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Judas

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He thought he was done with drinking. He had made a point of getting his drinking under control after the Avengers Initiative was established so that he could focus on being part of a team. As a result, whenever the urge to drink began to overcome him, he would either go to his lab and work on his suit or talk to Steve, who made good on the promise he had made to be there for him.

Steve, however, was ironically the cause of the return of his “bad habit”.

Cruel as it was, Tony couldn’t stop himself from blaming Steve. It had all started several weeks ago when Tony had locked himself in his lab to make adjustments to his suit and Clint’s arrows. He had placed a sign dictating “no interruptions” on the entrance to his lab, and Steve had dutifully ignored it. Tony, who had a myriad of feelings for Steve, didn’t stop him. Tony appreciated him, idolized him, and, although he struggled to admit it to himself, still held onto the crush he had developed as a child. Of course, Tony had no intentions of telling the man, and instead stood by his side, watching with a heavy heart as Steve went on, oblivious.

But that particular afternoon Steve had decided that Tony was spending too much time in the lab and not enough doing what Fury called ‘team building exercises’. To be honest, no one really wanted to do the exercises (Clint continuously claimed he was busy and Natasha would hurriedly run off to the gym). But Steve was persistent, and in hopes of convincing the team, went to ask Tony to back him up. The soldier strode in, eying the hanging wires and gadgets scattered around. He cringed at how messy Tony kept his work place and shuffled through metal scraps to get to the futurist. Steve’s words were anything but tactful. “You know, your father was a tidy man.”

Had Tony possessed the same powers as Banner, Steve would no longer be dealing with a short, admittedly angry human scientist, but a raving green Hulk, bent on destroying everything. Tony cleared his throat and continued to work. “Well I’m not my father.”

Steve chuckled. “I can see that.”

Luckily, however, before Steve could say anything else, Thor’s voice was heard booming through the mansion, calling to Steve for help with the stove. Steve immediately left to help his friend, and Tony, watching the door close, threw his wrench on the floor.

Since then Steve had begun to talk about Howard Stark more and more—not at the dinner table with everyone else, but specifically just with Tony. He talked about how wonderful the man was, spoke of his “incomparable genius” (which stung Tony like salt on an open wound), and continuously raving that without him the war would have destroyed the world. Tony was (on occasion) a reasonable man, and understood why Steve was grateful for his father (Howard had, after all, made him into Captain America) but he quickly became tired of hearing ‘Howard invented this to help the world’ or ‘Howard donated this much to some orphanage’, because it made sound like Howard was a God, while Tony was just Tony. Yes, his weapons had led him to being taken hostage, and maybe he didn’t donate to the children’s fund as much as the next rich guy did but it didn’t mean he was the selfish playboy that people considered him to be.

Pepper knew that Tony still had a heart, and in spite of her snarky attitude, Natasha knew that Tony had helped the world.

If only Steve could see that.

So, many months later, having endured Steve’s endless appreciation of Howard, Tony finally broke. It happened during a Stark Industries/SHIELD corporate party with live news coverage. SHIELD and Stark Industries were to announce their new EPA Initiative with new studies, courtesy of Stark and Banner. The press conference happened around 8 p.m. In the panel were the Avengers (minus Thor) and SHIELD scientists. They presented a new machine that would create electricity and manmade gas that could be used as a power source in the United States while still being environmentally friendly. The team members each were asked about their individual opinions on the matter; Natasha claimed it was scientific revolution; Clint sat, awestruck by the greatness of the project. It was Steve’s comment that surprised everyone; “I think it’s wonderful, of course…but this looks like an advancement of Howard Stark’s old prototype.” After which point, Tony promptly stopped listening.

He didn’t know that his father had already created anything similar to this, nor had he seen the original blueprints lying around at Stark Industries. Bruce also seemed taken aback, but smiled and continued to talk about its abilities and benefits. Tony wasn’t listening when Steve continued; “Howard never completed the machine, and I’m glad to see that Tony and Bruce were able to solidify this part of his legacy.” The attendees clapped, Bruce thanked everyone, and the party continued, without Tony.

The bar in the hotel lobby was fairly empty because most of the drinks were in the conference hall, but Tony sat at the bar and ordered a Zombie—a relatively modern and extremely alcoholic drink. Swallowing it heavily, he began to realize how much he really missed drinking. So he drank the Zombie fervently and ordered another, the drink’s promised affect taking over. As he prepared to order a third, he was surprised by a man’s hand rubbing his shoulder.

“Steve?” His mind had already succumbed corpse making drink as he looked to the blonde man behind him.

“A little too much to drink, don’t you think?” The man had an accent—nope, definitely not Steve.

“Depends, what’s a little too much?”

The man chuckled and sat next to him, ordering a glass of champagne. “You know, I really thought that your invention was a great idea.”

Tony lets out a dark, drunken laugh, and lays his head down. “I thought so too, but it looks like my old man beat me again.”

The man tilted his head. “Again? It’s happened before?”

Stark gave a sarcastic laugh. “He’d taken away the person I loved before I was even born!” he exclaimed, and the blonde man raised an eyebrow. “I know how that sounds…but he did, the bastard, and there’s nothing I can do to get him back.” The hand is on him again, rubbing his lower back comfortingly.

“Love comes, and love goes, and someone always gets hurt.”

“Tch, amen to that,” and if Tony is going to be honest with himself, he can’t remember much more than that but sloppy kisses, drunken laughter and going to bed with another man, just to wake up seemingly alone the next morning.

Loki, leaning smugly against a counter, laughs to himself, still amused by how easy it was to enter the party without being noticed. After escaping SHIELD he went out to explore Midgard, still scheming against his adoptive brother. To do this, he once again disguised himself as a SHEILD agent, changing his hair to a curly blonde in exchange for its naturally wavy black. Such a simple change, and yet, it was enough to fool SHEILD.

He entered the party without difficulty, accepting the strange mortal party drinks and watching the Avengers. To his disappointment, Thor did not show up. However, the Iron Man did, with the others in tow, was in fact, in attendance. He rolled his eyes at the invention, deciding smugly that magic is still superior to science. He smirked when Captain America called the device unoriginal, and was even more amused by the disappointed face of the usually cocky Iron Man, failure sliding its coils around his shoulders. He watched (and followed) as Tony slipped away from the conference to drink himself to sleep. That’s when he decided to intervene, hoping to take advantage of the drunken man and retrieve insider Avengers info while his judgment was clouded. He didn’t expect for Tony to kiss him. He didn’t expect to find himself kissing back. He didn’t expect to end up at Tony’s penthouse, his own hotel room lonely and silent without him there.

And so, by midnight he had Tony Stark fast asleep curled around his chest. The God didn’t leave the bed and instead held him as well, sighing deeply in unexpected satisfaction. He lie there, with Tony, more vulnerable than ever, lying unsuspectingly on his chest.

No, Loki had not expected any of this to happen, as he stared at the ceiling of Tony’s bedroom. But, he found himself thinking, as his newfound interest lie sleeping on his chest, it sure is fun to fuck with the avengers.

Chapter Text

The next morning Tony woke up with one of the worst hangovers he had since he discovered drinking. With one arm he covered his eyes and extended the other across the bed to find that his partner was missing, but the spot was still warm. Groaning he stood up and stumbled into the bathroom to wash his face when he heard the clanking of pots in the kitchen. “What’s for breakfast Pepper?” She didn’t reply so Tony shrugged and took some Advil to ease his pain. When he went to the kitchen he called out Pepper again only to find the blonde man, in an apron, cooking breakfast.

“Pepper? Is that my new nickname?” Tony closed his eyes and shook his head, thinking that he was still dreaming. But the man still stood with a spatula in one hand and a pan with a pancake in another. “I hope you like hotcakes, I know many people do.”

Tony blinked and silently walked to his bar stool where the man passed him a plate of pancakes and syrup. The hero looked incredulously at his supposed one night stand and the man chuckled. “I’m sorry, was this too much?”

Oh, oh his voice. Some flashes of the night came back to Tony and he recalled the sweet words the stranger whispered to him in that beautiful British accent. He shuddered at the thought and shook his head and composed himself. “No, it’s just no one has cooked me breakfast before, well except Pepper but she’s paid to do that.”

The man chuckled and put the pan in the sink. Tony used his fork to cut off a piece of the pancake and absorbed the syrup before eating it. He cringed slightly at its bitter taste but ate it anyway. The man smiled and reached out to touch Tony’s face. Tony flinched but easily eased to the man’s calloused touch. “Are you feeling alright?” He asked.

Tony nodded. “Yeah, well huge hangover but I’m fine. I didn’t say anything embarrassing last night did I?”
“You mean Avenger secrets?” Tony’s face turned red and the man laughed. “No, you didn’t. But you kept mentioning a Steve in your sleep.” The scientist’s face turned to a deeper shade of red and he nervously devoured the food. The man smirked.

“He’s no one- just… wait a minute I don’t even know your name! Why would I tell you?”

The man shrugged. “You don’t I was simply telling you what you said to me last night. But I am rude for not introducing myself, I’m Gabriel Hiddleston.

Tony groaned and leaned back in his chair. “You mean I slept with a SHIELD agent, again? Damn I lost that bet to Natasha again.”

Gabriel chuckled again. “You didn’t seem to complain last night about it.”

Tony felt like a teenager all over again because he could not stop blushing. “Well, it’s been a while okay? Been busy saving the world and shit.”

“Hm, I’ve noticed.” He still retained his smirk.

For once Tony didn’t have a comeback for the mysterious agent. “Yeah? Well… whatever it doesn’t matter. I just need to clear my head and I can get back to work. I’m surprised none of my teammates called.

Actually sir, both Ms. Romanova and Mr. Rogers called five times each and left several messages. Shall I play them?

“No thanks JARVIS, I think I can guess what its saying. Tell them I’ll be at the mansion by noon.”

Will do sir.

Tony noticed Gabriel shudder at the AI’s voice, this time he smirked. “Haven’t seen a talking house before?”

“No, still adjusting to the- advancement of human technology.”

“Well adjust faster because if you’re with me you’ll be hearing a lot of it.” The minute he finished his sentence his smug grin went away. If you’re with me? That made it sound like Gabriel was more than a one-night stand.

Unfortunately Gabriel noticed the words and his smirk returned. “So I’m invited back here?”

“Wha- no that’s not what… unless you’d like?”

Gabriel leaned over the counter to give a quick kiss to Tony’s cheek. “I don’t mind, do you Mr. Stark?”

Tony opened his mouth to argue but suddenly the face of Steve came and his mind raced. It began with first unfreezing the soldier, their immediate tensions with the Avengers and eventually making up to be friends. But then comments about his father echoed in his head. Your father was never like this, your father was a tidy man- this is good but it looks like Howard’ Stark’s old prototype. He knew that he could never have Steve the way he had Gabriel for one night. Steve was still in love with his father and no matter what he could never lived up to that man.

Tony pulled Gabriel into a bruising kiss, teeth clattering with a bit of accidental lip biting. Neither man complained when Tony pulled back and Gabriel licked his lips. “I don’t mind at all.”

0o0o

Gabriel Hiddleston, English descent and began working for SHIELD two months earlier when Loki escaped his prison. The British man working under the U.S. SHIELD was one of the first to investigate his disappearance when Loki possessed his name and identification all together, yet did not take over his full body, just changed his hair to match the real Gabriel’s. Feeling kind Loki placed Gabriel in his own personal heaven, although the man’s soul was really trapped in the Tree of Life wandering aimlessly to escape. Oh well, he’ll be okay so long as Loki willingly kept him alive.

After fitting into his new identity Loki studied the man’s work in SHIELD; nothing too complicated, just a desk worker. Boring yes but suitable. He was still allowed to enter all company parties but still semi-restricted from the Avenger’s Initiative. He had read all the files of each Avenger including the Criminal Log (his name was in the top 5, not too bad). Yet in order to become closer to his brother and completely destroying the Avengers he needed more insight, more secrets to crush the Avengers once and for all and who else to retrieve this information from than an Avenger himself. Although Steve was the technically the first Avenger he knew that Fury went to Tony first to help fund and begin the project and still so vulnerable and hurt the Iron Man made himself the best target.

Of course he still had to swindle the man somehow for the information. He saw on an electronic box a man cooking for his woman as a kind gesture so he decided the same. What he had put into the ‘hotcakes’ he was unsure of, flour sugar and salt on a pan, what’s so hard about that? Tony seemed to like it. Success in cooking. Now in one chat he convinced Tony for the two to officially go out- another success.

Ring, Ring, Ring

Tony rolled his eyes as he answered his cell phone. “Stark.”

“Tony! Where in the world are you?! Tasha and I have been trying to reach you for hours!” Ah the concerned voice of the soldier who broke the man of iron.

Man of iron rolled his eyes and left his seat. “Sorry, I was still sleeping. Is the world blowing up?”

“What? It’s almost 11! And no- Fury and Pepper need to talk to you. Have you seen the news this morning, or the paper?”

Tony rubbed his eyes. “No, what came up this time?”

There was a sound of shuffling over the phone. Loki put Tony’s plate away and washed the dishes as best he could without magic.

“I don’t know, something like ‘Stark seen drinking yet again, has AA not worked for the billionaire?’ Tony, what happened? You were sober for so long!”

Loki smirked when he felt the anger in Tony rise. “You’re criticizing me for a little drinking? It’s not like I drove home and crashed into the ocean!” In fact the two didn’t drive home. When in the clear Loki transported them back to his penthouse, of course he’ll just say they caught a cab.

“But what if you did? Tony you have to be more careful with your health!”

Loki could see Tony’s hand form into a fist. “Why? Was my father careful with his?”

“What? What does Howard have to-

“Never mind, I’ll be there.” Angrily he hung up and ran his hands through his hair. “Sorry, I have to go. You need a ride to SHIELD?”

Loki shook his head. “No, but I’ll walk you out.” Both quickly changed, Tony into a casual work outfit and Loki into his now wrinkled suit from last night.

“If we are doing this again I would like your number.” Tony said.

Loki slightly froze in place, still very unaccustomed to mortal technology. “Oh, I-… left my phone at the office, and it’s a new phone so I haven’t memorized the number yet.

“Really? SHIELD agents are slacking. Well I’ll send you a message at work. Hopefully Maria doesn’t throw it away.” When they were ready the two took his elevator to the garage where Tony picked out from his eleven cars to drive that day. “You sure you don’t want a ride?”

“No, I feel like walking today.”

“Suit yourself, see ya later.” Placing on his sunglasses Tony roared his engine and left. Loki smiled at yet another small victory into Stark’s life. Even if it has been one night Tony has not suspected anything and if he could continue his charade the Avengers will fall.

Chapter Text

He arrived at the mansion by noon but instead of entering through the garage he parked the car a block down the street and entered through the back way. Before the Avengers moved in Tony created many secret escape halls in case of an emergency, and to him hiding from Steve or Pepper’s lectures was considered an emergency. He entered though the back entrance and took the route to Clint’s room knowing that Cap doesn’t hang around the bedroom halls and expects Tony to go to his lab. When he opened the door he heard laughter from Clint and a woman, most likely Natasha. Rolling his eyes he entered casually by kicking the door fully open. “’Sup?”

Clint jumped and grabbed a pillow to cover his crotch while Natasha rolled her eyes and covered her chest with a blanket. “Stark?! What the hell? Why did you go use my escape route to enter?”

“Hiding from Steve I suppose.” Natasha stated and Tony nodded in agreement. “I haven’t seen the paper, what did it say?”

Tony waved his hand. “Oh something about me drinking again. Steve got mad because I’m supposed to be sober and blah-blah-blah, I don’t feel like listening to him though I still have a headache.”

The Widow smirked. “A lot of drinking eh? But Cap has a point, what happened? You were fine for a while.”

“Um, hello? Am I the only one who feels very exposed?” Clint asked raising his hand. Natasha flicked his head and turned back to Tony for his answer.

Tony shrugged. “Well, it’s been a rough couple of weeks and I guess I finally decided that drinking helps ease it. So I drank.” Of course he wasn’t going to tell what became rough in his life because the only one who knew about his feelings for Steve was JARVIS.

“That is just sad.” Natasha replied as she shifted closer to Clint. “So how did the bimbo take the new ‘drunken depressed sex’?”

“Why would you assume a bimbo was involved with me last night?”

Clint snorted. “Come on, every time you get drunk at a bar or party a woman ends up in your bed. So who was she, a reporter or some rich guy’s wife?”

Seeing that he’ll be talking to his fellow teammates for a while Tony pulled up Clint’s desk chair to sit down. “No, I didn’t go home with anyone. After getting wasted I got JARVIS to call a cab and I got home.” He lied. Usually he was unashamed of anything but he did not want anyone knowing that he slept with a man because he was trying to believe he was Steve.

While Clint shrugged and wanted alone time with Natasha, she squinted her eyes and observed Tony. The billionaire shifted uncomfortably under her gaze and he cleared his throat. “No, you went home with someone last night.” She removed herself from the bed revealing to be wearing a lacy black bra and matching panties. Tony smirked at this while Clint face palmed and fell back on the pillows. “You still smell like alcohol but that’s because you barely washed up and not even shaved.” She grabbed his chin and turned his head from side to side and took a deep breath. “Cologne, but it’s not yours.” The archer suddenly sat up and raised his eyebrow. “Men’s, definitely, similar to yours Clint but not as strong.” She suddenly lifted Tony’s black shirt over his head and examined his back. “No scratches on your backside meaning that your partner wasn’t doing the clawing.” Finally she looked at his fingernails. “Oh look at that, you were doing the scratching. So my theory is that you got wasted and went home with a man and bottomed.”
Tony pushed himself back and placed his shirt back on. “When did you become Sherlock? Whatever you think it’s wrong, I went home alone and put on new cologne, so what?” He stood up to leave.

“It is because of Steve?” Clint suddenly asked. Tony stopped in his tracks but didn’t turn around. Natasha stared confused at Clint’s comment as the archer continued. “Sorry, I think this is a little out of line but I’ve seen the way you look at Cap, Tony. But after the comment he made last night I think I can see why you would go home with a man.” Tony still didn’t move.

“Is that true?” Natasha asked. Still no reply.

Clint finally got out of bed, still in his boxers, and put a hand on Tony’s shoulder. “Look, we won’t tell Steve anything. But please for your sake don’t drink and sleep around.”

“I’m not, I’m seeing Gabriel later.” Clint removed his hand, both he and Widow surprised at his reply.

“Really?”

Tony reached for the door. “Yes… and guys? Thank you.” Finally Tony left the room to clear his head in his workshop.

0o0o0o0o0o0o

Life at SHIELD couldn’t have been duller than watching water freeze. The minute he walked in he was met with Gabriel’s stack of papers that he had to read, sign or make amends to. The office was loud with the complaints of the machine of coffee not working or the pastry filled with jelly going stale. Loki had to restrain himself from unscrewing the chairs or cutting the power to mess with the agents in order to entertain him.

By two he finished his work but was not permitted to leave, so he sat down reading the SHIELD agent manual when a woman with short hair stopped by his desk with a letter. “Hey fish n’ chips, mail for you. Also you have a conference call in room 5B.”

“Why does she call me fish n’ chips?” Loki asked as she walked away. “I am not a fish nor am I a salty fried snack.”

The man across from him, by the name of Phil Coulson, just chuckled. “It’s because you’re British.” Loki still did not understand the humor but the woman yelled at him again to go to his meeting. Shrugging Loki found his way to 5B yet only one woman was inside. He entered and played Gabriel.

“I was summoned here for a conference call?”

The door suddenly closed behind him and the glass windows turned black. The woman in the SHIELD suit changed revealing Thor’s friend Sif. Loki was surprised to see her here. “Sif? What are you doing here in SHIELD?”

“I should be asking you the same thing Loki.” The God of Mischief readied in a battle stance but she held her hands in defense. “I’m not here to fight, I have a message. We’ve lost track of Amora. I know she was working for you to find Thor but she suddenly disappeared.”

Ah, Amora or better known as Enchantress. Loki called for her assistance in order to bring Thor back but her love for the other God made her go against his orders. Although he has punished her several times she refused to submit to Loki’s rules. He remember her leaving his side months before he became Gabriel but she has been silence since and he has not tried to look for her. “Before she did I talked to her about giving Thor up and just going back to Asgard. She didn’t take it so well and…” Sif paused for a moment. “Loki something’s wrong with her. I’m not sure but she had this look in her eye-something murderous.”

“I have that look at the time.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes but you’re you. For Amora, well it looks like she’s scheming against Thor and you.” Loki blinked and then burst into laughter finding the idea that Amora has a plan that could possibly hurt him. “I’m serious Loki, for your sake and your brother’s be careful with her, she isn’t the same.”

Loki waved his hand. “Thank you for your concern Sif but I believe that I will not have to worry about the Enchantress. If anything you should be concerned, you are talking to me and in a certain view protecting me from harm.”

Sif shook her head. “I’m looking out for my friend and his family that is all.” She snapped her fingers and she was gone. The room was transparent again and SHIELD agents walked by minding their own business. Shrugging off the warning Loki finally opened the letter given by the other woman. It was a message from Tony with his cell phone number. Finally the warning of Sif had completely gone over his head as he looked at his phone and decided to learn how to use it.

0o0o0o0o0o0o

Steve paced at the door lab nervously. The abrupt conversation with Tony over the phone bothered him more than it should have. Tony was rude, defensive, and obviously angry with him and he did not know why. The last time he recalled Tony becoming angry at him was the first few weeks the Avengers were established because the two clashed with the leadership and ways of fighting crime. That eventually subsided when Tony stopped arguing and defending Steve’s thoughts about the Avengers and he apprecitated Tony for stepping down. But now the man was cold and avoided Steve as much as he could. He saw Tony enter his lab but was too afraid to approach sensing a larger fight approach. So for the past hour he has been pacing and waiting for Tony to cool off before he talked to him.

He jumped when he felt someone tapped his shoulder. Steve turned around to find a surprised Bruce holding a file case. “You okay Cap?”

“I… yes, are you here to see Tony?”

“Yup, I need to give this file. Hey, can you do it? I have to return to SHIELD to give Fury my reports.” He held the papers out.

Steve perked realizing this was an excuse to be able to enter the lab. “Of course.” He took the papers and Bruce thanked him before leaving. Smiling, Steve input the code and the doors slid open.

Once again the lab was a mess and dark. The only light source was the red flares from Tony’s wielding and the arch reactor on his chest. Loud music echoed in the lab that drowned out any noise. Sighing Steve turned on the lights and then turned off the radio. Tony stopped his wielding and removed his mask. “What the-

Steve held the papers and passed it to Tony. “Dr. Banner asked me to pass this to you.”

“Oh, thank you, just set it on the table.” Steve nodded and did so. When Tony went back to the suit Steve pulled up a chair and sat next to his teammate. Tony still did not initiate talking to the soldier so Steve cleared his throat and began.

“Is everything okay Tony?”

“Yup.” The answer was too quick for Steve’s likings.

Time for the casual approach. “So Fury was able to fix my motorcycle, do you want to go for a ride in the city with me?”

“Busy.” Strategy failed and Steve’s patient was running thin. He scanned the lab in hopes to find something else to discuss when he noticed the empty beer bottle in the trash. It suddenly hit him. Tony was still angry at Steve’s interrogation over the phone. He never took Tony to be the sensitive type when it came to his drinking but whatever Steve said on the phone really upset him and since Tony was too prideful he wouldn’t speak first.

“I’m sorry what I said before.” Tony didn’t react. “I mean with the drinking. I guess it was uncalled for me to yell at you like that. It’s your business but I was concerned for you.”

Finally Tony set his tools down and removed his mask. He looked to Steve. “No, you’re right. My drinking went out of hand last night but I wasn’t hurt. Thank you for your concern.”

Steve smiled and placed a hand on Tony’s shoulder. “If you ever need someone to talk about your problems I’m still here. Hey, take a break from your suit. Why don’t we go spar at the gym?”

At first Tony had a blank stare at Cap and the soldier was unsure if he angered him more. But then a small smile grew on the bearded man’s face. With Steve still touch his shoulder Tony placed his hand over his. “I would love too.”

Tony knew it was pathetic to use sparring as an excuse for physical contact with the soldier but he couldn’t help himself. Indeed the two have not been able to spend ‘alone time’ since the Avengers began and he was not going to miss this opportunity.

After changing into sweats Tony met Steve in the training room where he set up a boxing ring. Steve was inside wrapping his hands with powered bandages. Tony gulped nervously as Steve smiled back at him and gestured for the shorter man to join him. Tony did so already prepare for their spar. “Shall we box or wrestle?”

“Wrestle.” Tony suggested. More physical contact, body limbs in tangled, sweat dripping among each other…

“Excellent. Your call.”

Steve took a defensive stance and smirked. With one final breath Tony nodded and the soldier attacked and sadly Tony did not last. He felt his chest hit the ground and Steve’s weight pressing on his back, when did the blonde flip him over? A blush appeared on his face as Steve’s hot breathe closed in on Tony’s ear. “That was fast.”

Gaining his composure Tony used his strength to flip their positions and place Steve in a headlock. “You were saying?”

Of course Steve had military training and easily switched places yet again and Tony was under him once more. “Sorry pal got to try harder than that.”

The next half our involved grunts groans and sweat from both men each flipping each other over and refusing to give in. Eventually both became exhausted and Tony finally raised the white flag as he lay on the floor as if going to sleep. Steve laughed and joined Tony on the floor, lying closer than two normal guys would. “You know, if I was hyped up on energy drinks I could have won this.”

Steve shook his head. “Just keep thinking that Tony- but this was fun.” The blonde turned his head to his side and now his lips were close to Tony’s ear. Without thinking Tony turned as well to be face-to-face with the soldier. Steve smiled as he playfully punched Tony’s shoulder. “I haven’t seen you smile like this in a while. I’m happy you’re okay.”

But he wasn’t. This was the only way Tony could ever get so close to the man he loved so much. Taking one more step will force him to fall and he wanted to cry. He continued to smile, however, because Steve looked happy and they stopped fighting. “Yeah… thank you.”

