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You are never in control

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Turning his head, Loki came face to face with the team of Avengers. Which meant that he'd lost. But he couldn't lose! "No, no, no," he muttered, struggling to his feet. Stark looked smug - he obviously thought Loki couldn't deal with losing. Both wrong and right. "Brother?" Damn him! Brother, indeed! Thoughtlessly beating his younger brother, so that he would lose everything. The Avengers split to let him go, not particularly worried about Loki going far. The raven-haired God looked out of the broken window onto the rubble-filled street, filled with dread. "You fools!" he hissed, turning towards them.

There was no malice in the green eyes, just fear. Green. The Avengers' were sure Loki's eyes had been blue. A very bright blue. "You've killed her! Killed them!" He walked onto the large balcony with a panicked expression. The team followed him uncertainly, watching his jerky, uncoordinated movements. "Brother." Thor was the only one brave enough - and stupid enough, in Loki's opinion - to approach him. "Who?" Loki laughed without humour.
"You have killed the only person who ever loved me." Thor shook his head.
"I love you brother."
"If you did then you wouldn't have fought me!" The young God looked to the other Avengers. "I never would've ruled you! I just had to get the Tesseract and make you believe that I was evil, and then you would've been free. I didn't want to rule you! I just wanted her safe."
"And the people you killed?" Clint fired back. Wide green eyes turned to him.
"I never wanted too, but you of all people should know about the power of mind control." The archer shut up, and finally the superheroes pieced it together.

Loki had been controlled. And now someone else, someone the man loved, would pay the price for him failing. The 'whoosh' of a portal of some sort startled them all. Loki turned his attention from them to the portal, his expression one of fear. Pure fear. Thor was stood closest to his brother, and he grabbed Loki's hand, for comfort and in case he needed to pull his sibling out of harms way. Instead of pulling away, like Thor expected, Loki squeezed back. Thor felt whole in that moment - he'd missed his little brother. So much. A body was then thrown through the portal and landed at Loki's feet.

He immediately dropped to the floor beside it, and reached out with shaking hands. A Chitauri came through too, and sneered at Loki and the prone body. "You didn't deliver. Therefore, they won't be allowed to live." Loki's scream was deafening.
"No!" Sobs ripped from the God, and he cradled the body to his chest. "Enjoy your reward." With that, the Chitauri was gone. The Avengers walked closer slowly, looking at the body Loki held. It was a woman - pale, raven-haired - in a tattered green dress. And she had a bump for a stomach. A big bump. "Pregnant." Tony muttered.
"Them." Bruce whispered in understanding. Loki sat with the woman in his lap, tears falling in a steady stream. Thor got closer and knelt by the woman's' other side. Bruce had taught him how to take a pulse on the helicarrier, so he had to check. The God gently placed two fingers to the woman's neck, hoping desperately for Loki and the unborn child's sake that there was one. Green eyes watched him, tears still falling. Thor looked up into his brothers' eyes, and saw hope bloom in them. "She's alive."

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"Help me." Loki looked to Thor, still holding the woman. Carefully, Thor reached down to help Loki get the woman up. Because of his injuries, Loki limped as they moved into the tower. It was a slow journey, a two minute stride turning into a five minutes of picking a path around rubble. The team looked on pensively as Loki and Thor gently lowered the woman to a sofa. Loki slumped down next to the sofa, legs outstretched, silent tears still making their way down his bruised face. His head was near the woman's thigh, and one of his hands clasped at the tattered dress.

"Just one question," of course, it was Tony who spoke. Loki looked up at him uncertainly, raising his head to look at the team. Tony met his gaze. "WHAT THE HELL?" Loki flinched away from the loudness of the Iron Man's voice. "Loki," Thor's softer voice sounded closer, and the young God gave him a sorry look. "Loki." Thor knelt near his brother, dropping Mjolnir by his side. Cautiously, he reached out a hand, to show he wouldn't harm him. "Will you explain? Who she is?" A timid nod was the response.

"When I fell from the Bifrost," The Trickster cleared his throat, only looking at Thor. "I fell onto a barren world, after drifting. That's where I met Lokaia."
"Lokaia?" Bruce's uncertain voice spoke up. Loki nodded to the raven-haired beauty behind him. "She is a Watcher. They are an old people and look over all that happens in the universe."
"Hence the names." muttered Tony. Steve glared at him. The God smiled at Tony's snark, and twisted his hands further in Lokaia's dress. "She helped me, took me under her wing. She loved me."
"You said the planet was barren?" Steve chipped in, voice quiet.
"Yes." Loki sighed in a resigned manner. "The Mad Titan, the most evil creature in the universe," he paused, finally looking at the other Avengers. "Thanos." Thor sucked in a breath, but the others just looked confused. Loki elaborated. "He wiped them out. The Watchers. Lokaia and her child are the only ones left." Natasha, Steve and Bruce looked to the sleeping woman with sympathy, while Clint and Tony began to look worried. "So it's not your kid?" Clint asked Loki. The Trickster shook his head.

"No. But they are my family, and Thanos got to them. He said if I didn't invade Earth and retrieve the Tesseract for him, he would kill them."
"Well he did a terrible job." Stark sniped. Loki smiled at him.
"Yes, he did. And I am grateful for that." Thor watched as his younger brother turned onto his side, a hand coming up to clutch at Lokaia's. He really is in love, thought Thor. A soft moan startled them all. Loki turned round fully, wide eyed in hope. Delicate eyelashes and eyelids fluttered, then lifted. Sparkling emeralds stared at Loki, in a soft loving gaze, before looking to the Avengers in expectation. "Well," the voice was soft, lilting, melodic. The green eyes stared evenly at them, and the full lips lifted in a half smile. "Won't you introduce me?"

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Her hands reached out to Loki, who grasped them carefully. Using his support, Lokaia pulled herself off the sofa to look at the other Avengers. She stood a few inches taller than Natasha, but was still smaller than all the men. Her long hair fell down her back in curls and waves like those described in a cheesy romance novel, and her full lips and high cheekbones accentuated her emerald eyes. Her nose was as sharp as her cheekbones, and she curved more than any woman with enhancements. She was exquisite. Even with a big baby bump and a tattered, dirty dress, she still stunned the team into a stupefied silence. Loki smirked behind her, watching the dumbstruck faces of the heroes. "I would have introduced myself earlier, but I was unconscious. I do apologise, Thanos didn't think to let me be presentable." Her sarcasm coaxed smiles from Tony and Clint. Thor also smiled, and recovered himself. "It is a pleasure to meet you Lady Lokaia." He bowed and took her hand to kiss it. She smiled at him, and winked as she moved closer to the others.

"I presume that that very polite handsome man was Thor. However, I am not familiar with the rest of you?" Lokaia's voice was soft and pleasant to listen too. It was entrancing. Tony leapt forward to offer his hand, which Lokaia took in hers carefully. "I'm Tony Stark. Genius, billionaire, playboy-"
"Philanthropist." Steve finished for him, rolling his eyes. "Steve Rogers ma'am. Pleasure." Steve bowed, and shook the offered hand. Tony shot him a playful glare, that he reciprocated. Lokaia chuckled softly at their antics, and turned to Bruce and Clint, who both shook her hand and offered small smiles. Bruce turned a bright red, which caused Tony, Loki and Clint great amusement. "You look a bit flustered there Brucie!" Tony exclaimed, laughing with Clint as the comment caused the scientists' blush to get worse. Loki merely smirked wider, enjoying Bruce's obvious discomfort.

Natasha was the last to be introduced, and she would be lying if she said she didn't feel a little intimidated. Lokaia was roughly three inches taller, and even in her current state, battered and dishevelled, she was clearly more attractive. "I take it you're the only woman on this little team." Nat nodded, and was surprised when Lokaia grasped her hand and whispered in her ear "I hope you give these boys what for honey." That startled a laugh out of Nat, and prompted Lokaia to grin at her. The men looked over at them, and Lokaia winked at them. "Us girls have to stick together right?"
"Quite." Natasha could see herself getting to like this woman. Lokaia walked back over to Loki, pressing herself into his side. Automatically, one of the Trickster's arms went around her shoulder while the other fanned over the bump in a semi-protective stance. "So," Tony began after he and Clint had stopped chuckling at Bruce. "Loki told us that Thanos destroyed your home planet, and that you looked after him after his 'fall'." Lokaia nodded in agreement.

