I do not own the Avengers, Marvel or anything else in story just the plot idea.
Today marked the five-year anniversary of the Avengers victory against Loki and the Chitauri. After their first anniversary was such a big success the team had decided to make it a tradition of getting together in STARK Tower for a celebration of their first victory together. Over the years fighting and getting to know each other better they’d all grown closer and were now like a weird messed up family rather than a quote ‘time bomb'.
And although there were many difficult battles throughout those years filled with regret and loss the Avengers had also grown from them both as heroes and people as well.
Natasha and Steve had started dating two years ago, though the couple was usually divided between SHIELD and the Avengers they still remembered to take time for each other and relax. Natasha even had her own room set up in Avengers Mansion for when she came over since apparently working for SHIELD meant she had to live where they told her to when not on an assignment.
Steve, however, had decided to take up permanent residence in Avengers Mansion and over the years when he wasn’t out saving the world you could find him teaching a self-defence or mentoring art classes to kids around the city. And like the typical boy scout Steve used what little money he earned to pay rent since instead of living off of Tony’s money.
Clint much like Natasha bounced between SHIELD and the mansion and had tried his hand at dating. The archer had gone out with a SHIELD agent named Barbara "Bobbi" Morse. They were only together a short before deciding to split up, Clint had said they had just drifted apart over time. A few drinks and a red head less the truth came out, Clint spilled that Bobbi had been severely jealous over his partnership with the Natasha and demanded that he chose between them. When Clint hadn’t been able to choose between his partner and his girlfriend Bobbi dumped him.
Bruce like Steve had taken to living in Avengers Mansion full time, the first two years were tough though you would barely find Bruce off the property outside of missions since General Ross and his Hulk Busters had taken to making camp practically outside the front gates. Thankfully the unit had been dissolved and the gamma scientist granted amnesty, barring any further non-Avengers instances. Bruce had been so happy to finally have a place to settle down and found that Tony was right when that STARK Tower’s R&D labs were like Candyland.
Tony had come with Fury to deliver Bruce the good news and offered him a job right there to help cure people who had been altered by gamma radiation, like Blonsky and Sterns. STARK Industries had given Bruce a budget and lab so he could hire a group of scientists of his own choosing and to work together to prevent any more gamma villains from being born. To make it even sweeter Tony had Pepper contact Betty Ross to inform her about Bruce’s freedom. A few hours later the pair were sharing a tender reunion together and Bruce's department gained its first employee.
Thor was still coming and going between earth and Asgard, the Bifrost had been fixed not long after the Avengers first victory as a team with the help of the Tesseract allowing the God of Thunder to come and go as he pleased between the worlds. Though when not fight you could find Thor with Jane Foster, they had been officially together for 4 years and according to Darcy a trip to Asgard to meet his parents was in the works.
Tony was still Tony and nothing it seemed could ever change him, not even the passage of time. His relationship with Pepper was still as solid as ever, he even had JARVIS discreetly help him look at rings for what he explained to Steve was saving for just the right moment.
Over the years the corporate couple had finally worked out the kinks the of running STARK Industries and having a relationship. Tony would stay in his lab at the Tower or his home in Malibu and invent and review inventions for the company and come in for meetings whenever his presence or signature was needed. Pepper, however, would handle the day to day matters of the company because as Natasha joked one day ‘if Pepper can handle Tony Stark, a multibillionaire dollar corporation should be a walk in the park’.
Currently, the Avengers were gathered in Tony’s penthouse living room for a party at STARK Tower. Tony and Pepper were snuggled together on a loveseat well Tony talked with Jane, Bruce, and Betty about science and the new things that Stark Industries had developed that could help further their research. Pepper never one to miss a business opportunity was trying to convince the astrophysicist to come work at STARK Industries permanently.
Thor and Clint decided to have a dart throwing competition near the bar to test their accuracy against each other, currently, Clint was winning. Steve, Darcy, and Natasha had come together to watch the competition but somehow ended up chatting with each other, though no one wanted to know exactly what they were talking about at the bar.
Although they were celebrating none of them got drunk, not even Tony fearing that today would be the day they all dreaded happening. On the two years anniversary Thor came down to warn SHIELD and the Avengers that his brother had somehow escaped from his prison and his whereabouts were currently unknown. Even after all this time, the Avengers weren't about to let their guards down fearing the trickster might suddenly jump out of the shadows in seeking his revenge.
