"Loki!" Odin hollered from down the hall for the third time that night.
With a jolt, Loki snapped his laptop shut and shoved it back onto his desk before turning to the window. Slipping his fingers under the bottom of the window, he threw it open, exposing the warm air of the August evening.
Footsteps pounded down the hallway, making their way towards Loki's room on the end. Loki's heart stuttered. In a flash, he swung his legs out onto the sill and pulled his body through to stand on the small ledge of the roof. Just as Odin's fist began to pound the door, Loki was already gone, slamming the window shut and diving away from the window.
Taking light steps, Loki balanced his way across the rickety roof. The well-worn shingles creaked under his weight as he made his way to sit in the spot between his room and Thor's. But then he paused. "Thor, what are you doing up here?" he asked, casting a glare at his brother who was already sitting on his spot.
Looking up, Thor offered him a small smile. "I assumed you would enjoy the company, brother." He held out a mug of towards Loki which Loki took gingerly.
"Hot chocolate in August? Really, sometimes I wonder if you are brain-dead."
"It's for comfort," Thor replied, looking mildly offended. Loki reluctantly sat down beside his brother and took a sip of the piping hot drink, smiling discreetly into the cup at the familiar sweet taste. "What did you do to father this time?"
"I didn't do anything," Loki replied broodingly. Odin's shouts were still loud enough to be heard through the windows and Loki drew his knees into his chest. "Well, I wasn't trying to do anything this time."
Thor scooted his way closer to Loki but didn't dare to touch him. For this, Loki was grateful. They listened in silence as Odin continued to holler but soon their mother, Frigga, joined the fray, yelling right back at him. In was strangely sobering to listen to their parents fight. It was a normal affair in their household, but it was unnerving nonetheless.
"Loki," Thor whispered.
"Shut up," he hissed back, straining his ears to hear their words. He swore he had heard his name.
"Loki, what did you do?
Loki looked back his brother, ready to snap when he saw the look on Thor's face. It was his look of pure protectiveness that could only be of an older brother. Loki frowned. "I don't need to be protected, Thor," he said, trying to keep his voice low.
They stared at each other in the dark, both clutching at the cooling drinks in their hands.
Suddenly, a light went on in the house across from them and the brothers looked up in surprise. That house had been empty for months since the old lady who owned had passed away. The two watched as a boy entered the room, one they've never seen around their small town; a brown-haired boy with a strong jaw. He held a stack of two boxes and he threw them down on his bare bed in a heap. Then he glanced up, freezing when he saw the two watching him through the window.
Loki looked at Thor, not knowing what to think, as the boy approached the window and opened it. "Hello, strange people outside my window."
"Hello," Thor stated slowly. Loki remained silent, narrowing his eyes.
"What… uh… what are you doing out here?" he asked, looking at the two in confusion.
"Spying on you, obviously," Loki deadpanned.
Thor elbowed Loki before smiling at the guy. "Ignore my brother, he over-exaggerates. I'm Thor and this is Loki."
"Tony Stark," he replied, leaning against the window sill.
"Well, if you don't mind, Stark," Loki said, waving him away from the window. He didn't feel like dealing with an idiot at this time of night.
Tony only stared at him, unaffected. Loki glared back for a split second before turning to Thor, "I'm going back inside."
"Brother, no," Thor urged, latching onto Loki's arm to stop him from moving.
Silence settled for a moment while Tony looked at them curiously. A bout of shouts rose up from inside the house and Loki could see the realization hit Tony. "Oh, bad parenting? I know how that is."
"Sorry, I didn't realize that we were starting a support group," Loki snapped before wrenching his arm from Thor and dumping the remainder of the hot chocolate into the bushes below. He stood, not looking back, and made his way to his window a few steps away.
"Sorry about him," Loki heard Thor say.
That irked him entirely too much. Thor was always apologizing for him, as if he were some embarrassment. Jerking the window open, Loki threw the mug onto the floor and slipped inside.
The yelling was much louder inside, and Loki felt himself snap. Seething, he marched to the door and flung it open to reveal Odin and Frigga standing in front of his room. "What have I done to disappoint you this time, father?" Loki asked with a cruel smile. "Did I stain your perfect reputation yet?"
"Loki," Frigga warned.
"What did I tell you about getting into fights?" Odin yelled at Loki. His face was red with the unshakable anger.
For a split second, Loki felt a small pang of fear but he pushed it aside. "Well, I learn from the best!" Loki yelled back, still smiling. It hurt to smile.
Odin took a step forward but Frigga intercepted him, holding him back from their son. Loki's smile faded as a feeling of deja vu crept through him. "Loki, go," Frigga said to Loki seriously, nodding at Loki's open room.
No, not this time. Loki turned on his heel, marched down the hallway towards the stairs, and disappeared.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tony was supposed to be unpacking but instead he was leaning out a window, listening silently with Thor as Loki began to yell at his parents. Then everything went silent. Tony would have taken this as a good thing if he hadn't seen the worry that covered Thor's face.
"What's wrong, blondie?" Tony asked.
"Loki is going to storm out," he said evenly. And, as if on cue, the front door slammed and Tony spotted Loki's mop of black hair through the dark as he headed out onto the street.
He shifted uncomfortably before looking at Thor. "Aren't you going to go after him?"
"No, he does this often," Thor sighed as he stood. "He'll back before midnight." But he moved quickly, leaving the roof without saying goodbye.
"Good night to you too." Tony sat there, listening to the crickets and the distant cars, and felt a bout of loneliness descend around him. But he smiled a moment later when he watched Thor sneak out the front door, heading in the direction Loki went.
Sure, their parents fought but it was more than what Tony had. He had an empty house full of boxes with only Jarvis to keep him company. Speaking of which, he pulled out his phone and said, "Jarvis?"
"Yes, sir?" the A.I. answered from his phone.
"Do you think if we hugged it out, the three of us could be friends?"
"That would be most unwise, sir."
Tony nodded. "I expected as much."