Triple Dog Dare
What if there was a war and everyone died laughing? ~ Loki
Tony managed to rally his troops, and together with Thor and Nate, sent return volleys of snowballs across the yard. Several of Loki's team was hit, but no one was forced to sit out, and the snowball fight continued, with Loki and company sometimes in retreat to their ice palace and other times participating in sneak attacks.
"Dad, I'm cold," Max whined, his nose was red from the frost.
Loki heated up his hands and set them against his son's cheeks, making him toasty. "How's that? Better?"
"Me too!" Aleta cried and Loki did the same to her. "How about you, sunshine?" he asked Lucy.
"I'm a little chilly," she admitted, and Loki warmed her too, paying special attention to her injured arm.
"Anybody else? Sam? Tasha?"
"I'm good," Sam said.
"I come from Russia. I'm used to the cold," Tashe replied.
"I'm warm from running," Vince said.
Then they went slipping about the side of the castle and into the "ice forest", which Loki had formed using ice crystals. Tasha pretended to fall and lay on the snow, calling, "Help! Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"
Immediately, Serena, Nate, and Belle came out to investigate.
"Are you okay, Aunt Tasha?" called the Lorekeeper, though she was almost certain it was a trick, she couldn't afford to let her aunt freeze.
Tasha made a show of examining her ankle, and as the three children crept closer, snowballs in hand. When they got close enough, she reached into the blue bag and flung a snowball into Belle's face.
Then Loki, Vince, Lucy, and Max came out from behind the trees and pelted them with snowballs.
"Victory!" Vince cheered. "All of you are wiped out!"
The Serpents all exchanged high fives.
Tony groaned. "I can't believe they fell for that!"
"We can even it up," Thor argued. Then he held Mjolnir in the air and thunder boomed across the yard.
Max and Aleta screamed and clung to Loki, who hugged them and murmured, "It's okay. It's just thundersnow."
"What's that?" asked Aleta, hugging him about the neck.
"Your uncle being a showoff," his father soothed.
He ignored the rumbling thunder, knowing that Thor was just trying to psych them out.
Then he waited until the remainder of the Tigers showed themselves and used his magic to kamikaze them with a barrage of snowballs.
When the powder settled, Thor, Clint, and Tony were buried up to their neck in a pile of snowballs. He burst out laughing and so did the rest of his team.
"Uh, Loki!" Clint called. "I think I'm turning into an icicle."
"I think we won the snowball fight," Loki called. He waved his hand and the snow was removed. "Now we'll move onto the next contest—the most creative snowman."
"Yes!" Max cheered. "Aleta, wanna build a snowman?"
"Yes! We can make a snow princess," his sister declared. "With a crown like mine!"
They began to roll the snow into three large balls. The adults helped with the large base, and the kids did the middle and the head.
Tasha helped smooth the three balls into one large shape and helped mold a face out of snow.
"What about hair?" Aleta asked.
"I know! I have some yarn we can use!" Samantha said. "And a couple of other things." She ran in the house to grab her sewing basket.
Soon she returned with some brown yarn for hair, and plastic gemstones for eyes and had a long scrap of silvery material for a scarf and another green drape for a skirt.
"That looks sooo cool!" Aleta was jumping up and down. "But what about her helmet?"
"I can do that," Loki assured her.
Then he flexed his fingers and the snow swirled about in a white and blue glittery cyclone. When the wind settled there was a perfectly sculpted horned helmet with shiny ice jewels in the middle of it.
"Well, spark? Do you like it?"
"Daddy, it's beautiful!" Aleta cheered. "I want one!"
Loki laughed. "Aleta, you'd freeze your brains wearing this. Better stick to the one I gave you before." Then he set the helmet on the snow princess' head. "Hmm . . . we need one more thing."
He used his magic again and created a scepter. Then he formed arms and attached them to the body and then attached the staff to one hand.
"I think she's ready," Loki said happily.
"I think we won!" Max yelled.
They looked over to where the Tigers were building their snowman.
