"Oh Nicholas there you are. I thought you would like to know that I won't be participating in the little matter with Barton next month."

Fury froze, staring at the man before him with a mix of stunned bewilderment and the beginnings of psychotic rage. Loki stared back, looking completely unfazed and more than a little entitled.

The Director of SHIELD closed his eye, took a deep breath, and pointedly reminded himself that throwing things around the room and cursing at the Avenger like an angry Marine Drill Sergeant was not fitting behavior when one was with subordinates. No matter how much smug, self-centered, to damn pretty for their own good alien princes might deserve it.

Since his first meeting with Loki, Fury had been dealing with such desires far more than he liked. From the moment Loki appeared in the middle of a SHIELD facility in an explosion of energy and an inordinate amount of leather, the trickster had done his damndest to throw Fury's world into chaos.

Frankly he still wasn't sure how exactly Loki went from being a hostile intruder in one of the most secure facilities on Earth to a member of the Avengers – though from what Coulson told him it had involved staggering amounts of alcohol and a mixture of classic rock and Lady GaGa, followed by a conversation with Stark that started as a debate about whether or not magic was really some form of science and devolved into a sob-fest about emotionally distant fathers and golden-boy elder brothers with whom one simply could not compete (no matter how hard one tried) and why can't you just love me for who I am dad/father?! – but it had happened. And now – for better or worse – Loki was a constant presence in Fury's life.

If Fury was being honest with himself, it wasn't all bad. Between the magic, his natural skills as a covert agent – which Natasha had been almost giddy to hone – and his genuinely amazing intellect – Stark had gone so far as to declare that he had a "brain-crush" on Loki – the trickster had quickly proved himself to be an invaluable member of the team. And that wasn't even getting into some of the more personal bonus Fury had been enjoying lately…

Anyway, things usually balanced out. Loki pulled pranks, then helped Stark develop five different ways to better utilize arc-reactor technology. He pulled his "I am a prince of Asgard so shut your mouth when standing before your better you pathetic mortal" shtick, then saved a dozen of SHIELD agents from being blown off the Earth by Dr. Doom. He made a general nuisance of himself, he made up for it, and things sorted themselves out.

Except for today. Today, Loki was being an enormous pain in Nick Fury's ass and was most decidedly not doing anything to make up for it.

Things had started that morning when Loki threw up all over Stark and his new – and very expensive – suit. According to witness statements Loki had looked surprised, then resigned, and had promptly teleported away from the shrieking billionaire – who had yet to stop bitching about it. Things had steadily gone downhill from that moment.

The day that followed was filled with Earth-shattering mood-swings, nigh unbelievable actions, and traumatized SHIELD agents. One notable example had occurred when Loki flung a man through several reinforced steel walls, and then transformed his pants into a very… "cuddly"... squid-monster. According to Coulson – who had dealt with that particular incident, something he was not happy about and for which Fury completely expected to pay dearly – Loki's sole reason for the altercation had been: "He was being annoying, now go away."

Things had gotten so bad that agents were reportedly hiding in broom-closets, under desks, and behind vending machines whenever they saw Loki heading their way. Possible theories for his behavior were running rampant. Some people were saying that Loki had finally had a psychotic break and relapsed to the state he was in when he first arrived. Others were entirely convinced that he was being mind-controlled by some evil alien overlord, who would use Loki in a plot for global domination. It had even been suggested that Loki was pregnancy – and yes thank you so for your input Barton why yes I'm being sarcastic now shut the hell up and get back to work!

And after a day of such behavior Loki was standing in front of him, acting as if he owned the little briefing room, and telling him that he wouldn't "be participating in the little matter with Barton next month." That "little matter" being the apprehension of a very nasty group of arms-dealers that they had been planning and setting up for months, just to be sure that they got all of the dirtbags and their top buyers, while also managing to keep any collateral damage to an absolute minimum.

To coin a phrase: "Hell no."

Fury slowly opened his eye, looked straight at Loki, took another deep breath, and – preparing himself for whatever wild and completely unlikely excuse the trickster could possibly come up with – managed to calmly inquire "Why in the hell not?"

Loki met his gaze coolly, "Because at that time I will be on what you mortals call 'maternity leave.' Oh yes that reminds me, Nicholas I will be requiring maternity leave."

Coulson's pen dropped from his hand to the floor with a resounding clink as Barton choked out "I swear I was kidding!"

Alright then. Hadn't been prepared for that.

Fury stared at Loki, trying to process what the other had just said. "…Why… will you be requiring maternity leave?"

Loki sighed as though he was dealing with a particularly simply child. "Because Nicholas, I believe that is standard procedure on Midgard when one is expecting."

"…What?"

The trickster sighed again, as though he was the one being completely sensible and the rest of the world had gone insane, "Expecting Nicholas." He raised an eyebrow at the silence, "You know, 'in the family way?'" More silence follow, prompting a growl and an eye roll, "I am 'late' Nicholas. 'Preggers,' 'up the duff,' 'with child,' I've been 'knocked-up' and will soon experience 'the joy of childbirth.' There's a 'bun in my oven' and you put it there!"

