I'm so sorry for the delay people! I've had the biggest block ever since my last update. Half of this chapter has been sitting in my computer for months in several parts and I've only just accumulated it and finished it today.
I've had writer's block since the last update and I'd lost the will to continue this story, then this month has just been this shittiest month in existence for me. My Nana passed away at the beginning after a long sickness which is gutting for both me and my family (Happy Birthday me! Goddammit) and then on Monday just been, I was told by my work manager that my position within the company has been made redundant so now I have no job. FML.
Anyways, hopefully this chapter will tide you guys over for a while because honestly I am not feeling the writing mojo right now; it's over 5,000 words so hopefully it's enjoyable.
The door slid open with a hiss and even knowing the fact that it did so at a specific, unchanging speed all over the ship, it seemed as if it had opened in a far more dramatic fashion; although that could have possibly been due to the way the his younger brother strode into the room with a unhappy expression.
Steve dropped his hand of cards onto the table where he had been attempting to teach his father Poker and pushed to his feet slowly. "Jör?" he asked in concern. "What's wrong?"
The younger came to a stop and opened his mouth to speak and then closed it before pulling a face and scrubbing his hands through his hair with a groan. Natasha unfolded her legs from underneath her and marked her place in the book she had been reading before putting it down on the table beside the couch. The redhead pushed to her feet and moved across the room to pulled her brother's hands from his hair and hold them in her smaller ones. "Clint, breathe and then use your words." She ordered in a practiced fashion.
Steve figured it was something she regularly told the other man as Barton took a deep calming breath before speaking.
"Tony Stark is Narfi." He announced.
There was a poignant silence where Loki inhaled sharply and focused all his attention on his son. "How did you come across this knowledge?" he asked in a voice that did not hide the rising hope in it.
Clint's lip curled showing his distaste at the answer. "Thor." He spat. "Stark interrupted Coulson's interrogation and Thor recognised him."
Loki shook his head immediately in denial. "Not possible." He announced pushing to his feet and beginning to pace around the room in short sharp steps. "When I hid the Twins, I hid them so that no one could find them but I; even Odin could not pierce the magics surrounding them to perceive their true identities."
Here Clint shrugged and pulled his hands away from Natasha's grip to face his father. "Either way, you should probably meet him face-to-face to check." He suggested. The blonde's sharp eyes caught the dubious expression on Loki's face. "The first time you met him, Stark was wearing the Iron Man armour; there was no way you could have seen who he truly was. Not to mention you haven't actually come face-to-face with Banner yet."
"Dr Banner?" Steve asked in confusion. "I thought you said Stark was Narfi?" Apparently he was slow on the uptake because a second later Natasha's face paled and she closed her eyes in horror.
"Bozhe moi." She cursed under her breath.
"Am I missing something?" Steve asked slowly, shooting uncertain looks between the three others in the room.
"It appears to me, that your brother is assuming that Dr Banner is really Vali." Loki answered slowly, shooting a shrewd look toward Clint. The archer nodded in answer and Loki gave a short, sharp bark of laughter. "If what he speaks is the truth than the Norns are having fun at my expense. What are the odds that all five of my children were to be found all in one place within days of my arrival on this realm?"
"Too high to count." Natasha muttered before turning to look at her brother and partner. "When is the meeting?" she asked.
"In another hour." Clint answered. "Stark has sequestered himself in his room most likely calling Potts in order to run damage control; Banner is still oblivious in his lab, I'm assuming Coulson and Fury are leaving it up to you to tell him if it's true." he said, directing the last to Loki.
Loki nodded his head in understanding and then glanced toward the door. "I will return to my quarters." He stated quietly. "The magic binds on your brothers' differ from the ones that bound you; I need to gather my thoughts in a quiet area." He explained, glancing back at his children to show his need to be alone. Loki looked toward Clint expecting a reaction from his clingiest child but the archer gave him a weak smile in return and shifted closer to his older brother instead.
Steve casually wrapped an arm around Clint's shoulder and pulled him close without taking his eyes off his father. "I will come and get you when it's time for the briefing." He told Loki.
"Thank you.' Loki answered before looking over his children once more and then leaving the room.
