“You know this has gone too far,” Steve hissed over the loud music in Tony’s workshop. His eyes stay trained on the small monitor in the corner, the surveillance camera JARVIS had hacked showing what was happening to Loki down in the sub-sub-basement.
Tony looked up from his pile of metal parts. His eyes were darker than usual, shadows lurking in the brown that Steve didn’t ask about. “Yes it has, Captain. What are you gonna do about it?” Steve took a seat on a three-legged stool as Tony twisted a pile of wires together.
“We need to help-” Steve’s musing was interrupted.
“You can’t do it alone.” Clint said, popping up from behind the door. “JARVIS may be able to get you the schematics of the building but not everything is listed there.” The marksman gave a twisted version of a smile.
“And you’re just going to help us out of the goodness of your carny heart?” Tony spat, throwing the gears on the desk in front of him. “You didn’t say a damn word when Fury had him drugged and carted off. You’re on video,” the man pointed to another monitor on the desk. “interrogating Loki, who’s drugged and tied down like an animal.”
Clint shrugged, expression smoothing to blankness. “Following orders.” Tony scoffed loudly.
“If that was following orders,” Steve asked. “How are we to know that this isn’t Fury’s way of keeping an eye on us?” Clint turned to face him.
“Thor is going crazy, not being able to help his brother.” Clint’s eyes showed some fleeting emotion on the last word before he was stone-faced once again. “And as much as I don’t like the bastard trickster, this isn’t the way to go about defeating him.”
“Always itching for a fight, aren’t you?” Clint didn’t respond to Tony’s dig.
“While we sit here deciding what to do and Loki’s undergoing more tests, Phil’s running around playing diplomat. He hasn’t slept in 72 hours.” Clint’s voice softened. “If I bust Loki out of here, he can relax.” Tony didn’t comment and Steve nodded slightly.
“What do you know about his cell? Those restraints?” Steve asked.
“Basic eight-by-eight block, sub-basement C. Four guards posted on the door, rotating on twelve hour shifts.” Clint responded. “The restraints neuter Loki’s magic somehow. I don’t know what they’re made of but I doubt bolt cutters are going to help.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’m working on something.” Tony muttered, peering at the metal gears in his hand.
“So we’ll take down the guards three hours into their shift,” Steve proposed. “Tony can cut the restraints with whatever it is he’s building and then we can get Loki to Thor. Quietly.” Clint grinned and walked off into the shadows of the workshop.
His watch tells him it’s nearly two am and the bed is still empty next to him. Clint sighs and leaves the warmth of the blankets for the light that’s still on in the kitchen. Phil sits at the table, brow furrowed over a letter and a dictionary open next to his left hand.
“You’re not a robot, no matter what the junior agents believe,” Clint chastises, coming to stand behind the older man. He puts his hands on Phil’s shoulders and starts to slowly rub.
“I don’t have a choice.” Phil responds quietly. The tension leaches from his muscles and he rests his head on his chest as Clint’s hand covers the back of his neck.
“I’m sure there is some agent Fury has on the payroll who knows how to read-” Clint looks at the diplomatic letter. “What language is this?”
“Estonian.” Phil says, shutting the dictionary. “It’s close enough to Finnish I thought I could but the words are far enough apart I have to double check everything.”
“I’m surprised Tasha didn’t take this.” Clint’s fingers knead into the knot of muscle and Phil groans.
“Fury has her in DC, playing politics.” Clint hums at the information. “She’s not scheduled to be back until Thursday.” Phil pushes the chair back suddenly, nearly into Clint’s legs. “I think I can sleep for a little bit, if you want to go lie down.” He raises an eyebrow, eyes flicking to the cabinet above the microwave. Clint smiles and takes Phil’s hand in his own.
It’s their own private signal, designed three years ago when Fury had put a stop to Clint crushing every S.H.I.E.L.D. bug he found. Now Clint kept the bug in the kitchen and the other in his bedroom without complaint. The lovers had figured out that none of the surveillance techs wanted to listen to the two when they finally got some alone time and took the opportunity it presented.
