"Hey! I wanted to beat him!"
"Yeah, well... me too! And I got him first."
"Hulk!" young Steve Rogers yelled. He was playing with action figures with Tony. Steve was about to knock the Loki action figure off the tall play-building with his own figurine when Tony picked it up. Then he used his action figure to beat up the Loki one instead.
"What, Steve? And for the last time, my name is Bruce," Bruce Banner said in annoyance. He was the oldest of the Avengers, being twelve, and he was their father (in a way). He was the one the other four and five-year-olds complained to and depended on.
"Tony's being mean!"
"I am not."
"Okay, that's enough! Steve, what happened?"
"Tony took Loki away from me."
Bruce was confused for a second, then he saw the toy in Tony's hand.
"Tony... Did you take Steve's toy?"
"No! He didn't take him, so I took him and beat him up."
"Yeah, but I wanted to beat him!"
"Steve, maybe Tony wanted to beat him, too--"
"No! This is not fair!"
"What's going on?" a sleepy Thor entered the room, rubbing his eyes. Bruce walked over to him and picked him up.
"See what you guys did? You woke up Thor."
"It's always Thor! Thor, Thor, Thor," Tony said defensively.
"What do you mean?"
"You like him more."
"Tony, I love all of you the same--"
"No, you don't. Right, Steve?"
"I want to beat up Loki!"
Bruce rolled his eyes and started rocking Thor in his arms. Thor was the youngest of all of them. He recently turned four, and still had his afternoon naps.
"Give me my toy!" Steve exclaimed and tackled Tony. Tony screamed in surprise, and fell back. He still kept the Loki action figure firmly in his hand. Steve clawed for it, climbing over Tony.
"Both of you, stop it!" Bruce yelled. He ran back over to them. He used his free hand not carrying Thor to grab Tony by his ankle and lift him in the air. Tony thrashed around, still holding the Loki toy. Steve was jumping up and down to try and reach it.
"Steve, no!" Bruce said. Tony hugged the toy close to him.
"Hulk, put me down!" Tony spoke up.
"Tony... I am not Hulk! I'm Bruce! Get that through you're head. Bruce. Say it."
"No, you're Hulk."
"Alright, that's it," Bruce said. He grabbed the Loki toy from Tony's hand and threw it on the ground. Steve picked it up, seemingly triumphant.
"No! Put that down," Bruce ordered the young Avenger. Steve looked up at him with sad eyes.
The child groaned and put the toy back in its box.
"Come with me. You too, Steve," Bruce said and exited the room. He went into the kids' room and plopped Thor and Tony on one of the beds. Steve entered and climbed onto the bed with them. Bruce stood up and put on his stern face.
"You two have been giving me a lot of problems lately. I don't know what's up with you guys. Thor has been so quiet and good--"
"See? You like him more. 'Cuz he's the baby," Tony folded his arms across his chest.
"That's not the case, Tony. I just want to know why you and Steve have been constantly bickering over the last few days."
Steve and Tony looked very confused. Bruce sighed.
"I meant why have you been fighting a lot?"
"I dunno," Steve shyly said. Tony scowled. Bruce figured out that Tony was the one with the problems. He picked him up and placed him on the other empty bed. Bruce sat with him on that bed.
"Tony. Are you upset at something?"
The five-year-old boy shook his head.
"Are you upset with someone?"
Tony looked at Bruce and nodded.
Tony shrugged his shoulders and looked away from Bruce. Bruce hated how stubborn this kid could be sometimes.
"What did I do to you to make you hate me?"
"No, Tony. It has to be something."
"That's the point. You never do nothing with me. You always do stuff with Steve and Thor. You forget about me all the time. And it makes me sad. It makes me feel that I'm not important."
"Tony... I'm sorry. You are important. But I just thought that since you were older than them that you would be okay if I am with them more often. I thought you could handle it 'cuz you're a big boy."
Tony's eyes widened at the title 'big boy'.
"You really think I'm a big boy?"
"Yep. Ever since you turned five last year, I knew you were a big boy. And soon you're gonna be six. And then seven--"
"And then eight. And then nine. And ten!" Tony smiled and held up ten fingers to show Bruce. Bruce chuckled at the boy.
