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The monster that they fight is a foul thing, black and oozing gray slime where it treads. However, it is faster than it appears, and lightning and the Man of Iron's fire alike only seem to stun it for a moment before it reels back, even stronger than before.


Thor is sticky with slime and sweat of battle. His armor clings to him, his cape slick with the mess. He rises from where he was thrown and begins to spin Mjöllnir. The sheer audacity of the creature infuriates him to the point where his lightning comes easily, ready for yet another go.

 

It is an hour gone before the beast finally falls with a mighty groan. The Hulk, astride its back, slides off with a sound that makes the Captain grimace. In Thor's ear, Stark is bitterly complaining about the creature's slime getting in the joints of his armor.


“Stop being a teenage girl and let's get out of here before the wolves descend.” The Black Widow stands neatly, wiping a flaming lock out of her face with a delicate swipe. Her fierce dislike of the Midgardian media is common knowledge. Thor does not mind smiling for pictures or boisterously retelling their teams triumphs, but even he desires a hot shower.

 

There are already people walking up the rubble with their tiny camera phones, snapping pictures and videos. SHIELD agents in black suits and dark glasses are taping the area off. Sometimes, Thor believes that the Midgardians must have some kind of magicks, to arrive and take control so quickly.

 

“How about it, big guy?” Stark has appeared next to him. His face mask is up and his skin is covered in earth and gray matter, eyes crinkled at the corners. “Race you back to the tower?”

 

Thor is about to eagerly agree when the sky rumbles, crackling with blue lightning.

 

“Uh, buddy?” Clint asks him over his earpiece. “The battle's over: you can put the thunder away now.”

“That is not me,” Thor replies, still staring upward. The sky rumbles once more, winds picking up and clouds gathering. Thor can barely shout a warning before there is an almighty crack! and blinding blue light shoots from the sky a few feet away from him.

Barely a second later, the light disappears. The figure left standing there makes Thor's heart go double and causes him to smile brighter than Sól.

 

*

 

Thor is filthy.

 

His hair is curling with sweat and gore. Streaks of black and gray cover his armor and his cape. There are bits of the mighty beast—which Loki assumes was his foe—clinging to parts of him. And yet Loki cannot summon true disgust, not when his husband smiles at him like he is a precious jewel from a conquered land.

 

Loki does a quick sweep of his body. He doesn't not appear to be injured. Something that had tightened when Heimdall informed him that his king was in the midst of battle eases.

 

Evidence of a recent fight is all around. Loki can feel rubble beneath his boots, smell the sharp, cold scent of Thor's lightning on the air. The sky is grayish blue, weak sunlight fighting to be seen between thin gray clouds. Tall buildings of brick and wood surround them. There are men in suits surrounding the beast that Thor and his Midgardian friends defeated. Other Midgardians stand behind wooden barriers, holding odd little devices in their hands. They are trained on him. Loki feels a frisson of alarm, but no one else seems concerned with this and he is uninjured.

 

Still, he eyes them distrustfully.

 

The Midgardians seem excited about his attention. They babble to each other and point at Loki and continue to hold up their strange items. Occasionally, a flash of light will come from them.

 

Thor starts forward, nearly radiant with happiness. He smells awful as he leans in to just barely cup Loki's cheek. Apparently, he is mindful of his grimy state and the fact that Loki hates to be dirtied unnecessarily. Up close his eyes are bright, bluer than the skies of Asgard. “My queen,” he says, sounding rough.

 

Somewhere behind him, someone makes an oddly strangled sound.

 

“Did he just say 'my Queen'?”

 

“Shhh!”

 

“My king,” Loki replies, peering up at his Lord through his eyelashes. “You smell worse than a rotting Lyndworm.” Thor smiles even more at this, taking Loki's hand and lifting it to his lips to gently press a kiss to it. Loki allows himself to give a tiny smile at that. His eyes flit behind his husband to the company that has gathered.

 

The red haired woman catches his eye first. She is watching him with a wariness that seems to come as second nature. Her suit clings tightly to her, showing off rich curves and an ample bosom. Weapons are tucked into her boots and pockets. As he studies her, she does not look away from his gaze. Interesting.

 

Close to her is a man with sandy blonde hair. He holds a black bow like Loki has never seen before in his arms. A sheath of arrows is strapped to his back. Like the woman, he is dressed in all black. Unlike the woman, though, he does not watch Loki openly, but casts assessing glances at him.

 

There is a man in a metal suit who is staring, seemingly at ease with being trapped in a machine. A large, blonde man with a shield at his side is watching both him and Thor. A more unassuming man with a bare chest, brown hair, and tired eyes finishes the group.

 

“So, Thor, buddy,” the metal man speaks first, his voice deceptively bright. “Who's the guy?”

“I am Loki,” Loki replies, chin tilting up. He will not be spoken of as if he is not present. “Wife of Thor, prince of Jotunheim, and queen of Asgard.”

 

The large blonde man with the shield appears to have something caught in his throat. He clears it several times while the other men gawk stupidly. “Wife?” he repeats, as if disbelieving.

 

These are the first Midgardians that Loki has ever met. His opinion of the race as a whole, which was not very good to start, is slowly sinking.

 

Thor, sensing this, hurriedly cuts in. “Wife,” he says, “This is Natasha, Clint, Tony, Steve, and Bruce. As I have told you, they are both my friends and fierce warriors.”

 

“Indeed,” Loki says neutrally. He looks at the group once more before dismissing them, turning back to his husband. Later he will watch them more carefully as see if they are worthy of all the time that Thor spends in this realm. “My king,” he says, “I come to you with a request.”

 

Thor's brow furrows. The hand in Loki's tightens. “Does all fare well in Asgard?” he asks, slightly anxious.

