Order from Mischief.
Summary: It's the usual. On board the Helicarrier, things seem hectic when there's someone going around pranking everyone. The Avengers seem to be the prime suspects, but...isn't Loki in the cage?
On board the helicarrier, Fury had just given the order to 'turn invisible'.
Again. For the fourteenth time.
"CAN WE PLEASE FIND WHO EVER THE HELL KEEPS DISABLING THE INVISIBILITY PANELS?" He roared, pinching the bridge of his nose as he sighed in exasperation. "I've seriously had it with these pranks. First someone trades all the caffeinated drinks for decaf versions,then they decide to put glue on the main stairs so that we have to literally cut people from the stairs...oh, and do NOT get me started on when they put green food colouring in the water systems. Natasha and Thor have been on my case about that one and they just will NOT let it go." He ranted.
"Sir, try and keep you mind off of it. Agent Coulson's been trying to keep everyone away from Loki, so you might want to look into that instead." Agent Maria Hill said comfortingly as she clapped him on the shoulder from where she was stood beside him.
Fury glared at her through his one good eye, but she refused to flinch. Having been working with the Avengers had made her pretty much immune to it, especially when Hawkeye decided to give them all the death glares. "If you think that's going to distract me from-"
"Sir." Someone called out nervously from where they were sitting at one of the high-tech computers, cutting him off. "Uhh...Someone's managed to breach the invisibility panels..uhh...again."
Seconds later, Fury let out a fairly controlled, yet shuddering breath. "Ok. Fine I'm going to check on Loki. Clear this up, and I want the culprit sent to the Avengers. Theycan have some fun with torturing them. Understood? Go find this...trickster." He growled, turning on his heel and storming out of the head of the aircraft and into the main corridors that created a maze throughout it, vaguely hearing the reply of 'Sir' as he went.
Agent Hill speed-walked down the corridors until she came to the kitchen, intending to make herself a quick cup of coffee before going to interrogate people. Opening the door wide, she ignored the stares of other agents as she brushed past them, instead joining Thor at the coffee maker.
"Why hello there Maria." Thor greeted her, a pleased smile donning his lips.
She gave him a tight lipped smile in return, making him frown in concern.
"What is wrong? You seem upset by something." Thor pressed, handing her two sugar cubes whilst she waited for her coffee to finish pouring into the cup.
Maria grunted and accepted the sugar. "Fury's sent me on an imp hunt." She grouched. Catching Thor's confused look, she remembered that he probably didn't know what an imp was. "An imp is a little...fantasy creature that goes around and causes trouble. Anyway, it was a figure of speech. Basically I've been told to track down the trickster that's been causing havoc on board the ship." She explained.
Picking up her coffee, she slipped the two sugars in and took a sip. Thor nudged her arm and motioned for her to follow him. She did so, tailing him to one of tables that was seperated from the rest of the agents, a table that only held two other people.
Hawkeye dipped his head in greeting, whereas Natasha smiled welcomingly as Thor and Agent Hill joined them, sitting down comfortably. "Nice to see another girl on the team. I seem to always get stuck with the guys." She laughed, her red curls bouncing around her shoulders slightly.
"No," Clint disagreed, "the guys always get stuck with you."
A snort from Thor's direction made Natasha grimace and kick Clint under the table. "Shut up. You love me really." She said.
"Lucky for you." Clint returned as he massaged his shin.
Agent Hill smiled for a second before turning to Natasha. "Hey, you guys wouldn't know who's doing all of this...trickster work would you? It's really gone and pissed Fury off, and he wants me to find whoever's doing it." She said quickly, feeling uneasy about accusing three out of six Avengers all at once.
"Nay." Thor said simply, taking another slurp of his coffee .
Romanov shook her head. "Seriously? Does it look like Clint has the motivation to pull pranks on people. No, he derives all of his entertainment from me. In every way possible." She sighed.
"I didn't know you liked my teasing that much Natasha." Clint grinned.
"Shut up." She retorted, turning her attention back to the nervous agent. "In short, it isn't any of us...And so that you don't go and waste your time on loads of other SHIELD agents, it's none of them. Hawkeye and Banner have them all as scared as hell. They think that the two of them are watching them all."
