Gone Like the Wind

The next morning came quicker than any of them would imagine. Tony had slept in, as he ususaly did back at the tower, and was the last of the team to make his way down to breakfast with them. He stretched out happily, his back thanking him for sleeping back in his own bed again. He found himself in a pretty good mood, and even decided to grab a piece of toast before heading over to get a coffee. A rare thing indeed for Tony Stark. The man was fuelled off caffein.

Now with a cup in hand and a piece of buttered toast on his plate, he smiled and took a seat next to Bruce at the table.

"You look surprisingly… awake." Bruce commented, as he looked over the morning paper.

Tony shrugged, "What can I say. I had a great sleep, we had a great vacation, and all my friends made it back safe." he said, looking up to smile at the rest of the team, who were lounging around the kitchen. All seemed to be happily eating away, except for Thor who was staring down at his five poptarts in dismay.

Clint raised his eyebrow at Tony's statement. "…All your friends?" he questioned, as he swallowed down the last bit of his bagel. "Where's your buddy Loki?"

Thor tensed at the word of his brother, and slumped back further in his chair.

Tony seemed to perk up a bit at his question and looked puzzled in thought. "Yeah… where is ol' Loki anyways?" he questioned, looking over the table at the rest of them. "His door was open this morning, so I assumed he was down here."

Clint shrugged and stole a poptart from Thor's plate, the god not even protesting.

Tony frowned, and sipped at his coffee in thought. "Thor, you're acting pretty weird this morning. Did you and Loki have a fight or something?"

Thor looked up to him and shook his head. "No, we did not fight."

That only picked at Tony's curiosity more. "What do you mean 'we'?"

Thor sighed and pushed forward his plate before sitting up a bit straighter in his chair, his face contorting in what looked like a mix of pain and anger. "Odin…. he had spoken to me this morning. About Loki, and his punishments."

Bruce and Natasha both leaned forward, suddenly very interested in the conversation. Steve furrowed his eyebrows, completely puzzled at how they could have talked.

"He had awoken me in the early morning, only as a voice. The All Father was informing of how he intended to take Loki back soon, as he had decided on a punishment."

Tony raised an eyebrow, shocked at the news. "And?" he pressed, impatiently. "Where's he now?"

"I had told him I did not want him to be taken back so soon. I explained to him how he had been getting along rather well with our team, but he would not have any of it. He won't see Loki as anything but a criminal as of now."

"Where is he now?" Tony repeated. "Odin didn't take him back already, did he?" he asked harshly, feeling his temper rising.

Thor took a deep breath before explaining what happened exactly.

xxx

"Father, I tell you the truth. Loki is doing well, I think punishment would suit him ill. Negative enforcements will not work on him." Thor said, frowning up at the ceiling, although no image of his father was there, he could sense his presence.

"Ridiculous. He is a criminal of war and shall be treated as one. Thank your Midgardian friends for housing him. I will be collecting him shortly for his Asgardian justice." Came Odin's voice, not willing to argue.

"Father, have you no sympathy for your son? You must understand he was being controlled, he was not in his right mind during his attack."

"You knew the terms of his punishment long ago, he must fulfil what we have sentenced for him."

Thor reached out his arm instinctively for Mjolnir as he was getting more and more frustrated. "And what is this perfect punishment that took you months to conjure?"

Odin paused for a moment, before replying. His voice perfectly calm and smooth. "He shall have his lips sewn, and endure solit-"."

"JUSTICE? HOW DARE YOU CALL THIS JUSTICE! MUTILATION, FATHER HOW COU-"

"ENOUGH!" Came Odin's booming voice, silencing Thor, although he was seething now. "I have summoned guards to take him already. Do not try and stop them."

"I will come to Asgard and stop you myself." he growled, gripping the handle of Mjolnir.

"If you so much as interact with Loki I will make you hold the needle and thread."

Thor was already running by the end of his fathers sentence, making his way to Loki's room as fast as he could. He bounded up the stairs, and reached the room beside Tony's. He nearly ripped the door off the hinges, and just had enough time to see two Aseir guards grab Loki roughly from what must have been his sleep and yank him into a portal. Loki didn't even have the time to yelp before he was silenced roughly by the large men and zapped away. The two brothers made eye contact for a fleeting moment, and the only emotion Thor could decipher in Loki's eyes was fear. Thor lunged at the disappearing portal, but only managed end up in the same room. He was too late. He wanted to scream. to yell, to damn his father to the underworld. To save his little brother from his unfair fate, but he knew he couldn't. Loki was gone, and there was nothing he could do without making it worse. He cursed into the night and only stopped himself from tearing a hole in the wall when he heard his fathers voice come back into his head.

"…This is your last warning. I am refusing you to come back to Asgard until Loki has been dealt with. You clearly are not mature enough to witness. I may allow you to come and see him on a later date, although Heimdall will alert me if you so much as try to conjure yourself back, and I will make sure both of you are punished for it. If you so much as act out from this incident, I will make sure all of Asgard knows." and just like that, Odin's voice was gone.

Thor stood at the doorway, staring at Loki's sheets strewn across the room for a few moments before slinking off to his room, never hating his father more so than now.

xxx

"You let them take him!" Tony exclaimed, nearly knocking over his coffee in his attempt to lean over the table.

"Didn't you hear him? He tried to stop him." Steve said, leaning against the counter with his arms crossed trying to defend Thor.

Tony glared at Steve. "He should have yelled for me! I am literally the door right beside him!"