"Hey, Thor is sleeping," Steve spoke. Bruce turned around to see Thor sleeping in a ball on the bed. Steve was poking and prodding him.
"Steve, no!" Bruce whispered. Steve stopped. Bruce stood up and carefully took Thor in his hands.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you guys. Loki is coming over to play later."
"What?!" Steve and Tony screamed simultaneously. Thor stirred.
"Shhh! Don't scream. And yes, Loki's coming here at one. So, that means I need to clean you two and get you dressed."
"Why does he have to come over? He's mean to us."
"That's why we beat him up with our action figures," Steve said. Tony nodded.
"Loki is only one year older than me. He promised he'll play with you two. And maybe Thor. But you know how they're not so cool together."
"Hmph. I hate Loki," Tony said. Bruce set Thor in his bed so he could sleep for another hour or two... maybe. Bruce then left the room. Tony and Steve followed him. Bruce didn't know they were behind them when he entered his room. He sighed and began to undress so he could go in the shower. As he turned around to throw his shirt in the hamper, he jumped when he saw two wide eyes staring at him.
"What're you two doing in here?"
"I dunno. We just followed you," Tony said.
"Yeah. Hehe, you look funny," Steve pointed at Bruce's bare upper body. Bruce blushed and covered up his stomach. He wasn't fat or anything... just a little hairy for a twelve-year-old.
"Yeah, well you aren't exactly a super model either, Steve," Bruce grinned at his joke. Tony giggled when Steve rolled up his shirt and looked at his pudgy waist.
"Hey!" he said. Bruce started laughing. He removed his glasses and set them on his desk.
"Are you gonna go Hulk?" Tony asked eagerly. He knew all too well what Bruce would do before he turned into the Hulk. He saw Bruce take off his glasses, so he just assumed that.
"But you took off you're glasses. Aren't you gonna roar and turn green?"
"No, but I can show you who I am gonna turn into..."
"The tickle monster! Rawrrr!" Bruce smiled evilly as Tony screamed. He picked Tony up by his waist and started tickling his squirming body. The child laughed insanely. Then, Steve joined in. He grabbed onto Bruce's pant leg and giggled. Bruce tried to shake him off, but failed miserably and fell onto his bed. Tony escaped and soon he and Steve were tickling Bruce. Bruce started laughing because he was very ticklish. He didn't want to hurt them by thrashing around.
"Oho no you d-don't!" Bruce said through his laughter. He grabbed both Steve and Tony and held them upside down by their ankles. Both kids were giggling.
"Oh no! Hulk is angry!" Tony teased.
"Yes, I am. And I have two plump little babies to snack on..."
Bruce set the squealing children on his bed and pinned them down.
"Mmmm, I love fresh babies in the morning," Bruce grinned. He rolled up Steve and Tony's shirts and started going back and forth, gnawing gently on their bellies. Steve was laughing, but Tony was the one completely in stitches. He thrashed around every time Bruce's lips came into contact with his stomach. Also, his laughter had become silent because he was laughing so hard.
"You two taste good."
Steve somehow escaped Bruce's clutches and ran out of the room. It was just Tony and Bruce now. Bruce had stopped 'eating' the child, and Tony was breathing deeply.
"You okay?" Bruce asked him and laid down next to Tony. The young Avenger didn't say anything. When he finally calmed down, he spoke.
"I-I hate you."
"Hey, that's not nice."
"Well, you're not nice for torturing me!"
"Oh yeah... Hehehehaha. You were laughing like a baby!" Bruce laughed and picked up Tony. He held him at arms length in the air.
"No, I wasn't."
"Yes, you were. And I can show you..."
"No! No, no, no..."
"Awww, the itty bitty baby doesn't want to be tickled," Bruce said in a baby-mocking voice. Tony frowned at him.
"I'm sorry, Tony. Do you forgive me?"
"That's not an answer. Yes or no?"
"Yeah, I do."
Bruce smiled and hugged Tony. Tony hugged back.
"I'm sorry again. Now, where'd Steve go? I need to wash you two."
"Can't I wash myself?"
"No, not yet, Tony. Maybe next year."
"But I just turned five!"
"I know. Maybe when you're six I'll let you take a bath by yourself. Just let me help you two right now, okay?"