"That is correct. I also presume he told you that the child is not his as well." They nodded. "And what Thanos threatened to do." They nodded, this time looking a bit more sour. "Well, spoiler alert, he failed." That prompted a chuckle.
"How exactly did he fail so spectacularly, if I may ask?" Clint broke in. A smirk graced Lokaia's features, making her look slightly dark and dangerous.
"Thanos should've killed me himself. Fortunately, even the scum of Chitauri have some morals, including not killing a pregnant woman."
"Helpful." Tony jibed. Lokaia smiled, her hand clutching Loki's that was resting on the bump. "Yes, helpful." She looked around the mess that was Stark tower, and then back to the team. "Now all the introductions are out the way, I have a feeling that one of you should contact base and figure out what the hell to do next." Natasha walked over to the elevator doors, reaching to press her earpiece. "Fury. We have a development." Tony snorted and looked at Loki and Lokaia, who were in each others arm, cradling the bump.
"One hell of 'development'."

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"Umm, I don't mean to intrude, but," The Avengers turned to face a very confused and bewildered Erik Selvig. "What's going on?"
"My friend." Thor smiled, walking away from Loki towards the baffled Doctor. "Come with me. I fear we have much to discuss." Wrapping his arm around Selvig's shoulders, Thor walked over to the windows, talking quietly into the doctor's ear. The ding of the elevator drew the attention of everyone bar the two men in the corner. Natasha stepped out first, striding towards Bruce with a shirt and lose pants. Fury, Hill and..."Pepper?" Tony's face transformed from smirk to shock within seconds.
"Oh my God!"

The normally reserved and put together CEO rushed towards her boyfriend, uncaring of all the people in the room. Tony, still in the armour, could only support all the weight of a crying Pepper as she flung herself into his arms. "Hey Pep, it's alright." The hand armour went back, and Tony's bare hands came up to stroke Pepper's back. "I'm still here."
"You nearly weren't." Thor and Selvig made their way back to the group, and everyone stood awkwardly while the display of affection continued. Natasha came to stand by Lokaia and Loki, and the God of Mischief turned to the former assassin. "I am sorry, Natasha." The red-head startled, then looked towards Loki, who was staring at her earnestly. "I am sorry, for what I said, when you interrogated me." Nat smiled a small smile, and looked to Lokaia, who was still in Loki's arms. The other woman smiled back, and that prompted Natasha to place a hand on Loki's arm. "I forgive you."

"Well, as touching as this is, I have some things to say." Nick Fury's loud voice cut through all the moments that were happening, disrupting the fragile peace that had settled over the group. Pepper and Tony looked to him, still in each other's arms, and the rest of them turned to face the director of S.H.I.E.L.D with weary expressions. Loki took a step back, arms tightening around Lokaia as if to protect her from Fury. "First, thank you, Avengers, for your devotion to the cause. Second, thank you Doctor Selvig for retaining some intelligence while controlled." Selvig gave an awkward nod, looking fairly out of place in a room full of youthful looking superheroes. "And thirdly," Fury whirled on Loki, who shrank back, while placing himself squarely in front of Lokaia. "What the Hell is going on here?!" He gestured to Loki and Lokaia, then looked back to the other Avengers.

"Well, long story short, Loki was controlled by Thanos, because he's in love with Lokaia. So Thanos threatened to kill Lokaia and her unborn kid if Loki didn't do as he said, but failed dramatically. As you can see." Clint took up the mantle of storyteller, staring at Fury as if to persuade him to back off. Fury did, backing away from Loki and Lokaia towards Maria, who stood next to Natasha. "So, Loki is no longer a threat to us?" Hill looked towards said God, as if asking him.
"No, I am not. I never was. But Thanos is. And we all need to stop him." Hill looked to Fury, while Tony explained everything in hushed tones to Pepper. Fury nodded to Hill who held her hand out towards Loki, Lokaia watching with a proud grin. "Welcome to the team." Loki smiled.

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Fury stood by the lift, watching the Avengers as they fussed around each other. Bruce was sat in silent contemplation on a sofa, with Clint by his side, twanging his bow string. Tony and Steve sat at the bar, quietly chattering over drinks, while Erik just looked confused. Loki and Thor stood near the window, silent, but close. The two brothers stood side by side, having an unspoken conversation with their eyes. Fury sighed heavily, and then looked to where the source of his agitation and confusion sat. Lokaia sat on a comfortable chair, cradling the bump. Natasha sat on the floor by her, while Pepper and Hill stood by either shoulder, as if trying to protect her. The whole thing was a mess to Fury. He couldn't place blame on Loki for the invasion because one, he was being manipulated by an outside force, and two, Thor would kill him if he tried. And now he not only had a massive clean-up operation but a pregnant alien to deal with too.

He sighed again, and made his way over to the group of women. He noticed Loki and, surprisingly, Thor, tense as he moved closer to them. It was as if they thought he would attack Lokaia. Nick rolled his eye. "I think, ladies, that you should take Lokaia to find some more suitable clothing and try and make her comfortable." The women all nodded in agreement, and offered arms to her. Lokaia's smile was blinding, and she used their support to stand. "Thank you, Mr..."
"Fury. Nick Fury." Lokaia nodded to him, and followed Hill and Natasha, while holding Pepper's arm. Loki made to move after them, but was stopped by Thor placing a hand on his arm. "I am confident in the ladies abilities' to look after her. Perhaps some female company will do her good." Loki still looked anxious and unsure, but let Thor pull him back to his side. Fury looked at the rest of them, looking exhausted and utterly defeated. "Time to start the clean-up boys." Tony chuckled.


The lift went up, taking the women up to Pepper and Tony's private suite. "I'm sure that dress was nice once, but I think you need something less..." Pepper floundered, looking for the word. "Tattered? Ripped? Revealing?" Lokaia smiled at her, taking sympathy. The women all chuckled. "Something along those lines." The stepped out into a very suave, modern looking apartment, giving a homely feel. "You live here?" Natasha asked as they walked through a living area and a kitchen/diner towards a bedroom. "Occasionally." Pepper replied, leading them to a spacious bedroom with a large, King-size bed and a view of the city. "It's good that the Avengers avoided this level." Hill muttered. Pepper smiled at her.
"Definitely." She opened up two doors to reveal a walk-in closet. "I'll try and look for something for you. Feel free to sit on the bed." She directed the words at Lokaia, who took the seat on the bed, sighing at the softness of the mattress.

"So, what was it like, on your planet?" Natasha inquired, sitting down beside Lokaia. "I'm kinda curious." Lokaia smiled.
"It was beautiful. Women were the usually the most powerful Watcher's, so we prayed to the Goddess of all Women, Feminaedea. It was almost like a religion, like Christianity. Feminaedea was our version of your God."
"Sounds nice." Hill murmured. Natasha nodded in agreement, smiling widely at the information.
"Women could do with being worshipped here." Lokaia looked at her curiously.
"Will you tell me what it's like to be a woman on Earth?" Natasha sighed.
"Well, it's mostly good. I mean, we have the same rights as men, mostly, and are usually given the same opportunities. But women are still looked down on as the 'lesser' sex, weaker, and more vulnerable. Some men can be very, aggressive in their views of women, claiming we aren't as good, or that we should 'know our place'. We have a lot of rights, and some equality, but we've still got a way to go." Lokaia took it all in, emerald eyes widening as Natasha told her about women on Earth.

"Well," The Watcher stated, after thinking through the information her new friend had given her. "I hope to help women's fight for equal rights, to continue the legacy of my people." Her strong words brought smiles to all the women. "I think I've got something for you." Pepper's voice made them look to her, as she emerged from the closet. She held a pair of straight-leg jeans, with a loose waist and a long, grey knitted jumper. "Will these be okay?" Lokaia smiled at her and nodded happily, looking to all her new friends. "Thank you all for helping me."
"That's fine." Hill smiled at her.
"Us girls have to stick together." Natasha winked. Pepper and Lokaia laughed, and the CEO ushered her to the on-suite bathroom where she could change.