Natasha frowned and raised her eyebrow at Tony. "How did you not hear any of that going on?"

"All the rooms on my floor are sound proof."

Thor was shaking his head, "Even if I did alert you there was nothing I could do. My father threatens to make his punishment worse if we so much as interfere."

Tony just stared at Thor for a moment before getting up, not bothering to put away his plate or push in his chair.

"Where are you going?" Bruce called after him.

"Workshop." he replied, briskly walking out of the kitchen and down the stairs to his lab.

Steve brought a hand up to scratch at his neck awkwardly, and Thor heaved a heavy sigh.

"You're being immature." Natasha shouted out to Tony. "Think of how Thor feels."

Thor shook his head, "It is understandable. I was starting to believe Loki would prefer talking to Tony over me."

"...Should I go talk to him?" Steve asked, with a small shrug.

"No, I'll do it." Bruce said, getting up, but actually taking the time to push in his chair before going down to meet Tony in his workshop.

Steve let out a bit of a relieved sigh, and Thor looked sheepishly still at his food. "If I could have done something I would."

"We know buddy." Clint said, giving him a pat on the arm. "Tony's just a baby. He doesn't like it when people touch his stuff."

xxx

Bruce walked down the few stairs and entered in the access code Tony gave him to enter his lab. He saw Tony sitting at one of his desks, scribbling down prints for something.

"Hey." Bruce said, coming to sit down in the chair beside him.

Tony didn't acknowledge him and flipped over what he was working on, continuing to scribble out new designs on the other side.

"So, why are you so upset over this?" Bruce asked, kicking Tony's shoe with his own to get a reaction.

Tony frowned and looked up to him then, dropping his pen on the table.

"Cause the guy who could basically plead insanity in a court here, get's ripped away by his crazy adopted father to go get his lips sewn together for a crime he was manipulated into committing? I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty screwed up Bruce."

Bruce sighed and nodded, knowing Tony only talked in run on sentences when he was worried. "It does sound pretty harsh, even for Loki."

Tony turned in his chair to face him. "What does that mean. Even for Loki."

Bruce gave him a puzzled expression but Tony didn't give him much time for a reply.

"I'm getting a little tired of everyone treating him so horribly. This guy is messed up, psychologically, and I don't think anyone realizes that he is going back to a place he called home, to get tortured."

Bruce went to say something but Tony held up a hand, clearly not finished. "You know what screws people up psychologically? Torture! So why would anyone in their right mind think that is a proper punishment for someone like him. He did his crime on Earth, in America. He should have our system of law." Tony said shaking his head. "But torture, that's disgusting." he mumbled under his breath.

"Tony, if this is about Afghanistan…"

"It's not about Afghanistan!" he shouted, "It's about letting a once mentally ill god get taken away in my own tower to go and get his lips literally sewn shut."

"Would you have cared this much if that was his punishment before the summer? Before you got to know him?"

Tony paused for a minute. "No one deserves pain like that. No one deserves to have their right of speech taken away from them."

Bruce nodded, "I agree, and Asgard is clearly not a very civil place, Tony."

Tony nodded, "He was just taken from us. Just like that. He trusted us, and then gets taken away, without even a goodbye."

Bruce sighed, "I know, Tony. I know."

"I spent countless nights, up with that guy. Getting to know him, he really isn't that bad. At least I know he doesn't want to be."

Bruce nodded, again picking up the pen Tony was using earlier and playing with it. "I knew you guys were getting pretty close."

Tony shrugged, "I guess."

Bruce dropped the pen and shrugged as well, giving Tony a pat. "He'll be okay."

Tony just stared down at his papers, and Bruce let his hand fall from his shoulder. A bit of an awkward silence filled the air, and Bruce coughed slightly.

"...Bruce, I appreciate you coming down and all. But, I think I just want to work on some stuff right now." he said tapping the table and taking back his pen.

"Yeah, I'll… go finish breakfast then." Bruce said, getting up to leave. "But hey, don't be too depressed, I hear Pepper's getting back from her parents sometime this week." he said, attempting to bring some sort of lightness to the conversation.

Tony only nodded, and waited for Bruce to leave. He appreciated his attempt at cheering him up, but wanted to be alone for a bit. "Go finish breakfast Bruce." he called and waited for him to leave. …Although, as Bruce reached the door Tony called out to him, "Wait, Bruce?"

"Yeah?"

" …Do you think we'll ever see him again?"

Bruce turned back to him with a small smile. "I'm sure that's not the last we'll ever see of that puny god."

Tony gave him a half smile in return, and once he heard the familiar hiss of his lab door closing, he flipped over the paper he was working on.

His new blueprints for Loki's helmet needed to be perfect.

- THE AVENGERS WILL BE RETURNING IN A WINTER WITH LOKI -

So, I just wanted to thank every single one of you who have reviewed, favourited, and alerted this story! It has been a blast to write, and I'm glad you guys have stuck with me through the change of season. xD If any of you are interested in the sequel please AUTHOR alert me, so you can get the next update! Also, PM me for a suggestion if you've got any good ideas for the group to get up to.

~one last request. If we could just end this story with a bang, and have everyone who's stuck with me throughout this or new readers review, and tell me what you think! I write for you guys, and any sort of criticism, or comment is welcome! Please, review, it would be the best Christmas present for me from you guys. :) Seeing any new reviews from you guys just makes my day!

You guys are literally the best, and I hope all of you have a great winter along with the guys!

Thanks always, :)