Only it wasn't a snowman they were building, but a snow robot, using odd cables and square snow and metal blocks, springs, and funny googly eyes. Loki recognized Nate's hand in this, and most likely Tony's also.
"Wow! A snow bot!" Vince cried.
"That's really neat!" Lucy said.
"Yeah it is clever," agreed Sam.
"I like my princess better," Aleta insisted.
"So do I," Tasha said, hugging the little girl.
"I like both of them," Max said.
Aleta glared at him.
He scowled back. "Don't look at me like that, Aleta! I can like what I want!"
"You aren't s'post to like their snowman, Maximus! They're the Other Team!" the three-year-old snapped.
"I do what I want!" Max yelled back, his face inches from his sister's.
"Get outta my face, Maximus!" Aleta growled.
"Make me, Aleta!"
"Enough, you two!" Loki ordered, his voice steel sheathed in velvet. "No fighting."
"But Daddy, Max said—" Aleta began.
Loki held up a hand. "What'd I say, Aleta Lenore?"
She bit her lip and pouted. "No fighting."
"Which also means no tattling," he explained. "Now, everyone is allowed to like whatever they want. No matter whose team made it. Got it? This is supposed to be fun."
When both snowmen were finished, the other team voted on what their rivals had made. Since both the princess and the snow bot were quite creative, a tie was declared and Loki pinned blue ribbons on each of them.
"Now what?" asked Tony.
"Now we have the toboggan race," answered the God of Mischief. "Hunter, go get the toboggans and the sled out of the garage. Vince, go help."
The two boys raced off hollering. They loved the toboggan race. That was one of their favorite winter activities, and Loki often had to go and drag them inside after a snowstorm, because they would keep sliding until they were nearly frozen.
They brought back all nine toboggans and a sled also. The sled was Loki's, a sleek racing model, but he would allow the children to use it when they asked. The rules for the toboggan race was simple. First one to the bottom of the hill won.
Aleta, Max, and Lucy would ride down with Loki, and because of this they would race Thor and Tony, because they would be the only ones able to give the frost giant a good race. Nate would use his ski chair to race, and would race Sam. Vince would race Serena, Belle would race Loki, Hunter would also race Vince, and Tasha would race Clint.
Once the race pairs were drawn, they all ran up the hill, except for Loki and Tony, who would be at the bottom to call the winner.
Hunter and Vince went first, both running at full speed to the edge and then jumping on the toboggan as it slipped down the hill, screaming like maniacs. Once on the toboggan, all they needed to do was steer with their hands and feet, the snow was perfectly slick and the toboggans slid like a dream over the white surface.
Their teams cheered the boys on, and in two minutes they had reached the bottom of the hill.
Hunter won by a few seconds. He hopped off the toboggan and clapped Vince on the shoulder. "Good try, bro."
"I'll beat you next time," the Ghost Speaker grinned. "And I'll be sure to beat moon pi."
"Yup," Hunter agreed. Vince was far better at tobogganing than the mathematically inclined Serena.
Tasha and Clint went next, and were exchanging good-natured insults on the way down when Clint's toboggan hit a patch of slick snow and skidded off the hill and into the frost forest.
"Oh, bad luck!" Tony cried.
Thor frowned. "Loki, did you do that?"
Loki shook his head. "I don't need to do anything, Thor. I'll beat you without using tricks down that hill. And the same goes for any of my teammates."
Clint stopped the toboggan and brushed himself off, "Aww, I can't believe something that dumb happened!"
"Don't worry, buddy. We're tied. But we can win the next one," consoled Iron Man.
Nate and Sam went next. Sam eyed his brother then said, "Think you can catch me, Racer?"
"I can not only catch you, butterfly, I can beat your butt!" He adjusted the controls on his chair.
"Go Sam!" Aleta, Lucy, and Max cheered.
Then the race was on, and for half of it Sam was slightly ahead. But then Nate did something and his ski chair suddenly shot forward like a rocket, and he reached the bottom first.
Tony cheered and gave him a high five. "Attaboy, Nate!"
