Note: Sorreh, but no China yet. I promise I'll upload China in the next chapter though, and it won't be as depressing. >///< I'll get it done. By tonight. I swear, by tonight.
Loki was shouting at Odin, and shouting at Thor and attacking them and there was so so so much blood and the blood was cold on his hands, freezing into dried crimson crystals and falling and falling and falling.
Loki was conscious when he stabbed Thor and strangled Tony and forced Clint's hand in killing people dearest to him, and there were hundreds of thousands of hideous monsters cheering him on as he hurt his friends and family.
And he knew everything was going wrong, but he could not stop his own hands.
Loki was screaming, as Steve was hurled through a line of burning cars, as Tony burst through a window into ninety three floors vast nothingness, Clint's bright blue eyes begging for release, Bruce convulsing on the floor, expression begging for forgiveness, Thor begging for his old brother back, and Natasha slumped against a glass wall, her eyes betraying more emotion than ever, begging for the life of a man she cared for.
Loki saw himself letting go and falling, into a nothingness for millions of years. Time crawled agonizingly slow and he was falling into the darkness and he couldn't get out, he could not escape. He saw monsters, but what scared him more was how the monsters looked to him. Like a leader. He saw Frost Giants, the only thing he always feared as a child, but now he was shaking hands with one of them, and wherever their skin touched, dark blue blossomed on his skin.
Loki's eyes flew open.
Someone was screaming.
Clint was used to aliens and robots and evil things trying to kill him in his sleep.
But now he was completely caught off guard.
"I'm not blue," He thrust his small hands in Clint's face. "I'm not blue?" It was too dark to see anything, but Clint was so bewildered he didn't know what to say.
"Jesus, no! What's wrong with you?" He had never been so surprised, when Loki slipped his hands into Clint's and burst into tears.
Clint's eyes were quickly adjusting to the darkness, and he could make out a shivering silhouette of little Loki.
"What's going on, Clint?" Natasha said, immediately tensed for attack. Loki let out another sob.
"I know why you hate me now. I'm a horrible monster. I killed people." Loki looked up to Clint with huge watery eyes. Clint was at a loss of words and patted his head, before mouthing "get someone here" at Natasha.
"No wonder Father never liked me." Loki said quietly into Tony's shirt. Loki, while his outburst just about terrified Clint and Tony, was absurdly easy to comfort. As soon as they let him cuddle up to them, he calmed down.
Of course, this left Tony and Clint in an awkward position, wedged together on a small sofa, but it was a small sacrifice to make.
"Don't say that." Tony was strangely solemn for once. "Your father loves you as much as Thor. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
"But Mister Stark-"
"Don't call me that. We're close enough to be on first name basis. All of us." Tony waved to include Clint, who gave in uncomfortable grunt. "And no buts."
"I don't even have a family-"
"We ARE family." Clint didn't know who was more surprised at his words, Loki or himself. "Teams are nothing but one big family."
"I- I am part of your team?" Loki hicupped. "But I am weak and I am the- the runt of Asgar-"
"Hey, no one can see far if we don't stand on each others' shoulders." Tony smiled down at Loki. Loki managed a smile back, quite an impressive feat when his face was flushed from tears and he was hiccuping uncontrollably.
Eventually Loki fell asleep, nestled between the two Avengers. Neither dared to move.
When morning came, if Steve was surprised to see Nat in Tony's room and Clint, Tony and Loki wedged in the couch, he didn't show it.
Loki was his usual bouncy self for breakfast, but Tony couldn't help thinking something had changed in those deep green eyes
That was the day Stark became Tony, and Barton became Clint.