[Author Note: Thank you so much for the continued support and interest in this story. Many things in life have been the cause of stalemates and stealers of creativity/attention needed for me to write this chapter. This is the last chapter, but there will be an epilogue that I am working on ^^ Please enjoy~!]

***Spoiler Alert***: Movie-verse spoilers throughout the story. Not everything though, since I had to make some significant changes to accommodate Loki's own plotting and so on.

Please see the Prologue for all warnings and a short explanation of how this story came about.

Thank you to Josh, Rei, Angela and ElrueFaerie for all the help and support! *Sends kisses* All you readers out there! Please comment/review! I would greatly appreciate the feedback.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own The Avengers, its characters, or its backstory. This is not for Profit, I just like to write.]


Chapter 12

~~~/~~~/~~~

"I've shut down the Arc Reactor, Sir. However, the tesseract is already self-sustaining," JARVIS said.

"All right," Tony said with a small sigh as he moved to hover before the device, looking down at Maria and Selvig, "Hill, Selvig, shut it down."

Maria grinned, "You can't, it's already started!"

"She wants to show us something. A new world!" Selvig said, smiling happily as Maria stood proudly next to him

Tony barely paused as he confirmed their lack of sanity and said, "Okay," then raised his hands, firing off two shots at the machine, only to have both explode in his face.

Maria and Selvig were tossed aside and Tony summersaulted back. He steadied himself as JARVIS said, "The shield is pure energy, sir. It's impenetrable."

"Yeah, got that, plan B. Pull out the Mark 8," he said as he moved to the landing platform, eyes locking on Aiden, who was grinning widely back at him.

"Sir, the Mark 8 isn't-" Jarvis began, but Tony cut him off.

"Then skip the spinning rims, we're on a time table here," The billionaire said in a clipped tone as he kept his eyes on Aiden and strolled into the penthouse, doing everything to keep his pace.

Aiden stepped into the living room of the penthouse as he spoke, "You like the addition I made to your excess of luxury, Mr. Stark?"

"Oh it's charming! Not quite the color I would have picked though so I'm going to have to replace it, but y'know, it's the thought," Tony said with a wave of his hands, striding into the main room.

Aiden's chuckle was a low growl, "Good luck with that."

Tony shrugged, "Eh, we'll figure it out. Greater point at the moment, the whole me threatening you thing."

"Threatening? I would have thought with your suit off you would be appealing to the human in me?" Aiden said with chuckle, examining his scepter.

"Nah, I don't think there's much left of that," Tony said, "At least, not enough to appeal to. I'd rather talk about you pissing off the Avengers," and poured himself a drink.

Aiden's face darkened at the first comment, then he laughed, "The Avengers? There is little for me to fear, Stark."

"Well, other than the fact that we decimated the, 400 was it? That you had in the underground?" The engineer pointed out.

"The army I bring now is far more vast than that little spat," The champion boasted.

"And the Hulk's breath-taking anger management issues will still smash them to nothing like before," Tony said confidently before continuing, "I mean, let's do a head count here: my genius self and the Hulk; two demi-gods, one with a stunning command of lightening, the other a Merlin a thousand times more awesome; a super soldier, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend; a couple of master assassins, and YOU, big fella, you've managed to piss off every single one of them," He recriminated for the man before him.

Aiden chuckled low as unearthly blue eyes looked out over the city though the floor to ceiling windows as he turned away from Tony. Tony took that small window of opportunity to slide on two new bracelets that were keyed for the Mark 8 to locate and attach to him as needed. He moved around the bar with his drink, sipping the alcohol again, "And I can assure you, every last one of them is after your head for multiple reasons."

"Oh, but I doubt they'll be too busy with the army," Aiden chimed in as he turned back to Tony, "They'll be too busy fighting you."

Tony didn't have time to react as Aiden's scepter touched his chest, a distinct clink sounding as it hit his reactor... and did nothing.

Aiden frowned in confusion, blue eyes glaring up at Tony, "That's never happened before..."

"Well, you know, performance issues can come on pretty quickly-" Tony started, but was stopped as a hand came up to clutch his face.

Aiden snarled and dug his nails into Tony's jaw before dragging him to the window, "Deploy! JARVIS, deploy!" Tony cried as his feet scratched across the ground.

Before the Mark 8 could deploy Tony was sent flying out the window. Free falling was really a sensation that he had never cared to feel without the aide of his suit.

