So I'm taking a bit of a break from my Harry Potter and branching out to SUPERHEROS! :P Imma have fun with this. :D I'm also attempting not to do direct POV's, so we'll see how that goes. *winces*
Steve fell into captain mode as his team fell into chaos around him. Tony was standing up yelling, and Bruce's eyes were flashing green and the scientist was growling. Natasha babbling angrily in russian, cursing if Steve had to guess by the expression on her face while Clint had an arrow locked on Thors...unexpected guess. Thor's furious booming voice drowned out everyone else, making it so no one could be heard.
Loki stood behind Thor, mostly hidden by his brothers bulk. The last time Steve had seen the insane black haired god he had been as arrogant as they come, refusing to have the center of attention be anyone or anything other than himself. He had scoffed at the very sight of any mortal, and sneered whenever in his brothers presence. Entirely opposite of the man currently standing, no cowering behind Thor. This man's eyes were wide with fear instead of madness, and also...they were green. Steve could have sworn they were bluer last time Loki had been on Earth. In fact, Loki had also been bigger when he was last on Earth. Now he seemed to skinny to be healthy, so small he looked like he was collapsing in on himself. Loki looked...breakable.
Obviously something had happened to the smaller god during the two years he had been on Asgard. He should have expected as much, a fair amount had happened with the Avengers in that time. Things he hadn't thought possible after they had all gone their separate ways.
Tony had rebuilt his tower to house the Avengers team, then slowly collected each of his teammates until he had a 'perfect set'. Clint had been first to be dragged in as soon as Tony found out that he was 'recovering' from his possession in the SHIELD base, the billionaire ranting about how that cement block was no place for a person to call home especially not a hawk. Natasha had shown up the next day with her bags, wordlessly following her partner into Stark Tower, now Avengers Tower. Tony had then taken the suit to a remote village in India that Bruce had run off to, scolding the shocked doctor for leaving in the first place and then following him around until Bruce agreed to come back with him. Steve had been the last, more than shocked when he walked into a run down diner in the middle of nowhere somewhere in California to find Tony Stark reclining in one of the booths with a cup of coffee and a pie of apple pie waiting for him.
It took nearly six months, and a countless number of blow out fights between the entire group, for the Avengers to become a dysfunctional family. Missions ran smoother as the team grew closer, and became more numerous as the mad scientists of the world decided they could succeed where the weird man in green had failed.
A little after a year, Pepper had shocked the entire team and told Tony that she just couldn't handle him being a superhero anymore, risking his life once a week or more. She had told Tony to choose Iron Man or her, because he couldn't have both. She was gone later that same night, and Tony had vanished to his lab with a couple bottles of scotch. After nearly three days of Jarvis denying access to the lab to even Bruce and Tony never showing up for meals, Steve had lost his temper and stomped down the stairs after he finished making dinner, kicking in the glass door to the lab and marching in scowling, spotting Tony who was cursing over the broken door and demanding to know what the hell Steve was thinking. "I'm through allowing this pity party Tony." Steve had growling before throwing the man over his shoulder and stalking back up to the dining room on the 'family floor'. He had tossed the loudly protesting Tony into his seat at the table and piled his plate with food, then stole Bruce's spot across from Tony instead of sitting at his normal spot at the head of the table so that he could glare at sleep and food deprived man until he shut up and slowly began to eat his meal.
Not once during these transitions did Steve once think about what prison on Asgard even meant. How had they sent Loki there without ensuring that the justice he would endure there was something that they approved? His crimes had been against them, why hadn't they pushed to know? Guilty Steve came to the conclusion that they just didn't care. Even when Thor had first returned refusing to talk of Loki they hadn't exactly pushed to find out what had happened to the trickster.
Now Thor wanted Loki to be part of the Avengers? Obviously he couldn't allow that as team leader, it would mess up the balance of the team to add a member that no one trusted, along with the fact that Loki looked like he wanted to hid in the nearest closet and never come out. Steve had seen that expression many times when rescuing captives in the war before he was frozen- if he was right, Loki would be useless in battle anyway. No, he needed another solution, one that wouldn't end with the team revolting or Thor destroying the Tower.