Bruce set Tony down on the floor and went into the kids' room. When he entered, he saw Steve playing with a wide-awake Thor. Bruce groaned. Now he'd have to watch all three of them.
The four-year-old looked at him with a guilty expression.
"Why did you wake up Thor?"
"'Cuz you and Tony were in there. I had no one to play with."
"That doesn't give you the right to wake him up. How're you feeling, Thor?"
"No, I mean... Are you still tired?"
"No. I wanna stay up!" the demigod cheered and threw his hands in the air. Bruce chuckled.
"Alright. Oh, Tony!" Bruce saw the child walking to the dining room. Tony turned around and walked back to Bruce.
"Can you watch Thor while I bathe Steve?"
"Aw, do I have to?"
"Please? Just think about how much I do for all of you guys. Pretty please?"
"Okay..." Tony sighed.
"Thank you. Steve, come with me."
Bruce went to his room and threw on the shirt he almost discarded earlier. He took Steve by the hand and led him to the bathroom.
"Do I have to get clean? Why can't I just stay dirty for one day?"
"Because I need to make sure you look presentable to our guests."
"What does that mean?"
"You need to look handsome and clean for Loki."
"But Loki's... Loki."
"I know. But he's gonna help me watch you guys today. Here, take off your shirt," Bruce told Steve once they were in the bathroom. Steve did as he was told.
"You said he was gonna play with us!"
"He will... but the main reason he's coming is to help me. It's hard taking care of three babies with superpowers alone."
"But why him? You could've asked Clint or Natasha!"
"Odin asked me if Loki could come here and hang out for a while. I said sure because I knew Loki can get lonely. But when he gets here, I'm gonna make him help me with you rascals."
"Ohhh... So, Thor's daddy asked you to watch Loki, too?"
"Sorta. Okay, pants," Bruce helped Steve out of his tiny pajama pants.
"Put this in the hamper for me, please."
"Okay," Steve said. He took off his underwear and grabbed his dirty clothes. Then he walked out of the bathroom to the hamper in Bruce's room. Bruce turned on the water for the tub. Steve came back a minute later.
"Alright. The water's ready. Wanna jump in?"
"Okay," Steve agreed, not like he had a choice. Bruce helped him into the tub. Once Steve was in, Bruce started rinsing him. Steve closed his eyes and giggled. He started splashing when Bruce reached for the soap.
"Hey! Steve, no splashing! What did I say about that?" Bruce said in annoyance. His shirt had may specks of water on it now.
"Sorry," Steve stopped splashing. He waited for Bruce to lather him up in soap.
Steve stood up, and Bruce rubbed the foaming soap all over his body.
"Okay, buddy. You can sit."
Steve did. Bruce rinsed the soap and cleaned Steve's body. Then he grabbed his little bucket and brought it closer to him. Bruce squirted some soap on his hands. He ran it through Steve's short blonde hair.
"Ooh, sorry. Did I get it in your eyes?" Bruce quickly rinsed his hands and rubbed the soap out of Steve's eye.
"It's okay. I didn't feel it."
"Okay, close your eyes, Steve," Bruce said. Once the child did, he filled the little bucket up with water from the tub and dumped it gently on his head. He finished washing him completely.
"Now you can play, Steve," Bruce said.
"Yay!" Steve smiled. He grabbed his rubber toys and splashed while he played with them. Bruce was busy getting the next Avenger ready. He took Steve out of the tub after about five minutes.
As he was drying him, he said, "See, dont you feel better now that you're clean?"
Bruce cleaned Tony and Thor the same way, although Thor managed to soak Bruce and the floor. Pretty soon, all three children were clean and dressed. Bruce sent them to the playroom, while he got undressed to go in the shower.
He finished and felt wide awake. Bruce wrapped a towel around his waist and checked on the kids in the playroom. Thankfully, they were all there playing nicely.
"Eeewwww! Hulk's naked!" Tony pointed. Bruce rolled his eyes. He wasn't completely naked... he had a towel protecting his privates.
"I'm not naked if you can't see my private parts. Plus, I always see you guys naked. What's the big deal?"
Tony went silent. Bruce chuckled and went to get dressed. He came out of his room wearing a dark blue shirt, jeans, and a pair of grey socks. It was about twelve o'clock.