“Hey Tony, we still have the afternoon, why don’t you and I-

“Woops, am I interrupting something?” Tony and Steve sat up to find an amused Bruce with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face.

The smile on Tony quickly faded as Steve stood up and walked to the edge of the ring. “What do you need doctor?”

“Just came back from SHIELD. Nick wanted me to give you this.” He held out a video tape and handed it to Steve. “Did you get my files Tony?”

“Yes but I haven’t looked at it.”

“Take your time. I’m going with Thor to the city, guys want to join us?”

Steve shook his head. “Thank you but I want to check this out.” Tony rejected as well and Bruce said his good bye and left. The two left the training arena and went to the living room where Steve put in the video tape.

The picture on the screen was in black and white but obviously re-mastered, looking like it was on a film reel before. On the video was Howard Stark, looking older than Steve remembered, as he adjusted the camera to his face. “Steve, if you are watching this then I am glad to say that I was right and you somehow survived the crash.” Ah, that’s why. This was years after he became Captain America since he was pronounced dead. “We won the war, and that’s thanks to you.”

Steve chuckled and turned to Tony. “It wasn’t all me, your father made me into this.” He looked back at the T.V. “I wish your father were here so I can thank him properly.”

It was then Tony was done listening to the video. He patted Steve on the back and left the room, holding back all he can to not punch the wall, break the vase or tear Banner’s head off. He shouldn’t blame the scientist but why did he have to deliver the tape for Fury? And why was it when Tony was finally happy that his father, who is dead, had to ruin it for him?

He entered his lab yet again, ready to make more adjustments to his suit when his phone buzzed. He didn’t recognize the number until he read the text message. ‘Sorry it took me a while to reply, a lot of work here. –Gabriel’.

The smile came back but not for the same reasons. ‘That’s okay; do you want to hang out tonight? My place, food and a movie around 8.’

Less than a minute later Gabriel replied. ‘I would love that. : )’

Tony left the mansion without saying a word to anyone, including Clint or Natasha. He drove home and prepared for the night with the lustful man from England.

Chapter Text

Steve smiled as Howard continued to speak about the war that they had one. Eventually a much younger Tony appeared in the background, accidentally knocking over a model figure. Howard rolled his eyes and told Tony to go to his mother, to which the young scientist pouted but followed. Howard then loosened his tie and ran his hand through his hair. “Steve, it may not look like it but Tony is the most precious thing to me.” The soldier still smiled, Howard was such a caring father. “I know that I’m not going to live forever and I will most likely not be there for my son, so I ask as a final request…” he took a deep breath. “Please take care for my son, watch over him, protect him… love him. He cannot receive any of that from me. Even if I am not there I do not want to see Tony become broken, like I am.”

Steve wanted to yell at the screen ‘Broken? What do you mean?’ but he couldn’t. He stared at Howard so confused and frustrated that he cannot ask his questions.

“Tony will grow up to be the most brilliant man alive, but don’t allow that to be his downfall.”

The video ended to which Steve proceeded to turn off the T.V. He sat on the couch, processing Howard’s final wishes. Tony has already fallen to drinking, that Steve could not have prevented. But as a loyal soldier he would do as Howard says to protect Tony as much as possible. He then noticed that Tony was gone, unsure when he left the room. So Steve walked around the mansion, checking the kitchen, training room, bedrooms and finally the lab. He was nowhere to be found.

Back at the living room Clint took out the video asking if it was Steve’s. “Where’s Tony?”

Clint shrugged. “I thought he was with you.”

Did he go home perhaps? To make sure he called Tony’s cell phone but was led straight to voicemail. He jumped when Clint placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry; I think Tony just went home. Bruce said that you guys were together in the gym; maybe he’s tired from that.”

“Yeah… I hope so.”

0o0o0o0o0o

Loki smirked as he received sent his final reply and took his jacket from his chair. Phil looked up. “Leaving already?”

“Yes, I have a… date tonight.”

Phil smiled. “Good for you, have fun. I’ll tell Maria that you got ‘sick’ and had to leave early.” Even though this man led the expedition to retain his brother and stop his plans from taking over the earth Loki liked Phil. He was the only one in the facility who did not pester him and could make easy chat. Definitely an ally in the future.

So Loki left and walked to a dark area where he could easily teleport himself in front of Tony’s penthouse. He snapped his fingers and he became invisible, already inside Stark’s home before their timed date. Tony had taken a shower and wore casual house clothing. With the help of a robot he called ‘dummy’ he cleaned up the living room and bedroom while making ordering take out. When he hung up he went through his DVD pile and picked out suitable movies that both could enjoy.

Loki smiled at Tony’s efforts to impress him. It was quite… comforting Loki supposed. Never has he met a human willing to go through so much for a small night, yet Tony seemed so determined to make everything perfect. He recalled a couple of times, before the Gabriel get up, when he traveled the city as a woman and how many men had hit on him. Most were as the women called ‘pigs’ who attempted to drag her home, ravish her and kick her out the next morning. Loki scoffed at their manners and usually knocked them out and steals some belongings and made his merry way out. Tony, however, still tried to make everything comfortable for the both of them, making Loki smile.

By eight Loki placed himself at the door and knocked. Tony answered with a drink in his hand and allowed Loki in. “Right on time.”
Loki nodded. “I am a punctual man Mr. Stark.”

Tony raised an eyebrow. “So I’m Mr. Stark now? I think I like that.”

“Don’t get too used to it.” He shut the door behind him and took off his shoes. Tony was at the island counter placing the take-out on the plates when Loki walked behind him and trapped him by placing his arms on the counter and Tony in the middle. He rested his chin on Tony’s shoulder and tilted his head to give him a kiss on the neck. “Did you make this?”

“Tch, of course not. Take-out, I can’t cook for my life.”

“Too bad, I would love to see you in an apron cooking a hot meal just for me.” He whispered in Tony’s ear. Loki felt Tony shiver and he smirked.

“Do you want to eat to just fantasize me as your housewife?”

Loki kissed the back of Tony’s neck. “Can’t I do both.”

“Nope, fantasize or stave, choose one.” The God did not have to eat but as much as he wanted to simply ravish Tony on the counter top the mortal needed to eat so he released him and followed Tony to the couch. “I have a couple of movies for us to watch, do you want to choose?”

Loki shook his head. “I do not watch a lot of movies. You choose something.”

Tony shrugged. “Okay.” He reached over to the coffee table and shuffled through the DVDs choices. “How about Clash of the Titans? I bought the thing but haven’t seen it yet.”

Loki shrugged and Tony put in the DVD player. The God was aware of the other mythological creatures in different cultures but he was not well associated with Greek or Roman mythology. Halfway through the movie they finished their meals and dummy took their plates to wash. By this time as well Tony began to yawn and rested his head on his propped arm. “Okay, this actually sucks. They just put any random fact of Greek Mythology into one poorly directed movie.”

The God laughed. “It is not so bad, the visual effects are impressive.”

“Pft, what’s impressive is how all these men are so stupid to look into Medusa’s eyes. Everyone knows that you don’t look at her!”

“Do you like Greek Mythology? You sound more associated with it.”

Tony shook his head. “I don’t like it, but I like studying it as a subject, although after a while I find it hackneyed, and Roman mythology isn’t that impressive either.” Tony paused the movie and began looking for another one to watch.

“What other forms of literature do you enjoy studying?” Loki asked, leaning closer to look over his shoulder.

“Not a lot actually, I find science and math a thousand times more interesting than books. I’ve even read the bible just to analyze the subtext.”

“Are you associated with Christianity?”

“Oh hell no, I’m pretty much the epitome of a sinner according to the thing. But some stories are interesting. I studied it like I did with Greek Mythology back in high school. Oh, I think this is a better movie.” Tony said holding out ‘Push’.

By this time Loki became uninterested with the movies and more into Tony’s studies in mythology, so he put the DVD back on the coffee table and held Tony by the waist. “Did they only teach Greek Mythology?”

And by this time Tony was tired of just staring at the T.V. and allowed himself to be held. “Sadly yes, this is a shame because that’s the only mythology that most people are aware of. Like I said it’s interesting at first but it’s overused.”

“Hm, if that is, what is your favorite mythology?”

Loki pulled Tony so that the shorter man was sitting between his legs. “Definitely Norse. I just feel that that the stories with the Gods are much more complex- and having Thor on the team is a lot of fun too.”

“Who’s your favorite God?”

Tony tapped his chin with his index finger. “Sif, she’s smoking hot.” Loki rolled his eyes and Tony laughed. “I’m kidding. It would have to be Bragi.”

Loki raised his eyebrow, unaware that Tony seemed to know more than just Odin, Thor and himself as the Norse gods. “Why is that?”

The billionaire shrugged. “He’s the Norse god of poetry, I like poetry.”

Loki smirked and kissed the back of his head. “You’re a poetry person? That’s romantic.”

“It’s romantic if I can make my own poetry. I suck at that too unless its math related, then I’m just reciting pi.”

“What if I said I can recite the entire story of Skáldskaparmál?”

Tony looked up at him with a glint of lust in his eyes. “Then I’m all yours for the night.”

“In English or its original language?”

“Original.”

Loki smiled. “Egir sækir heim æsi. Einn maðr er nefndr Ægir eða Hlér. Hann bjó í eyju þeiri, er nú er kölluð Hlésey…”

For the rest of the night Tony laid in Loki’s arms as he recited the entire epic poem. Loki spoke slow and soothingly while stroking Tony’s arms and kissing him a couple of times. Halfway through Tony yawned again and rubbed his eye yet still tried to stay awake. “We can go to bed now if you would like.”

“No, please continue.” Loki did so, emphasizing each syllable and watched Tony shiver at his voice. Eventually, however, midnight passed and Tony began to drift off, so while reciting, Loki carried the man to the bedroom and tucked him under the blankets. He stopped talking to stroke Tony’s face. Loki then decided the polite thing to do is say goodnight and leave but when he did Tony reached out and grabbed his hand. “Stay.”

Once again the God smiled and joined him. With Tony’s back turned Loki spooned him and held him by the waist still whispering the final piece before falling asleep.

'Sir, Emergency in New York. The Avengers request your help'. JARVIS announced with the alarms sounding. At first Tony covered his ears, still trying to sleep when a loud explosion shook his penthouse. He stood up abruptly and looked out the window where lightening struck in the city. “Crap…” He got out of bed and to the computer by the wall to access his suit.

Loki stirred and opened his eyes. “Hm, come back to bed.”

“Sorry, city in trouble.” He pressed enter and his suit appeared from the wall.

“Should I help?”

“No, I think the Avengers have it covered.”

“Wait.” Loki left the bed, walked up to Tony and kissed him. “Don’t die.”

Tony smirked. “I won’t.” He entered the suit and the wall closed. Two seconds later Iron Man appeared outside the penthouse and flew into the city. Loki smiled and went back to bed but instead of sleeping he created a screen in order to see the action that Tony was about to face.

He recognized the villains, although he didn't associate with them as well as Amora did. They were Wonderman, the Abomination and Baron Zemo. As far as he knew Amora rounded these men, or creatures, to bring down the Avengers, most of the time failing. He wondered why she didn’t join in the fight, assuming this was the warning that Sif informed just that day. But thirty minutes into the fight she did not appear and the only magic exuded was from Thor.

The fight eventually ended with the Avengers winning yet again. However their job was not done when multiple robberies and fights occurred in the streets. And as heroes they took these smaller crimes to clean up New York.

Loki then received a text message from SHIELD. ‘All members of sector A-C needed.’ He groaned knowing that he was part of that and changed into his suit to go to his designated location. Before he left he made a hot meal for Tony when he returned and kept it warm for him. He snapped his fingers again and teleported himself to the location where the Abomination was handcuffed and retrained by Captain America and Hawkeye. He showed his I.D. “I can take it from here.”

Hawkeye thanked him and the archer and Cap left to go help the other Avengers. He looked at the Abomination and scoffed at his pathetic attempt to break his restraints, yet he still wondered how he would take the creature without having to use magic. Minutes later a SHIELD vehicle drove up to him with other agents taking it in. Coulson came out from the passenger’s side to talk to Loki. “Damn, isn’t it 5 in the morning? Too early for this.”

Loki chuckled. “Yes, I would expect them to attack later in the day.” They watched as Abomination was taken into the truck. “Do we have other orders?”

“Just round up any other criminals running around.” So for the next three hours that’s what he did, driving with Coulson, beating some low life criminals and taking them to the local jails rather than SHIELD. By eight the activity had died down and the police took over while SHILED returned to HQ to interrogate the three super villains. Loki left a voice mail saying “Hey, sorry I had to leave, SHIELD called with some assignments for us. I made breakfast, please enjoy-Gabriel.” Ten minutes later Tony finally replied in a text, thanking him and hoping that they can do it again sometime soon. Loki smirked as he followed Coulson to the interrogation room.

“Why are you smug?”

“No reason, just happy.”

“Three hours of chasing criminals around the city and you’re happy? Boy I wish I was like you.”

After taking down the last criminal before the police arrived Tony received Gabriel’s messaged and smiled under the mask. Even if he had to work he was kind enough to make him breakfast. “Well if we’re done here I’m going home.”

Steve stared at Tony. “Really? Why not go back to the mansion with the rest of us?”

“Sorry, my date made me breakfast, don’t want to be rude and leave it. See ya.” He saluted to the Captain and flew back to his penthouse. Steve blinked in utter confusion while Clint and Natasha smirked to each other. Hulk raised his eyebrow and Thor smiled at their victory from earlier.

“Tony had a date?”

“Yeah, that’s what he does, date.” Clint stated.

“I was not aware he’s been seeing someone.”

“Well he is. Come on, I’ll get JARVIS to make us some pancakes!”

Thor cheered yet again as the Avengers walked back to their mansion. Steve followed slowly, unsure how to take the in the new information of Tony going out with someone.

0o0o0o0o0o0

Interrogating Amora’s henchmen couldn’t have been more boring than working in SHIELD; each villain remained silent before force was used to make them talk. Abomination was the first to go, then Wonderman after cajoling him with secrets from Stark and finally Zemo, although his information seemed skeptical. When they were done Loki and Coulson placed them in detainment and went back to their desk work. But while everyone else was busy with their work Loki excused himself and went to the most secluded area in building. He touched the wall to create another screen this time looking into Tony’s home.

Tony was in his bed with the breakfast that Loki conjured up for him and was halfway done with it. “Play it again JARVIS.”

Loki shuddered from hearing the computer reply with mortal emotions as it chuckles.' Certainly sir, but wouldn’t it be easier just to call him?'

“Yes but he’s busy. Play it again.”

“Hey, sorry I had to leave, SHIELD called with some assignments for us. I made breakfast, please enjoy-Gabriel.”

“Again.”

Loki smirked at Tony’s attempt to have him by replaying his voice mail. The man seemed content with it however, and Loki suppressed the urged to just show up at his doorstep and take him there.

“So is this what you’re doing?” Loki rolled his eyes at Sif as he made the image disappear. “Seducing Stark so you can get Avenger’s insight?”

“It is effective.”

“Have you gotten anything then?” Loki tried to reply but couldn’t realize that in the past two days he’s received zero information on the Avengers. “I thought so.”

Sif turned him around so that he would face her. “What are you doing here?” Loki asked.

“I was listening into the interrogation. They were sent by Amora yet she did not show up.”

“And you still think this is part of her big plan?” Sif nodded. “You worry too much.”

“I think someone should be. And be gentle with Stark.”

Loki scoffed. “What are you talking about?”

“I saw him too you know, how happy he was with you around. You’re going to break him.”

“That was my first intent.”

“Then do it now because if you wait it out both of you will hurt.” Before Loki could reply she disappeared again. Loki rolled his eyes. 'How can I be hurt from this?'

Chapter Text

Clint whistled with his hands in his pocket as he made his way to the training room. Although he had to wake up extra early he felt pretty good today. After saving the city, again, he and Natasha finally had their alone time without any weird interruptions from Tony. He was also glad for the MIT student for finally finding someone to be with. Tony seemed pretty happy to return home and eat whatever Gabriel made for him. At least now Clint had something to tease Tony for.

The archer entered the training room and called out for Steve. The soldier didn’t reply so he called again with JARVIS confirming that Steve was in the room. He walked around and found him punching at a punching bag, sweat running down his neck along with an angry expression. On the floor were two broken bags with sand oozing out. Clint stopped in his tracks afraid to get closer to the soldier. “Uh, hey Cap.”

Steve punched the bag one last time before it snapped and broke. He glared at it and kicked it. “Hey.”

Clint pretended he didn’t see it happen. “So-um, Bruce suggested we watch some movies together and to get Thor more acquainted with films. Come on, the Lion King is first. Disney classic eh?”

The soldier didn’t turn around. “No thanks.”

“Oh come on! You were the one who kept bugging us for ‘team-building-exercises’ this is a good bonding opportunity.”

“Is Tony there?”

Clint rubbed the back of his head. “No but he says he’s coming. Natasha called earlier and invited him.”

Steve gave a long sigh and finally turned to the archer. “Okay… Hey Clint, how long have you known about Tony’s… date?”

The shorter blonde shrugged. “Just yesterday he mentioned him.”

“Him? Tony’s dating a guy?”

Clint raised his hands in defense. “Whoa, is that going to be a problem? Because I know you came from a traditional time period but just because Tony’s gay for another man-

Steve shook his head. “No, no that’s not the problem, I don’t care if it’s a man or woman just… how do they check out?”

“What do you mean?”

“Is he a good match for Tony? Is he kind to him?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t seen him, all I know is that his name is Gabriel. But Tony can handle himself. Come on, I think Thor’s getting restless.”’

Tony entered half way through the movie, his hands in his pocket and whistling ‘Pocket full of sunshine.’ Thor was glued to the movie but Clint noticed his entrance and turned around. “There you are Stark, busy making out with your boyfriend?” Natasha felt Steve shift uncomfortably in his seat but ignored it.

As Tony sat next to the soldier Bruce poked Tony’s side and smirked. “Boyfriend? I didn’t hear this.”

“Guys, he’s not my boyfriend, we’re just dating.”

Clint smirked as well. “I don’t know you seemed pretty excited to go home and ‘eat his breakfast’. Is that a code for ‘We’re going to fuck senseless for the rest of the morning’?”

Thor punched him in the arm. “Shhh, I am trying to watch the lions on the electronical box.” Clint mouthed out ‘we’re going to talk about this later’ and all went back to the film, expect Steve who just stared at Tony the entire time.

After finishing the Lion King and then Hercules (to which Thor found inaccurate and an insult to the other Gods) they headed to the kitchen where JARVIS prepared a hot meal for lunch. “They made Hades the villain of the film! If children were to see this they would be informed wrong!”

Clint rolled his eyes. “Dude, it’s a children’s movie. Hades, God of Hell, would make sense for being the villain not Helen, plus that’s Zeus’s sister and wife, I don’t think Disney wants to give the wrong information.”

Thor slammed down his orange juice. “Regardless they should have stuck to the original tale. Where is this Disney so that I can confront the man with his wrong doings?”

“Dead.” The archer replied. “But forget that, we still need to clue Bruce and Thor into Tony’s new boy toy.”

Bruce perked up. “Oh right! Tony, please do tell us.”

Tony just rolled his eyes and quietly thanked JARVIS and the other robotic arms as they passed out their food. “It’s not that big a deal, I just started to see him two days ago.”

“Yes, but two days ago and already on a second date. You’re moving fast here.” Natasha pointed out. “Who is he exactly? All we know is that you met him at the party.”

The man of iron laughed. “Geez, so nosy you guys. But yeah, I met him at the party, and he’s the one who got me home after drinking all that booze. I guess we just hit it off from there.”

“Does he satisfy your needs in bed?” Thor asked. At the end of the table Steve choked on his sandwich to which Thor hit his back so he can spit it out. Everyone looked at the soldier who just gestured for Tony to continue talking.

Once again Tony laughed. “You are so blunt Thor, but yes, he satisfies me.” He and Clint high-fived.

“But what’s his name and what does he do? Is he a reporter?” Bruce asked.

“His name is Gabriel and he’s a SHIELD agent.”

“Ah-ha! 100 dollars Stark! I knew you would do it again!” Natasha suddenly yelled and held out her hand. Tony grunted and gave her the cash knowing that he lost that bet of sleeping with another SHIELD agent long ago.

“Ohhh Gabriel.” Clint teased. “Like the archangel?”

“Or the trickster from Supernatural.” Bruce pointed out. “Sorry, watched a lot of that when I was in the Hulk tank; they kept it on TNT for a while.”

“Trickster?” Thor asked. “That is the nickname of my brother.”

Bruce nodded. “Exactly. In the show Gabriel the archangel is known as the trickster or ‘Loki’ because of his cruel pranks he pulls on the brothers and the rest of the world. But that’s really off topic, how long has he worked in SHIELD?”

“A couple of months, I think he’s a transfer from the UK SHIELD.”

“Ohh and Englishman, nice.”

“Haha, yeah, I made plans again with him tonight.”

“A third date? Are you going to sleep with him, oh wait, you did that the first ‘date’.” Clint said with air quotes. “You really are the man Stark.”

“Thank you, thank you.” Clint then began the jokes involving British men, Natasha hit him several times to stop teasing Tony, Bruce smiled and listened while Thor turned to Steve and continued his rant over the inaccuracies of Hercules. Steve, however, stopped listening to everyone after Tony admitting that he already slept with so-called ‘Gabriel’. Although he was taught to never judge someone he hated Gabriel already. He didn’t know why but just thinking of Tony with another man or woman made his blood boil, that’s why he trapped himself in the training room, to punch out his anger on the sandbag. But now talking more about Gabriel made him want to punch the British man himself. And Steve hated himself for that.

“Well, if this third date goes well I think you should make him meet the dysfunctional family of the Avengers.” Bruce said.

“Nah, you guys might give him a heart attack.”

“Aw, we’ll be gentle!”

The Avengers, except Steve, laughed at this until JARVIS announced that Whiplash was attacking the city. They assembled and went off to fight crime. Of course with one villain attacking they finished their mission in less than an hour and they were just volunteering the clean up the mess. SHIELD finally showed up to pick up Whiplash and thank the Avengers for saving the day yet again. Phil was driving the vehicle to arrest Whiplash and helping him was Gabriel. Iron Man flew back from the dump and prepared to take another load of garbage when Gabriel waved to him with a smirk. Under the mask Tony blushed.

Natasha looked up and noticed the blonde man waving towards Tony and the suited man not moving. She smirked and nudged Clint to look at Tony and he gained a smug grin as well. Eventually the rest of the Avengers noticed, Hulk scoffed (but Banner found it cute), Thor laughed and Steve cringed. “He’s cute.” She said.

“Hey Stark! If you break him can Tasha and I have him?” Clint suddenly yelled.

Iron Man shot him a glared from the mask as Gabriel walked up to him. “You’re taller in the suit.”

Tony removed the mask. “Good, I’m tired to look up at you.”

Gabriel smiled and kissed his cheek. “You are a good man for literally cleaning up the city.”

“That’s what I do.”

“Tin-man! Stop flirting and bring the trash to the dump!” Hulk yelled, throwing a trash bag in his direction. Tony rolled his eyes and put the mask back on.

“Sorry, gotta go.”

“Of course, but before you go let me pick you up tonight. I can get us on a ferry ride around the city.”

Tony smiled. “I would love that. I’ll send you the directions.” Gabriel said his goodbye and Tony left to finish his trash duty. Gabriel didn’t stay to talk to the other Avengers, however, as he helped Phil take Whiplash back to HQ.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

At HQ Coulson and Loki were in charge of interrogating Whiplash, receiving no hints of destruction from Amora, just a criminal stirring up trouble because he can. The other agents placed him in prison and the rest of the afternoon was quiet besides petty crimes that the police could, or should be able to, handle. With this Loki took the opportunity to do more research on the Avengers through SHIELD files, reading each file to have a better understanding of each member. When he reached Captain America’s file he raised an eyebrow, noticing that his name was Steve, the name Tony mentioned when the first night they were together.

He didn’t tell Tony but the first time they slept together he called him Steve the entire night. Loki could have cared less but now knowing that Steve was on his team he was intrigued. What connections did Tony have with the ‘First Avenger’? And why would he say his name in bed? He continued to read the files and noticed his birthday, far too long ago for him to look 20-something, in fact he should be over 80 by now. Finally he read that it was Tony’s father, Howard Stark, who turned him into Captain America. “Hm…”

“What?” Phil asked. He had his legs propped up on the desk and a donut in his mouth.

“Steve Rogers, he knew Tony’s father?”

“Yup,” he said with his mouth full. “The man made him Captain America, which is funny too because I heard as a kid Tony had some superhero crush on him.”

Loki chuckled. “Really now?”

“Yup, but Stark hates his father- the man never took care of him.”

“Father issues…” Loki mumbled somehow able to relate to him.

“More like daddy issues, great way to coax him into bed I heard, then again that came from Clint.”

Very, very interesting. What was the difference between father issues and daddy issues? Both are synonyms for the male parent. Loki closed the file and decided to investigate further later in time.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

“So are you guys going to do it on the boat?”

Tony rolled his eyes as he fixed his hair in the mirror. “No, we’re just having dinner on the ferry.”

“Oh, so you’re going to do it in the dining hall.”

“Unless you want that arrow up your ass I think you should shut up.”

Clint raised his hands in defense. “Hey, I just want to know what you guys are doing tonight.”

“And I already said, dinner on the ferry, walking around the city and back at my place, or his, whichever is closer.”

“So you guys are going to do it at his place?”

“That’s it where is your arrow?”

Bruce laughed as he gave Tony his tie. “He’s just joking, you know that.”

“No I’m not, I’m curious of his gay sex life.”

Tony glared at the blonde archer. “Okay, one I’m not gay, I guess you can say I’m bi since I have slept with women and two, you will never know about my sex life.”

Natasha raised an eyebrow. “He doesn’t want us to know? That’s a surprise, this must be serious.”

