A/N The story is starting to draw to a close...fear not. I still have a good few chapters and an epilogue for you!
Thank you so much to the people who have reviewed!
Sorry my A/Ns have become so short. I blame the fact that you guys know what I'm capable of now...darkness and angst.
And I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Natasha gave Steve a sad glance as his final moment neared. She couldn't watch, caring far too much about Steve. If it had been a few weeks ago, sure she wouldn't have liked this, but she wouldn't be upset. Now, she screwed her eyes up tight, as the curse started from his lips. When Loki cried out, her eyes flew open, seeing him scrambling on the ground. Searching for the source all around the room, she grinned. The mystery saviour was none other than Clint, who seemed to be wielding a bow and arrow. Ordinarily, the reunion would have been happy, quick. But they were still in danger.
"Loki this ends..." Clint was cut off by a roar. A wood door blew off of its hinges at the opposite side of the room, a panting, larger than life figure standing in the light.
He turned, seeing Bruce stalking into the room. All of the death eaters exchanged frightened glances before apparating out of the room. Loki was still looking for his wand, when Clint fired another arrow at his leg, meaning it would be harder for him to run.
Bruce growled, seeing Loki on the floor. The boy was panting in pain, as he pulled the second arrow out his leg.
A simple, painful hex had caused Bruce's painful transformation, three days earlier than it usually would be. His teeth bared, and he approached, swiping at Loki. He cried out as he was spun around, his back hitting the floor. Cradling a hand to his chest, claw marks marred Loki's shoulder, and he was starting to lose blood. Bruce placed a paw heavily down on his chest.
Thor was confused, of course, never having heard anything of Bruce's transformations. "Do not hurt him!" He shouted at the beast. It was a reflex; Loki was his brother, even if he was a homicidal maniac.
Clint darted forward, snatching up Loki's wand quick, pocketing it. He felt safer right now with his bow and arrow, "Thor, shut up," He whispered, walking slowly towards Bruce.
"No! Don't hurt me," He pleaded with the 'beast', his eyes fearful. He looked like a frightened child.
Bruce's eyes were rampant, animal, but he was still in control. He narrowed them at the trickster, protective of his friends even in his wolf form. Still, he wasn't one to hurt anyone, intentionally. The claw marks were an accident. He still could though, and Loki was asking for it. He resisted, but kept his large paws pressed on his shoulders. Natasha watched the action, seeing Bruce and showing no fear. She felt it, though, deep inside. The nerdy boy was not to be messed with.
"Bruce," Clint sighed, tentatively touching his shoulder, sensing that the boy was still in control, "Enough, Brucie. It's over. We've won," He said softly, looking down at Loki. "Do you surrender?" He aimed his arrow at Loki, standing above him.
Bruce snarled down at Loki before moving off, jumping a bit to Clint's touch. He looked at his friends, chained to the wall, not wanting to see their frightened glances. He turned towards where he entered, thinking the worst.
Loki glared, grimacing a little at his bleeding leg and hand. He hand nowhere to turn, no magic to rely on. His followers had even fled. "I do," He muttered, hating every word of it.
"It's okay," Clint stroked Bruce's arm, trying to calm him down, "It's done."
Clint nodded, turning to point Loki's wand at Natasha, breaking her chains first, before freeing Steve and Thor. He was surprised the wand worked so well, but he assumed since he disarmed Loki and took it, that it would obey him now. He smiled weakly, "We should head back to hogwarts."
Natasha rubbed her wrists standing up and walking over to Clint, taking her wand back from Loki with a smug smile. Bruce nodded to him, his wolf-self not the best at communicating. It would still be a long night for him, and he would be better off just running back to Hogwarts. After all, by the time he was back, it would probably be morning.
Loki looked up at Thor, his eyes wide with nervousness, "Don't tell your parents?" He tried weakly, smearing the blood off his hand, onto the carpeted floor. Clint allowed Thor to move over to Loki and headed over to Natasha, "You okay?" He murmured.
"I'm fine, are you?" She asked, looking over at him. "Nice shooting, by the way," She commented, seeing as he did save their lives.
"I've been better, but I'm fine," He dropped the bow and arrow on the ground, flexing his hand, "Thank you," He automatically wrapped his arms around Natasha, relieved she was okay.
Natasha moved into his arms, glad he had come to her rescue again. She would spend her whole life owing him, but didn't mind one bit. She buried her head in his shoulder, still a little shaken from the ordeal.
Clint ran his hand through her hair, "I was never just gonna wait outside while you guys had all the fun," He murmured weakly. "I'm a stupid reckless Gryffindor, I had to do something."
