Another disclaimer. I own nothing of Avengers. Only merchandise and the movie (on DVD).

Chapter 4

The board room sat in the heavy silence left by two of their number storming out. No-one knew quite what to say as they sat there, thinking over what just happened.

Thor, who had sat down after Tony left, turned to the others in anger, although most of his ire was directed at his blue eyed teammate.

"What right do you have, to accuse the Man of Iron of laying with my brother." He thundered, his speech becoming more formal as he reverted back to his god like persona in his fury."You preach the value of trust and loyalty, yet turn on your own because of Loki's actions. He most likely kissed the Man of Iron for this exact purpose; to cause this dissent, to try and weaken us in preparation for his next attack and you fall for his trickery, like infants." he accused them.

"The Man of Iron has done much for us all. If this is his thanks, then perhaps you are not all as honourable as had believed." With that, the God of Thunder picked up Mjölnir and swept out of the room, pausing briefly at the door before continuing onwards, his cape swirling behind him.

The four remaining in the briefing room sat in slight shock, even Fury and Natasha's faces showed it, if only faintly. Rarely, if ever, did they see Thor as anything other than his cheerful, affectionate self. Even more so since he had returned from Asgard and had gradually relaxed from the formal attitude that was expected from the Crown Prince of the Realm Eternal.

Now that he had been pointed out, Clint felt a wave of guilt for implying that Tony had betrayed them. He was normally more reasonable, but Clint always reacted more strongly whenever the God of Mischief was involved, anytime he was brought up, it brought back memories of the ordeal he had suffered through at the god's hands.

As he thought it over, he regretted his emotions even more because he had actually become quite good friends with the billionaire, bonding over banter and pranks. He also spent some time down in the labs, working with Tony on a few designs. Clint, despite what most thought and despite his lack of formal education, was actually quite intelligent. He had to be in his line of work, especially as an archer, as he had to calculate trajectories, distances, and factor in weather conditions as well as being able to assess a situation rapidly.

The archer looked around the room to try and determine what the others were feeling or thinking. Nick looked like he was planning how to prevent the situation from escalating any further than it already had. Clint knew his partner well enough to identify the glimmer of regret in her eyes.

Steve's reaction, however, worried Clint. The blond captain's face was tinged with disgust and anger, not a hint of remorse in his features. He opened his mouth to say something to his team leader, but closed it again when Natasha stood up and walked out of the room, without so much as a word ro a glance at any of them. The three males watched her go in silence.

"Well that went well." Clint was barely aware of himself saying the words. Fury and Steve were jolted out of their thoughts and back into reality. The Director moved to stand in front of the reinforced windows, calling out to the two remaining Avengers in the room behind him.

"If that is all, gentlemen, you are dismissed."

Steve nodded respectfully at his superior, not that he would see it, before standing up and marching out of the room. Clint scrambled after him, throwing a quick "Sir" behind him as he went. The agent was determined to find out why Steve was reacting so violently to what was going on. As he passed through the doorway, his body released a small shudder.

The shield-wielding Avenger was already halfway down the hallway, leaving Clint to run to try and catch up with him.

"Cap, wait up." he called after the blond, who turned with an eyebrow raised questioningly.

"Yes, Agent Barton." Steve replied curtly.

Clint couldn't help but want to back away slightly in wariness from the cold stare directed at him by his muscular teammate. Clint gave himself a mental shake to get back on track.

"You feeling alright there, Cap? You seem a bit…frustrated is all."

Steve's glare sharpened. "Are you not? The level of insubordination from our teammates today is unacceptable and not only that, but Stark was caught fraternising with the enemy! I am supposed to be okay with that?" he ranted, advancing on Clint as he continued.

Clint took a few steps back from the intimidating and suddenly explosive Avenger, wondering what the hell had gotten into his team leader. Then he registered what was being said and took a step toward the blond, prepared to defend his other teammates.