“It’s not serious, I just want to have fun with him.” Tony took one last look in the mirror and popped a mint into his mouth. “He should be driving up by now, see you guys later.”

“Fair-thy-well my dear friend!” Thor cheered. Steve stood by the threshold with his arms crossed. Tony looked at him as if looking for him to say something. But Steve just gave a weak smile and Tony nodded back and left.

0o0o0o0o0o0o

It took Loki over thirty minutes to figure out how to use a car, even with magic. He realized all this time he traveled the city it was Coulson who drove. His partner joked it was because ‘he’ was British and drove on the wrong side of the road (which Loki still cannot comprehend) but he never touched the wheel of a vehicle before. So he left work early and concocted his own car and taught himself how to drive it without looking like he was using magic. Finally he was able to drive straight without crashing into anything, and although he still can’t make turns without hitting a curb he found the directions to the ferry, which was a straight drive down the highway.

So when he successfully parked the car he rang at the Avenger’s gate but received no answer. Tony walked out of the mansion with his teammates whistling behind him. Loki chuckled as he led Tony to his car and the shorter man commented on its brand and engine. Loki only nodded, really unsure what Tony was talking about. However before he got into the driver’s seat he heard his brother say that he somewhat recognize him but is not sure where. The archer, however, said that he’s probably seen him around SHIELD or something before they closed the door.

The actual car ride went much better than expected for Loki since he drove slowly and in a straight line. Tony didn’t seem to notice since he was too busy talking about the car and its interior design, so curious to where he bought it. Loki just said that it’s not really his and that he is test driving SHIELD’s new vehicle.

They made it to the next ferry ride but it was harder to get on when so many citizens were trying to take a picture with Tony Stark. Loki knew that Tony loved the attention and expected him to succumb to their needs of his photograph, but instead Tony held up his hand and smiled before going to the ticket man and asked for a private area on the ferry. The captain secluded a small area just for the two of them and the two were given free champagne. Loki raised his glass. “Cheers.”

Tony tapped it. “Cheers.” When they took a sip of their drinks the ferry began to move. Tony walked to the railing and rested his arms to look out at the harbor. Loki followed him and took their glasses to set them aside as he wrapped his arms around Tony’s waist.

“So is your team usually that friendly with SHIELD members?” Tony cocked his head. “From this morning, when- um- Hawkeye asked if he and the Widow may ‘have me’.”

The billionaire chuckled and shook his head. “Sorry, I didn’t realize they would act like my embarrassing dysfunctional family when meeting my boyfriend.” Tony quickly shut his mouth at the last word and Loki raised an eyebrow. He knew that he and Stark were not in Migard terms, ‘together’ and therefore not ‘boyfriends’. However what were they exactly? They slept together and have been on a couple of dates already and in the old country they should have been married by now.

Tony blushed and released himself from Loki’s arms. “Sorry! I didn’t mean- I mean that… damn it Clint just wouldn’t stop teasing and calling you a ‘boy-toy’ but you’re not a toy but I guess we’re not really together but I do care for you and-

Loki silenced the usually composed man in a kiss once again wrapping his arms around him. Tony didn’t struggle and quickly eased into the taller man. The God eventually moved his mouth away and attached his lips to Tony’s neck and left butterfly kisses. “You are cute when you’re nervous.”

“I’m not cute!”

Loki kissed his cheek. “No, you are a handsome man.”

“Damn right I am.”

The taller one laughed. “I know I have a handsome boyfriend.”

He felt Tony freeze in his arms. “So, you don’t mind being labeled as ‘boyfriend’?”

“I would think it would be appropriate by now. It may be only the third night together this is our second official date, I picked you up somewhat meet your ‘family’ and…” He leaned down to Tony’s ear. “I’ve already fucked you senseless.” Tony shivered. “I think that should qualify as ‘boyfriend’.”

“Okay, I-I…” He gave a silent moan when Loki groped his bottom while kissing his neck again. “I get it, boyfriend will do.”

“Excellent. Will I ever meet your team formally for their approval?”

Tony laughed. “I think they approve of you. Should I be meeting your family anytime soon?”

“Oh no, fly all the way back to England for a family who doesn’t acknowledge my existence? I rather not.”

“Tch, you and me both.”

Loki cocked his head. “What do you mean?”

By this time Tony released himself again from Loki’s arms to lean against the railing with his arms crossed. “Father was too occupied in his inventions, mother in her business, sent to boarding school just to get me out of their hairs. I mean I had more communications with my mother but still, if they were just to send me away what was the point of having a child?”

Loki joined him. “That is sad.”

“What about you? Was your childhood just as lonely?”

The God scoffed. He could go on and on about his life as a child to growing up and finding out who he was, how angry he became because he is not the God he was meant to be, but the monster in children’s dreams. Thor was banished but Loki felt just a betrayed by his ‘father’ and will do anything to gain the throne and seek his revenge. However he cleared his throat and thought of a summarized version of his messed up life. “In the beginning no, my father loved my brother and me equally. But…” he thought for a second about a television show he caught once in the break room. The show was about two siblings growing up in a regular family home, but the older of the two became a football star at his local school while the younger one stayed in the libraries. Their father became more preoccupied with the sports son because that was his interest and the younger one slowly became forgotten, and no matter what he did, no matter how polite he was his older brother was always the apple of their father’s eye. Loki cringed at the thought knowing that even though Thor was banished from Asgard Odin loved him more.

“My older brother…” he started. “Was the sports master of the family while I would sit and read books. Father loved sports and in result paid more attention to him, and for my mother she just agreed with father. I was ‘forgotten’ by both as a child and teen and moving here to the US didn't make them any happier. Haven’t spoken to them since.”

Tony’s facial expression gave out sympathy. “I’m sorry.”

Loki chuckled. “Why? It’s my problem and you didn’t do anything. But thank you.” He kissed the shorter man.

The rest of the ride they talked more about their childhood, well Loki tried as much as possible to hear Tony’s and not his since he will have to come up with more lies and deceptions. He did learn much more of Tony, and though the information was unrelated to the data he’s been trying to find it knew the man more now. “So that thing in your chest, it keeps you alive?”

Tony tapped the reactor under his shirt. “Yes, but you have no idea how much trouble it’s cost me. Almost killed me twice.”

Weirdly enough Loki didn’t notice the reactor the first night together. The mortal was naked under him but he didn’t take note of the glowing machine in his chest. “Although it’s like a really bright nightlight.”

Another chuckle. “I would love to get another look at it tonight.”

“If you keep spoiling me like this you’ll be seeing it every night.”

“I’ll take that into account.”

When the ferry arrived back to the harbor Loki noticed a small carnival that was just set up. “Let’s look at this.” He has never been to a Migardian carnival before and the lights and colors were an attraction to his eyes. He heard Tony mumble something about the place being ‘dirty and rusty’ but Loki too his hand and dragged him inside anyway. Loki was disappointed, however, because none of the rides were set up and even so there were long lines to go on. When he pouted Tony laughed.

“Come on, why don’t we walk around the city instead?”

“But the giant ‘Tilt-a-whorl’ looks fun.”

“If you want a tilt a whorl I’ll let you try my suit without instructions. Best ride ever.”

Loki bended down to Tony’s ear and whispered, “Then I’m assuming you haven’t ridden me yet.”

The shorter man blushed and playfully pushed him away. “That can be arranged if we leave now.”

“Fine, where’s the exit- oh look! That’s a giant bear!” Loki pulled Tony to the booth filled with giant teddy bears in different colored hats and vests. He read the instructions to obtain the bears: Knock down 3 sets of stacked bottles to win a bear. $1 per ball. “Looks easy enough.”

The man in the booth looked up from the magazine he was reading and smirked when it was Tony Stark. “Well if it isn’t Iron Man. Care you show off your strength without your suit?”

Tony glared at the man and slammed three dollars down. “Okay, let me show you.” He picked up the first baseball and threw it up in the air and caught it several times before throwing it at the glass bottles. He hit it, but none of the bottles were knocked over. He tried again with the second ball and then the third one with no results. The man laughed and asked if he wanted to try again. “Hell no, come on this is rigged.”

“How so?” Loki asked.

“The bottles are stacked in a certain position so that you need Hulk or Thor to break them. Let’s just go.”

“Oh don’t be like that Stark! Just another try!”

Loki tilted his head at the bottles and then looked at the man. “I’ll go.” He took out three dollars and handed it to him.

“Don’t try it Gabriel, it’s a waste of money and time.”

“We’ll see about that.” Loki held the ball in his right hand and twirled it around, allowing his magic to precipitate into the spherical object. He took a deep breath, leaned back and with his human strength threw the ball to the bottles shattering them. He took the next two and threw them at the bottles with the same results. The man’s jaw dropped to the floor while Tony’s eyes became wide. Loki smiled and jumped up a little. “I’ll take my prize now, the bear with the yellow hat please.” The man still had his mouth open as he passed the bear in Loki’s arms. “Thank you sir!” He took Tony by the hand again and they walked out of the carnival, still receiving many looks from the passerby’s.

“H-how did you do that?”

“Adrenaline rush I suppose?” He lied, smiling.

“But- even so that was just- may I perform an x-ray on your body why you throw the ball again?”

Loki laughed. “Of course not, but hey I won the rigged game and won this,” he put the bear in Tony’s arms. “For you.”

Tony’s face turned as red as his Iron Man suit as accepted the giant stuffed animal. “God, I really think you are my boyfriend.”

“I am.” He kissed his forehead. “Now why don’t we go back to your place?”

“That sounds like a plan.”

Loki wished that Tony was as drunk as the first time they were together so that he could just ‘poof’ their way to his penthouse, but instead he had to take his car and do his best not to crash it into a telephone pole or an old lady crossing the road. He did swerve a couple of times but Tony laughed saying that he’s too excited to pay attention.

By the time they (somehow) managed to get to his penthouse and their lips attached to each other when they stepped into the elevator. They stumbled into the living room and then the bedroom where their shoes and jackets were thrown on the floor and the bear to the nightstand. JARVIS greeted his creator but realized that he was busy and put himself on sleep mode until Tony would call for him again.

Tony managed to rip Loki’s shirt off and licked his neck while the God’s hand were down Tony’s pants. The mortal gasped but continued his tongue techniques. Eventually both their pants were torn off and put with the rest of the clothes. Loki rubbed Tony’s crotch and smirked at the man’s responses. “Wait… Loki is watching.”

The God’s eyes widened and pulled back. When did he figure out who he was? Loki mentally kicked himself, winning the prize just went too far, of course the only person who can possibly break those was the green monster or his brother.

Tony whined at the lost of contact. “Can you turn Loki around; his beady black eyes are staring at us.”

Loki looked at the bear sitting on the nightstand and chuckled in relief. “You named the bear Loki?”

“Well yes, he’s wearing a green vest and yellow hat. He looks like he’s wearing Loki’s armor and helmet.” Loki began to laugh. “I told you I like Norse Mythology!”

The God kissed Tony on the lips and moved down to his neck. “I know, but why don’t we give Loki a show then?”

Unlike their first night together they went much slower and more passionate. Drunken Tony was an animal, licking and biting every part of Loki’s human vessel and Loki returning the favor. Now Tony had his arms wrapped around Loki’s neck and pulled him close as Loki thrusted into him and closed his eyes to savor the pleasure. Loki responded just as gently by kissing his cheeks and whispering soft words to ease the painful pleasure. And this time when Tony climaxed his screamed for Gabriel, not Steve. However Loki couldn’t help but feel a sting of jealously when Tony yelled the British man’s name; Tony should have been screaming his name not Gabriel’s, because Loki is doing the work, Loki gave the human meat puppet a personality, Loki is making love to Tony NOT Gabriel. But he keeps his feelings in as he climaxes into the billionaire and collapsed on top of him both panting in their sweat.

Eventually Loki pulled out and lifted himself off of Tony to lie beside him. He looked at the man and noticed his glowing blue chest blinking before stabilizing its light source. Loki pulled Tony close to him and kissed him one last time before Tony fell asleep in his arms. Loki stayed awake, debating whether or not to release himself to explore more of the penthouse and find more of the Avenger’s secrets stored away here. He could have made a copy to stay in the bed while he looks around, but he knew that the computer would have sensed something suspicious and would have alerted Tony. So he pulls the covers over their body and watch the human sleep soundly. Patienceis key to bring them down.

Chapter Text

It was barely seven am and Steve was already up, yet he was not training or having breakfast, he was watching Howard’s video again and again. He couldn’t sleep that night, thinking too much of Tony’s date with Gabriel, the British SHIELD agent who swept the playboy off his feet and take him to who knows where. Steve wished he knew how to hack a computer system like Widow or Tony so that he could have more insight on the man but he couldn’t, and he broke too many punching bags already so he sat on the couch and listen to Howard’s words.

What did he mean for him to love Tony? He knew that the man wanted him to protect and watch over Tony, but love him? Like a fatherly love? Steve shook his head. He didn’t see Tony as a son and Tony definitely didn’t see him as his father, so friendship love? He guessed it could work like that but he felt that it wasn’t enough. Steve didn’t want to think love like a lover, because he saw Tony just as a friend, at least he’s sure he sees him like that. He wasn’t jealous that Tony has been going out with another man; he’s just concerned for him. The soldier didn’t want to punch Gabriel for seducing his friend, he wanted to punch him because he seemed suspicious, or that’s what he keeps telling himself.

“I do not want to see Tony become broken, like I am.”

“How are you broken Howard?” Steve asked before the video ended. He pressed rewind to watch it again when the door bursts open and a screaming redhead ran in.

“WHERE IS TONY?” Pepper yelled.

Steve turned off the video and stood up. “He’s not here. Did you try his penthouse?”

“I looked everywhere! SHIELD, his house in Malibu, his cottage in Italy and his penthouse in New York, twice! Forget that did you read the paper?”

“No.”

She dug into her purse and took out the newspaper, front cover of Iron Man talking with who looked to be Gabriel, and a second picture of Tony and Gabriel with a giant teddy bear, kissing. The headline read “Iron Man in gay relationship?!”

“The news is everywhere! FOX, CNN and MSMBC already have segments since five this morning!” Steve tried to calm her down by placing a finger on her lips so that she couldn’t yell as much, but she practically bit him and walked away. “Did you know about this?”

“Ah- um, briefly, he hasn’t mentioned much but we did see him.

“Guys, it’s seven in the morning!” Clint yelled walking down the stairs and rubbing his eyes. “Don’t start the yelling for another 3 hours.”

“Clint, did you know about Tony’s new boyfriend?” Pepper asked throwing the newspaper to the archer.

Clint skimmed through the first page and discarded it to the floor. “Yup, met him at the party a few days ago. Oh look Gabriel won him a teddy, how romantic what’s for breakfast JARVIS?”
Pepper stomped her foot. “You knew and didn’t inform me?”

“I thought he would tell you.”

“He doesn’t tell me anything! He couldn’t tell me he was dying why would he tell me about his boyfriend?”

Clint covered his ears. “Calm down woman, I’m pretty sure that Tony was going to bring this guy up with you sooner or later. Have you tried to call him?”

She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. “Of course I have you dolt! He won’t answer anything, neither will JARVIS! Where could he have gone to?”

“You don’t think he’s in danger, do you?” Steve asked.

Clint pushed Pepper away from him. “No, Tony can take care of himself. I’m pretty sure he’s still sexing it up with Gabriel and they just wanted some alone time. Now I’m going to have breakfast, anyone who isn’t yelling may join me.”

By 10 everyone in the mansion was up and eating their food too. Pepper stayed in the house, sitting on the couch to wait for Tony. However she was very antsy, tapping her fingers on the arm chair and her legs where shaking. Finally she stopped when the main doors to the mansion opened, revealing Tony in a black v-neck tee-shirt, jeans and a giant bear. He received a full Pepper blow out to how worried she was when he wouldn’t answer and how angry that he didn’t inform her of his new relationship. Smiling, he pushed the bear’s nose to kiss Pepper and walked to the kitchen. “Let me eat first and I’ll catch you up in the lab.”

Bruce chewed on his toast. “So Gabriel didn’t make you breakfast?”

“Not this time, he had to leave early for work.”

Thor blinked. “That is a giant bear… I did not know Midgardians made stuffed animals so huge.”

Tony smiled and pulled the bear closer. “Gabriel won it for me last night.”

“That is so sweet I want to throw up.” Clint said, making a gagging noise.

“Well I think it’s cute.” Natasha replied while passing a cup of coffee to Tony. “I take it the night went well.”

Tony’s smile grew wider. “It was great.”

“So you guys did it on the boat?”

“Clint I swear to Thor if you keep asking me-

Pepper cleared her throat for Tony and Clint to stop arguing. She crossed her arms and tapped for foot, waiting for Tony to finish his breakfast so that he would give her a full explanation about Gabriel and how they’re going to handle it with the press. Tony just sighed and stood up, gesturing for Pepper to follow him into the lab.

—-

Loki whistled happily as he entered through the main doors of SHIELD. His hands in his pocket, is report in his arms, finished and he was able to sneak out a small flash drive from Tony’s house that he would look at later. He has never felt so happy before, he felt like turning trash into candy just because he could. And because of this new glee inside he didn’t notice all the stares and whispers that he was receiving from his co-workers, the men just scoffing and the women giggling. When he sat down at his desk Phil folded the newspaper to look at him. Loki still didn’t notice, already getting to work when Phil threw a paper ball at him.

“Hey, have you read the paper?”

“No, why?”

His partner passed it to him, pointing at the headlines. Loki skimmed it and gave it back. “It is amazing how fast news goes by. Although that is a really bad picture of us at the carnival, it’s too dark.”

“That’s your concern? I mean this paper is pretty neutral but FOX is calling Tony the Iron Scum who defiles hero.”

“Tch, infidels. They can say what they want about Tony and I, they cannot touch us.”

Phil shrugged. “I guess so, but Fury won’t be too happy?”

“And why not? It is my business who I date as well as Tony’s.”

“Let’s just say that Fury-

“Hiddleston!” The director roared. Phil stuffed the paper in his desk and pretended to look into the random files on his desk. “What is the meaning of this?” He yelled, slamming the front news page on Loki’s desk.

“That, sir, is a paper with Tony and me kissing.”

“Exactly, now what is your relationship with Stark?”

“We’re boyfriends.” He replied with a giant smile on his face. “See I won that bear for him.”

Nick ripped the paper out of Loki’s hands. “Don’t give me that tone. You are to terminate your relationship with him.

Loki cocked his head. “Why?”

“Because it is a distraction to both SHIELD and the Avengers. We work together but also stay out of each other’s way, and this will just break that.”

The God rolled his eyes. “Tell me Mr. Fury, is our relationship affection the delicate balance between good and evil?”

“Wha-

“And since our relationship has anyone, such as Dr. Doom, destroyed the city BECAUSE of our relationship?”

“Well-

“And because Tony and I see each other only after work hours how does this affect my performance as a SHIELD agent or him as an Avenger? We don’t even send messages to each other during these hours knowing that we may be a distraction to each other and to avoid that we avoid each other. Now with that said have we put the world in danger?” Loki smirked while Nick stayed silent, glaring at the taller man. By this time other agents have stopped working to listen in, all giving their ‘ohhhs’ as Loki back-talked him. “I didn’t think so. Now if you don’t mind I have to take these files to the labs, unless that is also a distraction.” He patted Nick’s bald head and headed to the elevators, laughing as the metal doors closed.

“You enjoy attracting attention, don’t you?” Sif asked suddenly appearing as another SHIELD agent.

“Yes, but I felt I needed to set the record straight with that man. What is wrong with my relationship with Stark?”

“You’re trying to kill him and his team.”

“Well besides that. We keep it at a professional level.”

The door pinged and opened to Loki’s floor, so he and Sif walked out. “How long can you keep this up?”

“As long as I need to. Tony has completely fallen for me.”

Sif shook her head. “I don’t believe so.”

“If you’re referring to Rogers I can fix that at any time.”

“It doesn’t matter, Amora is still out there and the more you associate yourself with Tony the better chance more than your and Thor will be hurt.”

Loki stopped in his tracks and pulled her to an empty hallway. “Here’s a thought, Sif, why don’t you warn my brother instead of me? I could care less what Amora does, but I know that you have a better relationship with Thor.”

She pulled her hand away. “Because I know you’ll do the right thing and help them.”

“You don’t know me.”

Sif lowered her eyes. “I have warned you again and again. Don’t continue this because you will be hurt.”

“I actually think you care about me.”

“I only care for the safety of my own and the mortals.”

—-

Steve paced around the living room nervously as he bit his thumb nail. Tony has been in his lab for over an hour with Pepper- how long does it take for him to explain his relationship with her? And why did he have to bring that giant bear to show it off? The blonde grunted and continued to walk around when Thor came up and asked if he would like to join in some training. If it was anyone else Steve would have rejected but Thor, being naive and innocent to his distress, convinced him otherwise- and he wanted to blow off more steam. So the Avengers, minus Tony, worked on training exercises, virtual simulations made by Tony and SHIELD and simple combat-to-combat training to which Widow proved superiority, again.

Finally the doors opened and Tony walked in with the bear in his hands and Pepper missing. Steve smiled at his appearance and was punched in the face by Clint. The archer smirked and reminded him to keep his eyes on his opponent. “Hey Stark, gonna join us?”

“Yeah, just let me warm up first.” Weirdly enough, warming up for Tony didn’t mean a couple of pushups or jump rope, it meant stretching, and a lot of it. It began with his legs spread apart and Tony touching his toes on each side. Then he raised his hands over his head, his shirt riding up to reveal his stomach. Where those bruises around him? Or… hickies?! And Steve couldn’t believe how flexible Tony actually was when he began doing stretches like Widow does, legs raised high, Tony bending down so that his nose touched his calves and his tight pants hugging the rest of his body. If anyone was paying close attention, Steve was actually drooling.

But Steve was the one who stopped being attentive as Bruce was able to knock him down and Thor rung the bell. Widow smirked and Clint just laughed. “What’s up Cap? Bruce got you!” Bruce shook his hand- obviously hurting from punching the taller male as he stepped down to get an ice-pack.

Tony just laughed as he stepped up to the ring. “You ready for a second go-around?”

Steve swallowed nervously. “Um, yes… just-” Thor rung the bell and Tony charged forward, knocking Steve over by wrapping his arms around the soldier’s waist and bringing him down with his own weight. The blonde grunted when his back made contact with the floor but immediately blushed when he felt Tony’s nose barely touching his.

“Give up yet?”

It took another second for Steve to remember that they were sparring and not foreplay, so he smirked and flipped Tony so that he was under him. “Of course not.” This technique of pinning each other to the ground lasted less than ten minutes when Tony’s front and face were kissing the floor, his arms pinned to his back and Steve using his weight to make him stay put. Smirking Steve whispered into Tony’s ear

“Give up now?”

Tony snarled but smirked back. Before he could reply the bell rung, this time by Clint with a smug look. “Be careful Steve, if Gabriel finds you on top of Tony like that he’ll go British on your ass.”

“That’s a fight I’d like to see.” Natasha said. The billionaire rolled his eyes and removed himself from Steve. “Up for another round Stark?”

“Sure, just let me-

JARVIS’s voice suddenly boomed through the speakers. Sir, you have a three o’clock meeting with Wayne Enterprises.

“Argh, totally forgot about that! Sorry guys, I need to get ready.”

Clint waved his hand. “Whatever, go stick it to him.” Tony smiled at them and left the gym leaving the rest of the Avengers without their moneymaker. Steve decided to take a break while Thor and Natasha sparred out. The soldier watched sadly as his friend left yet again, although he was relieved that he wasn’t leaving with Gabriel this time.

—-

Loki fell asleep in his desk when the vibrations from his phone woke him up. Groggily he opened it and read the message. ‘I have a meeting in Gotham, might stay the night. Sorry :(’ The god smiled and quickly replied ‘That’s okay, have fun, but not too much fun.’ A minute later Tony said ‘Of course not :)’ He smiled again, this time noticed by Phil.

“I thought you said you two don’t text during work hours?”

“We don’t but he was just apprising me that he’s on a business trip this afternoon.”

“Well that’s a shame- actually no; if you’re not busy tonight do you want to hang out with us for drinks?”

Loki blinked, somewhat surprised to be invited to a casual social gathering. Even in his own world many people chose Thor over him, no matter how arrogant and loud his brother was. So he felt warm inside (or it’s just hot in the office) that he was invited. “Sure, what time?”

“7 at the bar down the street. Hawkeye might be joining us so be careful, he’s a weird drunk.”

By six most of the SHIELD agents left, ready for the nightly rotation by the second shift. Loki went home- or Gabriel’s home, to prepare for the night. He has observed the Migardians when drinking in bars, most wore casual clothing, very loose, and had lots of money. So he found a white button tee and jeans. Looking into Gabriel’s wallet he assumed he had enough for a night’s worth of drinks and left.

The bar was filled with who Loki assumed just strangers from the city. Most were his co-workers, however, just out of uniform. He found Phil at the bar talking with Hawkeye, both of them laughing together. Behind the archer, however, had the rest of the Avengers sitting at a circular table, each with a large cup of beer in their hands except Captain America, who just had a glass of root-beer. The blonde looked out of place as he hunched over to avoid the rest of the crowd, like a lost puppy in a pound full of Rottweiler’s. Loki smirked and made his way to Phil to greet him. “Glad you made it!” His partner said. “One for the Brit here!”

The bartender filled a glass mug with beer and passed it to Loki who took the drink and sipped it.

“I’m surprised; I thought you and Stark would be in his bed tonight.” Clint said.

Loki laughed. “Yes, usually but he has a meeting tonight.”

“So, did you guys do it on the ferry last night?” Loki cocked is head, a little confused when Natasha slapped the back of his head.

“Ignore him Gabriel, come sit with us.” Loki followed the assassin and sat in the empty seat between Dr. Banner and Captain America. He held his breath realizing that Thor sat just across from him. Can he sense that he is not Gabriel? Can he see the magic, the immortality? Thor stared at him, as if studying him, so Loki didn’t move until Bruce accidentally brushed pass him trying to reach for the peanuts. Startled, he looked at Thor who in returned just smiled and raised his glass.