"Wow, Uncle Tony, that new propulsion jet really worked. Didja see me, Dad! It was almost like flying!" Nate ginger hair glittered with snow crystals.
"You were great, buddy!" Loki said.
"Real slick, Racer," Sam said, congratulating his brother.
"Now we're winning!" Serena crowed.
Thor smiled at the platinum-haired girl. "As you Midgardians say, don't count your chickens before they hatch. We still have more racers to go."
Serena smiled confidently. "I can beat Vince."
"You wish, number cruncher!" her brother responded. "You're gonna crash and burn!"
She stuck her tongue out at him. "That's your line, daredevil! You're always crashing something."
Thor clapped his hands. "All right, you two. Let's settle it."
Serena gave Vince a challenging look before jumping on her toboggan and pushing off.
"Show 'em, Serena!" Clint yelled.
But Vince threw himself down on his belly and used both hands and feet to shove off. Then he careened down the hill at a reckless speed.
"Holy crap!" Sam gaped. "Look at how fast he's going!"
Tony gasped. "Loki, did you see that? He did a corkscrew in the air!"
"I saw it," the Asgardian said, his heart pounding. "Vince, quit the tricks and just slide, son!"
Serena was behind but she was catching up.
Vince darted a glance back, then concentrated on finding the smoothest path down the hill. His familiarity with the hill stood him in good stead, and he reached the bottom a full three seconds before his sister.
Then, because it was hard to stop, he simply rolled off his toboggan and into the snow.
Tony looked worried. "Are you okay, Vince?"
"He's fine," Loki said, and sure enough, the little boy stood up seconds later, shaking snow from his hair.
"Whoo hoo! I think I was faster now than last time," he grinned.
"You were crazier than last time," Loki said ruefully.
"But it was fun!" his son giggled. "And now we're tied."
"That'll change," his father smirked. "It's my turn now." He teleported up the hill and called, "C'mon, sunshine, let's make your Uncle Thor eat snow!"
Lucy raced over to him. "You think we can win? We'll have two on the toboggan, Dad."
He laughed. "Of course. Because I'll be the one steering." He helped his daughter on the toboggan, carefully sitting her before him. "Are you ready, Thunderer?"
"Ready, brother!" Thor sat on the other toboggan, and prayed it wouldn't collapse, it felt so flimsy beneath him.
Then they shoved off. For the first few feet they were neck and neck.
But then Loki guided his slider down a path that seemed totally insane, yet had the most slickness, enabling them to slide down at a terrific speed.
His arm was like an iron band about his daughter, but she laughed as the wind blew her hair all over. "Faster, Dad!" she yelled.
"Faster?" he smirked. "Hold on!" He made a minute adjustment with his left boot, and the toboggan practically flew over the hill.
Thor used his super strength to try and catch up, but he was no match for the frost giant, who was in his element on the snowy terrain.
"Loki and Lucy win!" Tony called. "What the heck did you do, Laufeyson? Witch the toboggan? I never saw anything like that."
"No magic, Stark. I'm just really good at this," Loki replied modestly. And his frost giant senses allowed him to pick the quickest route through the snow.
"Dad, can we do that again?" Lucy asked, her eyes shining.
"Maybe later, little Valkyrie," Thor told her. "That was a good contest. But I want to know how you did that, Loki."
Loki shrugged. "Like I told Stark, I'm really good at this. I've done it since I was a kid like Vince. While you were off hunting with your friends, I was playing in the snow."
"Our turn! Our turn!" Max and Aleta jumped up and down like jack-in-the-boxes.
"Win it, Man of Iron! This time my brother can't win, no matter how good he is. He has three and you're only one."
"Let's do it, Mischief Maker!" Tony grinned.
"Okay. But I use my sled this time. It's the only thing that can hold three people," Loki smirked.
"You think you can beat me with that?" Tony shook his head.
"Watch and learn," the frost giant replied, a glint in his emerald eyes.