"We are." Hawkeye said straight faced. Natasha rolled her eyes and slapped his upper arm playfully. Maria gave a mental sigh of relief. Thank god...it crossed out so many of the previous possibilities. "You wanna take this outside?" Clint asked, raising an eyebrow.
Thor sniggered at the two of them. "You humans are so petty."
"Well this petty human has to go and track down some annoying little pest. Catch you guys later." Maria said with a small smile as she drank the remains of her coffee and stood up, leaving the three Avengers to stare after her.
Romanov turned to Barton and gave him a withering look. He looked momentarily startled at the look and spread his arms in the 'what' gesture. "What? What did I do?" He asked.
"You know who it is. You see everything from that bloody nest of yours." Natasha replied.
"Oh? Who is it?" Thor asked, the conversation taking an interesting turn.
Clint gave them both an incredulous look. "Really now. Can't you guess?" He said shortly, flashing them a mischevious grin. Thor chuckled into his coffee as it registered.
Bruce Banner looked over to see Tony Stark sitting cross legged and fairly comfortably on the top of one of the work surfaces of the lab, the thin glass screen in front of him clearly showing that he was doing something he shouldn't be.
He smirked. "Stark..." He called out warningly.
Stark refused to take his eyes off the screen and merely flapped a hand at him half heartedly. "Hold on a sec doc, I've nearly done it...aaaand-" He turned around. "Ok, hit me." He said.
"I will if you keep messing around with SHIELD's hi-tech defence systems." Banner warned. "Besides, sooner or later they're gonna see that it's you pulling all these pranks. Then Fury'll have your guts for garters."
Stark shrugged uncaringly. Then he paused and eyed Banner suspiciously. "Wait a second...how come you haven't turned me in yet then?"
"It's kind of amusing." Banner admitted, trying to re-focus on the task at hand as Stark turned back to his screen, frowning at it as he noticed that the invisibility panels had been reactivated even quicker than last time.
As he started to crack the new code that they'd installed, he noticed a familiar SHIELD agent that was starting to make her way into the lab. Before he could be caught, Stark ran his hand down the screen so that everything faded into small tabs at the bottom of the screen and jumped off of the worktop, flashing Agent Hill a dazzling smile as she closed the door behind her.
"Ah, Maria-" He started warmly.
"I'd prefer it if you call me Agent Hill, Stark." She said as she came into the middle of the room, her arms folded behind her back importantly.
Stark momentarily raised his eyebrows before letting them drop. "Ok, suit yourself. But what does a lovely agent like yourself want with a couple of genius scientists like me. I mean, us." He quickly corrected himself, hearing Banner snort quietly.
"I'll tell you straight. Someone keep playing pranks on everyone. We're trying to find out who it is by direct orders from Fury." She said bluntly, touching her hair to make sure that it was tightly secured in place.
"Well, surely you wouldn't suspect us." Stark said confidently. At her silence, he feigned hurt and shock. "I feel insulted Agent Hill..." He said in a broken voice.
"You'll get over it. Now seriously, have you been pulling pranks on everyone. Either of you?" She asked, trying not to get annoyed with Tony. As much as she wanted to hit him, he was still one of the Avengers. Not to mention, that prankster or not, he would get back at her anyway.
Stark looked momentarily at a loss, but then his cocky self took over once more, meandering over to Banner and wrapping an arm around his shoulders. "Oh no, we've been in here the whole time. We're...science bro's. You get me?" He said, staring straight at Agent Hill.
She nodded. "I get you." She said slowly. It was true that neither of them had really left the room. Well, not that she'd seen. She knew Banner probably wasn't the trickster type, but Stark on the other hand, he was a little more tricky to figure out. But then again, if he said he was innocent...
An awkward silence fell between the three of them, lasting for about a minute before Banner coughed to clear his throat. "Well...I'm, uh...gonna carry on with the research. So..."
Hill, grateful for the save, nodded with relief. "So...Oh, yeah. I best get going then. Don't want to meddle with your...science." She smiled, turning and walking out the door in somewhat of a hurry.
