You are quite clever, Asgardian.” A gravelly voice behind him said.

“Clearly. You knew I was directing the others on your location, so you need to get rid of me.” He swung at the alien, who made himself invisible. Loki, for his part, extended the shield around himself just as the Saurian attacked him.

“You will not be able to contact your comrades.” The alien hissed triumphantly.

“Oh, I know that.” Loki agreed. “It’s how you manipulated me into coming here. But I have a strong sense of self preservation, you see. It comes with the experiences I’ve had in my life.”

“Your little army will not defeat us!” The Saurian snapped.

Loki smiled maliciously, “Don’t be so certain of that. They defeated me and my army when I invaded several years ago and saved this planet. And they have done so many times over since then.” He followed the airtrail with the corner of his eye and swung, gouging the creature in the chest. “It took me a while, but now I understand...this place is where you plan to land your ship, and destroy everything within a five mile radius.
He swiped at the Saurian who dodged into invisibility and slashed Loki in the back.

“Y-you’re just the landing party aren’t you?” Loki huffed, “It’s Why Iron Man's satellites failed, used some knock-off sorcery of your own for that portal, didn't you? You know, I'd be ashamed of producing anything as pathetic as that, but it got the job done, didn't it?"

He smirked at the Saurian. Did you hear all that, brother? He called the to theThunderer via telepathy.

"While you've been so busy verbally sparring with me," Loki tilted his head, grinning maliciously as the portal in the sky flickered, and the Saurian's outline froze. "I've been busy closing your portal."

The alien smirked suddenly, and Loki frowned at the sight. He stumbled as the building shook, the alien continuing to speak, "And now, with your arrogance, you will fall..."
With those final words, the alien flickered out of existence, leaving Loki behind as the building came crashing down around him.

As darkness descended around Loki, darkness like the void that he had drifted in after falling from the Bifrost, he yelled out fearfully, "Can anyone hear me?!"

Loki heard a faint cry, his brother's voice in the distance, even as the bricks began crushing his body. He was being buried alive, dust filled his lungs, and he tried to speak. It had taken all of his magic to close the portal, he had no more power with which to teleport away.

“Brother," he whispered, coughing harshly,. "save me."

It was something he'd never asked for before, but now he wanted it more than ever. Salvation, from this prison of rubble and ruin.

TBC….

Chapter 40: Loki's Birthday (FINALE) Part 2

Summary:

Loki's rescue and his birthday party. It's the finale!

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The crushing darkness was pierced with sound. Loki’s innate sense of hearing could make out voices above his head. He couldn’t get enough air in his lungs, and his cry for help soon turned into a pained gurgle.

He heard a booming voice from above, “-oki ….here!” Thor. Thor was going to rescue him from this abyss. A warm tear streaked down his face at that thought.

It seemed like it had been hours since the collapse before there was more noise, more shifting rubble. At last, a stream of light punctured the darkness, making Loki wince. His brother’s voice was much closer now. He felt the debris being carefully shifted off of him.

“Easy, Loki.” Cap’s voice reassured him

“Brother, we’re here.” Thor called with a hand on the Trickster’s shoulder.

Loki could feel the burden of brick and mortar off of his battered body, the weight was lifting with each piece. He was being freed, slowly but surely. There were hands all around him carefully moving up and away from the collapse.

In his last moments of consciousness, Loki could feel the icy flakes of snow brush his skin as he looked up into the gray overcast sky.

Wakefulness brought pain throughout his body Peeling his eyes open, he could see only brightness making him squeeze his eyes shut. He could hear an incessant beeping close to him, but could not discern where it was. Every part of him was heavy. Pain coursed through his body as he tried to hold onto consciousness. The scent of roses and sunshine anchored him.

“M-móðir.” He husked.

A warm hand squeezed his, channels of warmth and magic seeping up his arm. As Loki’s vision cleared, the figure of his mother came into full view. She wore a comforting smile, though her eyes were filled with tears. “Oh, my dear.” She kissed his forehead. ”Do you remember what happened?”

In the dim haze of his mind, he remembered a battle. The Saurians, being tricked into a building that ultimately was booby trapped for him. He had closed the portal with his magic.

As if reading his mind, Frigga nodded. “Yes, my darling. It was quite brave, if not a little foolhardy You are much too clever for your own good. “ She sighed, “But I suppose it had to be done. The Saurians were quite cunning, and it only took the portal closing for your team-mates to defeat them.”

He tried to move his neck to look at her, but found that a collar had been placed around it to keep him from moving his neck. Loki winced as fear creeped over him and unpleasant memories sprung forth.

“Shhhh, Loki. You are alright, It’s just to keep your neck still; you had a concussion. The doctors told me that your injuries were numerous and it took 10 hours to address all of them. Thor asked me to come to Midgard when he realized that your magic was not healing you. I am endeavouring to spark it back into working.”

“H-how are the others?” he rasped.