"Stupid? Yes. You're the biggest idiot I've ever met," She stated, tilting her head back, to meet his gaze. "But I sure am glad you came," She leaned her head back on him carefully.
"Thank you," He rolled his eyes right back at her before smiling, "Yeah. I'm glad I came too." He pressed his lips to her forehead.
Thor cleared his throat in the background, trying to not ruin the moment. " We need to get L- him back. This needs to be brought to justice so we can clear Tony's name," He announced, wand now pointed straight at Loki.
Loki winced when he realised his brother couldn't bring himself to say his name. "You think he'll just come?" Steve mumbled, not wanting Loki to lash out. He wanted desperately to see Tony.
Thor raised an eyebrow, casting a tight hand binding spell his way. "He will come," His tone was firm. There was no time for messing around, too much had already happened. Natasha pulled out of Clint's grasp, but she kept near just in case he needed to be steadied. The boy had been through much today, and was probably exhausted.
Loki scrambled back a little, finding himself bound by thick, magical rope. He stared at the floor, not saying a word. Clint walked over to Steve, wrapping him up in a quick hug, I hope you're okay. I know I was cutting it close."
"I'm fine," Steve assured him, hugging back and brushing it off as if he were never scared in the first place. Though he hadn't experienced worse, he was sure just seeing Tony soon would make it better. Thor pulled Loki off the ground, avoiding thinking about who he was- used to be.
Clint noticed Bruce had taken off, and swallowed. He was glad that his friend hadn't hurt anyone, but he was still worried for him. Clint stepped back out of the hug, standing next to Natasha, taking her hand. "So...how do we get back?" Steve frowned, "Floo straight to Fury's office? It'll be connected to the network."
Thor nodded to the fireplace in the corner of the hall. "There," He pointed, holding Loki tightly by his binds. He brought the bucket of floo powder around to each of his friends, bringing Loki himself.
Clint watched as Thor and Loki zoomed away, allowing Steve to go next. He turned to Natasha, "Told you I'd protect you, didn't I?" He smiled weakly at her, only then noticing how much he was shaking.
Natasha smiled lightly, holding his hand a bit tighter to slow his tremble. "You did," She agreed, pulling him along. "You first, go ahead. I'll be there when you are." She assured him, wondering if his shakes were of fear or weakness. Quickly, she kissed him again, wanting to reassure him more than anything. They were safe, and alive. That's all that mattered, really.
Clint dropped his powder in the fire, shouting for Fury's office, all but tumbling out of the fireplace on the other end, weaker than what he thought. Natasha walked out the fireplace, just after Clint, brushing some ash off of her robe. Natasha caught his arm, him appearing to be faint. Fury entered his office, eye widening at the group of sweaty, tired looking teenagers.
Clint gave up, slumping to the floor. Steve automatically hurried over to him, "Clint? Clint are you okay? What happened?" He demanded, crouching beside him, before looking up at Fury, "Please release Tony. Loki's to blame."
Seeing that Steve was assisting Clint, Natasha looked Fury straight in the eye. "Sir, Loki has performed unforgivables this evening. He tortured and nearly killed Clint. You have to believe us this time. He is to blame for Coulson's death." Natasha informed him, expression serious. He had to believe her. They had been too much for him to not. Fury gazed at each of the students, eye locking with Natasha's gaze as she spoke. "Loki's alibi has been discovered to be invalid. Many students have come clean about the lies, the threats too much for them to handle. Tony Stark's name has been cleared."
"Thank merlin," Clint mumbled, leaning on Steve a little, happy Tony would be freed. He heard Steve breathe a sigh of relief. Loki looked up between the group, pausing to glare at Clint before looking up at Thor, feeling something when he saw the disappointment in his eyes. Guilt. "I'm sorry," He whispered to Thor before turning his attention to Fury, "I confess."
Thor met his brother's eyes for the first time that evening, only to catch that one glance. That one glance that told him he wouldn't be seeing Loki around for quite a while, but the brother he knew was still in there. It may be deep, deep inside, under layers of corruption and jealousy, but it was there. He couldn't ask any more of him. Fury looked at Loki seriously, knowing he would have a hell of a lot of explaining to do. "Take Barton to the hospital wing. All of you, get checked out. You've done enough today." He instructed everyone, taking Loki's binds.
Clint nodded, allowing Steve to help him up, using him as support, "We're safe," He smiled weakly at Natasha before blacking out.
A/N Poor Clint! Obviously he'd pass out, remember what he's been through! But yes, I hope you liked the chapter! Please review! Also follow me on tumblr at theavengingangelsarehere.