Voice of Never, Never Land
Date Started: January 5, 2015
"Don't be jealous, BirdBrain. Your Boo will be back soon enough," Tony Stark quipped, pouring another serving of dark, rich coffee into his mug.
"If you ever use the word Boo again, I'll end you," the archer growled.
"Get in line," the Black Widow drawled as she made her way into the kitchen. She was dressed in a pair of black leggings and a zip-up sweatshirt, her red locks pulled into a messy bun.
"Rude," Tony stated simply before raising his cup to his mouth and taking a quick sip of the scalding liquid inside. He watched as Natasha plucked Clint's coffee from his loose grasp and took a large swallow. Clint's eyes were narrowed as he watched her and the redhead cocked an eyebrow at him.
"What's got you in such a snit?" she asked, depositing the mug back onto the island.
"Like I said, his missing - ," Tony began, but Barton's voice interrupted him.
"What did I say about you using that word again?" the man questioned darkly. Tony mimed pulling a zipper across his mouth, tucking his lips in and turning his eyes towards the ceiling in a faux play at innocence.
"Barton?" Natasha commanded, placing one hand on her hip.
"Just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, s'all," Clint grumbled, rising from the stool that he had been parked in. "I just need to shoot something."
Tony placed his mug on the island and hustled his way towards the elevator. "Looks like you're getting your wish."
"Seems pretty real to me," Sam Wilson responded over the comms. "But I know what you mean."
"Seriously, where are the cameras? Are we being Punk'd?" Stark griped.
"It seems as if my brother is up to his tricks again," Thor commented, sending Mjolnir flying from his grasp and destroying a wave of creatures that had been approaching hm.
Tony growled, a sound that the Hulk also seemed to echo around them. "Of course he is," the engineer said, driving his foot through the gut of one enemy before executing a crouch and spin that allowed him to obliterate one behind him with a well timed shot from his gauntlets.
"Chatter," Captain American scolded over the line. The sound of his shield pinging off bodies and lamp posts vibrated through the teams' ears, a symphony that swelled with the whistling of Clint's arrows and the solid sound of Natasha's fists.
"Sorry Cap, but when New York gets attacked by sparkling vampires straight out of Twilight there will be no quiet from me," Tony shot back as he launched himself into the air after Jarvis had confirmed that the area was clear.
"Twilight? It's morning," Steve replied, his frown easily heard in his voice.
"Note to everyone, make sure to keep Twilight away from Steve. We don't want to ruin him," Tony said.
"Noted," Natasha grunted back in agreement, launching herself off of one vampire and onto the next.
"It looks like they're pretty thinned out," Clint informed after a few more minutes of fighting. "There's just a pocket over with Natasha."
"Anyone got a read on the Hulk?" Steve questioned, making his way towards his redheaded teammate.
"Transformed back," Bruce's tired voice returned. "There's not a lot of them left and they're easy to take care of. It didn't make much sense for the Other Guy to stick around any longer."
"Need a lift, Jelly Bean?" Tony asked, doing a lazy twirl in the air as he leisurely headed in Bruce's direction, Jarvis confirming that Clint had been right about the last of the sparkly vampires being around Natasha.
"And a pair of pants, if you have some," Bruce responded with a fatigued smile, holding the tattered remains of his slacks up around his waist as Tony dropped down next to him on the street.
Tony wrapped a friendly arm around Banner's shoulder, his armor pleasantly warmed from the sun. "Aw, Brucey, you know how much I love seeing you without pants," he joked, his fingers finding a few ticklish spots along the other scientist's side and making Bruce flinch deeper into his embrace.
"Don't think I won't tell Agent Genius," Clint barked over the comms.
"So touchy this morning, what gives?" Tony asked, brows furrowed when he popped his faceplate up. Bruce leaned heavily into his side, exhaustion from his transformation beginning to fall over him like a blanket. He barely flinched when an arrow struck the ground at their feet, the shaft toting a tightly sealed pair of pants.
"Nothing," Barton nearly snarled, beginning to make his way down from his perch. "We debriefing now or what?" Banner continued to rest his weight on the Iron Man suit as he slid into the new pair of pants that had arrived at his feet. Steve, Natasha, Thor and Sam were all gathered together in one area, the last of the vampires beginning to turn to dust underneath their boots. In the distance, the sounds of wailing sirens were heard as emergency response made their way to the scene, S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicles pulling up first.
"Any injuries?" Steve asked, once the rest of his team was around him. Clint was a standing a few paces away from the group, his muscular arms crossed over his chest and a scowl carved into his features.
"I think we're all good, Cap," Sam commented, looking around at everyone who gave affirming nods.
