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Avenge the New Year

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„How many times do I have to tell you, Tony. I. Can't. Get. Drunk. It's some sort of... biochemistry thing.“ Steve gestured somewhat helplessly at his body, Tony's by now rather blurry and unfocused eyes following the wave of his hand and then lingering on what he had waved at for a second.

Looking up again, Tony gave him a cheerful grin: „That's bullshit, Rogers. Everyone can get drunk. Even our god of hair care products back there.“

Tony jerked his thumb in the vague direction of where Thor was standing. The Asgardian was throwing his head back, laughing, then gave Agent Hill a jovial smack on the shoulder. Maria stumbled forward half a step, her half-full tumbler of whiskey almost sloshing over Director Fury's suit.

Fury was one of the few sober ones in the room, along with Bruce, and of course Steve himself. With them, sobriety had been a choice – and a very wise one in Banner's case, seeing how he was the last person you would want to lose control under the influence – but in his case? Not so much. Steve had been kicking back shots with Tony for half the evening now, and while Tony was well on his way to roaring, falling-down drunk, Steve was still as sober as an old lady at afternoon tea.

Steve let out a sigh, rolling his once again empty shot glass between the palms of his hands and looking wistfully out of the window. From up here, you could just about see the big, glittery ball in Times Square, which was going to drop any minute now. His first New Year since they had gotten him out of the ice. He could still remember the last one. Images of his long dead friends floated up, unbidden, from the back of his memory. Bucky. Peggy.

He frowned, shook his head to get rid of the memories. No use in dwelling on the past. After all, it wasn't as if he was all alone, like he had been for so long. He had friends now, almost family, surrounding him. Laughing, being merry, kissing underneath the mistletoe that was still hanging from the ceiling. Although Steve suspected that it was less about the mistletoe and more about the large, comfortable couch, which was currently being occupied by Clint and Tasha. If there had ever been any doubt that yes, they actually were a couple, it had been thoroughly erased by now.

“Earth to Captain America,” Tony's slurred voice cut into his thoughts.

“Hm?”

“The ball's about to drop. Countdown time, everyone!” Tony hollered, and everyone gathered in front of the huge plate glass windows.

“Three! Two! One!”

“Surprise!”

Half a dozen heads whipped around to the door, where a slim, dark-haired figure was leaning against the frame, grinning like a shark in a pool full of tuna.

“Did you miss me? Honestly, you did not think you could keep me away forever.” Loki strode into the room as if he owned the place, one hand behind his back, the other leisurely tossing a swirling, glowing sphere about the size of a grapefruit. Once he had reached the middle of the room, he spun around, giving everyone a cheerful smile that made Steve's blood run cold.

“To be quite honest, it did pain me a bit to learn that I was not invited to this grand festival. Even though we went through so much together.” He clucked his tongue. Then, his eyes lit up with a dark fire: “I forgive you. I even brought some fireworks.”

“Oh, fuck me,” Tony sighed, getting to his feet unsteadily. “Jarvis, lockdown,” he said, then muttered half to himself: “Good thing my traditional New Year's resolution is being alive the next morning.”