"Are we gonna have lunch, Brucey?" Thor asked when Bruce stepped in the playroom for a second time.
"No, not yet. We have to wait for Loki to come--"
"Loki's coming?!" Thor was shocked. He missed the whole conversation about that.
"Yeah, didn't you hear--? Oh yeah, you were asleep. Loki's coming over to help me watch you guys and to play with you."
"Yay, brother's coming!"
"Yeah. So, we're going to eat when Loki gets here, okay?"
"Great. So, what do you guys want for lunch? Just so I have an idea."
"I don't know," was the collective response.
"You want sandwiches?"
"What kind?" Tony asked.
"Um, the 'whatever-I can-find-in-the-fridge-that'll-go-on-a-sandwich' kind."
"How about peanut butter and jelly?" suggested Thor.
"No, Steve's allergic to peanuts. And who knows, Loki may be, too."
"Stupid Steve. I wanted PB&J!" Thor whined.
"Hey, I'm not stupid!"
"Guys, don't fight. It's just a sandwich. Hold on, lemme see what I have in the fridge."
Bruce walked over to the kitchen and searched through the refrigerator. The boys followed him and stood by the doorway.
"Umm... I have ham and cheese. You want that?"
"No," they all said.
"How about I make a sandwich with that leftover corned beef?"
"Ooh, I liked that stuff! Can we have that?" Steve said.
"I don't know what that is," Tony said.
"We had it on St. Patrick's Day."
"Oh, that meat thing?"
"I'll have that."
"Great. And I'll put, like, barbecue sauce on it or something. And you guys like pickles, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah!" Thor cheered. That was the only thing he recognized other than ham and cheese.
"Awesome. Let's just hope Loki likes this stuff. You guys can go play now."
"Yippee!" Steve said. He and the other two boys ran back to the playroom. Bruce was exhausted and it was only the middle of the day. He was gonna be so glad to have Loki helping him.
Bruce spent the next half hour drying the bathroom floor from Thor's major splashing before. All of a sudden, when the floor was almost completely dry, he heard screaming.
"Shit..." Bruce said and quickly stood up. He ran to the playroom to see Thor on the floor, crying. Bruce picked him up and tried to calm him down.
"Thor went up there and... and he fell," Steve said. He pointed to a shelf in the room. It was at least as tall as the top of the doorway.
"Oh my God. How'd he get up there in the first place?"
"He used his hammer and flew up there," Tony said.
"I told you that you couldn't fly in the house, Thor! Look what you did to yourself."
Thor was still screaming and crying. Bruce held him close and tight in his arms.
"Shhh, shhh. It's okay, baby. Calm down. You're okay," Bruce tried to soothe the child. He was very disappointed in himself for not watching them close enough.
"You're okay, Thor. Did you break anything?"
"No, because he's a god. We don't break bones easily," a voice answered for Thor. Bruce turned around to see Loki standing in the hallway. Loki approached the playroom.
"Hello, Loki. I d-didn't know you were here so early. How'd you get in?"
"It's a heli-carrier, Mr. Banner. Plus, I have magic powers."
"Right... And you can call me Bruce. Shhh, Thor. Calm down. You're fine, you're gonna be fine," Bruce said. He was freaking out because he had a crying baby in his arms, while trying to be kind to their guest who just barged in. Loki looked at his brother in disgust.
"Doesn't he know he's fine?"
"He got scared."
"Well, what happened?"
"He fell off that shelf."
"Really? And where were you when--"
"Okay, look. I can't do everything. I was busy cleaning a mess this guy made when they were in the playroom. I heard screaming and I came over."
"Yeah, it wasn't Brucey's fault Thor fell," Steve said in Bruce's defense.
"Brucey?" Loki smirked. Bruce blushed.
Thor had started calming down right about now. He was still tearing up and clinging onto Bruce's shirt.
"You okay, Thor?" Bruce asked the demigod. Thor nodded. Then Thor looked at Loki.
Thor jumped down from Bruce's arms and went over to Loki. Loki picked him up and squeezed him in a hug. Bruce smiled at them. Then he turned his attention to Steve and Tony.
"So, how come neither of you called me when you saw Thor on that shelf?"
"We thought he would just fly back down again," Tony said.
