Title: Six hugs a day keeps the doctor away Chapter 1 of 5
Summary: After The Avengers Loki sentenced to treatment by the mind healers, who unfortunately got all their information on family therapy second hand from Thor. After his treatment, and despite being a full time member of the Avengers, Loki isn't exactly feeling great. Tony, being the helpful and generally annoying guy he is, decides that all Loki needs to cheer him up is a distraction, so he talks Loki into teaching him magic, but not everything goes to plan.
A follow up to my fics Better Teamwork Through Dragon Hunting and I used to be a god, but then I took an arrow to the eye, but I tried to write it like a standalone story so hopefully it should still make sense if you haven't read the others.
Warnings: The odd naughty word.
Six hugs a day keeps the doctor away
Chapter 1 of 5
No one was really sure when Loki stopped being a probationary Avenger who was paying for his crimes against Midgard, and simply just became one of the team.
Steve thought it was probably the day a giant squid had attacked the harbour, overturning boats, and destroying buildings with its massive tentacles, and Loki had vanished from the fight briefly, then come flying down the street, swimming through the air on the back of a reanimated sperm whale skeleton that he had liberated from the natural history museum.
"What the hell are you doing?" Steve shouted as Loki jumped down from the whale, and directed it into the water to do battle with the squid.
"It is the creatures natural enemy, is it not? What better to destroy the beast?" Loki replied and once the squid was dead he had sent the skeleton back to the museum without a scratch on it.
Clint thought it was the day when the Avengers had been lured down to an abandoned warehouse by a call that turned out to be a trap, and when a massive bomb exploded Loki had instinctively used his deflection spell as a shield around them all and saved them from being burned alive.
"Good job," Clint had said, slapping Loki on the back in gratitude.
Loki merely shrugged. "It was nothing. A reflex action."
Clint felt that little bit safer every time they went out with Loki after that day.
Tony, of course, knew exactly when and why Loki became a full time Avenger, and it was none of those things. Loki had become a proper member of the team the day he revealed that, as well as being able to create ice cubes at will, he could also turn plain water into the finest Scotch he had ever tasted. As far as Tony was concerned that was Loki's greatest gift, and after that he welcomed him with open arms, and an empty glass that always needed filling.
Even though no one could agree when and why it happened, he was one of them now, despite his annoying habit of watching a DVD, not putting it away, and telling Tony he had no idea how it ended up covered in scratches, and the fact it took the fortune of a billionaire to feed two Norse gods who between them could easily polish off a horse for breakfast, and then be looking for a snack an hour later.
Tony was sometimes surprised just how much Loki ate, considering that when he actually deigned to wear normal earth clothes he looked positively waif-like, and as if a slight breeze could have knocked him over. Loki claimed his enormous appetite was due to his magic, and after every battle the first thing he did was eat almost everything in the cupboards, so Tony was surprised when he realised he hadn't seen Loki in the kitchen for three days.
"OK, where is Loki hiding himself?" Tony asked, as he sat down to lunch with Thor and Bruce.
"He is still not feeling well," Thor replied.
"You want me to check him out?" Bruce asked.
"He is not suffering from an ailment of the body, but of the mind."
"He's gone nuts again?" Tony asked, picking up his knife, and cradling it to his chest. "Should we be hiding all the pointy things?"
"No, Stark, not that kind of illness. My brother has always been prone to bouts of melancholy, even as a child," Thor replied.
Bruce and Tony looked at each other, and then Bruce said, "Sounds like he's depressed. I could have a chat with him if you like, and we have medications that might help him feel better. I can't guarantee they would work on him, but we could maybe give it a try."
"I would appreciate that Banner, thank you," Thor replied. "I have been spending time with him, but he will not speak much with me. I have continued to give him a hug every day as the mind healer suggested, but it does not appear to be helping."
"Still doing that, huh?" Tony asked, raising an eyebrow at the idea of hugs being prescribed as therapy. "Sounds a bit new agey to me, but then you do have the long hair soooo…"
"An embrace provides support and promotes healing. It conveys that someone is loved and cherished, and worth that love, in ways that words never could," Thor stated firmly. "Perhaps you should try it yourself. When did someone last hug you?"
Tony glared at Thor for a second, trying to think of his last hug. "It's all hippy BS. Besides, I had the arms of a gymnast wrapped around me just last night. Her legs too."
"That is not the same thing," Thor said. "You should accept the embrace of a comrade, one who knows and cares about you. I, or my brother, would willingly help you, if you require it."
"If I need a hug I have a whole bunch of one armed robots who'll willingly do the job far better than any human, so leave me out of your little Asgardian love in, OK?"
