Hidden Within

Contemplation

Thor's expression lit up at the words Loki presented as part of his plan. Why hadn't he thought of this before? Thor placed both hands on Loki's shoulders, grinning widely, as he shook his brother back and forth. "Loki, you are a genius!"

The dark prince blinked in confusion and arched a brow, "Of course I am, what are you on about?"

Thor only chuckled, getting up from his chair to excitedly pace around the kitchen, palms rubbing against one another in a mood of calculation. "Captain is most definitely bound to come. Justice is, after all, one of his memos. Stark might be a hard one to get to. As for Banner, I'm not sure if he'll be-"

Loki was on his feet, his chair having screeched back behind him, as he glared at his anxious brother. "Thor, what in Helheim are you thinking?"

The blonde prince turned to him, eyes narrowed with suspicion, "My team. We can assemble. Band together, save Adeline, and defeat the Tieflings."

Loki groaned and placed both his hands onto his head in exasperation. "Thor, you oaf, I meant Sif and the Warriors Three. Not your group of heroic imbeciles."

Thor jerked back, appalled, as he glowered down at his brother's frazzled and rather hurt expression. "Have care how you speak, brother. They are also my friends, and they are very powerful."

Loki scoffed sarcastically at this, "Apologies, Thor."

The blonde scowled and leaned onto the table, gazing at his brother and pointing a finger accusingly. "Loki, you must consider the idea."

Loki raised a brow, "The idea? What idea?"

Thor swallowed and shrugged, "Using the Avengers Initiative to bring down the Tieflings."

Loki broke into a stern and highly worrying amount of laughter; shaking his head at the other prince, "Don't be ridiculous."

Thor kept a straight face, "I do not jest, brother."

Loki was far away from his chair and shoving Thor back within an instant, eyes focusing in on the god of thunder before him, stern, hurt, and hesitant. "Are you insane? I thought you didn't want me dead, Thor!"

Thor snorted and shook his head in confusion, "What do mean, Loki?"

Loki eased back on his violent shove and raised his chin irritably, "Your mindless team of oafs will not hesitate to be rid of me. The second they see me alive and well, they will pounce like a bunch of ravenous beasts."

Thor sighed, no longer oblivious to the faint amount of fear in his brother's eyes. "Loki, I promised you. I told you that I would protect you, from the start. And I intend to do so. I intend to continue to do so."

Loki's expression softened and his ever-present glare ceased. He instead swayed back over to the kitchen table, pummeling down into the small wooden chair. Thor huffed out a long and much needed breath of air, before joining his brother, "With them, Loki, we can get back Adeline. Avenge mother," Thor sighed, "We. Can. Win."

Loki visibly swallowed, his head turning upward to gaze solemnly at the man before him. Although he would never admit it, he was scared. Terrified even. Terrified of working with a group of heroes that hate him, terrified of losing Adeline to the monsters that took his mother, and terrified of failing. He didn't want to fail. Not again. Not this time.

"We need all the help that is accessible." Thor continued, slowly rising from his small wooden chair, "We will contact Sif, and the Warriors Three. But we will also contact S.H.I.E.L.D. Then we will talk about the rest of the plan. And brother," Thor placed a large hand onto Loki's own, currently frozen still on the surface of the dinner table, "I will not let any harm come to you."

xXx

Loki didn't know how this all happened so quickly. How in Helheim one of his brother's plans had worked. The witless oaf must have S.H.I.E.L.D wrapped around his finger. Because this wasn't what Loki had originally had in mind, he was incredibly irked. He wasn't overly fond of walking directly towards a door that held most of his brother's "noble" teammates, waiting impatiently for some kind of word on what was actually going on. Loki made sure he was tucked discretely behind Thor's large shadow, hidden from view at first sight. It was highly unpleasant, mind you, but who wouldn't want to hide from a group of angry men, currently exhausted from having been woken up at six on a Sunday morning, who all basically held super powers that destroyed an alien race? Loki wasn't so keen on the idea of pissing them off. Again. But he wouldn't fall to the depths of cowardly actions. He would face them. And they would help them. They had to.

