Star: New story! Hope you all enjoy!

Steve ran through the white halls of the underground laboratory. It was rumoured to be a weapons facility of some kind, with futuristic dangerous weapons being manufactured, which was why the Avengers had been called in to do something about it. So far the tight security bristling with weapons was a pretty good indication that something big was happening down here.

He was looking for the weapons, but so far all he'd found were labs of some kind. He wondered if the others were having any better luck on the floors they were meant to clear. Two guards stood outside a closed door, and thinking that was as good a lead as any, he charged them and knocked them both out. He pulled the doors open with a screech of metal and stepped inside.

He interrupted a man in a doctor's coat as he was about to administer a syringe with a greenish liquid in it to a struggling person tied to a hospital bed. Two other doctors, or what he assumed were doctors, shouted in surprise. Knowing he shouldn't take time to be too careful, Steve threw his shield, bouncing it first off the doctor with the syringe, knocking him out and it ricocheted into the second doctor. The last doctor he took out with a solid punch to the jaw and then he turned his attention to the bed and felt his heart nearly stop.

"Loki?" He gasped, staring at the tied down figure. He certainly looked like Loki, pale skin, dark hair, green eyes. But the more he looked, the more he doubted. Those green eyes were huge with fear, pupils dilated to the point where only a thin sliver of green could be seen around them. The hair was wrong too, cropped too short and falling messily about his head, not slicked back neatly. He stared at Steve, pulling uselessly at the ties, face terrified and uncomprehending.

"What's your name, son?" Steve asked, trying a different approach.

"I-I don't have one." The boy replied. Steve couldn't help but think of him as just a boy, not with the way the confusion and fear softened his face into something childlike.

"Why not?" Steve asked.

"They… they said they made me, said I was a thing, things… things don't need names." There was none of Loki's light accent in the boy's voice and it was the voice of a child, innocent and bewildered. "How can I be a thing?"

"You're not." Steve was convinced now that this was not Loki. Loki would feel it undignified to play-act like this, and besides, they knew Loki was in Asgard, being held on trial, Thor visited him every chance he could now that the Bifrost was fixed. He set about unstrapping the boy from the bed. "My name is Steve, I can get you out of here, would you like that?"

The boy sat up, looking afraid, but hopeful. "Outside? With the sun and the moon and the stars and the trees?" He asked.

"Yeah, you've never seen those things before?" Steve asked, feeling troubled.

"No, I only have information about them." The boy replied, touching the back of his neck.

"How old are you, son?"

"I don't know. I woke up, like this." The boy gestured to himself. "They didn't have any kind of clock or anything for me."

Feeling even more troubled, Steve touched his comm. "Iron Man, do you have all the data from the computers in this place?"

"Got that done ages ago, Captain sweet-cheeks." Tony replied.

"Avengers, are we about ready to go?" Steve asked, ignoring Tony's attempt at flirting. Once he'd gotten the okay from them all he turned to look at the boy again, who was just sitting there, watching him. "We're going now." He said, holding out his hand to the boy. The boy looked at it, biting his lip anxiously before grasping Steve's hand and allowing him to pull him to his feet.

Once the kid had a hold of his hand he didn't seem to want to let go. Thankfully there were no more guards to deal with, so Steve just ran with the kid in tow. By the time they'd made it up to the ground floor the kid was breathing heavily, like he'd never had to run before. His gait was awkward, like he hadn't figure out how to use his body properly yet.

The rest of the Avengers got to where they were moments later, and immediately noticed his new friend. "What the hell?" Tony demanded, his face plate coming up to get a better look. "Steve, is that-?"

"No, it's not." The kid was already trying to hide behind him.

"It wouldn't be." Thor said, sounding mystified. "I saw him myself only yesterday, there is no way he could escape."

Hulk stepped up, sniffing the air. "Not smell right." He growled.

"Found him downstairs, says the scientists here made him." Steve explained. "It's alright, you just look like someone we know." He said to the boy, trying to reassure him. "I'm sure the computer files will tell us more. Right now, let's get out of here." He took the kid's hand again and led him towards the hole they'd blasted through the compound's wall.

They came out into star-studded night and the kid stopped, staring up at the sky with his mouth hanging open. "You alright, son?" Steve asked.

"I've got pictures in my head of what it's supposed to look like, but this… the real thing is so… so much more… just more." The boy said, waving his arms in the air. Steve ruffled his short hair.

"I know son."

"Anybody else think this is the weirdest thing they've ever seen?" Clint asked. Tony nodded his head. "Good, I thought I was the only one."

"There's so much colour, inside it's all white but out here…" The kid turned around, trying to take in everything. "And the smells, and the sounds, there's just so much."

"Okay, first it was kind of cute, now it's just heartbreaking." Tony murmured to Steve. "Has this guy never been outside, his whole life?"

"No." Steve answered. "But I get the feeling he hasn't been alive that long." He gently gripped the kid's arm. "Come on, we can't stay here, someone might come looking." The boy nodded and grabbed Steve's hand again, letting him lead him into the woods surrounding the secret laboratory.

The quinjet picked them up and Steve learned that his new charge didn't seem to enjoy flying very much. At least he didn't throw up, though he was looking a little greenish around the gills by the time they landed on the Helicarrier. There were a few stares as the Avengers led the boy through the halls to Fury's office, but no one asked any questions.

Fury merely raised an eyebrow at them when they got inside. "So this is what you found at the compound?" He asked calmly. "Thought he was supposed to be in Asgard?"

"He is." Thor answered. "This is someone different."

"And I got the files for him." Tony said. "We might all want to sit down for this."

"Coulson, take our new guest to get something to eat." Fury ordered. The boy looked at the agent nervously.

"Come on son, we've got a good cafeteria here." Coulson said gently.

"It's okay, son, go with Coulson." Steve encouraged when the kid looked at him. The kid trailed Coulson out the door, still looking quite anxious.

"Now, what have you found, Stark?"

"Our new friend's a clone of Loki, though that was obvious, seems they got a hold of a sample of his blood somehow." Tony started.

"One of the mercenaries we got to help him, no doubt, probably sold it to the highest bidder." Clint growled.

"Yeah, yeah, so they had a few mistakes then got lucky with him, grew him in about a month's time. Oh, that's just Matrix-weird." Tony said, making a face at his screen.


"He's got an implant in the back of his head, right at the neck that allowed them to download information straight into his brain so they didn't have to teach him to talk or read or anything."

"What did they make him for?" Fury interrupted.

"Apparently they wanted him to be a weapon, an assassin or something similar to that." Tony explained. "But apparently he was a failure."

"And why was that?"

"Free will. Says 'subject exhibits dangerous amount of free will, must eliminate in next subject, this subject considered failure'." Tony said. "Looks like they decided to keep him just to run tests on him, first and foremost testing the super soldier serum they'd come up with."

"That must have been what I interrupted them doing." Steve realized. "How long ago was he woken up?"

"About seven days." Tony answered. "I guess that would technically be his birthday."

"What are we going to do with him?" Natasha asked.

"Shouldn't we leave that up to him?"


Star: What do you think?