It was quiet as the Natasha sat down on the couch she had been reading on earlier and shifted down to make room for her brothers. Steve gently directed Clint to sit down in the middle and dropped down to sit at the other end. Natasha lifted Clint's arm and wrapped it around her shoulders as she curled into her brother's chest and wrapped her own arms around his torso as Steve draped his arm across Clint's shoulders once more and snuggled in close from the other side.
"This sucks." Clint whined after a few minutes of mutual cuddling. "I don't want to be related to Stark."
"It could be worse." Steve answered him.
Natasha snorted from where she lay and didn't bother to tilt her head to face him as she replied. "We're possibly related to the Hulk."
There was a pregnant pause as they digested that. "Dr. Banner seems nice enough." Steve answered diplomatically.
"Until you piss him off." Clint retorted. "Then you have a giant, green rage monster on your ass."
Steve sighed and shook his head. "So don't make him angry." He suggested.
Clint turned to stare at his brother and even Natasha raised her head to look at Steve in disbelief. "You really need to get to know me better." Clint stated honestly.
When they entered the briefing room a short time later; Clint found himself studying both Banner and Stark with new eyes. According to Thor, Stark was Narfi which meant that the arrogant genius was family. They wouldn't really know about Banner until Loki arrived but considering the fact that four of the five team members Fury had gathered were in fact Loki's missing children, the odds were relatively high that Coulson's assumption of Banner being Vali was correct.
The tension in the room was palpable and the archer looked longingly toward the top of the cabinet in the corner of the room; he hated being up close and personal in tense situations, he hadn't been lying to Fury when he told the Director that he saw things better from a distance. It gave him a unique perspective of a situation that others who were close to it couldn't see; it had saved their hides more than once on a mission and right now he would rather be watching the resulting mess from a distance; family matter or not. He was rather regretting the promise to Coulson of not perching on top of furniture during briefings; the Handler had allowed the one deviation to the rule during Loki's initial debriefing but a pointed look from the man now signalled that it was a onetime thing and the archer grudgingly took a seat at the table and studied the others.
Banner was sitting on the opposite side of the table with an apprehensive expression on his face; clearly the doctor wasn't clear on reasoning behind the briefing but was expecting bad news nonetheless. Stark was pointedly ignoring everyone in the room by directing his attention on the tablet in his hands but Clint knew his mind was worrying over the present matter because the tablet's screen had slipped into sleep mode a good two minutes ago and the engineer had yet to turn his unfocused gaze away from it. Natasha was sitting in what appeared to be a relaxed pose beside him and concentrating on filing her nails; unless you knew her very well and Clint did, you wouldn't know that she was worried about the situation and more than likely not, plotting out ways to disable the biggest threats in the room and escape with a minimal amount of damage to herself. Fury was discussing something with Coulson and Hill near the door all of them wearing serious expressions which were probably doing nothing for Banner's rising blood pressure.
After too long a wait, the door to the room opened admitting Steve and Loki; the blonde having volunteered to retrieve his father from his quarters and bring him to the meeting. Loki was wearing an anticipatory expression, as Steve stepped aside Loki's pale blue eyes scanned the room. Clint watched in a mixture of curiosity, apprehension and something he refused to call jealousy as his father's eyes stopped skimming the room and widened in recognition at the sight of the two men.
Apparently both Loki and Stark were content to just stare at each other but Banner unaware of the byplay hesitantly pushed to his feet and held a hand out to the Asgardian. "Umm…Loki, right? We haven't met yet, I'm Bru-".
"Vali." Loki breathed in answer, interrupting Banner's introduction.
The scientist paused in his movements and his eyes flickered warily over Loki's face. "Uhhh…" he hummed unsurely before glancing behind him in case Loki was actually speaking to someone else. Finding no one he turned back to face Loki and took a hesitant step back, a hand immediately reaching up to take his glasses off and clean them with the tail of his shirt in a nervous gesture.
Loki's eyes drifted away from Banner's tense figure to that of Stark, who was now watching the Norse God with a guarded expression. Loki's face twitched and he let out a short pained laugh and then ran a shaky hand through his hair. "The Norns take much delight in mocking me with the ease to which I find my missing children after so long." He murmured quietly.
"Well, shit." Fury stated succinctly into the pregnant silence that followed.