“Yes,” Loki inclines his head, knowing the cause of his distress. “What is ours is fine. It is just...” he looks over at the people gathered around. Someone has pulled up in a white vehicle of some sort and a fussy woman appears to be bustling over to them. Loki looks back at his king. “May we go somewhere more private?”

 

“You can head back with us, if you want.” Tony cuts in. It seems that he has recovered from his shock. “The tower is about five minutes from here. 'Sides, I want to know why Thunderface here didn't tell us that he was hitched.”

Loki cocks his head, sorting through the sentence quickly. Midgardians and their odd words...

Thor just looks confused. “I wear a band of matrimony,” he points out, lifting his left wrist. A dark leather band with the runes for marriage lies against his skin, unsullied. Loki himself cast the spell that keeps it safe from Thor's many adventures.

 

The man with the arrows sputters. “We didn't know what that was!”

“We need to go.” The woman—Natasha--finally speaks. She inclines her head toward where a woman is striding toward them, two men with large devices on her trail. “Will we be meeting you at the tower?”


“Yes,” Thor replies. He glances at Loki, questioning. Loki judges the filth on his clothes against the fact that he really does not want to be alone with these mortals. With a sigh of resignation and a bit of magic to keep the filth off, he steps forward in Thor's embrace. His king wraps a strong arm around him, pulling out Mjöllnir and with a few swings, lurches into the sky.

 

Loki can remember the first time they did this. It was hundreds of years ago, when they were both very young and Thor wanted to impress him. Loki, shy and sharp, hesitantly agreed to a flight.

 

It was the first time that Thor had truly held him close. He remembers shivering slightly and wrapping his arms around the elder's neck, gripping hard enough to bruise. Rather than flinching, Thor had laughed and spun his hammer.

 

Of course, later Thor landed clumsily and accidentally broke Loki's leg. Laufey's fury had been fearsome to behold. He'd whisked his son away and for long months, there was speculation that the betrothal would be broken and war would break out. Tensions were eventually soothed by Frigga, who smoothed ruffled tempers with gentle hands. Loki was invited back to Asgard. Thor greeted him at a run, swept him into his arms and kissed him for the first time.

 

Thor lands on the roof of Stark tower with more grace than usual, steadying Loki. His hands linger for longer than necessary. Loki smirks as he slithers away.

 

“Your chambers?” he asks, swaying his hips slightly as he walks away. He laughs inside as he looks over his shoulder to see Thor's eyes glued to his ass. “Husband?” he asks with innocence that he doesn't have.

 

The thunderer growls. It is a low, dark sound. Loki bites his lip around the slow, warm feeling in his lower belly as he heads for the rooftop's door.

 

The door is actually another invention of Midgard's. Thor explains the “elevator” in low, distracted tones, one hand on Loki's hip. When the door opens, he practically hustles them down the hallways past various rooms. Loki will explore later. He has the feeling that Thor will throw him over his shoulder if he asks to be shown around now.

 

Thor's chambers are surprisingly decadent. They are colored differently from their rooms in Asgard, a deep, royal blue and gold with silver accents. All of the other aspects are ignored in favor of the bed.

 

Without a word, Loki starts to undress. “You will bathe first,” he says casually, removing his boots. Thor's gaze is like strips of sparks on his back. “And then you will return and we will properly greet each other after months of separation.”

 

Thor moves so fast that he's nearly a blur.

 

Loki smirks. He still has his request in mind, but for right now, he will be selfish.

 

*


When Loki wakes, Thor is pressing butterfly kisses to his face. His eyes flutter sleepily as he takes in the smell of food. Still, he looks at him with a grumpy expression. “Leave me in peace,” he mumbles, turning away. Thor only grins and follows him, leaning forward to press his tongue between his lips.

 

They kiss for long moments before Loki pulls back to yawn. Laughing softly, Thor kisses him on the nose. It is disgustingly sentimental.

 

But Thor loves to dote on him, and after their enthusiastic night, Loki doesn't have it in him to protest.

 

Thor pulls him into his lap, cradled between his legs. Loki lets his eyes fall half closed as he sleepily chews on bits of fresh fruit and something that Thor calls a “pancake”. It is light and sweet, and Loki finds that he enjoys it as he washes down his food with a glass of juice.

 

His king runs a hot bath. Loki dozes as his husband fawns over him, soothing sore muscles with his hands. There is power constantly humming under Thor's skin like thunder, rolling and waiting. But Thor is tender as he carefully cleans Loki with a soft cloth. Loki allows himself to be maneuvered out of the tub and dried off then carried, naked, back into the fresh bed.

 

*

 

The next time that he wakes he is alone.

 

He sits up slowly in bed, testing. His body doesn't feel like it's going to give out on him if it moves, so he carefully wobbles out of bed. A mere mortal would not be able to stand, let alone walk if confronted by Thor's vigor—he is the God of strength, after all. He only winces slightly as he heads for Thor's drawers.

 

His husband is larger than him in many ways. Loki finds a pair of soft, dark blue pants that have strings on the waist. After some thought, he pulls them on, tugs the strings tight, then tie them. The cuffs of the pants hang around his ankles and the pants slide a little past his hips, but that is fine. He slides on a long sleeved gray shirt. Like the pants, it is large on him, exposing a shoulder and sliding past his hands. It does nothing to cover up the marks on Loki's neck and shoulders.

 

Perfect.

 

He rolls the sleeves up until they are satisfactory, then heads for the bathroom.

 

Loki uses Thor's toothbrush and finds a comb in the drawer under the sink. His hair is a dark mess of tangles. When Thor told him he preferred it long, Loki began to grow it out. It is now past his bum and a trial to care for. Normally, he has someone else to do this for him.

 

When his hair is glossy again, Loki braids it into a neat, single lock that is bound by a little magic. He puts the things that he used away. And then he goes in search of his husband.