"But he didn't. I was gonna get you when Thor was on the ground--"
"But I already heard him crying. You guys need to be more responsible. You know how bad Thor can be because he's younger than you two."
"I'm sorry," Steve said.
"Yeah. Me, too," Tony agreed. Bruce believed them, and he couldn't stay mad at them.
"I forgive you guys. Just next time when you see Thor acting stupid, call me."
Tony and Steve giggled and said, "Okay!"
Bruce went back to Loki and Thor. They were talking about something, but Bruce couldn't make out exactly what that was. Loki saw Bruce looking at them. He told Thor to go play again.
"But be careful," Loki finished as Thor went back to Steve and Tony. Bruce stood next to Loki.
"Thank you for having me over," Loki looked at the ground.
"No problem. I needed some extra help around here. Do you mind watching them for a minute? I need to finish cleaning something."
Bruce went back to the bathroom and mopped up the remaining water. He put the mop back in its bucket and placed it in the closet. Then he went to his room and laid down in his bed. Bruce was still shaken up about Thor. He felt like it was all his fault. He also started thinking that he wasn't responsible enough to take care of those three Avengers. He squeezed his eyes shut and let tears run down his cheeks.
Loki was watching the boys. He enjoyed watching them play. Then Tony came over to him. He pulled on his pant leg.
"Yes?" Loki asked.
"Are we gonna have lunch? Hulk said we'd wait for you to come."
"Well, I don't know. I'll ask him. Just stay here, okay?"
"Okay!" Tony went back over to the toy cars and robots he was playing with. Loki left the playroom to look for Bruce.
"Mr. Ban-- I mean Bruce?" he checked the bathroom he saw Bruce in before. He wasn't there. He saw a closed door, and he knocked on it. Nothing answered from inside.
"Bruce?" Loki asked. He pressed his ear to the door. Then, he opened it, thinking it was empty. He saw Bruce lying on the bed in the room, his face buried in his pillows.
"Bruce..." Loki said again. Bruce shot his head up to see Loki staring at him. He looked like a mess. His eyes were red and puffy and his cheeks shined from tears in the light. Bruce turned around and sat on the other side of the bed so he wouldn't have to look at Loki. Loki was nervous.
"What's the matter?"
Loki heard Bruce sniffle. Loki walked over to Bruce's side of the bed and sat next to him.
"I'm not one for concern, but I can tell you're upset. What happened?"
"I'm j-just... scared."
"About what?" Loki scooted closer to Bruce and wrapped an arm around his shoulder.
"About everything. I'm scared that I may lose one of the boys. You saw what happened earlier with Thor. I can't be everywhere and everything at once. I try so hard to take care of them, but it's been getting extremely difficult. I don't want to stop taking care of them, I just want it to be easier. I can't do this alone. They treat me like I'm their father, but I'm not. I just watch over them. I don't have a father's ability to care for his children. And this pressure and stress is really killing me. I've been feeling sick lately, and sleepy. The fact that they're all babies hurts me the most. They constantly need attention that I can't give all of them. Plus, they have superpowers! I do, too, but mine are dangerous. I'm scared," Bruce finished with a sob and shed a few more tears.
Loki didn't know what to do or say. He never realized how much responsibility Bruce had.
"I had no idea that you had so many responsibilities. I'm sorry. I can see how you're like a father to them."
Bruce sniffled and wiped the tears from his eyes.
"And if you think about it, you are actually their father," Loki began. Bruce looked at him with a curious expression.
"Tony... his parents are both dead. Steve... his parents have been dead for, what, seventy years? And Thor has a dad, but he is almost never with him anymore. They need you just like you need them. And they'll understand that you can't be everything they want at times. But you try, and you give your best effort. Every superhero and villain should respect you for that."
Loki smiled at him. He meant what he said.
"I'll watch them today. You just relax and sleep. Or do whatever you want, okay?"
"No, Loki. I can't-"
"Who says you can't? I'll watch them... But you have to make lunch first. Tony was asking for it. That's why I came here in the first place. Then, you can relax."
Bruce chuckled. He stood up with Loki. But before they exited the room, Bruce hugged Loki.
"Thanks, Loki. You're really nice."