Breaking from his thoughts, Steve nearly sighed when he found the team still screaming at each other just as violently as they had been when he had zoned out. Only Bruce had calmed down and was giving the Captain a knowing look, obviously having reached the same conclusion as Steve had. Steve straightened up, calling up his I'm-Captain-and-in-charge face before speaking.
"Enough." one word, said firmly to those who were used to following his orders to survive had the entire table falling silent, turning to look at him. "Fighting with each other is obviously getting nothing done, you're acting like children. Weapons away, and take your seats." When no one moved, Steve raised an eyebrow. "Now."
Tony huffed and fell back into his seat next to the still seated Bruce, who looked at his fellow scientist in amusement. Clint scowled and replaced the arrow in his quiver as he sat, bow still held tightly in his hand and eyes never leaving Loki. Natasha slowly took her seat, eyes moving from Loki to Steve. Thor didn't move, still standing and blocking Loki from view while giving Steve a pleading look. Deciding it wasn't worth the effort, Steve pressed forward with the Asgardians still standing.
"I don't know if any of you noticed, but that Loki" the super soldier gestured behind Thor. "Is acting nothing like the one we sent up to Asgard. That with the fact that Thor practically just begged us to give Loki a spot on the team, leads me to believe something happened on Asgard. And I want to know what."
"Captain, I thank thee for seeing reason..." Thor trailed off, confused when Steve held up a hand for him to stop, eyes still on Loki.
"I want Loki to tell us." Steve said softly, folding his hands on the table in front of him. Bruce nodded in agreement, his own gaze shifting to Loki while the other three members of the team looked at Steve as though he had lost his mind. Steve's eyes didn't leave Loki, whose panicked look only increased. Thor paused, then nodded, grasping his brothers shoulders and bringing the small man to stand in front of him. Loki shrunk into Thor's chest, eyes flitting fearfully from Avenger to Avenger before locking with Steve's. He made an odd croaking sound before cringing further against Thor, looking up at the giant blond for reassurance.
"You shall have to forgive my brother- his voice has...not been used for...much talking over these past years." Thor said slowly, not looking at the team. No one moved, and Loki's eyes went back to Steve's.
"I...was...sentenced to...ten years...rotational." Loki gasped out. Steve was startled by his voice, as it sounded like he had been left in the desert for the past two years and never given water. The gravely rasp was nothing similar to the arrogant drawl they had last heard from those lips.
"Its been two years." Clint growled, obviously not affected by his foe's appearance. Loki winced, refusing to look at Clint.
"It has been ten on Asgard Hawk Man." Thor cut in, giving Clint a dirty look.
"What does rotational mean?" Bruce inquired before Clint could say anything more.
"One month...with...the guards...one...under...serpent." Loki responded, eyes shifting from Steve to Bruce.
"Wait. Wait. Wait. Serpent? Like, the myth where they strap him to a rock in some underground cave somewhere and a snake with it's jaw open is above him and venom leaking out onto his face? Thats TRUE?" Tony exclaimed, straightening up in his chair and leaning forward with wide eyes. Steve felt sick to his stomach as Tony nodded, even Clint looking a little disturbed.
"He spent five years under the serpent total." Thor replied, looking grim.
"Thor, explain the rest to us." Steve said, not wanting to hear the broken voice attempt to account the rest of the store. The Thunderer wrapped his arms around his little brother and held him close as he spoke.
"Loki would spend one month in the hands of the guards, receiving punishment as they saw fit, and one month under the serpent. The venom would make him unrecognizable by the time he was brought back to his cell-" Thor was cut off by Loki's whimper.
"He does not need to hear this, as he has already suffered through it." Bruce said firmly, a deep frown on his normally neutral face. "It he injured Thor?"
"Very much so." Thor looked relieved as he turned to speak with the doctor. "My brother is wearing multiple glamour's, and refuses to take them off. Perhaps you could help me convince him doctor, so you may treat his wounds?" Bruce nodded even while Thor was still talking, rising from his seat for the first time.
"Could Loki go without you Thor?" Steve asked, quickly back tracking when he saw the look of horror on Loki's face. "Just for a few minutes, so you can finish telling us what has happened? Only Bruce will go to the med bay with you Loki, and Thor will be there as soon as he is finished with us. Alright?" shifting his words to Loki in order to attempt to soothe the fear on his face, Steve gave Loki a kind smile. The raven haired man faltered, looking from Steve to Bruce to Thor, then between Bruce and Thor a few more times before turning back to Steve and giving him a slow nod. "Perfect. Bruce?"
