Title: Team is a four-letter word chapter 1 out of 7
Pairing/Characters: Teamfic. No Pairings. Loki, Tony Stark, Thor, Frigga, Steve Rogers, Avengers.
Full fic word Count: approx 26000 words
Warnings: A few swear words, especially in chapters 4 and 6.
Summary: The fourth part of the team work series. Previous fics were "Better Teamwork Through Dragon Hunting", "I used to be a god, but then I took an arrow to the eye", and "Six hugs a day keeps the doctor away" which can all be found on my profile.
After some serious therapy, Loki has now been a member of the Avengers for 2 years, but when an attack by Doom leaves him gravely ill, his team mates have to fight to save his life.
*~* Team is a four-letter word *~*
Chapter 1 of 7
"What's wrong?" Steve asked, when he found Tony loitering near the entrance to the living room of Stark Tower.
"I've got a problem."
"What kind of problem?"
"The kind of problem that involves judges, restraining orders, changing my cell phone number and emigrating to the Yemen," Tony replied, as he nodded towards the doorway.
Steve poked his round the door and saw a woman lounging on one of the brown leather sofas, reclining as if she owned the place.
"Who the hell is that?" Steve whispered.
"I brought her here last night, treated her to what frankly was an evening of spectacular sex, let her stay the night, even cooked her an omelette before seeing her to the door, and look! She's back again!"
"How did she get past security?"
"I have no idea," Tony replied, then he looked up and said, "Jarvis, did that woman offer you some kind of binary based sexual favours to let her back in the building?"
"I suggest you talk to the young lady, sir," Jarvis replied.
"Good plan," Tony said. "Steve, you're up."
"Me? I didn't bring her in here."
"Yeah, but you're better with awkward situations than me. I'll just babble and make a hash of things and then end up getting sued for sexual harassment or someth-" Tony was cut off when Steve placed a hand on his back and pushed him forcefully into the room, then followed behind him.
The woman looked round, clad in only a white shirt and underwear, she toyed with her long blonde hair, seductively twisting it into curls around her finger. "Hello Tony. Would you like me to get you a drink?"
"Sure," Tony replied. "There's a Starbucks down the street, I could really go for a cappuccino."
"You have a cappuccino machine in your kitchen," she replied as she climbed from the sofa and walked across the room, her hips swaying tantalisingly. "Perhaps I could get you one from there."
"I really…" Tony was lost for words as the woman draped her arms over his shoulders, and began to lean in for a kiss. Ah, screw it he though, and closed his eyes. He moved forward, but no kiss came, and instead he heard a low chuckle.
"What the hell!" Tony exclaimed when he opened his eyes, and saw Loki stood in front of him, his arms draped across Tony's shoulders. "Oh my god, that was you? I slept with you?"
"Perhaps in your dreams, Stark," Loki said, as Tony pushed him roughly away. "As if I would touch a bawdy fustilarian like you."
Tony cocked his head towards the ceiling. "Jarvis, look that word up."
"Sir, Webster's dictionary defines it as a low fellow; a stinkard, and a scoundrel," Jarvis replied. "Although I did find one definition that listed it as a 'fat frowsy slut'"
"Hey!" Tony said, as Loki started to smirk. "That's just mean!"
"Well, perhaps you should keep your bed mates to yourself, rather than allowing them to sit on surfaces that I use to prepare my breakfast," Loki snapped, "And if your sexual exploits keep me awake one more night, then perhaps the next woman you sleep with will be me."
Tony's mouth dropped open, as Loki sat, lounging on one of the brown leather sofas, reclining as if he owned the place. He toyed with his long black hair, seductively twisting it into curls around his finger.
"You bastard," Tony said. "I'm never going to be able to sleep with anyone again without thinking it's you."
"Well, that was the point," Loki grinned.
"OK, that's enough, you guys," Steve said, raising his hands. "We've got an appointment in an hour and I want everyone on their best behaviour."
"Yes, dad," Tony replied.
"He really is a natural with kids isn't he?" Steve asked, as he watched Loki telling a story to class of school children who were sat cross-legged in front of him, hanging onto his every word.
"Who would have thought it?" Tony asked quietly. "From murderous super villain to children's storyteller in just two years."