There was a sudden explosion of noise as Stark pushed to his feet, sending his chair flying back to hit the wall behind with a clatter. The billionaire looked briefly flustered at the accidental action before he pasted on his usual smirk and clapped his hands together. "Hey, I guess that means you and I will literally be Science Bros now, Bruce!" he declared patting the still confused scientist on the shoulder.
"I-I'm sorry, but what is going on here?" Bruce cried, shooting the room a wide eyed look. "Did Loki just call me Vali? Are you saying that I'm one of your missing children?" The last was directed toward Loki who was staring at the two men, taking in every detail he possibly could about them.
"Apparently." Tony answered breezily. "Oh, and that's our uncle we have locked up in your old room." He added, waving his hand toward the ground to signify the large glass cage that Thor was currently locked in.
The reminder that the cage was originally supposed to hold the Hulk caused a look of irritation to cross the scientist's face before disbelief took over instead as the man realized that Tony had answered one of his questions in the affirmative. "What?!" he demanded looking between his supposed brother and father.
"Doctor Banner, perhaps you should calm down." Natasha directed warningly from her position on the other side of the room. She had cautiously pushed to her feet moments after Stark had and moved unobtrusively toward the door.
"Don't tell me to calm down." Bruce exclaimed. "I'm being told that I am the son of a Norse God with other Norse Gods as siblings!"
Natasha shot him an unimpressed look. "I can't imagine what that could possibly be like." She stated in a deadpanned voice. Bruce winced and shot her an apologetic look and then began to take several deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself down. A short while later and the scientist had calmed enough that he wouldn't Hulk out and sat back down in his chair; an action which resulted in several hands slowly lifting off concealed weapons.
"Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on?" Bruce said after a few seconds of quiet.
"I must have pissed off someone powerful in a past life." Fury answered irritably. "Because as it turns out, the people I've assembled to protect this planet from alien threats aren't actually from this damned planet in the first place."
"Hey, does that mean I can stop paying taxes?" Clint asked perking up in his seat as the thought occurred. "Wait, does that mean I should expect a really good tax return this year due to getting over taxed since like ever?"
He earned several annoyed looks from the senior agents in the room but Tony leant forward wearing a curious expression on his face. "He has a point you know." He stated. "Should we even be paying taxes since we're aliens?"
"If you want to get technically about it, Stark," Coulson started with a sigh. "You're all illegal immigrants and the US government could have you deported. However there is legal documents regarding your adoption by Howard and Maria Stark on record; you are not exempt from taxes, sorry." He apologised not even remotely sounding regretful about that fact.
Tony's face twitched at the mention of his adoption and Clint's head turned to look at the man along with Natasha's. Well that explained what the blacked out section of Tony's file mentioned; he wasn't biologically a Stark…which wasn't exactly news considering the previous announcement; what a let-down.
"Also, Agent Romanov was made a US citizen when she defected to SHIELD." Coulson added glancing at the redhead across from him. "She gets taxed too."
Natasha raised an eyebrow. "Natalia Alianovna Romanova defected to America and became a citizen; Hel Lokisdottir did not."
Coulson shot her a bland look. "I'll tell HR to update your paperwork, Agent Lokisdottir." Natasha pulled a face at the name and Clint silently put a rare mental tally mark in the handler's column of one-upmanship between the two.
Bruce cleared his throat drawing everyone's attention once more. "Illegal immigration aside, I think we've got more important things to discuss right now." He stated.
There was a moment's silence as everyone glanced around waiting for someone else to start talking about the pink elephant in the room. Rolling his eyes, Clint decided to get the show back on the road. "Are you going to jab them with the Magic Sceptre of Memories or whatever it's called?" he asked Loki who had otherwise been silent since sitting down.
Loki glanced at him unimpressed with his son's reference the sceptre. "That would entirely be up to them." He answered; the words were impartial but everyone could detect the wistfulness in his tone.
"Wait, just wait." Bruce interjected holding up both his hands in an attempt to halt Loki from doing anything despite the fact that the god hadn't moved. "I just need to wrap my head around this for a second."
Tony snorted and crossed his arms. "I don't think it's actually possible to wrap your head around it, Bruce." He stated honestly. "Not until we get the big picture and that won't be happening until we have all the information; which if Legolas' words meant anything we will get after Loki waves his magic stick at us."