Thor was frowning. Bruce knew that when this happened it usually ended with the table being overturned, so he cleared his throat, and said, "So… I have a meeting this afternoon, but I'll swing by and talk to Loki when I get back this evening, is that OK?"
"That would be agreeable," Thor replied, and went back to polishing of his 12lb Turkey.
Tony had been spending a lot of time in his workshop lately, but now he was bored, and skulked round the room, looking for something to do while the latest upgrade to his armour was rendering, and quickly decided he actually just wanted someone to annoy.
"Jarvis, who's in the building?"
"Thor is currently in the gym, and Loki is in his room, sir."
"They're the only two people in the upper levels?"
Tony knew from experience if he went to gym Thor would ask him to spar, and that would end with him flat on his back in the middle of the boxing ring, nursing a headache, and a sore backside from falling on it repeatedly, so Thor was out.
That left Loki, poor little melancholy Loki, lying in bed all alone, just waiting for someone to annoy him. Yup, Loki it was.
"Wake up, sleepy head," Tony announced as he barged into the room, and ripped the curtains open.
"I am awake," Loki mumbled as he covered his eyes with the back of a bare arm, and squinted at the bright sunlight. "What are you doing? I told Thor I did not wish to be disturbed."
"Well, if you're awake you can come downstairs and have some fun with me instead of sulking up here."
"I'm not sulking. I don't feel well."
"Come on, you and me, let's do something cool. That'll make you feel better."
"Your idea of fun, and my idea of fun do not coincide lately," Loki replied. "I still remember the unfortunate incident with the… bunny girls, was it?"
"Well why don't you pick what we do? It's not healthy to keep yourself locked away in here."
"I wish to lay in bed and do nothing," Loki replied as he pulled the covers over his head to blot out the sun.
Tony pursed his lips, torn between feeling sympathetic and dragging him out by his ankles. He sat on the edge of the bed, and decided to go with sympathy, hoping it would rouse Loki enough to get his ass up and dressed. "I know what it's like, you know. To just wanna be left alone to wallow in your own misery."
"You do?" Loki asked softly, pulling the covers down. "You always seem so happy."
"I have feelings… somewhere…" Tony said. "I have my dark days where I don't want to do anything, and I just want everything to go away."
"What do you do on those days?"
"Set fire to stuff usually," Tony replied, then he nervously added, "In a totally controlled situation, not in a 'destroy the world' kinda way. You wanna come down to the training range and blow some shit up? You could show me how to throw magic fireballs."
"That does sound appealing," Loki said.
"Come on, what'll it take to get you out of that bed?" Tony asked, knowing he just needed one more thing, one more push that would make Loki do what he wanted. "You wanna hug? Thor said hugs make everyone feel better."
"All right," Loki replied, tentatively. He sat up, and let Tony wrap his arms around him.
They hugged for a moment then Tony slapped Loki on the back, and said, "Come on, get up, and jump in the shower, you really could use one."
Tony stood up, ripped back the bed covers, and said, "Oh, god, seriously? Put some pyjamas on next time!" Then he threw the covers back over Loki's naked body.
"Do you remember what I taught you in Asgard? How to create fire?" Loki asked, as they stood in the training room.
"Magic is science, science is magic and I just split the carbon dioxide down, and excite it and… Voilà!" Tony snapped his fingers, and a flame sprang into view.
"Excellent," Loki said looking at the feint red glow that shimmered in Tony's hand. "Now recalculate the equation, add more oxygen into it. That will make the flame burn brighter, but do it in increments so-"
Loki was cut off as the flame in Tony's hand exploded with a huge woof, and burnt itself out.
"Whoa!" Tony exclaimed, then he turned to Dummy who was waving his fire extinguisher at him, and said, "Ah! Ah! Ah! Don't you dare!"
"I said increments you imbecile!" Loki scolded, as he checked his eyebrows were still on his face. "I won't teach you any more if you aren't going to listen."
"No, come on, I'll be good, I promise," Tony pleaded in his most child like voice, sticking his bottom lip out and hoping it would work better on Loki than it did on Pepper.
"I'm tired," Loki replied, his shoulders hunching, as he suddenly looked downcast and deflated. "I do not wish to play your foolish games any longer."
"No more messing about. I'll do exactly what you say, just stay for ten more minutes," Tony said seriously, and then he watched Loki nervously shifted his weight from one step to other, and Tony remembered his reaction earlier, when one hug had gotten him exactly what he wanted. "Someone looks like they need another hugggg."
Loki sighed heavily, and said, "Perhaps."
Tony opened his arms, and Loki moved over to him, and gratefully accepted the embrace.
"Feeling better?" Tony asked, as he slapped him on the shoulder.
"Come on then, show me how to throw those fireballs."