Clint falls onto the bed first, pulling Phil down after him. They kiss slowly, one of Phil’s hands resting on Clint’s bicep and the other wound into his hair. Phil’s hand moves to the back of Clint’s neck as the man sighs happily and he starts tracing letters. X order 48 hr SR watch X order Phil’s hand squeezes lightly and drifts up to return to tugging on Clint’s hair.
They break apart long moments later with swollen lips. Clint looks at the older man, rubbing gently at the bags underneath his eyes. “I love you,” he says quietly, shifting his hands to grasp at Phil’s ass. Phil smiles, rocking his hips down more out of routine than need - he isn’t hard and that isn’t what this is about. Clint pulls him into another kiss, this one deep and messy. Phil’s hands stroke over Clint’s arms and he smiles into the kiss.
Phil pulls back and cards a hand through Clint’s blond hair, resting his own weight half on the marksman, half on the bed. Clint wraps an arm around Phil’s shoulders, pulling him closer into his body.
The older man drops a kiss to the side of his neck and leans up, his mouth next to Clint’s ear. “Be careful.” He whispers softly and Clint’s arm tightens on Phil’s shoulder in silent agreement. Phil pulls the sheet over their entangled bodies and falls asleep, his head on Clint’s shoulder.
The Captain paced the hallway underneath the camera, hands clenching and relaxing every so often. Tony’s dressed in all black, the arc reactor a dim glow through the zip-up hoodie.
“Ready to do this?” Clint’s voice drifted down from the middle of nowhere. Tony looked up with a shark-like smile and stepped over to the door.
“Lead the way, Agent.” Clint pressed a few buttons on the keypad and the door opened. The three men walked down the hallway, Steve staying underneath the camera’s viewpoint. Clint had already passed on that S.H.I.E.L.D. surveillance was running a recognition program for his features. Steve had offered to stay back but Tony had vetoed that.
They looked at each other in the elevator down.
“So, it’s been fun.” Tony broke the silence. “I mean, hey, all Fury’s gonna do is yell. I’ll go back to Malibu, Steve will come with me.” He raised an eyebrow at Clint.
“I have a few places to lay low.” The marksman offered. He turned to face the doors as the elevator slowed to a stop.
The doors opened and the three stared at the sight. The four guards further down the hall were already on the ground.
“I thought you said the Black Widow was in DC.” Steve confirmed slowly.
“My lab isn’t that far away from Loki’s cell,” Bruce walked down the hallway, left hand in his pocket. “We actually share a vent.” He opened his right hand, showing them a small blow gun. “Amazing what tricks you can learn when you live in the jungle.”
Clint chuckled darkly and Tony’s smile broadened across his face. “They’ll be out for four to six hours.” Bruce told them, walking past to step into the elevator. He smiled serenely as the doors slid shut, cutting him off from further questions.
“Did that just happen?” Tony asked in a low tone as they crept down the hallway. “I mean, who knew the doc had it in him.”
“I thought Bruce was taking Loki’s capture rather well,” Steve said. “I assumed Fury just left him out of the loop to avoid the Hulk appearing.” Tony pulled at the door handle futilely and then stepped back. Steve took a few steps back and kicked at it.
Alarms went off, loud and shrill as the door caved in.
“It’ll take the backup teams three minutes to respond. I’ll handle them,” Clint said confidently. “You two just get Loki out of here. Thor’s waiting.” He ran back down the hallway. Tony and Steve stepped inside the cell.
Loki lay despondently on the cot, chest rising shallowly with each breath. His eyes blinked every so often but that was the only movement. His hands were still, folded over his chest.
“I have suffered worse than this at the hands of my supposed father,” Loki’s voice is solemn. “Your idea of protection is considerate but unwanted.”