The lift pinged, letting the rest of them know that the women were back. Natasha and Hill stepped out, Hill heading towards Fury while Nat made her way towards a flustered Bruce. All of them were in the midst of clearing the rubble, apart from Selvig who was sat at the bar with a glass of whiskey. "We dressed your girlfriend a little differently." Natasha jibed Loki, who looked towards the lift expectantly. Pepper walked out, followed by Lokaia. The jumper hung slightly off one shoulder, and easily fit over the bump, and the jeans sat below the bump, but fit. They were stuffed into her boots, which were brown with buckles and folded over at the top. Her hair hung over her shoulders, adding to the dishevelled look. Loki's mouth was open. "Every inch the modern woman." Tony winked at her, making her smile.

"Pepper was very helpful. And I am much more comfortable." Lokaia picked her way around the rubble to get to Loki's side, who gazed at her with surprise and awe. He cleared his throat awkwardly, reaching out a hand to her. She took it, and he pulled her in. "You look good." Lokaia smiled at him, throwing an arm around his neck, pressing herself closer to Loki. "Thank you." She murmured. Clint smiled at them. "Already fitting in." The rest of them laughed.

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Just over a week since the attack had passed, and The Avengers were currently living at Stark - soon to be Avengers - tower. Tony had seen that they all had rooms, with Thor, Natasha, and Loki and Lokaia on the same floor, so that Lokaia had the people she trusted most close by. The repairs to the tower were still going, but were nearly finished, thanks to the quick work of Tony and a handpicked team of builders and technicians. Natasha and Clint were currently residing in the common living space, on the sofa watching the TV, while Bruce was down in Tony's lab, just for something to do. Steve was sat at the kitchen counter, drawing, while Thor was in an armchair reading. Loki and Lokaia were in the kitchenette, Loki making coffee, and Lokaia watching the team. Over the past week, they had all become fast friends. Lokaia, Natasha, Pepper and Hill had been having 'Girly Nights', and they made Lokaia feel very welcome. She found it nice to have female company, and had made good friends in all of them.

Lokaia and Thor had also bonded fast, Thor quickly becoming like an overprotective older brother to her. Loki had been amused at first, until Thor had told him that if he hurt Lokaia, there would be consequences. That had amused the rest of them. To threaten his own brother over Lokaia was seen as funny to everyone but Loki. However, The Trickster understood Thor's protectiveness, and was glad to know that his older brother liked the woman he loved. Lokaia herself enjoyed Thor's antics, and was thrilled to have him act like her older brother. But the other men were still tentative. They felt comfortable around her, but were unsure how to act sometimes. Lokaia wanted to change that, so she decided to set about changing their actions and getting closer with them. She approached Steve first, carefully lifting herself onto a stool next to him. The girls had taken her shopping a few days ago to get her clothes of her own, and had quickly gotten her a whole wardrobe. As well as maternity wear, they had got Lokaia clothes for after the pregnancy. They'd asked JARVIS to estimate what size she'd be after giving birth, and then let Lokaia chose whatever style she wanted. She now had a collection of jeans, skirts, tops and dresses, casual, formal and dressy. They had also gotten some clothes for Thor and Loki on their trip, meaning that the Asgardian brothers had jeans and t-shirts to wear around the tower. This amused Tony to no end, and he constantly made jibes about how far the 'mighty' had fallen. The floral maternity dress Lokaia currently wore fluttered at her movement, and brushed across Steve's legs, alerting him to her presence.

"Hey." The Captain gave her a small smile, turning in her direction. Loki watched them curiously from the other side of the counter, sipping his coffee. "You doing ok?" Steve asked, nodding towards the bump. Lokaia followed his nod and smiled. "Yes. Though I am getting rather tired of the extra weight I'm carrying around." Steve chuckled at her statement, giving her a big grin. "I can imagine. Though that's all I can do." That got a laugh out of Lokaia, and she met Steve's gaze. He seemed slightly more at ease around her now, she noted. It seemed as if getting more familiar with the boys might not be that difficult after all. "I wanted to talk to you."
"Oh?" Steve turned to fully face her, a concerned look falling across his face. "I feel as if you, Bruce, Clint and Tony tread on eggshells around me. I was wondering why?" Steve shifted uncomfortably, then looked Lokaia directly in the eyes. "I suppose, we're just, a bit unsure, you know? I mean, the whole pregnancy thing really throws guys," Lokaia smiled at that. "And, also, we're not entirely sure how to bond with you, I suppose."

"Well, I would like you to feel able to talk to me. Ask me questions, if you'd like, about my world, or my people, or explain things on Earth to me. Whatever you'd like." Lokaia smiled at him, and Steve smiled back, becoming relaxed again. "Well, I hope you don't mind, but I've been drawing you." Lokaia looked surprised, but quickly gave him a reassuring smile. "May I see?" Steve nodded shyly, and handed Lokaia the pad he'd been drawing on. His work looked highly professional, perfect, realistic. He had drawn her head in profile, her and Loki together, her sitting and reading, her hands curled around the bump. The drawings were exquisite. "They're beautiful Steve. I'm flattered." Steve blushed slightly, and accepted the pad back. "I'm glad you like them." Lokaia smiled sweetly at him, and patted his arm. "I feel like I have another brother now." Steve smiled back in response.
"I consider that an honour." She smiled once more and hopped down, making her way over to Clint. "Impressive." Steve jumped, then turned to see Loki standing next to him, looking over the drawings. "You don't mind?" The Captain asked tentatively. Loki shook his head with a sincere smile.

Lokaia had sat down next to Clint, who, having overheard her conversation with Steve, felt a little more relaxed. "So, what are you and Natty doing?" Clint laughed at the nickname, causing Natasha to glare at him. "Watching a movie. It's called The Hunger Games. I like the main chick in it, Katniss. She's almost as good with a bow as me." Lokaia and Nat both laughed at Clint's bragging, and settled down to watch the film. "Am I like a brother to you?" Lokaia laughed at Clint's sudden question and his childish tone, but knew the question was serious. Clint wanted to be accepted by her too. "Yes." She squeezed his hand, and he beamed. "But you're more... a little brother than a big brother." Natasha burst into laughter, as did Thor, while Clint looked confused as to whether that was good or bad. Lokaia rose and went to go down to lab, leaving Clint to ponder over her words while Nat kept laughing.

When Lokaia got down to the lab, both Tony and Bruce were there. They were apparently studying the sceptre, Tony taking time away from the renovations. "Hey boys. Can I come join the science bros?" Toy smiled at her, while Bruce looked slightly nervous.
"Sure. We're trying to work out how the sceptre could control all those people. Any ideas?" Lokaia went to stand by Bruce, feeling him tense up. "Possibly." She looked up at Bruce. "You don't have to feel uncomfortable around me. I won't hurt you." Bruce let out a sigh of relief, tension draining out of him.
"I just thought that you, well, might not like me." Lokaia looked confused, and Tony conveniently found something else to do on the other side of the lab while the two had their discussion. "Why would I not like you, Bruce? You're kind and smart, and sweet, and very nice." Bruce blushed at her compliments, but spoke anyway.
"Well, I thought you wouldn't like since I kinda threw your, um, lover around and bruised him, a bit." Lokaia laughed, but put a hand on Bruce's arm in reassurance. "Well, I don't hate you. And it's not like Loki was not being an arse." That got Bruce to laugh, which prompted Tony to come back over.
"He was being an arse, yes." Lokaia laughed at his agreement, and the three knew that this was shaping up to be a friendship of epic proportions. As they stood, staring at the sceptre, Tony looked over to Lokaia, catching her eyes. "You're officially a Science Bro now." She chuckled, and Bruce laughed.
"Fine with me."

