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The Secret Super Soldier Strategy and Other Misadventures

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It started as a normal Friday for Spider-Man. Despite his Spidey-senses alerting him to the fact he’d definitely missed two wake-up alarms, that hadn’t made Peter care more, so he’d been late to school. Luckily Harry, who seemed in a perpetual state of awareness for Peter’s tardniness, had ironically yelled ‘look, Spider-Man!’ and pointed to the opposite window. During the distraction, the real Spider-Man had managed to slip into his desk and did the limbo under the bar of a detention slip today. There was also an upcoming physics test, a science project, a new gym teacher who seemed to want to snap Peter like a twig for pretending to be the noodle he was before the ol’ incey wincey spider incident… And on top of that, Aunt may had needed eggs for tonight. She always wanted eggs. Peter wasn’t sure what she did with that many eggs, but maybe one day he’d have to battle the evil egg demon she’d resurrected in the basement. Honestly, in his line of work, that wasn’t a ludicrous suggestion. Distracted by his egg-streme imagination, Peter almost got squished like the spider he was by the Rhino’s weird grey fist.

“C’mere, bug!” The big lug with a horn growled.
“Whoops! Looks like you don’t get spider: to go tonight!” Peter flipped upwards onto a streetlamp and stuck the Rhino’s fist to his face with some web. Man, if only he had some more cash to work with, he could really make these babies sing. “Stop hitting yourself!”
He somersaulted up, grabbed that horn and suplexed the villain in a move John Cena would have been proud of.
“And he does it again! Spider-Man, in the ring taking the Rhino for Superhero Superslam!” Man, Peter would have been so proud of that one liner if a dense fist hadn’t just connected with his spidey-spine and sent him into the wall with an ‘oof’. “Oh you want overtime?”
But before Peter could bring overtime, the evening sky parted with a beam of light, and Spider-Man could not believe his eyes as who descended into his lowly life but Iron Man. Iron Man. Tony Stark, the tech genius, billionaire, superhero, scientist… Peter pinched himself as a blast of star power sent the Rhino into a wall.
“Kid, did you just pinch yourself?” That metallic voice quipped.
“Yes sir, I m-mean no sir, I mean – watch out!” Peter yanked the angry Rhino’s feet out from under him with web as the villain charged back toward Iron Man. Some more beams kept the big guy in place while Peter webbed him up.

“JARVIS, call Nicki to collect the trash.” Iron Man turned to him, and his face plate rose up.
“Nicki…?” Peter managed out, and all of a sudden felt very, well, underdressed. There was Iron Man in all his Transformer glory, whereas Peter had some goggles he’d bought from Walmart and a patched together blue and red bodysuit.
“Nick Fury, you know, eyepatch? Nicki’s my little term of endearment.” Mr Stark landed, and Peter felt as though he should maybe bow just a little bit – the hero always looked taller on TV. “But look at you, huh? Saving people with your superstrength and sticky substances.”
“Uh, yeah I gue – “
“Look, Spiderboy.” Mr Stark pointed at him.
“Spider-Man, it’s Spider…man.” Peter trailed off. He’d had to think about that one, because Spider-Boy sounded like he was twelve, Spider-Teen didn’t really have a great ring to it and Spider-Man seemed a bit pretentious. But he guessed that unless he got creamed before he hit 20, he’d grow into the name, instead of being a 30-yr-old superhero swinging around and being called Spider-Boy.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on you, kid.” Mr Stark brought up a display from the back of his Iron Hand. Tony Stark, the Tony Stark was keeping tabs on him? Peter almost danced from excitement. “Look at you go. Catching cars, webbing bad guys…but.”

Mr Stark gestured at his goggles and Walmart getup. “You could do with some upgrades. Just looking at this makes me sad.”
“Yeah, your outfit stinks, bug!” The Rhino barked and Peter snapped some sneaky web across his mouth as his heart raced.
“You…stink!” Peter was just too excited to come up with a good comeback.
“Annnyway…” Mr Stark side-eyed the glowering villain. “You do good work. The Avengers can’t handle every single crime in the city, no matter how a certain Captain would like us to. I want to help you step your game up – “
“Yes, yes Mr Stark Iron Man sir!” Peter really had no idea what was coming out of his mouth at this point. “It would be an honour, a pleasure, a dream – “
“You really need the money, don’t you?” Mr Stark patted him on the shoulder, and Peter just about fainted. “It’s ok, kid, it’s ok. Latch on and we’ll go to the Tower now.”
Avengers Tower? Little old Peter Parker at Avenger’s Tower? This had to be a dream!

 

“ – so I was thinking a whole systematic thing. Moves with you, wear and tear resistance – we’ll try and see how much defence we can squeeze in without losing flexibility.” Mr Stark discussed, sans Iron Man armour, as they walked into the Tower. Usually Peter would give his scientific input, but he was in Avengers Tower! Maybe he should try and design some pockets in his outfit, cause man he wished he had a camera right now! “Now for the goggles – “
Mr Stark opened a door to the most terrifying thing Peter Park had ever seen, and he’d seen Aunt May on Superbowl night when her team was losing.
“ – still sure about that?” A deep voice boomed. Thor, the Mighty Thor of the Good Hair, had Captain frickin America pinned down on what looked like a kitchen island. Electricity arced through and out of the god like he was the centre of a plasma globe – it danced up the fridge, crackled into the light fixtures and filled Thor’s eyes with blue light. Was…was this a fight? Thor had Captain America’s wrists pinned with a ferocious kind of grin, but the Captain seemed to have grappled his legs around the other Avenger’s waist… Peter wasn’t sure whether to run Very Far Away or try to save America’s hero from a literal god.