Steve nodded, pushing his cowl back and exposing his blond locks. "Good job, everyone," he said with a smile. "We can debrief after lunch. Let's head back to the Tower."
"Sir, if I may," Jarvis chimed in Tony's ear.
"What's up, J?" Stark questioned, lowering his faceplate once more and wrapping his arms around Bruce to get them both back home.
"Dr. Reid landed thirty minutes ago and was picked up by Mr. Hogan at the airstrip. They are currently pulling into the underground parking garage at the Tower," the AI explained.
"Is it that late already?" Stark wondered.
"Indeed, Sir," Jarvis intoned dryly.
"Well, then let's hurry up and get home. I've got a date," Tony beamed. "Hold on tight, Bruce-tastic," he said over the team channel. "I've got a Boo to get to."
Clint's bellow of "STARK!" followed the two Avengers on the way back home, Tony's laughter filling the space of his helmet.
"Looking good, Tony," Bruce commented with a playful grin.
"Back at you, Banner," Tony shot in return, stepping off the gangway. "Remind me to steal all your shirts."
"I'll make sure to get right on that," Bruce responded with a truly enviable eye roll. Tony fell in step beside the other man and the two made their way through the glass patio doors that Jarvis helpfully opened, stepping into the common room that the team gathered in. The glass doors stayed open for Thor and Sam, who were not far behind. Steve, Natasha and Clint would be arriving last, after making sure that the media was handled and that S.H.I.E.L.D was executing clean-up.
"I've directed Dr. Reid to your room so that he may deposit his bag and freshen up. He should be arriving shortly," Jarvis said.
"Perfect," Tony smiled as he made his way across the room towards the kitchen. "Want any coffee?" he called over his shoulder to Bruce. The other Avenger settled in one of the plush recliners that was situated in front of the television. Jarvis flicked the set on and changed to one of the news channels that was reporting on this morning's attack. Steve was on the screen, addressing the many reporters that were crowded desperately in front of him. In the background, S.H.I.E.L.D agents were scrambling to collect a few samples of the dust that the vampires had turned into to take back to their labs to analyze.
"Some tea would be great," Bruce answered, tugging the blanket from the back of the chair around his body. Clint had draped the soft piece of fabric over the back when he had noticed that it was Bruce's preferred seat both after missions and during the time the team spent relaxing together.
"You got it," Tony responded from the kitchen. The cabinets opened and closed from the other room, the sound of Stark bustling about making tea and coffee mixing with the reporter's droning voice and lulling Bruce into a half-aware doze.
Outside on the balcony, Thor landed heavily with Sam gliding in next to him, both buzzing with adrenaline from their flight. The god clapped Bruce on the shoulder once he was inside the room, his teammate barely flinching as the bone-deep exhaustion threatened to pull him down into sleep. "Coffee!" Thor nearly cheered as the smell drifted from the kitchen and began to fill up the space. Sam made his way quietly into the area so that Banner could rest, the doors closing silently behind him as he made himself comfortable on the large couch that was in the room.
Tony poked his head out from the other room. "Hey there, Static King. Want a cup?"
"That would be most appreciated, thank you," the blond smiled, flopping next to Sam on the couch. Stark quirked an eyebrow toward Wilson, who shook his head in the negative before turning his attention back to the television.
The inventor reappeared a few minutes later and handed Thor a large mug of coffee, placing Bruce's tea on the table in front of the couch before disappearing back into the kitchen to grab two more cups. The elevator doors opened just as he reemerged, brown eyes focusing on Spencer Reid as the younger man stepped out of the car. Tony immediately changed direction, his feet carrying him coffee and all straight towards the FBI agent.
"Aren't you a sight for sore eyes?" he breathed, running his gaze up and down the man in front of him. Spencer was dressed in a pair of dark colored jeans and a pale green button up shirt, a dark brown vest and jacket combination matching his well worn Converse.
"Tony," Spencer smiled, his hazel eyes crinkling with the joyful expression.
"Hey there, Dr. Reid," Stark answered, leaning forward and placing his lips against the other man's. Spencer's hands came up to rest on Tony's hips, the bones fitting perfectly in the palms of his hands. The hero wished that he had thought to drop off the mugs of coffee on the table behind them so that he had the use of his hands.
"Get a room," Sam called out. Bruce had finally succumbed to sleep, his head tilted back on the chair and his lips lightly parted as his tea went cold on the coffee table in front of him. Sam had grabbed the remote and was flipping rapidly through the channels as Thor finished off his beverage with a happy sigh.
"Don't mind if we do," Tony said haughtily as he separated from their kiss. "What do you say? Want to join me in a shower?" he purred, looking at Reid through lowered lashes. Spencer went red, swallowing heavily as he was faced with the enticing picture that Tony presented him.
