They’d closed the door to the conference room, but Clint and Tony both have excellent projection so it probably hadn’t done much good. Clint isn’t surprised to find that Loki’s fled from the living room by the time the meeting breaks up. He is surprised to finally locate Loki in Thor’s room, sitting on the bottom of the bed between Thor’s feet with his arms wrapped around his knees. He looks small and very worried.
“Hey, kid,” Clint says, putting his hand on Loki’s back. “I’m sorry about all the shouting.”
“It is all right,” Loki says, not looking away from Thor’s face. “I was not frightened.”
“No, I know you weren’t,” Clint says generously.
“I know... I know my lack of understanding when it comes to Midgardian magic is what is causing you difficulty right now,” Loki goes on in a tight little voice.
“Hey.” Clint takes his chin and forces him to look away from his brother. “Not true. Nothing we were just fighting about is your fault, okay?” Technically not, anyway. Mostly. Kid Loki destroyed the playground, but Adult Loki’s the one who made it all possible, albeit with some help from Thor and Mjolnir. It’s a little worrying how easy it is to separate Loki into two different people, but Clint’s fond of his sanity so he doesn’t worry about it too much.
Loki pulls his chin away and hunches down so he can hide most of his face behind his knees. “But if I knew more. It would be better.”
“Maybe,” Clint says. “Maybe if any of the rest of us knew any magic that would be better too. Maybe if we hadn’t all decided to dress up in fancy pajamas and fight bad guys that would be better, except then I think the bad guys would be pretty bored. There’s a lot of maybes, kid. The only certainly is what’s right in front of you.”
Loki thinks this over for a moment. “It is odd to me,” he says finally. “At the age I am now, my brother is not... overly fond of me. I am smaller and younger and I prefer magic to battle, which is embarrassing for him.” He gives Clint a tremulous smile. “It is very encouraging to think that someday we will be good friends even if he stays a warrior and I a magic-user.”
So this is what it feels like to be the worst person on the planet, Clint thinks miserably. “You know what?” He says to cover. “I think this calls for ice cream for dinner. What do you say? As a treat?”
“Ice cream?” Loki says curiously, uncurling a little.
“You’ve never had ice cream?” Clint asks. “Well, we’ve got to fix that. Come on - ice cream for everyone!” He’s overdoing it so badly he’s pretty sure even unconscious Thor can tell something’s wrong, but Loki just gives him a fond look that says very clearly You Midgardians are strange but I’m glad you’re mostly harmless.
Of course, there’s probably also an ...and friends with me and Thor in there too, but Clint’s not going to think about that. Not even a little bit.
“Come on, I’ll give you a piggyback ride.”
“What is a piggyback?” Loki says, truly smiling now, and laughs when Clint scoops him up and slings him on his back. “You Midgardians are strange,” Loki giggles. “But I am glad you are our friends.”
Clint narrowly restrains himself from whacking his head on the door jamb as he leaves. Crap. Steve’s right. So much trouble.