Thor nodded to the man currently typing a strange number into a high-tech operating system, a keypad preparing itself to open the large door that currently contained impatient super heroes. He watched as his brother tensed with each motion forward. Somehow, he found joy in this; he knew his team was a threat to his brother, as they had brought him down, fair and square. But he was also sympathetic, and rather pained by the situation. He knew no member of his team would be happy to help, but he had to try. He had to help his brother get Adeline back. She was his heart. She is his heart.

Thor watched the large metal door carefully open, revealing a rather long table, sporting multiple chairs, and currently four sleepy figures. Thor narrowed his eyes at the scene. Tony Stark sat straight up in his chair, shades hiding his eyes, and a smirk drawn upon his face, per usual. He was clad in an expensive suit, probably, that was grey and white, and seemingly shimmering metallically in the artificial light of the large, wide waiting room – or whatever it was. He flipped a playing card down onto the table, and Thor's eyes followed the direction his black shades pointed, taking notice of Barton, Clint Barton, leaned back in his own chair, his usual leather piece suit standing out just as much as Stark's. His expression was merely flat, obviously unsatisfied with Tony Stark's method of blackjack. Natasha Romanoff sat rather uncomfortably at the very end of the table; feet perched up on its surface, eyes narrowed in response to the game of cards being played before her. Thor was sure she had been constantly rolling her eyes at their "fun". The only real motion in the room was Cap's consistent pacing, back and forth, back and forth. He wasn't in his "uniform", but merely a pair of khaki jeans, and a white shirt. Typical Steve Rogers.No Hulk. Thor supposed that was understandable. As large as the room was, Banner wouldn't be entirely comfortable. And the last time he'd heard from him, he was dropping off the radar.

Thor took a step forward, attempting to make his presence known, and in an instant, it was.All four heads whirled up to meet his eyes, all seeming quite confused with their current situation, and slightly ticked off as well.

"Thunder from down under!" Stark teased, standing up slowly from his chair, arms extended in acceptance as he neared the god.

Cap only narrowed his eyes in suspicion, same as Natasha and Clint.

"My friends," Thor began, voice shaking slightly in hesitation, "It is good to see you once more."

Then, Loki was revealed, head bobbing slightly outward from behind Thor's long, dark shadow. He came into view of the four heroes, and their expressions merely turned blank in response. Loki inwardly rolled his eyes at their seemingly unbothered expressions.

Come on, at least do something, he mused, and as if his mind was read, he found himself slammed against the wall behind him, head pounding as it hit the hard cement. He winced at the strong grip of Iron Man's fists, even as a mere mortal, that held firmly onto his green leather cape.

Thor was at his side in seconds, grabbing hold of Stark, and eagerly attempting to drag him off his brother."What the hell is 'reindeer games' doing here?" Tony snapped angrily, still trying to do physical damage.

Thor shoved him off and pointed a finger accusingly, noticing how the others stiffened, as though they were going to lunge forward at any given moment, as well. "No one touches my brother. Understood?" Thor spat out, glaring at his teammates, all appearing suspiciously like a pack of hungry wolves.

The Captain was the first to speak intelligently, "Does someone want to explain what's going on here? I thought this monster was supposed to be in jail."

Thor sighed, and tried to usher Stark away from his brother. Loki was still pressed against the wall, head hanging down in a sort of defeat, as Thor nudged the angry billionaire back. He finally had the chance to shove him into a chair, stepping away afterward, to address the whole of the group.

"I'm sure you're all confused-"

"That's the understatement of the century." Hawkeye interrupted, eyes glaring daggers at the god pressed against the white cement wall.

Thor held back a snarl and continued, "But I need your help now," He paused, "We need your help now."

Rogers stepped forward; interest peeked, as he eyed the blonde prince. "You expect us to help your brother?"

Thor nodded hesitantly and was merely responded to by a sharp laugh from Stark's seated position."Look Hammerhead, you can't possibly think you can just turn up out-of-the-blue, stuff us all into a room, and then ask us to help your brother, of all people!"

Thor scowled at Stark's snide comments but merely shrugged, eager to get his point across. "Hear me out first."

Romanoff was on her feet now, slowly striding closer to the conversation, intrigued by Thor's current state of mind. Hawkeye and Stark continued to glower at the darker prince, and the Captain stayed to listen intently for Thor's explanation.