He got Max and Aleta situated on the sled, telling them to hold on tight, and used his magic to make sure they stayed on the sled. Then he stood behind it, like a dog musher, and when Thor called "Go!" sprinted for the edge of the hill.
Beside him Tony did the same, but Loki managed to jump on the sled and the sled shot down the hill at breakneck speed, the kids screaming in delight.
"You two okay?" Loki called as the wind whipped his hair into his face. "You're not scared, are you?"
"No way!" Max shrieked.
"See ya, wouldn't want to be ya, Uncle Tony!" Aleta hooted.
Once again the sled seemed to fly over the snow, finding the hard packed surface ideal for skimming over the ground like a bird. Loki made more minute corrections, making the sled become a silvery blur.
"Yeee-haa!" they all screamed as they came over the final stretch of the hill.
Tony couldn't believe how quickly the sled flew, he was good with his toboggan, but despite the lighter weight on his slider, he couldn't seem to catch the flying trio.
"Da-a-mn!" he whistled, as the sled came to a halt at the bottom of the hill before him.
"Oh, what a rush!" Loki hollered. "How are you, scamps?"
"More, Daddy! More!" they begged.
"Well, you won that round," Thor conceded. "Let's do it again!"
This time Belle raced Loki, and she used her magic to keep her toboggan straight on course, and she nearly beat her father. "Darn! I ran outta hill!"
"You might have caught me otherwise," Loki acknowledged.
"Let's do a few runs for fun," Thor said.
So they all slid down the hill again, and their laughter echoed merrily in the air.
After a small rest and a break to use the bathroom in the treehouse, the next contest was called. "Okay, this is the best snow angel contest. You each pick a person to be your representative and we'll see which one makes the best and most unique angel!" Loki called.
"I've got this, Dad," Sam volunteered.
On the other side, Tony and Thor were flummoxed. "Thor, I'm no good at this kind of thing."
"I don't even know how to make one," Thor admitted.
"I can do it, Uncle Thor!" Serena called.
"Okay, then you're our chosen one," Thor said, "Good luck, little niece."
Loki smoothed the snow out, making it soft yet firm enough to hold a good imprint.
"It's too bad Steve and Bruce can't be here," he said to Tasha.
"I know. But they had to go help the Fantastic Four. They left before you texted us, or they would have been here," Black Widow said.
"We'll do this again before winter is over," Loki decided. "Serena and Sam, are you ready?"
Both shouted a yes, and then chose a piece of virgin snow.
Then they fell backwards into it and began moving their arms and legs like pistons.
When they were done, two snow angels had been born.
"Okay, let's see how you did," Tony called, and the children rose and stepped out of their angels.
Serena's angel was perfect—except for some of her flyaway hair that had been sticking up. It formed a weird little half circle about the angel head.
"Look, a halo!" Aleta pointed.
"I like that!" Clint said.
Then they looked at Sam's angel, whose skirt had the most interesting rosettes along it.
"How'd you do that, Sam?" asked Hunter.
"Uh . . . I'm not sure," Sam muttered.
"Look at your boots, darling," Loki urged, and when Sam did he saw his boots, which had small rosette studs on the top, were how that pattern had been created.
"Oh!" gasped his son.
"That's really amazing," Belle said.
"It is," Serena agreed.
Everyone else did also and Sam was declared the winner of that contest.
There was also a contest called Hit the Icicle, and you had to hit three icicles in a row. Clint won that game easily, his excellent eyesight and aim defeating Natasha despite her spy training.
"We need a tie breaker," Tony said.
"I have one," Loki offered. "Let's play Truth or Dare, Thor. You ask me a question and I can either answer it or I can choose to take a dare instead. Then I ask you a question and you can choose to answer it or to take my dare instead."
"Any question?" Thor queried.
"Any question suitable for kids to hear," Loki specified.
Thor smirked. "Okay, brother. Here's my question. What prank did you pull that Father never found out about?"