“Gentlemen!” Mr Stark’s scandalized exclamation broke their intense eye contact, and Captain America tipped his head back so he could look at them upside-down. He didn’t look as shaken as someone held down by an angry(?) thundergod should have been. “We have a guest! A young, small guest!”
“Mr Stark it’s okay – I mean, not if you guys are fighting, but…” He trailed off as Thor stopped sparking and let Captain America’s wrists go.
“We’ll continue this conversation later.” The First Avenger hopped off the bench and pointed at Thor, who just raised his eyebrows with a smile. And that was it. They’d gone from barbeque time Thor-style to normal. Well as normal as these epic heroes could get. Captain America looked Peter up and down for a moment.
“Spider-Man. I – I’m Spider-Man.” He stammered out before more judgement on his outfit or age quips could take place.
“You sound quite young, but I admire your spirit.” Captain America offered his hand, and Peter took it in a daze. All he could hear for a moment was the national anthem. “Tony, you’d better not corrupt him.”
“What do you mean, corrupt him?” Mr Stark looked a little too innocent, and Peter tried not to swallow as Thor cocked his head and paced around him. It was almost as if the god was sizing him up. Peter had not been prepared today to be sized up by a guy who could take the Hulk.

“You drink whiskey for breakfast.” Captain America gave Mr Stark a sardonic look.
“And you electrocute the kitchen with Thor!” Mr Stark shot back as he gestured at the blackened ceiling.
“Man of Spiders.” Thor interrupted this vocal slap-match with a frown, and Peter wondered whether he should bow or something here as well. “Are you one of Natasha’s kin?”
Peter had no idea who Natasha was, but Mr Stark just snorted.
“Now that’d be a party. Anyway, if you want autographs, get them now. If not, there’s a lab with your name on it.” Mr Stark threw an arm around his shoulders, and all Peter could think was how that single sleeve was probably worth more than he was.
“Uh yeah, uhh, thank you guys so much for having me!” Peter tried, then cringed because it sounded like he was a kid talking to a friend’s parents at a sleepover. Man, he was just the worst sometimes.
Thor and Steve watched them go.
“Tony with a child Worries me.” Steve passed the remark to Thor, who nodded.
“Aye. I shall tell Bruce to keep an eye on them.”

***

“Stand down, Wrecking Crew!” Steve screeched his bike to a halt in front of the four thugs who had barely made it a few steps out of the jewellery store.
“Or what, flagboy?” The leader with a crowbar sneered.
“Or you’ll get wrecked!”
“Or we shall smite you where you stand.”
Came the two options from Thor and Spider-Man, who’d whipped up a new suit with the Science Bros overnight and wanted to take it for a spin. Steve suggested that for the first run, Spider-Man should stick close to Tony in case anything went horribly wrong. Tony did have a flair for the catastrophic here and there. The kid had concealed his mild conniption about the idea of serving with The Avengers for a day fairly well, but despite his excitable tendencies Steve kinda liked him. Bravery and honour, as Thor would say, were in short supply nowadays.
“Oh we’ll see about that. C’mere Barbie!” One of the four thugs swung a wrecking ball at Thor, who was smacked backwards and made a Viking-shaped hole in the opposite building. As Steve tossed his shield, he reminded himself to bring up that nice conversation they’d been having yesterday before Tony and his adopted child had arrived. But he couldn’t get distracted by that right now.
“Alright Spidey, let’s see what you’ve got!” Iron man descended from on high to get hit like a bell by a man with a crowbar, and Spider-Man, with his new adjustable mask eyes, leapt into the fray.

 

“Thor. Come on.” Steve dusted his hands as the S.H.I.E.L.D truck grumbled away, full of four defeated robbers. “I’ve seen you take on the Hulk. I’ve seen you take on Chitauri monsters, Loki, The Destroyer Armour…why do you let yourself get hit by guys like that?”
“For my part, I enjoy a good fight!” True enough, Thor did look all afire with the hot blood of battle and it was a very, very nice look. “Yet you know I also must be careful. We do not go into most battles to kill, Steve. Those men may be criminals, but their actions do not warrant the death penalty, as my true strength would bring.”
“And you’re still not going to show me what you’re capable of?” To be honest with himself, Steve may have be asking that question again so that Thor would go all celestial god of thunder on him like yesterday on the kitchen counter. Maybe the power display had meant to scare him, but by golly, it had had rather the opposite effect. Ever since Thor had got his Spring Fever Aura under control weeks ago, they hadn’t really found time for any intimate moments, and it took all of Steve’s rigorous self-control not to just Team-Leader-Order some time off for the pair of them. “I like to know the limits of my team members, Thor.”

