Actions

Work Header

Re:

Chapter Text

-ii.

Now. Before anything, you must know that there are two ways of reading a story, and this, this is the first (second) way. This is the way some of us go through a (or our) story, this is the way how some of us will always remember stories, how some things will always work out. There are two ways of reading a story, two ways I can (and will) tell this story.

This is the first way you can read this story. This is the second way you can read this story. This can be the only way you read this story. We all make decisions in life at one point or another.

xi.

Picture the way you’re seated on the floor, the way you’re seated on a cold marble floor in a room you’d almost call your own (except), the way you’re seated with your foot against foot, thumbs pressing to your soles, fingers stretching out and cupping over, the way you’re sitting up straight after having rolled your shoulders backwards just the once, the way your eyes are closed and your nostrils are flared so you can breathe in the cold of the perfect temperature for a nice, cosy nap, the way the silence is amplified in your ears and you are so much more aware of your (not) surroundings, the way your skin prickle, picture the way-

Now, all these, all these has nothing to do with how Tony has now grown used to waking up in the mornings, or nights, (ball of his palm rubbing into his eye, stifling yawns that come with a sour breath)- All these has nothing to do with how Tony has now grown used to waking up in the mornings, or nights, dried (once) wet on his chest, on his stomach, maybe sometimes (still) wet inside himself, taste lingering at the back of his mouth- All these have nothing to do with how Tony’s grown used to waking up wherever he wakes up feeling a little broken and used and left with wanting something, just a little something, yeah, he’s left with wanting something a little more.

But like a silver-tongued god (yeah, he’s the one who left Tony broken and used, surprise, surprise), or, or, and everyone has to remember that we (I) can lie, and it is a lie when the story (I) first told you that the very beginning had nothing to do with how Tony’s (yes, we know) grown used to waking up in this manner because sometimes we believe strangers all too easily, and that’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay because sometimes we all need a little lie in our lives, but that’s not really the point, is it? Every little thing in life is connected, one way or another, by a little red thread (and that has something to do with the Japanese and Chinese; you know, the red string of fate?, yeah, sure, maybe it has to do with lovers, but, hey, hey) that bounds us all to each other.

Therefore let’s skip back to the first paragraph where you’re told to picture you’re seated on a cold marble floor and perhaps, maybe, read it again. Picture the way you’re seated on a cold marble floor with your spine set upright and your head stretched up and back so you can feel the stretch of your skin and muscles on your neck (they call that the thyroid cartilage, if memory serves me right, if memory wants to serve me right) and this lets the cold of the air run easily into your nose (wash down into your lungs, then up, and out), you do this to feel tranquillity, you do this for a calm state of mind. Picture sitting on the cold marble floor and the thudding ache of your heart isn’t ringing in your ears and the things that you’ve seen don’t hurt the way it’s should because you’ve seen it coming (you’ve always seen it coming). Picture sitting there and wishing everything was easier, wishing that people (he) would love you the way he should(n’t), even if you know that things like that aren’t going to happen.

Picture all these because this is Tony sitting on his bathroom floor (and have you seen it?, it’s spacious, spacious) on one of those days after he’s left to wake up alone in the morning feeling like he’s been left there with no love to spare, sitting around and waiting on something to (never) happen.

We all fall apart sometimes.

-i.

There are thirty-one parts to this story, but like everyone and everything else- even a story is prone to telling lies, and remember, darlings, sweethearts, boys and girls, that the story (I have) has just lied once.

I(t) might do it again, and i(t) probably will.

iii.

Scumbag is a name he gets called often. Jerk is a name he gets called often. Asshole is a name he gets called often. Motherfucker is a name he gets called often. Heartless is a name he gets called often. Bastard is a name he gets called often. Twat is a name he gets called sometimes. Jackass is a name he gets called often. Shit-face is a name he gets called often. Douche is a name he gets called sometimes. Dick is a name he gets called often. Bastard is a name gets called even more often. Wanker is a name he gets called sometimes. Asshat, fuckwit, manipulator, dog, cunt, devil, faggot, dickhead, beast, tit, son of a bitch, prick, dipshit, dumbass, pussy. These are all names that Tony gets called often by girl after girl that he doesn’t call back or not remember.

