Instead of working on any of my WIPs, I banged out more scenes for this. I'm writing this purely for fun, so there probably won't be a plot or anything.
"So, you came for all the toys?" Tony asked as he watched Loki raid the DVD shelf. Loki pulled a case off, failed to open it like a book, and spat in disgust before pulling another. Every so often, he smacked his cheek with the heel of his hand.
"Loki is not interested in playthings." Thor told him, seriously. "Do you have books?"
"I meant gadgets. You know, speech devices, adapted equipment. Stephen Hawking couldn't show his genius now if it weren't for technology."
"You think him a genius?" Thor sounded surprised.
Tony shrugged. "No way to know, until he can tell us."
In the year since the Chitauri attack, Thor had told the Avengers a lot about his brother. Tony and Bruce had speculated about Autism or Cerebral Palsy, though it was clear Asgard did not use such terms. Bruce had explained to Steve that the terms such as idiot, imbecile and mentally defective were no longer appropriate.
Really, Tony wasn't one to diagnose, but he was an engineer, and engineers were all about finding solutions.
As Tony watched Loki crawl, his mind raced with schematics for walkers and wheelchairs, perhaps leg braces to help Loki stand, though he wasn't sure Loki would tolerate those.
"I would appreciate any equipment you could provide, but that is not the reason for my visit." Thor remained somber. "Loki needs a home."
"Uh, he's got a home with you. Aren't you, like, the best brother ever? I mean, you describe his spitting like he's got a silver tongue."
Thor's expression was a mixture of grief and love as he watched Loki's attempt to pry a DVD case open. Bruce crouched beside him, showing him how to open it and offering another. Loki pushed the closed case away, grabbing for the paper leaflet inside the open case and crumpling it in his grasp.
"Mother has passed," Thor said, but Loki gave no indication of listening, making a rhythmic grunt as he shook the crumpled leaflet. "Father is not as fond of Loki as Mother was."
"Been there," Tony kept his voice flippant. "But you know, this isn't a care home. I'm probably the least qualified person to look after Loki. I mean, I can barely look after myself, and Pepper's busy."
"If you can invite me into your home, I don't see why Loki doesn't belong." Bruce mumbled as he slid the DVD into the player and hit play on the remote.
Loki showed far more interest in the remote than the movie onscreen, batting at the buttons. Tony noticed that Loki seemed to have difficulty pressing specific ones, then rushed to stop Loki from chewing on it.
The rest of the Avengers saw Loki over dinner. Natasha studied his actions and facial expression while Clint tried to entertain Loki by tossing pizza toppings into other people's mouths while they were speaking.
Loki grabbed the pizza and dropped it, purposefully. He spat it out when Thor attempted to feed it to him, turned his head and moaned. Despite his clear dislike, Loki still swiped Clint's pizza.
Thor sought a food suitable for Loki's demanding tastes. Thor's treasured Pop Tarts were quickly reduced to crumbs and scattered on the table. Loki more delicately accepted pieces of fruit from his brother's fingers, somehow looking regal even with juice dribbling down his chin.
Movie nights were something of a tradition for the Avengers. They kicked back on various couches and chairs with bowls of popcorn. The movie had just started when a certain smell invaded the room.
"I'm never on diaper duty." Tony stated, holding up his hands. "I'll finance stuff, build equipment, but I'm not getting near that. Is it on my couch?"
Thor hoisted Loki off to another room. When they returned, Thor continued his one-sided conversation on how Loki should "use magic like Mother."
Thor settled on the couch with Loki as explosions flashed onscreen. Loki was mildly interested, but quickly began playing with the remote again. He turned the TV off, cranked the volume up, and opened up an onscreen menu before Tony pulled the batteries out. Jarvis could handle the TV, anyway.
When Tony handed the remote back without batteries, Loki swung it a few times before dropping it. He ended up half slumped over Tony, turning his head to stare at the glowing arc reactor through Tony's shirt.
Loki completely disregarded Tony's attempts to move him. He'd decided where he was sitting, and that was that.
Of course, Loki coveted Steve's sketchbook. He was sneaky about it, doing his own thing until Steve was absorbed in his art, then suddenly lunging with superhuman speed. It was only Steve's own superhuman speed that saved his latest sketch from being torn.
Tony purchased Loki a leather sketchbook of his own, half expecting Loki to merely flip through the blank pages and tear it up. It turned out, Loki could scribble with writing implements.
"I see you specialize in abstract art," Steve remarked as Loki scrawled away. He was quite happy to have an art buddy, as long as Loki didn't lunge for his sketchbook. Steve watched, slightly wary, as Loki reached across the table.
Surprising Steve yet again, Loki left the sketchbook alone and waved a stick of charcoal. Steve smiled. "You can draw with that, you know. See what I'm doing?"
The good mood abruptly ended when Loki popped the charcoal into his mouth. Steve's attempts to coax Loki to spit it out went from asking to his Captain America voice to pleading, but of course Loki refused to spit now. He seemed to relish in the chaos and Steve's panic.
Bruce wondered if Loki had some sort of self esteem issues. In the following days, Bruce noted that Loki often clocked himself in the jaw, scratched himself, or tugged his hair.
Bruce had some experience with self-hatred, and one thing that helped him was meditation. He set up the mats but forwent the candle, since he could see that ending in disaster.
JARVIS played soft, classical music for Loki. While Loki was often seated for long stretches of time, particularly when they pushed him around in a wheelchair, he crawled off the yoga mat, crumpling it.
Bruce trusted Jarvis to alert him if Loki was at risk of wrapping the mat around his head and suffocating
Bruce had just found his inner calm, Loki's spitting and shuffling oddly relaxing, when his own mat was yanked out from under him, hard enough that he ended up sprawled on the floor. Bruce sat up and blinked as Loki smiled and waved Bruce's mat.
It figured he'd have the same otherworldly strength as his brother.
Tony loaded up a tablet with AAC software. The tablet had a synthetic British voice that was not JARVIS's, though the AI was linked to the tablet's camera to track Loki's eye movements.
"We tried a book, with pictures." Thor said, and Bruce nodded encouragingly until Thor shared that it had not been a success.
Loki's eyes skittered over the screen, his new British voice emerging from the tablet. "Thor, Bruce, I want to eat, grapes."
Thor beamed, but Loki pushed the tablet away and clocked himself in the mouth. He rejected grapes with a scandalized shriek, but enjoyed watching Clint juggle them.
In the coming days, Loki frequently refused to even look at his new tablet. Tony seemed baffled that technology was not the answer.
"Have you tried signing?" Bruce asked.