Clint scowled at the nickname but was prevent from retorting when his father answered the billionaire's estimation with an affirmative. Bruce closed his eyes and took a deep, measuring breath before releasing it and nodding slowly.
"So, who's going first?" Tony asked clapping his hands together in a way that didn't hide his nerves from the group. Bruce looked at him and then toward Loki before shrugging his shoulders uncomfortably.
"Stark should go first." Natasha suggested looking toward the billionaire. "There may be…problems with Banner." She added. Whilst the scientist winced at the words he nodded his head in agreement; there was no point trying their luck."
"Right." Tony answered apprehensively before he pushed to his feet and hesitantly walked toward Loki. "Getting jabbed with the Glow Stick of Destiny isn't going to hurt right?" he asked eying Loki's sharp looking sceptre warily.
"It should not cause any physical pain." Loki answered truthfully as he pushed to his own feet and moved away from the table.
Tony's face twisted at the words. "Right, only mental anguish on today's agenda." He muttered under his breath not quite quiet enough to keep the others from hearing.
Loki stepped forward and raised the sceptre slowly before halting; the god eyed Tony waiting for the billionaires go ahead to proceed. The pair stared at each other for several long seconds before Tony gave a single sharp nod. Clint thought back on the day his memories were released as Loki brought the sceptre up to Tony's chest and everyone seemed to collectively hold their breathe and lean forward as the gem inside the sceptre began to glow. A faint noise began to grow as the tip inched toward the centre of the billionaire's breastbone, the tip connected with a sharp clinking sound and then…nothing happened.
"Well…that was anticlimactic." Tony stated after a second's empty silence. He looked around the room at the others and held up a finger. "One, I don't feel any different and two; I don't have a head full of extra memories." He finished, holding up a second finger.
Confusion crossed Loki's face and he stared down at his sceptre as if it had somehow failed him. "That doesn't usually happen." He muttered to himself before bringing forth the power once more and trying again only to end up with the same outcome.
"Well, performance issues and all." Tony snarked back before he could help himself. Loki paused in his frowning perusal of his suddenly faulty staff and looked up at Tony with a completely unimpressed expression at the jest.
"You don't think the Arc Reactor has something to do with the sceptre not working, do you?' Bruce suggested hesitantly from the side. "'The electromagnetic frequencies could be messing with the…ah…magic energy." He added, the scientist in him not really wanting to believe in magic but being unsure what to call it otherwise.
"It is a possibility." Loki answered, looking between the sceptre and the soft glow that was emitted from underneath Tony's Black Sabbath t-shirt.
"So just jab him somewhere else." Clint suggested with a casualness he wasn't completely feeling. "Unless…it doesn't have to be over the heart does it?" he asked uncertainly; sure that was where Loki had pointed the sceptre when he had released Odin's binding magic from him, his father had also done it to Steve and most likely Natasha as well.
Loki gave a small shake of his head. "No, I can position the sceptre anywhere and it would still work but something is interrupting the magic and stopping it from working."
"The Arc Reactor." Tony stated, glancing down at his chest with a thoughtful frown before he looked up at Loki and took a small step backward. "Just before you get any wild ideas in your head, if it remove it I die; it's the one thing keeping me alive."
Loki's eyes widened at the news and he's gaze sharpened on the light blue glow on the billionaire's chest. "Explain." He ordered.
Tony shifted and glanced toward the SHIELD agents. "You mean they haven't given you access to my files? That's surprising."
Fury crossed his arms and stared down the other man. "I don't usually hand files on my people to strangers, Stark; especially not ones from another planet."
Tony gasped and placed a hand to his chest in mock shock. "You regard me as one of your people, Fury? I'm honoured."
"We're not." Clint muttered under his breath just loud enough for Natasha to hear and he caught the slight twitch of amusement from her lips at the words.
Tony smirked at the Director. "For someone who doesn't hand out files on his people, you were awfully quick to give us access to each other's files." He paused to let that sink in before turning away from Fury to look toward Clint. "And what self-respecting sniper uses a bow and arrow for his tools of the trade? Technology has advanced further than the Stone Age in the past ten thousand years or so."
