Author's Note: It bothered me that Loki stabbed his brother- and then nothing was done to show the effects of the stabbing, beyond it allowing Loki to "get away" for a short while. Did Thor really heal that quickly, or was he just really good at hiding the wound? Verse/Setting: Avengers Movie- after Loki is captured for the final time, but before Thor takes him back to Asgard. Prompt: Someone's hiding an injury/illness. Elements: 50, cerulean, bravo
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the movie The Avengers and I'm not making any money from this fic
Warning(s): slight AU; discipline of an adult

Better Part of Valor

He stood in front of the cell holding Loki, just staring. Hulk had done a great deal of damage to the god- if he hadn't been immortal, Loki would have never survived the beating he'd taken, but already bruises were healing and fading. His own wound would take a bit longer to heal- but perhaps that shouldn't be surprising. He had been cut rather deeply. He hadn't done much more than rinse off the blood, upon return to the ship, so it wasn't as if he was taking that good of care of it, either.

The woman, Natasha, was standing behind him. He wasn't sure if she was there because she was worried about him, or if it was because she was afraid he'd try and take his brother and run with him.

"You were hurt…" She remarked quietly.

Ah, worry for him, apparently. It was surprising that she'd picked up on his wound- he thought he'd done a fairly good job of hiding it from the others. He smiled slightly, turning away from his observance of his brother and walked past her heading back to the meeting room. "Tis nothing to worry about," he calmly told her as he brushed past her.

She might have believed him, had he not managed to brush against the wound and winced at the sharp pain that it still caused. He wondered briefly if Loki hadn't used some type of poison on the knife. It might not kill him, but it could make healing more difficult and lengthy. Perhaps he should have taken better care of it, but there was no time. He forced himself to continue walking to the meeting area.

Natasha followed him, her eyes narrowed. He didn't know her well, but he should have known she would be the type to continue a conversation that he felt was already concluded.

"If it is nothing to worry about, why are you walking in such a way as to protect your stomach?" She questioned, watching as he carefully leaned back against the wall instead of sitting around the conference table with Tony, Bruce, and Clint. Fury stood at the head of the table, leading the meeting, while Steve was also leaning against the wall, next to him. Natasha's question caught the Captain's attention. The others were busy arguing about what was to be done with the Tesserat and Loki.

"Let me help…you should have it taken care of…" Natasha moved into his personal space, lifting his shirt up and away from his torso in order to get a better look at the wound. Her sharp gasp caught the attention of the other four men, as Steve jerked to attention and moved around in front of him putting a hand on his shoulder to hold him in place.

He reacted without thinking. He never would have deliberately hurt any of the team. In the short time they'd worked together, he'd come to look on all of them as friends of a sort. But, the wound hurt a lot more than he'd wanted to admit to himself and even the gentle prodding Natasha was doing, was excruciating. He'd thrown her and Steve across the room before he'd even realized he was moving.

"I...I…" he looked at the two of them in dismay, his cerulean eyes conveying shame for what he'd just done. "I apologize….I did not mean…." He swallowed thickly, unable to continue. He didn't protest or fight when Bruce and Clint each took an arm and held him still.

Natasha and Steve, for their part, just stood up as if nothing untoward had happened and began to gather first-aid supplies. Fury and Tony moved out of the way, ready in case they were needed, but not wanting to interfere too much if they weren't.

"Bravo. Good job tossing the teammates…" Tony did manage to needle him a little. Nick's stern glare quieted the other man fairly quickly. Thor squeezed his eyes tightly shut, feeling unaccountably out of control of his emotions. A few tears leaked out, despite his efforts, but thankfully no one commented on them.

"I will go ask what was on the knife…" Natasha said firmly, leaving the cleaning and bandaging to Steve.


He wasn't sure what Natasha had said or done to get Loki's cooperation, but she'd returned before Steve had finished cleaning out the wound and informed them that there was a poison on the knife, but that it would have to work its way out of Thor's system on its own, as there was no antidote in Midgard. It wouldn't kill him, but he would probably be less in control of himself than normal. Steve had snorted at that comment, having already experienced that lack of control first-hand.

"You really should have taken care of this when we returned," the Captain chided Thor sternly. The wound had been badly infected. It had taken nearly 50 minutes for the infection to be cleaned out and then for the man to slather antibiotics and bandage. Thor, still feeling guilt from having attacked his team mates, flushed at the reprimand.

"I did not believe it was that bad," he softly said. "Thank you for attending me. I don't deserve such assistance." He stared at his feet, unable to look at the others.