Thor sighed with a smile, one hand cupped over the flat side of Mjolnir as they approached Spider-Man and Iron Man. The Hulk was dealing with a problem in downtown, and Nick Fury had recalled the two spies for some S.H.I.E.L.D mission, which was also why the green stick had been a welcome addition.
“I am a fool for you Steve, but you must know this: what you ask of me is to court danger. I know you and that term are brothers in arms, but only because of that will I trust you on this matter.” Thor did look uncertain, and it tugged at the responsible part of Steve’s heart.
“Look Thor, I shouldn’t push you.” He squeezed Thor’s thick, bare shoulder. That was a nice shoulder to squeeze. He should squeeze it more often.
“Push him? Push him into what? Should I block Spider-Man’s ears?” Tony let his face mask slide off and raised his eyebrows.
“What? Why?” Spider-Man popped up, eyes wide with curiosity. Steve just couldn’t bring himself to tarnish that innocence if Tony couldn’t.

“Nothing to worry about, son.” He put on his Responsible Voice and immediately the battle for Father Figure rights began in the mind of the Avengers’ small, adopted Spider Child.
“I shall dwell upon it; yet I do not like the thought of secrets between us. But we shall look to this matter later.” Thor turned to their newest member with a warm smile. “Come taste the mead of victory with us, Man of Spiders!”
“Thor he’s too young.” Steve pointed at Spider-Man with the Recruitment Finger. “How old are you?”
“Yeah I’m not 21 yet, sorry Thor buddy.” Spider-Man’s mask eyes narrowed in apology.
“21?” Thor shrugged and looked between them. “You drink mead when you are weaned off mother’s milk, no?”
Golly, Asgard sounded wild.
“That would be a no, Thor, although I do like the rumour that I was raised on straight Bourbon.” Tony broke the news and Thor promptly dropped is hammer in surprise.
“But…you…how…?” Thor looked between them all, with the most handsome stunned and confused face Steve had ever seen. “Oh but this is madness! No wonder you are all so small. Come Man of Spiders, we must make up for this travesty.”

Spider-Man had come into this day with zero father figures and now had three Avengers trying to Dad him. But neither Tony nor Steve or mystical Spidey Senses got a chance to react as Mjolnir leapt into Thor’s hand. The god promptly tossed Spider-Man over his shoulder like a damsel and they both careened into the sky. An echo of a yelp of surprise on the breeze of Thor’s cloak was all that was left of their stand-in Avenger.
“Darn it Thor.” Steve drew both hands over his face. True, the big blonde’s brazen ways did make him very dashing (and Steve totally hadn’t been picked up like that before and totally hadn’t enjoyed the heck out of it) but as Captain America, he couldn’t let him get a high schooler drunk.
“You really need to talk to your boyfriend about taking my stuff.” Tony’s mask slid back down, and he turned toward the disappearing speck that was their wayward Asgardian.
“Tony, he’s not your – “ But Steve was already left in a wrecked street and a faint tinge of toasted pavement from Iron Man’s thrusters. Well, it looked like he was biking home.

 

While The Daddening of Spider-Man took place in New York, Baron Helmut J Zemo paced in his castle.
“How dare the man who killed my father and ruined my family line with glue walk free as a hero!” The villain shook with rage and glared as his weirdly out-of-place 33” LED TV on his stone wall. “Captain America, I spit on you!” Zemo spat on the lightly stabbed photo of Captain America he had printed off for that very reason. “You and your little bodyguard superheroes…by yourself I could end you. Ugh!”
The Baron slammed a fist down on his oak table and glowered as the TV panned across a shot of Thor and the Star Spangled Serpent taking down some pathetic wannabe.
“Oh if only I had someone who hated the Avengers as much as I do! If only I could get Hydra to join with me or Loki! Loki…that god almost beat the Avengers alone!” Zemo huffed, and, caught up in his dramatic monologue spiel, did something quite stupid. “Oh Loki, if I could pray to you I would pray we could serve together to destroy Captain America and Thor and all their ridiculous friends!”
He glowered into the middle distance for a moment, then turned around with a medium-level dramatic flourish and almost squeaked at the sight of a large green vortex that had all but consumed his Brooding Room.

“How far would you go for your revenge, mortal?” A silver-tongued tone danced out of the portal, and Zemo swallowed his fright. This was an opportunity, an opportunity for revenge!
“You…heard me?” He squared up to the green light, and luckily didn’t get to see Loki’s godly eye-roll that could cause bodily harm to lesser men.
“It is no secret that I exist, yet as a god you are surprised I hear your prayers?” The vortex sassed him, then sighed. “Enter my domain and we shall further this endeavour together.”
Fear of a magical god-made space portal warred with the burning desire to hurl Captain America into a volcano, but the latter won. The Zemo line needed to be avenged. So the Baron took a deep breath and went into the light.