~~~/~~~/~~~

Loki had teleported as soon as the quinjet was in range and appeared on the penthouse balcony to see Tony sailing out of the window. That had certainly not been what he was expecting. How many times would he have to save the human's life in a day? He watched as the Mark 8 flew out the window after Tony, but he wouldn't chance it. With a show of green energy around his right hand he cast a spell to slow the human's fall. He leaned over the glass railing and sighed in relief as a fully suited Tony was heading back up to him. Loki's attention turned to Aiden who was now stalking across the balcony towards him. The god's expression pinched for a moment as he watched the murder that lit in Aiden's eyes, "Well, if it isn't the two liars together again! So wonderful that I will be able to torment one with the other," Aiden said with a maniacal laugh, "But you," he pointed to Loki, "Your pain will know no end."

"Not helping your case, Aiden," Tony said, hands rising as he aimed at the champion.

There was a rumble through the building as they looked over to see the tesseract activate. A beam of blue shot into the sky and within moments the sky opened to the black of space. "No…" Loki said softly as the Chitauri forces began to cascade out through the portal.

Tony swallowed as the screen of his suit shifted and he murmured, "Right, army," before taking off after the invading forces.

Loki looked to Aiden with a disbelieving look, "What have you done?"

"What you could not," Aiden said definitively.

"Gonna need help here people!" Tony's voice rang through his earpiece.

Loki pursed his lips and was about to raise his daggers when a foot sent Aiden off the balcony and through the penthouse windows. Loki paused, then couldn't help a little smile as he looked up at Thor as he landed, "You enjoyed that too much," he said, taking in the grin that was wide across the warrior's face.

"Life's little pleasures, brother. Now go aide Tony Stark," Thor said as he hefted his hammer.

Loki nodded and was gone in a twist of black smoke.

~~~/~~~/~~~

Tony swerved and twisted as his bombs went off, mouth set in a thin line as JARVIS tracked and counted each one. He couldn't help the upward tilt that lifted his lips into something close to a grin when he heard a familiar voice, "Need some help?"

"Does it come with the promise of make-up sex after we flatten these guys?" Tony asked.

The laughter from Loki just made Tony's grin wider as the god answered, "This time? Yes."

"Ooh, incentive," He said, before he banked and dove again.

~~~/~~~/~~~

Maria groaned softly as she awoke and jerked, wincing at the pain in her head before she sat up slowly and gasped in dismay as she looked up. She watched as the Chitauri moved in from the portal and she swallowed down the bile that rose in her throat. This was her fault; she had brought him the tesseract. All she had been able to think of was the power. The need for it had burned through her like a wildfire, whispering and driving her until it was all she thought about and she had given in. With a pained groan she shifted and managed to sit up, looking over the edge of the building and out across the skyline, swallowing hard again as she watched the Chitauri move across the sky.

Below her, Thor and Aiden were duking it out with hammer and scepter; Aiden's face twisted in rage and Thor's set in determination. She ducked down reflexively as she saw the quinjet arrive and Thor dodged out of the way as they fired shots at Aiden. A shot off the champion's scepter and Maria winced as the quinjet fell. However, it opened a shot for Thor as he sent Aiden sprawling, scepter flying from his hand. Aiden tried to run after it, but Thor was quick to make sure he couldn't by placing himself between the champion and his weapon. The champion grinned as he laughed and a hand reached for a short sword at his side. It had been hidden away by the folds of his robes nicely. With a swallow Maria turned back to look at the tesseract and pulled out her gun. She stood and aimed carefully, mouth set, when Selvig stopped her, "Don't bother, the shield is impenetrable."

Maria closed her eyes for a moment before she looked over at Selvig, who was clutching his side in pain and moving sluggishly, "Then what the hell am I supposed to do? Stand here and watch it happen?"

Selvig shook his head, taking careful breaths, broken ribs probably, and said, "Aiden's scepter. Who knows how, but I put in a fail safe."

Maria staggered over to him and grasped his arm, "You're positive? Absolutely?"

Selvig nodded around a wince as she gripped his arm, "Yes."

She swallowed hard and released his arm as she turned and headed for the ladder. Selvig frowned, "Where are you going?"

"To get the scepter," she snapped over her shoulder.

She made her way off the roof and crept through the penthouse, trying to make sure neither Thor, and especially Aiden, saw her. She ducked down as she came to the balcony door and paused as Aiden roared at Thor, making the God of Thunder duck under a blow before sending his hammer at Aiden's side, only to have to call it back as the strangely nimble Chitauri champion dodged it. With a hard swallow she pulled open the door once she saw Aiden was focused on Thor again, taking careful steps she reached the scepter and took it up gently and soundlessly. She shuddered as it thrummed in her hand and she glanced up again before creeping back into the penthouse.