"At least give him his coffee before you try and take his pants off," Wilson smirked.
"Why are you in my Tower?" Tony groused, holding one of the coffee cups towards Spencer, who took it with a grateful smile.
"I happen to live here, thank you very much," Falcon replied.
"What a mistake that was. You're all evicted!" Tony hollered. Bruce snorted, one eye peeking open and quickly sweeping the room for threats before closing once more.
Spencer was still smiling as he took a sip from the perfectly prepared coffee that had been given to him. It had been a few weeks since the FBI agent had been able to make it to New York for a visit, but Tony made sure to cruise over in his suit as often as both of their schedules allowed. If anyone had told the young genius two months ago that he would end up in the arms of Tony Stark while working a case with the Avengers, he would not have been able to stop himself from laughing. Now, nightly phone calls and rambling text messages were part of his everyday life and he hoped that they would continue to be for a long time to come.
"Well, it looks like you've ruined all my fun," a silky voice purred, interrupting the banter that Sam and Tony had been flinging back and forth.
"Brother!" Thor said loudly as he caught sight of his sibling, his tall form draped in emerald green and gold. Sam vaulted over the back of the couch and Bruce launched himself out of his seat, eyes wild as he was pulled abruptly from sleep. Tony positioned himself so that was firmly in-between Spencer and the other Asgardian, his brown eyes narrowed in anger.
"Get out," Stark commanded, his voice cold.
"Now, that's not very welcoming," Loki smirked. "I would have thought that you had been raised better than that."
"Loki, what is the meaning of your presence here on Midgard?" Thor demanded, his thick eyebrows pulled together in a frown.
The darker god sighed heavily as if his brother's words pained him, his eyes falling closed as he gave a shrug. "Just a little mischief," he answered, poison-hued eyes re-opening and taking in the group assembled around him. "There was no harm done. Those creatures are no match for the likes of the Avengers."
"Loki," Thor growled, his gaze filling with rage. "Your mischief could have cost the lives of innocent people."
"Thor, you have such a flair for the dramatics," Loki huffed, taking a few steps deeper into the room. The Avengers shifted nervously, eyes focused on the unpredictable man in front of them.
"Brother, you have wreaked enough mischief. Return to Asgard," the lightning god demanded.
Loki laughed. "There is never such a thing as enough mischief." His cold eyes landed on Reid. "And what have we here? A new team member?" The agent couldn't help but flinch; in his years at the Bureau, he had stared down many killers, but there was something about this other worldly being that sent dread coursing through his body.
"He's none of your business," Tony barked, reaching back behind him until his hand connected with Spencer's hip, which he gripped tightly.
"Ah," the god of mischief said lowly, a cruel smirk sliding it's way across his face. "I see. Not a teammate, then." Stark tensed.
Thor stepped towards Loki. "Brother - ,"
"Stop your prattling, Thor!" the dark-haired man snapped, his face contorted into a look of rage. "I have heard enough of your voice! I no longer wish to hear your worthless pleas for me to return to Asgard!"
"Loki, please!" Thor tried again, but the other god ignored him and turned his attention back to Reid.
"Why don't I show you what it's like to be part of this team?" Loki said, his angry tone gone and replaced by a smooth, silky timbre.
"Don't you dare," Tony snarled. Bruce growled, green seeping into the skin around his eyes.
Another dark laugh escaped Loki as he raised his hands, light already sparking between his palms. Thor dove for the other man, but the illusion disappeared as soon as he touched it and he soared through the air, crashing heavily into the ground with a painfully solid thud. Sam cursed loudly and the rest of the group tried to figure out where the god truly was.
"Surprise," Loki whispered into Spencer's ear, his tall form pressed tightly against his back. The agent's honey colored eyes went huge and a choked sound escaped his lips before he screamed, Loki's hands on either side of his head crackling with magic and sending agony ripping across his nerves.
"No!" Tony shouted as he spun around, taking in the horrible sight of Reid's pain suffused face as his body desperately tried to arch away from the manic Asgardian that held him hostage. Bruce and Thor; who was just stumbling to his feet; both roared.
The sound of an arrow cutting through the air sounded suddenly around them, Loki grunting in pain as it pierced his armor and lodged solidly in his side. He released Spencer, who collapsed to the ground like a puppet who's strings had been cut, his lanky form crumpled at the god's feet. Loki sneered over at the vent that Clint was half-hanging out of, another arrow nocked and ready to be released, before he disappeared in a cloud of green smoke. Barton lowered his bow and dropped to the floor just as the elevator opened, Steve and Natasha rushing out of the car and taking in the scene in front of them.