 

Now that he is not hurrying, Loki see the place that they are in properly. The walls of this place are pure white. Loki's feet are pleasantly cold on the hardwood floor as he walks silently toward what he'd seen of the main room. The ceilings are high and though the design is simplistic, it is rather tasteful.

 

It is within moments that Loki finds himself in what must be the main part of the house. To his left there is a living room, with a large couch and a very large black box. To his right is the kitchen where Thor is standing, presumably making food.

 

The rest of the Avengers are sitting at the table in varying states of exhaustion. Stark is the only one who seems slightly awake. His eyes are bright and his grin is slightly alarming as he notices Loki standing in the doorway.


“Queen of Asgard! My man!”

 

The others look up. Natasha is glaring at Clint, who is snickering into his cereal. Bruce is nowhere to be seen, but Steve, the large man, is next to Tony and is an odd red color.

 

Confused, Loki looks to Thor for help but only receives a kiss on the hand. His grin is slightly bashful as he leans back.

 

“We were very loud in our reunion, Wife.” he says warmly.

 

“Like, really, really loud,” Clint says, smirking despite the circles under his eyes. “You don't have to be embarrassed though, man. It sounded like you were having the time of your life.” he looks at the marks around Loki's neck and his grin becomes wider.

 

Loki is nonplussed. “Why would I be embarrassed?”

 

Clint and Tony's grins simultaneously falter. “Um,” Tony says, “because you were screaming like a cat in heat?”

 

“Loki's heat don't arrive this time of year,” Thor informs them earnestly, steering Loki toward a plate. This time it is a large sandwich that makes Loki's mouth water. Thor takes the plate and his wife and steers them to the kitchen table, pulling Loki onto his lap.

 

Natasha is the first to recover from Thor's statement. Loki could learn to like this mortal more. “You said that you had a request for Thor,” she says without prelude.

 

Loki draws himself up, mouth twisting into a sneer. “I do not see how that is any of your business.”


“She's a SHIELD agent,” Tony says, sipping at a dark beverage. He's distracted. Loki knows that he is probably stuck on 'heat'. “What's your private business is always their business. It's best just to tell them what they want to know. You know, before they stab a needle in your neck and make you spill about how someone made you wear pink panties and you liked it.”


Steve makes a sound like he is dying. It is rather alarming. Tony pats the man on the shoulder.

 

“Is there something wrong with the Captain?” Thor asks with concern.

“He's just suffering from a little Prude-itis.” Tony replies. “Don't worry. We'll find a cure. Someday.” He gazes off into the distance.

“I hate you,” Steve mutters.

 

“Your news.” Natasha interrupts, looking at Loki.

 

For a second Loki considers idly snapping her neck. His husband always forgives his darker nature--eventually. However, as amusing as watching the mortal's reactions would be, doing so would go against what he has decided to ask for.

 

The Avengers will find out sometime, anyway. He drums his fingers on the table, takes a bite of his sandwich and chews slowly, thoughtfully.

 

Finally, he swallows. The entire table is waiting now. Loki leans back lazily, enjoying his audience, and announces, “Our children would like to come and visit Midgard.”

Thor stiffens with excitement at the announcement. Before Loki can smile at that, Tony is flying out of his seat, arms flailing ridiculously. He looks wild about the eyes. “You have children!?”

 

“Of course I do,” Thor says, a frown in his voice. “Many of them.” he adds proudly, arms tightening about Loki's waist.

 

“You have surrogacy on Asgard?” Bruce walks into the room. He is the only one who does not have circles under his eyes. Perhaps he was not sleeping in the tower last night.

 

“Surrogacy?” Loki parrots, blinking.

 

“You know.” Tony is pacing. “Willing woman, pow, kids.”


Thor is indignant. “You believe I would lie with another?” he demands, standing as well. Loki slides onto his feet as his husband rounds to table, his expression furious. “You besmirch honor of both myself and my Queen!”

 

“Of course not,” Tony says quickly, skittering away from the angry god. “No, no, there's a kind of surrogacy that doesn't involve Slot A going into Slot B, but obviously you don't know about that. So who's the mother?”

 

Thor's glare is enough to send phantom electricity zinging across Tony's skin. “My wife is the mother of my children.”

 

Silence.


“Okay, okay,” Barton begins, “I know, you guys have got that whole kinky feminization thing going on and stuff—and that's cool, really, not throwing stones here. But man--” Clint gestures to Loki, “In case you haven't noticed, Loki is a dude. Dudes don't get pregnant.”


Midgardians, for all of their inventions that his husband goes on and on about, can be amazingly obtuse. “I am Jotunn,” he informs the man slowly. “We are a race of single gender.”

 

“You're both male and female,” Natasha says.


“Yes.” Perhaps Loki will keep her around, if only so she can explain things to the rest of the bunch.

 

For the first time since they have met, Bruce actually appears to be interested in something. “Fascinating,” he says, reaching up to adjust his glasses. “That is fascinating. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions later on?”


“Perhaps,” Loki grudgingly agrees. If there is any invasion of privacy though, he will suffer Loki's wrath. He is not an experiment to be poked and prodded at.

 

“And you...had kids?” Steve appears to be absorbing this with some difficulty. There is a furrow between his brow, one that inspires fondness when it is on Thor. However, this man is not his husband. Loki tries to suppress his irritation.

 

There is a moment's pause while everyone considers this.

 

The silence is broken, of course, by Tony. Fear forgotten, he delivers a friendly blow to Thor's shoulder. His grin is wide and bright. “Thor, you lucky dog. You get the best of both worlds!”

“That is my wife you speak of.” Thor says with a dark frown. “I also do not like being compared to an animal.”