“Mate of Stark, you seem very familiar- but nonetheless congratulations!” Loki gave a nervous chuckled and tapped his glass as well.

Natasha took a big gulp of her beer. “So Gabriel, how did you and Tony meet? He told us but I’m curious to your side of it.”

Loki smiled. “Well I’m sure that our stories are still the same. I was at the party but left to the lobby for air when I saw him drinking. It seemed to be a lot, according to the bartender, so I offered to take him home. I guess everything just stabilized from there.”

“Aw, saving the damsel in distress.”

Bruce raised his eyebrow. “Damsel, as in Tony, from distress, his beer?”

The spy shrugged. “Well yeah, you know how bad his drinking gets; if he went home alone he could have gotten into an accident. To Gabriel for saving Tony!” They tapped glasses again but with Steve hesitating. Loki noticed his and smiled, deciding to put his information outward.

“Steve Rogers, Captain America right?” Steve shyly nodded. “I read that you knew Tony’s father.”

“I did, Howard Stark helped me become… me.”

Bruce nodded. “Very smart man, both he and Tony are.”

By strange coincidence when the doctor mentioned Tony’s name Loki’s cell phone vibrated, alerting him of a text. He looked down and smiled, seeing that it was Tony who texted him. Bruce leaned over to see the message and smirked before going back to Natasha and gestured that he’s texting Tony. “What did your billionaire say?”

Loki chuckled. “‘I’m so bored, Wayne is a total stick in the mud, entertain me.’”

Natasha rolled her eyes. “Of course he would say something like that. What are you going to say?”

“Just for him to work diligently and I’ll see him tomorrow.” Loki replied, typing it out slowly.

“You are of great companion for Stark,” Thor said. “By not mixing business and pleasure like they do in that T.V. show!”

“Yes, well I try to keep everything professional during work hours.”

Somehow Clint stumbled to their table, looking very buzzed. “That is so boring! Spice things up Hiddleston, send him a dirty message.”

Both Loki and Thor raised their eyebrows, unsure to how a text can be dirty if it only words. Should he talk about mud? Natasha flicked Clint’s ear. “Really, he doesn’t exist, pretend he’s not here.”

“Aw! So mean Tasha! You were so nice last night when I-

She pushed him off his chair and he fell to the hard wood floor, giggling like a child. “You have nice shoes Hiddleston.”

“Oh… thank you?” Loki replied, taking a small sip of his drink. The archer stayed on the floor, still laughing and he realized that it was to be a long night.

—-

Steve doesn’t drink for many reasons, and the situation in front of him was one main one. Clint somehow got his hands on a stronger drink and convinced Natasha and Phil to try it too. The three were then arm in arms, singing a song that came from a pirate movie. Bruce, who Steve barely see drink or even eat, seemed pretty buzzed as well, but stood on the table dancing like a stripper. At first Thor found this amusing and simple chuckled, but when Bruce fell he became worried and tried to pry the drink out of the doctor’s hands without making him angry and go drunk-Hulk on them. Thor, although drank as much as everyone else, held is liquor very well, so he, Steve and Gabriel were the only three from their group not so drunk.

But when Thor left to help Bruce Steve felt the awkward tension between himself and Gabriel, who just sat down smiling. He was saved, however, when Gabriel received a phone call. The British man smiled when he read the caller I.D. “Sorry, its Tony.” He stood up and walked to the back hallway of the bar to answer his call. Steve sighed in relief that he was gone but felt very annoyed at his team. How irresponsible of them to get drunk one night; what if there’s trouble in the city? Then only he and Thor could fight, or Tony if he can fly so fast from Gotham to New York. He shook his head when Bruce managed to remove his pants and throw it to the female SHIELD agents surrounding him. Not wanting to be in their way Steve stood up to go to the more secluded area of the bar, which was where Gabriel stood to talk to Tony.

Steve crept slowly, not wanting to be noticed by the agent. He could only see the back of the other blonde who had the phone to his left ear. However a mirror on the wall revealed his face, a smiling one. “Tony, you must go back, I don’t care if you’re on break. Yes I know Wayne is a stick but- haha you silly fellow.” Steve laughed to himself knowing how bored Tony must get from these meetings and will do anything to get away from it. At least Gabriel was responsible enough to make sure that Tony did get his work done.

Before he hung up, however, Gabriel turned to the mirror and smirked, as if smirking at Steve. And then Steve almost fell back at the reflection in the mirror. Instead of the blue eyed curly-blonde man it was an image of Loki- black hair sleeked back, green-hazel eyes and that smirk- one that can only mean that he’ll be bringing trouble. Steve ran to Gabriel and forced him to turn around and all he received was the shocked British man still on the phone with his boyfriend. The soldier looked at the mirror and only saw himself and Gabriel, Loki gone. “Oh, did you want to say bye to Tony?” He asked, holding the phone in Steve’s ear.

“Steve? Hey what’s up? I heard that Bruce is stripping, can you get a video of that?”

Steve hesitantly took the phone but never removed his eyes from Gabriel. “Um- sure… enjoy your meeting.”

“Tch, yeah right, put Gabe back on please.” He passed the phone back.

Gabriel smiled. “Well I’ll see you in the morning then dear don’t get in too much trouble. Bye.” He hung up and put the phone in his pocket. “Something wrong Mr. Rogers?”

The soldier looked at the mirror once again before shaking his head. “No- I mean yes… I guess just a little buzzed or something…”

“Hm, well better than your friends out there. Which reminds me, does Thor have it under control?”

Bruce fell again- and Thor caught him, again. “It seems so.”

“Ah, good. Don’t want the Avengers to lose three of their teammates in one night now do we?”

“Of course not…”

Gabriel looked to the bar and chuckled. “You are a good leader Mr. Rogers, it is fortunate that Howard Stark found you.”

At the mention of his name Steve grew a gentle smile. “Yes, I am grateful to him. I will not be here if not for him.”

“Right… so tell me, did you have a certain relationship with Howard Stark?”

“Relationship?”

“Yes, like my relationship to Tony. You seem too really like the man, according to some in SHIELD.”

Steve shook his head and laughed nervously. “No, no I am just very appreciative of him but I loved another.”

“Loved? Past tense?”

“Yes, she is gone now,”

“Ah, well that is a shame since it has been over 60 years.” Gabriel put his hands in his pocket. “But tell me, what is your relationship to Tony Stark?”

“Tony and I are friends.”

“Just friends?”

“Yes, of course.”

Gabriel tilted his head. “Hm… I see…”

Steve stepped back to lean against the wall across from Gabriel. “Why? Has Tony said something else?”

“No, actually yes, something different.”

“What did he say?”

“Did Tony tell you what happened the night he and I met?”

The soldier nodded. “Just briefly, such that you took him home. Why is there something different?”

“Hmm, kinda different.” Gabriel replied, smirking.

Steve did not like that look on his face. “Such that…?”

“Well he was drunk as hell, that’s for sure, and I did find him at the bar and took him home, but do you know why he drank?”

Blue eyes from the soldier narrowed. “No, he’s been sober for so long and he suddenly drank again.”

“Right, because it’s partly your fault.”

His eyes widened. “What? How, what did I-

“It’s not something you did- more of the things you’ve been saying- at least that’s what I’ve been deducing. Tell me, did you know that Tony was one of your biggest fans as a child?”

“N-no, a fan? But-

“Coulson told me that you were his hero, and that he looked up to you as a child. Rumor has it that he still has a room, full of nothing but ‘Captain America’: a poster, toys, articles- isn’t that adorable? I came to a conclusion that in adulthood, now meeting you, that he developed more of a crush rather than an appreciation to our nation’s hero. But you always talked about Howard, his father. Did you know that Tony despised his father?”

Steve shook his head. “He never said anything-

“Not to you, he’s told Coulson, Fury, me- I’m pretty sure even the other Avengers know it. I’m surprised you didn’t see it.” Steve didn’t reply this time. “So at the party you mention that his work and Banner’s were nothing but of a replica of Howard’s work, that they were unoriginal.”

“But Howard didn’t complete-

“Nonetheless Banner did not care, but Tony- Oh poor Tony.” He gives out a dark chuckle. “You should have seen him, so drunk and sad- because his hero still looks to his father rather than the man you have now. The past is the past Rogers, and Tony is not that. Before I even took him home he kissed me and I gladly kissed back. Only he didn’t know who I was, in fact he called me ‘Steve’.” The soldier’s eyes widened. “Yes, and all throughout the night when I fucked him senseless into the mattress he called out your name- We didn’t formally introduce each other until the next morning.”

Hands on his sides Steve clenched his fist. “Did he know what he was doing?”

Gabriel scoffed. “Of course not, he was very drunk, could barely remember a thing. But unlike you I was there for him, I comforted him, stayed with him, and now every time we fuck he calls out my name, not yours Rogers.”

The British man barely flinched as Steve swung his fist back and hit the wall, leaving a dent. “Why are you telling me this?”

“I just felt like you should know. But have fun convincing your friends that is the real story, because as far as they know, I’m just the man who saved Tony Stark from drinking himself to death.” Gabriel glanced at his watch. “It’s getting late, I must be going.” He smiled yet again, and for a brief second Steve swore that he saw Gabriel’s eyes shift colors, from blue to the hazel-green. “Goodbye Captain America.” With a turn of his heels Gabriel walked out, saying bye to Coulson and exiting through the front door.

—-

“And what was the purpose of telling him that?” Sif asked as Loki walked out to the sidewalk. She wore a long black coat, with her hands in her pocket. Although he was not so cold Loki could see her breath in the air.

Loki began to walk and Sif followed. “Just thought I could mess with their leader. But I do have a purpose for that.”

“What? Mess with his head and destroy the relationship between the two leaders?”

“Why yes! So smart Sif. But if you are here yet again to help my brother do not bother.”

She rolled her eyes. “I was simply observing Midgardians after hours. Tell me, is their drinks as good and effective as it looked from the window?”

Loki scoffed. “The effects are like water, poor mortals have a very low tolerance level."

Chapter Text

The next morning Steve walked around the Avenger’s bedroom hallway, opening each door, touch all the walls, just trying to find some kind of secret entrance to something. After last night’s talk with Gabriel Steve couldn’t help but become curious, even though he wanted to think it was all a lie. Did Tony really like him before? And did he have a room filled with nothing but Captain America items? No, it couldn’t have been true- and what was up with Gabriel? He went from the quiet foreign man to the Cheshire cat in just one talk. He purposely said that to Steve just to get him angry, and sadly Gabriel succeeded. Now the other blonde was going to see Tony so they can go back to bed together.

Steve kept his anger in slightly as well as Bruce since he only punched the wall again. However once he did Thor came out of a bedroom, Bruce’s to be exact. The God held his index finger to his mouth and going ‘shhh- Banner is asleep.’ Steve apologized. “How is everyone?”

“They are still sleeping- Midgardians cannot hold their liquor can they?”

“Well, I guess not. Anyone throw up?”

“Nay, well Barton did go to the toilet and has not removed himself since. But I am assured he has not drowned in it.”

Steve sighed. “Well that’s good.”

“And if the city were to be in trouble well we simply go ourselves. We also have contact with the Fantastic Four and the Man of Spiders.”

“Right…” Steve leaned against the wall, trying to hide where he punched. “Hey Thor, what do you think of Gabriel?”

Thor stood next to him. “I think he is a worthy man for Stark. However…”

Steve immediately perked up, glad that there was a ‘but’ to this Gabriel. “However what? I remember you mentioning that he looks familiar, twice actually.”

The God nodded. “Familiar yes, but you will not like the similarities whom I’ve mistaken Gabriel for.”

“Well, who?”

Thor sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “My brother-Loki.” I knew it! Steve said in his head. He knew that he wasn’t hallucinating that he saw Loki in the mirror and the random shift of eye color in his eye. The question is though, why would Loki disguise himself to be with Tony? “But he does not have the full looks of my brother. What reminded me of him were his eyes.”

“Eyes?”

“Yes- they were not the same color but he retained that mischievous look along with the smile. Other than that-however, he is a mortal named Gabriel.”

“Well that solved some of my questions last night.”

“Such as…?”

Steve shook his head. “Never mind that. But while everyone is asleep can you help me look for something?”

“Of course Captain, what is it?”

“A room, another secret room that Tony built. I just heard that there is something inside there that I need to see for myself.”

Thor tilted his head. “But wouldn’t Tony tell us everything in this house?”

“I thought so but I heard it’s more of a secret, so don’t tell anyone else about this?”

“Of course, and I trust you this secret will not affect our friends? Steve nodded. “Then let us proceed.” They began in Tony’s lab when they found the blueprints to the house along with every secret room that he built. However Thor noticed some empty areas of the drawings, meaning that an unknown room may be hidden there. So the two set off to each area of the mansion, tapping on the walls and the flooring, looking for something hallow. Finally Thor, with his ear pressed against the wall, could hear the sound of buttons beeping. “Friend, I believe I found it.”

Steve walked to the wall and touched it until he found a particular rough panel. He tore the wallpaper off to reveal a large metal door and a pin-code pad screwed into it. “Well, we found it.”

“Yes, but it is no use if the numbers are not right.”

And I would not advise to knock it down. JARVIS’s voice suddenly boomed.

“Of course not computer, I do not wish to destroy Stark’s property. Nonetheless we are stuck yet again.” Thor began to walk away but Steve stayed. He lightly touched the keypad trying to think what the code could be, because the answers to his questions lie behind that door. Taking a deep breath Steve entered an 8-digit number and the door slid open. Hearing it open Thor went back to Steve. “How did you know-?”

“I just guessed.”

“What was it?”

“My birthday.”

Steve and Thor entered the dark room, so Steve reached to the side hoping to find a light switch. He did and flicked it up, eyes widening at the scene before him. In front of them hung a large portrait of Captain America looking up at the sky. Posted on the walls were smaller posters and newspaper articles of him, most from his time period. On the shelves were action figures of Captain America and Bucky, and a storage bin labeled ‘Comics’.

Thor made a long whistle noise as he looked around, seemingly impressed. “I did not realize that Stark admires you so much.”

“JARVIS, what is this?” Steve asked.

You will not like my answer Mr. Rogers.

“Say it anyway.”

The computer sighed. As a child Tony became a big fan of you, his father told him tales of you and gave him these comics and news articles. But eventually his appreciation eventually turned into-

“Affection.”

Yes, but he has kept that a secret from you.

Thor placed the action figure back on the shelf. “Stark was in love with you? Why would he not tell you?”

Steve lowered his eyes. “Because I don’t like him that way.” Thor opened his mouth but nothing came out. “I mean- I didn’t at first! But after seeing him with Gabriel… I don’t like it.”

“Do you believe that Gabriel is a bad choice for Tony?”

“Yes, I do but…” he wanted to tell Thor how he thought that he saw Loki in Gabriel, that there was a possibility that Gabriel is Loki but he shook his head. “But Tony really likes him now.”

“I do not understand, you do not like Tony, yet you do?”

Steve sighed. “It’s so hard to explain. In the beginning I only saw Tony as a friend but with Gabriel I want to do nothing but break them up.”

“Then do so, so that you can have Tony.”

“That’s the problem, I think I’m just jealous that he has someone else’s company rather than mine. What if I confess to him, but when Tony leaves Gabriel my feelings for Tony will return to friendship? I would have ruined something great for Tony, and I can’t bring myself to do that.”

Thor placed a hand on Steve’s shoulder. “You are good man to sacrifice your feelings for Tony’s happiness.”

“Thank you.”

“But I still do believe that you and Tony should have quality time… why don’t you two go out- as Jane says.”

Steve smiles. “Yeah, why didn’t I think of that? I’ll ask him when he returns.” The two left the room and re-applied the wallpaper, making sure that it looked as if they did not touch it. JARVIS promised not to say anything.

However trying to spend time with Tony was much more difficult than Steve anticipated it. Tony didn’t return to the mansion until the afternoon (Gabriel met up with him at his penthouse early that morning) and stayed in his lab until nightfall. The next day Steve tried again but he had another meeting with a different weapon’s company and then was with Gabriel again. When Tony was not in a meeting or being rabbits with the British man they were fighting crime, which took so many hours in New York. The only break they got was sleep, and not much could be done in sleep.

This pattern continued for about two weeks. Tony would come by, say hi, eat a little before working on a new project, leaving for another board meeting and dating Gabriel. Steve thought that he would never be able to find that time with Tony.

But one day his luck turned around. The criminals of New York stayed quiet, Tony did not have to talk with another billionaire about their companies and Gabriel and Coulson were on an assignment in the west coast. So Steve found Tony sitting on the couch with his translucent iPad, mindlessly browsing the Internet when Steve sat next to him. “Hey, it’s a beautiful day, why don’t you and I go around the city? We’ll take my bike.” He thought Tony would object, but instead the shorter man smiled and placed his iPad away.

“Sure! Sounds like fun.”

The two headed out of the mansion’s garage on Steve’s motorcycle that Nick Fury gave him. Tony had his arms tight around Steve’s waist as the soldier went faster than usual. He was finally able to breathe when Steve made it out of the city and to the bridge, where they passed the water and gazed at the city’s reflection. Steve could hear Tony laugh in his back, obviously enjoying the afternoon view of New York.

The rest of the day they rode together, across the city just to see the sights, even though both have been around all of New York many times. During their trip they received many waves and cheers from fellow citizens, and Tony gladly waved back to please them. It wasn’t until Steve finally ran out of gas was when they stopped for ice cream in the park, the motorcycle propped up against the wooden bench. Steve smiled at the pigeons eating bread crumbs that an old man across from him threw. The man waved to Steve and the solider smiled before Tony returned with his vanilla ice cream, Tony’s with a caramel-coffee flavored one. “You know, I never took you as a motorcycle kind of guy.”

Steve licked his ice cream. “Really?”

“Yeah, even with you being super-soldiered I can see you riding a bike through a suburban neighborhood rather than that loud thing.”

The soldier chuckled. “Well thank you.” His blue eyes suddenly wandered to the trees, as he observed the light penetrating through the leaves. “I haven’t drawn in a while; I wish I had my sketchbook with me.”

“When we get back I’ll make you a studio so you can paint all you want.”

“I would like that.” He said with a smile. “In fact, would it be okay if I do a portrait of you?”

Under his sunglasses Tony raised an eyebrow but smiled. “Sure, why not? Will you paint me like one of your French girls?” Steve blushed, remembering the first time someone asked him that, and then stripped completely naked in front of him. “I’m just kidding Steve, although I would love to see you do that without fainting from embarrassment.”

The blonde chuckled. “Trust me; I’ll faint within a minute of seeing someone naked.”

“Too bad, my body is perfect.” Once again the taller one blushed and looked away, trying to get the image of a naked Tony out of his head. However that proved very difficult when Tony removed his coat revealing his arms and part of his chest and arc reactor. Steve just yelled to himself ‘don’t look, don’t look, don’t look.’ “So I heard that SHIELD is training a new superhuman, but the guy is just 16! Poor kid has to deal with Fury.”

“A kid? Isn’t he a little young to be training with SHIELD?”

Tony shrugged. “Yeah, but Fury says he’s ready. I haven’t seen him yet but if the kid hasn’t quit yet than he’s got my vote.”

Before Steve could say anything Tony’s phone pinged. The shorter man took it out and smiled. Steve could not see the name but frowned right away, assuming it was from Gabriel. He knew he was wrong when Tony leaned over to him and played the video. It was from the gathering a few weeks ago from the bar, where Bruce danced on the table and stripped for the female SHIELD members. The video lasted only thirty seconds, however, since Bruce fell on the camera-man, who was most likely Thor. “I’m surprised Thor was able to finally figure out how to send this video.” He said, laughing.

Steve just shook his head. “Thor told me Bruce fell at least three times, but he earned fifty dollars that night.”

Tony laughed again. “He is not going to hear the end of this.” He texted Thor back, thanking him, and put his phone away. “Gabriel told me that he was invited to hang out with you guys that night.” Steve froze for a second with his thoughts running a thousand miles a minute, thinking what Gabriel could have said to Tony. Did he tell him the truth? Did he recite the conversation he had with Steve? What the hell is that man up to? “He says that he really likes you that you’re a true hero and he appreciates you for that.”

The soldier was finally able to breathe. “Oh, well… tell him I said thanks. He seems to be- a good man.” Not true, he is the worst person he’s met since HYDRA.

“Of course.” Tony took a bite out of his ice cream. “Steve… how would you feel of me moving into the mansion?”

“Feel? We’ve wanted you to move in since the beginning. You own the mansion and I’m pretty sure it’s a giant hassle to go from your penthouse to the mansion every day.”

The billionaire chuckled. “It is… it’s just that… would you guys feel comfortable with Gabriel there too? I know Avengers and SHIELD kind of stay out of each other’s reaches but if he and I are going to keep sleeping together he would be in the mansion too.”

No, no Tony I don’t want that man in the mansion. Steve thought, grinding his teeth. I don’t know what he is, but he is not the man you think he is. “Well, I don’t mind, but I think the team should know too, unless you want to avoid Clint making more dirty jokes about you two.”

Another chuckle. “Yeah, I would expect that, thank you though.”

“For what?”

“You always have my back- really you do. Anytime you need something from me don’t hesitate.”

I want you to break up with Gabriel. “Thank you.” Steve looked at his ice cream, which was starting to melt. “Tony, Gabriel is good to you, right?”

“Well, yeah.”

“No fights? Arguments?”

Tony looked up for a second. “None that I can recall. Clint calls it our honeymoon phase, probably why I don’t care what he does. Why?”

Steve took out a napkin and tried to wipe his sticky hands. He throws the cone away to the trashcan next to him. “Just… if anything happens, you know you can come to me, okay?”

“Okay.” Tony replied, shrugging.

“I mean it, if he hurts you don’t be afraid to come to me.”

“Yeah, I get it.” Tony replied again waving his hand. “And again, thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.” Tony finished his ice cream in five minutes and the two decide head back home.

That afternoon Steve and Thor helped Tony move in, bringing in the rest of his supplies from his home lab, beddings, and new furniture from his penthouse. He also announced that Gabriel may be coming in once in a while, to which Steve pretended to like the idea, Thor congratulated him, Bruce nodded and Clint and Natasha proceeded their mocking. Three days later Tony finally asked Gabriel to the mansion, and the British man agreed, happy to be able to look where the Avengers lived.

Dinner rolled around that night and Gabriel was cooking dinner with Clint- and the poor man proved the stereotype that Brits can’t cook. Tony’s lover burned the pot of water (Clint did not know how) and somehow made the vegetables more raw. Eventually Steve took over Gabriel’s position to help, and hoped to prove something to Tony. Eventually the table was set and they ate together, as peacefully as possible. Thor’s drink was hard beer, as his loud voice boomed around the kitchen. Bruce meditated as much as possible when Natasha and Clint decided to fling food at each other, and Steve tried not to break the table as he watched Tony and Gabriel make puppy love eyes at each other.

“To Gabriel and Tony!” Thor says, holding his glass up.

“Here, here!” Everyone said, tapping their glasses together. Steve’s glass cracked.

“So when’s the wedding?” Clint asked. “Do I get to be the best man?”

“You’re the flower girl.” Natasha said, smirking.

“Hey, I’ll be smoking hot in a dress-

Suddenly, there as a loud rasping knock at the door and the Avengers stood up, ready for a fight. Tony asked for JARVIS identify the person, and he confirmed it was a woman of magical powers. Thor took the lead, cautiously going towards and opening the door. His eyes widened as a woman in red armor fell in his arms, covered in bruises and blood. “T-Thor?”

Thor held her in his harms. “Avengers! I need help!” They immediately ran to him in order to aid the fallen God. Gabriel stood back, but his eyes widened in shock as Bruce wiped the blood from her face. “Sif, what has happened?”

She coughed and looked up at Thor with tired eyes. “Amora, she has returned… I tried to stop her.” Her head fell limp, and Thor cried.

Chapter Text

“She’s just unconscious Thor, she’ll live.” Tony confirmed as he read her heart monitor. Next to him Bruce scribbled down her condition and nodded in agreement with Tony. Thor sat by her side, holding her hand soothingly.

“Sif mentioned Amora before she fell.” The God replied.

“Amora huh?” Natasha said. “Haven’t seen her in months.”

Clint leaned against the doorframe. “Now that I think about it, we haven’t seen Loki either. Do you think that he sent her out?”

“It’s a possibility,” Steve replied. “But for now, let her rest. We’ll ask when she wakes.” Everyone nodded in agreement, and after some coaxing, Thor got up to leave her in peace. They decided to head to SHIELD and report the recent attack; with Bruce and Gabriel staying behind since it was around midnight, three hours after they found her at the doorstep. Once they were gone Loki casted a sleeping spell on Bruce and gently put him to bed while he went to Sif’s room.

Cloaking himself against JARVIS’s cameras Loki held his hands over her body and allowed his magic to heal her wounds. She stirred and turned her head away from the light, slowly opening her eyes. “Loki?”

“Shhh…” He dimmed the lights and placed his hand on her forehead, cleaning the blood and closing the cut. “I’m so sorry; I didn’t know that she would-

She smiled. “It’s alright; it’s not your fault.”

“I didn’t expect her to hurt you.” For once Loki looked sincere in his apology, green eyes wide and watery to see a fellow Asgardian hurt.
“I didn’t either, but for the full story I found her. I tried to convince her to return to Asgard but… Loki something was different. It was the way she attack, she-” Sif cringed and held her stomach. Loki put his other hand on her abdomen to let the magic flow and eventually she stopped, feeling soothed. “Thank you. Even if you are the God of Mischief, you always had gentler healing abilities than your brother.”

“Yes, well, Thor is Thor.”