But for the record, if there’s anyone he’s blaming, he blames his friends. It’s not his fault he falls in love every night, he thinks. And well, they ought to know that this is what he does, that this is what he’s good at. Partying and throwing himself away. He’ll take any arms that will find him comfort, take any darling girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, take any darling girl with black hair and green eyes, but these days, these days…

Well, it’s still what he does.

And just for that, Tony starts counting his relevant friends one by one in his head, asks himself, why they don’t stop him, why they let him do this, asks himself, why he does this, why this keeps happening (but he knows the answer to that), wonders why they honestly let him to this to himself (drink, dance, party, fuck), and if they know how every night’s going to end, why doesn’t someone stop him?

He’s really sick of all of this happening, sick of falling in love every night, sick of falling in love again and again, sick of constantly remaining in love with green eyes and black hair, sick of how he tries to fix everything with girls that look alike.

So why don’t I stop me?

xx.

10:35, and Loki’s standing by a bus stop, one that he doesn’t even know where it is. Am I still in the States?, his body wants to ask, or am I in Italy, or Australia, or maybe even Singapore?, is what his body still wants to ask, because it’s tired, and his mind, well, it’s somewhere else. Around him the people stare, and the ones who are with friends lean against each other in a hushed whisper. You don’t see people like that just anywhere, you don’t see people like Loki just anywhere, and you most certainly don’t see such a handsome devil  just-

Blink.

16:23, and Loki doesn’t know why he finds himself standing in the middle Shibuya crossing, but what he knows is  that he’s being stared at again, and he thinks it’s funny because when he does glance over at one of them, any of them, what they do is that they instantly look away (in front of them, in the opposite direction, at the ground), and they never look back. And Loki, a part of him wonders how peculiar it is that Midgardians can differ so much from one race to another, and that part of him knows that yes, yes, yes, he’s read about this before, that traditions differ, and yes, he knows this the way he knows how each and every race in the nine realms are different, but, but, oh, what was I thinking of again? His mind is still somewhere else.

Blink.

22:49, and Loki’s back at the same bus stop as before, except he still doesn’t quite know where he is, or why he’s there, or let alone how he managed to come back here, (did he even leave?). But unlike the earlier (or later, or yesterday, or tomorrow), he notices this time that there are nobody around, that he’s all alone at the bus stop. No one to stare, no one to judge, no one to whisper. It’s just him, and him alone along with that one flickering street light that doesn’t capture his attention. What captures his attention this time is the light of the starlight in the cloudless sky, and he’s thinking about stuff, and his mind still stays a thousand miles away.

Blink.

04:00, and Loki knows (this time) where he is, and he knows where he is because it’s that time again, and where he is is in the one Anthony Edward Stark’s room, and when he’s here, he’s always standing over Tony, hovering, ghosting, (and sometimes, just sometimes, he’ll be lying next to him) next to the sleeping mortal. In here, there’s no one to watch him (maybe). In here, he knows his thoughts and knows what captures his attention. Finger running (so gently) over just the tips of the hair on Tony’s chin and jaws (that one, two, three, four, five brushes of comforting prickling), Loki knows where his mind is at this hour, knows where his mind always is at all hours.

With you.

xix.

When Tony decides that it’s not just enough to just be sleeping around with Loki, when Tony decides that he wants to have something more than just a shallow relationship with Loki, when Tony decides that  he needs nothing more in the world than to call Loki his own, Tony decides that he’ll try taking Loki out on a date. And you know Tony. He does things in the most bizarre manner, thinking it’s normal, thinking that it’s not at all odd, thinking it’s normal, it’s normal, thinking that yeah sure, that works, thinks that that’s what any guy would do.

He begs Loki with red roses and baby’s breath and peach roses to go out on a date with him, and he begs Loki with red roses and baby’s breath and peach roses on his knees. He’s never done this before. Beg. Not like this at least. Not to have someone. Never to have someone. Loki should be honoured, thinks he, and he expects no less. But even when he’s by Loki’s feet and pleading, he likes how Loki makes him beg more, likes how Loki’s green eyes are dancing with his ever mischief, and sweet and sadistic. Loki likes how Tony says please, he always does. Tony hates the way Loki teases him with a maybe, and Loki loves how Tony says he’ll wait if that’s what he has to do.