The first thing that hit him was the cold. Wherever he was, it seemed as though the temperature froze his very bones. It was dark too. No, not just dark…black. Black icicles hung from dark stone, the sky had no stars or moon, and the only light came from the ball of green light in Loki’s hand. Looking at the sable snow, the obvious bones in that snow and the mystical being in front of him, Zemo contemplated that he may have jumped off the deep end A Small Bit.
“My current home is far less glorious than it should be, but with your help we can improve that.” A secretive smile crept over Loki’s face.
“I want Captain America dead.” Baron Zemo stuck to his guns, and crossed his arms in an attempt not to feel intimidated.
“And I want Thor gone.” Loki tipped a bunch stones with weird letters on them into his hand, then tossed them into the air. Zemo’s portal closed, and another display popped up. In this one they could both see the other Asgardian in some room Zemo didn’t recognize, straight up eating a gourd.
“Why is he eating a gourd?” The Baron asked before he could stop himself. Loki just looked at him like he was weird.
“They have a delightful crunch – but never mind that.” Loki waved the thought away. “What I propose: I give you Thor’s body to deal with the Captain and all his merry Avenger friends. Then we join forces and conquer our desired kingdoms.”

Thor’s body and Captain America dead? There was no downside to this plan! thought Zemo, a man who should have been more aware that he was speaking to the god of tricks.
“Deal.”
“Excellent.” Loki smiled a blatantly treacherous smile and picked up his rune stones again, but this time he added what looked like a strand of long, golden hair. The god put his hand on Zemo’s chest, spoke a few strange words, then threw the stones at the view of Thor. As they flew into the oval, the Baron felt something lurch inside him, and he had a brief moment of panic as he rushed past Loki, weightless and translucent. Then he opened the eyes of the mighty Thor.

Chapter Text

Thor shook his head for a moment, dazed. One moment, he’d been enjoying a delicious midday snack and the next it felt like he’d been dragged across space by scrounged rune magic. He knew the sensation all too well from growing up with the god of tricks. When his vision cleared and he found himself bereft of gourd, Thor came to the conclusion that this was exactly what had happened.
“Brother. Don’t you look…small.” Loki smirked above him as Thor tried to rise off his knees in the snow. Before he could regain his footing, Loki at a flicked a hand. Ice bonds rose up to secure limbs that the thunder god realized were not his own. Very weak limbs. Whoever Loki had poured him into had obviously not been raised on mead. How sad indeed.
“Loki! How did you escape?” But instead of his normal thunderous boom, Thor heard himself as decidedly German. He supposed it could have been worse. Flashbacks to the Frog Enchantment of his teenage years paraded across the god’s unfortunately eternal memory.
“Oh Thor, you know it is prophesized that whatever fetters you shackle me in cannot hold me forever.” Loki smiled, and Thor’s mighty…Thor’s borrowed heart leapt into his throat as he looked around the realm of his brother’s abode.
“Is this Helheim? Loki, do not do this.” He wrestled with the ice, but Loki’s power of a frost giant was far too strong. So he called upon his own vocation.
“Really?” Loki scoffed as the dead sky rumbled. “If you try to conduct your power through that weak body, you will surely perish. But be my guest to try, my dull sibling.”

Thor scowled at the brother he still could not bring himself to hate, but he could not fault the statement about this body. So he reached out to his bond with Mjolnir in his mind instead. Asgardian form or no, he could wield that weapon without harm. The problem was that his poor hammer would have to cross galaxies and possibly transcend some planes to reach him.
“You would keep me alive?” Thor growled, and his frail human body ached at the flicker of lightning his anger called.
“Only to watch your world crumble, brother. The man you inhabit is no friend of the Avengers. When he has used your strength to finish them, I shall destroy you both. Now…” Loki tossed his rune stones into the air to conjure a Scrying Mirror, and Thor glared as he watched his body move under the command of another.

 

“Yes, yes, yes!” Zemo somehow made Thor’s mighty voice cackle. Ooh the strength, the power, the hair. He shook his glorious locks and flexed with glee. This was better than his wildest dreams! For a moment, the Baron just lorded over this victory completely unaware that his antics were being watched by one gleeful trickster and one very weary thunder god. Thor’s room was fit for a Baron of the house of Zemo too – golden light bathed the hall, the huge bed was strewn with animal pelts, and the high-vaulted ceiling was held up by lavish gold pillars. Oh, it felt almost too natural!
“Now. Let’s get down to business.” Zemo brushed down his Asgardian armour, then marched toward the exit. Mmm, Thor did such a manly stride. He wrenched the door open a little too hard, yet luckily it was Asgardian and made to be manhandled by the prince of thunder, but the strength! Oh, Captain America’s time had come. With these biceps, he could crush him like a bug.

Zemo strode out into the Tower corridor, then set off toward where he could hear voices. How did Thor speak again? In ye olde English, wasn’t that it? He rounded the corner into a much larger room with a view over all of New York to see Tony Stark on a couch with someone Zemo didn’t recognize – a hero in a blue and red outfit. They seemed to be checking something on his wrist.
“Stark!” Zemo exclaimed in his most booming voice. The door fixtures rattled slightly. “Where doth dwell Captain America?”
“Thor, inside voices, we’ve talked about this.” Stark was as infuriating in person as he was on TV, it seemed. “And did you just say ‘doth’?”
“Silence!” Zemo commanded, because it felt like such a Thor thing to do, and to his surprise Tony did go silent – as in he gaped for a moment like a popular kid who’d been handed a sick burn by their nerdy arch-nemesis in the silence of a school cafeteria. The elevator dinged.
“Did you just – “