She laughed. “He is.” Before she could say any more Loki requested for her to stop speaking as he continued to mend her wounds as much as he could. However it proved difficult, unsure of half of her scars and burns. From the looks of it her attack was brutal, bloody, something that Amora usually didn’t do. She stuck more with restraints and traps rather than head on attacks. Obviously Amora now got her hands dirty, and poor Sif, Goddess of War, was her first victim. “She gained new abilities Loki.” She finally said when he finished. “I don’t know how but before I confronted her she killed a group of men with a snap of her fingers and stabbed a group of women with arrows made from the teeth of the Kraken for no reason.”

“And you tried to stop her.”

“Yes, tried is the correct word. I could not place a tracker on her; I do not know where she lies now.”

“That is fine, you need to rest now. Tony and the Avengers will take care of the rest.”

Sif nodded. “Do you still plan to destroy them? You and Stark are very comfortable, or at least that is what everyone is saying at SHIELD.”

Loki snorted. “Of course I still plan to; I just didn’t expect Amora to get involved, or you getting hurt.”

“Midgard has changed you Loki, you are so kind.”

“Don’t count on it for too long.”

—-

Over the next week SHIELD and the Avengers have been on high alert for Amora and any other magical creature killing the humans. But of course she was smarter than that and lay low, not stirring up any trouble or evidence of her magic still precipitating in the city; both Thor and Loki could not sense her. In that week Sif had almost fully recovered, thanks to Dr. Banner’s medical practices and Loki’s secret healing when the Avengers were not in the mansion. When she was finally able to stand on her own Thor begged, yes- begged, for her to return to Asgard where she’ll be safe. Being the Goddess of War, however, she refused to run away and insisted to stay and help in any way possible. Right away the other Avengers allowed her to stay and insisted for her to be an Avenger as well (Natasha said they needed more female members anyway). Her room was next to Thor’s so that he can look out for her, no matter her protests.

But even with the addition of a new member neither SHIELD nor the Avengers got anywhere when finding Amora. Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months, three months to be exact, where the most activity came from criminals and a couple of high end super villains that were easily defeated. Eventually, even Fury lowered the alert level of Amora and Loki, focusing more on the villains who were attacking the citizens. Fury also drew his attention to the new hero who called himself Spider-Man, wanting to train him before he can go out as an Avenger.

During the months Loki and Tony have gotten closer, and according to Loki, Steve is not taking lightly to it. He’s spending more time in the mansion than Gabriel’s apartment, which Tony does not seem to mind. (Loki also has a drawer in Tony’s room.) They still keep their relationship at the ‘professional’ level since he still attends work, but he comes back to find Tony in his arms, wanting him and not the Captain. Loki smirks at Steve’s frowns and occasional growls when he passes Steve in the hallways. When they’re alone, which is rare, he makes sure that he leaves a couple of hints here and there about sleeping with Tony to remind the blonde that the billionaire now belongs to him.

Sif stopped nagging Loki about teasing the leader unless he wanted to be punched in the face, because- in some illogical sense- it was Steve who drove Tony away. She gossiped with Natasha during ‘girl’s night out’ and the Widow revealed that Tony has been in love with Steve since he was a teenager, but the naïve man out of their time accidentally pushed Tony by admiring his father more. She’s seen gods and mortals’ alike running to another person’s arms because of being hurt by the one they love and she shook her head in the disappointment. Then again, she probably stopped bugging Loki about it because he was the same. The reason why Loki kept his brother banished in Midgard was to finally win the attention of Odin and to be Thor’s equal. Although his reasons for attacking Midgard is still unjustified both he and Tony are alike, and finding each other only kept them sane.

“So I’m assuming that Howard was a good lay?”

Steve glared at him with fire in his eyes. “I never slept with Tony’s father- why do you keep bringing him-

Loki waved his hand. “Don’t fret about it; I was just curious since you were able to be around the irresistible Stark men. But I bet Tony is still the better one.” Steve’s vision didn’t change. “He’s very loud, but I’m assuming you know that since your rooms are next to each other.” The Captain’s hand turned into a fist, ready to punch him in the face. “Well, I’m going to visit Dr. Banner in the lab, catch you later.” He smirked and placed his hands in his pocket before walking to the staircase where he could find the labs. Sif rolled her eyes again but didn’t say a word, although she did jump when a sudden hole appeared in the hallway, and at least Bruce had Loki to back him up when he tells Tony that he didn’t Hulk out and break the wall, again.

—-

Tony pouted as he threw the dough onto the powered cutting board and crossed his arms. He stared at the combined flour and sugar intensely before throwing it away into the trashcan filled with uncooked pastry dough and began again. He was a scientist, re-discovered a new element, and the Iron Man, the least he could do was follow a recipes from Pepper’s baking book, and they were cookies for Thor’s sake!

“Hey Stark, since Tasha and Sif are out I was wondering if- whoa, did you and DUM-E get into a kitchen argument or something?” Clint asked as he carefully stepped into the kitchen, trying his best to ignore the spilled milk and possible egg-whites on the floor.

“No, DUM-E’s in the lab with Bruce, and why won’t the stupid eggs- argh!”

Clint rolled his eyes as he snatched the half broken egg and cracked it so that the insides would fall in while the shells stayed in his hand. “And that’s how you crack an egg genius.” Tony stuck his tongue out and reread the cook book to try to put the right amount of flour. “So, is this what you’ve been doing for the past three hours?”

“Hey, it took me that long to make an omelet once, so making cookies will take ten times that amount.”

“And why are you making cookies?” Tony didn’t reply and added the sugar. “You hate cooking, in fact you- oh…” Clint smiled like the Cheshire cat. “You’re making these for Gabriel aren’t you?” Still no reply. “What did you do? Break his watch? Get him in trouble at work? Because when I get Natasha pissed I buy her a new set of throwing knives. Sure she hits me with them but that only means she forgives me.”

“Good to know your masochistic life with the Widow is doing so well, and no I didn’t do anything to make him mad, I thought it would be a nice gesture.”

Clint leaned on the counter. “But you’ve been with him for at over a month and out of all things you do its make cookies? Sounds like what a wife does to make her husband happy.”

Tony shrugged. “I saw Pepper make some for Happy the other night, and he was very- happy.” He was about to pour what looked to be a cup of vanilla extract and Clint stopped him. The archer opened the drawer and found the teaspoon measurement and used that instead.

“So you want to make Gabriel happy, with cookies?”

“Yes.”

“Aw, you’re such a girl! When do we go shopping for your dress?”

“What do you want Barton?”

The archer laughed. “I was going to ask if you wanted to drive with me to Manhattan or something. Tasha and Sif are having a ‘girl’s day out’, Steve trapped himself in his room, and Bruce and Thor are bonding with Dummy. And since Gabriel’s at work it just leaves the two of us. But I can see you’re busy making ‘cookies’.” He replied in air quotes.

“Well I’m busy doing this, so that ‘something’ we can do together is make the cookies. Have any idea how?”

“Hell yeah, I had to cook for myself before I was recruited by SHIELD. Just add the- no not that much! Argh, move over Stark, let a real man do this.”

Apparently, letting a ‘real man’ cook meant for Clint to wear his purple frilly apron, getting his special spatula and listening to ACDC’s Highway to Hell while dancing along with the song. It also meant that cookies were overrated and Tony had to do something more spectacular and sweeter, like cinnamon buns. And scary enough, that was Clint’s specialty. “Wow, Natasha has a great wife.”

“Shut up, I’m helping you get laid tonight.” Clint retorts with his spatula in hand.

“Ha, I get laid every night.”

“Yeah? Well this time you’ll be doing it with cinnamon buns and frosting. So remind me to tell the team NOT to eat these when we’re done.” Tony just laughed as he added the frosting to the six freshly made buns. “And please tell me that DUM-E can clean this up.” Even though Clint was usually clean when cooking or baking, Tony’s mess from before still stuck on the walls and somehow the ceiling.

“JARVIS has an automatic system to clean any part of the house. When we’re done he’ll start it.”

“Awesome, because I was not going to scrub whatever that is on the wall.”

“I think that’s peanut butter.”

“I hope that’s peanut butter.”

“Like I said, JARVIS will take care of it.” Tony said, wiping his hands on the kitchen towel rag. “And thanks- I thought I was going to blow up the kitchen.”

“Tch, you were going to blow it up, and you’re welcome.” Clint took the pan with and placed it on a cooling rack in the cleanest area of the kitchen, which was on top of the toaster oven. “So, I’ve been wondering, are you and Steve okay now?”

Tony raised his eyebrow, at first confused with the question but then realized where Clint was going. It’s been a while since he told Clint and Natasha of his feelings for Steve, but when Gabriel came all he could think about was the British man. Sure he and Steve hung out sometimes but he didn’t feel a difference in their relationship. Steve still like his father and saw Tony as a friend, while Tony slowly got over his crush to focus on Gabriel. “Yeah? Why wouldn’t it?”

Clint shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe because you had a crush on Mr. America since a teen but you two live in the same building?”

“I have Gabriel now, what’s the problem there?”

“Nothing, it’s just- you’re officially over Cap now? He told me that you two went out ALONE couple months back. Did anything suppressed feelings reveal its ugly head?”

Tony rolled his eyes. “No, we just hung out that afternoon and had ice cream, it’s not like it was a date or anything.”

“But still you two were alone together. And Cap seemed worried about you and Gabriel- and when we spoke he seemed-

“Seemed what?” Tony snapped, getting annoyed.

Clint looked taken back, but proceeded. “Jealous.”

“Tch, why would he be jealous? It’s not like he likes me anyway, it’s my father he craves.”

“I know, but if you saw the way he talked about you it really looked like he wanted to have YOU and not your father.”

“Exactly, it looked like he wanted me but I’m sure he doesn’t. He’s probably just lonely since we haven’t hung out in a while, or still wants part of Howard with him.”

Clint lowered his shoulders and sighed. “I don’t think so; Steve isn’t the type to just use someone as a replacement.”

“Well he might not be noticing it, but it doesn’t matter.” Tony turned around and began to walk away when Clint grabbed his wrist.

“Look, I’m just worried okay? I saw how hurt you were the way Cap spoke of your father and not you. I just want to make sure that you’re totally over him, for Gabriel’s sake too.”

The billionaire took his wrist back. “I’m with Gabriel now, that’s the end of it.” He said and walked away. Clint just sighed and wiped the counter top.

—-

In the other doorway to the kitchen, Steve had his hand over his mouth to suppress himself from saying anything to the two men. He locked himself in his room for so long he became more and hungry and made his way to the kitchen when he heard Clint and Tony’s voices. At first he was just going to walk in and say hi, but what stopped him was when Clint said that Tony has had a crush on him since his teen years. At first he laughed to himself, thinking it was one of those ‘appreciation crushes’ with Tony only liking him because he was America’s hero. But then Tony sounded very defensive, always returning to Gabriel until Clint kept asking and making sure that Tony was in love with Gabriel, not Steve.

The soldier took a step back from the kitchen. Tony was in love with him? It wasn’t just a child’s crush, actual love? But he was sure that he and Tony were just friends. As far as he knew the billionaire didn’t leaves hints of interest to the soldier, they were simply friendly to each other. But it seems that he was blind to it, because for so long Tony really liked him. And yes, it was liked because he now had Gabriel.

But that’s still what bothered him was that Tony didn’t directly confirm that he was over Steve, his reply was always “I have Gabriel now.” Did that mean Tony still harbor feelings for Steve? That he’ll go out with Gabriel until Steve asks for Tony? He knew Tony was the playboy before but he was not some manipulator, playing with another man’s heart just to seek someone else. So where does that leave him?

In fact he’s been looking at Tony in a different perspective, somewhere along the lines of more than friendship but less than lovers. He did not want to see Tony with Gabriel, wanted Tony to be with him, yet did not want to go as far as a real relationship. As selfish as it was he simply did not want Tony to be with that man, yet he did not want a relationship with Tony as well.

He sighed in frustration and retreated back to his room, wanting to sleep everything off. That is until he woke up in the middle of the night to the thumping in the room next door. And the next morning Tony and Gabriel walked out smelling like cinnamon.

—-

Another week passed with zero sign of Amora, making Sif and Thor very frustrated. No matter how powerful their magic was they just could not find her anywhere within the state or those bordering New York. It became so useless even Fury, although didn’t say it, suggested to focus back on other matters.

So that night the Avengers took the patrol shift that SHIELD usually takes. Most of SHIELD, however, was stationed in Afghanistan and the remaining ones were on monitor duty back at HQ, commanded by Maria Hill.

Tony flew over the skies of New York, passing the giant Ferris wheel and Stark Industries. “See anything dear?”

From HQ Gabriel laughed. “Sorry hon, nothing yet. Strangely peaceful in New York is it not?”

“Very suspicious indeed, I think we should just turn in-” From down below a loud cry was heard in a dark alley way. “Woops, spoke to soon, trouble ahead.”

Gabriel chuckled. “Of course, don’t take too long.” Tony turned off is intercom and flew to the location of the damsel in distress.

“Man of Iron, I have heard a scream, shall I come to assist you?” Thor asked a little too loudly.

“Nah, I think I got it but start flying in my direction anyway.” He eventually found the dark alley, suspiciously dark, and obvious place for a woman to be attacked. He landed down and walked in, holding his hands up as a flashlight. At the end of the alley a figure sat hunched over with a blanket over her body and she was still sobbing. “Hey, are you okay?” He put the automatic light on his chest and walked over to the girl and put a hand on her shoulder. She turned around and grabbed his wrists as her blanket fell down her body.

Tony’s eyes widened in fear as he tried to struggle from her grip; her green eyes contained fire and her smirk only meant death, and Tony was her victim. “Amora…”

“Yes, surprise to see me mortal?” She picked him up and threw him across the street, smashing him into a parked car. Tony cringed at the impact and had little time to sit up before she hovered over him.

“Thor, I need- ARGH!” His suit electrified him from the inside and from the static screen, it was Amora’s doing. She scoffed as she turned her hand to break the suit.

“This is the technology of your world? So malleable… what a shame.”

Tony could feel the metal squeezing against his skin as the wires began to choke him. He couldn’t move, and his screen was black and he began to lose consciousness.

Suddenly force holding him down released and he was able to remove his mask. He looked over to where Amora was and found her on the floor with Thor pinning her down. It didn’t last long when she suddenly blasted him off and sent his hammer across the city. “Just who I’ve been looking for, dearest Thor.”

Thor glared at the direction of his hammer but didn’t call for it. “What is your purpose for attacking Midgard? Has my brother put you up to do his dirty work?”

She laughed. “Loki? Please, I do not need him. I have all the power I need.” She held her hands out and Thor took the defensive position, yet he was not quick enough when she fired her magic at Tony yet again and he screamed in agony.

“Tony!” The God rushed to his side but was blocked by Amora yet again. “This is not of your own powers Amora, where did you obtain it?”

“That, my love, is a secret.” She placed her hand on Thor’s cape and pulled him away from the mortal, ready to attack him again when a different magical source stopped her. She growled at the small sting and looked up at Sif with her weapons ready. “Well if it isn’t the Goddess of War.” Sif held her weapon and slashed Amora in the face, only leaving a small scar. “Is that all you have to offer?”

Sif lunged forward to separate her from Tony, and she and Thor did all they could to hold her down. Tony slowly sat up and took out his emergency communicator which began to ring. “Tony, are you okay?” Gabriel asked worriedly. “Your signs on your suit are down and there is a strange energy source from your direction.

“I- ugh, no, we found Amora. She’s attacking.”

“Amora?!” Now there were two voices, one Gabriel’s and the other Maria. “Stark, I want you to seclude the area now, SHIELD is on their way.” The director in chief commanded.

“I’ll try, but I can’t move, let me call the other-

His communicator was destroyed yet again by Amora, who slowly began to walk to him. She was only a few yards away when Tony was lifted into the air and her following up to him. “You pathetic fool; do you really believe that your agency can stop me?”

“Why are you attacking us?” Tony demanded.

“Simple, I want my love back, but you creatures keep him hear, especially that mortal woman. I wonder where she is now.”

“Don’t you dare go near Jane!” Tony yelled.

“There is no guarantee I can do that. She will die, but for now.” She placed her hand forward to Tony’s chest and balled it into a fist. Tony grabbed the arc reactor and started to gasp for air when it was suddenly pulled out of his body. She giggled when Tony’s broken suit lost all its power and he began to drop.

Thor’s eyes widened as he jumped up to catch his fallen comrade and watch as his heart was crushed into many shards. Tony’s face suddenly turned pale and the blood began to flow out fast. “Tony, Tony do not give up! Avengers! Please help! Where are you?”

---

From HQ Loki’s eyes widened at the security footage taken at the scene. Everyone watched as the invincible iron man fell, his arc reactor being crushed like a soda can and the man dying in a God’s arms. But in Loki’s eyes, time went much slower, because he was forced to watch the man whom he shared a bed with, butterfly kisses and small talk, the man who distracted him from evil, fall down a hundred stories with a hard impact into his brother’s arms, and the man’s mechanical heart shattering like glass. When Tony finally reached the ground Loki swore he stopped breathing.

Maria slammed her fist into the keyboard. “Where are the Avengers?”

“Miss, there are several attacks in the city now, all the Avengers are there stopping it.” One agent confirmed.

“Dammit! Then we have to deploy MYTH.”

Loki turned to her in shock and anger. He has read about project MYTH and he did not like it, for the sake of his own well being, his brother’s and Sif’s. It has not been tested, but the suppose doing was to suppress and electrocute magical beings, an emergency weapon in case Loki attacked again. “You can’t! That will affect Thor and Sif as well.”

“Then what else do we do Hiddleston?” Loki growled and got up from his seat, leaving HQ. “Hiddleston? Where are you going? Hiddleston!” Once out of the clear Loki teleported himself to the scene and destroyed all security cameras linking to SHIELD.

Thor still held Tony, unable to concentrate to heal him properly. With his brother distracted he created a smoke cloud to shield himself and Sif as he flew into battle. “Heal Tony, I got her!” Sif nodded and went to help her friends. Amora cleared the smoke from her face, raising an eyebrow to see a mortal fly.

“Where did you obtain that power?” He growled.

“Where did you learn to fly mortal?” She blasted him but missed.

From this Loki recognized the source of her power. “You’ve been to Jotunheim.”

“Oh, so mortals do know our ancient legends. But that doesn’t matter, you cannot stop me.” She aimed at him again and missed. Loki’s eyes glowed as he launched for her and brought her to the concrete. She struggled more, unsure of his power when he ripped her shirt off to find a frozen stone sticking out of her chest. In anger he ripped it out and drained her of her magic.

“No… how is that-” She was lost until she noticed his skin color change into the familiar blue and his eyes turn red. And instead of crying in pain she grew a smile and laughed insanely. “This is where you hid yourself Loki?” He lowered his eyes and threw the rock away from them, trapping her with his spell educed cuffs.

“This is for hurting Sif, my brother and Tony.” He punched her in the face but her smirk never went away.

“You are close to the mortal now? What a shame, for him anyway.” It was then he suddenly remembered why he went out in the first place, Tony was now dying. He threw Amora to the floor and rushed to his side. Sif healed him as much as possible but he continued to bleed as Thor, in a panicked state, rocked the man back and forth.

Loki took out his communicator. “I need an ambulance, now!”

From behind, Amora continued her laughter. “Your secret is exposed now!” She cried.

Chapter Text

He remembered watching a television show once, unsure what it was about, but the main character mentioned that he hated hospitals. He hated how clean it looked and smelled, how white the walls were, and the occasional beeping of the monitors. He hated how he had to wait in the uncomfortable plastic chairs and the sounds of the crying children and babies. He hated how the double doors sometimes opened with a doctor removing his facial mask and gloves, ready to deliver the bad news. At first Thor did not understand what was to hate about the medical centers for they were suppose to heal and help the sick, but now he knew. He sat on the plastic chair, with his elbows resting on his knees and face buried in his large hands. The God closed his eyes, not wanting to see the shiny white wall that were to blind him, and hummed to himself soothingly to ignore the noises around him.

By his side Sif stood up, staring blankly at the curtain covered window with her arms crossed, and next to her was Gabriel who was biting his thumb and pacing in a circle. Every few minutes he would turn to the main door, as if waiting for someone to barge in with some kind of update, but nothing has come up. An hour later the doors did open, but with the redheaded assistant, already crying as she tried to go into the surgical room before the doctors stopped her. Sif put her arms around her and eventually Pepper gave in and sobbed to the Goddess.

Rhodey and Happy rushed in right after, Happy taking his girlfriend to calm her down while Rhodey controlled himself from punching anything that will walk in his path. Thor ran his hands through his hair and stood up, walking next to Gabriel. He placed a hand on the British man’s shoulder, accidentally making him jump. “I am sorry, I have failed.”

Gabriel looked at him with questioning eyes. “What are you-

“I was supposed to protect him, and I could not do that. It is my fault he is in this state.”

The curly blonde shook his head. “No, do not say that. Amora-

“I should have been able to stop her but I could not do that either. I-I failed to protect the one you love.”

Suddenly Thor felt someone grab both sides of his face and he was forced to look at Gabriel. The God tried to turn away in shame but the man held him and put their foreheads together. “Thor, stop it.” For a second, Thor swore that he heard his brother’s voice, the tone he used before his coronation. “It is not your fault.” Yes, definitely his brother’s tone as well, the voice he used when Thor became unsure if he was fit to be king and had second thoughts about it, but it was Loki, although jealous, who pushed him through it. “You did everything you could; do not punish yourself for that.” The blonde God finally looked him in the eye, and he could no longer see the sky blue eyes and instead the mischievous and familiar green ones his brother possessed.

“But how can you not be angry? I could not properly heal Tony.”

“I’m angry yes, but at Amora, not you-never.” Closing his eyes Thor pulled Gabriel into a hug, a hug that he’s wanted to give his brother for a long time, and Gabriel hugged him back. For this time, Thor pretended that Gabriel was Loki, the old reassuring, loyal brother that he did not deserve.

“Please forgive me.”

He felt Gabriel shake his head. “What’s to forgive when you’ve done nothing wrong?” Thor held him tighter and the other man sighed. “I forgive you, and so will Tony.”

They were interrupted when the double doors opened and the doctor walked out with his gloves and masks covered in blood. Pepper looked as though she was about to faint but she stayed on her feet, ready to hear the news. The doctor removed his mask. “Mr. Stark is going to be fine, he’s stabilized for now.” Rhodey and Pepper sighed in relief and Thor gave a small smile.

“But how did you replace the reactor? It was destroyed in the fight.” Gabriel asked.

“A couple years back Mr. Stark created a spare one and gave it to us just in case. We never expected him to need it, however. For now we put him on heavy sedatives, he will hopefully awake in the next couple hours.”

“Thank you doctor.” Pepper said.

He nodded and walked back to the surgical room. Gabriel gave a long sigh and slid to the floor, finally able to breathe after waiting for so long. Pepper eventually straightened herself out. “Would… anyone like coffee? I can run down and get some.”

Sif placed a hand on her shoulder. “No, you need to relax, I can find it.” Rhodey nodded and joined her to find the hospital café. About thirty minutes later Maria finally walks in looking just as tired and stressed as the rest of them.

“How is he?” She asked.

“Stabilized, he’s sleeping now.” Gabriel replied.

“Good, good…”

Thor stood up. “What of the Avengers?”

“Finishing the last of Amora’s henchmen- and before you say anything Sif, no you cannot go and help them. They have it under control. Stay here.” As harsh as it sounded, the subtext said to stay for Tony’s sake, and the Avengers will arrive later.

—-

After finishing off all of Amora’s henchmen the Avengers received a call from Maria, telling them that Tony’s under the ICU. Immediately they rushed to the hospital to find Thor, Sif, Gabriel, Pepper and Happy sitting in the waiting room. They ignored the stares from the other patients and doctors, knowing that they looked very dirty and bloody from the fight. Steve was the first to look at the curtain closed window where it seemed that it was where Tony stayed. His eyes then turned to the God of Thunder who sat fairly close to Gabriel. “What happened?”

Thor looked up at their leader with red-rubbed eyes. Had he been crying? He’s never seen Thor cry before. “Tony has fallen, it was because I-” He paused for a moment when Gabriel squeezed his hand. “Amora ripped the device from his chest.”

The usual calm and innocent blue eyes of Captain America quickly turned to a fiery rage. “Where is she now?”

“Held by SHIELD, but she has not spoken.” Happy replied.

Bruce walked to the door, touching it lightly. “Can we see him?”

“The doctor’s said to wait until he wakes up.”

“Which is when?” Widow asked.

“We’re not sure.” Steve’s never felt so helpless and useless in his life. After taking down Amora and her gang all they can do now is wait to see if Tony could ever wake up? In frustration Steve turned on his heels and walked, no one exactly knowing where.

The soldier walked to the nearest bathroom, which was surprisingly empty. He walked to the sink and turned on the water to wash his face. Steve took a handful of water and ran his hands through his hair as he watched the dirt slide down the drain. When he looked at his hands, they were dirtied with the ashes that fell from a fired building. Turning off the water Steve looked into the mirror and saw himself staring, not at America’s super soldier, but at the scrawny weakling from Brooklyn. The kid who could nothing to protect himself and the ones he loved, the kid who simply watched as everyone around him move forward, the kid who could not keep Howard’s final wishes, to protect Tony Stark.

Because he was still that kid and he could not save Tony. The man was now in intensive care unit because his heart was ripped out of his chest, and Steve was not there to save him. He was supposed to defend Tony from any harm but Amora distracted him, leaving Tony alone to fall.

In anger he punched the mirror, barely feeling the pain as he watched the blood drip from his fists and back into the sink. A second later realization came back to him and he quickly cleaned his wounds and placed the broken glass in the trashcan, ashamed for what he did. The room suddenly felt very cramped and hot for a white porcelain bathroom so he opened the door and left to get his friends some coffee.

He returned with two containers of four cups of coffee. His team was sitting on the chairs or the floor. Thor buried his face in Gabriel’s shoulder, as if too afraid or ashamed to look at anyone. Bruce sat next to Thor with his hand on Thor’s knee but he was staring blankly in the other direction. Clint and Natasha sat with their backs leaning on the wall, holding hands with their eyes closed. Steve passed the coffee to each of them, although each only took a couple of sips before it became cold.