Chapter Text

The day after Lokaia had, well, secured her bonds with the men in the group, she and Thor found themselves alone in the common area. Clint, Steve and Natasha were off with S.H.I.E.L.D, Bruce was down in the lab, Pepper off running a company, Tony was overseeing the last of the renovations and Loki had seen fit to shut himself away in their bedroom with a computer, claiming he wanted to 'understand' Earth 'customs' and 'habits'. Thor was again curled up in a chair with a book, actually enjoying the silence. Loki had offered one or two jabs about him reading, but hadn't really done much else. In fact, Loki had barely interacted with him after Lokaia had woken up. Thor was beginning to worry. He knew his brother was reserved, and wasn't one to talk needlessly, but it seemed as if Loki had been...avoiding him. A shift of the sofa alerted him to someone else's presence. Looking over the top of the mystery novel he was reading, Thor spied that it was Lokaia who'd come to sit by him. "Hey Green." She smiled at the nickname. He'd taken to calling her that because of her preference for the colour green, and also it was the colour of her eyes. "Hey Blue." She returned (again, eye colour), shifting more to get comfortable. The bump had grown slightly more, and it was beginning to make Lokaia restless. And everyone else.

"Little one causing you trouble?" Thor asked gently, putting the book down on the side table. Lokaia nodded, moving again, a hand automatically going down to cradle the bump. The loose white jumper she wore was stretched, and the baggy shorts sat below the bump. And she still wasn't comfortable. "I feel ready to burst. Honestly, I just want this to be over." Thor smiled in sympathy, watching her as she finally got settled. "I can't begin to imagine. I think I'd go stir crazy." They laughed quietly.
"I mean. I am excited, to have a child. I can't wait to meet her, my little girl. But, everyone is so..."
"Over-protective? Careful? Treating you like you're delicate?" Lokaia beamed at him, nodding along with all of Thor's suggestions. "Exactly. And, I do love your brother, but he can be very, um, over-bearing." Thor laughed at that, understanding what Lokaia was saying. His brother treated Lokaia as if she was the most precious jewel, and should not be around or involved in anything he considered 'stressful'. While it was quite sweet, Thor could see how Loki's constant worrying and protectiveness would get on Lokaia's nerves. "Well, at least he actually talks to you." Thor muttered. Lokaia raised an eyebrow at him. Thor sighed in response.

"I just feel as if he's been avoiding me, ever since you woke up on the day of the battle, and I don't know why. I know that my brother is not and never has been particularly sociable, but I feel as if he has been shutting himself away from me every opportunity he gets. I miss him. So much." Lokaia took all of Thor's words in, considering all he said. Gently, she placed a hand on his arm, and gave him a warm, maternal smile. "I think the reason Loki has been avoiding you is because he is scared."
"Scared?" Thor asked incredulously. Lokaia nodded in conformation.
"Yes. He knows that even though he was controlled by Thanos, he is still to blame for the death and destruction here. And I think he feels that even now his reasoning is out in the open, you still blame him for it all. And he's scared of what you think of him, how you will treat him, if he gets close. So you need to talk to him. And soon." Thor listened intently, and realised the wisdom behind Lokaia's words. She was right, he knew. Now he just had to find a way to talk to his brother without Loki shying away. "I thank you for your wise council, Lady Lokaia. It is most helpful, and I indeed agree that I must speak to Loki soon. Your words make sense." Lokaia smiled at him, and moved to lean back against the sofa. "I am glad I have helped you. You know, Thor?" The God looked to her curiously. "I always wanted a brother." Thor smiled back, and then got up.
It was time to talk to Loki.

Chapter Text

After his chat with Lokaia, Thor decided that he needed to talk with Loki. Now. He walked along to the room his brother and Lokaia shared, a nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach. Lokaia's explanation had made sense, but it had him worried. If Loki was scared of Thor, would he really want to talk to him? he took a breath and knocked on the door anyway. "You know Kaia, I was just comin- oh. It's you." Loki looked down, the smile that had been on his face when he opened the door disappearing completely. That hurt Thor. He didn't want his little brother to be afraid of him. He was supposed to be his protector, his saviour, not an enemy to be frightened of. "Loki," He started, softly, as if he was taking to a child who could be easily spooked. "I would like to talk to you." Loki looked at Thor from under his lashes, shyly. "Please." His brother nodded and opened the door wider to let him in. As Thor entered, he took in the room.

There was a large floor to ceiling window, with a desk slightly to the left. It had the laptop Loki'd been using sat in the centre, with books and papers and stationary spread out around it. The bed was in the corner of the room, king-size and four poster. The drape and sheets were both emerald green, matching the curtains on the window. The walls were a light magnolia, with a wooden panelled door obviously leading to a on-suite bathroom. There was another door on the opposite side of the room, leading to a walk-in-wardrobe, large. There were drawers on the other side of the door in a dark oak, and two oak doors opened by the closet to lead to a private sitting room, with a small kitchenette area, and another door off to the side leading to some sort of den, Thor presumed. It was a lovely set of rooms, and clearly Stark had tried to make both Loki and Lokaia comfortable. "It's, um, nice here. Stark and Miss Potts really did good work-"
"What do you want Thor?" Loki's tone was sharp, defensive, as if he was trying to protect himself. Thor sighed heavily. This wasn't going to be easy. "Loki, believe me, I just want to talk to you. I want to understand why you've been avoiding me."
"Did you ever think I was avoiding you because I don't want to be around you?" The younger fired back, voice raising, trying to goad Thor into a fight. If Lokaia's words weren't still ricocheting around his head, Thor may have given in. But he didn't want to add to Loki's fear.

"Loki, please, stop trying to push me away. I will not add to your fear of me!"
"Fear? FEAR?! I DO NOT FEAR YOU, ALMIGHTY THOR, GOD OF THUNDER!! I AM ABOVE YOU, ABOVE TRIVIAL, SENTIMENTAL-"
"LOKI, STOP!!" Thor's voice echoed around the room, and he internally cringed at the way it made Loki flinch away from him. "Loki, please, listen to me, please." Thor held out his hands as a gesture of peace, staying at the distance away from Loki that he was. "I talked to Lokaia, and she advised me on what to do. She told me that you had been avoiding me because you're scared. Scared that I don't trust you, that I will hurt you because I think you're evil. But I don't Loki, I don't! I understand that you weren't in control, and that you wanted to save Kaia. I understand Loki, and I will never hurt you. Not for that. Not for protecting your family. Please, Loki, please don't shut me out, not again. Little brother." Thor reached out a hand, tentatively, watching Loki. He'd gone still when Thor shouted, and remained still, with shock frozen on his features. "Brother, please. I will not hurt you. Please." Thor took one step closer, praying that his honesty wouldn't make Loki retreat. His brother didn't. He flung himself into Thor's arms.

Thor stumbled, from the force of the hug, but wrapped his arms around Loki, clutching him close. The smell of him, the feel of him was overwhelming. Thor had missed him. "Oh, Loki." He reached a hand up to stroke his brother's hair, keeping him close. "Loki, I will never hurt you. Never. I'm your big brother, I'm supposed to protect you." A sound that was like a choked sob came from his brother, who had his face buried in Thor's neck. "I was just trying to protect them." The Mischief God muttered through his tears. He kept his hold on Thor, which surprised the older God. "I know Loki. And I don't blame you." Loki stepped back slightly, but gripped Thor's arms like an anchor. "I know that there is more to talk about Thor, but I can't. I can't do it, not today." He looked at Thor with tears still falling, face open, showing his fear. Loki so rarely showed his vulnerability, even to Thor. Frigga tended to be the only one to be able to break through, but Loki kept even her at a distance most of the time. This was an opportunity for Thor. "That's okay, Loki. We have time, brother." Thor brought Loki back in for another hug, as if hugging his brother would keep everything else away. "We'll figure it out, together. But through talking, alright?" Loki let out a wet chuckle, and nodded. "Alright. But first I need to talk to Kaia about telling you things."
"Be glad she did, otherwise you wouldn't be having this amazing hug right now." Loki slapped his arm and pulled away, but gave him a genuine smile. Things weren't fixed completely, but it was a start. Of course, while Thor was having these thoughts, Loki threw a pen at him. Thor looked towards him, confused. "Sentiment."
Thor laughed at him.