“What’s going on here?” Captain America, Steve Rogers, Bane of the Zemos Himself frowned at the commotion as he strode out of the lift. He only had civilian clothes on; worn jeans and a very, very tight shirt. No guns, no shield. Good. Gooooood. Defenceless and unprotected. All he had to do now was get the accursed Captain alone.
“He just – “
“I wish to have words with thee. In private.” Zemo pointed at Captain America and overrode Stark because he got a great deal of petty glee out of how offended the man looked. A small smile tugged at the blonde pest’s lip.
“Oh no. He keeps shushing me. He doesn’t get to get away with that.” Stark rose, but Captain America held up a hand.
“You help Spider-Man. I’ll deal with this.” The Star Spangled Sucker strode forward and led the way down the corridor.
“Oh, I’m sure you will.” Stark muttered with an eye roll, so Zemo just shot him the most jaunty look Thor’s face could muster and followed his arch-nemesis back toward the god’s room.

“You wanted to see me?” Captain America raised his eyebrows with a smile, but he barely managed to get the words out. As soon as those gilded doors clicked shut, Zemo shoved the man so hard in the chest that he flew into the opposite wall with a thud. A high noise of surprise caught in the Captain’s throat and oh, Zemo couldn’t wait to break his bones with all this godly strength.
“Oh I see how it is.” The American rat, for some reason, flashed him a grin, then stripped off his shirt. Zemo was already steamrolling towards him and couldn’t stop to think why on earth Captain America would do that. Maybe it was a normal…thing for the Avengers? Regardless, he slammed a mighty fist down, but his quick opponent ducked under it. Thor’s knuckles slammed into the wall so hard his fist went straight through the solid metal wall and gave a bird the fright of its life. But before the Baron could yank it out, Captain America slid underneath his arm, caught his bearded jaw and kissed him. Zemo froze. The two gods watching from Hel gaped. Zemo had barely processed Captain America kissing you directly on the mouth, when his arch-nemesis jumped up and wrapped himself around Thor’s waist like a boa constrictor.
“You alright?” The Captain seemed to have realized Thor had gone the wrong kind of stiff. Zemo didn’t know what to do. What was even the protocol for this situation? His mind had gone into a shock blank. Run? Run. Zemo kind of shoved his amorous generation-long adversary off him, pelted back into the corridor and promptly fell into a floor trap designed to keep everyone on their toes.

A disappointed and confused Steve jogged after Thor to the now-closed trap and waited for his handsome god to burst out again, Mjolnir in hand. And he waited. And waited. Honestly, this far up in the Tower, Steve wasn’t sure whether even he would be able to hear it if Thor hit the bottom. So he poked the panel with his foot to open it again.
“Thor?” He called and stared into the murky depths. There was a very distant, metallic thud and a muffled Asgardian grunt from about 200 stories away. “Are you…alright?”
There was no reply, and Steve just couldn’t figure it. First Thor’s treatment of Tony and his even more archaic dialect; then he seemed up for some action, but the big guy had run away for some reason when it had started to get good. Thor never ran away, especially not from that sort of thing. Steve waited for an extra moment just in case Thor was having him on, but it seemed too odd to be a joke anyway. Thor’s jokes consisted of speaking to anyone who texted him entirely in those phone pictures – emojis, Clint called them – until somebody called him. Then the god acted confused as to why they were all frustrated. Then again, maybe Tony had programmed Thor’s phone to only text emojis and thus made a practical joke chain. They hadn’t figured that one out yet. So Captain America went back to retrieve his shirt.

“Tony, something’s wrong with Thor.” Steve hurried back into the common area, mind on the tick. Was it another god thing like Spring Fever?
“Oh, you mean apart from being rude and boorish?” Tony huffed and tapped Spider-Man’s webshooters with the smallest screwdriver Steve had ever seen in his life. Luckily they had managed to convince Thor that Spider-Man needed to stay tiny to be as agile as he was, so no underage drinking had gone on under Captain America’s watch.
“That, and just now we were…we started… “ Steve broke off with a glance at their young friend.
“Wrestling!” Tony jumped in and saved Steve from potentially giving a youngster The Talk. “You were wrestling, and…?”
“He… ran away.” Steve filled in and did his best not to look like a Super Suspicious Soldier to Spider-Man.
“You were wrestling and he ran away.” Tony seemed to try and make sense of that sentence in the context of their innuendo. “Were you trying to make him do a wrestling move he didn’t want to? Was that what you were talking about earlier? Wait, did he run off, like, in the middle of wrestling or – “
“The start, Tony. We didn’t get that far.” He tried not to blush as Tony pulled a face, but even he didn’t have control over his Super Blood.
“Wow, you wrestle with Thor?” Spider-Man exclaimed, and both Avengers almost cried over how sweet and innocent this small child was.
“Oh, he does it all the time.” Tony raised his eyebrows, so Steve turned on his Captain Glare.