From his side of the table Barton made a sort of strangled whimper of pure horror. Fury felt a similar sound welling in his throat.

"…Wh-what?!"

Loki's face impacted with the palm of his hand. After a moment he removed his hand, walked up to Fury, and poked the gaping man in the chest. "I, Loki Odinson, am currently pregnant with your child Nicholas Fury. You are the… what's the phrase Tony used, my 'baby-daddy?'" A pair of green eyes looked down at him expectantly.

Idly, a part of Fury's mind wondered if this was what going insane felt like. The rest of his mind was barely managing to choke out, "But… how?!"

"Well, if my calculations are correct than I'd say it happened last month just after our little disagreement with Victor Von Doom. Do you recall, you were rather rattled and said that my clothes were impecable, but would look better on the floor of your bedroom and would I needed any aid in removing them, and then-"

Coulson whimpered in horror – mercifully cutting Loki off – while Barton turned a vivid shade of green and choked out something that sounded like "Oh sweet merciful- !" before breaking for the door.

Somehow, Fury managed to look at Coulson – who was most notably not meeting his gaze for once – and calmly say "We can continue this meeting later Agent Coulson, thank you."

Moments later the door closed, and Fury and Loki were alone.

It took a while – and several more deep breaths – before Fury could manage to look the other man in the eyes again. By the time he did Loki had reclined himself on the table, and was inspecting his nails with look of distinct annoyance. Idly, a part of Fury's mind toke a moment to note how that position really showed off Loki's very long legs – which segued into a memory of just how delightfully flexible those legs were – before the rest of his brain managed to focus on the ordeal at hand.

He cleared his throat once, and Loki turned his gaze to him. The expression on the tricksters face was a cross between his 'yes Nicholas, are you quite finished being a complete imbecile?' and his 'if I so chose I could flay you alive and throw your miserable personage from a window you pathetic mortal' looks.

Fury took another deep breath, "So… you're really pregnant?"

"Oh for goodness sake Nicholas, how many ways do I need to say-"

"I mean," Fury cut him off, "this isn't some strange prank? You're not just trolling everyone?" He held Loki's gaze for a minute, then sighed heavily. "This is real. You're pregnant and… and I'm the father."

Loki rolled his eyes, "Yes Nicholas, I do believe that is what I've been saying since I entered the room."

"But… how?" Fury absently rubbed at his temple, "Is this an Asgardian thing? Men can get pregnant? How does that even work?"

For once Loki actually looked uncomfortable, his formerly indolent posture suddenly becoming rigid. "No. No, Aesir men cannot bear children."

"Then… what, is it because of your magic or som-"

"I am not Aesir. I am a Jotunn." Loki's body language had become even more closed off, his gaze now firmly affixed on the wall, "Some Jotunn males are… are born with the ability to conceive and bear young. I am one of them."

Idly filling away the fact that Loki was a member of some unknown species – and that he was clearly not happy about it – Fury cleared his throat again. "Ok, so that explains that. What now?"

Loki blinked, confused, "How do you mean?"

"How do I… Loki, you're pregnant. I mean what now?"

"Oh," a strange look crossed the trickster's face, at once understanding and sad, "of course. Well I assure you, you needn't worry Nicholas; I have no plans to force any responsibility on you."

Something cold grew inside of Fury, "What?"

Loki shrugged idly, "You had no knowledge of my ability to bear young, so it would hardly be fair to hold you to anything. Besides," he shrugged again, "it is not as though we are truly anything to each other. We are… what is the phrase, 'friends with benefits?' I hardly expect you to make an honest man of me, or take on any unexpected responsibilities." He shrugged a third time, the motion seeming more and more like some attempt at looking casual, "And in any regards, it is not as though this is my first child."

Fury stared at him – again, filing away the knowledge the Loki had had other children – before finally managing to speak. "You absolute moron."

That got a reaction. Loki choked in a breath, gaped at him like he had just grown a second head and started to belt out show-tunes, and then turned a brilliant shade of red. "Excuse me?!"

Fury sighed, rose from his chair, and grasped Loki by the shoulders. "Loki, listen to me. Don't just hear me, listen. You. Are carrying. My. Baby." He shook the other gently, "My baby, Loki. My child. Do you actually expect that to mean nothing to me? Do you actually think I wouldn't want to be a part of our child's life?"

Loki stared at him in a sort of stunned shock, "But you- we are not…" he shuddered, "I don't understand." Fury winced slightly at the confused, plaintive whisper. "We don't mean any-"

"Alright, stop right there." Loki actually obeyed. Fury realized that he was actually more unnerved by the tricksters atypical compliance then by his sudden impending fatherhood. He sighed, gently guiding Loki to sit down. "Look, just because we aren't…" he paused, searching for the right word, "aren't 'together,' doesn't mean you don't mean anything to me. I mean yeah, you're a constant pain in my ass, but that doesn't mean I don't like you."