"Truth," Loki chuckled. "Remember that time the delegation of Dark Elves from Svartalfheim came to the palace? And how they all suddenly came down with sniffles and sneezing? I put crushed mistweed in all their sheets, and as you know, Dark Elves are allergic to mistweed. Father never knew about it because mistweed absorbs into the skin on contact, so there was no residue to been seen. And those snots that looked down their upstart noses at us ended up dripping into their handkerchiefs and braying like donkeys."
Thor erupted with laughter. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Loki shrugged. "You can ask that? I was sure you were going to go tell Father and I'd be in trouble. I've never liked those arrogant Dark Elves. They called me frosty midget, among other things." He frowned. "My turn. If you could call Father a nickname, what would it be?"
"Truth." Thor said. "I'd call him a Cyclops. Because he only has one eye and his rage can destroy worlds."
"Not bad. I had a few other things in mind, but . . . your turn."
Thor thought for a moment, than said with a grin, "Have you ever fallen in love with anyone?"
"What? No way am I answering that!" Loki sputtered. "Dare!"
"Make it good, Thor!" Tony hooted.
An icicle dripped on the god's head. He plucked it from the roof and said, "I dare you to lick this icicle five times! We'll see how clever your tongue is then!"
Loki held out a hand. "Okay." He took the icicle and began licking it. "One. Two. Three . . ." he counted, while Thor waited to see his tongue turn blue as had happened on a TV show he'd seen.
But he was disappointed because Loki's tongue remained normal. And the icicle didn't even melt in his hand.
"That was refreshing!" his brother stated. "My turn. When are you going to marry Sif?" he queried, his eyes dancing.
Thor gaped at him. "That's none of your business, Loki!"
"Aww, come on! We wanna know!" Tasha urged.
Thor went red. "That's between me and my betrothed. Dare!"
"Okay. I dare you to lick my flagpole," Loki returned with a mischievous smirk.
Thor frowned. "Surely you can think of a harder challenge than that."
"Uncle Thor, don't do it!" Serena called.
"Yeah, didn't you ever see A Christmas Story?" Nate added.
Thor looked at his niece and nephew. "No, but it's a simple thing, why are you all concerned?"
"Oh my God!" Tony exclaimed. "Thor, for the love of Pete, don't do it! You can refuse. And he'll have to find another dare."
The blonde god started laughing. "I can do this-it's a stupid dare and I'm a god! What is so hard about licking a pole? Loki licked an icicle."
"Yeah, you're a god, but HE..." Tony began.
Thor scowled. "Silence, Man of Iron!"
"You aren't . . . afraid are you, Thor? I triple dog dare you, brother!" Loki chanted, going in for the kill.
All his kids went, "Ooooooooooooo!"
Aleta tugged on Sam's sleeve. "What's that mean?"
Sam turned to his small sister. "It means that if Uncle Thor doesn't do the dare he's like the biggest wimp in the universe."
Loki bit back a snicker. Accurate, butterfly!
Thor looked insulted. "I am no wimp." Then he leaned down and asked Tony, "I know not this term. What is a wimp?"
Tony coughed. "Uh . . . it's a coward and a weakling. Somebody who's afraid of everything and everybody and gets beaten up on a daily basis. Like I used to."
Clint's jaw dropped. "YOU got beat up in school?"
Tony flushed. "Yes. I USED to. Cause my old man was rich and I was a science geek."
"That sucks!" Nate muttered.
Thor made up his mind. "I accept your challenge, brother!"
"Nooo!" the Laufeysons on his team cried.
But Thor would not be swayed.
He marched over to the flagpole in the center of the yard. It was normally in the front yard, but Loki had moved it magically just for this contest.
"Just do it!" Loki urged.
Thor placed his tongue to the cold metal.
At first it wasn't so bad, but then he felt his tongue go numb. Frantic, he tried to pull away only to realize to his horror he was stuck fast!
"Are you stuck, brother?" inquired his imp of a brother with wicked smirk.
"Yeth!" the god was trying to get free, but couldn't risk pulling too hard on his tender appendage.
Serena groaned. "Uncle Thor, we TOLD you not to do it!"