Chapter Text

"I've got a mission." The team looked up as Steve announced his presence. "There's a group of rogue agents that S.H.I.E.L.D want us to take down."
"They can't be arsed to do it themselves?" Tony sniped from where he was laying on a sofa, reading new schematics for a new suit. Steve smiled at him, while Nat gave him a look that said 'clearly'. "Let's go." Lokaia stood, and was almost immediately pushed back down by Clint, who had stood to approach Steve. "And where do you think you're going young lady?" Kaia smirked at him, standing again and dodging his hand. "I'm coming too."
"Absolutely not!" Tony, Steve, Bruce, Clint and Thor chorused together. Nat and Loki just smirked.
"Absolutely yes." Kaia countered, and walked to the lift to go up to her room and change. Loki followed her, a smirk still present. "Well, you tried." Tony made a face at the God's sarcasm, which caused Natasha to laugh as she walked away with Clint. Steve hung his head in defeat. "Suit up." He called, resigned.




"This is not how I planned to spend my day!" Clint wheezed, firing another arrow at another agent. There weren't many of them, but they were smart and had a lot of hi-tech devices to help them. "Same here buddy." Tony replied, firing another blast. The agent used some sort of hi-tech shield to dodge the blast, but was caught off-guard by the sharp end of Loki's sceptre. "Oops." The Mischief God smiled, directly at Tony, then disappeared. "I wish I could do that." Tony muttered, swerving upwards to overlook the whole area. He could see Steve in combat with two agents, blocking and defending blows. Loki and Natasha were fighting about five of them, back to back, while Clint was following one that was running towards the Quinjet where Bruce was, and Lokaia and Thor had the other four on the ropes. Everything was going well, Tony thought. Too well. A sudden blast from the section of the forest surrounding the base that Thor and Lokaia were in startled them all. Tony momentarily blacked out, but came too quickly and flew to the source of the blast. He could see the others running below him.

"Kaia!" Though Tony had the advantage of flying, Loki got there first, green eyes rife with panic. "Brother!" Tony landed as the other Avengers cleared the trees, Bruce emerging from the Quinjet to come to them. Thor's red cape had been flung over them, as a quick reaction. Slowly it lowered, revealing Thor curled over Lokaia, using his body to shield hers. "We're okay." He reassured, but Loki was down on his knees, Thor's face in his hands, turning it this way and that. "You say that." They all looked down to Kaia, who was clutching her stomach and breathing heavily. Loki turned his attentions to his lover, panic rising to the surface again. "What's wrong, my love? Did something hit you?" Thor rose, and the Avengers looked on in uncertainty. "I'm in labour."
"Shit." Tony's reaction got several nods of agreement, all of the team instantly panicked and on high alert. "Guys, there are still agents, and they're headed our way." Natasha alerted them to another problem.
"Of course, this is perfect, exactly what I need!" Tony growled frustrated. He looked at Steve imploringly. "Any way of getting Kaia back to the Quinjet?" Steve shook his head, motioning to Natasha, who promptly replied "Agents coming from that direction too."
"Shit!" Tony exclaimed again. Loki was cradling Lokaia against him, squeezing her free hand and breathing with her. "Get them someplace safe." Thor picked up Lokaia, who still clutched Loki's hand and placed them behind a dense copse of trees and bushes. "Bruce, Natasha, stay with them. We'll fight." Bruce and Natasha nodded, exchanging places with Thor, who came to join the fight. "All right Avengers. Biggest challenge yet. Delivering a baby. Lets go." They watched the agents burst through the tree line, and began a vicious attack. Lokaia's screams of pain joined them. They needed to do this quick.

Chapter Text

"AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
"FUCKING HELL, THIS HURTS! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Lokaia's screams took over the sounds of the fighting. Natasha and Bruce were the best bet at getting the baby delivered, but they weren't properly trained. And, Lokaia was an alien, so it was slightly different to a human birth. Loki was sat behind Lokaia, her back leaning against his torso, both his hands clamped in hers. His face was pinched with worry and panic, and he flinched slightly with every scream. "I think you're fully dilated." Nat's voice spoke up from between Lokaia's legs, where she was kneeling. Bruce was stood behind her, eyes flitting between the screaming woman and the raging battle. The body of an agent crashed into a nearby tree, making Bruce flinch and gasp. "BRUCE!" Natasha's voice brought the Doctor's attention to Lokaia. And the pool of blood between her legs. "Even I know that's not normal."

Natasha moved to let Bruce kneel in her place. "There's blood in birth, but not this much." Lokaia grunted, and strained, and then looked through hazy eyes towards Bruce. "Alien, dear." She ground out, then let out a scream of anguish.
"Ahh." Bruce stayed where he was, Natasha hovering by his side, with a comforting hand on Kaia's knee. "Okay, Kaia, you need to push. I know it hurts, but you have to push, with all your might." Kaia nodded, then gripped Loki's hands tighter. The God of Mischief was glad that he wasn't a mortal, for he feared his hands might be broken by now, with the force behind Lokaia's grip. More blood pooled at Lokaia's feet and she screamed again, straining against the push of her body. "How are we going guys?" Tony's voice came over the comms, while he, Steve, Thor and Clint pushed the agents back from them.

"Well, Lokaia is still in pain and honestly looks like she's going to bleed out before this baby gets here, but apart from that, we're fine. How're you?" Bruce replied, worried and stressed. There was a LOT of blood. Too much, by his standards. "Well, shit!" Tony replied, his repulsors blasting another agent. "Cap and Clint have got the last two agents on the run, we're coming back to you." Bruce wasn't sure whether that was reassuring, or more stress to worry about. Lokaia screamed again, even louder, bringing Bruce's attention back to the woman giving birth in the middle of the forest. "Right, yes, sorry. Push again." Kaia panted heavily in response, leaning back against Loki. He moved one hand from hers to stroke her sweaty hair, not daring to glance down her body. "It's okay, my love, you're doing well. So well. Just keep going, you have the strength to do this, I know you do." Loki continued whispering until a hand on his shoulder startled him.

Thor stood by him, watching him with concern. "Okay?" He asked Loki. His little brother nodded at him, before turning his attention back to the panting woman in his arms. "Come on Kaia, you can do it. You can my emerald."
"Push!" Bruce encouraged, and Lokaia strained once more. Natasha was rubbing her side soothingly, trying to take her mind away from some of the pain. It was only somewhat working. "And again Kaia, keep pushing. And BREATHE!"
"You think?!" Kaia yelled, and immediately went back to panting. At that moment, Tony, Clint and Steve all chose to come crashing round the corner of the bushes, and regretted it. "Man that is a lot of blood!" Clint yelled, looking away. Steve went scarlet, not used to seeing anything like this. Tony, on the other hand, looked almost calm. "So, how we doing here?"

"This FUCKING HURTS, that's how we're doing!!" Lokaia yelled in response, clenching Loki's hands as she pushed again, a wail escaping. Tony winced at the yell, but looked to Bruce. "How can I help?" Bruce kept his eyes on Lokaia, watching to see if the baby was beginning to emerge, but gave Tony directions. "I need Nat's help, I think the baby is starting to crown, so take her place." Tony nodded in assent, and, quickly as he could, took Natasha's place. "Nat, I need you to widen Kaia's legs so we're ready for the baby. And I need some cloth or a jacket to wrap it in." Steve and Thor shared a look, and Steve ripped part of Thor's cloak. He handed it to Bruce, trying desperately not to look down. It wasn't just the blood that was bothering him, but Lokaia's bared, well, lady parts. He knew that she couldn't exactly give birth with her skirt below her knees, but Steve wasn't comfortable around scantily clad women. Or, just women, for that matter. Bruce snatched the cloth from him, just as Lokaia began to scream louder. "Okay, the baby has crowned, she's coming out. Keep pushing, Lokaia, you're doing really well." Loki stroked her forehead, Tony stroked her side, Steve held one hand, Clint touching it as well, and Thor grasped his brother's shoulder. "Push!"
"Push!"
"One last time!"
"AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!" Then the crying started. Loud, ear-splitting. But it replaced the screams. Lokaia slumped as soon as it started, her hands falling to the ground loosely. Her head was slumped on Loki's chest, and he stroked her hair back, grateful that the ordeal was over.