"I think she's scared of me a little." Banner said after a second or two, making sure she had definately gone.
"Nah, it's cause Mr. Oh-so-sexy is over here." Stark disagreed cockily, making Banner roll his eyes and pick up a pen as Stark brought all of his previously hidden tabs up again.
As Stark started tapping away at his screen once more, he felt the pen whack into the back of his head, making him yelp and raise a hand to the spot to massage it. He glared at Banner for a second and threw the pen back, watching as Banner neatly caught it without even looking.
"What was that for?" Tony demanded indignantly.
"Don't worry." Banner said, pushing his glasses up his nose as he tried to concentrate.
Tony snorted. "Pea brain." He said, making no attempt to lower his voice. "Pea, because it's green. Like you."
This time he ducked as the pen flew at him.
Agent Hill paused outside the door and figeted. The one Avenger that she really didn't want to question was on the otherside of the door. The more controlling side of her mind took over. 'Oh for god's sake Maria. You're a fully qualified agent, all your asking is one question and you only need a quick yes or no answer. Get the hell in there.' It reprimanded her harshly. Wincing at the thought, she sighed and put her hand on the handle and opened the door.
"Captain Rogers." She called, looking around the blue neon lit room, finding him laying back on his bed with his back pressed up against the headboard. At hearing his name being called, he closed the newspaper he had been reading and fixed her with a stare that made her feel slightly uncomfortable.
"Have you heard of knocking? Or did that also die out whilst I was away?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.
She gulped and cleared her throat quietly. "Sorry..." She said, looking down at the floor in front of her.
"Apology accepted, now what's wrong?" He said with a smile, immediately easing some of the tension that had been in the room not seconds before.
Agent Hill cleared her throat again a little more loudly. "Erm..It seems that on board the ship, someone has been finding it amusing to play pranks on everyone. I'm sorry to have to ask this, but is it you?" She said, summoning her bravery as she said the last part.
The smile that appeared on Steve's face was not what she had been expecting. "Agent Hill." He addressed her. "Don't you think, that you're going about this wrong?" He asked her. She frowned and looked away and back to him. Was it a trick question? Seeing that she was a little confused, he expanded on his answer. "I mean, that if you want to find someone who you want to catch, isn't it slightly ignorant if you ask them directly 'is it you?'."
"Uh...Why?" She asked, wary of the answer.
He put his feet on the floor and leaned his elbows on his legs, his powerful torso leaning forwards over the edge of the bed as he looked at her intently. "Because people lie." He said simply. Maria processed the information and chewed the inside of her bottom lip with a slight nod. "However, I can assure you that it is not me. I do not have the patience for such things, neither do I enjoy them. I believe that some people find them hurtful."
She smiled, grateful that he was honest with her. "So now what should I do? I've already asked everyone else..." She said, mentally kicking herself.
Steve thought for a second. "Well...I can help you with it logically." He offered, continuing as she nodded in acceptance. "Ok. Seeing as all of the other SHIELD agents would be scared stiff, we can rule them all out almost immediately. So now we can narrow it down to the Avengers, plus Fury, Agent Coulson and yourself." He said.
"Hey! I'm not the one doing it! Fury got pissed off with it and went to see Agent Coulson about Loki, so he sent me on a goose cha-" She protested explosively. She stopped when he held up a hand to silence her, a smile on his face.
"Well then. That means that we can rule out Fury, Agent Coulson and luckily, you." He said with a chuckle. Maria realised that he had done that purposely and mentally cursed herself for being so edgy.
She sighed in irritation. "Ok. So that leaves us with the Avengers. We can rule you out, because you just promised me that it isn't you." She said, folding her arms over her chest as she took a slightly defensive stance.
The Captain held up his hand as though asking for a high-five. "Ok. Now we get down to the logic part. Who do we think, wouldn't go around pranking people."
"Everyone but...Stark." She said immediately, trailing off as she said the Avenger's name. Rogers raised an eyebrow in amusement at her. She looked confused for a second. "But I've already asked him. He said it wasn't him."
