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What A Guy!

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The Hulk doesn't like Thor.

Oh, he'll work with him. He'll co-ordinate and co-operate and watch his back if needed. He'll even carry him to safety if he's disabled in combat.

But he doesn't like him.

“Too shiny,” is all the Hulk will say on the subject, often followed by a grumbling growl.

Bruce himself seems indifferent to Thor, other than as just another team mate. If he knows or remembers the reasons for his alter ego's enmity, he isn't telling.

*

Tony adores Thor, once the dust has settled from their rumble in the woods.

Thor brings a chaotic element that Tony revels in. Big thing in the way? Smash it. Aliens from another world? Smash them. Subtlety? What's that?

It's like the universe has handed Tony a playmate with a completely complimentary set of issues regarding vanity, daddy issues and entitlement.

Tony is incredibly persistent about asking to study the hammer, Thor's physiology, that magical armour that just turns up when he wants it to, and how Thor's hair always looks straight out of a shampoo commercial.

Thor always seems flattered but is firm about turning him down. Somehow, Tony never feels hurt, never feels the need to resort to unethical sneakiness to get what he wants. Somehow, it just doesn't seem important enough to bother.

*

Steve loves Thor like a brother.

This is a man who is not a man, but an alien or a god or something, whose strength is more than a match for his own.

Aside from the Hulk, he's the only one of his team mates he can't hurt.

Tony's brand new gym takes the brunt of the workouts, the sparring sessions, and the flat out brawls that result once they work this out.

Tony tours the devastation, poking at holes in the walls and floor and tutting, while Steve and Thor lie, panting, next to each other on the mat. Steve can't stop giggling.

“Going up on Youtube yesterday,” Darcy says, prodding at her smartphone.

“You are indeed a mighty warrior,” Thor says, and a glow of pleasure suffuses Steve from head to foot.

“Again?” Steve asks, standing and helping Thor to his feet.

“Verily!” Thor says with a bloodstained grin, settling into a fighting stance.

“Not the load bearing walls, guys,” Tony sighs, but his heart's not in it.

*

Clint takes a while to warm up to Thor, but once he does, he falls a little bit in love.

“Your arms are impossible,” Clint says, looking from his own biceps to Thor's. “I've been working on my arms since I was thirteen, and trust me, you're breaking some kind of law, right there.”

“Mjolnir needs a mighty arm to wield it,” Thor says, his smile warm and benevolent.

“Seriously, I might actually cry. Up until now, I've been proud of the fact that no one else in SHIELD can even get close to drawing my bow,” Clint says. Both of his hands have reached out, and wrapped around one of Thor's upper arms. His fingers don't even come close to touching. “I get the feeling you wouldn't even have to try.”

“And your pecs, they're just...” Clint's words fail him as his hands trace the muscles in question. “How do you even. What do you eat?”

“In my father's hall, I ate mainly meat and ale,” Thor replies, seeming unconcerned by Clint's wandering hands or the abrupt question. “But on my arrival in Midgard, Jane and Darcy gave me coffee and Poptarts, and I find these very pleasing.”

Clint's smile breaks, wide and happy. “Awesome. We're going to Krispy Kreme.”

*

Thor opens the door to his bedroom one night to find Natasha perched on a chair in the corner of the room.

“I don't trust you,” Natasha says smoothly.

“Have I not proved my worth in battle?” Thor asks.

“You have.”

“Have I not been open and honest with you, my comrades and companions?”

“Yes.”

“And have I given you cause to doubt my honour?”

“No.”

“Then what have I done to offend you?” Thor asks, looking genuinely hurt and a little puzzled.

“I like you too much,” Natasha says.

Thor blinks.

“I have no logical reason to feel the way I do. When I can't trust my own mind, it tends to mean there's something wrong.”

Thor stands perfectly still inside the doorway.

“I spent most of my life being brainwashed into being the perfect weapon,” Natasha continues. “My mind was twisted into knots that I have only just begun to untangle. And in just a moment, your brother did the same to the person who saved me from that hell. I've seen what your people can do.”

“I can assure you, I mean you no harm,” Thor says.

“This team is made up of some of the most distrustful, self-reliant people I've ever met, and trust me, that is a long list. Yet in a matter of days, you've charmed every single one of them, except perhaps Doctor Banner, but he hasn't disappeared yet, so maybe that speaks for itself. What have you done to us?”

“Nothing,” Thor answers, bleeding honesty.

Natasha fiddles with the cuff on her wrist, and Thor hears a familiar electronic whine.

“Nothing deliberate,” he clarifies. “Nothing harmful.”

“Explain,” Natasha says, her voice like granite.

Thor sighs and sits down on the edge of his bed, staring at his hands. “I am a Prince of Asgard,” he says simply. “My rank is more than mere words. It inspires respect, courtesy and awe in my subjects, more than any trappings such as crown or staff of office ever could. Midgardians seem more...susceptible to that awe,” he finishes, looking unhappy.

“Your power makes you charismatic,” Natasha says.

Thor nods.

“The Hulk said you were 'too shiny'. I don't think any of us really understood what he meant by that.”

“Fortunately, my beloved Jane met me when I was mortal, so I know her affection for me is true. I desire to rule, yes. But I do not require obeisance. I do not crave it or feel the need to cultivate it in others.”

“You want to be liked, but you don't want to be worshipped.”

“No,” Thor says heavily. “Not by my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms. Not by my friends.”

“Good answer,” says Natasha, standing. “You passed.” She flicks a button on her wrist cuff, powering down her Widow's Bite.

Thor stands himself, holds out his hand. “I did not mean to deceive you, or cause you to doubt me, or your own mind.”

“That's why you're still standing here, and not being detained by SHIELD,” Natasha says, taking his hand and shaking firmly. “But if I ever suspect you have compromised this team, I will activate containment procedures.”

“I would expect no less,” Thor says, his smile full of pride and respect.

Natasha allows herself to cede to the urge to smile back.