“You'll get used to it,” Tony waves an absent hand. “So, how many you got? Two? Three? There's plenty of room here at the tower, so you can just move 'em right in if you want.”

“That would not be wise,” Loki informs him, retaking his chair. Thor walks around to rest his hands on Loki's shoulders.

 

“Why not?” Clint looks disappointed. Loki barely avoids the urge to roll his eyes. The man will understand in a moment.

 

“We have seven children,” Loki begins. “That is seven young godlings with individual abilities. There have been one hundred and sixty eight separate incidents in Asgard since they have been born.” He smirks. “Should I bring them here and allow them to stay, your tower would fall by the end of the week.”


Tony stares. “You're exaggerating.”

 

“He is not,” Thor says, sounding extremely proud. “Our children are strong in everything. And I do know how you love this tower, Stark.”

 

“You're not joking,” Clint says. He is staring as well. “You're actually serious.”


“They are children of Chaos and Thunder,” Loki replies.

 

“You know what?” Tony says, a strange look in his eyes.


Steve looks at him warningly. “Tony, whatever you're planning, it's not happening.”


“I,” Tony says, ignoring him, “accept that challenge. I'm going to god-proof a floor of this place and make it awesome at the same time. What are their names? Favorite things? Colors? JARVIS, take note of this.”


“Yes sir.


Loki jumps violently in his seat. Natasha's smirk is there but gone in an instant. 

 

“Who is--” he starts to search for the source of the voice.

 

“JARVIS is Tony's Heimdall,” Thor explains with a smile. “An invention. He sees and knows all.”


“Indeed.” Loki is still unsettled. He does not like to be made a fool of, however, so he sits up in his seat and moves on. “You truly wish to house our children here?”


“I told you,” Tony says, reaching for his mug to pour himself another drink. His eyes are already far away. Loki recognizes that look: ideas are running through his head, being accepted and discarded. “I like a challenge.”


“Shouldn't we be telling Fury about this?” Steve asks, looking to Natasha for support. “You know, before a family moves in here?”


“My tower, my rules.” Tony says blithely, waving a hand.

 

“Well you've at least got to ask Pepper.

 

Tony freezes. “Uh. Damn. Better to beg forgiveness than ask for permission?”

 

“One of these days she is going to shove a stiletto heel up your ass,” Clint says, smirking. “And I'll be there to watch. With a camera.”


“She'll be fine with it,” Tony insists. “Pepper's awesome. She’ll love them. When are they supposed to get here anyway?”


“I will retrieve them when the time comes. However, they are eager.” Loki returns to his breakfast. The bread has firmed slightly, but a silent spell makes it soft again. He picks it up and bites into it with silent relish.

 

“Cool.” Tony claps his hands together. “So everyone agreed? We gonna house Thor's spawn? Okay? Okay. Thor, before we get started, is there anything else we should know about that you haven't told us? Evil adopted brothers, weird fetishes...no? Awesome.”

*

 

It is two weeks later than Loki stands on the roof of Tony Stark's building and calls for Heimdall. Thor stands next to him, their fingers entwined. He is nearly humming with anticipation. It is not unlike his eagerness before a battle.

 

His husband has not seen their children in many months. Part of the reason for this is because they miss their father. However, when their eldest child came to Loki with her request on behalf of her siblings, Loki saw the sense in it. Midgard was, after all, under Thor's protection. This would be an educational experience.

 

Thor sent word to his father that the children were to be sent down. They are waiting for no longer than a minute before clouds begin to roll in.

 

Heimdall works fast. The light shines down, and when it departs his children are standing in front of them.

*

 

Let the record show that Tony Stark? Does not sweat the small stuff. Not anymore.

 

He once had a car battery keeping him alive. Last year, with the help of a god, two spies, a superhuman and a giant green man, he defeated a fleet of aliens intent on destroying earth. But even he can't help staring as Thor's spawn land on his roof.

 

The oldest is obvious. She looks about twelve, with long blonde hair, a splatter of freckles across her cheeks and Loki's bright green eyes. A knife is tucked into the leather belt around her waist. Her dress is golden and floor length. A dark haired baby is slung across her front in a sling, pink lips pursed in sleep.

 

Next to her, a set of dark haired twins with bright blue eyes are swatting at each other. They look to be about ten, with Loki's delicate features but Thor's wide grin. Movement draws Tony's eyes to their shoulders, where honest-to-God wings are protruding from their backs. The girl—who is not wearing a dress, he notes—has wings that match her eyes while the boy's are a bright, blood red.

 

Watching them impatiently is another boy who looks exactly like Thor. It's almost like seeing double, right down to his displeased frown. He seems to have inherited his mother's personality though, because instead of joining in he looks like he wants to tie both or them to a tree. The stern look on his chubby face is almost comical, seeing as he looks all of six.

 

Holding his hands on either side of him are two more boys. Another set of twins. They have their oldest sister's blonde hair and green eyes, but where she's tan these two are totally pale. Their lips and fingertips are tinged with a faint blue color. They lean into mini-Thor’s side and look about three years old.

 

Thor shouts with happiness, striding forward in three huge steps and gathering all of his children into one sweeping hug. His arms are huge, so they all fit into a squirmy, protesting bunch.

 

“Daddy, I can't breathe,” the one who looks just like Thor says. He looks over Thor's shoulder at Loki, pouting. “Mother.



“Hugs!” one of the light haired toddlers shout, snuggling closer. The other does the same.

 

The blue winged girl's wings flail, swatting someone. A child yelps. The red winged one seems intent on getting as close as possible, no matter the competition. A collective noise rises from the group as they all start talking at once.

 

“I wanna hug 'im I haven't seen him since forever--


“Stop hogging daddy, Sky!”


