In the common room, Peter is awakened by a loud, booming voice, quickly followed by a sharp "Shhhhhhh".
He blinks, clearing the blurriness from his eyes.
As soon as he recognizes the figures in the doorway, Peter sits up with a large grin on his face.
He hasn't seen the bubbly god in months. Thor had been extremely involved in rebuilding Asgard, which had required all of his time.
He has seen the other man, however. Loki has been on Earth for a while, learning to be a (semi) normal member of society. Although he still harbors animosity towards many of the Avengers, he has a beautiful relationship with Peter and loves spending time with the boy.
Peter hasn't been to the Compound in a few weeks, though, meaning he hasn't seen Loki either.
All in all, Peter could not have asked for better company.
"Hello, Spider-child." Thor says, looking like an excited puppy.
Loki then explains why they are there.
"Thor came back from Asgard earlier than expected and the big Avengers meeting is scheduled for Monday. Tony mentioned you were sick and asked us to keep you company today."
Peter sits up, realizing that he needs to go to bathroom. He thinks back to what Mr. Stark had said about not walking, but he's embarrassed to ask either of the gods for help.
It turns out that doesn't need to. As he goes to get up, Loki clicks his tongue at the boy.
"Tony told us to not let you walk."
Ignoring Peter's flaming cheeks, he continues: "I'll take you to the bathroom."
By the time Loki and Peter arrive back to the common room, Thor has cleared off Peter's sweaty comforter and replaced it with a large pile of fluffy fleece blankets and pillows. A bowl of steaming broth awaits him on the coffee table.
Peter smiles gratefully at the god before pulling a blanket over himself.
FRIDAY informs him that he still has a fever, which would explain why he still feels so cold.
Loki sits down next to him and nudges the boy. Peter leans against the god and sips at the broth.
They sit in silence for several minutes before Peter speaks.
"Thor? Can you tell me a story?"
The god looks surprised by the boys request, but nods.
He thinks for a moment before his eyes land on his brother and a sneaky smile creeps onto his face.
"You've heard of my hammer, Mjolnir, Peter?"
Loki interrupts him with a loud laugh.
"Mjolnir, brother. Really? Do you think of anything else?"
Thor, however, does not falter.
"Well, I'm going to tell you the story of how I got my hammer."
Loki's laugh stops abruptly and he glares at his brother.
Peter, sensing the fun hiding in this story, grins widely and says "That sounds great!"
"A long, long time ago, when the old gods still ruled Asgard and Ragnarok was but a bad dream, I had a wife. Her name was Sif, and she was very beautiful. Her greatest pride was her beautiful golden hair. It shined like the sun in the morning.
You can imagine my shock and horror when I awoke one morning to find Sif laying beside me in bed - entirely bald! She looked as if she had never even had a single hair on her head.
My gasp woke her, and upon seeing her reflection in the mirror, she fainted dead away.
As soon as I recovered from the shock, I began to suspect that my brother has something to do with this. After all, tricks like this one were his specialty.
I rushed down to his rooms and, grabbing him by the throat, I threatened to break every bone in his body if he didn't tell me what he had done. I have to say that I was much younger then, and I was known for being quite...hot headed." Thor seems to be a bit embarrassed by the antics of his younger self and his cheeks are tinged with pink.
Loki grins as he teases his brother. "Quite hot headed? Brother you were the most impulsive god Asgard had seen in centuries!"
Thor gives his brother a playful shove before pulling a blanket over himself and continuing his story.
"At first, Loki denied having had anything to do with the disappearance of the lady Sifs hair. After my threats escalated, he laughed and admitted it, adding that her hair would never grow back.
At this, I became infuriated and threatened to send him to Valhalla. At last, he begged me to allow him to go to Svartalfheim, the home of the dwarves. I was unwilling, but my wife persuaded me, speaking of the ridicule she would face in the royal court. At last, I allowed him to go.
Thor turns to his brother, an unspoken question in his eyes. Loki appears deep in thought, however, so Thor continues the story in his place.
"Loki travelled to Svartalfheim, where he found the sons of Isvaldi, who were very skilled metalworkers. Not only did they make Lady Sif a new head of hair, made from gold threads so fine they looked natural, they also created two other marvels: Skidbladnir, a ship that always had a good wind in it's sails and that could be folded down to fit in your pocket; and Gungnir, which was the deadliest of all spears.
While there, Loki could not resist a little joke. He spoke to dwarf brothers Brokkr and Sindri, who were also very skilled metalworkers.
He taunted them that they could never make anything as good as the gifts the sons of Isvaldi had wrought. In fact, he bet his head on their lack of quality.
The brothers, very enraged by his challenge, began to work.
First, they created a live golden boar that glowed like that sun. It could pull a chariot for much longer than any horse, and it could walk on water and fly in air just as well as it could run.
Next, they crafted Draupnir, a golden ring that, on every ninth night, created eight equally precious gold rings.
Finally, Sindri put a chunk of iron on the hearth. He told Brokkr that they must be very precise, because a mistake could cost them a great amount. Just then, in the form of a fly, Loki bit Brokkr in the eye, causing him to go partially blind. Despite this, the dwarves created a hammer of unrivaled quality."
Peter couldn't help but interrupt.
"And that was Mjolnir, right?"
Thor smiles at the boy's enthusiasm and nods.
"The hammer was truly amazing. It never missed it's mark, and it returned to the wielder's hand no matter what. It had only one flaw : it's handle was too short."
Peter shoots a worried glance at Loki. The man has not spoken in several minutes, not even to laugh at his brother. This is extremely unusual, and Peter keeps a close eye on the silent god as Thor continues the tale.
"Despite this fault, the dwarves named the hammer Mjolnir, which means Lightning.
The dwarves then traveled to Asgard, hoping to have won the wager after all the trouble they went to.
The gods were very grateful to receive all the gifts, especially the hammer. They hoped that it would help them in their fight against the giants.
When the dwarves explained the wager, however, the gods were forced to admit that Loki had lost, meaning he'd lose his head."
Peter suddenly remembers where this is heading and Loki's silence immediately makes sense.
Thor is continuing, though, and Peter feels Loki go almost completely rigid.
"After Loki said the dwarves had been promised only his head but not his neck, the dwarves changed their plans. Instead of cutting off his head, they simply sew..."
"STOP!" Peter cries out suddenly. Loki is deathly pale and gasping for breath. Peter considers the god for a moment before coming to a decision. He pulls the panicking man against him and begins to breathe deeply, allowing Loki to try and copy his breathing. After a few minutes, he whispers something quietly into Loki's ear. The god finally relaxes, looking up at Peter gratefully.
When Loki sits up, Peter rests a hand on his cheek, his eyes moist.
"You didn't deserve that, Loki. It wasn't fair. I'll make sure nothing like that EVER happens to you again." The sensitive boy's voice is shaking and he seems on the brink of tears.
Loki is once again touched by Peter's empathy and his strong protectiveness. There's a large lump in his throat as he pulls Peter into a soft hug. After a moment, Thor joins them, pulling them both towards the end of the couch. They stay like that for a long time. Peter eventually falls asleep, and the two gods follow suit.
And if Tony walks upstairs to find the three of them, all sleeping, in a big pile and asks FRIDAY to snap a picture for him, while, it's not like anyone will know.