“Tony, this is serious. He fell into a floor trap and hasn’t come back out.” Steve braced himself for the inevitable and very gleeful howl of laughter, which the billionaire happily supplied.
“What is he, an old man in an infomercial?” Tony cackled, but didn’t get one inch of a smile.
“JARVIS, where’s Thor?” Steve asked as his jaw worked. True, the god had been rude to Tony and they’d figure out an apology later, but this could be important.
“Thor is no longer in Avenger’s Tower.” JARVIS replied coolly, and Steve’s heart lurched. This was weird, and not usual Thor Weird.
“You two do what you like. I’m calling in Banner to help me find him.” He didn’t wait to see Tony’s reaction, just pelted back to his room for his shield.

Tony rolled his eyes and sighed as he tossed his Mini Stark Screwdriverᵀᴹ into his toolkit, then turned to Spider-Man.
“You up for another round of Avenging? And maybe few bouts with a rude Asgardian?”
He’d take that excited squeal as a yes.

 

Zemo staggered underneath a bridge and tried to regroup his thoughts. He even considered washing his mouth out with river water, but then again, he wasn’t sure whether even Thor’s metabolism could handle that sludge. Why?? Just…why? Why had Captain America kissed…ugh, he didn’t even want to think about it! Even in his worst nightmares he hadn’t imagined that. Zemo felt as though he needed to shower or something to wash the Patriotic Poison of that man’s touch off him. Why had Captain America kissed Thor? Captain America liked men?? Was this the real world?
He needed to go back. Make up. Explain things and get back into their confidences. Then he could take two at the Captain’s assassination. But what if Zemo just got kissed again? Ugh! He didn’t know what to do. Captain America’s defence strategy was too much. He wanted to go home. Back to a world where he hadn’t been Star Spangle Smooched.

Zemo spat, still in shock and wiped his mouth with his big, godly hands.
“What the hell am I supposed to do now, Loki?” He yelled, and several homeless people squinted at the sight of what looked like Thor completely losing it.
“Get back in there you witless fool!” Came a voice from nowhere and everywhere. “That was a minor setback.”
“A minor setback?” Zemo boomed. “You weren’t…you-knowed by Captain America!”
“Just get back there and apologize or the Avengers will become suspicious. Go!” Loki’s voice flew back on the wind, and this time the Baron thought he heard his own laughter in the background. As serious as the situation was, Thor couldn’t help but be amused by the fragile human who inhabited his body. Zemo hated orders from some pretentious god who thought he knew best (and wasn’t in danger of being Captain Kissed), but his addled brain couldn’t come up with a better scheme. Ok. If he went back, killed Captain America, hacked and destroyed Stark’s tech, then pounded the Hulk with this mighty strength everything would be alright. He was prepared for inappropriate physical contact this time. Just punch. Simple. So Zemo turned and headed back towards Avengers Tower.

 

“Thor. The god who ran away.”
Zemo looked up to see Iron Man above the street in front of him.
“I did not run. I had matters to attend.” He tried, and hoped Thor’s Asgardian mystique covered sprinting at full throttle away from a kiss, falling the entire length of Avenger’s Tower and punching his way out of the basement infrastructure.
“Oh?” Captain Gross America swung in on Spider-Man’s arm and fell into a battle stance, shield in one hand. “What matters?”
“Matters you pathetic mortals would not understand.” Zemo taunted back, although he didn’t like his odds. Split, the Avengers were easily destroyed. Together even Thor might struggle. He only got a second of reflex to throw up crossed forearms before an Iron Man missile exploded on them.
“Whoops. I guess this ‘pathetic mortal’ just slipped.” Iron Man shrugged, but didn’t get time for another quip – with Thor’s powerful calves, Zemo sprang up, grabbed the brat by the leg and swung him into a nearby wall with a good dose of his new strength. Iron Man’s armour and bone crumpled like paper beneath his fingers and the hero didn’t just go into the wall, he flew through several blocks. Zemo had had enough of this, all of this.

“Hey!” A garish shield bounced off him with a dull thud. “That was way out of line!”
“Out of line?” Zemo snarled but only got a few steps before he was hit with some kind of sticky stuff. Ew, what the…
“Looks like you’re in a sticky situation!” Spider-Man’s foot hit his face although Zemo barely felt it. He went to grab the bug, but Spider-Man slipped away.
“Not as fast as your lightning, huh?” That annoying voice said in his ear before a punch smacked his jaw. Strong, but not strong enough.
“Spider-Man, get back! This is more dangerous than I thought!” Captain America suddenly yelled, and his shield flew into his team-mate’s stomach at a ‘gentle persuasion’ kind of pace.
“Oof, what the hell Cap?” Spider-Man recovered and tossed the shield back. Zemo had a mild childhood flashback of frisbee piggy-in-the-middle.
“Thor, where’s Mjolnir?” Captain America commanded as Zemo marched toward him.
“I don’t need a weapon to teach you a lesson!” Zemo growled and brought both fists down on the Captain’s shield. A bong burst out from the hit, so powerful that the shockwave broke every window in a 100ft radius.