The ex-agent held it close to her chest, but couldn't help glancing back at Aiden's dismay and enraged roar that made the windows rumble and vibrate. She caught sight of Thor flying off the rooftop and into a grouping of Chitauri, but Aiden's eyes were locked on her. She swallowed hard, eyes widening, before she turned to try and race back to the roof. She barely made it across the main room when a blast of magic threw her against the wall and to the floor and rolling onto her back. She groaned, still gripping the scepter and opened blurry eyes to look up at the disappointed looking Aiden.

"I would have given you so much, and you threw it all away so easily," he said with a shake of his head.

Maria pursed her lips and shook her head, "Illusions."

Aiden sneered and then his short sword was through her right lung. She looked up at him with a choked cry and wide eyes, blinking rapidly as he smirked down at her. She coughed slightly, blood on her lips and that's when she felt it. The scepter, in that moment it was an extension of her and a smile tipped her lips, making Aiden frown again as she shifted the scepter to point at his chest and say, "I see..." and told it to fire.

Aiden sailed out of the penthouse and then Maria's eyes faded with the sword still through her chest.

~~~/~~~/~~~

Tony ducked and dodged a blast from one of the Chitauri, a ball of green flame flying in to send the two into the side of the building, "Hey, Loki, babe. Can we at least try to keep them out of the buildings?"

A heavy, annoyed sigh came back to him, "I suppose if you insist…"

"Yeah, kind of do. Indulge me?" Tony said with a small shake of his head.

"I will do my best," came the calm answer as another was taken down into an empty alley.

Tony let a little curl grow at the edge of his lips before veering off to the side and plowing through a group of chariots. What he didn't expect was the second group of chariots that collided with the one he was now blasting apart. The leader of the second group twisted its vehicle to aim right for Tony, screaming as it fired. The hero grit his teeth and with a blast of his lasers, the engine of the chariot he had grabbed hold of cut out and he used the downward momentum to dropped down sharply under the shots. As he fell he watched the leader of the second group twist his chariot again, aiming for Tony once more and the billionaire moved to dodge out of the way, only to realize there was a building rooftop coming toward him a lot faster than he had anticipated. Next thing he knew there was the sound of an explosion, muffled only slightly by the green shield that had been thrown up as Loki appeared at his side and he slowed abruptly before he and the god tumbled onto a rooftop. Loki shot up with a sharp glare and snapped, "Dammit, Stark! Keep yourself intact!"

"Hey, I had everything perfectly under control! The suit would have more than accounted for that fall and explosion," Tony shot back, his mask opening as he glowered at Loki, "I'm perfectly capable of keeping myself in one piece."

"You certainly don't make a very good display of it," the trickster god countered.

"Says the guy that spent that last several months lying to me and –"

Tony was cut off by the sound of Natasha's chuckling in their earpieces, "Really boys, a lover's spat is going to have to wait."

"Hey, Nat, I wanted to hear this!" Clint complained, "It's perfect to hang over his head late-"

"Could we please focus on the army of Chitauri pouring in from outer space?!" Steve cut in, his voice sharp and authoritative.

Loki and Tony shared a glance and both reached up to turn off their communicators. Tony beat Loki to talking first though, "I've been taking damn good care of myself long before you ever came, Loki. I don't need a shield. I made my own."

Loki's lips pursed into a thin line, "I've spent the better part of several months working to make sure this never had to be your fight, Tony."

"I get that. You lied and twisted your way-" he paused as he watched Loki's teeth clench as he looked away, "No, I am not going to let it go just like that and you fucking know it. How much of you did I really have for all those months anyway?" Tony ground out, teeth clenched as he watched Loki closely.

There was a small huff before Loki looked at Tony again and said, "Other than the continued control of the desire to cause a certain amount of mayhem and confusion… All you had was very much me."

Tony leaned back a little at that, considering Loki for a moment as he drank that statement in. However, a series of shrill cries reminded them that there was an army of aliens around them. The two barely glanced at one another before they each turned opposite one another to deftly take out the gnarling creatures that had gathered around them. A few moments later, when those in the immediate area were taken care of, the two turned back to each. A light grin on each of their faces as Loki said, "I really can't wait to get you out of that armor."

Tony's grin widened, "Feeling's mutual."