Slowly Bruce moved towards Loki, making no sudden movements and not reaching for the shaking man, instead offering his arm and keeping his other hand in sight. Bruce obviously knew how to deal with trauma patients. Once he had Loki out of the room, the group turned back to Thor, who now looked furious.
"What the hell happened up there Thor? This is considered justice in Asgard? Ten years of torture?" Steve growled, allowing his anger with the situation and guilt at aiding it show in his voice.
"Trust me Captain; I had nothing to do with this. I thought my father would be merciful on the one he called son for centuries, but I was wrong." Thor said, his voice abnormally quiet and shaking with anger. "I was banned from visiting the first year of Loki's punishment after I found a guard whipping him in his cell and attacked the guard for daring to harm my little brother, then for the third, fourth, fifth and sixth year when my father found out my mother and I had been taking turns holding a bowl between the snake and Loki. Neither of us were to visit for those years, and when I came back to him the first day I was able he looked at me from between his cell bars and began sobbing, muttering that I was not real and his mind should not play such cruel games because I had left. He broke without mother and I. His already frail mind couldn't take the pain and the abandonment, nor the cruel words of the guards."
"The guards?" Clint sounded far less angry now. "What did they say?"
"They spoke of his heritage as a frost giant, how no one would ever accept him and he failed to prove himself to father as worthy of our love." Thor spat, slamming his hands down on the table before balling them into fists. "I longed to teach them another lesson, but Loki would not have lasted his punishment without me."
"Wait, okay, your father punished you for not letting snake juice melt your little brothers face off?" Tony asked completely tactlessly, looked disturbed.
"That is correct Man of Iron." Thor said stiffly. "It was lucky I was unbanned, for my mother was not. I held Loki's hand through all of the months at the serpents mercy, and listened as his pleas for freedom became pleas for me to never leave. One week ago he finished his sentence, but it became clear to me very quickly that Asgard is not the place Loki needs to be to heal. The warriors attempt to corner him to punish him further, those not acting against him giving him looks of hate and scorn. I hoped to seek refuge with my friends here."
Now he looked back up at Steve, the pleading look returning to his face. The other three turned to him as well. After dissecting his teams' reactions, Steve stood up.
"I will not allow Loki to become part of the Avengers." he said firmly, quickly continuing when Thors expression turned heartbroken. "But he may stay here. The team doesn't trust him and that makes field work too complicated, not to mention that he is unreliable with his physical and mental wounds. I feel like allowing him to heal here, where we can all keep an eye on him and give him the option to prove himself, will be better in the long run."
"Thank you Captain." Thor sighed, relieved.
"Thor, we would have never thrown you out." Steve said kindly, smiling at his friend. The Norse god nodded before swiftly making his way out the door, presumably on his way to the med bay.
"I think that we all need to go to the med bay, you know which room, so we can see the extent of Loki's injuries- just so everyone is aware." Steve said, looking pointedly at the last three Avengers in the room. Clint and Natasha rose without protest, walking out of the room. Tony moved more slowly, coming to a stop in front of the Captain.
"You handled that well Cap. In fact, you always handle the crazy situations that make the rest of us fly off the handle." Tony said, looking up at Steve and crossing his arms over his chest. Steve wasn't positive what 'fly off the handle' meant but he assumed it was something similar to losing control.
"I suppose its just a gift Tony, like how you can handle the press with ease while the rest of us run for the hills." Steve muttered with a shrug, a bit embarrassed by the compliment.
"Regardless, you should be proud you can make this band of misfits listen to you! Definitely something to put on the resume; I can make groups of asshat superheros listen to me. Got a nice ring to it!" the shorter man threw an arm around Steve, grinning. "Now, lets go see the damage they did to Reindeer Games. I hope his face isn't still melted off, I'm not sure I want to see that...little on the 'ew' factor side for my taste..."
Steve let the rambling billionaire lead him out of the conference room and towards the med bay, all the while shaking his head- his team truly was insane.
So? Thoughts? TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! *begs*