Clint stiffened and narrowed his eyes but Loki brought the conversation back to where it was supposed to be before he could answer. "The device in your chest, explain to me why it would kill you if it were to be removed." He ordered staring intently at said device once more.
If Clint thought it strange that his father didn't just use his magic to find out that answer he didn't point it out; considering that the sceptre didn't work on Stark, Loki's magic was possibly reacting oddly too; or he didn't want to freak Stark out by using said magic on him.
Tony crossed his arms in front of the Arc Reactor protectively and took a long step backward. "There was a little thing a couple of years ago." He explained waving a hand as he talked; how the man could flippantly describe being involved in an incendiary explosion as a 'little thing' Clint wasn't sure but he had to give the man props for it. "In short, I have a bunch of tiny metal shards continuously trying to inch their merry little way into my heart and kill me; the Arc Reactor emits an electromagnetic field that holds them in place in order to prevent that. Ergo, you remove the reactor and I will die slowly and painfully. It might be just me but I'd like to avoid that if at all possible."
"I see." Loki answered slowly as he pondered over what he had been told. He thought quietly for a few second before he waved his free hand before him creating a web of glowing red magic. Tony jumped away from the magic in alarm before realising that it wasn't in fact heading toward the Arc Reactor but instead hovering in front of Loki where it formed into something resembling his own holographic technology. The billionaire stopped and then his curiosity overcame his fear and he took several steps forward to peer at the magic in interest.
"Is that an internal image of Tony's chest?" Bruce asked in surprise as what looked like an MRI formed before Loki.
"Yes." Loki answered pensively as he gestured with his hand and runes floating before him changed along with it.
The runes looked familiar but flowed too fast for Clint to be able to decipher them clearly, he did manage to understand a word or two; namely 'foreign objects' and 'heart' before Loki waved a hand through the image and it faded away from existence.
"It will have to be removed in order for the magic to work." Loki stated focusing his gaze once more on the glowing blue circle in Stark's chest and taking a step toward Stark. The man in question jerked away from Loki and took several quick steps toward the doorway.
"Yeah no, not happening!" Tony declared in a slightly wild voice. "Did you not hear me say that taking the Reactor out would kill me? I thought you were trying to get my memories back not murder me!"
Loki paused and stared at the other man in surprise. "I will not allow the shrapnel to reach your heart; my intention is to remove both the device and the metal shards before healing the damaged caused to you. You think I would do otherwise?" he asked a devastated look crossing his face.
Clint glared at Stark as the billionaire faltered slightly at Loki's words. He tried to be impartial considering that he probably would've acted in exactly the same manner a week ago if he'd been in the same situation but it was hard to be when his father looked as if Stark had stabbed him in the gut. Clint felt Natasha shift beside him and he instinctively knew that both she and Steve would be feeling the same urge to beat the arrogant asshole into a pulp.
"You could do that?" Bruce asked in surprise glancing between Tony's chest and Loki. He was vaguely apologetic for even entertaining the idea judging by the rueful look he sent toward Tony who was clutching at his chest protectively. "How would that even work?"
"It's going to forever remain a mystery because it's not going to happen!" Tony cried out, pointing a finger in Loki's direction. "You are not getting anywhere near my chest and the Arc Reactor, Buddy." Loki didn't look happy with the decision but he nevertheless pulled back; Clint knew his father would get his way eventually; they would just have to let the reality of being Reactor Free sink through Stark's thick skull before anything could happen.
Tony didn't look completely reassured that Loki wouldn't try anything and he shifted across the room to stand beside Coulson and Hill; no one bothered to point out to the man that the two human agent's wouldn't be able to protect him if Loki actually decided to try anything; it was easier to just allow the man his delusion.
"I guess that means it's my turn?" Bruce asked hesitantly, cutting through the tense silence that resulted.
Loki nodded his head and readjusted his grip on the sceptre; he glanced once more in Tony's direction before he stepped forward to approach Bruce.