“You’re not Thor.” Captain America gritted out as he glared over his shield. “You don’t talk like him, you can’t call his weapon, and you’re hurting others because you won’t check your strength.”
“But with his power, I will crush you Captain. You killed my father.” Zemo spat in his dramatic rage, fully aware that his father was a Nazi and deserved everything he got.
“Zemo?” Apparently Captain America had only killed a select few people’s fathers intentionally, but his eyes still widened in shock. Before Zemo could break into his prepared 10 page speech, something latched onto his big godly back and lurched him away. He whirled around, ready to yank on the spider’s thread and turn him into a Spider-Splat, when there was an ominous landing crunch. A big green fist smashed Zemo straight into the target of his nemesis’ shield. That one he’d felt.
“Hulk, restraint manoeuvre Delta Four Nine – that’s Thor’s body, but not his mind. Spider-Man, ranged attacks – if he gets a hold of either of us, we’re dead.” Captain America commanded as Zemo regained his feet. But it would take more than that to knock down the strongest Asgardian.

 

“Loki, behold your plan crumble.” Thor sighed as he watched his body get power-lifted from behind by the Hulk, then get subsequently stuck to the Hulk by the small spider child. His brother curled his lip at the Scrying Mirror and turned back to him.
“It matters not. Even with the Avengers alive, I will conquer Asgard upon your death.” Loki, the smallest, angriest blueberry, drew a knife, eyes cold.
“Why brother? Why wish me dead? I understand not this hatred you bear so heavily.” Thor knew Odin had done him wrong, but he himself had never wished misfortune upon the brother he loved. Loki was driven by desire, and his power complex had led him to imprisonment at Thor’s hand, but only to protect Midgard.
“The golden son of Asgard not understanding my plight? Why am I not surprised. But the mighty Thor shall live on – ” Loki’s form shimmered, and instead of the pale half-giant, Thor’s own face looked back at him. Oh but of course. “ – if only in image. Then Odin shall befall the same fate, brother.”
“Enough people have besmirched my name and face today!” Thor knew Loki loved to talk – the silvertongue, as always. But in that final exchange, he had felt Mjolnir close the distance, and with an icy crunch his beloved hammer smashed the bonds on his human wrists. “Now, let us see whether Loki can face the might of Mjolnir!”

Thor lifted and swung in one fluid movement. The hammer smacked his image Loki projected in the chest, and his brother became his brother again, sprawled beside the Scrying Mirror.
“No. No!” Loki cried. Poor cow-horns. He must get a bit weary of all his plans coming to no end.
“Still think me dull?” Thor rose, ready to toss his little sibling over his shoulder like in their adolescent years and bowl him back into jail, but apparently Loki’s runes had one last use in them; he hurled the stones at the Mirror with words of witchcraft. Something lurched in the god’s stomach, and then the mighty Thor opened his own eyes to find himself in a Hulk Hug, stuck to his big green friend by about six layers of web. Despite the sudden sticky situation, he just managed to call Mjolnir through the dimension portal before it closed.
“Stop, wait!” Steve called as he saw the hammer, and held up a hand to the Man of Spiders who was about to proceed to layer seven. “Thor? Is that you?”
“Mph.” He tried, but the sky gave a happy little rumble for him.
“Thank god.” Steve sighed and lowered his shield. “I mean – whoever. You know.”
“Mph.” Thor gave a sage nod with a sticky noise. This would be a great pain to comb out of his hair, but apart from that, all seemed well again. Seemed.

 

“My greatest apologies!”
Steve had to admit, it was a little cute to watch Thor mother over Tony like this. True, it had been Zemo who had broken Tony’s leg with Thor’s strength, but the god appeared adamant that he make amends.
“You know, even though it wasn’t you, it does feel great to hear that.” Tony groaned in the Hulk’s arms as they re-entered the Tower. “Can you say it again, but call me Your Highness?”
“Tony, don’t push it.” Steve warned with a smile, then winced and distracted Spider-Man with a Tony StarkTM Sprinting Cookie Jar (made for training purposes) as the Iron Man suit came off to reveal a bit of a crimson mess. Oh golly. Took him back to the good ol’ WWII days.
“Here.” Thor pulled something out of a leather pouch as the Hulk lay the smaller man down on the couch with utmost care . “This is a healing stone.”

The god crushed what looked like a river rock into a powder over Tony’s mangled leg, and all present Avengers watched in slightly awestruck silence as Thor held his hand above the wound. Everything – the bone, scratches, scrapes, bruises and also Tony’s half-dead liver as a bonus – knitted up in seconds with a slight shine of blue. The Hulk even shrank back into Banner from Science Excitement.
“Holy cow.” Tony stared, then poked his unbroken leg. “Am I going to be super-strong now or something?”
“Nay, but the damage I caused is reversed, and I understand your need to see my full potential Steve. ” Thor rose like he hadn’t just performed a modern miracle and wrapped a big godly arm around Steve’s waist. With a tug and a squeak Steve would never admit to making, he was dragged flush against Thor’s side. Gee that was… nice. “I pray you do not think differently of me. Heimdall!”
Before Steve could say ‘magical Asgardian portals cause property damage’, a rainbow blast swallowed them and also punched a hole in the top five floors.
“I bet he doesn’t have magic stones for my Tower.” Tony sighed at the hole as Spider-Man somersaulted back in with a cookie jar held victorious. He took in the black knotwork stamped on the floor and the miracle of Tony getting to his feet, and his moveable mask-eyes made a frowny face.
“Did I miss anything?”