“Sir Director Fury is on the line.” JARVIS voice spoke from above breaking up the happy mood of the Avengers party.
"Put him through JARVIS," Tony answered pulling away slightly away from Pepper to give the Director his attention.
“Stark we have a situation, and it’s a weird one.” Fury’s hologram said appearing in the center of the room.
"Can't SHIELD deal with the supervillain of the week,” Tony retorted back at the Director. “I mean we were having a party here.”
“It’s not a run of the mill super villain Stark,” Fury hissed causing all the Avengers to immediately freeze at the tone. “Its Loki, he’s in Central Park.”
“My brother?” Thor asked lowering his dart silently praying that this wasn’t a cruel joke. “But he has not been seen in quite some time, are you sure it is him?”
"Eyewitness accounts say someone wearing green and gold armor with a horned helmet suddenly walked into an area of Central Park and began doing magic a few minutes later.” Fury explained. All the Avengers automatically placed whatever they were holding down and started making their way towards their respective rooms to change and gather their gear.
“We’ll be there as soon as possible Fury keep us informed if anything happens.” Tony said making his way to his small armory to suit up. “Just do this quickly and quietly Stark I don’t need an incident on today of all days.”
The Director said in a final tone before breaking communication When all the Avengers had gathered what they needed they started to make their way to the roof where Natasha and Clint’s plane was parked. After the couples exchanged some quick goodbye kisses, even Clint getting a peck from Darcy for good luck and everyone was buckled in Natasha nodded to Tony and Thor through the window. Both of the men nodded back before took off towards the park as fast as they could fly well everyone else proceeded to follow after them hoping that it wasn't already too late.
Central Park Entrance
“Uh guys, is it just me or is nobody fleeing in terror?” Iron Man pointed out not sure if he should be concerned or happy by the lack of screaming people and explosions.
Thor nodded in agreement. “You are correct Man of Iron no one seems afraid, it is very peculiar.”
“So, does anyone have an actual plan on how we're going to do this.” Clint asked since nobody seemed to be coming up with anything.
“Hulk, Thor and I should go in from the front and try to see what Loki is up to and talk him down if possible. Hawkeye and Widow you two go around back and find some trees to give us cover fire in case things turn ugly,” Captain America offered before looking at everyone who nodded in agreement.
“Tony you fly ahead and direct us to Loki location and come in as backup when we make contact.” Double checking that their comms were all linked up the team broke apart each making their way into the park following Iron Mans directions as the inventor scanned from the skies.
Inside Central Park
After making it through half of the park Tony informed the rest of the three men on the ground over their comms that Loki wasn’t too far up ahead causing them to tense up and slow down preparing for the worst. However, when they got to the edge of the trees they weren’t however quite expecting the scene in front of them.
Children and their parents were sitting in a circle around a figure in gold and green with what appeared to be butterflies flying above their heads, in a second all the butterfly’s converged creating a large dragon that breathed fire towards the sky. Captain America tensed ready to throw his shield when he noticed something odd the dragon wasn’t attacking the families in front of it but instead was doing aerial tricks for the people in the audience who just clapped at the display.
“Is anyone else seeing this?” Hawkeye asked in disbelief.
“You mean Loki putting on a magic show for children and the parents.” Black Widow answered.
"No, I'm seeing it too.” Captain America said telling the assassin’s that they really weren’t hallucinating.
“That dragon doesn’t look too tough.” Hulk added watching as the dragon did one last barrel role in the sky before disappearing in a ball of green smoke when the people cheering Loki took a small bow.
"Guys, are you saying that Loki, the guy who tried to make all the people of the world kneel before him is putting on a magic show for kids and their parents?” Tony chimed not believing what he was hearing.
“Aye Man of Iron my brother is doing just that.” Thor replied a little smile crossing his face and the scene before him thinking that maybe his brother’s disappearance has changed him for the better.
“Avengers we should start moving in before he starts to do anything dangerous to those civilians,” Captain America ordered feeling torn between wanting to protect the audience and joining them. “Tony you should move in as well.”