"There is a warrior race, of whom have already threatened my home, Asgard, with war," Thor watched as no expressions altered in the slightest, "They killed my mother," Now every face softened, every feature falling in stiffness, eyes dropping for a mere moment, before returning to their original line of sight."And they have taken from us an Asgardian of great importance."

Steve took a step forward, brows furrowing, as Stark glanced over at Barton, who merely shrugged.

"We want her back. We need her back." Thor added with a sigh.

Romanoff raised her chin in suspicion, "Why's she so important?"

Loki finally moved as the words continued. He fell from his motionless stance, cringing as he thought back to Adeline Crow and her effect on him.

Thor swallowed, shook his head, and exhaled deeply, "Because, my brother loves her."

Stark's eyes grew wide, same as the rest of them, and they all turned to take in the sight of Loki, his own face hidden from view.

Romanoff huffed and shrugged a shoulder, "And does she love him?"

Thor was rather appreciative of having a girl in the room. Perhaps she could understand the situation better, "Yes."

Stark was on his feet again, smirking viciously at the darker god still pressed against the wall; head hanging; long, black hair glowing in the light."So tell me," He sneered, "Is she blind, stupid, or simply both?"

Loki was immediately flinging himself at the mortal before him, hand flying down to whack Stark across the chin in pure fury.Thor reached for the bundle of rage, grabbing him by the backs of his arms, and drawing him into a tight embrace, in order to hold him off of the billionaire.Loki continued to jerk about, eager to get another punch in, but Thor held him tight. So tight, he couldn't resist any longer.

"I told you we couldn't trust 'reindeer games'!" Stark snapped, as Rogers grabbed hold of his arms, mirroring Thor.

"Enough of this!" The blonde prince shouted at the bickering men, "This is unreasonable!"

Barton stepped forward, jabbing a finger at Thor accusingly, "Unreasonable? This dickhead killed thousands of people with his so-called endeavors on Earth! He killed Agent Coulson in cold blood. He put himself in my head and almost made me kill Natasha!"

Thor grimaced at the horrors that were all true. He glanced as his brother, still locked in his arms, head shaking in irritation at the accusations.

"I understand my brother has done nothing but hurt you, but this is not only for him. This is justice as well." Thor sighed and swallowed the knot in his throat, "These creatures killed my mother, and plenty of my people. They have used war to claim what's left of my family. I will not allow them to succeed."

Stark pulled himself out of Rogers' grip, rubbing at his arms furiously, "What do they want so bad that you have?"

Thor huffed in frustration at Stark's keen dissection, "They want Loki,"Before the God of Thunder could continue, he was cut off. Again.

"So, here's a plan. Give them what they want."

Thor snarled under his breath, "As an ally."

Stark froze, "Oh."

With a simply nod, the others understood. Enemy forces could not get their hands on Loki.It would mean disaster. Whether he has changed or not, Loki would still be forced into action, and by the hands of murderers and psychopathic monsters.

"What do we get in turn Thor?" Romanoff questioned, one brow arched in suspicion.

Thor quirked a small smirk, "Fun."

xXx

"Adeline, Adeline, Adeline."The deep voice echoed through the halls.Not as the Tiefling king, but as his trusty sidekick: Rollnick.

Adeline cringed, arms aching terribly due to their uncomfortable out-stretched position.

"Your precious prince is taking quite a while, little warrior." Rollnick slurred, hissing at the broken woman before him.

He began to chuckle, approaching her slowly, grabbing the roof of her head, and jerking it up by strands of her hair.She cringed at the burning sensation ripping through her scalp, but didn't let it show, eager to hide her pain from the eyes of the one causing it.

"He'd better hurry," The Tiefling grinned wickedly, "I'm getting a little," He paused to smile even wider, "bored."

Adeline took notice of the small dagger, tucked into the palm of his right hand, of which he now held up to her face. The smooth metallic blade was cold against her jawbone, as the monster reveled in her growing fear and discrete amount of anger. He brushed its back along her skin, the sharp edge facing away, as she grimaced at her lack of control. "And trust me, love. You don't want to be around me when I'm bored."

A/N: Credit to LoquaciousQuibbler for giving me:"So tell me," He sneered, "Is she blind, stupid, or simply both?" and also, "I told you we couldn't trust 'reindeer games'!"

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