(A/N: I'm so sorry for being gone this long. I've diverted so much of my time and energy to publishing my original works that I just haven't had time for fic and I'm just sorry. I know that both are important so I hopefully will stick around for a bit longer now. But I can't promise anything. Also, the warnings haven't changed and I don't own a thing.)

Hands in Mine

Part 11

Movie night at Avengers Tower had become an escape from the increasing difficulty they all faced in the real world. Fury had been sending false alarms out in order to catch them and convince them to come back to SHIELD. But he still insisted that Loki deserved to suffer for what had happened in Manhattan and that the project that had altered Steve, Natasha, and Tony himself be terminated. None of the Avengers listened to him for more than a few seconds of any encounter.

Odin had spent so much time traumatizing Loki and the children that no one slept well anymore and the stress was beginning to show on the 8 and a half month pregnant Jötunn. Were it not for the assistance of Professor Xavier they would have no peace at all. He had been able to, with the help of his partner Erik, design something of a shielding device that could deflect a decent number of Odin's attacks. No one wanted to guess how terrible it would be for them if the shield wasn't in place.

Loki occupied a sofa, reclined and propped up with more pillows than anyone ought to own. Thor sprawled near the couch on the floor, his long limbs stretched out in relaxation while Fenrir lie atop his back. Hela and Jörmungandr had settled themselves into the closest arm chair with a box of pop tarts and a bucket of ice cream all to themselves. Sleipnir, the youngest of Loki and Thor's brood until the twins arrived, had spread himself out along the top of the sofa where Loki lie, one hand resting against his father's stomach in communication with his little sisters.

Across the room, Clint and Natasha were snuggled on a loveseat, a bowl of popcorn shared between them as they performed increasingly difficult tosses of the treat so as to prove who was superior at catching it with their mouths. It was a stalemate and no one else in the room would bother to get involved until blades came into play, it just wasn't worth the energy at that point.

Another sofa was a messy tangle of limbs with Steve and Logan cradling an exhausted Phil between them. Their Agent had actually tried to reason with Fury and had gone through quite the ordeal that he was unwilling to speak about just yet. So they held onto him and pretended to watch the movie for his sake, playing it off like everything was normal. It seemed to work at least a little.

On the floor not so far from Thor, Bruce and Tony were curled around one another like cats, already asleep. It was physically draining to perfect male pregnancy in a human, and the final breakthrough had come early that morning, before the sun had even risen. Tony's body was coping with the modifications that he had done to it and had only recently gotten over the pain it had caused him.

It was a night of calm quiet, the movie playing low enough that no one spoke because it would be louder than the television. Nearly everyone was on their way to falling asleep except two of the children and the assassins. And that was the night that Loki and Thor's daughters decided that they were due out in the world.

"Papa!" Sleipnir gasped, his hand slipping away from Loki's stomach, big black eyes staring wide and desperate around the room for anyone that would help.

"What dear?" Loki asked gently, his fondness for his youngest obvious in his eyes.

"Limaine and Latharne are ready Papa. Now!" Sleipnir exclaimed, leaping from the back of the couch and hitting the coffee table with enough force to crack it slightly. Tony startled from his sleep and the Hulk very nearly appeared. Jörmungandr slid from Thor's back and the blonde god leapt to his feet, alert all at once.

"They say that but my body doesn't," Loki replied delicately, his hand sliding over his stomach just in time for a wave of pain to crash through him. His eyes widened and watered in response. It was definitely labor, he'd felt it before. The fact that the girls had told Sleipnir their names was not a shock to him at least, he knew that they had picked them and were simply being difficult about telling him.

"Med Bay," Tony said as soon as his senses were about him. Thor slipped his arms under his brother's body and lifted him gently, moving with all haste towards the hospital bed that had been set aside for Loki's delivery. Everyone had a specific role to play in the well-orchestrated play that was Loki's delivery and they fell into them without hesitation. Clint and Natasha gathered the children to themselves, Tony and Bruce hustled after Thor and Loki. Steve and Phil were responsible for monitoring the computers for any signs of SHIELD or Odin's presence, and Logan was off in a Quinjet to fetch Jean Grey.

Everything was set into motion within five minutes and Loki was safely in his bed well before that mark. He was in agony at the strength of the contractions and the apparent squabble that was going on between his daughters. Neither of them wanted to be the second born and no matter how he tried to convince them, they would not stop thrashing. They were definitely his and Thor's children, without a doubt.

Bruce, a mortal god in Loki's eyes, gave him a shot that dulled the pain to a persistent throb instead of the rending sharpness that it had been. There was a brief moment of blushing as Bruce shucked the god's pants and pushed his shirt up. Professionalism kicked in and he swallowed his own inferiority at the sight of the god's anatomy and set to work determining how the children would be born. Before Loki had always been able to shift his body into a feminine shape so that he could birth the children naturally, but as he looked for such an accommodation he found that there was none.

"Brother, you must change," Thor said at once upon seeing the concern and agitation on Bruce's face. That had been part of the plan, that Loki have his children naturally; there was more risk to a C-section because of Loki's unusual Jötunn anatomy.

"I cannot," Loki breathed weakly, his eyes half-lidded and hazy either with pain or medication. Bruce heard Tony swear under his breath and the inventor shoved a handheld device into Bruce's hand. Having no idea what to do with it, Bruce stared uselessly for a moment before realizing what it was that he held. Tony had developed an ultrasound with projection built in.

Sometimes having an inventor in the house was more useful than Bruce dared to admit.

(A/N: I'm sorry again, and yes I know it's a cliffhanger, but I needed to get this part down first, because the scene that I have written up for the birth is annoyingly dramatic and I didn't want it to have anything to do with the peace we started this chapter on. Though I know it got chaotic toward the end here, prepare for drama.)