Another hour passed, still no news with Amora, when a doctor came out of Tony’s room with a small smile. “He’s awake and asking for his armor.” Everyone looked at the doctor, who left the door open and stepped out of the way for them to enter. One by one the Avengers and Tony’s friends entered his large and private room. The man was cleaned up with a white blanket over his waist and legs, and a cup of coffee by his side. When they entered he looked at them and flashed his signature smile.

“So, did anyone bring donuts?”

Pepper’s face turned red with anger as she was the first to step up to him. She held her hand out as if to slap him but she sobbed and threw her arms around her boss. He laughed and patted her back while moving her hair from her face. “I thought I lost you again.”

“Hehe, afraid of looking for another job when I’m gone?” She pinched his cheek and kissed his forehead.

Surprisingly it was Widow who ran up to him next and flicked his nose. “You idiot, you will not be getting any donuts.”

“Aw, but I’m a sick patient Natasha, I deserve some kindness.” He smiled.

“I’ll get you some carrots instead.”

“Meanie.”

“Okay Stark, stop stealing our girlfriends.” Happy said and Tony laughed again.

“Speaking of girlfriends, where’s Gabriel?”

The British man laughed as he left Thor’s side to be with his boyfriend. “When did I become the girl?”

“You’re not; they just reminded me of you.” He laughed and pulled Gabriel down to kiss him. The British man stroked his cheek and kissed him harder as Tony pulled him closer. Clint coughed and both men pulled away with small giggles.

“Sorry.” Gabriel said. Tony sat up, scooted to the edge and patted the bed for Gabriel to sit with him. He looked over at Thor who seemed to be fidgeting in the corner. Gabriel shook his head. “Thor, just let it out.”

Tony did not expect the God of Thunder kneel down by the edge of his bed with his head down. “Please forgive me Tony Stark.”

“Forgive you? For what?”And then Thor proceeded with his apologies for not protecting Tony enough, for allowing Amora to hurt him and not for being able to help him. The God looked very surprised when Tony laughed and told Thor to stand up. He did so and Tony reached out to hug the larger man. “You are such a dork.”

“Dork? Is that of the highest of mortal insults for my failure?”

“Thor stop that. I forgive you, although I’m not sure for what, but really, you did all you can.”

Clint patted Thor’s back. “Come on big guy, you need to get your rest too. Why not we call Jane to see how she’s doing?” The God nodded as Clint showed him out. Bruce decided that it was time for everyone to rest as well, leaving Tony in the hands of his boyfriend. They said goodnight as they left the hospital, all except Steve who still stood by the other corner.

“You haven’t said anything Cap.” Steve had his arms crossed and one hand was squeezing his biceps. “Cap?” Steve growled and stormed out of the room. “The hell is his problem?”

“Want me to talk to him?”

Tony shook his head. “No it’s fine, probably just a hard day. Come…” Tony scooted to the edge as much as possible without falling over the bar. “Lay down with me.”

Gabriel chuckled. “Is there enough room?” Tony just smiled and he tried his best to fit in the small bed as much as possible. Tony laid his head on Gabriel’s shoulder while the taller man stroked his hair and hummed a familiar tune. The billionaire smiled and wrapped his arm around his waist almost purring to Gabriel.

The next words Tony did not expect. “I love you.” With the world suddenly slowing down Tony looked up at Gabriel with widened eyes, mouth semi agape but could not say anything. It was then he mentally kicked himself for not saying it back, for hesitating and breaking the man’s heart. God, he was angry with himself because he could not say the words back. “You don’t need to say it back.” Gabriel started, giving him a small smile. “I saw Amora rip the reactor out, I saw you fall down a hundred stories and crashing into Thor’s arms and I saw you bleed out. Tony, everything just stopped and…” He swallowed and his eyes began to tear up. “And I thought I lost you.”

Tony sat up. “Gabe…”

“Like I said you don’t need to say anything back. You’ve been through so much tonight; I just want you to know.” The guilt feeling grew more in Tony’s stomach as Gabriel pulled him close and resumed his humming. Tony eventually fell to a sleepless dream.

Thirty minutes later Gabriel sat up to stretch his legs, gently placing Tony’s head on the elevated pillow. Once he opened the door he was met with Captain America, arms crossed and leaning on the wall. “We need to talk.”

—-

Loki quietly closed the door, raising an eyebrow as Cap began to walk away. The God followed him to an empty hallway with little lighting, yet he still noticed the semi- healed scars on his hand. “You didn’t have those when you first came here.”

Steve glared at him and hid his hand. “You said you love him.”

Loki rolled his eyes. “Yes, I said it because I do. Problem?”

“Yes- I mean no.” Steve pinched the bridge of his nose. “Just say it again so I know you’re not up to something… bad. You love Tony Stark?”

The God groaned. “Yes, I am in love with Tony Stark why would that be a lie?” As manipulative as he was, this was one of few times he told the truth. As he said before after watching the man who kept him sane almost die. He would not allow Tony to leave him without the mortal knowing his true feelings. Then he looks at Steve who had his hands in a fist, tight enough to accidentally draw out his own blood, and he smirks. “Oh I get it, you’re angry because you like him huh?” His defiant stare did not go away. “Oh-ho-ho! You, Mr. Captain America, is in love with my Tony Stark and you are pissed as hell to see that I was able to say those words first.”

“He never said them back.”

“He doesn’t have to; he didn’t break up with me, so that means he’s not with you.”

“As much as I know you enjoy this, this is not what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Loki casually placed his hands in his pocket and leaned on the wall. “So what did you want to discuss?”

The glare subsided but Steve still stayed on his guard. “I want you and I to tell Tony he can no longer be the Iron Man.”

Those fake blue eyes widened in confusion and amusement. “That is very forward of you.”

“Will you do it?”

Loki sighed. “Let me get this straight, you want me to help you convince my boyfriend to stop being Iron Man, the hero that he created from his own time and money to save New York? The suit which he refused to give to the government and SHIELD? The man who funds the AVENGERS? And just tell him to give it up.”

Steve stepped closer to Loki. “Gabriel, I may have not been there but you were. You saw Tony, your boyfriend, fall and almost die tonight. Even if he recovers you know he’s just going back out there with a ‘new and improved suit’. But it can happen again and again until he does die. And when he does then what? By keeping away from that armor he’ll be safer, focused on his job than trying to be blown up.”

“You cannot keep him away from his armor.”

“I know, that’s why I need your help as well.” Loki raised his eyebrow. “He actually listens to you and he trusts you.”

“But you’re his best friend.”

“That’s not enough, since you’ve noticed we haven’t really been seeing eye to eye as much but we still talk. Both of us together can possibly convince him to give it up.” Loki shook his head, about to say yet again the idea is impossible but Steve interrupted. “Please Gabriel, I don’t want to see Tony in this condition again, and I know you don’t either.”

Loki closed his eyes and as much as he didn’t want to admit it, it was because of defeat. Steve was right, he did not want to see Tony fall like that again, to see him closer to death. He knew Tony rarely took safety measures to heart, and when he does upgrade his armor he’s more likely to be careless in the idea that he’s better protected. And with the power that Amora held from his homeland, to now which anyone can have, Tony’s chances of dying area far greater than ever before. “Fine, I’ll do it. But for him.”

“Everything is about him.”

Awkwardly they found their way back to Tony’s room. When they walked in Tony stirred awake. “Oh, hey Cap, what are you still doing here? Gabe, why are you not in bed with me?”

Loki gave a small smile and kissed his cheek. Steve rolled his eyes and walked to his bedside. “Tony, we need to talk.”

“Hell yeah we do. Did you guys talk to the doctors to when I can leave?”

“No, not yet.” Loki replied. “In fact we think you need to rest for a couple more days.”

“What? No, I’m fine now with my new reactor.” Tony said, tapping at his glowing chest.

Steve shook his head. “No, you’re not fine. Tony we want you to retire as Iron Man.”

“I mean I can feel like I can run-… what?” He looked at Steve with an astonished stare and then turned to Loki who was looking away. “Say it again Rogers.” Tony growled.

“Retire as Iron Man.”

“Fuck no! It’s my suit that I made with my materials and money. You have no right to tell me what to do with it right Gabe? Gabe?” Loki removed himself from the bed and stood next to Steve. “No, what-

“You almost died tonight Tony, we do not want to see that happen again, and retiring as Iron Man will prevent that.”

Tony blinked a few times, closed his eyes and gave a dark laugh. “You got to be fucking kidding me.” Both Loki and Steve flinched as his language. The man’s cussed before but not with that kind of tone. “My boyfriend and best friend team up to rip away my greatest invention.” He turned his head away from them. “Get out.”

“Tony.”

“Get out now. I don’t want to see either of you.” Loki stepped forward to apologize but Steve stopped him, telling him that they should just leave. Loki told Tony that he still loved him but Tony didn’t reply. He swore he saw a tear fall from his lover’s eyes as Steve closed the door behind them.

“I hope you’re happy.”

“I’m not, but it’s for his sake.”

Loki scoffed. “For your sake I hope you’re right.”

Chapter Text

Three days later Tony still has not returned home, worrying Steve and Loki very much. With the days being quiet from crime Steve spent most of his time pacing around Tony’s lab while Loki locked himself in Tony’s room, cuddling with the bear that he won for him. The other Avengers minded their own business, expect Clint who became furious with the two. The next morning when they returned from this hospital Steve told them their request for Tony to retire as Iron Man. Pepper and Widow shook their heads in disappointment while Clint blew up on them.

“Telling him to stop being Iron Man?! Are you two insane? That’s his life’s work and you expect him to just throw it away?! God now he’s never going to come back here!” Clint still refused to talk to them.

At the fourth day the Avengers ate breakfast silently when Bruce frantically ran into the kitchen. “Tony’s gone.”

The fork in Steve’s hand dropped to the floor. “What do you mean he’s gone?”

“I called the hospital to ask how he was and they said he checked out two days ago! Oh God, where could he have gone to?”

For a good five minutes the Avenger mansion became chaos with each member yelling at each other, blaming Steve and Loki and Bruce going Hulk from the stress. Finally Sif calmed everyone down and called Pepper for help. The redhead arrived (with Happy and Coulson) in minutes, dress suit straightened out and clipboard in her hands. “I checked him out.”

“What?”

“He’s recovered and I checked him out of the hospital. He asked that he his team would not know.”

The yelling resumed, this time directed at her when Coulson threatened to taze them. “He’s out of state, wanting some private time. He’ll come back when he’s done blowing off some steam.” Done, she turned on her heels and walked away. The Avengers, helpless once again, resumed their mean when Coulson took Loki by the collar.

“Hiddleston, you need to come with us.” Loki felt insulted being manhandled by his partner but followed anyway. He was taken outside to Pepper’s limo and ducked so that he can fit inside. Pepper sat across from him, her legs crossed and she was pouting.
“Miss Potts, what is this.”

“You are flying to Malibu to talk to Tony. The jet is leaving in thirty minutes so we need to get there fast. Also,” she pulled out a credit card. “Buy him something nice.”

Loki took the card and observed all its angles. “Why are you giving me this?”

“Because you care for him.” Loki tilted his head in confusion but she then ignored him and played with her cellar device.

The plane ride to Malibu was just as quiet as it was in the limo. For the first hour Loki spent his time staring out the window and to the clouds which they had passed. He wished that he could just open the window and jumped on the fluffy sky cotton but he read somewhere that opening a plane window can suck t them into the atmosphere and implode them or something in that field. When he became bored of just staring at the sky he turned back to Pepper who was looking at stock prices through her holographic tablet. While here he might as well pull more information from her.

“Tony tells me that you two have been working together for many years, even before he was Iron Man.”

Pepper closed the hologram. “That is true.” He was stunned to hear her voice so much colder than he expected. Even with the months he dated Tony he had little interaction with her, and when they did cross paths Tony was the one doing the talking.

“So, is there anything in particular I could get him, you know to apologize?”

“Why did you even say it?” Loki didn’t reply. “He trusted you to be on his side and hurt him by taking what he loves. It’s like he’s reliving his…” she paused.

“Even if you’re his personal assistant he’s told you more than he can tell his own father yes?” She nodded.

“He talks about you a lot.” Pepper said, smiling.

“But he also speaks of Steve Rogers.”

“I’m guessing then that you know of his past with Captain America.” Loki nodded and Pepper stiffened in her seat. “Steve was Tony’s first real ‘hero’ that he’s heard about. His father was never there and his mother died while he was young. Jarvis, not the AI, did as much as he could to fill in the fatherly figure, but it wasn’t enough. He was jealous that his classmates had their parents as their ‘heroes’ and Tony could not. When he first heard of Captain America he fell for him instantly.”

“More than just a ‘crush’.”

Pepper laughed. “Yes, more than that. You should have seen his face when it was announced that SHIELD found him again. But, it went downhill from there.” Loki leaned forward, now very intrigue with the story that Tony never told him. “Their first meeting had major tension, immediately Steve judged him, especially with that “Big man in a suit of armor, take that away” deal. Sure Tony replied as snarky as ever but when he came to me he was so heartbroken to see his hero judge him like that. Tony tried harder, really he did, just to impress Cap.”

“But he liked his father better.”

“I didn’t expect him to break after so long, however. That’s why I was angry when he didn’t introduce you to me, because he tells me everything. And that’s why I want you to go get him back.”

Loki shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

“As we said before, you saved him that night, from his own stupidity. You brought him home safely and stuck by him all this time. He doesn’t speak of Cap anymore, just you.” She smiled. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen him with a genuine smile.”

Loki wished, at that moment, that he did not take advantage of Tony that night, that he did not attend the party, and that he would simply let his vengeance go. He wished that he stayed away from Midgard and took his anger somewhere else that way he wouldn’t feel so much guilt, more guilt than he had hurting his father and brother. Why, why was it that everyone trusted him now? Trusting him to protect Tony, to comfort the broken man because he was just as broken too. Why did he allow himself to do it? And with Amora now under SHIELD they will definitely know who he really is, the God of Mischief who has killed many to rule the earth and the supernatural being that fell in love with Anthony E. Stark. With his secret exposed he will be forced away from Tony; they can never talk, never see each other and they will go back to being two broken men.

It was at that moment Loki wished that he never meet Tony so that he could be spared from the pain.

—-

They landed two hours later and two separate cars waited for them. “I’ll be downtown finishing up some Stark business. This is also the override code into his house.” She handed him another cell phone. “Call me if you need anything.” Loki thanked her and she left separately in her car.

He arrived at Tony’s Malibu home around noon with a box of Randy’s Donuts and flowers at hand. Taking a deep breath he entered the pin and the doors opened without an alarm being tripped. The current floor he stood in looked as if it was still under construction since part of the flooring was ripped out and the ceiling was falling apart. He found his way to the staircase and walked down to the not so dark lab. Loki entered another code and he was allowed in, gently putting the box of donuts on a clean table and tip toed his way to Tony.

Tony had his back turned with goggles over his eyes and welding his suit. From the looks of it the man has been in that spot for the longest time. His white tang top was stained yellow and brown, most likely from the sweat and oils. His hair was a mess and greasy while his pants hung low, too lazy to out on a belt. Before he could step closer Tony turned off the gas and threw the goggles aside. “What are you doing here?”

Loki held out the flowers. “Apologizing.”

“For what? Teaming up with Rogers and basically demanding me to give up who I am?”

“Yes.” The flowers were by his shoulder but the billionaire shrugged them away. “Tony…”

“Out of all people you had to be the one to say it.”

“I know, but please believe me when I say that I did it because I wanted to protect you.”

Tony still had his back turned. “You can’t protect me from everything, that’s why I have the suit.”

“It’s not enough. Tony you have to take precautions and think about your actions.”

“I thought you came here to apologize not lecture me more.”

The flowers were at Loki’s side now. “I know, and I’m sorry again. I just don’t want to see you fall like that.”

Tony stood up but to make adjustments to the helmet. “Heroes are hurt all the time but they still fight to protect the ones they love.”

“And you think that self sacrifice will make everyone feel better?” Loki raised his voice. “Tony what if you really did die out there? How do you think your friends would have felt, or Pepper or me for that matter? What are we suppose to say at your funeral? That the great Invincible Iron Man wasn’t invincible after all? Do you know how many people will be affected with that? Or is all that you care about is stopping the bad guys?”

Tony finally turned to him but lunged forward with his fists around Loki’s collar. In only four days the man’s face had become much thinner, most likely because Tony refused to eat. “Don’t make me sound like some selfish bastard! Is it selfish to save the innocent lives of the city?”

“There were no lives, it was just yours!” Loki yelled pushing him away.

Tony stumbled over his tools but remained in balance. “It’s my life so I can do as I wish, and that means continue being Iron Man.”

“No, Steve was right you are too careless with this. And as your boyfriend I ask of you to step down.”

“Gabriel I love you.”

Loki wanted to yell more, demanding him to just stop acting like a child, but he froze in place while Tony panted in anger. “What?”

“I love you okay?” Tony slumped to his knees, his head down and hands flat on the tiles. “I love you so much but what you’re asking I just can’t do.” He paused and held his breath. “Just don’t take away what I am, please! If you can’t handle that then leave, but I want you to know that-

Loki threw himself to Tony, lifted his head and kissed him forcefully. The kiss was brutal with teeth clashing and bruised lips, but Tony gave in and wrapped his arms around the taller man’s neck holding him for dear life. When neither could breathe they broke apart but the God continued to leave kisses along Tony’s neck and jaw. “Gabe?”

“Shh, I got you.”

“Please don’t ask me to do that.” Tony sobbed.

“Never again.” They stopped taking then and resumed in their rough and apologetic kisses. Eventually the cold and dirty tiles became too uncomfortable so they moved to the shower where he could clean Tony. Clothes on the floor and water hot Tony wrapped his legs around Loki’s waist as the God propped him against the wall sucking at his neck. He reached for the soap and gently scrubbed Tony’s arms and sides while Tony ran his hands through Loki’s fake, curly blonde hair. They made eye contact, Loki’s false blue ones to Tony’s brown orbs, each screaming love and lust.

They made love in the shower, then on the bathroom rug and once more in Tony’s bedroom. After resting they did it again with more whispers of love and trust. When they were done the hero rested his head on the villain’s shoulder with his arm wrapped around the taller one’s chest. Loki had his arm under Tony’s head as he stroked through his hair and kissed his forehead. “Please promise me you will at least get proper rest and a regular meal.”

Tony laughed. “I promise.”

—-

Around noon in New York Natasha and Clint were called to interrogate Amora. In those four days she refused to talk to the other agents, even under SHIELD ‘torture’. Deciding that it could hurt the two former spies agreed and entered the mirrored room with the woman who almost killed their friend. The room was large with only a table, a pitcher of water and cups, and Amora in handcuffs and a SHIELD collar, most likely to prevent her from doing magic. When they entered she smirked and leaned back. “How’s the Man of Iron? Still unconscious with the loss of blood?”

If Bruce was the interrogator he would have gone Hulk and smashed her into the wall several times. As a man everyone expected Clint to snap first with some kind of degrading remark, but it was Widow who kicked the side of the metal table, making it slide to the wall. Amora’s smirk did not go away.

Before Natasha could hit the sorceress Clint held her back and gave her the look. She glared at the blonde woman but stepped down to pull the table back. Once Amora was in the middle of the table again Clint sat on it and handed her some pictures of the jewel of Jotunheim which lay in the rubble when it was taken. The stone was now in SHIELD being studied by Sif and Thor. “Thor tells us that this came from the land of the Frost Giants, a forbidden area of Asgard. Only Loki has been there and back several times, and since you claim you’re not working with him why do you have it?”

“As you mortals say, a diamond is a girl’s best friend. But this is no ordinary jewel.”

“It enhances your power ten-fold.” Natasha said. “More powerful than Thor’s and Sif’s apparently.”

“It has its benefits.” She purred.

Clint pushed the pictures aside. “So if you’re not working with Loki, who are you with? The Frost Giants?”

“They gave me the jewel, but I’m doing it for my own reasons.”

“There is no way that they would give that to you for free. What did they offer the throne?”

Amora sighed in boredom. “As much as it was tempting they didn’t offer anything.” Both Clint and Natasha were expert spies and assassins and the best SHIELD agents. They could deduce if a man was a pilot or co-pilot by the look of their clothing, yet they could not tell if she was lying. “Although, they might have said yes because they knew I wanted Thor.”

Natasha leered. “So take Thor back to Asgard so that their army can take over our earth?”

“I simply wanted to take back the God that I love.”

Clint laughed. “Well, that’s obviously not going to happen anytime so now is it?” He emphasizes by tapping at her collar.

Amora huffed. “Don’t take your victory so lightly mortal, you may have won the battle-

“But we didn’t win the war blah, blah I heard that one before. Let’s just go Widow, she’s not telling us anything. We have all the information from Thor and Sif.”

Widow’s glared still stayed. “I don’t know Hawkeye, she seems to know more.”

Amora shrugged. “Of course I know more, I always do. In fact it’s kind of obvious, but you poor mortals are just so blind.”

Widow slammed her hands on the table. “You might as well say it now Witch because you’re going to be locked up for a long time.”

“And what makes you think I wasn’t going to say anything? That’s why I kept silent until now, I wanted to say it to the Avengers themselves.”

“Then talk.” The redhead growled and Amora smirked back.

“Tell me Widow, did you see the security footage of the battle?”

Clint pulled Natasha back before she could bit Amora’s crown off. “We did,” he answered. “But the footage blurred after Iron Man fell, most likely from your magic.”

“Oh contraire human, it was not mine, nor Thor’s nor Sif’s.”

“Then who?” Natasha snarled becoming very impatient with her games.

“Tell me, how well do you know Mr. Gabriel Hiddleston?”

“How much do you know?” Clint spat back. “What does he have to do with this?”

“Oh everything! He’s basically the center of the nine realms in metaphorical terms of course.” She smirked. “But obviously you do not see it, successfully able to infiltrate the Avengers; I have to give him credit for that. Nonetheless he became distracted with you humans and his mission failed.” Amora sighed. “Such a shame, no wonder his father loved his older much more handsome brother.”

Clint rolled his eyes. “Let’s just go, this is useless.”

“Wait.” Natasha said, stopping her teammate. “Doesn’t that story sound vaguely familiar?”

The archer just waved his hand. “It’s rather you’re referring to that drama Bruce and Thor’s been bonding over or the reason why Loki hates his brother and wants to rule earth.” Natasha crossed her arms and tilted her head. “Right, the second one.” He looks back to Amora. “Are you telling us that Gabriel is actually Loki in disguise?”

“Finally the feeble minded fools figured it out! I would clap but-” she pulled out her hands. “I’m a little tied up now.”

Natasha and Clint exchanged looks before leaving the room with Amora having the final smile. They met Fury and Coulson in the camera room where they were recording the interview. On screen Amora laughed again and leaned back in her chair as if gloating that her job was finished. Two agents came in to take her back to her cell and Phil turned the camera off. “Do you think what she said is true?”

The Widow shook her head. “No, she’s manipulative just like Thor warned us.”

“But what is the point of lying that Gabriel is Loki then? It’s not going to keep her out of prison.” Clint replied.

Nick blankly stared at the muted replay of the interrogation. “But what you said about the cameras being disabled before she was brought down was true, yes?” Clint nodded. “And as much damage as there was there was little rubble flying around to destroy them, meaning that there was some kind of interference.”

“Do you suppose that someone else hacked the cameras?” Phil asked.

“There is a possibility, but for their reasons I do not know. Yet we still cannot eliminate some kind of cloaking magic with the Asgardians. Send Thor and Sif out to see if they can find anything.”

“Yes sir.” Coulson said as he walked out the door. He then dismissed Natasha and Clint.

—-

Tony groaned as he rolled on his side and reached out for his bed partner who was disappointingly not there. Adjusting his eyes to the orange light of the afternoon sky Tony sat up and looked around for any signs of Gabriel still in his room. His presence was not there but he did hear the clattering of pots and pans in the kitchen. Smiling Tony found a shirt and boxers, finally dressing himself as he walked out to find the taller man.

Gabriel was only wearing sweatpants, most likely Tony’s since it stopped just below the knees, and a kitchen towel over his shoulder as he played with the grilled cheese in the skillet. Tony stalked behind him and wrapped his arms around the man’s waist and rested his head on his back. “It’s about time you woke up, you missed lunch.” Gabriel said.

“But it’s too early for dinner.” He could feel Gabriel chuckle as the blonde turned around and kissed Tony.

“Get me a plate?”

“Top shelf, can’t reach, usually Dummy does it for me.”

Another snigger and Gabriel takes two white square plates to place the grilled cheese on. “Would you like to eat here or in the bedroom?”

“Do you really think we’ll eat in the bedroom?” Tony asks wiggling his eyebrow.

Gabriel smirked. “What makes you think we’ll just eat in the kitchen? You know, I was a little jealous to hear that you and Clint made cinnamon buns together.” He slid the sandwiches aside and cornered Tony to the counter. “I would have loved to see you in an apron covered in white frosting.”

Tony felt himself blush as he swallowed the drool forming in his mouth. The usually composed, billionaire former playboy always played hard to get and could easily make any girl blush (even Natasha, but he didn’t want to risk his balls being pulled off). Yet with Gabriel just a few seductive words sends the Iron Man flying sky high to cloud nine. He shuddered when Gabriel’s hot breath rested on Tony’s neck and he gripped the counter top when the British man’s tongue playfully licked him. “Are you going to eat Mr. Stark?”

“Depends, will you stop licking me?”

“Hm, we’ll see.” Gabriel reached over for Tony’s slice and placed it between the bearded man’s wet lips. “Open up sweetheart.”

Tony smirked. “New food kink?”

“You could say that.” Tony parted his lips slightly as Gabriel gently pushed in the toasted bread. The shorter man took a bite and gave a smug grin when he saw the small tint of pink on Gabriel’s face. Mr. England put the sandwich aside again in order to claim Tony’s lips and licking the crumbs away. Tony wrapped his arms around Gabriel’s neck as his lover lifted him onto the table for a better angle at his mouth.

