A/N: Hello my dear readers! This is a sequel to Childhood Innocence, and the story really won't make much sense unless you read that story first! Just a little heads up! And so, I am back by popular request: Silence of the Lambs, sequel to Childhood Innocence. Enjoy, and please Read and Review!
"AGAIN!? AGAIN, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING!"
"Face it, Cyclops, I'm not joking. And it wasn't me! It was my robot -
"STARK, YOU ARE MY PROBLEM CHILD, DO YOU KNOW THAT?! YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING -
"Look it WASN'T my fault - "
"That doesn't MATTER Stark! You were the one who left them down there UNSUPERVISED, and you should have known that the two of them are practically children the way they behave! You were irresponsible and careless and - "
"When do you think that conversation's gonna end?" Steve asked from where he was seated beside Peggy, their hands joined and fingers intertwined on the armrest of the standard issue office seats that every official government building in existence seemed to have. Clint looked down from the ceiling, having to straighten his sprawled, slouched position in one of the uncomfortable chairs outside Fury's room.
"End? Are you kidding me? That argument is going to rage on until the end of time," he responded, tilting his head back forward as he began slouching once more as though another thought had occurred to him. "And then it'll rage on for a few millennia after that."
"Pepper hasn't added her two cents yet, and the Director hasn't even gotten to the fact that we basically fountain-of-youthed you as well," Banner added from his post by the door's peephole, gesturing vaguely at the female agent seated beside the super soldier. "That'll be a whole other fiasco in and of itself."
"A very temperamental brouhaha," Romanoff added in a sage tone that earned her glances from all around the small group. Bruce coughed in a suspicious manner, and Steve guessed that it had to do with the Russian's word choice.
"I - I do not understand..." Thor began, great brow furrowed in concentration and bafflement. "What is a brouhaha?" This time, even Steve smirked a little and Bruce coughed a little harder, corners of his mouth twitching; it was just too funny hearing Thor say that word.
"It's well...it's a brouhaha, Thor," the assassin explained unhelpfully and went back to examining the cuff of her jacket sleeve. There was a loose thread and it was annoying her. Her clothes never had loose threads; it was a liability for when she had to move quickly. That and it just looked sloppy. Thor however, wasn't satisfied with his response. However, as he opened his mouth to pursue the topic further, Peggy leaned forward.
"A brouhaha is basically an uproar. A very noisy and cacophonous uproar albeit," she offered, but Thor's frown deepened.
"Then why not just call it an uproar?" he asked, and Romanoff rolled her eyes.
"Because brouhaha is entertaining to say, Thor. Maybe you should try using more complicated vocabulary," she responded, tone slightly acerbic.
"Easy there, Nat," Clint warned in a tone that said he really didn't care about anything she said. In response, she sat back heavily in her seat once more and crossed her arms, sighing in frustration.
"What's up with you?" Steve asked after she craned her neck around to check behind herself for what had to be the hundredth time.
"I'm waiting for Phil and Loki to show up. They've been held up by the medics for a really long time," she mused, finally shifting her position so she was sitting in the seat sideways with her legs dangling over the arms, hugging the back of the chair so she was half twisted about. "I've half a mind to go over and see what's going on for myself."
An awkward silence stretched out between them before there was a sudden flurry of movement and everyone was trying to shove past each other to get to the door and find their missing friends.
"What's your name, little one?" The pen clicked and scribbled down the response:
"How old are you?" After waiting about half a minute, she added another note:
"Do you know where you are?" The pen scribbled again.
The deadpan expression continued.
"Do you know what's going on around you?" Another aggravating scratching of metal on paper:
"Can you talk?" Angry scrabbling:
"Can you nod your head? Can you move at all?" Scratch, scratch, scratch:
"Loki, you really need to answer the doctor's questions, okay?" the man holding the child tried, but he got no further than the doctor.
Vacant stare once again...she wrote, sighing.
"Do you understand a word I'm saying!?" she finally cried, exasperated, and wrote her final observation.
Freakin' unresponsive. You'd think I was talking to a wall.
The doctor sat back heavily and sighed in frustration, throwing the pen to the desk top and looking at the agent helplessly.
"Is this what you were talking about?" she asked, peeved and put off in the extreme.
"That went on for about an hour...as I said, he just won't talk," Coulson responded and looked down at the little boy seated on his lap. "I mean, he really doesn't do anything except sit there and just cling onto whatever he can reach. Can you let go of my jacket now?" he added, addressing the small form. Again with the catatonic stare. "I happen to know for a fact I wasn't this problematic as a child, Loki, so you can't call this vengeance," the agent finally said, tone growing exasperated. "Loki, I know you're the god of mischief, but I really don't want to have to deal with your jokes and games right now. Okay? We really need to have you talk to us so that we can figure out how to fix this, alright? We need to know if it's what happened with me."
No response; no sign of any level of recognition and Phil sighed, looking up at the ceiling in a silent prayer for some sort of otherworldly assistance. "Please grant me strength in dealing with this..." he muttered before looking back at the doctor. THey both sighed simultaneously and the doctor shrugged in defeat.
"Let's go over this again. What happened after the accident?"
