Loki poked at the suspicious looking glop on his tray, disgust evident on his face as he discreetly gazed at the other guys sitting on the same table, shoving the vile gunk in their mouths. He told himself for the nth time that he should have said yes when his mother offered to make him lunch but no, he just had to be stubborn and all grown up. He turned to his brother and couldn't suppress a wince as Thor ate the paste with as much gusto as the rest of the football team. God, he wanted to hurl.
"Aw, sweetie, you okay?" He tried not to cringe as he turned to his girlfriend, Amora Lushton (1), who crooned at him as she sat down between him and Thor. He tried to smile at her in greeting but it came out all crooked. "You want some of my lunch?"
She pushed her tray at him where there was a lonely plate of limp vegetables, a glass of questionable liquid and an apple. He took the apple and bit into it savagely.
"Thanks," he muttered at her.
"Anything for you, baby," she replied with a sultry, little smile, her gaze flitting over to Thor who remained oblivious to her presence.
To most of the male population in Avengers High, Amora was a great catch. She was beautiful; long, blonde hair, big, blue eyes, full mouth and even fuller body. She was the queen bee of the school, the cheerleading captain, the "perfect" girl, the one all the other girls dreamt of becoming.
God, how he hated her.
At the beginning of the semester, she and Loki had a deal. In the eyes of the public, they would be the dream couple. He had agreed because it would stop the other simpering girls in the cheering squad from coming near him and she had agreed because she actually liked Thor and wanted to get his attention by making him jealous.
It was too bad the blonde bimbo didn't know Thor liked a very, different girl, someone petite with "hair like golden honey and clear, doe eyes" and who was also at the very end of the school's popularity spectrum (Thor had gotten it into his head to try to impress her by being as popular as he could be and Loki couldn't change his mind – but he tried, he really did).
He rolled his eyes up and wished the bitch would just break up with him and confess to Thor already because he was sick and tired of her. Now normally, he played pretend well, otherwise, the whole school would have known that their relationship had been a fib from the start but all the superficial shit around him was killing his remaining brain cells that it was getting harder and harder to keep the façade. If it weren't for Thor and his puppy eyes begging him to stay close, he'd have run the opposite way and probably made friends of his own instead of tagging along with this bunch.
Then a crash shook him from his internal misery and saw the rest of the football team and the cheering squad (and the whole school judging from the sudden silence) looking at the other end of the cafeteria, more commonly known as the Loser's Corner.
'How creative,' he thought derisively as he looked at the commotion where Steve Rogers, captain and quarterback of the football team, stood in front of his rumored boyfriend, Bruce Banner, facing off with Carl and Earl Smith, the generic tall, huge and blonde members of the football team that he had happily dubbed Twiddle Dumb and Twiddle Dumber respectively.
There was quite a mess at their feet where a tray, presumably Banner's, had landed, spilling all its contents on the floor.
"Watch where you're going, fag!" Twiddle Dumb spat at Banner, taking a threatening step forward and leaning down at the resident science wiz.
"You're the one who bumped into me, lummox," Banner retorted, brows furrowed in anger as his glasses glinted dangerously in the light.
"Hey, who are you calling a lummox?" grunted Twiddle Dumber as he also took a step forward, fists raised.
"If you really needed to ask that, I don't know how you managed to get to senior year," Banner quipped, unimpressed. "Do you even know what lummox means?"
"Why, you little – "
"Come on, guys, stop it," Rogers interjected, his hand laid on Banner's arm as he blocked him from view. It was easy to do, too, Loki noticed, as Banner barely reached Rogers' shoulder and he was half of Rogers' mass.
He made to put a placating hand on Carl but the idiot recoiled and pulled back.
"Don't touch me, Captain Cocksucker!" he shouted, the words echoing throughout the silent cafeteria. "You're gonna get all your homo germs on me!"
"Just because Coach made you captain of the team doesn't mean we like you, homo. Get that through your thick skull," added Earl.