~~~/~~~/~~~

As the first leviathan carriers of Chitauri warriors dove in through the portal, Loki and Tony had taken to dealing with the first one while the second had been taken by the Hulk. The green giant proceeding to make an interesting mush out of the creature's face before taking to the buildings and tearing apart the Chitauri that had popped off the creature's backs and landed there.

They took a moment to regroup as the Captain began shouting orders and they each separated to carry out their assigned duties; Thor was using his lightening in an admittedly smart fashion to bottleneck the portal and take care of two more carriers while Tony and Loki had just finished their own work on the original carrier, sending it crash-landing into the street.

It wasn't long before Loki found himself beside Thor and the Hulk on another carrier. The aforementioned two smashing their way along the spine as Loki drove lances of fire into the creature, often melting off armor and pieces that still held Chitauri warriors to its sides.

With a great swing of Thor's hammer and a bolt of lightening, the carrier creature wailed and twisted before it crashed into a building and skidding to a hall.

They paused for a moment as they took in the destruction wrought, only for the Hulk, in all his continued anger, to send a punch to the side where both Thor and Loki stood. Thor took the brunt, flying through the nearest wall, while the fist simply went through Loki with a light hum. The Hulk frowned, his lips curling downward and eyes narrowing as he looked around when the illusion faded all together. His eyes finally caught the god standing on the other side of him with a light, playful smile on his lips.

The Hulk glowered at the god, making as if to go after him, but Loki just shrugged noncommittally and disappeared in a twisted of black smoke. The Hulk grunted in annoyance, vowing to get the puny god next they met.

Natasha had been the one to volunteer to go up to the top of Stark Tower and see what the hell they could find out about the portal to try and close it. The wear on each of them was starting to show (less so on the two gods for obvious reasons) and they needed an alternative. The assassin was riding her way through the buildings in an attempt to control one of the Chitauri chariots when a familiar and unpleasant champion appeared hot on her tail, "Um, little help here," Natasha said as she clumsily swerved the chariot about.

"Nat, what are you doing?" Clint asked as he pulled out an arrow and aimed carefully.

"What does it look, Barton? A friendly game of tag?" She snapped, sharply.

"Heh, you've been around Stark too much," The archer said with a grin as he murmured, "Got ya…" And let the arrow fly.

The arrow flew towards its target with terrifying speed and accuracy. Only to be caught in one of the pale skinned hands. Glowing eyes looked up at Clint, a smug grin on his lips, before the arrowhead blipped once at him and exploded. Clint gave a light chuckle as Aiden flew and landed on a nearby rooftop with a roll. The Champion stood with a resounding scream at Clint on his perch, blue sparks of lighting around his fists, when an odd shadow fell over him.

Aiden frowned and looked to his right in confusion, there stood the Hulk, in all his frowning, raging glory, green eyes fixed on Aiden. The champion's eyes widened and he raised a hand of blue flame to try to blast the monster with, but he was too slow. Suddenly the Hulk had him in one of his giant fists and was slamming him about like a ragdoll, his head spinning and limbs unable to do anything but follow the movements of his body as it met every surface within arm's reach.

With a rumbling roar that dwarfed his own, the Hulk sent him flying at the nearest target, which happened to be Stark Tower, and through the windows. He slammed into the far wall of Tony's penthouse and slumped to the floor, unconscious behind the fallen Maria Hill.

~~~/~~~/~~~

Natasha landed with a roll on the roof of Stark Tower before spotting Selvig and dodging over to the older man and helped him to his feet, "Dr. Selvig!"

The struggling man looked up at her and seemed to sigh in relief, "Maria! She went to get the scepter!"

"The scepter? What's the scepter got to do with anything?" Natasha asked with a frown, helping the injured man into a better position.

Selvig explained the fail-safe that involved the scepter and Natasha mentally breathed a sigh of relief at the knowledge, "I'll go down and see what happened. Stay here."

Selvig nodded, grasping his broken ribs with a grimace and settling back against the ledge. Natasha moved down to the main penthouse and was about to race in when she froze instead. There lay Aiden, seemingly unconscious as he lay face down in the rubble of his impact against the wall where the Hulk had chucked him. She swallowed and looked around cautiously, bright eyes scanning the penthouse until they landed on Maria Hill's body. She grimaced slightly at the sight of the short sword through her chest and the blood that pooled beneath her. It was the glow of the scepter next to the ex-agent that made her jaw clench and eyes harden.

She glanced at Aiden again and with slow, but quick steps she moved around the once-human, eyes darting between the two bodies. She carefully reached down and gripped the scepter, picking it up with a light tipping of metal, before creeping back around Aiden. She didn't linger to see if Aiden was alive, darting out of the penthouse and back to the roof as she gripped the scepter to her chest.