“Daddy, I shot an arrow straight through an apple from a long way away and Sif said I was really, really good--”


“--been practicing flying and I can do two loops--


“--stole my favorite book and dropped it in the river--”

 

“--made me clean my own rooms! I wasn't that bad but she still made me--”

 

“--really, really wanted to see Midgard so I convinced Mother--”


“Missed you! My daddy!”

 

A pang of guilt hits Tony. He really hadn't thought about who Thor was leaving behind every time he spent months on Earth. Looking around, he can see that the thought is occurring to the other Avengers as well.


Steve's eyes have gone all big and soft and stupid, and if there was any other chance that he'd oppose the kids staying, it’s gone. Hawkeye is looking enviously at the wings on the kids’ backs—which are, actually, pretty damn badass. Bruce looks fond and not a little sad. Natasha looked like she wanted to flinch away from the kids. Out of the entire group, she has to be the only one who actively disliked children.

 

Tony took an unholy delight in making her uncomfortable by letting them stay at the tower. Even if she eventually crushed his skull between her thighs, it would so be worth it. Pepper would have been here, but a sudden meeting had come up. She'd promised to come as soon as soon as she could.

 

After the first (and last) meeting with Loki and Fury, it was unanimously decided that the one eyed man would not be attending. Fury had been keenly interested in the abilities of Thor and Loki's children, and he'd mused aloud about a Young Avengers team.

 

Tony had never seen someone fly into a protective rage so fast. To be honest, it was kind of terrifying. Kind of hot, too. But mostly terrifying. Loki's eyes had gone blood red and before anyone knew what was happening, Fury was pinned to the wall like a fly, Loki's arm braced across his neck. It took a lot of convincing on Thor's part to get his wife to let the man down, but once he was, Loki practically dared the leader of SHIELD to come near his children while they were on Earth. Thor had calmed Loki, but he was glaring as well. They were in complete agreement.

 

Needless to say, the only Agents present were Clint and Natasha, and even that nearly didn't happen.

 

Now, Loki walks to where his husband is trying to hug their kids to death. He says something low in his ear. Thor frowns, then grins before letting go of the kids.


“Mother's turn!”

 

“Thor--”  Loki doesn't get the chance to protest before seven godlings are tackling him. Even the baby, now awake—and wow, he really looks like a mini Loki—is babbling happily, tiny hands on Loki's cheek. The god looks massive compared to the infant, even when he leans forward and nuzzles him a bit. The two toddlers have attached themselves to his legs, hands scrunched in the fabric. The winged ones are still exchanging slaps as they brush their wings across their mother's back. The sensible, Thor looking one is leaning against his side and the oldest contents herself with a brief touch.

 

Loki takes the sling from his oldest daughter, droppings kisses on foreheads and smoothing ruffled hair. Thor watches with a small, content smile on his face. He sweeps the one that looks like him into his arms and wiggles his fingers into the boy’s stomach. The serious visage cracks like glass as the boy breaks into helpless giggles. One of the twins travel to Thor's leg.

 

Despite the fact that they're all dressed differently, they look like a family.

 

Tony silently promises to remind the big guy to go home more often.

 

“Who're they?” One of the toddlers asks loudly.

 

Next to Tony, Cap straightens up. Tony smirks and swaggers over. Kids? No problem. Everyone loves Tony Stark whether they want to or not.

 

“Tony Stark: genius, billionaire, playboy—well, ex. playboy anyway—philanthropist at your service. And you are?” he squats down so that he can be at everyone's eye level. Thor's eldest looks at him with bright, curious green eyes, not shy at all. The twins flank her.

 

Tony grins charmingly at her. “Let me see if I can get this right: Brynhildur.” his eyes flit to the twins. “Sky—I can see why they named you that, sweetheart—and Gimli. Baby Keir,” he gestures toward the baby, who is chewing on Loki's shirt. Tony's face scrunches exaggeratedly. “Ew. Ew. Sorry, kid, as cute as you are I'm not gonna let you do that to me.”


The entire company giggles. Tony is the man. He stands to continue. “Mothi and Magni, mommy's little boys—I can't tell you apart but that will be a thing soon, and finally—mini-Thor. Haldor.” The boy tucks his face into his father's chest. Yep: just like Loki. Tony doesn't think Thor's been shy a day in his life. He looks at them expectantly. “Did I get everyone right?”

 

“Surprisingly, yes.” Gimli, the red winged one, speaks up. “Hardly anyone does.”


“I'm just awesome, that's all.” Tony turns to his team mates who couldn't look more awkward if they tried. “Godlings, this is the Avengers. The big blonde one trying to shrink away is Captain America—you can just can him Uncy Steve.”


“Uncy Steve,” one of the younger twins tries, repeating it hesitantly. Steve blushes but gives him a megawatt smile, making the kid hid in his mother's leg.

 

“Totally,” Tony says. “Okay, next to him, the scary looking one is Aunt Nat. I know she looks like a monster, but I can promise you that she's—well, actually she's really a monster.”


“You are?” Sky's eyes are wide. “But daddy hasn't killed you.”

“Tony's just trying to be funny.” Natasha says. Her gaze is bore holes into his skull. He just has to hope that SHIELD hasn't developed some kind of freaky eye laser tech.

 

“Is he okay?” Bryn asks in concern. She's looking at Clint, who's face is screwed up with the effort of not laughing. “His face is funny.”

 

“Never mind him,” Tony tells her kindly. “That's Uncle Clint. He has a condition. Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean always--his face just always looks like that.”

 

All of the humor in Clint's face disappears. “Fu—screw you, Tony. Which one of you were talking about archery, just now?”


A small, pale hand shoots up. Sky.

 

Clint grins widely. “You, me, training room kid. Can you use those pretty wings of yours?”


Said wings puff up as if prepared for flight, arching wide over the kids' heads. Her twin grins, about to follow suit.