Loki decides that even a god can humour a mortal, so he takes that date, and it’s something he regrets.

Loki doesn’t ask why he’s taken to Kansas. The first reason is because he doesn’t even know where that is. The second reason is because he’s too absorbed in the cups of pudding that the car (STARK 37) has to offer. The third reason is because- Mmm, pudding… He doesn’t even realise that they arrive until after Tony has stopped the engine, gotten out of the car and over to open Loki’s side of the door.

When they’re right where they want to be, Tony looks at Loki in the midst of the sunflower field, he’s curious as to why how Loki seems to be thinking that a sunflower can hide him (half of his head glancing out from behind the flower, smiling, eyes glinting, stalk of the sunflower being hugged and pressed to his body kept thin), as to why how Loki has a smile on (tugged up, up, up, and higher than the sun) and how it’s brighter than anything around (and even than the sun), and in Tony’s mind, the song Strawberry Fields Forever plays on repeat.

xxix.

When Thor smiles at Tony, it’s a smile that Tony cannot see, it’s a smile soft and sweet, but it’s still a smile that Tony cannot see, and it’s not that Thor minds, because he doesn’t. He finds it easier to deal with a mortal like Tony when his eyes are shut, when he is (looks) at peace. He knows he himself to never have been one with wit, no. Between Tony and Loki and Thor, Thor knows, knows, and he’ll always know that he’s never been one that’s good with words. He speaks with action, and that’s something we know, and that’s something he hates. It’s the only reason he know he can’t win over Tony or Loki. He tries to change, really.

Old habits die hard, and it seems like he’s not the only one with problems like that.

And sometimes Thor hates his hands, but he’s still looking at it anyway because before his mind can ask himself if he should be doing this, he already is. Old habits die hard. But he likes how Tony’s hair feels against (between, on, over, around) his fingers. He thinks it soft, thinks it brown (black). He thinks about how Tony reminds him of his brother, about how Tony reminds him of Loki. On one part, he blames himself for this, on one part, he blames jealousy (and that’s still his fault). He blames himself. Doesn’t blame Loki.

And maybe he’s accidentally tugged hard on Tony’s hair because the genius beneath his hand has his dark brown eyes opening, closing, opening, closing, blinking, opening. And, hey, Thor says, because he’s meant to, because that’s what you say when people wake up, when you don’t want to explain what’s your hand doing through his hair, when you know that you shouldn’t be here, when you know that-

Hey, Tony says anyway, and when I say ‘say’, I really mean ‘croak’, and this makes Thor pull away, step away. Pour Tony a glass of water, and that’s somewhere in the kitchen (away, away from Tony). He returns eventually, one hand holding the glass, one hand clutching tablet after tablet.

Prescribed pills, they had taught him that, and Tony looks up at him because he doesn’t quite know why he’s supposed to take this, but Thor does. Thor knows why. So what Thor does is he nudges the circles and squares and rectangles into Tony’s mouth, feeds him water, makes him swallow.

Prescribed pills, they had taught him that, and Thor’s proud of himself that he remembers.

vii.

To Tony, it's no surprise when he comes across this footage because he knows he's meant to find this because this is the first thing JARVIS asks him to take a look at when he returns to the mansion from the Stark Tower that day, and JARVIS tells him that it's been left by Loki, (Loki darling), who's left it at high priority because of the security breech (because Loki’s caught on camera), who's left it there pretending like he didn't do it, but, oh, Loki. Tony's so much smarter than you credit him for (and he is, he is), and he knows you so much better than that (and in some parts of the world, we call this love).

When Tony puts the video on, he's down in the workshop leaning against one of his cars still dressed up in his suit, glass of Jack Daniel's in his hand before he sets it on the floor, just by his foot, so he can fold his arms with one hand scratching at his chin as he watches the video with curiosity he doesn't want to have. (Weren’t you ever told that curiosity killed the cat? But that’s a story we all know, and we know, we know.)