"Well, I went over to him and picked him up. He was just sitting there, staring at us all wideyed. I seriously thought he was never going to blink and then of course he had to go all leech-like on me and he hasn't let go of my jacket since. Even when he saw his brother Thor, he did nothing." The member of the medical staff frowned and reached forward to snap before the child's eyes and resisted the urge to throw her hands up in the air and storm out when the small being didn't even blink. Coulson shrugged and reached out to grab the glass of water, bringing it to his mouth to take a sip.
"It may be possible that he imprinted on you." The woman flinched as water sprayed all over her.
"WH-at?!" the agent gagged, choking on his drink. "What!?"
"He may think you're a parental figure, like - "
"Yeah, I know what imprinting is! It's - it's that thing ducklings do!" he cried, and looked down at the vacant child on his lap. "So, what you're telling me is that a five year old - "
"I'd say he's closer to four...but then again, he's Jotun. I don't know how they age," she instinctively interjected. However, upon seeing the agent's glare, she quickly ducked her head. "Sorry."
"So, you're telling me that a four year old alien thinks I'm his mother?"
Another awkward silence stretched out in the room before the doctor tilted her head to the side.
"Welllllll...I mean, it could be that he's just completely empty and vacant and just latches onto whatever is nearest to him as a survival instinct - "
"Well, that's not too bad; I actually prefer that to - " Phil began, eager for any other explanation to counter the fact that Loki now saw him as a parent. That would certainly not go over well at all when things got back to normal.
"But that would mean that whatever made Loki himself is gone. And that's not good."
Coulson just gaped, unable to do anything else.
"Uh, right." He nodded and stood up, still carrying the small boy. "Yes. Okay. Righhhtttt..." The doctor bit her lip and raised an eyebrow bemusedly at her superior's obvious discomfort. "I'll, uh, I'll just be leaving now," he said and pointed towards the door, wanting more than anything to just get back home, get back to the Avenger's tower, drop Loki on the couch and try and solve this on his own. He was not going to trust the words of doctors, not now, not ever. This just could not...nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope. Loki was messing with him. He had to be.
It was the only logical explanation.
He could just be shy of all these people. Yes, that's probably it, he told himself in comfort and pushed the door open, stopping and allowing the door to close behind him as he saw the Avengers and Peggy, minus Tony and Pepper, standing before him, looking far too innocent with expressions much too sympathetic. It was almost as though he could hear their internal laughter.
"Any of you breathes a word about the imprinting thing to Stark, I will murder you in your sleep," he said seriously before marching, practically fuming, for the elevator.
"Do you think this is gonna go over well?" Steve asked as they followed roughly five minutes afterwards to place a safe buffer of distance between their rather pissed off agent and themselves.
"I don't think so..." Bruce admitted as they all piled into the elevator. "I mean, if Loki's imprinted that's awkward. If he's just...poof, gone...that's bad. That's like, really, really bad."
"He strikes me as a rather serious, collected person. He may just be a bit flustered right now. Maybe if we gave him some time, things would cool down, become more manageable," Peggy offered and Nat nodded, thinking about what she said. "Otherwise we'll just be making him more aggravated than he already is and then we would have to deal with him dealing with an infant and a bunch of overgrown children."
"I think we understand the situation," the god of thunder acknowledged, internally shuddering at the situation unfolding in his head. "When we get home, we should focus on detaching my brother from the Son of Coul. It seemed to be rather aggravating to him..."
"No, really, Thor?" Clint asked as the elevator doors closed in time to hide them from a very angry Fury who chose that particular moment to burst out of his office, a taken aback and clearly out of his depth Tony Stark following with an equally angry Pepper running after him.
"Stark, where the hell is the rest of your team?" Fury asked, glaring at the billionaire.
"Hey, what makes you think I control them?!"
Phil sighed in exhausted annoyance and dropped onto his back on his bed. He had finally resorted to taking off his jacket and leaving it in Loki's tight grasp. The child had been left in the middle of the Frost Giant's bed and the agent felt no qualms about just leaving the boy there since he still made not indication of moving around or getting into messes. He just sat there, holding the jacket close to himself. However, when he heard a thud and the sound of something falling over, he practically launched to his feet and sprinted for the mini-god's bedroom, hoping that he wouldn't find catastrophe waiting for him.
Instead, when he opened the door, he found that Loki had thrown the pillows off the bed and had yanked the sheets up around himself like a little nest, accidentally knocking the desk lamp over with one of his surprisingly strong throws. The agent's jacket was pulled around his small form like a little blanket and the little boy had fallen asleep almost instantaneously, dark raven hair falling sloppily over his face like a web.
Phil shook his head and sighed, walking over to sit beside the boy and reached out to pull the jacket up around his tiny shoulders a little more.
"Sleep well, Loki. I hope you remember something when you wake up. Like fundamental words, maybe?" he teased and waited for a few minutes to make sure that everything was indeed fine before he got up and snuck out of the room.
He didn't want to become a victim of the boy's tenacious grip once more.
But as the adult slept in his own room, he couldn't help but ponder on the events that had happened; why wasn't Loki talking? He struck the man as a never ending little chatter box...except he might as well be mute at this point. Maybe he just didn't understand Midgardian as a child...
When he woke up, it would be to see two vibrant green eyes right before his.
"HOLY JESUS!" he shouted, and Phil Coulson, who prided himself on being a cool, collected, unflappable person, sat bolt upright, pushed himself away from the small boy who had been watching him sleep for who knows how long, and promptly fell off the other side of the bed to land with a resounding crash on the ground.
This was going to be a long, long experience.