"And then the mighty dragon rose from the fire!" Loki said, as he conjured the image before them of himself and Thor in their younger days. "We thought we were doomed, the dragon was so powerful that we almost gave up hope that we could ever defeat it."
Tony's phone began to ring. "I better get this."
"Another one of your conquests?" Steve asked, casting Stark a weary look.
"Fury, actually, so unless he can shape shift too, I doubt it."
As Tony moved away Thor laughed loudly. "I remember this quest well. The end of this tale is magnificent, and a good lesson for all youngsters."
"Loki's a good story teller," Natasha said.
"Aye, my brother could mesmerise the whole court with his tales of our exploits."
"There we were," Loki continued. "Trapped inside the cave, we hadn't eaten or slept for days, and we had no weapons. It all seems hopeless, yes?"
The children eagerly nodded, as in the vision that hung in the air, the dragon approached.
"Do you think we gave up hope?"
"No," the children chorused.
"That's right! We bravely fought back with our bare hands, and as the dragon wheeled its enormous head round, it flung me into the side of the cave and broke both my legs so badly the bones were visible through my flesh!" Loki said, conjuring every detail in the air. "Upon seeing this Thor became so angry he leapt on the giant beasts neck and RIPPED its head off with his bare hands!"
The children sat silently, for a moment, staring at the magical vision of the headless, bleeding dragon, and the bones that stuck through Loki's legs, and some began to whimper.
"And the moral of the story is be good and stay in school," Steve swiftly added as a few children began to cry. He motioned at Loki, "You, up, now."
"What have I done?" Loki asked, as Steve reached down, and put his hands under Loki's armpits and started to drag him to his feet. "Stop manhandling me, ruffian!"
Tony walked back over to the group quickly. "Sorry to interrupt your little fumble session, but we've got a situation."
"What this time?" Natasha asked.
"Doom bots again," Tony replied.
"Great," she replied, sarcastically.
"Did you ever work with Doom?" Tony asked, as he stood in the playground of the school and popped the catch of his armour suitcase with his foot, as all the children gathered at the windows to watch. "Like, back when you were evil?"
"When I was evil, as you say, I was here for approximately 3 of your days, Stark. When was I supposed to make alliances during that time?" Loki asked, as glowing light surrounded him, and his casual Asgardian clothes melted into his horned helmet, and caped armour. "When I was attempting to bring down the Hellicarrier, when I throwing you through a window, or when I was riding through the streets on a Chitauri flying machine?"
Tony shrugged, as he bent down, put his hands in the case, and the armour began to smooth over his body. "I was just asking."
"I was also going to tell you off for calling me evil, but after hearing myself say that list I think it might be slightly inappropriate," Loki replied uncomfortably.
"Only slightly. All cured now though?" Tony asked. "It's not like I ever have to worry you are suddenly gonna turn on us and flip again."
"You can rest assured Stark that if I wanted you dead I would have murdered you all in your beds long ago, and you would have been my first victim," Loki replied, then asked, "Shall I take you to the scene of the battle?"
"Nah," Tony said, as his faceplate slammed down. "Kinda wanna give the kids something to talk about."
Iron Man blasted up into the skies, and even through the glass of the windows Loki could hear the children collectively go Oooohhh!
"Show off!" Loki shouted after him, and then he teleported away.
The battle was ferocious, it seemed the Doom bots had been upgraded since their last attack upon the city, and each one was unleashing powerful bolts of electricity across the street, towards the Avengers.
Iron Man strafed the bots from above with missiles and repulsor blasts, while Thor charged between them, striking them with Mjolnir, and pulverising them till they were nothing but sparking piles of metal. Hulk jumped across the face of buildings, occasionally leaping into the air to take out any bots that tried to use their power of flight, while Loki, Steve, Clint, and Natasha fought back to back, forming a tight square, as they worked their way down the street.
"Bot at 3 o'clock," Clint said, as he drew back his bow and fired an explosive arrow.
"I'm on it," Steve replied, taking it out with one throw of his shield.
"Up high!" Clint shouted, as a bot threw itself down from the roof of a convenience store.
"This one's mine," Loki said as the bot strode purposefully towards him, reaching out with its hand, and sending out a arc of electricity. Loki used a deflection spell to neutralise the bolt, creating a shower of sparks around himself, then he blasted the bot with a pulse of magic, and knocked it to the floor. He raised his foot and smashed down into the bots face, coughing as a wave of acrid green smoke poured from its broken head.