Coming out from their hiding position behind a small hill the three heroes made their way over to the crowd as Tony started his descent from the sky hopeful to glance a bit the show before Steve broke it up.
“Alright everyone we need you to move back from its dangerous.” Steve called to the small crowd of people.
Taking a few moments to realize who it was the parents quickly got up and started gathering their children before jogging quickly away from the superheroes not wanting to get caught in the crossfire of whatever was about to happen. Looking back to where the green and gold figure was Captain America saw the horned helmet was also walking away from him and his team following along with the crowd of people.
‘Is it just me or is he shorter than last time we saw him.’ Captain America thought noticing that Loki’s towering figure had visibly shrunk, even at this distance it wasn’t hard to miss.
Hulk reacting to the retreat quickly reached forward and grabbed the back of the green cape the lifting said person attached to it back towards them. “You going somewhere puny god.”
A scared pair eyes met Hulks own gamma green ones once turned around, it was Loki alright but at the same time not Loki at least not the one the Avengers knew. This Loki was younger and couldn’t have been any older then ten maybe but what shocked everyone the most was his eyes. No longer the ice blue that they had come to associate with him they were instead a vibrant green.
“You got smaller.” Hulk said making a confused look appeared on the boy’s face. Turning him around once again so that the boy faced the other two Avengers they also couldn’t help but stare at the small armored boy in shock.
“Alright I’m here now we can start kicking a- WHAT IS THAT!” Tony exclaimed landing a few feet from Thor quickly opening his helmet to get a better look at the strange sight before him.
“I think its Loki.” Steve said still not believing that the boy in Hulk’s giant hands was the same insane god they had defeated. “Yes, my name is Loki,” the young trickster spoke for the first time to the men in front of him looking uncomfortable from his position.
“Can your green giant please put me down now?" Not use to hearing manners out of a villains mouth Hulk put him slowly and still stared down at the little trickster who had turned around mumbling a small “thank you” back up at him before turning his attention back to the others. Tony simply knelt down on one knee and extended one of his fingers poking the young boy in his side to make sure he wasn’t an illusion.
"Brother, what has happened to you?" Thor asked kneeling down next to Iron Man.
“I’m sorry but you must be confused I’m not your brother,” Loki said looking at Thor confused not recognizing the man. “My older brother is Thor who is not quite as old as you and Baldur is... no was my younger.”
Loki got a very sad look in his eyes when he mentioned the name Baldur but it quickly faded turning to fear when he realized for the first time that these strange men had him surrounded. Quickly seeing the fear enter Loki’s eyes Steve motioned for Tony to move back and stand behind the young boy with Hulk hopeful that space would keep the boy calm.
Thor, however, chose to stay standing in front of his brother a similar look of sadness on his face as well.
“No Loki, I am Thor,” Thor said placing his hammer on the ground beside him and holding out his hands to Loki as a sign of peace. "I have missed you, brother."
Still not sure what to do Loki simply did what the strange man in armor had done and poked the hands in front of him to see if this was an illusion.
“Are you really Thor?” He asked looking into blue eyes for any sign of deception.
“Yes, Loki I am Thor, how you could not know me?” Thor inquired wondering how different he looked from his younger self.
“You were smaller and less hairy yesterday,” Loki explained causing a small smile to appear in the Thunderer’s face as well as a snicker amusement from the others. “Have you taken a potion? Mother has warned you numerous times against drinking out of strange vials.”
“No Loki I have not taken a potion you have been missing for a long time, but now you are back.” Thor said as his eyes misted in unshed tears over the loss of his brother as he pulled the small trickster into a hug.
“I love you brother.” Thor whispered softly to the boy.
Loki stiffened at the declaration and he tried to break the strangers hold on him screaming. “No … no, you lie! Thor doesn’t love me who are you!”
"Loki what are you saying, of course, I love you,” Thor asked holding Loki out a little from his arms trying to figure why his brother was in distress from his confession. “You are my brother.”
“NO!” Loki yelled placing his hands on Thor’s chest as he continued to push. “IT’S A LIE THOR HATES ME, HE TOLD ME HIMSELF!”
Suddenly a large gust of wind burst forward from Loki which blew Thor and Avengers away with great force. Seeing the men down Loki quickly start to run away from them making his way towards across the field towards the trees. Straight into Hawkeye’s waiting arms.