~~~/~~~/~~~

"Can anyone hear me? I can close it!" Natasha's voice came through the communicator.

"Do it!" Steve called immediately, but Tony cut in.

"Not yet!" He called as he flew after the nuclear bomb that was heading straight for the center of Manhattan, "I got a nuke coming in and I think I know just where to put it."

Loki's eyes widened as he looked over at his brother, a base instinct from their days before. It was barely a glance, but Thor did not hesitate to give that small nod that told Loki to go. The trickster god was gone without a second thought from the grouping of Chitauri soldiers that had encircled them, re-appearing on the balcony of Tony Stark's penthouse, eyes locked on Tony as he headed straight for the portal.

"Stark, you know that's a one way trip," Steve said grimly, mouth set in a thin line.

Tony chose to ignore the obvious comment as he murmured to JARVIS, "Save the rest for the turn, J."

With a determined look, dark brown eyes settled on the fast approaching Stark Tower when JARVIS spoke solemnly, "Should I open a private line to Loki, sir?"

A slight smile tipped at his lips as he said, "Why not."

The line blipped and Loki said calmly, though it was laced with something Tony didn't quite give a damn about figuring out at the moment, "Tony."

"Loki," he said in return, "Just thought I might need to have you tack one more rain check onto my list."

"I think I can let this one slide for the moment," Loki said softly, a forced hint of humor in his voice.

Tony grit his teeth as he pushed the trajectory of the missile up, chest plate scrapping off the edge of the roof before he was staring at the blackened portal above him, "Don't know how much that will count for… You know, it'd be nice to say it just once before I go meet-"

"Tony." Loki said with a dark note.

"-whoever the hell's up there. I mean, can-"

"STARK!" Loki snarled into the communicator, "You say one more word and I swear I'll come after your pathetic ass even if it means I have to break into the Halls of Valhalla or find Hel and bargain for your fate. I will d-"

Tony kept silent as the god raged at him, eyes locked on the sky above as he and the bomb ascended through the portal and the connection to Loki went dead. He blinked rapidly as the world shifted instantly and he watched as his systems began shutting down and his mouth formed words he would never admit to wanting to say. He could only stare at the huge mother ship as he released the missile and began to fall, or float back, which he wasn't sure, as the missile continued forward. As the nuke hit he let his eyes slide closed, not giving a damn about the tears that he held there as he lost consciousness.

~~~/~~~/~~~

The sounds of relief that resounded through the communicators between each of the Avengers as Tony's Iron Man suit cleared the closing portal at the last second was welcome to all of their ears. Loki's heart dropped out of his throat as he closed his eyes for a moment and he forced down the unadulterated rage he had felt towards the fates for taking Tony from him. However, they had spared him this time and Loki let a tiny prayer of gratitude fall from his lips to them.

"He isn't slowing down," came Thor's clipped words and Loki frowned.

The god dodged forward to see the limp form of his lover still descending at breakneck speed and he was about to send a careful spell to slow him, when from his left came a giant, green, screaming ape. The Hulk caught Tony and slid down the side of one of the buildings then landed in a graceless heap on the street. Loki held his breath as he held a hand to his earpiece and waited. The seconds ticked by in his head and he could hear each of them giving up without them saying a word, when a sudden roar came from the Hulk and a gasping yell, followed by a familiar 'What the hell!?', was heard.

The relief came again as Loki finally fully relaxed at hearing Tony babbling on, something about shwarma and taking a break. A welcome thought, but not yet. Turning, Loki's gaze landed on the form of Aiden, who was just beginning to move about.

With purposeful steps Loki moved back into the penthouse, daggers ready and expression dark, "Aiden."

The altered human moved to lean against the wall he had destroyed, "This world… has no sense of justice."

"The Fates are kind to no one," Loki countered, flipping one of his daggers over.

"Says the one that made me what I am," Aiden snarled, making Loki pause.

The god considered Aiden for a moment, before confirming what he knew with a simple, "Yes."

Aiden's expression changed almost instantly; as if Loki giving the confirmation was the greatest relief he had ever come across, "I want to be with them," he said desperately.

For the moment the blue of his eyes had receded. They no longer glowed brightly, edging on otherworldly. Right then they were normal, sky blue eyes, "Chelsea and Melony. Please let me see them again…"

"You accept death then?" Loki asked as he moved to kneel before Aiden.

"Yes, dear god, yes, please," Aiden murmured, tears brimming at his eyes as a slight smile touched his lips at the very thought.

Loki nodded and without pause the dagger struck straight into his heart. Aiden gasped and looked up, "That's not going to kill me…" he choked out.

"I know," Loki said calmly.

There was a movement of Loki's hand and suddenly Aiden cried out as a fire ignited within him and a moment later nothing but a thin coil of smoke came from an empty chest cavity. Aiden's body slumped and sightless blue eyes looked up, beyond Loki, with a slight smile tilting his lips upward still. Loki took back his dagger and looked up as he heard a light step to find Natasha watching him carefully. It was a silent exchange, but meaningful. Without another word she turned and moved back up to the roof, her approval of the action given.

Loki moved over to the shattered windows, peering out of them as the rest of the Avengers filtered into the penthouse. Steve stopped and looked around, "Where's… oh lord…" He murmured as he saw Aiden, a burnt hole in his chest.

Loki resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the anger he saw rise in Steve's eyes, "Did you have to burn out his HEART?"

"Well, when I stabbed him in the heart, he didn't die. So yes," The god said simply, making Steve wince slightly.

Thor was the one to quietly place a hand on Steve shoulder, calming him, while Tony moved over Loki. He glanced at Aiden and sighed, "You know, I will have to deal with that."

"Considering the stunt you just pulled? I'd call us even," Loki said with a tiny quirk of his lips.