"Not many left," Natasha said, as Loki coughed again. "You OK?"
"Just some fumes," Loki replied, waving his hand in front of his face. "I'm fine."
The battlefield was strewn with destroyed Doom bots, their severed limbs lay in the street, and Loki stood in the middle, feeling a slight wheeze in his chest as he breathed heavily. He ran his hand across his armour briefly, feeling constricted, and slightly too hot, but then decided it was the fumes from the robot he had destroyed earlier effecting his breathing, nothing more.
"Anything?" Steve asked, as Iron Man hovered overhead, scanning the street for signs of movement or power.
"Nothing from up here, just a bunch of dead wreckage," Tony said, then he landed next to Steve and lifted his faceplate.
"We good to go?"
"Yup, leave Shield to the janitorial duties, and I will see you guys on Monday," Tony replied.
"You're not coming back?"
"Seems to me like I've been neglecting most of the property portfolio that I have lovingly built up through the years, so I'm off to Malibu for the weekend for a little well deserved R & R."
"Just make sure you don't do anything embarrassing this time, Tony."
"Embarrassing? When have I ever done anything embarrassing?"
"Well, there was that thing at the Olympics…"
"That wasn't my fault."
"So three medallists fighting on a podium screaming 'Tony is mine' doesn't strike you as really bad P.R. for us?"
"I swear I had no idea the silver medallist was married."
"Seriously, behave," Steve said with a smile. "And don't get too drunk. You never know when we might need you."
"I'm only a mach 8 flight away so ya know, call me, or don't," Tony said, as he lowered his faceplate. "Preferably don't."
Steve shook his head as Iron Man blasted into the sky, and turned to walk back to the Quinjet and join the others.
"We fought well today, my friends," Thor said, as he began to spin Mjolnir. "I shall see you back at the tower where we shall have a grand feast, and tell tales of our glorious accomplishments."
Loki watched as Thor took off, and quickly vanished out of sight, and stood dejectedly as a wave of tiredness washed through him. He wanted to be home and in his bed, falling into the clean starched sheets, but teleporting back there was an unappealing prospect.
"You look exhausted," Clint said, as he opened the back hatch of the Quinjet. "Wanna hitch a lift back with us?"
"I would like that very much," Loki replied, as he tried to hide the slight tremor in his hands.
Loki climbed into the jet, as Clint moved into the cockpit to get the engines started. He sat on one of the seats, then removed his helmet, and placed it next to him, before he turned back to strap himself into the complicated harness. His hair felt damp when it was exposed to the cool air, and a slight shiver ran through his body, prickling the hairs along the back of his clammy neck.
"Are you OK?" Natasha asked, as she entered the jet. "You look kinda paler than your usual freaky level of paleness."
"I feel a little warm," Loki replied, pulling at his collar.
Natasha leaned closer, and then held the back of her hand to his forehead. "Wow, you're burning up."
"I do not feel quite myself."
"Maybe you're coming down with something?" she asked. "Can that even happen? Do you get sick?"
"I was often ill as a child, but it has been some time since I was last unwell. I thought I had grown out of it."
"Maybe it's just a bug."
"I do not believe Midgardian diseases can infect me," Loki replied. "Perhaps it is just tiredness."
"Yeah, we've had a lot of action lately. Something's definitely up."
"I'm sure I'll be better by the time we get home," Loki said, as he smiled weakly, and Natasha climbed into the cockpit and sat down, while they waited for the Hulk to transform, and Steve to finish giving instructions to the Shield operatives who had just arrived.
As they took the lift down from the Quinjet hanger to the habitation levels, Steve said, "I think I'm gonna order pizza. You guys want pizza?"
"Large pepperoni feast for me," Clint replied.
"I could really go for a barbecue chicken pizza," Natasha said.
"Bruce?" Steve asked.
"I'm not in a pizza mood. I'll have the Mediterranean veggie sandwich though."
"I'll gonna get Thor his usual order."
"Six meat feasts, two stuffed cheesy breads, one portion of wings, and a large coke," Clint and Natasha said together.
"Seriously, I don't know where that guy puts it," Bruce laughed.
"You want me to order you something?" Steve asked. "Loki?"