 

“Do not even think about it.” Loki's voice cuts in, as effective as a bucket of cold water. The twins pout but put the wings away. Tony watches their muscle control, thinks of how far and fast Thor can fly and wonders how badly Loki would maul him if he challenged his kids to a race.

 

Maybe he can get Thor to take the other god out on a date for an afternoon.

 

“We still have one more person,” Tony says, gesturing to Bruce. This is--”

 

“I think I'll introduce myself, thanks, Tony.” Bruce turns to the children. His shoulders are back and he doesn't fidget too badly. Tony's kind of proud of him. “I'm Bruce. You can call me Uncle. But only if you want to. You don't have to. I mean...” he trails off.

 

“I am sure they will be honored to call you Uncle,” Thor says boisterously. “Right, children?”


“Yes, daddy.” The kids chorus. The future queen of Asgard offers Bruce a gorgeous smile. Yeah, that's all Thor.

 

“Daddy?” the twin on Thor's leg tugs at his jeans. “Gotta pee.”


“And that's our cue to stop standing up on the rooftop like a bunch of morons,” Tony sing songs. He offers an arm to Bryn, who eyes it before delicately taking it.

 

*

 

Loki presses his nose against Keir's soft, dark hair. His is a comforting weight in Loki's arms. A longing that Loki did not realize he'd been feeling eases, and he smiles a little as the child cuddles back against him.

 

Of all his children, Keir looks the most like Loki. It had been a pleasant surprise to be handed a baby with eyes the exact shade and shade as his, who shares his dark hair. The child is no longer sleepy, staring wide eyed at his surroundings. With his children around him and Thor's strong hand at the small of his back, Loki feels at peace.

 

The large elevator takes them down to the thirty fifth floor, where Tony has commissioned Midgardian workers to construct apartments for them. Loki is still unconvinced that the Man of Iron knows exactly how destructive these seemingly-innocent children can be, but he did warn him.

 

However, he is pleasantly surprised by what he sees when the elevator doors open.


The walls are a deep cream color. Not white: dark enough for tiny fingers smearing food or dirt on them to be covered. The apartment is wide and spacious.

 

“You names are on the doors,” Tony tells the children. “Go crazy.”


They look at Loki for permission. He sighs and nods, and all of them fly off. Haldor, ever the good big brother, leads the younger twins to their rooms (and also, for Magni, the bathroom). Soon exclamations of delight fill the apartment.

 

“Wow, Tony.” Steve looks around with wide eyes. “You really went all out.”


“Had to prove a point,” Tony says smugly. Clint, Bruce, and Natasha—the latter unwillingly--follow the children to see what all of the fuss is about. Loki goes to follow as well, but he's stopped by a hand on his arm.

 

“Baby's room is this way.” Tony jerks his head toward a separate hallway. Thor's arm around his waist, Loki follows the man to a wooden door.

 

“Welcome to your awesome.” Stark says as he opens the door.

 

It looks almost like a miniature of Thor's room upstairs, with gold, dark blue and brown accents. There is a wooden crib in the middle of the room with a planet-laden mobile hanging over it, a changing table to the side and a rocking chair. Drawers under the changing table have room for clothes and in the corner, there is a small, mulit-colored play set with a toy box.


Tony pulls out a bright toy that beeps and flashes light. Keir stares with comically huge eyes. Loki sets him on his feet and he clumsily toddles over to the man, reaching for the toy.

 

“Pepper decorated the place,” Tony says as he moves the toy from side to side, playing with Keir. “Which makes me kind of nervous now that I think about it, but—yeah. She's always had an eye for that sort of thing and Thor once saved her from being eaten alive, so she was happy to help.”


“Lady Pepper is a fair maiden, and you would do well to beg for her hand in marriage lest she be swept away by another.” Thor says. “I shall never forget her gift. Nor yours.”


Tony smiles, but it is not his usual one. This one is shyer, less sure. “It was nothing,” he says, brushing it off. “Just wanted to win a bet, that's all.” He raises an eyebrow at Loki. “Well?”


“It is gorgeous,” Loki admits slowly. “But will it stand up to Sky slamming her brother into things when they fight?”


“I thought about that. The kids have their own workout/play/rage room. The walls of this entire floor are reinforced with metal and shi—stuff.” he looks down at the baby who has lost interest in the toy and is now poking at the glowing circle on Tony’s chest. When he smiles down at Keir, he looks much younger. “Everything's supposed to be super sturdy, super durable and if it's not you can just replace it. And the icing on the cake? Your bedroom is lined with three times the amount of sound proofing than normal.” he grins wickedly. “You can scream all you want, Loki, and no tiny ears'll hear you. Consider it a really late wedding present.”


Loki blinks. “I am forever in your debt, Stark.”

 

“Not yet, you aren't.” Tony stands and swaggers over to the dresser, where a switch that Loki didn't notice. He flips it up and the mobile glows, playing a soothing little song as it spins in circles. The lights coming out of it are light green and blue, holes in the planets casting Mjöllnir shaped lights on the walls as it spins.

 

“'Cause that's how I roll.”

 

*

 

It is interesting to see how the household dynamics change.

 

The younger twins adore their Uncle Tony. The first time takes them down into the lab they are allowed to blow something up—on purpose. Loki bites his tongue, but if anything happens to his sons, Stark's suits will be nothing but puddles of metal. (Of course, they both respect and fear their Aunt Pepper.)

 

Loki and Thor spend a large amount of money on clothes and shoes. Tony shows Loki something called an ‘online catalogue’ and the children pick what they like.

 

Brynhildur, Haldor, Sky, and Gimli attend a private school in the city. Their last names are registered as Thorson and so far no one has caught on, but it has only been two weeks. Midgardians are slow, but they are not utterly stupid. Loki glamors the twin's wings for now, but promises them that they will be able to let them free once their true parentage is revealed.