“Sorry, you don’t get a choice in the matter. There’s an execution order with your name on it in about twenty-four hours. And as drugged as you are, you won’t be going anywhere.” Tony said cheerfully, pulling a contraption out of his hoodie pocket. He attached it to one wrist cuff. “This might sting, I’m not really sure.” Loki looked curiously at the mass of wires. His eyebrows rose as the cuff smoked and fell off. Tony hurriedly did the same to the second and Loki swung his legs over the side of the cot.
The god towered over even Steve once he stood and he radiated power that seemed to fill the small room. Tony took a step back towards the door.
“Loki, your brother is upstairs.” Steve practically yelled over the klaxon’s wail. Loki looked at him, cocking his head slightly. “This isn’t a time for explanations!” His eyes narrowed. “Just follow us.” He led the way out of the room, Loki trailing behind. His gait was uneven over the tile floor and he paused to look at the fallen guards. Tony pushed him onward.
Steve turned back only once before they hit the stairwell at the other end of the hallway. Clint had kept his word because four minutes had passed and there was no sign of the backup teams yet. They headed up the stairs, half-carrying Loki after the first flight because he kept getting distracted by whatever he was seeing. His green eyes were glazed over, an effect of whatever cocktail the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists had whipped up to stop him fighting during their numerous tests.
“So, how many guns do you think we’ll be facing once we hit the lobby?” Tony said, adjusting his grip on Loki’s arm that dangled over his neck. The god giggled, the sound high-pitched and frightening to both Avengers.
“I’m not sure. The lobby is staffed with two guards for each door and the receptionist keeps a M249 under his desk.” Tony made a choking noise.
“I will simply turn their weapons into butterflies.” Loki drawled between the two of them. Tony’s choking noise became muffled laughter.
“You can hardly stand up straight and you think you can magic anything properly? I’d like to see that happen.”
“Quiet, both of you.” Steve ground out. He left Tony propping up Loki’s weight and went to look out the door. “Looks like the lobby’s empty, they must all be in the basement.”
“Or they’re waiting for you to make an entrance,” Clint came down the stairs from a higher floor on silent feet. He had a hand clamped around his arm but was grinning wildly. “I think Banner’s got it covered though, just wait here.”
Steve went back to looking out the window as Clint helped to take some of Loki’s weight from Tony’s shoulders. The god’s head lolled against Tony’s in unconsciousness. A few minutes later, there was a crazed shout and a familiar alarm ringing in their ears.
“That’s our cue, gentlemen,” Tony quipped. Steve rolled his eyes and held the door open. Thor met them in the middle of the entrance to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Mjölnir held in one hand.
“I am glad you are all unharmed!” He boomed, easily taking Loki’s dead weight. Thor started to swing his hammer and Steve stopped him.
“Hey hey, maybe do that outside? I’m sure Fury’s going to be pissed enough as is without having to do some remodeling.” Tony and Clint snickered at Steve’s consternation. Thor gripped Mjölnir and his brother closer, preparing to leave.
“I will return when I have seen all the drugs out of my brother.” Thor promised. Steve nodded. Thor made a hasty retreat and flew into the air.
The three men turned to face the empty lobby; well, the almost empty lobby. Agent Coulson stood a few feet away, watching Thor’s flight.
“I suppose you all have a good reason for this?” He said sardonically. Tony gave him a jaunty wave and Steve blinked innocently. “Barton, report to medical. It was a ricochet.” Coulson ordered. “Stark, you were in your workshop doing whatever it is you do that doesn’t involve blowing up part of HQ. Captain, you and I were in the middle of a debrief in Room A-3 on the lower level when we heard the alarm. Unfortunately we arrived too late to stop Thor from leaving with his brother.”
Clint’s smile widened as the agent made a shooing motion with his hand. “I knew you cared.”
“Medical, Barton. Or I will drag you there myself.” Tony snickered but Clint followed in step with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Steve shrugged at the look Tony gave him as the two walked off.