Loki, lost in thought, jumped at the sound of his name being called. "What?"
"You want pizza?"
"No, thank you," Loki replied. "I think I will shower and sleep."
"You sure? I thought you always ate a mountain of food after a good scrap?"
"I am feeling very tired tonight. It can wait till morning."
"OK," Steve replied, "but you're missing out."
As the lift doors opened at the living area, Loki left swiftly, feeling his knees almost buckle as he turned into the corridor, and he ran a hand along the wall as he made his way down to his quarters.
Once inside, he closed the door and placed his back to it, then slid down, landing in a shivering heap on the floor. He sat for some time, gripped by the fear there was something wrong with him, that the illnesses that plagued him as a child were returning, and once again he would be classed as weak, sickly, unhealthy, and not like the other Asgardians who never seemed to be afflicted by anything other than training injuries and war wounds.
Unable to find the will to stand again, he slowly stripped his armour, leaving it in an untidy heap by the door, and once he was down to just his soft undergarments, Loki began to crawl across the floor, dragging himself towards his bed on increasingly stiff limbs. As he finally heaved himself onto the soft mattress, and let his flop onto the pillow, he had never been more relieved, and was asleep in seconds.
Loki felt better when he woke up the next day with his legs knotted into the slightly damp bed sheets. His temperature had fallen to normal levels, the stiffness in his arms and legs had subsided, and the only pain was the growling of his stomach, which reminded his that he had not eaten the night before.
He showered quickly, washing off the dried sweat that had accumulated on his skin, and untangling his knotted hair. He dressed quickly in casual Asgardian attire, and then headed down to the kitchen, where he found a note on the table.
"Brother," the note started, "I have gone on a quest with Steve to find a new coffee pot to replace the one you smashed on my head last week. I apologise once again for my actions. I should not have told Stark the story of the goat's beard. Thor."
Underneath, in much neater script was another message.
"Loki, look in the refrigerator. Left something in there for you. – Steve."
Loki opened the door and found two pizza boxes, and as his stomach growled again he silently thanked Steve for ignoring his rejection the previous evening.
He turned the oven on, placed one pizza in to warm up, and ate the other cold, straight from the box, as he waited.
"You look better today," Natasha said, as she walked into the kitchen.
"I'm much improved, thank you," Loki replied.
"Ooooh is that the Hawaiian Steve wouldn't let us touch last night? Mind if I grab a slice?"
"Please, take some," Loki replied, as Natasha grabbed a napkin, then leaned over and took a slice of the cold pizza from the box.
"You got any plans for today?" she asked, covering her mouth with her hand.
"Beyond eating this pizza, nothing, no."
"Me and Clint were gonna get some target practise in. You wanna come down and shoot some shit?"
"I would like that very much."
"Cool, see you in the training room in about an hour?" Natasha asked as she headed for the door.
"I'll be there."
As usual, target practise did not simply just mean target practise, and actually meant 'Let's throw increasingly tiny things into the air and see if Clint can still hit them.'
They started off with fruit, throwing apples and bananas, laughing as Clint nailed each one perfectly with an arrow. After that they moved on to limes and olives that they had taken from Stark's bar, laughing as Clint managed to hit each one and pin it to the wall at the back of the training room.
"Let's see how you cope with a moving target," Loki said with a wink, as he threw a lemon into the air, and then raised his hand, causing it to weave about the room.
A wave of pain hit Loki, causing him to double up, and he couldn't help the cry of agony that escaped him, as the lemon tumbled to the floor.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Natasha asked, putting her hand on his back.
"I don't know," Loki replied, his eyes wide as he looked up at her.
"Are you hurt?" Clint asked.
"I have no injuries, yet I feel pain," Loki said, then he cried out again, and fell to his knees.
"Jarvis, can you get a medical team down here right now?" Natasha ordered.
"I don't need to see a healer," Loki said. "I'll be fine."
"Mister Odinson, your heart rate is extremely elevated compared to your usual baseline scans, and you are clearly in some pain. Medical has been alerted to your condition, and are on their way," Jarvis replied coolly.
Loki cried out again as another wave of pain, washed through his body, and the last thing he felt before he fell into unconsciousness, was Clint and Natasha slowly lowering him to the floor.
Next chapter should be up on Sunday. The first six chapters are complete, but need editing before I can post them.