 

“Where are we?” Steve frowned, but remained pressed up against Thor’s very nice, virile side as long as the god stayed still. Dark rock shifted in pebbles beneath their feet, tawny clouds rushed past in a bleak sky and that was it. No trees, no animals, no life as far as Steve’s Super Soldier sight could see.
“Holstaðr – the Hollow Place. It is where I train alone when I wish.” Thor glance upwards at the sky, then looked down at him. It all seemed a bit dark for Thor, who was a big golden flower prince at the best of times. “Stay here and do not move. It is important that I know where you are.”
Thor squeezed his hand, and Steve felt a little naked without his shield. But the thrill of finally seeing Thor at his most powerful? He couldn’t help how his heart thudded in anticipation.

The god strode away for a good long distance, until he was as small as Steve’s thumb, then tipped his head up to the sky. The clouds answered with a deep, feral rumble that coiled right down to the Captain’s bones. Oh, bring it on.
Flashes flickered here and there, then the rumble grew. It roiled and roared, built so loud Steve had to cover his ears. Lightning plunged down from the sky in blinding bolts, filled the air with static and sprayed hot pebbles, but Thor didn’t stop. White-blue flashed in the god’s eyes as he began to spin his hammer, a blur of electricity, and Steve panted in awe as a colossal bolt of lightning exploded, cracked the ground in front of the god. The sky shrieked, a vortex of wind and fire, more light than dark as sheets of white smashed their way down to the ground. The earth shook and groaned as it tore apart, and Thor stood in the centre of this tornado of power, consumed by bolts that jumped across his skin. Dangerous light shone inside his mouth and eyes, and Steve just stared, transfixed and breathless. Exhilarated.

Thor raised his hammer to the sky, and the scree-covered mountain behind him in the distance exploded with a shriek. An entire mountain levelled in half. Then Thor brought Mjolnir down. The impact threw Steve back a few feet even though he was nowhere near the god. As he scrambled back into the spot Thor had put him, a rift in the earth streaked open nearby, so deep pebbles poured into it. Everything sizzled and popped with static-laced heat and the sky as far as the eye could see was on fire. Wow. Steve’s body pumped with adrenaline, he couldn’t tear his wide eyes away from the scene, awestruck and elated at the same time. With a shout, Thor shot off the ground like a bullet from a gun. Milliseconds later, the cloaked dot re-entered the atmosphere with a sonic boom and ploughed into the burst mountain’s remains. It crumbled like sand. Half a mountain collapsed, and the earthquake shook Steve’s vision. A huge chunk of rock larger than Avenger’s Tower flew towards Steve’s spot, but underneath it he could see the god of thunder, who carried it in one hand toward the impact crater of his hammer and tossed it down. Easy as that. The god swung his hammer again and rose with the storm. Steve couldn’t tear his eyes away, but it wasn’t from fear – he’d always sat outside to watch thunderstorms, never hid from them.

Lightning crackled in and through Thor as he descended in front of where Steve held on to the ground on all fours, a celestial, wild creature of power that the Captain was only now beginning to understand.
“That is all I dare to do in your presence.” Thor’s eyes were pupil-less and white, body still alive with electricity. Golly, looking like that the man just did things to him. Steve called Thor a god casually, and had conflicting Higher Beliefs, but looking at him now…this was a god. A god whose power made him weak at the knees probably in the wrong way, but also made him feel more alive than he had since he’d fought Nazis. “If I wished to smite this planet in half, by my might and the might of Mjolnir I could do so.”

The storm grumbled and flashed as it curled back up to sleep again, but despite his double-time heartbeat, Steve was a little disappointed it had ended already. Thor took in the super soldier’s silent ogle for a moment as the power inside him flickered dormant again. Was it inappropriate how he wanted to fondue the heck out of that?
“Steve…do not fear me.” Thor’s eyebrows creased in worry and he offered a hand, which Steve took in an elated daze.
“Tell Heimdall to send us back.” Steve breathed, pupils blown entirely, and Thor raised his hammer with a torn expression. Rainbow light swallowed them, but as soon as the Captain felt the floor of Avenger’s Tower beneath his feet, he tugged Thor down until he could feel the blonde’s beard tickle his cheek. Thor’s skin was still cold from the storm wind, but tingled with delicious leftover electrical charge. “There’s a difference between fear and thrill.”

Thor froze in surprise as Steve kissed him, then a rich chuckle welled in his chest. Ha. Not an imposter this time.
“So it seems.” Thor rumbled against his lips as he chased Steve’s mouth and squeezed the Captain’s Americass. “You do not respond well to threats, do you?”
“Never have.” Steve grinned, but the moment was broken by a loud gasp and a smash. They both turned to see Spider-Man in the doorway of the common area where Heimdall had re-put them with a broken cookie jar at his feet. Those adjustable eye sockets had flown comically wide. Oh no. Tony was going to kill him when he finished welding the roof back together.
“Time to go, methinks.” Thor cleared his throat, then with one huge, mountain-lifting arm, tossed Steve over his shoulder.
“Thor!” Steve yelped then laughed as the god carried him off to get some privacy.

 

Two days later, Peter Parker put down his spoon at breakfast and stared into the middle-distance of epiphany.
“Oh my god.” He gasped. “They weren’t wrestling.”