Tony gasped when Gabriel’s cold hands slid up and down his spine to soothe him. He smiled to himself at how lucky he was to have the man so gentle in foreplay but rough in bed, soft with his words yet hard with his bite. He gasped again when Gabriel nibbled at his chest just centimeters from his reactor. “It seems to glow brighter now.”

“Really? Didn’t notice a thing.”

“So bright and shiny, I like it.”

“You sound like a kid.”

“You act like one.” Bothe men reclaimed each other’s lips once again. Tony slid his hands down to Gabriel’s sweatpants ready to remove them when the sound of helicopters landing around his house pulled the two apart.

Suddenly SHIELD agents in bulletproof vests and guns surrounded the area with red dot sensors targeting Gabriel. The two men slowly stepped away from each other and Gabriel raised his hands in surrender. From the main helicopter Nick Fury, Coulson, Widow and Clint walked out weapons ready. But while the three agents looked very worried and nervous Nick had a snarl under his breath as he entered the house. “Gabriel Hiddleston, you are under arrest for infiltration of SHIELD and AVENGERS.” Coulson walked to Gabriel and forced him on his knees to handcuff and put a collar on.

“The hell are you doing?” Tony yelled as he tried to pull Gabriel away. But the British man shook his head and complied with little resistance. He turned back to Tony with blue eyes filled with anxiousness. At first Tony thought it was a plead of help, for Tony to raise his voice more and stop them but instead the man saw pure guilt. Gabriel turned his head away as he was forced to walk back to the helicopter.

“Clint, Tasha what are they doing to him? Explain!”

Tony ran to catch up to Gabriel but Clint stopped him. “Tony, we’re sorry but Gabriel is not who he says he is.”

“What are you talking about?!”

Natasha placed a comforting hand. “I’m sorry Tony, but he’s not Gabriel… he’s Loki.”

Tony’s eyes became wide with the absurd accusation. He released himself from his so called friends in anger. “How could you say that? Where the hell is the proof?”

Fury stopped Coulson from putting Gabriel into the copter. From his black trenchcoat he took out the jewel that was around Amora’s neck and touched it on Gabriel’s white skin. In seconds Gabriel turned into a frosty blue with bright red eyes and black hair. Fury removed it and the fake skin returned. “Enough proof?”

“I’m sorry Tony.” Loki said as he was finally pushed in.

Chapter Text

Only a small handful of citizens have been inside SHIELD headquarters, and even those working there do not want to stay in over twenty four hours. Peter once described it to be ‘A super high functioning prison with fancy jumpsuit guards’ rather than a giant office like the pentagon. At least at the pentagon the workers there looked lively with a laugh once with not as stuck up bosses. SHIELD contained the newest and most updated technology, the strongest secret military and currently imprisoning the greatest super villains known to mankind.

Those villains usually go under some form of interrogation that would be considered illegal in the U.S. Nothing too extreme like torture but to the point of them wetting themselves and breaking down. Thor still shivers at the glass mirrors when he was captured by SHIELD, and how it was just him, a chair and Coulson. The two way mirrors mocked him with the presence of mortality as well as his brother’s tricks. Since then Thor admits that he is not a fan of large mirrors covering an entire wall.

Clint and Natasha admit that they are happier living in the mansion than under the control of SHIELD. Being a world class Russian Spy the Widow can’t help but feel to be under suspicion from her co-workers of a communistic killer even though she’s lived in America for so long. Clint, although a hero, still lives under his reputation as a mistaken criminal. He has proven himself ‘worthy’ of course but once in a while he hears other agents whispering of his past.

Bruce dislikes SHIELD for a number of reasons. One, they basically blackmailed him to join unless he wanted to be trapped in a giant gamma radiated cube. Two, now part of SHIELD and the Avengers he is forced on 24 hour surveillance to make sure he doesn’t ‘Hulk out’ and kill thousands of civilians. Even with the defense of his friends the agency doesn’t trust him enough to go out alone. Three, he feels that he’s only being used for his genius by SHIELD for different experiments. He’s not sure why either, since they have Tony, but unlike the other man if he resists it’s immediate house arrest. He could name more but the more he thinks of it he’ll most turn green and attack them.

Steve cannot say he hates SHIELD, since they did help him become the soldier and revive him into the new world, yet he still sides with his friends. He can tell that he receives the little extra special treatment that he feels he does not deserve and tried his best for them to be equal under SHIELD’s eyes, but they don’t see it the same way.

Finally there was Tony. From the start the genius did not like SHIELD, wanted nothing to do with SHIELD and would do anything to say away from their paths. That agency took his technology, force him to be a ‘hero’ and work under their regulations. He hated how they were always on his case based on his research and personal life, making sure that he’s sober and less women in his bed. They were basically the over controlling parents that Tony never liked and wanted as they judged him for who he was.

Now he has another reason to hate them. Once again it was more of the atmosphere and interior design of the facility rather than the people. He’s now standing at the on the other side of the two way mirror watching as the immortal in the other room kept his head down and ignored the world around him.

It has been one week.

One week since Tony’s lover, or so he thought, was forced out of his arms and revealed to be one of the greatest enemies of the Avengers, Loki Laufeyson. The God of Mischief who was a master of magic and trickery and who tried to kill them a couple of times before. This was the God who for many months slept in his bed, held him close and kiss his body and told him that he loved him. Once again, God of Trickery, obviously all was just an act to get close to the Avengers, and he fell for it.

After Loki was hauled away Tony broke down in anger, yelling as doors to the copter closed with the God inside. He screamed, cried and collapsed into Clint’s arm and pathetically sobbed for the rest of the night. The next morning Hawkeye and Widow escorted Tony to the mansion where he locked himself in his lab.

Day One he mostly kept himself occupied with his suit as he still tried to make the final adjustments and repairs. Every hour or so one of his teammates would knock on the door and ask to come check on him, but he locked it down and turned JARVIS off so that no one could bother him. But by the end of the night, however, the stuffed bear he pathetically named Loki appeared spontaneously by his toolbox and the Iron Man broke again.

Day two consisted of breaking almost everything in his lab with a giant sledge hammer and cleaning everything up just to do it again. The pattern lasted about 3 times before he grew tired of it.

Day three is when the alcohol returns. He had a secret stash of booze hidden in the walls (which he purposely did not destroy) and began drinking. Tony started with regular beer, then some kind of foreign one, and then vodka got involved and suddenly the world became a blur, he felt warm when his lab was freezing cold. He could remember singing, yelling to a broken piece of scrap metal, crying in a corner and then passing out.

Day four was passed and by the fifth he was out of his lab and in his bed with a major hangover. Luckily the lights were dimmed and on his nightstand were a cup of water and two pills. He drank it quickly and fell back asleep. Hours later he woke up again, feeling a little better, when he noticed someone leaning on his bedside. With the golden blonde hair and muscular arms he knew right away it was Captain America who had fallen asleep, so instead of waking him up he simply slept again.

Day six Tony was forced to be awakened by Cap who first proceeded to yell at him for being irresponsible. At first Tony tried to ignore the scolding but immediately became furious when Cap yet again mentioned his father. The exact words were “You’re father would be so disappointed!”

Tony finally sat up and threw his pillow at his friend. “How the hell would you know? Have you spoken to him lately? Oh right you haven’t because he’s dead!”

“Alive or not you know what I mean! You could have gotten hurt or drank yourself to death Tony!”

Tony scoffed and crossed his arms. “Never happened to me before.”

“It could have! Tony why did you have to lock yourself like that? We were worried sick and it took Bruce and Natasha so long to finally reboot JARVIS so we can open the door.”

“Oh so that’s how I was ‘rescued’. Well thanks a lot now please let me go so I can sulk some more.”

“You are not leaving his bed.”

“Kinky Cap, didn’t think you’d go that way.”

“Tony.”

“What?”

Steve pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Tony, for months you have been sleeping with Loki, how could you not have-"

“What Steve, not noticed that Loki turned blonde, took a new identity, a new face and a new attitude to humanity? I don’t know it was love at first sight but apparently the Montague's do not want us Capulet's to be interfering with their family members.” Steve visibly gripped the bed sheets. “What do you want me to say? That I’m sorry I accidentally slept with the God that tried to kill us? I didn’t know it was him, neither did you or Thor or the other Avengers so don’t put the blame on me. He snuck past us, all of us.”

The soldier had his head down and sighed. “But still, why did you fall for him in the first place? The story still goes that he took you home while you were drunk.”

“And?”

“I still remember months before that you were sober and the drinking began again. What happened before hand that caused you to resume?”

Tony snarled. What started the whole thing was Steve always comparing Tony to his father, the genius of his time. Always telling Tony that he is no better than his father and that no matter how much Tony moves forward he can never meet with the origins. Finally hurting him by telling the whole world that Tony’s new invention was nothing but a plain copy of his fathers.

“Nothing, just personal issues.”

“So personal that you had to drink yourself into a coma and get a stranger, Loki, to take you to bed?”

“Like you said, I was drunk as hell, it happens,” Tony’s eyes glared at the taller man. “Of course my father hasn’t done that has he?”

Steve groaned. “Why does your father always come into this? You said it, Loki said it one night.”

“Oh like you don’t know. Maybe that’s why I chose Loki, because he knew how I felt!”

“Tony your father issues continue to revive itself every time we fight. Please tell me why it is always turned to him.”

“Because it’s about him! And you!”

“Well please explain because I see the irrelevancy between the two of us.”

And finally, after so long Tony finally said it out loud. “I know you’re in love with my father! And no matter how much I try I can never be him!” The room grew to an eerie silence as Tony turned away from Steve, and the soldier just sat in his chair with the most astonished and confounded face. So when Steve did not reply Tony continued to talk. By this time he stopped caring what Steve thought about him, he stopped caring about what anyone thought about him. He already slept with the enemy and allowed him in Avenger territory, what more can he say or do that will get him hated? “Do you know how hard I tried for you to like me Rogers? Even after we settled all our differences you always turned to him, never me.” He felt Steve gaze on him, but he didn’t return it. “Did you know I liked you for so long? Loved you even but it’s always about Howard Fucking Stark! So I got tired of it, drank and met Gabriel that night and he reminded me that I don’t need your love.” Tony scoffed. “Of course, that was Loki Laufeyson not Gabriel Hiddleston, so I guess that turned out to be a lie too.

“You loved me?”

“Of course you bastard! For so long but obviously my father always came first.”

The bed suddenly deepened and when Tony turned in his direction he found Steve on his bed inching closer to touch Tony’s face. The shorter male pressed his back against the wall trying get away from Steve. “Tony, I never loved your father that way.”

“…what?”

Steve shook his head. “I am only grateful for what he has done but I was not in love with him. Peggy was my first love, but not anymore.” His large hands stroked Tony’s before he gave a tenderly kiss on his lips.

“But do you love me?” Steve pulled back in hesitation to the question. Tony rolled his eyes. “I thought so; you’re just saying anything for me to get over Loki.”

“Tony…”

“Get out of my room Rogers.”

The soldier sighed and removed himself from the bed and walked out of the room. Before closing the door he whispered “I’m sorry,” leaving Tony alone.

So began day seven.

Tony left the mansion early, earlier than Widow, to go to SHIELD and talk with the real Gabriel Hiddleston. According to Coulson Loki returned to his original form and allowed Gabriel’s soul to return to his body. The British man sat in one of the ‘finer’ interrogation rooms where Tony was allowed to see him. However the minute he walked in he noticed the man’s lost and cloudy blue eyes, not the intensifying ones that Loki gave him. The man seemed very timid as well, nothing like the powerful and teasing man that Loki created. When he spoke he stuttered as if unsure what he was saying is correct. So when Tony sat down and put his hand on his Gabriel immediately pulled away in fear. “What are you talking about Mr. Stark? I’m straight.”

It was then Tony knew that the so called Gabriel wasn’t his and he left the room.

So now he was staring at another two way mirror, this time looking at Loki. The God had his head down as if staring at the shackles that bound him from his magic. His black hair was combed back but obviously greasy as if he had not showered for days. Then again, Tony was the same since he only washed up that morning. Loki was also paler than he expected him to be, skinner too, but he has been in captivity for a week now, he must have been refusing SHIELD services. And yet, even with Loki’s lies and deceitfulness Tony wanted to do nothing more than go inside and hug the God and tell him that everything will be okay.

“Are you ready?” Coulson asked.

Tony simply nodded. The agent opened the door and Tony walked in.

The first time Loki was captured by SHIELD he was trapped in a glass cylinder and guarded twenty four seven, but he just smirked and waited for the time he could escape. This time was different. There were no lights, no windows, just a dark room with a flat mattress in the corner and a toilet- utter humiliation. Once every day the guards would slide in his meal but he rejected, not feeling hungry as all he could do was sit and think about Tony.

Antony E. Stark, the billionaire playboy philanthropist who stole his heart and made him human.

The man who saved him from his own destruction.

The man whom he could never see again.

Until now.

He didn’t look up when the door open, expecting it to be another agent attempting at a failed interrogation. He didn’t move when the pictures of the jewel were slid to his side of the table, but after minutes of silence the man spoke. “Why did you do it?”

Immediately he recognized the voice and looked up to see Antony Stark with his arms crossed and a fierce look in those tired eyes. The man looked much paler than he remembered his hair somewhat greasy and beard untamed. His shirt wore loosely and judging by his face Tony hasn’t eaten in so long. Tony looked very fragile in that state and Loki wanted to do nothing but hold him in his arms. “You haven’t eaten.”

“Answer my question.” Tony barked.

“But I do not know what you are referring to, I haven’t done anything.”

“Don’t give me that crap, why did you disguise yourself as Gabriel and then courted me?”

Loki sighed and leaned back in his chair. Should he tell the truth or lie? No, as good of a liar he is that’s what brought him into this mess in the first place, lying about his identity to become closer to the Avengers. Yet he was not lying about loving Tony, that much is true, but putting them together will just seem like one giant lie. So Loki looked away.

He flinched when Tony’s hand slammed on the table and slid a flash drive in his direction. “This was found when we searched Gabriel’s apartment. You snuck it out of my house didn’t you?”

Loki glared at the device. “Yes, but if it makes you feel better I never opened it.”

“It doesn’t. What were you going to do with it?”

“Do you really want me to answer truthfully?”

“The truth will help me for once.” Tony scoffed. “Since our time together was nothing but a lie.”

“It was not a lie!” Loki yelled as he stood up. Tony raised his eyebrow and growled for the God to sit down and he did so. “At first it was just… a game, but I assure you Tony that what I said to you is the truth-

“Don’t.”

“I love you Tony.”

Loki jumped when Tony slammed his fist on the table. “How can you say that without hesitation? I know you’re the God of Mischief and lies but that is just cruel.”

“Because it’s not a lie.” He noticed Tony’s hand still on the table, but when he tried to reach out for him with his cuffed hands the other man pulled away and Loki sighed. “Don’t you think I wanted to say something? How jealous I felt when you said Gabriel’s name and not mine?” Tony glared at him. “How is he by the way?”

“Lost, confused, straight.” Loki sighed and leaned back in his chair. “So what, no cry of revenge, plans to break out? Very out of character Loki.”

“Has it occurred to you that maybe I don’t want to do that?” Loki spat back. “That I would rather be with you than destroying the world? Maybe that’s why for the past three months I’ve been in your bed and not making humanity tremble?” His eyebrows furrowed in anger when his former lover looked very unconvinced.

Tony had his arms crossed and he tapped his fingers against his bicep “What was your initial plan?”

Loki sighed and looked away from him. “Like Fury said, to infiltrate the Avengers and SHIELD. I was just suppose to go as ‘Gabriel’ and work my way from there, but then I found you drunk at the party and-

“You took advantage of me in order to get into my home and eventually the mansion.” Another sigh and a nod of the head. “I got to say it worked.” He could hear the venom in his voice as well as betrayal.

“Don’t make it sound like it didn’t mean anything. I stayed with you the entire night as you sobbed about your precious Captain America.” He did not mean to sound accusing or to put salt on Tony’s wound, but it was the only way to convince Tony that he was telling the truth.

He expected Tony to lash out on him for stepping out of bounds, but Tony stayed in his seat. “I never told you about… him. How much do you know?”

“Enough- and before you ask I just figured it out on my own, didn’t ask anyone.” Okay, he was lying again but this time it was to protect Pepper.

Tony shifted in his seat. “The first night I pretended that you were Steve, yet you stayed, for months. Then again, that was just to steal more data from us.”

“Like I said don’t make it sound like it didn’t mean anything. All that time I spent with you, I remember everything.” The shorter man looked very unconvinced. “You’re favorite Norse God is Bragi because you love poetry, your first girlfriend was in your first year at MIT because you finally surpassed your ‘awkward phase’, but your first love wasn’t until Pepper. Yet that broke because you thought that she could do better and that you were holding her back.” Tony raised his eyebrow still not satisfied. “You had a dog named Leo and when he died you kept his collar while your father bluntly told you to ‘just get over it’. And it was Jarvis who comforted you. When Jarvis died you created an AI that represented him.” Loki breathed heavily as he tried to think of other stories that Tony told him. He looked up to see Tony lean forward.

“You remember all that?”

Loki shook his head. “Of course I do and more.” For a second he could see the hopefulness in Tony’s eyes, the glint that said that he believed him. But it quickly went away when Tony shook his head and scratched his scalped.

“You still infiltrated SHIELD and the Avengers.”

“Yes, but I took no further actions than that!”

“You stole my flash drive.”

“But I didn’t open it.”

The billionaire glared at him yet again. He didn’t reply just yet as he reached over at the edge of the table for a drink of water. “Was I your distraction?”

“I am unsure how to answer that without it sounding like an insult. But yes, you did distract me and I did not mind.” Loki leaned forward again. “Tell me Tony; since we’ve gotten together have you drank yourself to death? Did I blow up another building or a city?” Tony sat up and listened. “Exactly, we kept each other from hurting ourselves and those around us and I loved it. I love knowing that you’re in my arms when I wake up, not by the toilet in your vomit. I love knowing that I was not leaving to plot with Doom or Amora and my brother and you yet again. And I love you.”

Tony uncrossed his arms and leaned forward, his face just inches from Loki. “And you mean all of that?”

“All of it.”

They stared at each other for what seemed like hours. Loki was trying to convince Tony that what he was saying was the truth while Tony searched for any hint of lies in those mischievous green orbs. When neither male said anything Loki pushed himself to attach his lips to Tony’s chapped ones, but the mortal pulled back, stood up and walked out the door.

When the metal doors shut Loki slumped back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling, holding back all the tears that were to fall out. He had lost Tony.

Chapter Text

“You want me to do what?” Fury spat at the man of iron.

Tony closed his eyes when the spit from the director flew into his face. Without saying anything snarky in reply, he wiped it away and stood up straight, with his hands behind his back like a soldier. Rarely has anyone seen Tony in that kind of stance besides Rhodey and Pepper, but when he was in that position it meant serious business without an attempt to inveigle the opponent. “I pardon Loki Laufeyson and request that he will be turned over to the Avengers under my supervision.”

Nick turned his back on him and rubbed his temples with a groan of ‘I need a drink.’ “Did Loki put some kind of trance on you when you interrogated him? Hit your head on your way out?”

The shorter man shifted his feet. “No, Fury, I am saying this with my own whim, I pardon Loki Laufeyson and—“

“I heard you the first time, Stark. And I deny the request. Loki is on our most wanted list, and now that we have him without a struggle he stays. End of story.” The Director turned on his heel and walked to the door. Tony broke posture and ran up to stop him.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong!” Tony said. “I mean—yes he was able to infiltrate both SHIELD and the Avengers but he has not done anything besides that! And Amora proved that the two are not working together, so he is innocent of any kind of ‘world destruction’ crime.”

Fury pressed a red button to open the metal doors. “I don’t care, he stays-

From the other side, Thor and Sif stumbled inside and the other Avengers stood straight in a soldier salute as Fury glared at them. The two Gods straightened themselves and Thor cleared his throat. “Director Fury, please release my brother to Iron Man’s care.”

“And for the third time no.” Sif stepped up to speak next but he held his hand up to silence her as he pointed to Tony, Thor and her one at a time. “You’re opinions are biased because you slept with him, you’re his brother, and you’re his friend. I will not allow personal feelings affect this villain’s release.”

He tried to walk pass the team but Thor stopped him. And although he was much taller and larger than the director Fury’s one eye’s defiant stare caused the God to swallow nervously and look down at their shoes. “Yet Iron Man is right, my brother has done no harm since he has taken the identity of Mr. Hiddleston. He has healed Sif when she was wounded and stayed by Tony’s side after Amora’s attack.”

“Doing two goods doesn’t make up for him trying to take over the world Odinson.”

“But sir-“

“No.” He pushed pass them and was blocked yet again, this time by his two top SHIELD agents and the green scientist. “What now?”

The three exchanged looks before Clint elbowed Natasha to talk first. She rolled her eyes. “I believe that an unbiased opinion will help with the decision. The rest of the Avengers agree to Tony’s request.”

Fury crossed his arms. “Really, allof the Avengers?” he asked, as he looked over at an uncomfortable Bruce and Clint who were not making any eye contact.

Bruce sighed. “Yes, all of us. While he was in the mansion he did nothing to hurt us. In fact he was very helpful to us.”

The director just smirked. “Is that so? Cap, do you agree with what your team is saying?”

Tony’s breath hitched as all eyes were turned to Captain America, who was leaning at the hallway threshold with his arms crossed and looking at the interrogation room. Since the two kissed they had not spoken to each other or even attempted to make eye contact. Even in the ride to SHIELD Tony and Steve made sure that they sat at the window so that they had a distraction from each other. And as far as Tony could tell, Steve did not like ‘Gabriel’ when they first started going out, so now that they were trying to defend Loki, the All American Man would definitely reject. The engineer closed his eyes and waited for Steve’s call to lock away the only person—or God—that loved him back.

“Let him go.” Steve said as he walked away.

Fury’s eye widened as well as the rest of the Avengers as they watched the First Avenger leave the room. Fury let out a snarl as he turned back to Tony and Thor. “I will release him tomorrow. But if he causes any trouble this will be on your heads. All of you.” They nodded and Fury left in Steve’s direction.

At first the team stood in awestruck silence, still processing Fury’s order. Then Thor’s smile grew as he picked up Tony and spun him around. “This is excellent! My brother will be with us! Oh thank you, Man on Iron!” He placed Tony down and went to hug the rest of the team. “And thank you for your support! We must celebrate!”

Clint smiled and patted his back. “Of course big guy, but let’s wait until your brother actually gets out of SHIELD huh?”

“Right, of course! But this is still excellent!” As Thor jumped around happily with his teammates in his arms, Sif slipped by to talk to Tony.

“I am glad that you two found each other,” she said with a soft smile.

Tony sighed. “You knew that he was Loki this whole time, didn’t you?” Her smile quickly left and panic swept across her face, but Tony shook his head. “I’m not mad, it’s just… what he said is true, right? I’m not making a mistake?”

“I give you my word that what Loki said is the truth.”

“Thank you Sif.”
---
Going back to the mansion, the Avengers left SHIELD HQ separately; Clint, Natasha, and Bruce in one car, Thor and Sif flying back, Tony driving one of his many cars, and Steve sticking around to review the reports written on Loki. Once Tony walked out the door, Maria and Coulson removed Loki from the interrogation room and back to his cell next to Amora. The two met each other’s glances but it was much different from when Steve met ‘Loki’ at the bar. Loki then grinned with a smirk and pride in his eyes, but now he looked pathetic, weak, and broken.

As Steve said before he joined the war, he didn’t like bullies and didn’t like to kill. And as much as he wanted pleasure from seeing Loki in such a state, he couldn’t bring himself to it. In fact, he felt pure pity for him when Loki looked away to be dragged off. But he was not going to run to the God and tell him that everything was going to be okay, because it wasn’t. The Avengers were taking a huge risk allowing him free and living with them, especially Tony.

Steve snarled at the idea that even after all that Loki had done, Tony still defended him and asked permission to allow him to be free. He expected that more from Thor, since Loki was his brother, but Tony—God that man really loved Loki, didn’t he? For one week he watched Tony destroy himself and in just a few minutes of talk he still crawls back to the mischievous immortal.

He was still trying not to be the selfish, one but this time he had a valid excuse to keep Loki away because he might hurt Tony again. Sure he could live with them, but what if Loki was lying the entire time and just using Tony’s feelings as a ticket out? As cruel as it was to say, he had never seen Loki show any affection to anything breathing. He had attacked even his own brother many times before. Then again, Sif’s defense was that he took care of her after she had been attacked by Amora, so maybe it was a sign that he did care.
Frustrated with the bi-polar actions of Loki, he eventually left SHIELD as well and arrived home by late afternoon. Bruce had locked himself in his lab, Clint and Natasha had gone to the gym, Sif and Thor were preparing for Loki’s stay, and Tony, well, Steve wasn’t too sure where Tony was, and surprisingly he was not at his lab. Steve stayed in the kitchen and living room for the remainder of the day, drinking coffee until the sun finally set. Though he was not tired he began to retreat to his room when he noticed Tony walking the opposite direction with his head down as if trying to avoid him.

Steve sighed and when they reached each other he took Tony’s arm. “We need to talk.”

“About what?” He didn’t bother to take his arm back.

“About—everything, you want Loki free and living with us.”

“Yes, it is my choice and it seems that everyone agrees with me, even you.” Tony looked up at him. “Why did you say yes?”

Ever so slowly, Steve loosened his grip and his arm fell to the side. “I did it for Thor’s sake.” A lie, one big, fat lie. He did not want to admit it to himself but he did it for Tony because he saw the look the man had when Nick asked for his opinion. It was immediate misery, as if he was giving everything up. Tony thought that Steve would play as the ‘hero’ and allow Loki to rot away, but if he did that he would be the villain of the team and of Tony’s life. As much as he hated to admit it, he saw the love Tony still gave Loki, even though he had no idea why, and it was the first time, in a long time, he had seen Tony smile in ‘Gabriel-Loki’s’ presence.

