Tony tinkered away in his workshop. He preferred his basement in Malibu, but Loki had business to attend to, and Fury was demanding that Tony get his arse back to the Avengers Mansion, “before I let Coulson and Natasha on you.”
But mainly Loki not being there.
Though Fury was a scary man. And capable of carrying out that threat.
So he had appeared back at the Avengers Mansion, significantly happier than when he left. Steve and Thor tried to overcome him with sympathy about Pepper – it took him a few seconds to remember what they were talking about – Bruce calmly waved at him, then returned his attention to the ipad (he refused to buy into the Stark franchise. Apparently Apple was good enough). Natasha and Coulson simuntaneously eye rolled at him. Erik merely glanced up, Charles smiled slightly. Clint snored from where he was curled up on Coulson.
“Steve, Thor, seriously, it’s fine. I’m happy, I’ve moved on.” Both raised eyebrows, their faces sad.
“Man of Iron, you courted the Lady Pepper for many months. One does not get over the breaking of one’s heart so easily.” Tony shrugged.
“I have superglue.” Tony replied. Erik snorted.
“Seriously. I’m happy. I am over Pepper.” Steve opened his mouth. “Steve, I have.” Steve shook his head.
“I do not know how to know if you are telling the truth, Man of Iron.” Tony laughed.
“First, my name is Tony, as I constantly remind you. Second, ask your brother.” Tony started to walk away. Thor frowned.
“What has Loki to do with this?” Tony stiffened.
Tony spun, his face panicked.
“Um. Nothing. Nothing at all. Why would Loki have anything to do with anything. I don’t even know where he is!” Charles raised his head, staring at Tony with wide eyes. Erik reached across to the telepath.
“You’re with Loki.” Charles words were grating on the silence.
Now everyone was staring at him strangely for the second time in as many days.
Thunder started to rumble overhead. Bruce and Steve both started to calm Thor down.
“Thor, Thor buddy, just cool it, yeah?” Thor’s gaze turned steely.
“Where is my brother?” He asked Tony.
“I don’t know.” Thor growled, lifting his hand towards Mjolner. “I don’t! He had something to attend to, I don’t know where he is!”
“I don’t believe you, Stark!”
“Well, at least it’s an improvement on Man of Iron... hey!” Thor had grabbed him by the throat, lifting him clean off the ground.
“I demand to know where my brother is currently!” Thor boomed, the thunder louder now.
“I DON’T KNOW!!” Tony croaked at the top of his voice. Thor eventually accepted his answer, dropping him onto the floor. Tony massaged his throat, sinking to his knees.
“Steve, Bruce, Natasha, take Thor. Erik, Charles, you can come with Clint, Tony and myself.” Coulson spoke quietly. Everyone nodded. Steve tugged Thor by the arm towards the rec room, Coulson firmly pulled Tony to his feet and dragged him to the gym. When the door closed behind the five of them, Coulson rounded on Tony.
“What do you think you are playing at?” Coulson’s voice was that of suppressed anger, pure and simple. Tony grinned, still massaging his neck.
“I’m not playing at anything. Though I did spend a great deal of time making a card house the other day. It was magneficient. Twelve stories high.” Coulson crossed his arms.
“What are you doing with Loki?” Coulson’s voice seemed calmer. That may be because Clint was rubbing circles in the agent’s back. Interesting.
Tony rubbed a hand over his face. There was no way that anything was going to escape the team now, not with Charles.
Tell them. They’d prefer it coming from you.
“Loki is my best friend. He has been since we were ten. We met near my house, both scared, both needing comfort. We gave it to each other. We’ve always been there for each other ever since. Losing Pepper just made me realise how much he means to me, how much I don’t want to lose him. He has never asked me for information, and I him. Whatever our career paths, we don’t interfere. I love him. I don’t know how exactly I love him yet, I just know I do. So kick me off the team. I am not losing him.”
Coulson had a quick glance at Charles, who barely nodded.
“We won’t kick you off the team. But I want him to come here. Just to talk. No more.” Tony nodded.
“You might want to keep Thor as far away from Loki as possible though.” Tony offered.
“Still not speaking, huh?” Clint offered, still looking wary.
“No. I offered to speak to Thor. Nearly lost an eye.” Clint gave a slight chuckle.
“That seems his style.” Tony smiled.
“Fetish.” Tony looked at Coulson. “I’ll try and contact him. But it is just the Avengers and you. No SHIELD agents, no G-men, no Fury. Or I’m not bringing him. Capiche?” Coulson nodded.
“No-one else.” That satisfied Tony.
“Well then, I must make my excuses. One gorgeous God of Mischief to find.” With a departing smirk, Tony left the gym, leaving behind three very shell-shocked superheroes and one unflappable Phil Coulson.