"This is going to get messy." Clint muttered under his breath as he watched Loki go through the same motions he had done earlier. The room was filled with tense anticipation as the tip of the glowing sceptre touched against Banner's chest. There was slight flash of energy that Clint couldn't recall happening before that caused everyone to shield their eyes momentarily and when he dropped his hand he found Bruce holding himself stiffly as blue magic arched across his body. He watch nervously as the man twitched under the onslaught but Bruce didn't appear to be in any pain, it was more a mental reaction than a physical one. Bruce's eyelids fluttered as the repressed memories ran through his mind and it was a few seconds later that Clint noticed that Bruce's skin was beginning to take on a sickly green tinge. "Oh shit." He breathed in mounting horror.
Apparently he wasn't the only one to notice the distressing change as the others began to quickly edge away from the straining man as much as the small room would allow. Why had they decided doing this in a briefing room aboard the Helicarrier was a good idea again? Clint glanced at his father and was horrified to note that he hadn't moved away from Banner's changing form but was instead watching the transformation in a mixture of fascination and concern.
Bruce let out a strained groan and hunched forward. "You need to leave!" he managed to bite out between clenched teeth. "Leave NOW!" he finished in a roar as his body suddenly exploded into several times normal size destroying his clothing and leaving only shreds of his pants to protect his dignity.
The Hulk burst out of Banner's small form and let an eardrum rupturing roar causing everyone to clamp their hands over their ears. Clint peered through watering eyes in an attempt find Loki and he found him in exactly the worst place possible.
Loki stood in front of the towering creature looking up at the Hulk with narrowed eyes. Clint felt his heart skip a beat when creature zeroed in on the smaller form standing before him. It let out a roar of anger correctly assuming that the figure was the one to blame for his present situation. Before anyone could react, the Hulk threw out an arm and backhanded Loki, sending the god across the room and through several walls. Clint let out a cry as he watched his father's figure disappear from sight and lurched to his feet before his brain caught up with him. Amazingly the Hulk didn't pay any attention to him, far too focused on taking out his anger on the man he had just hit. The Hulk let out another bellow and charged after Loki leaving an even large hole in his wake. Clint exchanged a lightning fast look with his siblings and the three of them immediately jumped through the hole after the Hulk and their father.
The four remaining people in the room winced as alarms began to sound throughout the Helicarrier. Tony started heading toward the door. "I should probably go suit up." He stated glancing once more at the large hole. "Yeah, I'm going to suit up." He determined before taking off down the hallway toward the Armoury at a run.
"I'll get the containment teams ready." Coulson suggested glancing toward Fury for confirmation. When the Director nodded that man glanced between the door and the gaping hole in the wall; shrugging to himself, Coulson headed toward the hole and climbed through; it was the shortest route to his destination.
Of all the stupid ass decisions he had ever made in his life this one had to have been one of the stupidest, Nick Fury decided as he watched the Coulson's back disappear through the large hole in the wall left by the Hulk. "Hill," he growled as he helped his second in command up off the ground from where she had dove to the side to avoid the flying table. "If there is ever a time in the future where I have a meeting involving Asgardians, remind me to not have it aboard the Helicarrier."
Hill pulled a face at the statement but nodded firmly in agreement. "Yes, Sir." She promised before tapping into her radio and the PA system. "All hands, be aware that we have a Code Green and report to your designated areas. You are not to engage, I repeat, you are not to engage the Hulk."
Fury closed his eye and took in a breath to slowly count to ten, he managed to get to five before the sound of an explosion followed by a roar ripped through the air and he let out a heavy sigh. "Damned alien bullshit." He muttered before shoving his pistol back into its holster. He starting climbing over the destroyed furniture toward the door, he needed to get to the Bridge and sort this shit out before the Hulk did any more damage.
AN: Hopefully it wasn't too disjointed from my previous chapters. Let me know if it was anyway, I'll try to get around to fixing it.
My flatmate's overseas until mid August so it's just me here alone, so I might write some more; pure boredom if anything will probably push me.
But as mentioned above, I'm going to be jobless after the 31st of July so I will be job hunting like it's an Olympic sport for the next two weeks. If I don't get a job by mid September it looks like I will be moving back to New Zealand to bum off my parent's for a while since rent etc will become an issue. Providing my redundancy payment is decent enough for a year and a half's service I might last a couple of months jobless. I think I might just move back anyway, my family is all back there and I'm the only one who doesn't live within 45 minutes of home and after this shitty month, I think I want family more than ever.