In the video, the first thing that Tony hears is Thor saying, again, Brother?, before he sees Thor backing up into the camera’s vision, before he sees Loki stalking towards him, before he sees the smile from the profile of Loki's face, before he hears Loki say, do you not long for my body, Brother?, why, am I unworthy?, before he sees Loki's armor and clothes and all burning away with a green that we call magic, before he sees Loki, pressed up to his brother, says, Brother, am I unworthy?, and Thor, eyes softening, jaws clenching, hands balling, breathes, says, Brother, no...

And curiosity is what Tony still has when he sees that Loki has his lips bruising up Thor's sharp of a jaw, when he tells himself he's definitely not going to like this, when he tells himself that he should turn this off, (it's wrong, it's wrong, that's totally disgusting), but that's a joke because he's seen sister on sister, because he's had sister against sister, so brother on brother really shouldn’t be any different, and curiosity is what geniuses like him have even if he knows he might not like what he's about to see. But he likes the way Thor backs off around the coffee table like it'll help, like Loki won't follow after him and trap him between the table and the couch. Tony thinks it's funny because-

In the video, Tony sees how Thor lets Loki so easily push him onto the couch, (watch the fall, watch the fall of a god), Tony sees how Loki straddles Thor with a grace and flexibility that Tony himself is so darned familiar with, Tony sees how Thor's hands wrap around Loki's waist that Tony himself knows himself to be familiar with, (and he ignores how this hurts), Tony sees how Loki's head is tilted down with that smirk that can send you running, sees how Loki's black, black hair falls over his faces, falls over his shoulders, a black that curtains the light of the room, a black that curtains what Tony knows he would smile up at, and from this, by this, he knows that Thor is doing exactly the same as soon as Loki's lips are on his. It makes Tony slam his fist on the hood of his car, and he wants to think that this isn't jealousy.

And even though he knows he should, knows that he wants to do, turning off the video is what he doesn't do as he starts to see hands running up Loki's sides, as he hears the scratchy sound of breeches being unstrung, as he can tell what Thor's feeling from the way the thunderer moans, and Tony, what he does is push himself up onto the hood of the car until one of his leg dangling off the edge, until just one leg is tipped slightly to support himself on the ground, and Tony, what he does is palm himself through the rough of his suit pants, and Tony, what he does is squeeze himself through the fabric on fabric on skin, and Tony, what he does is keep his eyes on the screen when he sees Thor's fingers running down Loki's spine and disappearing into him.

In the video, Tony doesn't like the way Loki purrs to Thor's fingers stretching him, slut, (and we all know that's rather true), and out of the video, Tony doesn't like how one of his hand is behind him and holding himself up, and in the video, Tony doesn't like how Thor adds a third finger into Loki, and out of the video, Tony doesn't like how his other hand is unzipping his pants, doesn't like how he's pulling his cock out, and in the video, Tony likes how Loki seems to be calling out Tony's name on the tip of his tongue, and out of the video, Tony likes how he's gasping Loki's name as he grasps himself, doesn't notice how his other foot has kicked over the glass of poison, (and you can see how the ice slips out, how it melts away, away into the puddle of brown), and in the video, Tony doesn't like how Loki's forced to turn around so that Thor can slam his cock up into Loki's ass.

Watching this video, Tony is not comfortable with how turned on he is, and Loki being taken by Thor, Tony absolutely hates how Loki's hooded eyes are on the camera and how the trickster has on a smile so wide you can see the clear sharps of his teeth because this confirms Tony of his suspicions, confirms that Loki is doing this on purpose, that Loki's doing this to-

Is jealousy what I'm supposed to be feeling, love?, is what Tony wants to but doesn't ask because he notices how familiar Thor and Loki are with each other’s bodies from the way they move, from the way they touch. And if you are watching Tony, (and maybe you are watching Tony), and if you keep watching Tony, you can see how he eventually splays himself out on the car, how he eventually ruins his suit, how he eventually feels the sweat rolling down his spine the way it’s rolling down Loki’s.

xxi.

Sometimes I think this cycle never ends, and this is Tony singing in his mind because Tony likes listening to music, because music is what keeps Tony working, working, working, because for people like Tony with a million and one things running through their heads (and it’s hard, so hard to put a finger on exactly which thought he’s one), sometimes music is the one thing that can easily override every form of thought (or well, put them underneath it). All he has to do what crank up the volume and sit back, let the taste of scotch fill his senses, let the music fill his ears. Sometimes I think this cycle never ends, and this is Tony echoing in his mind because a million and one things and music just aren’t enough.