Hunter pointed out, "Serena, he HAD to. Dad Triple Dog Dared him."
Serena rolled her eyes. "If Dad dared him to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge would he?"
"Duh, moon pi! Uncle Thor can fly!"
Clint was laughing into his hand. "I need to take a photo! Steve and Bruce will bust a gut!" He pulled out his phone.
"I think I'm gonna pee my pants!" Tasha giggled uncontrollably.
"Bawton, don' y'dare!" Thor ordered.
"Do it! Then post it to your Facebook!" encouraged Loki, nearly doubled over with laughter. "By the Nine! This is better than the time I told you there was gold in the Mud Marsh and you went and dug a hole looking for buried treasure and got trapped in the middle of the swamp!"
Now everyone else was howling with laughter too.
"I thear I will haff m'revenge!" Thor vowed.
"Whatever you say, Tweety!" Tony quipped.
"Good one, Tony!" Loki whooped. "Oh blessed Yggdrasil! I think I'm gonna die!" He was laughing so much he had tears in his eyes.
"Daddy, I peed my pants!" Max announced, sniffling.
Belle grimaced. "Eew, yellow snow!"
"Don't eat it!" Hunter warned, giggling.
Sam made a face. "That's just gross!"
"The snowman's left side is saggin'
There's a little puddle right below
Yellow snow, yellow snow, yellow snow
Yellow snow, yellow snow . . ." Vince sang.
"Eeew!" Aleta cried.
"Nine Hells! Okay, let's get changed." He picked up his son, grimacing slightly. "C'mon, buddy. Excuse us." He teleported back to the house, not truly shocked for this had happened before.
"So, Big Guy, I guess there is only one way to get you unstuck," Tony stated, then whistled and one of his gauntlets appeared.
"NO!" Thor bellowed.
Serena frowned. "What's that gonna do?"
Nate snickered. "You'll see."
Tony powered up the gauntlet to emit a warm wave of heat and aimed the gauntlet at Thor.
The Thunder God began to sweat and slowly the pole his tongue was stuck on began to warm.
Aleta began to sing a song she had heard. "Looking for some Hot Stuff baby this evening . . . I want some Hot Stuff, baby, tonight . . ."
Belle gasped. "Aleta! How do you know that song?"
"Daddy had it on the radio when we went shopping," she replied, while Vince, Lucy, and Hunter started laughing.
Phew! I thought she heard me watching the Full Monty the other night. Sam thought, relieved.
"I'm recording this on my phone! This is hysterical!" Clint managed to say inbetween bouts of laughter.
Thor's tongue became unstuck, but it is still numb.
"Fank you, Stawk."
Loki returned with Max and Thor glared at him.
"Yes,Thor-frost?" Loki couldn't resist, his eyes gleaming merrily.
Thor pressed his lips together, looking like he was going to explode, then burst out laughing. "Do you haff anyfing for a numb tongue?"
"A tongue depressor?" his brother joked. The kids went off into gales of laughter again. "Seriously, a cup of my hot cocoa will warm it up." He summoned some in a mug that read I Do What I Want.
Thor took the mug. "Fank you." He sipped slowly, letting the hot liquid remain in his mouth to soothe his tongue back to normal.
Belle licked her lips. "Daddy, can we have hot cocoa?!"
"Yeah, I'm cold!" Vince shivered.
"I want mini marshmallows in mine!" Aleta demanded.
"Yes, let's all go inside and warm up." Loki suggested.
Thor's tongue finally was back to normal after he had drank the entire mug of cocoa. "Loki, why didn't your tongue freeze when you licked the icicle?"
Loki grinned slyly. "Because, brother mine, I am a frost giant. The cold never bothered me anyway."
Tony coughed. "So, you cheated?"
"No. He challenged me to lick an icicle. I did. It's not my fault ice has no effect on me."
"It was still funny!" giggled Stark. He held his hand up and Loki high-fived him.
"It was the best! You haven't lost your touch, Master Mischief!" applauded Tasha.