Bruce tore a part off his own shirt to clean some of the blood and amniotic fluid off the baby, then wrapped her in the piece of Thor's cloak. Nat let go of Lokaia's legs, and they fell. Natasha pulled down her skirt for decency, and smiled at a completely exhausted Lokaia. "You did it." Bruce handed Nat the baby, who placed her into Lokaia's arms. Loki supported her from behind, a huge smile on his face. "You did it! I'm so proud of you." He nuzzled her cheek, and looked down at the tiny pink body in his lover's arms. Bruce looked like he was about to fall over. He was happy of course, but it was exhausting, delivering a baby. He couldn't imagine how Lokaia felt. "Well guys," Tony stood up, knees cracking. "I suggest we load up the Quinjet and get the hell out of here." There were murmurs of agreement. Then the billionaire looked to Lokaia, uncertain. "One question, Kaia?" Said woman looked up, pale, but happy face, focussed on Tony. "Can you walk?" Lokaia scrunched up her nose. "I'll think about it." Loki chuckled happily. Delivering baby, done. Now they just had to get back to the tower. With a very small, new baby. Easy. Tony just smiled.

Chapter Text

Hill and Pepper were stood in the common longue of Avengers tower, desperately trying not to worry. They knew that the Avengers had been called out on a mission to deal with rogue agents, but the last contact they'd received was Tony saying that they had a very big problem. And they didn't know what it was. "They've been gone for so long." Pepper paced, her heels tapping with every step she took. Hill was paying more attention to the screens, trying to track the Avengers through Tony's suit. She was having little success. "What do you think's happened?" Pepper kept going, looking pensively out the windows that overlooked New York.
"Pepper, I respect you, but you need to stop talking. I'm trying to concentrate." Hill spared a glance at the CEO, and felt sympathy for her. But she really did have to concentrate. "Sorry." Pepper murmured. She stood still suddenly, watching the city below her move. Pepper spied a couple down on the street, walking together. The woman was heavily pregnant, and her partner was keeping his arm around her. It inspired a sudden realisation in Pepper.

"Shit!" Maria looked at the CEO in alarm, unsure what had caused the outburst. Pepper looked towards her, fear written worse her face. "You don't think that Lokaia went into labour, do you?" That was the worst thing that could've happened, and Maria had a sneaking suspicion that it had. "Oh crap." Maria looked at the screens, showing her the last images of the Avenger's fighting HYDRA agents. As her and Pepper began to find people to call, a voice interrupted them. "I'm sorry Miss Potts, Miss Hill, but this lady was very insistent she see you." They turned, and came face to face with a frantic looking Jane Foster. " Just one question right now," The manic looking scientist stated. "Where is Thor?" The other two women shared a look. This day kept getting better and better.

Chapter Text

Jane was pacing the floor, waiting for something, some news. Maria and Pepper had been very understanding once she'd explained who she was and her connection to Thor. They'd sat her down and told her all about the events after New York, and how Lokaia was probably in labour and that's what was causing the delay. Jane understood that, and knew that Maria had received a signal that meant they were on their way back. but she was still worried and confused. She paced some more, worried not just for Thor but for the poor woman who had to give birth in the middle of the forest. Waiting was torture - were they all okay? How was the poor little new-born? What was going on with Thor and Loki? Jane felt sorry for Maria and Pepper, they must be so stressed, working and keeping track of all these problems. Pepper came over to her, a hand gently placed on her arm. Jane took in the immaculate lilac nails and gorgeous rings that adorned Pepper's slim fingers. Her classy pale grey suit, and her tall sliver stilettos. Her beautiful golden hair with hints of red done up in a perfect topknot, with her Blackberry as a constant companion. Everything Jane wasn't. She could see why Pepper was in so many magazines, and why someone like Tony Stark would fall in love with her.

"Hey, are you okay Jane?" The scientist smiled grimly at her, waving her hand.
"Kind of. Just worried sick." Pepper smiled again, and took her arm to guide her towards the lift.
"Why don't you go and take a shower in the penthouse? I'll sort out some fresh clothes for you, and hopefully they'll all be back by then." Jane nodded - a shower sounded amazing right now. "Yes, please." Pepper nodded, and led Jane towards the lift, telling Maria that she was taking Jane up for a shower. Stepping out into the floor, Jane was amazed. It was far more chic than she'd ever expected, although, with a woman of Pepper's taste, she really shouldn't be surprised. "It's beautiful up here." Pepper chuckled lightly, nodding her head in assent. "Yes it is. The shower's right through here, I'll go find you some fresh clothes. They'll be fine, Jane." Pepper squeezed her shoulder, and Jane smiled back before heading for the relaxing waters of the high-power steam shower.

When Jane emerged, wrapped in the biggest, fluffiest towel she'd ever seen in her life, Pepper was perched on the double bed with some clothes neatly folded beside her, tapping away on her blackberry. She looked up and smiled, and handed the clothes to Jane. "I'll wait outside for you. The team should be back soon."
"Thanks." Jane nodded to Pepper as the other woman stepped outside. Turning to the pile of clothes, Jane rifled through them. She knew there weren't many women in the tower, only Pepper, Natasha and Lokaia, and Pepper was far taller than her. She also assumed Lokaia was too, as the clothes seemed more suited to Natasha's smaller stature. She pulled on the skinny jeans, and loose red jumper, and slipped on the little pumps Pepper had left. She felt much better after that shower, and much more relaxed. That, of course, was when Pepper burst through the door, yelling "They're back!" Jane immediately followed the woman to the lift to get down to Avengers normal level.

The doors opened to reveal Maria hugging a very exhausted looking Steve, while the others were gathered in a lose half circle around Loki and Lokaia. "Tony!" Pepper cried and flung herself onto her boyfriend. "Hey Pep. I'm okay. We all are." Jane made her way through, and gave smiles and nods to everyone, and Natasha gave her a smirk when she noticed Jane's clothing. Finally, she saw Thor. "Thor." She stated quietly. The blonde demigod looked away from the bundle in Lokaia's arms towards the scientist.
"Jane!" Thor exclaimed quietly, walking towards her. "I am sorry I did not contact you sooner, but there was much going on, what with Loki, and of course Lokaia, and..."
"Thor, it's okay." Jane thought she would be angry, but she wasn't. Thor had a lot going on. Helping his brother overcome mind control, dealing with a pregnant alien and having missions with the Avengers. It wasn't his fault Jane was at the back of his mind. "Will you introduce me?" She gestured to Loki and his little grouping. Pepper and Maria were admiring the baby, while the other Avengers were grouped behind them, smiling fondly, but covered in dust, snow and some blood.

Thor walked her over, and Pepper and Maria let them be. "Loki, Lokaia, this is my, um, partner," Thor finally settled on that. "Jane. Jane, my brother and sister-in-law and my niece." Thor stated proudly. Loki smiled graciously at Jane, and dipped his head in a parody of a bow. She returned it, then looked to Lokaia. She was right, the woman was definitely taller than her, and strikingly beautiful, despite the fact that she was covered in a bloodstained drees with matted hair and holding a new-born baby. "Hello Jane. A pleasure to meet the woman who captured Thor's heart." Jane blushed, but turned her attention to the baby. A new-born baby was never going to be pretty, but she would certainly grow into a pretty girl. Wrapped in Thor's red cloak, the scarlet bought out the bright green eyes in her small chubby face, and made her look fairly pale. She stared sedately up at Jane, blinking occasionally. No crying, or screaming, like you'd expect from a new-born. Just a quiet baby being cradled below her mothers' breast, blinking at a new world. For now, they had peace.

Chapter Text

Lokaia, was, of course, exhausted. She was currently resting on the sofa in the common room, cradling her baby still. The others had all gone to have showers and fill in mission reports, but Lokaia was unwilling to leave her new-born daughter for even a few minutes to have a quick shower. Jane, Pepper and Maria were sat across from her, smiling and talking quietly so as not to startle the baby. Lokaia couldn't believe it. It felt like she had been pregnant forever, and she had finally overcome it. Although, giving birth in a forest surrounded by HYDRA goons wasn't exactly what she imagined, she'd done it. Her daughter was so peaceful, lying in the torn scrap of Thor's cloak. She was asleep now, snuffling occasionally, wiggling her small fingers. The sound of the lift arriving caught Lokaia's attention, and she watched as the Avengers strolled across the room to her.