"Atta boy, Earl," Loki heard someone on his right whisper. "Gotta tell that faggot what he really is."
"Serves him right, acting all cool and shit," said another and Loki just couldn't believe the audacity of these idiots when the reason their team won again and again was mostly through Rogers' (and Thor's) efforts.
Despite the fact that he was gay, Rogers was respected in the school as a captain and as an all-around good guy. It helped that he was attractive (who could resist the shiny, blonde hair or the expressive, blue-as-the-sky eyes?) since most girls were crazy for him. There was going to be bloodshed because nobody spoke that way to Rogers.
And then it came to this. Seriously, what is it with high school and all this drama, Loki wondered as he watched the scene unfold.
Everybody was looking at Rogers, whose blue eyes widened in shock and pain, and no one seemed to notice how Banner straightened, looking positively murderous, his eyes blazing as he moved to shove Rogers away.
Before he did, another hand pulled him back and there was Tony Stark, grinning like a Cheshire cat as he looked from one pair to the other.
"Seriously, the only thing you'll catch from Cap here is his smarts," he chirped happily, seemingly oblivious to the tension in the cafeteria as he jerked his thumb over at the silent Rogers who looked at him with relief. No one commanded attention like Tony Stark. "And you wouldn't wanna get a grade higher than an F on our test later, would you? Your shit-for-brains friends would be so ashamed."
The Smith twins became an identical shade of red at the insult, and to Loki's eyes, so did the other brain-deficient members of the team. Thor, he noticed, didn't care in the least as he looked on. If anything, he was curious about how this would turn out as well. After all, he might not look it but he had straight A's in all his subjects (their father was very strict with their studies).
"Oh, look what we have here," Stark continued with false cheer as he lifted his hand and revealed a tape recorder. "Got this from Pete earlier and, I have to say, it was very convenient that I borrowed it. What with Principal Fury on his way here."
There was something quite threatening about how Stark's eyebrow rose and how his grin looked predatory that one would think twice about crossing him, Loki thought, fascinated and, to his horror, thrilled. Despite his small build (he was shorter than Loki by about four maybe five inches) and his slight stature, there was a sharp intelligence to those brown eyes.
Some ventured that he was the Tony Stark when he had transferred three weeks ago, the son of Howard Stark, billionaire genius. But most didn't buy it because this Stark did not fit the mold of a billionaire's son, with his faded jeans and rock t-shirts. And who in their right, billionaire mind would send their son to a public high school? Maybe for punishment like in Thor and Loki's case? He would probably never know but, Loki had to admit, Stark was a genius in his own right.
As if on cue, Principal Fury came in the cafeteria, eyeing the room before it settled on Banner, Rogers, Stark and the Smiths.
"What the fuck is this commotion about? And what's with the mess? Don't just stand there – clean it up!" he commanded as he stomped over.
The staff practically shat themselves trying to comply and if the atmosphere wasn't so tense and charged, Loki would have laughed.
Fury, dressed all in black, with an eyepatch most of the students found creepy (there had been some speculation that Fury had worked with a top secret government agency before he was retired for grave injuries), looked around again, his good eye narrowed into a slit. "There's ten minutes before lunch is over. I suggest you make the most of it," he said, satisfied when the students went back to their meals, albeit nervously. He turned to the five still standing and snapped, "the five of you, in my office. Now."
With a shit-eating grin, Stark led the way and practically swaggered out of the cafeteria with the rest in tow. Rogers was right behind him, sighing as he shook his head, and Banner was glaring over his shoulder at the two idiots.
He looked back at Stark and was startled to find him staring right back before he winked at him playfully. Loki could only blink in his surprise.
What the hell was that about?
Long after they had gone, the cafeteria began returning to normal until the sound of skidding sneakers squeaked across the room and everyone turned to see Peter Parker, a reporter for the school paper, breathing heavily.
"Have any of you guys seen Tony? He took my tape recorder again!" he said, flustered to the point of panicking.