An Excellent Parent

When the last kindergarten child was safely back in their bus, Tony breathed a sigh of relief. Nothing could freak him out faster than a bunch of three-year-olds screaming questions at him at loud volumes. 'Can I go for a ride on you' was the most frequent one.

Although he had to admit. "You're terrific with kids." he said to Thor, chuckling quietly as the Thunderer tried to set his hair to rights. Pulling on long blond hair was apparently very popular with small children.

"Aye, I am." Thor grinned widely. "I have numerous nephews and a niece. They all adored me, I believe."

Tony blinked. "I didn't know you had other siblings."

The Thunderer blinked at him in confusion. "Other siblings?"

"Yeah." Tony frowned. "Or are you telling me those kids are Loki's?"

Thor nodded. "Aye, my brother has many children."

"Damn." They took off back towards the Mansion, continuing their conversation via comm-links. "Loki actually found a woman who can stand him? Or does each kid have a different mother?"

Thor looked at him as if he was crazy. "Why would my brother need a woman?"

"What, he magics them out of mud?"

"Nay, Loki carried each child himself."

Yeah, that probably should've surprised Tony more than it did. "So Loki's some kind of woman?"

"Nay, my brother is... special."

"Don't have to tell me twice." Tony muttered as he touched down on the landing pad, and made his way inside and into the elevator, taking off his armor on the way. "So, does he give them away or is there a hole somewhere in Asgard where he can toss the kids into?"

Thor glowered at him. "I take offense to that, Tony Stark." he growled.

"What did he do now?" Steve asked, looking up as they entered the kitchen.

"He had implied my brother is a bad parent." Thor said darkly, seating himself between Hank and Clint.

Hank blinked slowly. "Loki has children?"

"Aye, he has many offspring. And he is a wonderful mother."

Clint choked on his cereal.

Tony continued undeterred. "Maybe he is a good mother or whatever. You know, in between dastardly plots and magical disasters, that is."

Thor shook his head. "My brother focuses his entire attention on his child. He refuses to train, to go on quests and even abandons his studies and pranks."

"You're shitting me." Hawkeye threw Thor a disbelieving look.

"I shit you not." Thor replied seriously.

"Maybe it's a trait for Asgardians." Hank offered, but Thor shook his head.

"Nay. On Asgard, the caring for younglings is important, but not so much that we all put our lives on hold. Men still train and quest, and women still do womanly things."

"That so?" Steve asked conversationally, sipping on his tea.

"Aye. My brother was like that at first also. He cared for the infants, but still disappeared on a trip of his own from time to time. True, they were much shorter when he had a baby, never longer than two-three days. It all changed when Hel had been kidnapped."

"Kidnapped?" Steve looked up, instantly concerned. "What happened?"

"Fear not, friend Steve. My niece was unharmed."

"Cool, but what happened?" Tony tilted his head to the side in curiosity.

"From what I understand, the ruler of Niflheim had seen Hel as a bartering tool. He had ordered her taken from her bed and transported to his world. Then he demanded many riches and Asgard's servitude for her release."

"How'd you get out of it?" Hank asked, resting his chin on his palm.

"Once Loki found out, he traveled to Niflheim and razed it to the ground." Thor said calmly and sipped at his soda, while the other stared. "He annihilated the entire ruling family and most of the world's population." Thor chuckled. "He returned only after he had secured Niflheim's throne for Hel."

Tony blinked. "Wait, what?"

Thor nodded in understanding. "Aye, I was confused as well. Yet Hel apparently had liked the world, thus my brother gave it to her. Of course not right then, she had been barely out of infancy, but she has been Niflheim's unchallenged Queen for almost two centuries now." Thor finished proudly.

"Wow." Clint said slowly. "I hate the dude, but I gotta admit, that's cool."

"My brother often is." Thor agreed, though he was thinking more about the coolness of Loki's skin than anything else. "Since that time, my brother rarely leaves his children's side. He doesn't even allow for the nurses and nannies my father offers with each child. Mother and I help as we can, but Loki rarely accepts our offers."

"So wait, let me get this straight." Hank looked at the wall thoughtfully. "Loki, our main problem and enemy, turns into a stay at home mom each time he has a kid. And he doesn't fight or prank or cause trouble of any kind."

"Not unless one threatens one of his children, no."

The kitchen was silent for long moments.

"Damn, we need to get him pregnant then." Clint concluded seriously.

Thor was instantly on his feet, looming threateningly over the other. "Do not speak so of my brother." he snarled.

"Wait, I gotta agree." Tony said, nodding to himself. "It'd cut our number of trouble by half if Loki was out of the picture. We're talking ten, maybe twenty years Loki-free, until the kid's grown up. How long does childhood last for Asgardians anyway?"

"Since birth to adulthood for Aesir is roughly two hundred of your years."

"Even better! We'll knock Loki up, no offense big guy, he can toddle off to Asgard to raise the kid and we won't have to deal with him for the rest of our natural lives! Everybody's happy!"

Steve had to admit it sounded divine, but still. "Tony, please tell me you aren't serious."

"Of course I'm not serious." Tony grinned cheekily. "Do you know anyone crazy enough to knock Loki up? The pregnancies must be a bitch."

"Aye, they are difficult on my brother." Thor agreed, wincing at the memory. "However, it is hardly the only flaw in your plan."

"Seemed sound to me." Clint muttered.

"My brother is no longer welcome in Asgard." Thor clarified. "Where would he go to raise his child safely?"

"I'm sure he'd figure something out." Tony waved his hand dismissively. "Hell, I'd let him stay here!"

"Truly?" Thor asked in obvious surprise.

"Are you high?" Clint countered.

"Small price to pay for a life-time without him trying to blow up the world. So yeah, in the unlikely event Loki gets himself pregnant, I'd let him stay right here, in the Avenger Mansion."

Thor got up from his chair and grabbed Tony in a crushing hold that might have been a hug. "You are truly a magnificent friend, Tony Stark."

"Very generous." Steve agreed with a small smile.

Tony smiled, incredibly pleased with himself.

"I must inform my brother immediately." Thor said as he set the mortal back down.

"What for?" Tony asked with a slight frown.

"He will be most gratified that he does indeed have a place here. I fear I did not manage to convince him."

Hank blinked. "You've talked with Loki about staying here?" A nod. "When?"

"This morning."

Steve frowned in confusion. "That can't be right, you've been in your room the whole morning."

"Aye, with Loki."

"Loki was in your room?"

"Nay, Loki is in my room."

"Why?"

"Apparently, my brother had an argument with Victor von Doom about the color of the nursery, and needed a place to stay until either they make up or the child is born. Loki is an expert at holding grudges, so their reconciling may take some time."

That just about froze everyone's blood.

"Baby?"

"Are, my brother is currently pregnant. Did I fail to mention?"

"You did." Steve said weakly. Tony felt like crying.

"My apologies then." Thor gave his shellshocked friends a sheepish grin. "My brother and I will explain fully once I have him settled in the entertainment room. The light there is best for his knitting." And off he went, rushing to give his brother the good news.

Tony slid slowly to the floor. "Please tell me it's all a horrid, horrid dream and Loki is not really pregnant with Dr. Doom's kid."

"You also basically invited him to stay here as long as he wants." Hank pointed out, which wasn't really helpful.

"That's it, I'm moving out." Clint said suddenly, and walked out of the kitchen.

Tony had the strongest urge to yell 'Take me with you' after him.

The End