Loki had been reluctant to leave her, but she convinced him that she wouldn't let him near her or the baby unless he went to wash the blood and sweat off him. That had provoked him to running off as fast as he could. He was first over, carefully taking a place by Lokaia's side on the sofa, making sure he didn't jostle her. Thor followed his brother after dropping a kiss on Jane's head, making the scientist giggle and blush. Tony stood by Pepper's side, Steve by Maria's and Bruce, Clint and Natasha sat on various armchairs. "So," Clint started quietly, giving the baby a fond smile. "We have a baby to look after now."
"The start of the next generation of Avengers!" Natasha joined in, and Loki snorted quietly.
"You wish Spider! Our child will be Queen of Asgard one day." Loki smiled proudly, and they all noted the way he had said 'our child'. Clearly, both him and Lokaia felt that this baby was their daughter, despite her not biologically being Loki's.

"And what if I have a child Loki? After all, I am currently first in line to the throne." Thor teased his brother, giving him and his little family a fond smile. Loki looked away from his sleeping child to mock-glare at Thor. "As if any child you have will ever gain Mother's favour after she meets our daughter. Unless they predominantly contain Jane's genes, then I think not." Thor laughed as quietly as he was able, and Jane blushed from the compliment, not yet used to Loki's teasing and mischievous manner.
"Can I ask something?" Tony ventured, coming slightly closer to Lokaia. She nodded in assent, looking to him but still gently rocking her baby. "I know you're an alien, so you have different biology to us, and the Asgardians. So, how will she differ?" Tony gestured to the baby. Lokaia supposed it was a fair question, as The Avengers would be living with her, and possibly helping to raise her.

"Watchers grow up very fast. This means in two months, she will be, in human terms, about five years old. As we got older, our aging slows down significantly. I, for instance am thousands of years old, but look much younger."
"You look about twenty-five, if that." Bruce piped up from behind Tony. "It's fascinating." Lokaia gave the scientist a smile, then turned her gaze back to Tony.
"Does that answer your question?" Tony nodded, looking somewhat relieved. Steve and Bruce did as well.
"As nice as it is to have a child around, a baby is not ideal." Lokaia understood that, and was glad to have given them all some peace of mind. "Well," Stark added, gaining everyone's attention. "Guess we need to sort out a bedroom for her."

Chapter Text

"Well I am shocked." Tony walked into the lounge to find Lokaia and her baby, with a difference. Since Lokaia wasn't pregnant anymore, her figure was that of a very slim woman, so she was wearing her new wardrobe. She had on a long floral skirt and a loose button-up blouse, with a pair of light blue pumps. She was curled up on the sofa, cradling the baby to her chest. "A change Miss Lokaia." He said and sat by her side. She gave him a sarcastic smile in response, and he grinned back. Loki and Thor emerged from the kitchenette, and Natasha, Clint and Steve bounded in from the training rooms, slightly sweaty but content. Pepper, Jane, Bruce and Maria all emerged from the lift, along with Fury. "Mr Fury." Loki nodded to the Director, who nodded back. "Thought I'd come and see the new arrival." Fury stated in surprisingly quiet voice. The team all gathered around Lokaia, Pepper snuggling into Tony's side and Loki standing behind the sofa in a protective stance.

"Hello Nick." Fury smiled at Lokaia, and bent down to get a closer look. The baby blinked green eyes at him, just like her mothers', and her soft downy hair looked dark already. Her bow lips were pursed, her forehead creased, as if she was deep in thought. "She's bigger than yesterday." Bruce stated, taking notes on a piece of scrap paper.
"Yes." Lokaia agreed, watching Fury pull silly faces at her daughter who gave soft noises of happiness in return. "She will be the size of a human five year old in about two months, so she'll grow fast." Bruce was eagerly jotting down more notes, while Natasha peeked at them from over his shoulder, stood on tiptoes. "You thought of a name yet?" Steve asked, joining Fury in cooing over the little girl. Loki looked expectantly at Lokaia, knowing that they'd discussed the name last night.

"As a matter of fact Star, I have." Steve smiled at the nickname and continued making faces at the baby. "I wasn't completely sure, but after some thought, I decided on my mothers' name. Lorelei. Li for short."
"I like that. Unusual but pretty." Steve replied, straightening up and smiling down at Lokaia. The Watcher agreed, happy with the reactions the team gave, all sweet smiles and coos at the little girl in her arms. Steve moved out the way to let Tony and Bruce coo over Lorelei, as she blinked her big green eyes up at them. Clint and Nick also took their turns, and then Lorelei was handed around the women, spending ten minutes in the arms of Maria first, then Natasha, Pepper and finally Jane. Loki watched, a hand on Lokaia's shoulder, the other clutching Thor's, eying Lorelei as she giggled and cooed back at the women and any of the men that peeked over their shoulders.

"She may not share your blood Loki, but she is already astoundingly like you." Thor smiled at his brother, seeing his lips raise in a half smile, eyes still trained on Lorelei. "Oh really, Thor?" Loki's tone was teasing, his lips quirked in a smirk. "Yes. You would often smile and coo at the people holding you, especially me and mother. Although, you often pouted at father, or would bare your gums, like you were trying to threaten him!" Tor laughed, and Loki joined in with a chuckle. "I would never insult the All-Father like that Thor!" Their laughter died down, and Loki's expression became contemplative. "Do you think I will ever be able to see Mother again?" Thor faced his brother, sombre. "Of course Loki. Mother would delight in seeing you again. She was distraught to loose you. And she would, of course, love to meet Lorelei." Loki gave a smile at that, and squeezed his brother's hand, watching as Lorelei was handed back to her mother. "Thank you Thor."
The blonde God smiled back, and clutched his little brother's hand. "Anytime Loki."

Chapter Text

"Where are you going little Miss?!" A giggle emitted from the little girl as Steve picked her up and spun her around.
"Only to see mommy, Uncle Steve!!" The girl giggled again. Steve put her down, and she clutched onto his hands, her tiny ones dwarfed by his large, calloused ones. At two months, Lorelei now looked like a five year old human child. She was small, for her 'age', but beautiful. She had long black hair that waved gently like her mothers, and startling green eyes, similar to both Lokaia and Loki. She had a face that was sharp angles and high cheekbones, despite still having 'baby' fat. Her bow lips were very pink, and usually always curved in a smile. Despite having only been around for two months, she was a key part of the Avengers family. While Loki and Lokaia were undoubtedly her parents, and therefore her favourites (she even called Loki 'dad', despite being aware that he biologically wasn't. It made him smile everytime), she loved all the other adults. She loved playing rough with Thor and Steve, delighting in their strength and being able to spin her and pick her up easily. Natasha fascinated her by speaking all manner of languages, including and mainly, Russian. Lorelei always seemed enchanted and spent hours with Auntie Natty reading to her in any language she desired. She'd even begun to learn some Russian so that they could read together, Natasha happily tutoring her. Tony and Bruce were just as fun as Thor and Steve, in an entirely different way. They let her in the labs and the workshops if it wasn't a 'Top Secret' project or something dangerous, and she delighted in playing with DUM-E and U, as well as JARVIS. The AI had become fond of the little girl fast, just like everyone else, and often referred to her as "Mistress Lorelei" which made the girl giggle loudly. Tony was her favourite though, because he was just awesome. He'd let her help repair his suits, and given her her own mini lab in the corner of his workshop, and was always prepared to spend time with her.

