Pairings: I have decided that the pairing for Hadrian will be a M/M/M – Hadrian/Steve/Tony. Sorry for those who are disappointed with this choice.
When Coulson had said Loki looked bad, he wasn't exaggerating. He was pale – too pale, his breathing shallow and his body immobile. Luckily he didn't seem to have any visible injuries but that doesn't stop the audible intake of breath from Thor when the man saw the body just laying there. Even if Tony hated Loki for what he had done to their city, he could still muster up a little sympathy for Thor. After all, the man still loved his brother and it must pain him to see him in such a state.
"What did Hadrian do to him?" Tony asked out loud what everyone in the room was probably thinking.
"I don't know," Thor admitted, sounding lost.
Tony couldn't blame him. This whole situation was so messed up that even he couldn't make head or tales of it all.
"Anyway," Steve spoke up, taking the leadership position that no one seemed to want at the moment, "We should bring him inside a room for now. Leaving him in the corridor is asking for trouble."
When everyone agreed, Loki was carried by Thor and in to a holding cell that Fury had prepared in case Loki was captured.
The cell was a lot nicer than normal cells considering that it actually had a decent sized bed but Thor was still very reluctant to deposit his brother on to the bedding.
"When do you think he'll wake up?" Clint murmured even though there was no reason to speak in such a low voice.
"I don't know," Tony replied, while everyone just stood there dumbly, watching Loki's breathing slowly returning to normal, "I really don't know."
As it turned out, Loki woke up 2 hours later. Fury had left to deal with an emergency meeting with the World Security council, leaving the Avengers to welcome Loki back to the world of the living.
Loki looked confused when they entered; he looked around, eyes wide and didn't even seem to recognize them.
"Who are you?" he finally asked, making everyone gape.
"What do you mean "who are you?" You don't remember?" Clint retorted.
"No, I…" Loki shook his head, looking lost and vulnerable – two adjectives that the Avengers never thought they would ever have to use regarding Loki.
"It's normal he doesn't remember," said a familiar voice from behind them, making everyone, including Thor, jump in surprise. Hadrian was there, standing just a few paces away, looking directly at Loki, face emotionless. He was holding his hands in front of him, his back straight, his eyes a startling green.
"What happened to him?" Thor asked, a small undercurrent of anger and rebellion making his words harder and less forgiving. Hadrian looked amused – or as amused as he can get – by the display.
"He was being controlled by an unknown entity," Hadrian replied softly, "The staff that had been given to him by his supposedly benefactor not only give him the power to control other people but was also controlling him. It magnifies his emotions, warping his mind, making him do things that he would never do otherwise."
"Does that mean he's innocent?" Thor asked, his voice breathless with hope. Hadrian hesitated a fraction of a second before replying.
"He won't be absolved of all his crimes," he finally replied, "but his punishment will be much lighter than before if he agrees to help us catch the true mastermind behind this whole operation."
Thor let out a small sigh of relief before turning to a confused looking Loki, who had been glancing between Hadrian and Thor for the entire conversation.
"I'm glad brother," he said softly, touching Loki's shoulder.
"What is going on?" The god of lies and deceit asked, looking far from his usual confident self.
"You have fallen for someone else's trick Loki," Hadrian replied bluntly, "And it had caused your reputation much harm. It is your duty to repair the damages and help us find the perpetrator; that will be your punishment."
"But," Tony protested but shut up under the force of Hadrian's glare.
"I am aware you are not content with my decision but do not forget Loki is as much as a victim as you all are. We will learn to work together to achieve our goal."
"Of course brother," Thor said happily, glad Loki wasn't about to be thrown in to prison for the rest of his life.
"I will be remaining on Midgard for the foreseeable future," he tells the assembled group, "It is as much for Loki's protection than for the All Father's peace of mind."
"Do you need a place to stay?" Steve asked, always eager to help. "You can stay at the Tower. I'm sure Tony won't mind."
Hadrian looked surprised by the offer and – to everyone's shock – give the super soldier a small smile in reply. If it wasn't for the fact that he himself was also blinded by the smile, Tony would have mocked Steve for blushing so much.
"Thank you," he replied evenly, "If Mr. Stark is agreeable, I will take up that offer. It will make my job much easier."
"Of course," Tony said quickly, "You can have the floor on top of Steve's. It's empty. We also have a gym if you are interested."
"I do not believe your indoors will be enough to contain the damage a spar between me and my brother will cause."
Tony's eyes flashed at the challenge.
"Don't knock it until you tried it."
Hadrian nodded at that and turned to Thor and Loki.
"I will be returning in an hour or two. I have some things to take care off. Thor, I trust you to take care of Loki while I'm gone."
It was a testament of how disoriented Loki still felt that he didn't even complain.
Satisfied, Hadrian gave one last nod to the group before disappearing without a sound.