“Loki, can I have cookies?”
Loki looked up from the book he was reading. Pete was peering at him furtively from beside the sofa he was lounged on. They were in the communal living area of the Tower, couches and floor pillows sprawled all over the room.
“Go ask Thor.”
“I did…” Pete looked down at the ground as his toe dug into the carpet.
“He said no.”
“Well I think that would be your answer then.” Loki went back to his book.
“It would cause more trouble in the long run than it’s worth.”
Pete looked confused.
“If I let you eat the cookies, then Thor will get angry and make me talk about it.” Loki looked horrified. “And then your insufferable fathers will talk to me about responsibility and cohesive parenting and all that nonsense.”
“I thought you liked bugging Thor.”
Loki snapped his book shut, zeroing in on Pete and looking pensive.
“I like stabbing him as a joke. This is not the same.”
“Stabbing is mean.” Pete pushed up the glasses that had slid down to the edge of his nose while he was looking down.
“Yes, well, we have a complicated relationship.” Loki looked down at his closed book and then up at Pete. He sighed loudly, but there was a mischievous glint in his eye. “This book was boring anyway. Where are the cookies?”
It took only ten minutes for Pete to devour the entire box of Oreos, and he was happily on his way to finishing the chocolate chip cookies when Thor walked into the living room.
He took in the sight of Pete and Loki on the sofa, Loki with one arm slung around Pete’s shoulders and reading aloud to Pete from his book. The empty cookie box sat beside Pete on its’ side, the current one clutched tightly in his fists as he listened raptly to Loki.
“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.” Loki took a moment to look at Pete. “The first sensible Midgardian romance I’ve read.”
Thor cleared his throat.
“Hello brother.” Loki smiled at his brother. “We were just reading.” Pete stiffened beside Loki, eyes going wide.
“I thought I said no cookies.”
“Yes, but I said it was fine.” Loki tightened his arm around Pete.
“Are you enjoying the book, Pete?”
“I like listening to Loki.”
“And the cookies?”
“I like those too.”
Thor looked exasperatedly between the two of them. “No more after that box, alright?”
“Okay.” Pete looked down before offering the cookie box to Thor. “Want one?”
“Of course.” Thor reached in and pulled out a cookie, shoving the whole thing into his mouth. “Just this once.” He sat down on the other side of Pete, laying his arm across the back of the sofa. “Don’t tell your dads.”
The team returned from their mission a few hours later, and Steve and Tony were greeted with the sight of Thor and Pete stretched out on the sofa, Thor’s head resting on Loki’s thigh. Thor was asleep, Pete stretched out on top of him and also fast asleep. The two cookie boxes had been pushed onto the floor, a few crumbs spilling out onto the floor. A third and fourth were on the low coffee table beside the sofa. Loki was reading quietly, book in one hand and the other arm stretched across the back of the sofa.
“Successful mission?” Loki asked quietly, closing his book but keeping his page with his index finger.
“What did you do to them?”
“Nothing, captain, they merely ate too much and are now sleeping it off.”
Steve crossed to the sofa and perched on the edge of the coffee table. He was still in full Captain America regalia.
Loki had only moved in with them a few months ago, and old habits died hard.
Tony crossed over and sat beside him, clad only in his under-armour.
“How was he?”
“He tried to stop him from consuming the cookies.” He paused to take in the assortment of boxes around them. “I may not have been a good influence.”
“He’s not the one I meant.” Tony smirked at Loki’s humour.
“Ah, a complete angel, as expected. Surprisingly intelligent for a Midgardian.”
“Yeah, we think so too.”
Thor woke with a start, snorting loudly and shooting into a sitting position, clutching Pete to his chest.
“Wha-?” He looked around. “Ah, hello. How was the mission?”
“Not as fun as your afternoon, it seems.”
Pete, who had woken when Thor did, slid out of his arms and leapt at Steve, throwing his arms around his neck.
“Hey, bud.” Steve squeezed him hard before letting him go. Pete turned and wrapped his arms around Tony’s torso.
“Hey kiddo. Have a good afternoon?”
Pete hummed in agreement, squeezing Tony again before letting go.
Thor, meanwhile, had surreptitiously kicked the cookie boxes under the sofa.
“Well, we were thinking of ordering Chinese for supper. If you guys are still hungry?” Tony asked with a cocked eyebrow.
“I’m always hungry,” Pete answered with a smile.
“It’s a good thing you’ve got a metabolism to rival mine, hm?” Steve asked. Pete immediately looked contrite.
“Sorry I ate the cookies.”
Steve smiled and wrapped an arm around Pete’s middle. “It’s alright, buddy, there’s worse things you could’ve done with Uncle Thor and Uncle Loki. We’ll call this one a win.”
“I would never let harm come to him,” Thor said, placing a hand on Pete’s shoulder.
“I know, I was just teasing.”
“Nor would I,” Loki blurted, unprompted. A hint of vulnerability shone from his eyes as he took Pete in. His eyes flicked between all those in the room and he abruptly stood up. “I, um, need to put my book away. I will see you all at dinner.” He nodded once and disappeared in a flash of blue light.
“My brother does not do emotion well.”
“No kidding,” Tony said, scooping Pete up and tossing him over his shoulder. “Now, I’m taking these spoils of war to my room as a pre-dinner snack!” Tony made fake chomping noises.
“No!” Pete howled, laughing and pounding on Tony’s back.
“Alright crazies, let’s go get changed.” Steve looked back at Thor. “Thanks for looking after him. See you at dinner.”