Steve rolled his eyes. "Riiiight...And since when has Stark ever told the truth with that sort of thing?" He asked, glancing up at her over the top of his newspaper.
She froze, anger seeping across her facial expression. "I'm gonna kill him." She said shortly, turning away.
"No wait." Steve said as he stood up, folding the news paper and tucking it under his arm. "I'll come with you."
Banner pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. He held up on hand for silence, making Natasha, Fury, Thor and Clint all stop talking. "Look...I get that this is annoying-"
"Annoying? He's being a pain in the ass!" Natasha interrupted angrily. The water that was slowly running in rivulets through her hair, down her face and the length of her body should have been evapourating. The anger that she was emitting felt like radiation to those around her.
She wasn't the only one. Barton was still wiping reminants of cream off of his face and onto a paper towel, whereas Thor's hair had been dyed blue. It was better than green, but he still lived up to his reputation of the 'God of Thunder' with his thunderous expression.
She pursed her lips tightly when Banner looked at her pointedly. "But he's not here at the moment. He went to take a breath of fresh air. Come back later, or go and find him. Ok?" He said in a reasonable tone.
The doors opened and Steve Rogers and Agent Maria Hill walked in, both wearing grim expressions. Steve took a long calculating look at the group gathered before them and raised an eyebrow. "I'm guessing we're all here for the same reason." He said.
"When he gets back, I'm going to kill him." Barton said calmly, Thor humming in agreement beside him.
Rogers shook his head. "No, let's not. I'm sure we can think of some other fitting punishment."
Thor snorted. "Like what? He'll just try to get out of it with that smooth tongue of his. I say we teach him a lesson." He growled.
"He'll relish the idea of a fight, Thor. Surely we can find something that he'll hate. I don't know...Chores?" Steve suggested, folding his arms over his chest.
They all looked at him pointedly. "On an Helicarrier?" Fury questioned sarcastically.
Steve grimaced. "Well, you know what I mean."
The door opened again, this time revealing a panic stricken Agent Phil Coulson who closed the door and walked over to join them. Upon seeing the Captain standing with the rest of the Avengers, he gulped nervously. Fury looked up and stared at his most trusted Agent with his one eye. "Agent Coulson. What news?" He asked.
The agent's tongue ran over his now dry lips. "This is going to sound crazy...and I swear to god, I am so sorry Captain Rogers..." He started. Steve frowned. What the hell did it have to do with him? Coulson continued, eyeing the Captain warily. "But it seems another prank has occured in the Captain's living quarters. He's...covered everything...in...jello." Coulson finished lamely.
All eyes turned to the Captain, who stood completely still, his face impassive.
Until the door opened for the third time, the person's face holding the expression of bemusement. "Did I miss another meeting?"
"Stark." Natasha snarled, watching as the man paused in the door way, the door still open.
Steve slowly turned his head to the side to look at Stark, who looked as though he was trying not to look guilty. "I know just what to do with you." He growled, striding over to him.
The Avengers watched in bafflement as Steve grabbed Tony by the ear tightly and dragged him out of the lab and into the corridor, his face set in grim determination as he set off at a ridculously fast pace towards the lower decks of the aircraft, ignoring Tony's protests and avoiding any punches or kicks that were aimed at him.
There was a stunned silence once they'd left, everyone just looking at each other as if to say 'What the hell just happened?'. Seconds later saw them all running after the two of them, following the sound of Tony's yelling as he tried to free himself.
By the time they realised where the Captain was heading, it was too late. They arrived on the scene just in time to see the Captain pushing Stark into a glass section that was like a mini hallway that seperated the main floor from what lay beyond.
Of which the god of mischief was sat in at that very moment, watching the event unfold with interest, as it was probably the most he'd seen in the past week.
"So you think putting me in a cage will solve everything just because I played a few pranks? I'm a part of the Avengers, you need me to help kick the butts of the weak little bitches that think they can take over the Earth!" Stark shouted, stopping as he remembered that Loki was sitting in the cage he was about to be put into. "No offence." He said, turning to direct it towards the younger Asgardian.
Loki shrugged indifferently, seemingly amused by the turn of events. "None taken." He replied smoothly.