 

(No one can agree on just how that will happen, but Loki does not mention that.)

 

When they get home, Loki fixes them snacks and sends them off. Brynhildur has taken to visiting Natasha. The child is mature enough that the woman does not feel uncomfortable, so their arrangement works.

 

Sky rushes through her homework so she can sprint up to her Uncle Hawkeye's rooms. There is a place in Stark's building that is just for archery. They practice flying whilst shooting at targets. Thor was never one for the sport—he always preferred to use brute force to take down his opponents—but he glows with pride every time their daughter hits a target midair.

 

(“Just how did you end up with winged kids, anyway?” Tony had asked one night. Loki had smiled behind his wine glass and decided to keep the man guessing.)

 

Haldor has always favored books and quiet. He finds a friend in Bruce Banner, who does not mind answering questions and letting the boy watch him. Loki believes that this is good for both of them.

 

Banner will never be able to have children of his own, as he fears that he may pass on his condition. Haldor has always been the quiet child in a loud family. Having someone's attention focused solely on him makes him flourish, and he comes home from school with news of making friends. Loki does not know if the child tells Banner about his Visions, but he would not mind if he does.

 

Gimli's choice of Avenger was a surprise to everyone but Loki. Many thought he would drift to Clint as his twin had. The trickster knew better. Gimli liked to create mischief, yes, but he could often be caught defending the very young one whom he had just teased. He had his moments of introspection and seriousness. More importantly, though, he loved to draw.

 

He and Steve would go out for hours (glamor on, of course) and find things to sketch, to paint. One night they were out so late that Steve had to carry him back to his room. Scarlet wings draped over the man's broad arms as he carefully laid the boy into the hammock that Tony had gotten them.

 

This was not to say Thor was ignored. No, the children loved their father fiercely and often seeked him out—or vice versa. Thor walked around with Keir slung over his shoulder so often that Loki feared the boy would forget how to crawl. When the Avengers were called to fight, the children gathered around in the family room and watched the battle on the “TV” .They whooped and cheered for their heroes and booed when the most recent villain appeared to gain the upper hand.

 

“Are you sure it's okay for them to be watching this?” Pepper asked, flinching as Tony was flung into a building. The twins shouted in garbled Allspeak, too excited to form proper words.

 

“How else will they learn?” Loki inquires. He consciously makes sure that his expression does not change when it is Thor who is thrown quite a distance away. They are fighting some kind of large monkey-like beasts. “Besides: it motivates the team to win.”


Indeed, they do triumph over and over again, if only to keep from shaming themselves in front of the children.

 

One night, after such a day, Thor has claimed his spoils. He kisses Loki's neck, insatiable as ever. Loki is grateful for Tony Stark's soundproofing and magick: if one of the children rise and need them, two copies of himself are waiting at the door to intercept them.

 

“Are you not lonely for a child to dote on, Wife?” Thor murmurs to him. “I know that my friends and I have occupied a lot of their time lately.”


“Children always return to their mothers. Besides, I have taken that time to relax,” Loki replies honestly. “I have recently taken to Midgardian books. Humans have very...interesting imaginations. I am not lonely.”

“You have me,” Thor agrees.


“Yes, my king” Loki smiles. His face heats as he takes Thor's hand and guides it to his stomach, allowing the glamor to drop and the soft swell of it to appear.


“And,” he says, “I have her.”

 

Thor has been told of a child to come seven times before. The look of wonder and love and happiness that he gives Loki never diminishes, but grows stronger every time.

 

The thunderer is tender enough to make Loki shiver as he pulls him into the curve of his body. A arm draws him back further into the embrace, and Loki sighs as Thor presses loving kisses to his face, murmuring words of adoration.

 

*

 

“Daddy?”


Thor looks up from where he is reading a book to Keir. Loki's confession from the night before sits warm and good like an ambrosia. He wants to shout his joy from the rooftops—and he would, too, if it weren't for Loki's request that it remain a secret for now. He wants to surprise the children.

 

Thor has managed to keep his silence, but he can't stop grinning. His joy is something barely contained, like trying to stuff Volstagg into a box the size of Keir's tumb. He feels as though he could burst.


Somebody got some last night,” he heard Clint mutter, too low for children's ears. Loki caught it though, and sent the man a positively venomous look as he tried to feed Keir.

 

Now, though, he can hear a whimper in his son's voice. Thor's smile drops immediately. He shifts Keir in his arms and stands slowly, but the baby does not stir as he sets him in his crib for his afternoon nap.

 

Thor trades one child for two others, settling little and Mathi and Magni on either side of his chest. Magni presses his forehead against Thor's collarbone and Thor's breath catches with alarm. He is ice cold.

 

Mothi's green eyes are wide and scared. “What's wrong with Magni, daddy?” he asks in a fearful whisper.


“I am not sure, son.” Thor presses a kiss to Mothi's forehead, then Magni's. “But your mother may know.”


The thunderer wishes to bellow and rage for a doctor for his son. Instead, he turns on Keir's mobile and shuts the door softly behind him.


And then he runs.

 

*

 

Loki is in the Captain's room with Gimli, watching them play with various paints when Thor bursts through, the twins on his front and anxiety all over his face.


“There is something wrong with Magni,” he says without prelude, striding over to Loki. The trickster takes his ailing son into his arms and presses a palm to his forehead. The boy is panting shallowly.

 

“Mommy?” he whimpers. Grimli is in front of Loki immediately, looking uncharacteristically worried, while the Captain hovers in the background, his phone in hand.

 

“Hush, my love.” Loki brushes a hand over his forehead...and freezes. He presses again, just to make sure, and—yes. Loki closes his eyes. He could laugh, he is so relieved.

 

“What?” Thor demands. “What is it, wife?”