It was the deathly silence that alerted him he'd said something wrong. Slowly, he looked up, his eyes first seeing Stark and Fury; then glancing at Banner and Barton before allowing his gaze to land on Romanov and Rogers. None of them looked terribly impressed by his declaration. Steve looked unimpressed and thoughtful.

"Luckily for you, you don't get to decide for us who we decide deserves our help." Natasha snipped without any heat before putting the first-aid supplies away. Clint and Bruce carefully released him, both giving him a brotherly pat on the shoulder before going back to their seats. Tony made room for them. Natasha went to sit next to Clint. Fury moved to stand in front of the door. They were all still staring at him. He began to fidget awkwardly.

Steve, who still stood in front of him, carefully smoothed his shirt down over the bandage before gripping his wrist tightly. Thor was surprised that he was unable to jerk his arm free- and as he didn't want to repeat his mistake from before, didn't fight as the Captain pulled him toward the table. It wasn't until he found himself bent over, his upper torso resting on the table, that he realized what Rogers planned to do.

"Wait! You can't…" he protested, attempting to stand. The Captain's hand was against the small of his back, holding him firmly in place. He couldn't control the panic that came over him, struggling harder. Suddenly four sets of hands gripped him gently, comforting him even as they held him still. He flushed scarlet, realizing that every member of his team was about to witness his punishment.

"Why…?" Thor asked in confusion and was chagrined to find his voice unsteady with unshed tears.

"You are being punished because you tried to hide your injury. That is unacceptable, even if you are immortal. If you hadn't tried to hide the injury, you might have been prepared for the side-effects of the poison, and NOT attacked Natasha and I." Steve declared, rubbing his back gently. "If you can't be a good example, then you'll have to be a bad warning." Steve concluded his explanation.

Four pairs of eyes widened around the table as the implications of the Captain's words became clear. One, single eye narrowed slightly before the owner of said eye nodded at Steve in agreement- and promise that he would hold Steve accountable to the same standard.

Thor missed all the by-play between his team. His eyes were squeezed as tightly shut as he could get them and he was tensed up waiting for what he knew was coming. He wondered briefly why he didn't fight more- attempt to get away- but he couldn't bring himself to do it. If Steve felt this is what he deserved, then perhaps he did deserve it. He had begun to trust the man, seeing him as someone who was fair and just. He clenched his hands, relieved that the other hands still gripped him, helping him focus. He could take a little pain.

Then the first smack fell and his eyes flew open as he let out a harsh gasp. That was quite a bit more than a little pain. As Steve's hand rose and fell rapidly, covering every inch of Thor's bottom and upper thighs, the demi-god quickly realized that he would not be able to be stoic through the ordeal. Only five swats into the punishment and he was already squirming uncontrollably. If he hadn't been being held by everyone on the team, he had no doubt he would have broken free or fallen on the floor.

By the tenth swat he'd given up remaining quiet, allowing himself to gasp and whimper. He made all types of promises and pleas for the spanking to stop, but Steve was relentless, wanting to make certain that the lesson was memorable- not only to Thor but to all the witnesses. The Captain did not quit until Thor went limp, all fight leaving him, finally submitting to and accepting the correction. Tears streamed down his face and the only words he gasped out were apologies, no longer trying to convince his disciplinarian to stop the punishment- only wanting forgiveness.

It took him several minutes to realize that the spanking was over and the Captain was rubbing his back again, while the rest of his team mates were carefully squeezing or rubbing his arms. Tony was gently carding fingers through his hair like an older brother might do for a younger brother. It was a unique experience for the demi-god, who was used to playing the part of disciplinarian and comforter. Taking in a shuddering breath, he slowly lifted himself from the table and wiped at his eyes, giving an abashed glance around the table before focusing on Steve and turning bright red.

"You SPANKED me!" he pouted, reaching back and rubbing his sore bottom despite his promise to himself not to do so.

"Yes. And I'll do so again if you ever hide something so important from your team again." Steve replied sternly. "Is that clear?" he glanced around the table at the rest of the Avengers, including them in his orders.

"Yes, sir!" five voices answered back quickly- Thor's the most vehement.

Smiling gently, Steve pulled Thor close to his side, giving him a warm side-hug, and then led the penitent man to a seat, sitting himself next to him. Fury quickly moved back to the front of the table and refocused the team on the Tesserat and Loki.

Thor glanced around at the faces of his team- grinning sheepishly as Tony sent a slow lazy wink in his direction. He somehow felt even closer to these people than he had a mere 30 minutes before. He shifted, the sting still fresh, stopping with a sigh when the Captain put a warning hand on his shoulder. He glanced at Steve, chagrinned. Yeah, he'd never try and hide an illness or injury again. He'd just have to hope Steve never decided he needed to learn any other lessons.

That man's hand could rival Odin's!

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