Loki's heart softened at being called 'nice'. He's never been referred to as that before in his life. He hugged him back.
"Now, let's go make those monsters some lunch. You like corned beef, right?"
"You'll like it, trust me."
Bruce and Loki walked back to the playroom. The kids were playing well and laughing.
"Alright, who wants lunch?" Bruce announced. Tony was the first up. He sprinted to Bruce. Bruce caught him and lifted him up in his arms.
"You guys coming? Loki, could you make sure they follow?"
"Sure," Loki said. Steve was already bolting out the door. Thor was still playing with an action figure.
"Thor, we have to eat. Come on."
"Ummm... yeeaah. Sure. Just come before they're all gone," Loki had no idea what his brother just mentioned were. Thor jumped up and followed Loki to the dining room.
Bruce was busy putting cold corned beef between slices of bread.
"You want barbecue sauce, Tony? I know Steve doesn't."
"Um, yeah," Tony said. He was already at the table, playing with his napkin. Steve was sitting as well.
"Thor, just sit over there, okay?" Bruce said. Thor ran over to the table and pulled out his own seat next to Tony.
"You wanna try barbecue sauce, Loki?" Bruce smirked.
"It's honey barbecue, so it's not spicy or anything."
Loki was silent.
"Alright, I think you're starting with a plain sandwich. There are condiments on the table if you want to have them. I see Thor already started on the pickles."
Loki looked over to see Thor munching happily on a green, warty foodstuff. Bruce saw Loki's disgusted face.
"You know what, Loki you can sit. I got the sandwiches. You want a drink?"
"May I have water, please?"
Loki sat next to Steve at the table. A minute passed, and Loki saw Bruce coming out with a plate of sandwiches and a glass of water. He handed the glass to Loki.
"Okay, hold on. I have three plains for Steve, Thor, and Loki. And Tony and I have barbecue, correct?"
Bruce handed out the sandwiches and sat down with his own. Loki stared at his sandwich with curiosity and disgust.
"Why does it smell like urine?"
Bruce spit out his soda when he heard Loki say that, and he started coughing and laughing. The children started giggling at Bruce. Loki was confused.
"I-It burns. Oww!" Bruce held his nose in pain as his eyes watered. Tony was banging on the table from laughing so hard.
"Dude, it's corned beef. You're gonna like it, trust me. You know, you better like it because I'm in pain!"
Loki looked back at his sandwich. He picked it up and cautiously took a small bite out of it.
"It's not bad, actually. May I try it with the--"
"Go right ahead."
They continued eating. Loki reached for the barbecue sauce and squirted some on his sandwich. His eyes lit up when he took a bite of it.
"Someone likes corned beef," Bruce observed and smiled. They each finished their lunch one by one. Thor and Steve were the first ones in the playroom. Tony followed. Loki helped Bruce clear the table.
"Lemme just wash the dishes. Then, I'll let you get to work with them," Bruce told Loki as he was rinsing the dishes with water.
"Okay. Do you want me to watch them now?"
"No, they're okay. Just chill."
"So, how old are you now, Loki?"
"Did you just turn thirteen, or--?"
"No, I'm going to be fourteen in October."
"Cool. I'm gonna be thirteen in May. We're only about a year apart."
"Did you want to come here?"
"Yes... Ah, I mean, no. My father wanted me to get out of the castle, so he chose to send me here. I had nothing to do with it."
"Okay, then. Are you glad you came now?"
Loki grinned and said, "Yes, I am. I discovered a new food and a new friend."
"Really? And who would that friend be?"
"Come on, you know it's you!"
"Well, I'm shocked and honored to be called your friend. I guess you're my friend, too, Loki... Okay, one more bowl, then I can relax. That is what you promised me, right?"
"Okay, I'm done. Let's do this."
Bruce dried his hands and went to the playroom, accompanied by Loki.
"Hi, guys. Playing nicely?" Bruce asked them when he entered. Tony nodded.
"Well, I'm gonna get some sleep. Loki is going to watch you guys for now, okay?"
"Why?" Steve asked.
"I said I'm gonna try to sleep."
"Why do you have to sleep?" Tony said.
"Because I'm tired. It's hard watching you devils all day long!"
"We're not devils. We're angels, right, Thor?" Steve smiled at the youngest.