Of course, Jane now lived at the tower, with Darcy and Erik coming to visit regularly. Lorelei loved this, as Erik would tell her all about Norse mythology and the stories that people had made up about her dad and Uncle Thor. Darcy would sit and play board games with her and let her listen to music on her iPod. Jane would often watch TV with Lorelei when she needed a break from work, and read with her occasionally. Maria and Fury dropped in often enough that Lorelei was used to them. Maria would often bring her little treats, like an expensive cream cake from a nice patisserie, or a colouring book full of dinosaurs. Fury had gained the little girl's love too, as he often let her play with his eye patch if he sat down, or would wrap her up in his leather coat and tell her that she was director now. That made her laugh a lot, as well as the other adults. Uncle Clint was fun as well, teaching her to be a spy like him and Auntie Natty, and telling her all sorts of wild stories. Lorelei loved all her aunts and uncles, but Auntie Pepper was definitely her favourite. She didn't see her very often, as Uncle Tony had explained that she was really busy running her company, but when she did, Lorelei loved every moment. Pepper would often bake with her, and they'd made cookies and cakes and all sorts of fun treats. Also, the little girl was enamoured with Pepper's wardrobe and looks. She always looked flawless, even in lounge wear with minimal make-up. Pepper would let her spend hours looking through her clothes and shoes, picking favourites and things she'd like to try on when she got older. Sometimes, Jane and Natasha, and Maria too if she was there, would come and play dress up, letting Lorelei - under Pepper's careful guidance - apply make-up to them and pick outfits for them from Pepper's closet. Sometimes mommy would join in too, if she wasn't too busy, and Lorelei loved that.

After Lorelei's birth, Lokaia and Loki seldom left Lorelei alone. There was always one of them, if not the both of them, with her. After the first two weeks, as Lorelei weaned off milk and became closer to the size of a one year old, Loki and Lokaia were happier to leave her alone with the Avengers and go off on what Tony had dubbed their 'escape nights'. As long as there were at least two Avengers actually watching her, and another one around or in the near vicinity of the tower, the two, admittedly slightly paranoid, parents were happy to leave her. As she grew and began to develop her own personality and feelings, they felt more and more comfortable leaving her alone. Loki and Thor went on missions quiet a bit - after all, two literal Gods often put a stop to whatever crime or HYDRA mission was going on that needed the Avengers. So, although Loki was around, he was often busy. Lokaia was also often busy. She went out on the occasional mission, and her and Loki did a lot of press work with Pepper and Tony's help to get the public on their side. She was also very active on a number of projects, helping disadvantaged women and girls all around the world with a number of problems, from education to marriage to abortion. She also did work for charities' and agencies which helped all victims of hate crimes and domestic violence, supported the LGBT+ community and as many ethnic minorities and poor areas as she could. As a result, she was often in her and Loki's suite, in the bedroom at her desk, in the office Tony had built for her, or in the den/lounge. She did try and do work in the common area, so that she could spend time with Lorelei while working. She did, of course, try and set aside time for her daughter, and always made an effort to spend at least an hour every day just focusing on Lorelei and whatever the little girl wanted to do.

Lokaia herself had become a main part of the family, accepted by everyone. She would come and work in labs with Bruce and Tony, with her own work or to help them. She spent time sparring with Steve and Thor, and posing for Steve's drawings, or reading in silence with her brother-in-law. She and Loki had date nights, and she would learn all about the different parts of the world from Natasha, Clint, Darcy, Jane and Erik. She would talk to Maria and Fury about developing SHIELD to deal with 'aliens', teaching them about the universe. She would hang out with Pepper and have movie nights, and from that had decided on a girls night every month. This was for her, Pepper, Natasha, Jane, Darcy and Maria, if the latter two were around. They would talk endlessly, drink wine and beer, watch movies, dance and all sorts. It was a perfect family atmosphere that had been created, with everyone getting along and feeling good about it. Of course, it couldn't last. "Mommy's a bit busy Li. Why don't you come and watch TV with me?" Steve suggested. The girl sighed, but followed the super-soldier to the couch, climbing onto him easily. "What do you want to watch Li?" Steve smiled down at her, and Lorelei forgot her annoyance. She enjoyed watching TV with Steve because he'd let her choose whatever she wanted, even if he'd been watching something else first. "Tom and Jerry!" She exclaimed, settling back easily against Steve's broad chest. He laughed at that, but put it on anyway, wrapping his arms around the little girl in his lap. About half way through, the rest of the Avengers emerged from where they'd all been earlier. And they didn't look happy. Lorelei and Steve both immediately caught on. The Captain switched the TV off, and Lorelei bounded out of his arms into Loki's. The God of Mischief picked her up easily, settling her on his hip. She pressed a kiss to his cheek, and his arms relaxed around her slightly.

Lokaia and Thor took places by Loki's side, and Jane and Natasha were close by. Pepper had her arm around Tony, who was shaking slightly, and Clint and Bruce looked sour. Maria and Fury weren't looking too happy either. "What's going on?" Fury stepped forward, sighing heavily.
"SHIELD have encountered a number of problems. First and foremost, there are clear signs of an organization growing within SHIELD. We believe it's been there for sometime, and has increased beyond what we can detect." Steve went pale, and Natasha stepped forward to grip his arm supportively.
"HYDRA." Fury nodded in agreement.
"We believe so yes, and we have discovered a number of files on their activities. It appears that Stark's parents were assassinated by an 'asset' of HYDRA's called The Winter Soldier. Agent Romanoff encountered him a few years back." Natasha took up the rains, her dainty hand still holding Steve's almost comically, in comparison, large arm.
"He had no mercy. He was savage, shot through me to get to his target. Most of the intelligence community don't believe he exists." She told Steve, who was getting paler by the minute.
"He killed Howard?" Was what he got out, quiet. Tony nodded stiffly, and Pepper gave him a half hug, one arm around the genius' waist and one around his front, a hand on his arm.
"He killed both Howard and Maria Stark, to extract the blood samples Howard was carrying." Maria filled in. She met Steve's gaze. "Blood samples containing the last of the Serum." Steve froze.
"That's not the only problem though." Fury continued. "In the last few months, there have been a number of deadly explosions caused by a terrorist known as The Mandarin. The explosions all have a similar heat signature, but something's off. Stark is going to take a look at it, with some help from Doctor Banner and his friend Colonel Rhodes." Tony nodded at that, and Fury turned his full attention on Steve. "You, Agents Romanoff and Barton, and Thor, if the need arises for a big battle, will help root out HYDRA, discreetly, I hope. We don't need to give the media a reason to hate us." Everyone seemed happy with that, and stood in their group a little longer after Fury and Maria had left - after a ruffle of Lorelei's hair of course - thinking quietly.

"Thor, Loki, Lokaia and Jane are going to stay at the tower." Pepper stated, startling them all. "Sorry." she added after their flinches. "I'm going to go to SI headquarters, I've got a lot of work to catch up on. I'll try and visit though?" She looked at Lorelei when she said that, and the girl smiled at her in agreement. "Tony and Bruce are going to go to the Malibu house, and work from there. If you need them, just call." Everyone nodded. "Okay, Steve, Nat and Clint, you take on Fury's mission. Try and get in contact as often as you can, so we know where we all are." That settled everyone down a bit. Jane piped up.
"Actually, Pepper, I could help Tony and Bruce? I could still stay here," she added, at Lokaia and Thor's worried looks. "But I could do what I can from the Tower."
"Good idea Jane, me and Bruce will stay in contact with you as much as possible." Tony agreed. He moved away from Pepper, dropped a kiss on Lorelei's cheek and headed for the lift. "I'm gonna go pack, Brucie-bear, get cracking!"
"Right!" Bruce cleared his throat, smiled awkwardly at everyone, though gave a sweet quirk of lips at Natasha, and kissed Lorelei and Lokaia's cheeks. "See you soon guys, stay safe." He followed Tony to the elevator, turning at the last second to wave. "Come back soon!" Lorelei called after them, earning a smile from both men. "We'll try Little Raven." Tony called, getting a giggle for the nickname. Steve, Natasha and Clint were spurred into action, and said goodbye quickly, through hugs for Thor, Loki, Jane and Pepper, and kisses on cheeks for Lorelei and Lokaia. "We'll be back soon. See you later Принцесса." Natasha looked at Lorelei.
"Увидимся скоро тетя Натти." She replied in perfect Russian, gaining an approving smile. The three made their way to the other lift, Steve still trying to recover from the information that HYDRA was growing in SHIELD and had stolen his blood to create more super-soldiers. As the lift doors closed, Jane moved into Thor's arms, and Pepper came to stand by Loki, placing a hand on his arm. "They'll be all right Miss Potts." He intoned softly, the use of her title his form of a pet name for her.
"I know." She whispered back. But she didn't sound sure.