The shocked – almost childishly shy – look that crossed Loki's face actually hurt to see. "You…" the trickster shifted in his seat, looking like he was trying to stifle his hopes, "you like me?"

When had his life turned into a Lifetime original movie? "Yes Loki, I like you. Not always mind you, sometimes I want to strangle you and then lock you in a room with Coulson and make you do paperwork. But" he found himself smiling, "when you're not being a complete pain in my ass then yes, I like you."

Loki still looked as though he couldn't quite believe what he was hearing, "Really?"

"Oh for the love of- yes Loki, for the last time I like you. I mean…" he sighed, "do you really think I'd be sleeping with you if I didn't like you?"

"What does that have to do with anything?"

Oh for… the things he was learning about Loki's life before the Avengers was slowly making him want to be sick, shoot someone in the face, or sweep Loki up in a long hug before spiriting him away to the bedroom. "You said you… had other kids. Didn't any of their… other… dads like you?"

The forced idle shrug returned, "I knew none of them for longer than a night. Well…" a far off look crossed his face, "I suppose… Svadilfari. He did seem to like me, but he was a horse and then things became rather complicated."

Fury shook himself lightly, and – with a repressed shudder – filled that interesting bit of information away for the future. "Well, I do like you; and even if I didn't I'd still want to be part of our baby's life." He smiled suddenly – somewhere in his mind he marveled over how well he was taking all of this – and sat down next to Loki. "Between you and me? I always wanted a kid."

Loki stared back at him, bewildered, "Truly?"

"Yeah. Never figured it'd happen though." He chuckled slightly, "Being the head of a government agency that deals with global-threats, power-hungry super villains, and everything else under the sun isn't exactly the best career to have when raising a kid." He chuckled again, more heartily now, "I mean can you imagine? 'Sorry Junior, Daddy can't come to your baseball game today, he's got to stop Dr. Doom from blowing up Europe again. Don't worry though, these nice assassins are going to take you and make sure you don't get kidnapped by the forces of evil. Have a great game!'"

Loki stared at him for a beat longer, then suddenly chuckled. "I can just image Natasha advising the team, 'Now children, remember aim for the other team's vital areas, and be careful that the umpire never sees you. If you are all very good and aren't caught then Uncle Tony will take you all out after the game and buy each of you a pizza parlor.'"

That made Fury laugh harder, which in turn made Loki laugh harder, and for a moment to two simple sat together laughing. After a while, they began to calm down and Loki met his eye. "There is a distinct problem with that scenario, however."

"Oh, and what's that?"

"Your absence." Loki's eyes held his, "If you insist on being present in our daughter's life, I will insist that you are there for every event, no matter how insignificant, offering all the love and support she deserves. Victor Von Doom's silly aspirations or no."

Fury stared, then smiled, "Well, that sounds fai-" he stopped abruptly, mind reeling as he suddenly realized exactly what Loki had just said. "…Our… daughter's life?" His smile returned, almost splitting his face, "It's a girl? We're having a little girl?"

Loki smiled back, looking happy and relieved for the first time that day. Slowly, he reached out and took Fury's hand, pulling it back to rest against his abdomen. "A mother knows these things. Well," he preened slightly, "at least when I am the mother."

They sat there together, silent and smiling. After a while, Fury looked up at Loki, "So what do you-"

"Colonel Fury?"

He jumped as Coulson's disembodied voice cut him off. "What?!"

Coulson coughed slightly, Fury finally placing that his voice was coming from the intercom, "Sorry to bother you sir, but the representatives from the Pentagon have arrived for your meeting."

Of all of the- Fury growled, "Damn it. Alright, I'll be done in a minute."

"I'll let them know sir. And if I may add? Congratulations to you both."

Fury's eye widened as that little fact came back to him. "Son of a-" he let his head fall into a hand, rubbing at his temple, "I forgot about that. Now we're going to have to figure how and who to tell about this."

Loki chuckled wryly, smirking at him. Apparently, Fury's suffering was the only thing required to restore the trickster's equilibrium. "Nicholas please. Barton knows about this. Do you really believe there will be a soul within SHIELD or the Avengers who will not know about our little blessing by the end of the day?" At Fury's sickened groan, Loki reached out to gently pat his hand, before rising to his feet. "Now then, I will leave you to attend your meeting Nicholas. It is just as well really," he shrugged with genuine idleness, "Pepper, Jane, and Darcy are taking me to 'window-shop' for the baby. I believe Darcy referred to the outing as, 'a required bonding experience between girlfriends.' They will be expecting me back, I left their company to inform you of the news while they were pressuring Natasha into joining us, and by now they should have worn her down sufficiently."

Halfway to the door, Loki stopped and turned back to the gapping Fury. Grinning suddenly, he darted over and – somehow managing to delicately straddle the other man's lap in one smooth motion – placed a deep kiss on Fury's lips.

Fury was still smiling minutes later, as he headed to the meeting room. That is, until he was stopped short by the sudden realization that he would eventually have to tell the very overprotective royal family of Asgard that he had managed to knock up their precious little Loki.