~~~/~~~/~~~

"You don't have to go," said a blank faced Tony as they parked at Central Park.

The last few days had been a mix of cleaning up the mess and how long could Tony distract Fury and Thor from wanting to nab Loki. It was actually Loki who had ended it though. The trickster god now sat next to Tony a small smile on his face, "Yes, I do Tony."

"Tell me why again? Cause it's still not making any sense," Tony said, looking over at Loki with a tightly clenched jaw.

Loki gave a small, exasperated sigh, "Odin will hunt me till he finds me. I go now and it means I can at least start to talk my way out of a millennia of imprisonment."

"Nope, don't like it," and shifted the car into gear.

Loki's hand shot down, holding the car in neutral, "And how would you like it if I never saw you because I was always on the run? I can't run with you, Tony. There are things that I can do, places I can go that you will never be able to tread because of your mortality," Loki said gravely, "This way, I can get out of it. This way there's a chance of me coming back in a much more permanent way."

Tony stared at the console of the car before him as his lips twisted together and his jaw clenched and unclenched almost rhythmically. Dark brown eyes looked up at him, mistrust and the expectation of betrayal in his eyes. Loki's expression softened a little more, "I'm asking you trust me, Tony Stark."

Tony huffed a little, "You do realize how ironic that statement is coming from the God of Lies."

Loki raised an eyebrow, "I better than you," he said in a slightly low voice.

Tony took a slow breath, but finally nodded, "All right, I don't really have a choice anyway."

Loki nodded and the two moved to get out of the car as the others pulled up, an armored van holding the tesseract. Thor moved over to this brother, a grim expression on his face and Loki stared at him blankly. The older god took a moment before saying, "I will fight for you."

"You don't need to Thor. I can fight my own battles," he said sharply, making Thor wince.

Thor shook his head and a small smile tipped his lips, "I know that all too well, brother."

Loki rolled his eyes in annoyance and looked away, sharp green eyes shining with distaste. Thor turned and took up the device that now held the tesseract in it and then moved to the open space by the lake, needing the clear area for the activation. Thor held up one end of the teleport to Loki and the trickster god stared down at it for a moment. Green eyes then darted to the stoic looking Tony for a moment, then back to Thor. Thor gave him a sympathetic look, "You know I would go back without you if I could."

Loki's resisted the snarling curl of his lip and took the handle. Thor twisted his end and in a show of twisting blue light the two gods were transported back to Asgard.

Tony stood where he was, watching the spot for a moment when he felt someone step up beside him. He glanced over to find Bruce Banner there with a nervous smile on his face, "So, how many floors of R&D did you have?"

The billionaire stared at him for a moment and it clicked what Bruce was doing. With a disarming smile Tony turned and brought an arm around Bruce's shoulders, "Ten of them. Why don't I give you a tour?"

Bruce nodded quickly, his smile widening and he moved with the billionaire. The scientists waved to the rest of the Avengers as they climbed into the car, Tony not acknowledging that slight sadness that drew Steve's eyebrows up, he didn't need it. The assassins' gave their curt waves as they went their own way as well, but they were smart enough to keep any pitying they may have to themselves as they each went their own way.