"And I got it all right here!" Hawkeye patted his pocket.
"Thank you." He gave a little bow.
"We keep him in practice," Belle informed them.
Loki reached out and tugged her hair playfully. "You sure do, little raven!"
Clint gaped. "You mean you prank your dad?"
Belle nodded fearlessly. "All the time."
"Uh huh! He doesn't care." Vince explained, grinning. "Well . . . except for the time I super glued his office chair and he went to get up to show some visitor around Laufeyson Tech and um . . . his pants ripped."
Thor guffawed. "What goes around comes around, Loki!"
Tony looked like a leprechaun who had found a pot of gold. "I think I heard about that. You were wearing green briefs with little pink hearts on them."
Loki blushed. "Shut up. Stark! Before I erase your memory!"
"I bought him those for Daddy's Day!" announced his baby girl.
Thor cracked up. "Oh Norns . . ."
Clint burst out laughing.
"Spark, did you have to say that?" Loki groaned and put a hand over his face.
"Sorry." Aleta sniffed and tears appeared in her eyes.
Loki was immediately contrite. "Oh, spark. I'm not angry!" He quickly picked her up for a hug.
"No, I'm not." Loki smiled. "What kind of Trickster would I be if I can't laugh at myself, huh?"
Belle smirked. "A really bad one."
"You weren't laughing when you got home." Vince reminded.
Loki sighed. "I was still mad at you."
Vince nodded. "Yeah."
"But you didn't get in trouble, now did you?"
"Well . . . you did make me weed the garden."
"That wasn't a punishment, that was part of your chores," Loki reminded. "I stopped being mad once I realized I would have done the same thing. In fact I did only I glued Balder to a chair during dinner."
"Lord, if I'd done that to my dad . . . I wouldn't have been able to sit down for a day." Tony remarked.
"Stark, I never raise a hand to my children! You can ask them," Loki defended.
"Nope, he just lectures us about what we did wrong and gives us extra chores to do. Or, in my case, make me do community service." Hunter pointed out.
Max added, "He puts us in time out!. I hate time out! It's so boring!"
"Yeah!" his small sister agreed.
"But you get a hug afterwards." Loki reminded.
"You would have spent most of your life in time out, brother," Thor smiled.
"It would have been better than what Odin usually ended up doing." Loki grimaced.
Thor winced. "Brother, let's not go there."
"No, let's not." Loki muttered, shivering slightly as he shoved the dark memories back to sleep.
"Daddy, I want my hot cocoa, please." Aleta reminded, her gray eyes pleading.
"As you wish, princess. Race you to the back porch!"
"Yay!" He set her down and she bolted.
An indulgent Loki allowed her a head start and then ran very slowly behind her.
Aleta reached the back porch. "I win!"
"I must be getting old." Loki pretended to be tired.
"If you're getting old, brother, I must be ancient," Thor laughed, his cerulean eyes glinting.
"Yeah you're gonna be pushing up daisies soon . . . if you were human that is!" Serena giggled.
Max frowned. "What does that mean?"
"Never mind. Let's go inside." Loki said quickly. He gave Serena a slightly angry look.
Serena hung her head. "Sorry, Daddy."
"That's alright. Just be more careful, moon pi."
"Loki, I have a question for you," Tasha said softly.
"Okay, let's have it." And it better not be about my love life, Romanov!
"Can you adopt me?"
"W-what?" he giggled. Then he realized she was serious and said, "Okay. You can be my little sister. I always wanted one."
"Can you adopt me too?" asked Clint wistfully.
"You already have a family." Natasha reminded him.
Clint stuck his tongue out at her.
"But our family's the best. Right?" Belle said loyally.
"Yep!" the archer said, and he meant it. He had never had so much fun in his life.
They all entered the kitchen, and Loki went to make more hot cocoa while the kids took off their snow gear and put them in the little alcove. ""Auntie Tasha. Uncle Clint. Do you want to meet our kitty?!" Aleta asked.