"Hold up a minute there, Steve, what Tony, Bruce and Thor did wasn't insubordination. Tony was defending himself from the unfair accusation you threw at him, and Bruce and Thor were defending him as well as pointing out a couple of truths we seemed to fail seeing, like Loki manipulating us all, for one." Clint couldn't figure out why this hadn't been clear to him earlier, but he was going to do his best to try and get his message across to Steve.

Unfortunately, it wasn't really working as Steve retorted mockingly "Stark didn't seem to mind, in fact, he told us he didn't think it was 'that bad'. Explain to me how that is an appropriate reaction."

The archer raised his arms in defence, he could see that Steve wasn't going to listen to reason any time soon. "Okay Cap, if that's how you want to be, then go ahead, but I don't think anyone else on this team will agree with you." He then slipped past the super-soldier and made his way to the elevator, leaving a fuming Captain America standing alone in an empty hallway.

Thor wasn't as dense as he made himself out to be. The people around him seemed to forget that he was not of this realm originally. As an Asgardian, Thor could never claim to be the most intelligent, but compared to most Midgardians, he was actually a fair bit above average. He understood most modern technology; it was just more complex concepts, like Jarvis that managed to throw him a bit. Thor over-exaggerated most of his mannerisms, as he was usually mellower, because he had found it was a good way to gain a good idea of a person's character.

In a vaguely similar respect, he exaggerated his views on Loki. No-one, not even Thor could witness the crimes Loki had committed without losing faith in his proclaimed innocence as he would have you believe. As much as he loved his brother, he could not continue to believe the old Loki would return to him any time in the near future.

Which was why he could see the manipulation and danger that lay behind his brother's actions concerning Anthony.

The only reason Thor turned to Tony after Steven had questioned him, is to see whether there was any trace of his brother's magic on the inventor. Thor was well aware that Loki could mould his form to be whatever he desired it to be, so there was a chance that Anthony had, in fact, slept with his brother and was unaware of the fact. He didn't intend to inform the other Avengers of this. Luckily, Thor could see no residue of magic on Tony, which reassured the Thunder God that his teammate was not at any extra risk from Loki.

After Thor had said his part, he picked up his beloved Mjölnir and went to sweep out of the room, determined to find Anthony and make amends for not defending him earlier. However, the Asgardian prince faltered by the doorway, certain he had felt the brush of his brother's magic, but the feeling was gone just as quickly, so Thor had continued walking away.

What Thor was, unfortunately, unaware of, was that the Trickster God had a much wider range of magic than believed. This hidden magic had allowed Loki to walk into Avengers Tower, unnoticed and undetected, even by the vast array of defences Tony had designed. Not a single person knew that the God of Mischief was standing in the board room, watching the aftermath of one simple kiss divide the team of superheroes.

He, of course, had helped to ignite the tension; a few suggestive words in their ears, a little spell to heighten negative emotions, a hint of logic suppression and a dash of hidden thoughts being revealed. Then he stood back and relished in the chaos that followed. He was displeased to discover that the vessel of the Green Beast, the Man of Iron and Thor, to an extent, were completely unaffected by his magic. On the other hand, he was satisfied, and a little intrigued, that the Captain succumbed so easily, perhaps it was because he already believed what Loki was whispering in his mind.

That both Thor and Barton had somehow, subconsciously, detected his presence was a minor annoyance, but he hadn't been revealed, so he supposed it was of little consequence.

The God of Chaos waited until all the Avengers had left the room before, with a grin, content in the knowledge that his adversaries were weakened and that he was the cause of it, Loki disappeared from Avengers Tower, to an undisclosed, shielded location to prepare the next assault on Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

A/N: Hope it was alright...

Loki's back, as well as the other Avengers, yay!

I couldn't make Steve a complete arse without having another reason behind it, I love him too much :'(

Did you know? The University of Victoria offers a course in the science of Batman. I would take that, just saying...