However, Tony gave him a weak smile. “Thank you.” He walked to his room and Steve retreated to his own, wishing that tomorrow would never come.
But sadly the world did not freeze for him and tomorrow did come. That morning it was only Tony, Thor, and Steve who were driving back to SHIELD HQ to retrieve the prisoner and put him in his new ‘cell’. Thor smiled widely as he talked about the arrangements he and Sif had made for Loki, while Tony gazed out the window and pretended to listen.
At SHIELD, all of the workers were, quiet barely making any noise at all as the three Avengers walked in. At the end of the hall, Nick waited for them, glaring especially at Tony. The metal doors opened and Loki was released of his handcuffs and was attached a very bulky collar around his neck.

“What is the meaning of—“

Nick held his hand to silence Thor. “This is just to monitor his activity. Any sign of resistance to it will give him a shock for a warning.”

“That’s inhumane,” Tony stated.

“He’s not human.” He pushed Loki to Thor’s arms. “Remember my warning, Avengers.” The three glared at Fury as he walked away. Steve was the first to go as well and Tony followed. Thor looked very displeased with the collar around his brother’s neck as he touched it.

“Come brother, let us go.” Loki nodded weakly as he allowed his brother to lead him out.

Chapter Text

The ride back was just as silent as going to SHIELD, with Tony by the window, Thor sitting a little too closely to his brother, and Steve concentrating on the road. When they made it to the mansion no one was there to greet them except JARVIS, and he informed them that the other four Avengers went to patrol the city. Steve retreated back to his room while Thor took Loki’s hand to show him to his room. However Tony shook his head. “No Thor, he stays in my room, I told Fury I’ll watch over him.”

Thor’s face fell. “But Sif and I have arranged-

“Then rearrange it in my room.” He looked at Loki, eyeing the collar. “I’ll be in the lab.”Before Loki could say anything to Tony, the shorter man already left to his laboratory. Loki sighed and Thor led him to Tony’s room.

When the rest of the Avengers arrived, they immediately established rules about handling Loki—without his consent, of course—and as much as Thor protested, he had to agree or risk returning Loki to SHIELD. Basically, Loki was not allowed to wander the mansion alone, and if he did JARVIS had a right to inform any Avenger and provide video feed of his actions. If he were to leave the mansion, Thor or Sif had to go out with him; not like he was planning to leave, though. Finally, Loki had to keep the bedroom door open unless someone was inside with him. Basically, zero privacy in the mansion.

However, Loki did not let it get to him. He stayed in his room all day holding the teddy bear Loki in his arms or reading the books Tony had on his shelves. Once in a while he would catch Clint or Natasha walking by, ever so slowly, just to see what he was doing, but they never stepped in. Sometimes, though, he would perk up when someone entered the room, hoping that it would be Tony, but most of the time it was Thor or Sif brining him his meals.

This time it was different, because it was good ol’ Captain America who entered the room, unarmed. Loki placed the book down and sat straight up on the bed. If he were standing he would look down at the Captain seeing that he was at least an inch or so taller, but the collar already made him the weaker being. “So my brother tells me that you too also agreed to let me go, why is that? I thought you hated me.”

“I don’t hate anyone.”

“My mistake, you really, really dislike me. If you had said no Fury would have left me there, so why allow me to be here?”

Steve glanced around the room before staring down at the giant bear. “Tony really loves you.”

“And I love him.”

“You better not be lying.”

“Believe me Captain; I love Tony more dearly than you ever could.” He said with a smile.

He could tell that he was offended but didn’t move. “I can see that so listen to me.” He stepped closer to Loki and grabbed his sleeve. “If you hurt Tony in any way, accident or not, I am not afraid to reverse that pain back to you, got it?”

Loki leered as he took his sleeve back. “I understand.”

“Good.” Steve lightly pushed him away and began to walk out the door.

“Captain,” Loki called. “Do you love Tony?”

Steve had his back turned to him and Loki could easily see his shoulders tense. “Yes, but not the way you love him.”

—-

7 P.M.

It has been about three days since he first moved into the mansion and still no sign of Tony. Loki continued to sulk in bed as he went through another book when he heard footsteps into the room. He assumed right away that it was Sif who entered since the feet were lighter than Thor’s, but when he felt the bed dip he glanced to the side and sat up finally seeing Tony after so long. “Tony, I-

Tony grabbed his wrist and slapped on a metal bracelet with lights and buttons. Loki didn’t protest as Tony entered a code to the metal and then at his collar. A second later the collar shut off and fell while the bracelet turned on. Tony took the collar and tossed it into the trashcan.

“Won’t Fury notice the collar is gone?”

The genius shook his head. “All the information is transferred here, without the electricity.”

Loki stared at the bracelet and then at Tony. “Is this what you were doing in your lab this whole week?”

Tony nodded. “It was harder than I thought since I had to hack the collar while in my lab.”

“Why didn’t you just call me to go down with you?”

“I wanted it to be a surprise. Really, that collar makes you look like a dog.”

Loki chuckled and shifted closer to Tony who hesitantly slightly pulled away. Hurt, Loki gently placed his hand on Tony’s and used his thumb to rub him. “Thank you. Tony? May I hold you?” The shorter man’s eyes widened but Loki continued. “Please? It’s been so long.”

He expected Tony to take his time, as if to adjust to Loki’s real form, but instead Tony threw himself to Loki and kissed him passionately. The green eyed man couldn’t help but laugh as he wrapped his arms around Tony and pulled him down to the bed as Tony sloppily kissed and licked his lips. Eventually the mortal needed air and they broke apart, lips swollen. Loki laughed again and kissed his forehead. “I love you.”

Tony smiled back. “I love you too, Loki.”

As much as he hated to admit it, Loki felt like a mortal schoolgirl whose crush finally recognized her, but he didn’t care. Finally, after all this time Tony finally saidhis name, not Gabriel’s, not Steve’s, Loki’s. And he loved it. “Say it again.”

“I love you, Loki.”

“Again.”

“I love you, Loooki.” Tony purred into his ear.

Their kissing resumed, but no clothes were shed nor were hot groans heard. Instead, Tony snuggled with Loki under the covers; resting his head on Loki’s shoulder as the God of Mischief stroked his hair and hummed. Loki asked Tony why he still loved him and why he didn’t go after Gabriel, and the billionaire smiled up at his lover as he answered.

It was because he fell in love with Loki’s personality, not the body itself. He explained when he visited Gabriel he did not see the fire that Loki gave him; Gabriel was just a weak and confused man. Loki took power and had determination on his side, which Tony loved. He also said when he saw Loki in the interrogation room, skinny, pale and barely awake; he could still see power in Loki, the part of him that made Loki stand out no matter whose body he possessed. And even if he tried to start a relationship with the real Gabriel it wouldn’t have pulled through because in the end, Tony craved for Loki and no one else.

That answered was rewarded with more hugging and kissing and gratitude from the God. Tony laughed and pulled the covers over their heads to proceed further into their love making.

Unknown to them the door did remain open and standing by was Steve Rogers. He grew a soft smile as he closed the door to give them some privacy.

Chapter Text

Thor became worried when he did not hear from Tony by the third day so he made his way to go talk to him, only to become more concerned when he wasn’t there. JARVIS confirmed that he retreated back to his room and Thor practically flew to make sure that Tony and his brother were not fighting. At the door he listened closely but no sounds were made, so he slowly opened the door to find his brother and Tony tangled in each other’s arms and blankets, clothes thrown on the floor and the two sleeping soundly. He closed the door and silently apologized for interrupting their slumber.

“Computer, how long have they been in there?”

A couple of hours, Mr. Odison. It was Mr. Rogers who closed their door as they became intimate.

“Where is our Captain?”

On the roof, I believe.

Thor walked to the front porch and flew up to find their leader sitting on the lawn chairs that Clint and Darcy had set up when they first moved in. Steve reclined it back with his hands behind his head in order to look up at the sky. Thor took the seat next to him and sat down to see what Steve was looking at. He smiled to himself, remembering the first time he was on earth and he and Jane had done the same thing while he explained to her the nine realms. “Tell me Thor, can you see Asgard from here?”

Thor raised his eyebrow and chuckled. “Of course not, only Heimdall the gatekeeper can see all.”

“Do you miss your home?”

“Yes, but I love Midgard as well.”

The two looked back to the dark atmosphere. Thor became disappointed when he realized he could not see as many stars as he could in New Mexico. Bruce told him before that New York never shuts down the power, and the radiation from the lights mixed with the atmosphere that blocked their views from the stars. Such a shame that the city dwellers could not see the universe.

“I—um, I saw your brother and Tony together,” Steve suddenly said. Thor turned his head to look at him. “I haven’t seen Tony smile in so long.”

“The same goes with my brother, he hasn’t looked so pleased since… it has been a while since I’ve truly seen him happy.” Thor took a deep breath. “Do you still love Tony?”

Steve sighed. “Yes, but not the way your brother loves him. I don’t know if Tony told you but I did kiss him. But it didn’t end well.”

“There was, as Jane says, no ‘spark’?”

The man out of our time chuckled. “No, not at all. It was just… awkward, like when that secretary kissed me. I definitely knew then that I did not love Tony that way, and I think Tony realized who he truly loved too.”

“So, you are alright with his relationship with Loki?”

Steve chuckled. “A little weird since Loki tried to kill us several times. But like we said, we haven’t seen Tony or Loki look so content in so long.”

Thor nodded and looked back to the foggy sky. “Sif told me that they keep each other sane, which is probably why they need each other.”

“What do you mean?”

“My brother, he is still very bitter about what my father did to him as an infant and our childhood. And Tony’s relationship with his father didn’t fare all too well, I believe. To cope my brother tried to destroy the realm of Jotunheim to please him, and when he failed he took revenge on Midgard. From what I have heard, Tony drank himself to death to forget everything. Both would have destroyed themselves if they had not found each other.” He looked again at Steve. “I know it sounds absurd but her theory is correct. Have we seen Tony drink or my brother destroy anything since they started their relationship?”

“No…”

“Then I believe that they are right for each other.” Thor placed his hammer down and relaxed into the plastic chair. “I just hope over time you and the other Avengers can accept them together.”

Steve turned his gaze away from Thor and looked back to the sky. In the dense fog of the city lights he could see a shooting star. “I hope so too.”

—-

And eventually they did. Days after Tony and Loki rekindled their relationship Tony encouraged the trickster to go around the mansion. Obviously uncomfortable with the idea Loki stayed by Tony’s side whether it was the kitchen, the lab or the training room. It took a while for the other Avengers to adjust but it happened, first with Clint when Loki defended him that archery is a sport and told that he practiced as a child before learning magic. Natasha came later in the training room when Loki sharpened her throwing knives. She thanked him by stabbing him with one but tossed him the first aid kit. Clint said that’s her way of showing affection and the archer smirked. Loki shuddered, remembering that Tony said the two had some kind of sadist-masochistic love life. Bruce was next and took much longer since he had trapped himself in the lab. All Loki could offer was to be a test subject on Asgardian magic and Bruce quickly got to work. Although uncomfortable he was able to talk to the scientist without him Hulking out so it must have been a good sign. Steve adjusting to Loki still hadn’t pulled all the way through. Both admitted that they did not enjoy being together in the same room and simply avoided each other if possible. But as long as the two were not fighting no one bothered them.

When troubled stirred in New York the Avengers were on the fight, but Loki had to stay behind. Although the new bracelet didn’t shock him when he used magic he was still restrained from it so that Fury would not send the SWAT to take him out. But when everything got out of hand, such as Dr. Doom or HYRDRA attacking the city, at the same time, Loki removed the device to help. He remembered watching from JARVIS’s monitors each Avenger being blasted one by one and falling to the concrete. Before Doom could attack Tony, however, Loki slipped the bracelet off and teleported to catch the falling Iron Man.

Iron Man lifted his facemask and smiled. “Hey there, handsome, thank you for catching me.”

Loki smirked and kissed Tony before setting him gently on a rooftop and aimed his magic at Doom. Unfortunately a disadvantage of Loki –somewhat—joining the Avengers was that he could not go meet with Dr. Doom to discuss their ‘world domination plans’ as before, so the Avengers and SHIELD were not ready for his attacks.

Doom snarled when his former ally attacked him but before he could say any remark Loki and Tony blasted him away. With Loki’s help they were able to bring down the army of HYDRA and Dr. Doom and send him to one of the major four prisons around the country. Fury was still angry that one, Tony removed the collar off, and two, that Loki removed the bracelet but he surprisingly let it slide so long as he wore the bracelet.

Outside of crime fighting it was very domesticated around the mansion. Relaxing to Clint and Natasha meant hard core training while for Bruce it was acquainting Thor and Sif with more mortal technology, this time the washing machine and dryer. Steve spent of most of his days reading history after World War 2 and studying America’s politics since. But one particular day when Tony and Loki were not in the mansion he decided to go back to the hidden ‘Captain America’ room and look through Tony’s collection, only to discover that the room was now empty except for a plastic shield on the floor. JARVIS informed him that Tony cleaned it out months ago and donated it to the museum in New York. Somehow, Steve felt very relieved for that and sealed the room. It hasn't been touched since.

Loki and Tony were still inseparable, unless it came to a business trip across the country or in Europe. Even then the two would have nightly phone calls or video chats every night, and during those trips Tony would bring Loki-bear to cuddle with when he had to sleep while Loki slept in Tony’s lab. Clint gagged at how needy the two were while Bruce found it cute. Steve just smiled and told his team to allow them their private time.

As Thor had hoped, change did happen around the mansion, but rebuilding the trust in Steve and Tony took much longer than both of them thought. On the battlefield Captain America and Iron Man were the best dynamic duo since Batman and Robin, but in their civvies they barely communicated. But eventually, everyone forgave and forgot because that’s how life went, and the signs of forgiveness began on the Avengers’ first December Holiday together.

Their first Christmas didn’t go exactly as planned, though. Sif went back to Asgard to celebrate with the Warriors Three, while Thor joined Jane with her family. Apparently, SHIELD didn’t take breaks, including holidays, so Clint and Natasha were called out to Russia where the two still most likely shared Christmas romances. Bruce planned to stay at the mansion, but Darcy insisted that he visited her hometown at least and SHIELD allowed him to do so (secretly and with supervision, of course). On Christmas Eve Tony was forced to throw a company Christmas party, much to Loki’s dismay, and the two celebrated just to satiate the board members (Eventually the two left to snuggle in the hotel room.) Steve attended the party that evening but went to Peggy’s grave by the morning to talk to her.

The snow that year in New York was light and barely covered the streets. As he arrived at her grave, he cleaned the tombstone and placed flowers on the top. Steve loosed the scarf around his neck and placed his hands in his pockets.

“Hello Peggy, it’s been a while…” he took a deep breath. “Okay, far too long, the last time I was here was… wow when I first woke up, and that was almost a year ago. I’m sorry I didn’t see you sooner.” He paused as if waiting for her reply. “I’m sure that Howard mentioned to you the original Avenger’s Initiative right? Well, it’s done, we are the Avengers and the team is really nice. Hulk can be scary but Dr. Banner is actually a shy man. We have two former assassins—well they’re still assassins—and a Norse God on our side! The cube that Red Skull used, it came from his land. And finally there’s… Howard’s son, Tony Stark.”

Steve shifted his feet in the snow. “I think I really messed things up with him. I-I hurt him and when I tried to make everything better it just fell apart. I wish I was a better man, and I understand if we can never see eye-to-eye again. I just… I just wish I had my friend back, and you. You would know what to do.” Once again he was met with silence, so he knelt before her tombstone and rested his head on it. “I miss you, Peggy, I really do. I wish I could have seen you when I woke up.”

Reaching into his pocket, Steve pulled out an envelope and placed it on the foot of the stone. “Sorry I couldn’t give you anything else for Christmas, I wasn’t sure what you wanted.” He chuckled. “Merry Christmas, Peggy.”

Steve stood up and gave one last smile at her before walking away. Once he left the graveyard the snow thickened, falling in greater numbers when he noticed his steps becoming heavier and the air colder. Steve placed his blue scarf over his mouth and nose. He passed Central Park where the children bundled in their jackets and made snow angels on the ground. The blonde smiled under the scarf and continued to walk back to the mansion alone.

—-

Days passed and everyone returned home preparing for a much more family oriented party just with the Avengers and a few add-ons. Before December SHIELD formerly introduced the newest Superhero on the field, Spider-Man. They heard about him before but never fought with him until the Thanksgiving Day Parade, when Green Goblin decided it would be cool to attack innocent people. The Avengers were on the spot, but Spider-Man tagged along and defeated the villain. He spent Christmas with his girlfriend and now attended the Avenger’s New Year’s party with MJ included. He was on the ceiling taking pictures of each Avenger: Thor with cake in his hands, Bruce being sprayed with silly string, and Natasha jumping when Clint blew a horn in her ear, resulting in a punch to the face. Sif happily hummed to herself while passing the champagne to Pepper and Happy. Pepper taught her how to wear a party hat properly, since the string kept getting tangled by her throat.

Loki occupied his time by putting up sparkling banners and glitter on the staircase and windows. Tony scolded him for ‘dirtying’ his house but Loki stuck his tongue out and replied with, “I do what I want!” and continued his decorations.

Thirty minutes before midnight, everyone sat around the giant flat screen to watch the giant ball fall to indicate the New Year. Thor commented that he could create an orb ten times the size that glowed brighter, while Loki scoffed and said that he could do better. The two brothers bickered and eventually became physical and somehow ended up in the kitchen. Clint ran in there while yelling, “Don’t break the toaster again!”

Fifteen minutes before midnight the fighting barely subsided and noise clamored throughout the house. Sometime between the fight Steve excused himself to the balcony for fresh air with a cup of hot chocolate in his hands. He closed his eyes and allowed the cold to touch his face when he heard the sliding door open. He expected it to be Thor again since the two had talked more after Tony and Loki got together, but he found himself surprised to see that it was Tony.

“Hey…”

“Hey, what’s up?” Steve asked, mentally kicking himself. What a stupid question.

“Eh, brotherly bonding. I’ll let the two of them settle it out.” Tony joined Steve on the balcony ledge. “Sorry Christmas wasn’t too fun, did you spend it alone?” Steve nodded. “Why didn’t you call us? It’s not fun to spend the holidays alone.”

Steve smiled. “It’s okay; I had JARVIS and a good book.” He left Peggy out of the subject, still wanting to keep her to himself for the time being.”

“I know but…” Tony looked back inside, where Thor had his brother in a headlock and Loki was kicking around. “Since Loki and I… you and I haven’t talked like this, in so long.”

The taller man shook his head. “No we haven’t, this Avenger’s job is much more occupying than I expected.”

“Steve, you know what I mean.”

“Of course I do, Tony, but after how I hurt you I didn’t know how to—“

Tony shook his head. “Steve, don’t. Really, it’s fine now.”

“No it’s not! I didn’t know what I was saying really pushed you to the edge. I should have seen it, especially since I consider you my best friend.”

The billionaire blinked a couple times and smiled. “You’re still my best friend too, Steve. Even before I met Loki, you were the easiest to talk to, maybe because you’re my childhood hero or that you just seem like the common guy. Really, don’t feel guilty about this, but with Loki around…”

“I just need to learn how to adjust.”

Tony placed a hand on Steve’s shoulder. “We need to learn how to adjust. But, I think that it will happen, everyone learns to adapt to something new.”

Steve smiled and nodded, thinking how short of a time it took for him to adjust with the 21st century. “Thank you ,Tony.”

“No problem, Steve. Oh! I almost forgot.” Tony reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small worn out leather journal. “I couldn’t give this to you during Christmas but better late than never right?”

He handed it to Steve who took it. “What is it?”

“My father’s journal, during the time you disappeared.”

Steve’s shoulders slumped. “Tony…”

“No, you need to read this. He never stopped looking for you, Steve; you were his best friend.”

“But you’re his greatest creation.” Tony raised his eyebrow. “I saw the reel… he really loved you, I can tell.”

Tony smiled and held out his arms. “Thanks for reminding me. Now give me a hug?”

Steve rolled his eyes but accepted it, holding Tony close to his chest for a long time. He sighed in content as Tony patted his back and pulled away. From the house Thor called for the two to enter as the orb was about to drop. Tony smiled and gestured for Steve to join the rest of the team.

They surrounded the giant flat screen on the wall, where New York’s number one local news covered the footage of Time Square. The crowd cheered when an explosion was heard in the background and the countdown began.

As the crystal ball began to drop from the tower and the Avengers counted in anticipation, Steve held his breath and listened to the numbers.

At 10 Steve remembered his first Christmas with Bucky at the orphanage, both were barely teenagers and Bucky was somehow able find a small tree and a couple of candles. While the other orphans were in the main living room being served slop, Bucky and Steve hid in the back of the attic with a can of beans and a couple of apples. They huddled together under a holey blanket and hummed Christmas tunes together.

At 9 Steve thought of when he was finally able to join the military thanks to Dr. Erskine; he failed at running and jumping jacks but he was finally a soldier.

At 8, he was turned into ‘Captain America’ with the help of Erskine and Stark. Peggy was finally looking up at him and he was a real man, not a scrawny kid from Brooklyn.

7 was said, and he thought about his successful rescue mission, saving the lives of 400 men, including Bucky. He was no longer a singing show boy advertising the war; he was the real Captain America.

When 6 approached, his thoughts went to the first and final kiss he had with Peggy. She said, “Go get him” and he jumps to Schmidt’s plane. His final thoughts before the crash were of the dance that the two were never able to have.

5 was the halfway mark, and Steve had been defrosted for a month at that point, and he had just been offered to join SHIELD operations, and a day later he met the team.

The excitement was heard outside when they crowd hit 4. Iron Man had just fallen from the sky; his eyes were closed and he was not breathing. Steve leaned in to check for a pulse, unsure how with the heavy armor. Hulk suddenly roared out and Tony’s eyes were bloodshot as he looked around the bridge, asking if anyone kissed him. Everyone sighed in relief as Tony rambled about going to some foreign restaurant.

3 was chanted and Steve and the rest of the Avengers were crying in joy and happiness to find that Coulson was indeed alive and recovering. Nick was punched in his other eye by Natasha for lying to them, but he did nothing. He, too, was glad to see a fellow agent breathing.

2 happened fifteen minutes earlier. He and Tony finally spoke after so many months of awkwardness. It was Tony who stepped up, he had already forgiven Steve and was looking forward to a new beginning of their friendship.

Finally at 1 the people cheered, “Happy New Year!” as the people in Time Square began hugging and kissing one another. Jane pulled Thor into another lip lock, Happy politely pecked Pepper’s cherry red lips, Natasha jumped Clint and proceeded to make out with him against the wall, Peter hung upside down and MJ grabbed his cheeks to kiss him, too, while Sif hugged Bruce and spun him around.

But Steve’s attention turned straight to Tony and Loki once 1 was said and for him, time stopped with only the three of them still moving. Tony looked up at Loki with lust filled eyes as Loki rubbed his thumbs across Tony’s cheeks and beard. The God leaned down and parted his lips to capture the billionaire’s. The shorter man smiled in the kiss and wrapped his arms around Loki’s neck to pull him closer. Their kiss was not sloppy like Natasha and Clint’s, but it wasn’t innocent like Pepper’s. The kiss Loki gave to Tony was filled with love and pure love only; love that only Loki can give—and no one else.

When time unfroze everyone parted still smiling dumbly as Thor cheered yet again. Loki and Tony were the last ones laughing at each other. Loki whispered in Tony’s ear, something inaudible to all the rest, but Tony laughed and kissed Loki yet again.

And after all this time, months of fighting, avoiding, and selfishness Steve finally smiled at the couple. He had been so blind, but he could finally see it. They fit like a puzzle, made for each other, functioned together, the perfect couple. Even after Steve kissed Tony, Tony still chose Loki because the God of Mischief loved him with all of his being. Tony came first in his green eyes and nothing else.

People said Steve was a good man for the sake of goodness and nothing else. But deep inside, Steve knew that he could never make the sacrifices Loki had made to be with Tony. And he accepted that.

An hour later the mansion fell silent. Pepper and Happy were the first to turn in, staying in one of the downstairs bedrooms. Tasha and Clint were knocked out on the floor and no one bothered to move them. Bruce retreated to his room with Sif following, wanting to discuss more about his gamma radiations and ‘the other guy’. Peter and MJ tried their best to party more but the teens grew tired and also withdrew to their rooms. Thor and Jane headed to the roof of the mansion to watch the fireworks that were still going off, leaving Steve, Tony and Loki on the couch watching late night soap operas. Steve sat at the edge, with Tony in the middle leaning his head on Loki’s shoulder. The three were silent when the light snores of Tony turned the other two’s attentions to him.

Loki smiled and held Tony’s hand. “Would you like to sleep now love?”

Tony replied with a weak nod. Loki sat up and pulled Tony up to teleport them to their room. “Loki.” Steve said. Loki looked down at the blonde man with a raised eye brow. “Happy New Year.”

Loki blinked a couple of times only to be interrupted with Tony’s moaning. He smiled again and kissed Tony’s forehead. “Happy New Year to you, too, Captain.” With a wave of his hand the two disappeared and Steve was alone in the living room.

He turned off the T.V. and activated the lamp beside him. The entire night he had fiddled with Howard’s journal, and now he had the time to read it. Steve flipped to a random page and read to himself. Day 14, found the Tesseract—or that is what I believe they call it. No sign of Steve or the wreckage of the plane. Everyone is telling me to give up, that there is no hope of finding him. But he crashed a giant v shaped plane, and damn it he’s Captain America. We will find him.

Steve closed the journal and turned off the light. Placing a blanket over Clint and Natasha, who were still on the floor, he went back to his bedroom and put the journal on his nightstand. With his hands over his chest he looked out the window with the final green and red firework lighting up the sky. He smiled and looked up at the ceiling.

It was a new year.

With new beginnings.

The End.

 Art by Sakubow 

Thank you for reading.