"What kitty?" Tony asked, almost sitting on Mischief, who was lying on a kitchen chair.
"Tony, watch out! C'mere, sweet thing! Oh, she's darling!" cooed Tasha. She picked up Mischief.
Mischief mewed at Loki, Papa! The human nearly sat on me!
Loki shifted into his black cat form. It's okay, kit. He didn't see you there. Humans are blind. Not like cats.
Pffft. They are so silly.
True. Cats are smarter. But you knew that.
"Give her to me. I'm good with cats." Tony said. "I would never hurt her."
Tasha handed Mischief to him and Tony rubbed behind Mischief's large ears. "Look at those ears. Where did you get her?"
"We rescued her from a shelter that was going to sell her for experiments." Hunter explained. "I was volunteering there."
Tasha was horrified. "That is DISGUSTING!"
Tony ground his teeth together. "Do you have the name of the shelter?"
"Yeah" He wrote down Claws and Paws on a piece of paper.
"Don't worry. I'll make sure it's shut down and the animals find good homes." Tony assured him.
Mischief meowed at Loki. Papa, what is he saying?
He said he is going to free your friends from the shelter and make the humans running it pay for what they did.
I like this human. He gives good ear scratches. Mischief purred.
Loki switched back to his own shape. "Stark, you have just made a friend for life."
"You know, the mansion needs a cat. Maybe two cats." Tasha said thoughtfully.
'I'll think about it." Tony said.
They have lots of kits there, Papa. My sister and brother are still there. Nobody wanted them cause they're black cats and humans think we're bad.
Loki blurred into cat form. I will tell him, kit.
Then he shifted back. "Stark, Mischief has a brother and sister who needs to be adopted. What do you say?"
Tony looked at Mischief. "If they are as cute as her, I'd say sure."
Mischief got the gist of what he meant. They are cuter! They don't have my ears.
"She says the are cuter than she is because they don't have her ears," translated the magician.
"What does her ears have to do with anything?! She's adorable!"
"I agree! Her ears are a noble feature!" Thor asserted.
"Her ears make her special," Tasha added.
See, daughter, they all love your ears. Just like I do. Loki purred, returning to his cat shape.
And I like them, Papa.
Mischief stood up with her paws on Tony's chest and rubbed her head under his chin.
"Awwww!" Tony felt his heart become total mush.
Loki gave a soft meow. What did I tell you?
Not to do that? The kitten looked crestfallen.
No, that's okay. But he doesn't know what that means.
Will you tell him? I do not wish to offend.
No. He wouldn't understand about how we mark them as ours so other cats know not to claim them.
True. Sorry, Papa.
That is all right, Mischief.
Maybe my brother and sister will not be upset because it is my mark. It will tell them I am all right, mused the kitten.
I never thought about that. But they might want to know where you are.
He could bring them here.
That would be a great idea. But, first, he will need to adopt them.
I hope he does it soon. It's not safe in that place. Sometimes cats and dogs disappear through a door and never come back. The ebony kitten shivered with fear.
Loki hissed. By the Norns! He quickly shifted back. "Stark, I think we need to go to that shelter now!"
"But the snow!"
"Hang the snow! They're putting the animals to sleep over there!"
"What!? Ok! Avengers Assemble!"
"Does that mean you're gonna go kick their butts?" Max wanted to know.
"You bet, little buddy!"
"Can we watch?" Hunter queried eagerly.
"Better still. You can help!" His father informed him.
Aleta caught on immediately. "We can let the doggies and kitties out?"
Vince looked like Christmas came early. "Yeah! Let's go-"
"-make some mischief!" his siblings chorused. They all put their hands on top of each other. "Tricksters rule!"
Loki watched proudly. Then he said, "Sam, go start the van." He tossed the keys to his eldest.
On the way to the shelter, Who Let the Dogs Out came on and they all sang along.
That's what the idiots who run this killing factory are going to be asking when we're done with them! Loki thought grimly. He just hoped they would be in time to save the animals still alive.
A/N: chapter written with help from ninewood. Thanks so much!