Author's Note: Just a little something I had to get out of my head. Although in a similar vein to Why Clint Has Never Tried It On With Natasha this story is not related! There is FYI a sequel to that story in progress but this is not it! Contains Clint having unrequited love for another Avenger who is not Natasha. So in other words boy/boy – don't like don't read!
Disclaimer: Don't have anything to do with Marvel and they're wonderful play-land of creations … sigh…
They Didn't Know
Director Fury sighed heavily, glaring through the high strength glass at the new SHEILD prisoner. Arching the brow above his good eye he turned away from the cage and looked around at the avengers team.
"Good job guys," he said with a brisk nod. "Don't leave him unattended now. Take it in turns to watch. Decide amongst yourselves."
With one last look at the prisoner, Fury turned and breezed out of the hanger, leaving Tony, Steve, Bruce, Clint, Natasha and Thor standing in an even circle around the large SHEILD cage. The latter cast a sheepish, apologetic look around the circle.
"I am sorry my friends. This should not have happened," he apologised sincerely. Tony arched an eyebrow, casting a quick glance to the Norse God before returning his attention to their prisoner.
"So what pray tell happened to cause this little… unplanned escapade?"
Thor sighed, his arms crossing across his broad chest.
"Some new guards underestimated my brother's capacity for trickery," he replied.
"Not your brother," came a grumble from within the cage. The only reaction to the statement however was Thor rolling his eyes toward the ceiling. Loki pursed his lips, circling his cage, looking over it thoughtfully.
"Oh don't even think about it," Tony shook his head. "We learn from our mistakes."
"So I see," Loki agreed blandly. "And I have to say you are working far better as a team than when last we met. Despite all your…" he glanced around the group and smirked. "Disadvantages."
"Disadvantages?" Tony arched an eyebrow. Clint and Natasha exchanged an exasperated look as Bruce and Steve both looked at Tony tiredly. Why could the man never be quiet?
"Oh you know," Loki waved a hand dismissively, starting to gesture loosely round the circle. "Narcissist who doesn't play well with others," well that was nothing the team didn't already know. "Your guy who no matter what the rest of you do will never feel like he belongs in this time," again not something that the team were unfamiliar with although they did like to pretend it was not the case. "Agent Barton and his unrequited love for his teammate, th…"
"Ah, no! Common mistake there," Tony leapt at the chance to interrupt the prisoner before he could do any real damage to team confidence and morale. "Barton does not have inappropriate feelings towards Miss Romanov."
"I was not speaking of Miss Romanov," Loki looked confused at the interruption but a quick glance at the archer in question brought the smirk back to the trickster's lips. "Oh. They know not of…" he arched an eyebrow. "Oh dear."
Four pairs of eyes turned to look at agent Barton as one by one the men in the team processed what Loki meant. As expected they found him glaring back at Loki, jaw locked but they had not expected the horrified and slightly panicked look in his eyes, nor had they ever seen him look quite so pale. For a moment Clint just glared back at Loki as the Aasgardian smirked. The archer suddenly snapped his bow shut into its compressed form, exhaling heavily.
"They didn't know I was gay you five-faced frost goblin," the archer muttered, casting one quick look to Natasha who gave a small nod, shifting slightly toward Clint to cover what she knew to be his impending departure. Barton indeed turned and made his way toward the exit. "Next time you lock him up throw away the damned key!"
A brief silence fell over the room following the agents' departure.
"Frost goblin?" of course it was Tony who broke it, giving a nod. "I like it."
"I do not," Thor sulked – at exactly the same time as Loki, both Aasgardians crossing their arms. The older of the two glanced into the cage with the hint of a hopeful smile pulling on his lips as the other simply scowled.
"Perhaps one of you should go after your friend?" he suggested, pulling a more nonchalant expression onto his face. "See that he is alright?"
"Agent Barton will be just fine, thank you," Natasha replied sharply. Despite her words she holstered her gun and glanced at her watch. "Clint and I shall take over at ten. You four can do what you want."
"Hey now wait a minute," Tony reached out a hand in a gesture to stop her although he did not move from his spot. "You know who he's talking about right? You have to tell us!" he held up his hands in retreat as the other three male Avengers turned an incredulous look on him. "What? Well it's not me is it? Barton likes me about as much as she does," he pointed an accusing finger at Natasha who in turn simply glowered at Loki. "Besides which I have a girlfriend."
His colleagues looked unconvinced by his reasoning but chose not to argue with him.
"I am not telling you anything," Natasha replied simply, turning on her heel and making her way towards the door. Again a brief silence returned, the four remaining avengers glancing around at each other, obviously considering the same thing although no-one spoke aloud of it.
"You did this on purpose," Thor turned an accusing glare on his brother. Loki simply titled his head slightly, a somewhat innocent expression pulling on his face. "What? Now you choose silence?"
This time Loki simply shrugged, sitting himself down in the centre of his cell with a faint, amused smile. As if he would cause such mischief…