"No. I'm Asgardian!"
Loki laughed in amusement.
"Loki, here, is going to take care of you! That's that. Have fun with them. And if you have any problems... serious problems... come get me. See you later," Bruce said, and was off to his room. He got there and closed the door behind him. He grabbed his iPod that he almost never used anymore. Once he hit shuffle, Bruce closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Loki was standing in the doorway of the playroom. He watched the small Avengers play with their toys and games.
"Um, Loki?" Tony said. Loki looked down at the floor where Tony was.
"Do you wanna play with me and Steve?"
"And Thor!" Thor didn't want to be left out. Loki forced a smile on his face.
"Sure. I'll play with you guys. But what are we playing?" Loki followed Tony to an empty mat.
"It's really fun."
"Yeah," Steve agreed. Thor crawled over to them.
"We have to fight you, like real heroes do. And--"
"Wait... So, does that mean I'm the bad guy?"
"Oh, alright. Continue."
"So, we have to try and defeat you."
"And how will you do that?"
"By knocking you over."
"Lovely," Loki said sarcastically, "So, you three are going to team up?"
"Does Bruce do this with you?"
"He won't let us anymore because last time we did, he almost turned into Hulk," Steve explained.
"Ohhh. So, I'm your new plaything."
"Sure. Can we just play?" Tony became impatient.
"Whenever you're ready."
"Ah, Loki," Tony started acting out the scene, "Our enemy. Our foe and nemesis. The Avengers are here to teach you a lesson for stealing those banks."
"He means the money from the banks."
"Shut up, Steve."
Loki chuckled at them.
"Why are you laughing? You're supposed to be evil."
"We are going to beat you up! Avengers... ASSEMBLE!" Tony exclaimed. He, Thor, and Steve all let out battle cries and charged at Loki. He was determined not to fall over, otherwise he would be 'defeated'.
"You will never defeat me! I am the Trickster! You can't hurt me."
"Oh, yes we can!" Steve said. He jumped on Loki and held onto his leg.
"Get off-- Woah!" Loki lost his balance and ended up kneeling. He did manage to shake off Steve, though.
"Quick! While he's down!" Tony said. He signaled to Thor. Thor grabbed his hammer and flew to Loki. He hit him in the arm with it.
"Ow! Thor!" Loki clutched his arm. Thor was giggling while flying in circles around Loki. Loki grabbed Thor around his waist and held him in place. Thor screamed.
"That's what you get for hitting me! Ouch! Stop it!" Loki screamed when he felt Steve punching his leg. Steve soon brought his punches to a higher area on Loki's body... The part that really isnt supposed to be touched. Loki gasped and clutched the child's arm.
"No, no, no, no..." Loki repeated. He grabbed Steve as well. He held both children in his hands above his head.
"You can't win, Avengers. I'm older and smarter. I always win--"
"You wanna rethink that?" Tony's voice came from the doorway. Loki's eyes went wide as his chest went into contact with an iron helmet. Tony constructed his Iron Man suit and was attacking Loki. Loki fell over from the impact and landed on his back.
"Haha! The Avengers win!" Thor cheered. Steve was high-fiving Tony, who was still in the suit. Loki sat up and glared at the three of them. Then, he got an idea and smiled evilly.
"But there is one thing that I always win at. It is a weakness all of you share that I don't have."
"You're babies. Doesn't that automatically make you the most ticklish things in the realm?" Loki smiled. Tony and Thor looked really scared. Steve wasn't that ticklish, so he was less nervous.
"How are you not ticklish? Even Bruce has that weakness," Steve said.
"Does he, now? Interesting. That's still not stopping me from tickling you three."
"Run!" was Tony's next plan of action. He stumbled forward and started toward the door. Loki stood up and chased after Tony. He reached ahead of him and caught the five-year-old by the legs. Tony screamed.
"I see that you are very ticklish, no?" Loki poked Tony's stomach once he was held firmly in his arms. Tony squealed. Thor and Steve watched curiously. Loki brought Tony back to the mat so he could tickle him easier. Loki started tickling all parts of the child's upper body. Tony was hysterically laughing.
"Come here, you!" Loki said. He got a hold of Thor, who was close to him at this moment.