The Captain gave him a withering look. "Stop being such a crybaby." He said cuttingly.
Tony scowled and ground his jaw for a second, lashing out in an attempt to punch Steve, feeling slightly annoyed with the guy. Steve merely turned around and caugh Tony's fist twisting it round and up behind Stark's back. "So what are you without the suit?" He growled.
"I'm Sherlock Holmes, bitch." Stark ground out in irritation.
Rogers rolled his eyes and released Stark's arm, taking the newspaper out from under his arm and hitting Tony's ass with it hard so that he more...fell...into the cage rather than stepped, the door closing behind him.
Stark rolled onto his back with a curse and let his head fall back onto the floor with a thud, his hands behind his ass protectively. "Fine. Be that way you, circus monkeyed...spangly outfit wearing...ice age...relic." He insulted under his breath.
Thor darted forwards and grabbed Steve as he turned around with a face like thunder, brandishing the newspaper menacingly. "SAY THAT TO MY FACE, SUIT-BOY." Steve yelled, thrashing wildly and hitting Thor with the newspaper uselessly.
As the newspaper was raised again, an arrow sliced through the air and ripped it out of Steve's hands, pinning it to the wall. Everyone turned to see Clint staring at them impassively, Natasha standing beside him with her arms folded over her chest and glancing at Barton out of the corner of her eye.
"Don't worry about the Captain guys. The heat's getting to him." Stark's voice floated through the thick glass cage. "Perhaps you should get some ICE for him."
"God damn it give me back the newspaper and let me in there. I'll tan his hide." Steve said through gritted teeth as one of his thrashing shoulders nearly hit Thor in the face.
Stark raised an eyebrow and stopped massaging his bruised ass, instead locking his hands comfortably up behind his head. "I already have an ok tan all over thank you very much. Perhaps your just jealous. The ice just made you kind of...pale."
Thor grunted with effort as he managed to drag the Captain out, leaving Hawkeye, Black Widow and Banner together with the two in the cage. Clint and Natasha shared a look before she nodded, smiling at Banner as they left too. Banner removed his glasses and put them in his pocket.
He sighed. "You know Stark, you do kind of take it a little too far sometimes." He said, his voice taking on a lecturing tone that made Tony pull a sulky face that made Loki smirk slightly from where he was sitting watching.
"Then he shouldn't have touched my ass with that damn newspaper. That hurt I tell you." Stark grouched.
"I did warn you." Banner said. "At this rate, you'll probably be in here for a week. That's if the Captain decides that you've earnt it."
Tony glared at Bruce. "God damn it Banner, cut the lecture and just let me the hell out of here."
The scientist chuckled quietly. "I don't think so. I agree with the others at the moment, you need to stop being a pain in the ass, Stark. Until then, have fun in detention." He said, turning and leaving.
"Banner." Stark called. "Banner." He said again, raising his voice. "BANNER. God damn it." He yelled, giving up and falling limp on the floor. "Great. Now I'm stuck with you." Stark snorted, glancing up at Loki, who hadn't moved from where he was sitting.
Loki stared the billionare, playboy, philanthropist...looking down at him with a huge mischevious grin on his face.
"Welcome to hell." Loki said with a smile.
Two hours later, and Stark had refused to say a word to Loki. So naturally the god of mischief kept talking to him, even answering himself as though Stark had replied. After two hours of it Stark finally snapped.
"Look, I don't like you. So shut up and take the hint." Stark growled.
Loki grinned, having finally got a response, which had been his aim in the first place. "My, My...Haven't we got a temper...Annoyed that your so called 'friends' abandoned you just for doing something you like doing? Well everyone likes a bit of fun."
"You can stop with those poisonous words of you. Silvertongue." Stark snapped, rolling over on the floor so that he wasn't directly looking at Loki.
"Why...You know it's true. They never really liked you. The self-absorbed guy who isn't a team player.Hasn't that...Captain always been trying to stab you in the back ever since you got here? I bet they'd all love to just-"
Loki never finished his sentance. Stark scrambled up frighteningly quickly and launched himself at Loki, grabbing his neck in a tight death grip and pushing him back up against the glass. Loki tried to smile, but the hand gripped his neck even tighter in response, forcing him to preserve what little oxygen he'd managed to trap in his mouth.