She smiled and helped Loki sit up enough to drink some water. “They’re all alright, quite concerned about your condition once they pulled you from the rubble. All of them are relieved that you’re going to be finet.” She ran a gentle hand on his cheek, a frown clouding her pleasant expression. “ I can feel your discomfort despite the medications you were given.” She nodded to the I.V. in his hand. Frigga pushed some energy pulses under Loki’s skin, making him sigh in relief as the pain melted away and the blankets became warm and comfortable.

“Get some rest, my darling, and know that you are safe here.” She whispered.

His eyes closed of their own accord. Loki soon slept peacefully without fear of the encroaching darkness.

Unfortunately, it was quite some time before Loki had even began to recover. He slept most of the first two days. By the third day, he was awake long enough to eat a little, but not much of anything else. Thor was doting was almost to an annoying fault, but he was glad that his brother understood his message on that terrible day. Bruce, and an older thin lady called Doctor Peters visited the most often to see Loki's physical improvement. Natasha was reading from “Deathly Hallows” even though he had read it already. On the third day, he was de-briefed by Steve and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in regards to the mission. When Loki could eat more solid foods, Clint made omelettes for him. Even Tony started to be interested in his magic and soon, Loki was explaining magic based technology on Asgard.

Nearly five days after waking, Loki was able to get out of bed, thanks in part to his mother’s magical healing. Thor seemed to be in excited spirits and it took him a little by surprise, “Come brother, we have a surprise for you that we’ve been waiting to reveal for weeks now!”

Loki’s walking pace was slow even with Thor at his side for support. He slumped against the Thunderer as they boarded the elevator to the common area, cursing inwardly at his weakness. “It’s okay to need help, brother.” Thor said gently.

As the doors opened, Loki’s eyes widened at the sight. The walls were covered in the gray brick wallpaper complete with portraits of various wizards. Floating candles hovered several inches below the ceiling, though they were not real. The four houses’ banners were hung on an opposite wall. The usually tall Christmas tree was decked out in garland and bulbs colors of the four houses, and ones that were the nine and three quarters sign.On a long table were cupcakes, chocolate frogs and handmade golden snitches made with candies. To the right of them was an emerald three tier cake topped with white and emblazoned with the Slytherin crest and a wand with the number 21 on top of it. It did make him chuckle, as one night while watching the films, they all had a discussion as to which house they would belong to in Hogwarts.

“Loki’s definitely a Slytherin.” Tony said between drinks. “He’s got all the characteristics:
ambitious, shrewd, cunning, strong leaders, and achievement-oriented. They also have highly developed senses of self-preservation.

“I would place you in that category as well, Stark.” Loki countered.

“Nah, I may have started out as a Slytherin, but I’m more of a Ravenclaw now.”

Around him, the Avengers were wearing their regular clothes, though each had on the black robes of Harry Potter and scarfs. Tony and Bruce had Ravenclaw scarves, Clint had a Hufflepuff, Natasha had a Slytherin one, and Steve wore one that was Gryffindor.Turning to Thor for some explanation, he noted that he now wore a Gryffindor scarf. Even his mother wore the red and gold of Gryffindor.

“Happy Birthday Loki!” They all said together with varying ranges of enthusiasm. Thor lead him to the table where Clint lit the candles on the top. They all sang “Happy Birthday to You” while Loki looked a little embarrassed, but pleased nonetheless.

“Make a wish, Loki! Thor boomed with a grin on his face.

“I know how that, you oaf.” Loki said, trying to sound exasperated, but smiling all the while.

Please allow me this way of life to remain for a while. These people are truly my friends. He closed his eyes and blew out the candles to a round of applause.

After they had finished devouring the cake and most of the sweets, Natasha placed a huge trunk in front of him. It took Loki a moment to realize that it was a Hogwarts trunk with the initials “ L” and “O”on one side.

“Oh wait,” Clinted grinned, fishing an envelope from his ‘robe’, which he handed over. It read
Loki Odinson
3rd room on the left
84th floor
Avengers Tower
New York City, New York

Loki carefully opened the envelope and chuckled at the acceptance letter from Hogwarts.Thor helped him open the trunk which had brown paper also with a Hogwarts seal that he also carefully broke. Beneath it was a replica Severus Snape wand (Loki’s favorite character) and all the things in it that reflected Slytherin house. They included a knitted hat and gloves, a bookmark with a crest and another that looked like a Slytherin scarf. There was also a Slytherin Journal and silver plated green and silver pen among other things. Frigga helped Loki put his own scarf around his neck and helped him into a robe like the others. They all crowded over when Natasha announced “Picture!” and used her phone to capture the moment.

Bruce cut in, “Isn’t there you wanted to say, Steve?”

The leader of the Avengers nodded, then turned to Loki. “On behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, I am authorized to grant you full membership to the Avengers." He shook hands with him. "Welcome to the team officially, Loki."

“Thank you.” Loki whispered revelantly, and he meant every word that he said next. “I am glad to have you in my life and that I have chosen this path I will be the best teammate that I can from now on.”

Notes:



So that’s the end, folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this fic as much as I have been writing for it. I may do a sequel in the future that takes place fater Ragnarok that involves day to day life on Earth.

Also, Happy Belated Birthday to Loki, who's birthday according to the MCU is Dec 17th.

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