We slide from top to bottom and we turn and climb again, and this is Tony singing in his mind because music that speaks to you has a tendency to latch onto your mind, because music that you relate to is something you listen to, because music that you like will always leave an impression in one way or another. (He thinks of Loki all the time), and he hates magic. It’s not fair that while he has to walk, has to run, has to drive, has to fly, Loki has the ability to just disappear even without a word. He hates magic, but he likes how Loki (sometimes) comes back to him, and hates how Loki knows that he has missed him. We slide from top to bottom and we turn and climb again, and this is Tony echoing in his mind because a million and one things and music just aren’t enough.

And it seems by the time that I have figured what it’s worth, and this is Tony singing in his mind because he honestly needs this distraction, because even while he can sway to the music (or head bang to it, maybe) and even while he can sing to the music, and even while work is something he can put himself out with, the combination of both isn’t enough to make him stop and think of his one Loki, the combination of both isn’t enough to make him ask himself why Loki has a tendency from running away when things between them starts to get real, ask himself if it is because he’s not good enough for Loki, if. But he knows the answer to this like it’s engraved in his bones, that commitment has never been something that was made for him or Loki. And it seems by the time that I have figured what it’s worth, and this is Tony echoing in his mind because a million and one things and music just aren’t enough.

The squeaking of our skin against the steel has gotten worse, and this is Tony singing in his mind because it’s true, because this is true, because this will always be true, because this is exactly what’s happening right now, because there is Loki beneath (or on top) of him, and, and, and. The squeaking of our skin against the steel has gotten worse, and this is Tony echoing in his mind because a million and one things and music and Loki just aren’t enough.

viii.

But all is forgiven and forgiven and forgiven when blistering lips are what Loki gives Tony, when Loki finds Tony in his bedroom, lying down on his bed, curled up ever so slightly to the side, one arm under his head, one arm draped over the empty that Loki knows where Tony wants him to be, all is forgiven and forgiven and forgiven because this is Loki crawling into bed to Tony’s back and tugging him by the arm, and this is Tony turning to look up at (his) green eyes, and this is Loki leaning down to kiss Tony on the forehead, says, did you like what you see?, and this is Tony with a huge pang to his heart, whispers, yes.

Yet, and yet, all is forgiven and forgiven and forgiven because Loki can lie and apologies are that easy so even Tony can close his eyes (you’ll never see me crashing down) and bite down on lie after lie because sometimes, sometimes, it’s easier to lie to yourself anyway, and, oh, and… Blistering lips are what Loki gives Tony when Tony begs for Loki to claim him and tell him that he’s his, and, oh. It’s funny, it’s funny, and so very, very ironic, thinks Tony, that Loki’s kisses are what he thinks to be searing, are what hurts like flame, and it’s ironic, ironic, when it’s blue lips on his.

I forgive you, is what Tony says, and, I love you, is what Tony bite back down along with Loki’s lies.

xv.

Hooded eyes are what Loki looks through to Tony, and craving eyes are what Tony uses to look at Loki. Times like this, Tony knows that sometimes it’s more obsession rather than love. Times like this, Tony just wants Loki to open his eyes fully and let him watch, let him stare, let him see. Green eyes have never been so fascinating.

And, open your eyes, is what Tony tells Loki one day, and Loki, tilting his head to the side, eyes narrowing, eyebrows rising, tongue licking his lips, says, and why should I listen to you?, and Tony, licking his lips too, smiles, cups Loki’s cheek, says, begs, please. Loki supposes that it’s alright to give Tony what he wants, supposes that it’s alright to go with it sometimes, and Tony, he should have known what this is because Loki would never give in to any other mere mortal.

But green eyes are all Tony can think about when he stares into them, no, not green eyes; eyes with green irises. He knows that green eyes (still, still) are the least common of all eye colours (darling, darling, violet and pink eyes don’t count), that unlike blue, grey, amber eyes, green eyes are not caused by just pigmentations, green eyes are, are, green eyes are Loki, and Tony knows the reason why green eyes sometimes look grey, or brown, or- And Tony wonders what would happen if he pushes his fingers into Loki’s eye sockets and keep them in a jar of hearts, his heart, wonders if only then will Loki truly understand how in love Tony is with his eyes.