It left him no option. He let his hands fall away from Stark's wrist, stopping his attempt to try and prise Stark's hand away from his neck. Instead he delivered a swift uppercut to Stark's stomach, making him double over, before kicking his shoulder so that he went stumbling back and fell over.
Loki gasped, gulping down the fresh air. Then he turned his murderous gaze on Stark who had had the wind knocked out of him. They both glared at each other and stood, drawing themselves up as they turned to face each other.
Running at Loki, Stark went to punch at his face but his fist wen sailing through Loki's face. He stumbled through his enemy in suprise and turned once having regained his footing, only for Loki to deliver a roundhouse kick to his side. Instead of letting his hands go to his side like his instincts told him to, he grabbed Loki's leg and pulled, making the god go flying backwards as the leg that he had been using to support him crumpled beneath him.
Releasing Loki's leg, Stark leaned down and grabbed Loki by his collar and pulled him upright. With a sudden jerk, he headbutted him. Hard. They both looked dazed for a second, but Stark hadn't let go of Loki's collar. As Loki teetered forwards again in dizziness, Stark brought his arm back before snapping it forwards.
It connected with Loki's left cheek and he flew across the cage, tripping and doing what looked like a fast backwards head-over-heels motion as he rolled over and clutched his cheek, groaning as he clenched and unclenched his jaw.
Looking up as a shadow fell across him, he saw Stark standing above him with his fist raised. Loki flinched and turned away as he anticipated the blow. But it never fell. Instead, he turned back to see Stark extending a hand to him with a sigh.
"What trickery is this?" Loki asked reservedly.
"There isn't. No trickey. I just thought that you needed an ass kicking. Besides, we fight any more and we might crack that god damned glass. Then we're both dead." Stark said, contemplating the options as his head bobbed from side to side as he weighed them up.
Loki took the extended hand and Stark helped him up. They stood there rather awkwardly, breathing heavily. "So." Stark cleared his throat, making Loki look at him. "Y'like pranking people?"
"Pranking people wasn't much fun on Asgard. The only person I culd really prank was Thor, because when we were younger, he was a little bit thick. Well not thick, but hard headed. All I had to do was tell him notto do something and he'd walk straight into it." Loki smirked, his expression suddenly becoming rather wistful. "But I haven't done that in a long time." He said quietly.
Loki then turned to Stark, who was sat comfortably beside him. "But you." He said with an evil glint in his eye. "I've heard that you've been doing a lot of it lately. I'm impressed that you can crack the invisibility codes so quickly. Ten times in five minutes. Genius." Loki said, actually sounding like he appreciated the work.
The grin on Stark's face was unmistakable. "Yeah well. Wasn't too hard, and as you say, I am a genius." He chuckled. "Pranking is my sort of...thing. Y'know, when I'm not building my Stark Tower or making adjustments to my suit or saving the world. It's great to sit back and laugh as you watch your genius unfold."
"Indeed." Loki agreed. "Imagine what you and I together could think up. Just here, on board this aircraft. We could cause the Avengers hell without killing them. So much more fun, don't you agree?"
"Well yeah. But, I didn't want to kill them in the first place because they're my friends." Stark said. "But your plan has got one small, teensy, tiny, miniscule flaw in it."
Loki glanced at him.
"We're in a cage, mischief boy. What the hell can we do from in here?" Stark asked sarcastically.
"Let's see...I am able to project an image of myself anywhere..." Loki said nonchalently.
Stark grinned and raised an eyebrow.
I just want to see what people think before I post the other half (which I promise is going to be quite a laugh). =) So PLEASE review, just so that I know whether or not to post the next chapter of which I'm about a third of the way through... Thanks! ^_^ Kaitaru Seras Viktoria Hatake XxxXxxX _
To define true madness, what else is there to be, but nothing else but mad?
So PLEASE review, just so that I know whether or not to post the next chapter of which I'm about a third of the way through...
Kaitaru Seras Viktoria Hatake XxxXxxX