They are heading back from another one of Tony's post mission escapades when it happens.
Loki is lingering behind as he always does, still unsure of how he would-if he even could- integrate himself into a package that's already so seamlessly put together, and-more importantly-if he really does want to.
This is probably the reason why the man plucked up the courage to approach in the first place.
The intent in his eyes, the bulge in his jacket, all is lost to them. They have already beaten the bad guy of the day, the threat is gone.
"Why are you even here?"
He says it quietly, and only Loki notices.
"Why after everything you did?" The rest of the team turn at this, finally sensing danger.
"You evil fucking monster!" The gun is out and fired within the space of a breath, and then Loki is falling.
He hits the ground at precisely the same moment that a knife, an arrow, a shield, two glowing balls of energy and a massive green monster pin the other man to the hood of the nearest car.
To top it all off, lightening crackles downward a split-second later, making certain that, if the knife in his arm and the Hulk on his chest don't teach him a lesson, the rest of his hospital bills will.
He isn't even done twitching before the team has turned their backs on him, running to surround their fallen comrade. Natasha is mumbling something in Russian and the Hulk looks frighteningly pale beneath his green complexion.
Loki rolls over, groaning, and blinks up at them, one hand covering the left side of his face. "Was that an assault rifle?"
"Yes," Tony says, his voice tight from worry and very confused, "and why are you still alive?"
Loki sits up. "Kind of a god remember? Your petty firearms have no chance of killing me." He touches carefully at the edges of the now tender flesh. "But by the Ancients did that give me the biggest black eye."
He glances over at his attacker, or what remains of him, and raises an eyebrow.
"Goodness me! He's practically smoking! No…wait…he is smoking. Thor did you do that? Why? You know something as petty as one of their guns could never harm me."
Thor shrugs, looking embarrassed. "It was reflex. I cannot be blamed."
Loki looks them all over now; Steve, still holding a slightly bloody shield, Natasha with a knife missing from its sheath, Clint, gripping his bow, Tony wearing only the glowing gauntlets of his suit, and Banner as he slowly shrinks back into himself, all looking oddly pale in the dim light.
"Really? Did all of you forget? I feel a little insulted."
Natasha is the one who takes it upon herself to step forward and punch Loki in his other eye.
His head snaps back and he looks equal parts surprised and pained. "Why-"
"Don't you ever do that again you freaking idiot." She hisses.
"Yes! Because it was my intention to have someone shoot me in the eye, it really was!" Loki spits sarcastically, rubbing at his newly wounded eye.
"And don't do that!" She smacks his hand sharply. "You'll only make it worse by rubbing it."
"Alright! Alright!" Loki huffs. "You're just as bad as my mother!"
"Does your mother punch you in the face too? Because I'm perfectly willing to give it another go if you miss her."
Steve finally intervenes. "Let's calm down here. Natasha, I know you're angry but you can't just take it out on Loki."
Tony nods. "Dude did just kinda get shot in the face."
Loki raises an eyebrow. "Kinda?"
"Why should I?" Natasha says darkly. "He's the one who made us all worry!" Clint nods at that and Banner, still a little green around the gills, growls in agreement.
Steve sighs. "Yes but-"
"Wait a second." Loki says, looking up at them in surprise. "You were all worried about me?"
There is a split-second of silence before they all yell "YES!" as if Loki is the stupidest person in the world.
And there defense, he probably is.
"Oh…" He says, quietly. "I'm sorry then."
Tony shakes his head. "Don't worry about it." He pulls Loki to his feet and pats him on the back with a still glowing hand. "Let's get some ice on that eye of yours."
"Okay." Loki replies, oddly subdued, and allows himself to be led towards the Avengers Tower.
Thor lingers behind, watching contentedly at the receding form of his brother, surrounded by friends.
Uuhg. The syntax for some of this stuff is terrible. Anyway, I finally managed to finish it so I hope you enjoy it despite my questionable sentence structure.
P.S. Never watch a kdrama, you will never be able to go back.