Who: Clint, Loki What: Crossing paths, part two. When: set sometime during the shelter-in-place at Tony Stark's penthouse. Rating/Warning: Green.
Loki knew Clint Barton was broken. He the Midgardian was angry, rightfully so, which nearly caused a confrontation at Thor's party. Loki hadn't wanted to go after the conflict on the network. He lashed out at Thor because of it, because he invited these people into their home - their home - with his stupid optimism and hopeless hopefulness.
The only safe harbor he had left to hide in, where he didn't have to wear a disguise over himself to avoid being noticed or caught.
And now, dire circumstances put them both under the same roof.
Loki was very good at sneaking. He was able to pass invisibly under Heimdall's awareness and hearing. He knew secret paths. In short, Loki, God of Mischief and Mayhem, was very good at being evasive. He knew that the SHIELD agent was also very good at being shifty when he wanted to. He only knew this, because he had been in his head. Unfortunately.
....it didn't seem like Agent Barton was evading anything, however.
Sometime after they were there, he briskly walked by Barton in the guise of Tony Stark. A man that, having lost his intended and their unborn child, was going to be awkward to approach. No one spoke to him. Including Barton.
Another hour later, he trudged back by as the one that the Valkyrie was calling Captain Jawbone. The Captain seemed to have lost much and was in no mood to talk. No one spoke to him then, either.
Shortly after that, Loki drew a little closer while cloaked in invisibly, out of sheer curiosity. He stood nearby and watched, brows knit together. He quickly left, ducking around a corner, when Agent Romanoff drew closer to check on him.
Finally deciding that Clint was physically there and not mentally there, Loki stopped using disguises. At first, he didn't walk by the places where Barton sat. He would use corners or quick steps to stay out of view.
When that went unnoticed, Loki gave up having to exercise caution. His brother and the Valkyrie were there. Even if angered with him constantly, they wouldn't let anything happen to him. His mother was there, and she was very protective. They watched out for one another.
He had nothing to worry about. Other than Thanos. That was someone to worry about.
And so Loki passed directly in front of Clint Barton, wearing casual Asgardian attire, without any care or caution. He hadn't been noted thus far, and he doubted he would this time either.
When they first got here, Clint had been as busy as anyone—among the busiest in fact; helping them set up, helping everyone who arrived settle in, holding people in or down until they were no longer in danger of doing something stupid, doing anything and everything that needed doing almost faster than someone could ask or instruct him to do so.
The moment things settled and there was nothing for him he do, he’d sat on the floor with his back to a wall and hadn’t moved since. He simply gazed at the floor, seeing other things, and hadn’t moved for hours.
He still didn’t move, eyes didn’t even flicker, as Loki passed right in front of him. But Clint’s voice, so much hoarser than usual, suddenly came out. “Was it you kept walking by?”
Loki faltered in mid-stride, all but freezing in place like a deer caught in the sights of an incoming Bilgesnipe. He slowly finished taking that step and was facing forward as he answered. He doubted that Agent Barton would look at him, and perhaps it was easier that way.
Not that speaking would make it better, when minds were invaded. At this moment, there were options. He could be sarcastic. He could lie. He could brush it off and keep walking.
Loki did none of those things.
"Yes, it was," he finally replied, his brows knit together. "I thought you were beyond noticing."
“Do you care?” Clint didn’t sound provoking. Under the dullness of his voice, it was a simple, genuine question.
The answer to that would have been that he might, possibly. Enough to spare the Agent his presence at first, only until he imagined he was beyond notice did he dare to tread past. He had been taking the long way around wherever the agent was sighted.
Of course, his mouth opened and he turned the question back around, hinting at the past network post, "Do you?"
At that, he looked down over his shoulder at Clint.
"You are in no fit place to discuss things. The timing is poor."
Clint took his head out of his slump and leaned it back against the wall, so that even though he was lower down than the god, he could look wearily at him down his own nose. He was torn between not wanting to have a fight now but finding this level of conversation… doable. And anything other than his own thoughts a relief. “Anyone ever tell you you’re really good at blaming others for your own decisions?”
Loki was struck by two instincts. There was a sudden deep dark compulsion to be cruel, poking the archer with a verbal sticks to see what might infuse some spark back into the man's heart. He knew it would only be due to a sadistic whim, some dark whisper that kept giving him nudges to do so. Despite the temptation, he couldn't cave to it. Thor said there might still be some good in him, that he could be more than what he had been. It was worthwhile to try.
The second impulse was to divert and dash. A quick escape. There was plenty to be said about living another day and picking one's battles. He was fighting the urge to bolt even as he stood perfectly still. There wasn't any yelling or threats to drag his family into this, yet. Although there were a few glares and general unease all around, there hadn't been anything of the sort. Not even when he volunteered information about Thanos and what he knew of the stones to the group after their arrival.
He looked around, making sure the coast was clear in case all pretenses of civility shattered. Once he was assured they were alone, Loki turned to one side to face Clint a little more. It was wise to keep an eye out for any signs of an attack, so he could counter it.
"Is it blame? It seemed more statement of fact," replied Loki. There was no hard edge to it, no blade of a verbal knife aiming to be a thorn in someone's side. It was with tired resignation and a fair amount stubborn princely pride that he added, "And my decisions are, as always, my own."
“Then you have been checking on me,” said Clint. “Thanks?”
It looked as though quite a few questions were churning under the surface, running rampant through Loki's mind. None of them made to the surface.
"I wouldn't count on me to be so charitable. I was merely going back and forth to the kitchens," he lied, because he was very much checking up on Clint. "I'll be on my way now."