“Magni will be fine.” Loki blinks, and without hesitation his form shifts completely. His skin becomes smoother, bluer, and more impenetrable, eyes blood red. He barely notices the sting of a small pair of horns growing from his forehead. “He is merely his mother's son.”


Thor's eyes are confused for a moment before they light up with understanding.

 

“You mean--”

 

“Yes.” Loki closes his eyes, willing himself to get colder. And then he puts his hand back onto Magni's forehead. At a temperature that would give a mortal instant frostbite, the boy doesn't even shiver. Instead, he pushes back into the touch with a happy sound. His skin slowly starts to turn blue.

 

Loki looks up, a smirk pulling his lip up to reveal a sharp incisor. “We're going to need a lot of ice.”

*

The children fuss over Magni. No one can touch him, save Loki, but they get as close as possible to marvel at his new blue skin, his red eyes. The boy has tiny golden horns protruding from his forehead and his hair, already dark, is slowly turning darker. Soon, It will be the same black-blue as Loki's.

 

Magni lays in a bathtub full of ice water. Tony Stark has ordered his favorite kind of ice cream and had a flat screen TV installed. He paid money to get the new Disney movie, Frozen, sent early just for Mothi—and ordered a multitude of others as well. All of the children have spread sheets on the bathroom floor and are slowly making their way through the pile with their brother, oohing and aaahing.

 

It is a very large bathroom.

 

It turns out that a rock that Stark gave the twins to play with while he was away—on a date with Pepper—triggered an early maturation. The man feels guilty despite the fact that he is not in the wrong. So he is pampering Loki's son, who looks very far from ailing. Banner has taken the rock to try and see what properties in it could have triggered the change. Stark does not remember where he got it from.

 

Loki is keeping a close watch on Mothi, but he does not appear to be anything but pouty. His brother is receiving attention and sweets and he can't touch him. It upsets him greatly, so Loki pulls him into his lap and smooths his hair in an attempt to forestall a tantrum.

 

“Wanna look like Mommy too,” Mothi grumbles, a fierce scowl on his face. When he is angry, all of the speech lessons that Loki teaches him fly out the window. His arms are folded across his chest, cheeks puffed and red. He looks so much like Thor that Loki has to swallow a chuckle.  “Want pretty rock 'gain. Rock make Mothi blue.”

“The rock can only bring out what is inside, my love.” Loki pokes the boy in the stomach, hoping for a giggle, but the child only becomes even poutier.

 

“Mothi blue inside too,” he insists. “See?” he shows his mother the tips of his fingers which are, indeed, blue. They have been like that since birth.

 

Loki grabs his fingers and kisses them. “I know. Maybe it is not yet your time?” That is possible. Late blooming is not unheard of.

 

“My time now!” Mothi shouts. The children all turn to shush him at once, even Haldor, who would normally be trying to comfort his brother. It seems that this 'Disney' is some kind of magick, entrapping children.

 

To Loki's alarm, his son begins to sob, hot, angry tears spilling down his cheeks and onto Loki's shirt. He fists the collar with considerable strength and cries into Loki's chest.

 

“Mothi Thorson,” he says sharply, not to be disobeyed, “you will stop this at once.

 

All of the children have given up on the movie and are staring at the scene with wide eyes.

 

“Mothi,” Magni begins.

 

“I—wanna be--” he hiccups loudly-- “special too. Mothi not special.

 

It is true. All of Loki and Thor's children officially have some gift. Brynhildur has power over storms, Haldor Sees visions, Sky and Gimli were born with wings, and now Mothi is a Frostling. Even little Keir takes after his mother: less than three months after he was born, there was a kidnapping attempt. They burst into the room, sure that they would find an empty crib. Instead they found the culprit pinned to the wall with golden magic around his wrists and neck, Keir burbling happily.

 

If Thor were here, he would probably hug the love back into Mothi. But his husband left hours ago with the rest of the Avengers, called to an emergency.

 

Mothi gives one more sob and convulses violently. He shudders all over, once, twice, and before Loki can do anything—can even breathe—he is holding a silver-blue foal in his lap.

 

There is a startled silence. The movie is still playing in the background-- “And I keep wondering and wondering and wondering and wondering, when will my life begin?”

 

Loki sighs. “I suppose,” he says in a deliberately loud, long suffering voice, “that I cannot hope that your new sister will not be this troublesome.”

 

“A sister?” Sky asks. When Loki nods and presses a meaningful hand to his stomach, she whoops and throws a fist into the air. “Yes! No more brothers!”

“Who says the one after that isn't gonna be a boy?” Gimli retorts. Bickering immediately starts—with Mothi whinnying his input, of course.

 

*

 

“Another little godling to terrorize my tower,” Tony says fondly, when Magni eagerly tells him about his new sister. “I so didn't see that coming.”


“I'm completely blindsided,” Clint adds, smirking. Loki has become familiar with the aspects of Midgardian sarcasm. “Truly.”

 

“Shut up.” Natasha slaps him on the back of the head. The children giggle as their Uncle Clint rubs at the back of his head, scowling. “Congratulations, guys,” she tells Loki and Thor.

 

“Shoot for twin girls after this one,” Banner advises. “It'll even the playing field.” he winks at Brynhildur, who grins.

 

*

 

Later, as they're getting ready for bed, Loki grumpily complains about the fact that no one seems to doubt that Loki will bear more children after this one.

 

“You do not want to?” Thor asks, looking thoughtful.

 

“I didn't say that,” Loki rushes out quickly, before Thor can get any awful ideas about birth control. “Of course I want more, I want twenty--” He cuts off at the look on Thor's face. Loki scowls. “You are insufferable,” he snaps.

 

Thor loses his straight face. He throws his head back and laughs and laughs and laughs.

 

*