"Ah! Nooo!" Thor screamed. Soon, the room was filled with Tony and Thor's laughter.
Steve had left the room when Loki caught Thor. He came back five minutes later with a sleepy Bruce in tow.
"What is going on in here?"
Bruce expected to see what Steve described to him. He expected to see Loki tickling Tony and Thor mercilessly. Instead, he couldn't hold back the smile on his face. Tony and Thor had somehow managed to turn the tables on Loki. They were tickling him now!
"This wasn't what was going on when I came to get you, Brucey."
Thor looked behind him and saw Bruce and Steve in the doorway. He jumped up and flew to them.
"Brucey! Loki's ticklish! Just like you. Hahahahaa."
"Yeah, just like me. How did this happen?"
Suddenly, Loki threw Tony off of him. Tony crashed to the floor in his iron suit. He took it off and put it back in the closet where he kept it.
"Hi, Hulk. Loki's ticklish."
"Yes, I know."
"Oh, hello, Bruce," Loki blushed, "I, um... I heard you were ticklish."
Bruce's eyes went wide. There was a silence that filled the room for ten seconds. Then, Bruce ran out the door. Loki stood up and chased after him. Bruce ran to his room and turned around to lock his door, but something kept it from closing. Loki used his magic to force the door open. He ran in the room and jumped on Bruce. They both fell onto his bed.
"Get off of me! Loki! No-ah!" Bruce screamed when he felt Loki's fingers wiggling along his sides. He burst into laughter immediately. Thor, Tony, and Steve appeared in the doorway a minute later. Thor was jumping up and down and clapping. He got onto the bed with Loki and Bruce and started tickling Bruce, too. Tony and Steve also helped Loki.
"Stop! Stohahahahap!" Bruce begged through his laughter. He found the strength to retaliate and tickle Loki. Loki fell over laughing. However, Bruce was still being tickled by the tiny Avengers. Thor reached his hand under Bruce's shirt and tickled his stomach. Bruce squealed and rolled off of Loki.
"Get off! Nohohoho! Thor, stop it," Bruce grabbed the small arm doing the most damage. Loki was watching them with a smile on his face.
"Uh, guys? I think Bruce has had enough."
"No, he hasn't," Steve said. They kept tickling Bruce. Loki took action and grabbed Tony and pried him off Bruce. While the other two were distracted by that, Bruce pulled Thor and Steve off of him by their legs. He lifted them in the air as he stood up. Then he flipped them over and carried them normally.
"All of you are definately punished," Bruce said, but smiled.
"Awww. But we were just playing!" Thor said.
"Yeah, Brucey. Punish Tony! Look what he's doing to Loki. Hehehe," Steve giggled. Bruce beamed at Loki and Tony. Loki was walking around in a circle while Tony was laughing and running around through his legs and around him.
"This isn't funny! Come back here," Loki said. Tony just laughed harder and ducked Loki's hand. Tony slid between Loki's legs and ended up behind him. As Loki was turning around, Tony went back the same way. Loki lost his footing and fell to the ground. Everyone began laughing at him, even Bruce.
"This isn't.... He tripped me!" Loki whined in embarrassment. Bruce set Thor and Steve down. Tony was on his back on the floor, laughing. The two of them, minus Tony, went over to a pouting Loki. They hugged him tightly. Loki was taken aback at first, but then smiled and hugged them back.
"What's this for?" he asked them.
"We're sorry," Steve said.
"For what? For tickling me? That's okay because I'm sorry for tickling you."
"No... because me and Tony never wanted you to come. We were actually beating your action figure up before you came. We didn't like you. But now you're pretty cool."
"Do you think that, Thor?"
Loki laughed and squeezed both of them tightly.
Bruce held Tony's wrist and pulled him upright and standing. Tony was still giggling.
"It's not that funny. Stop laughing at him! Apologize, Tony."
"Okay, fine!" Tony walked over to Loki and the boys, "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Loki chuckled and pulled Tony into the hug. Soon, everyone was standing.
"Okay, guys. Back to the playroom," Bruce said. The small Avengers ran out of the room to their toys. Loki stayed behind.
"For letting me stay here. For being my friend. And the boys are so sweet. I've never had this much fun in my life."
"No problem, Loki. Now do you wanna help me make them dinner?"