"Jarvis alerted us to the situation on our phones," the Captain explained, hurrying over to where Tony was crouched next to Spencer. The agent's hair was wild, the tawny curls spread out against the white marble of the floor in a sharp spill of color.
"J, you with us again?" Tony asked as his hands hovered uncertainly over Spencer's prone form.
"I am, Sir. I apologize, there was nothing more that I could do. The magic - ,"
"I know," Tony soothed his A.I. "The magic jams your system. But you did good, Jarvis. Thank you."
"Sir . . ." Jarvis said quietly. The rest of the team could easily hear the disappointment Jarvis' tone held, the A.I. upset at his perceived failure to his creator.
Clint paused next to Thor, who was staring down sadly at the three men on the floor. Although he had only met the agent a few times since the case that had originally brought him to New York, he saw how important he was to Tony and had grown quite fond of Reid himself. The doctor was brilliant and intriguing, but at times also easily embarrassed and almost uncomfortable in his own skin.
"So . . ." the archer drawled, peering at the god with his peripherals. "You really need to stop falling for that trick."
"Aye," Thor agreed gravely. "These illusions will be the end of me."
"What do you think, Thor?" Natasha cut in, her arms crossed over her chest. "Have you seen that spell before?"
"I have not," Thor said softly, regretfully. "Loki has many tricks, most of which he has kept to himself."
"He may be crazy, but he's not an idiot," Bruce commented. His clothes looked like they were a little looser than they had been after the battle, his pants hanging a little lower than normal. His face was pale and drawn, his exhaustion even heavier after having furiously fought off a second transformation.
Clint disappeared from Thor's side and appeared at Banner's after stopping to scoop up the hastily discarded blanket the scientist had been using before the attack. Bruce murmured his appreciation as the archer draped the soft, plush fabric around his shoulders.
"Spencer," Tony whispered, brushing away a few tendrils that had fallen across the younger man's face. "Spencer, can you hear me?" The agent mewled slightly, his eyes squeezing as if still in pain.
"Dr. Reid," Steve began, pulling off his gloves and laying them down on the face of his shield, which was resting next to him. "Does anything hurt?"
"M-my head," Spencer answered lowly, rolling from his side onto his back and hissing loudly when his spine came in contact with the marble. "And my back."
Tony caressed the agent's cheek tenderly with his fingertips. "Your back, huh? I guess I'll just have to give you one of my famous massages then," the engineer joked.
"Since when do you know massage?" Natasha questioned.
"No comments from the red-headed peanut gallery," Stark shot back. The agent rolled her eyes, but she kept silent.
"Do you think you can stand?" Steve asked.
Reid opened his eyes slowly, blinking a few times as he took inventory of the aches that he was feeling. "Yeah," he answered. "I think so." Tony and Steve both offered him a hand and he clasped each one, allowing the two heroes to assist him to his feet. They hovered for a few moments to make sure that he wasn't going to stumble, but Reid was steady on his feet so Steve stepped back a few paces.
"Maybe whatever spell Loki used didn't work," the soldier said optimistically.
"Oh, it worked alright," Clint intoned. His eyes were locked onto the top of Spencer's head, but his face was a stoic mask that gave nothing away about what he was seeing. The rest of the team turned to look at what had caught his attention.
"Well. That's not something you have everyday," Tony remarked.
"What is it?" Spencer asked timidly, lifting his eyes, even though he knew that he would not be able to see the top of his head without a mirror. Reaching up, he hesitantly began feeling through his curls, nervous about what he would find.
Nestled among the locks atop his head were two perfect feline ears, the triangular shapes covered in downy fur that tickled against the pads of Reid's fingers as he carefully explored them. The ears twitched at his touch, swiveling and flicking wildly. "What . . .?" he breathed, his face rapidly becoming pale with shock.
"Hey, hey," Tony said calmly, wrapping a strong arm around his distressed partner. Spencer sagged heavily against him, his breath escaping him in a shaky exhale. "Don't panic. We'll figure this out and have you back to normal in no time."
"I . . . I think I need to sit down," Reid said faintly, trying to prevent his knees from buckling underneath him.
"Why don't we go take a nap while Steve and Jarvis call Agent McMuscles and arrange for him to make a trip out here?" Tony suggested, steering Spencer towards the elevator, which opened as they approached.
"Derek?" Spencer asked, confused. "Why . . .?"
"Don't worry about that right now," Tony said, glancing over his shoulder at Steve, who nodded firmly in return. "Let's just focus on that nap."
"Jarvis," the two heard Steve speak behind them. "Will you please dial Derek's number?"
"Of course, Captain Rogers," the A.I. responded, just as the elevator doors closed and the car began to rise, taking them up towards Tony's penthouse apartment.