Do you know that when I see you, I really see you upside down, half-sings Tony, but my brain knows better, it picks you up and turns you around, (turns you around), sings Tony, and Loki smiles, laughs, pulls away from Tony, kisses him, pulls away again, says, you’re almost scaring me, Anthony, and Tony tells Loki that he’s sorry, that he didn’t mean to, that he’s just, and Loki kisses him, tells him to go to bed.

ix (x).

In Thor's eyes, what he sees beneath him is Tony begging, moaning for more.

Stop.

Rewind.

What Thor sees before this is his own hands undressing Tony button by button, what Thor sees is the wall past Tony's shoulder as his lips are on Tony's neck, as his tongue makes crystal clear lines up Tony's neck, what Thor sees isn’t his hand unbuckling Tony’s belt, what Thor sees isn’t his hand unzipping Tony’s pants, what Thor sees is the white of Tony’s flesh when he glances down (and gone are the pants and underwear). And when Tony shudders and gasps, it's not because of Thor's hand wrapping around his length, no. When Tony shudders and gasps, it's because Thor's sinking his teeth (feel the first pricks of the sharps, feel them expand, feel them, feel them sinking in), and it's not because Thor's sliding his palm up Tony's length, no. And Thor, he.

Thor tells Tony it will all be alright.

Tony moans again, and this time it's more of a strangled cry than a moan, and this is because Thor's pushing his teeth down into Tony (here) again and (there) again, and Tony thinks it's so cliché, but he finds himself on his knees, finds himself saying please as he spreads his legs, as he pries himself open, as there's a finger in him, and two, and three, and. Tony moans again because he thinks it's so cliché. Isn’t this romantic?, says he as Thor forces his fingers in Tony to pull apart from each other, and Thor, biting on Tony’s shoulder blade, sucking, murmurs, your concept of romance intrigues me, son of Stark, and Tony, head arching back, laughing, (crying), says, so does yours, and this makes Thor remove his fingers, I can show you romance, says he, and pushes his length into Tony because (it hurts).

Thor doesn’t say anything about how Tony’s eyes are looking away (away), and Thor doesn’t say anything about how he thinks that Tony thinks that Thor’s fingers around his wrists are delightfully bruising.

i.

Exit stage right, and the first thing you see is Loki in the Stark Tower for the very first time since that day, that day, and Tony is slipping on those bracelets again, and they’re in the same room again, and Tony thinks about how much he hates magic when Loki disappears and appears behind him and presses cold, cold lips to the back of his knees (and he still wonders why), but he knows that (maybe) they’re going to be just fine.

He wants to make a snarky comment at Loki, he wants to tell Loki that he's committed now, he wants to- Oh, those lips up his thighs will be the death of him. And this is Tony telling Pepper sorry, and sorry, and sorry, but she knows and knows because Tony has never been the same ever since. She guesses that falling out a window can do things to a man to a genius- to a superhero to a, to a (-playboy, billionaire, philanthropist) fuck-up. She knows that he’s meant to fall for the wrong (right) person- god, thing.

She hangs around, doesn't leave. Pepper will always and always be his girl. She knows (he doesn't know) how thankful he is for her.

But this is Tony, action before thoughts, laughing because he thinks it's funny that rules don't stop him (me, them, us), and that there should be some kind of rule against this, but he hates, hates, hates rules, have never been one to follow them, never will be one to follow them, and he likes how Loki dances on the top of buildings, and it doesn't matter to him that no one hears them screw the day(s) away. This is Tony's eyes watching Loki the way he watches the dress of a woman ever (not) so subtly hitch up and up and up, and, oh-

This is when Tony starts singing in his head, and it's happened before, and this is when Tony starts singing in his head for someone else, and this has never happened before. Nobody has ever told him not to fall for the bad guys, no, not even his father, and especially not mother dear.

xvii.

He’s never always been a liar, Loki, but we all grow up to be very different things, we all grow up becoming who we’re supposed to be. Some things come in your blood, some things come to you (un)naturally, and some things come only because they have to, because you need it to, and this is why Loki lies with eyes closed, believing that he tells them for the greater good, he believes he tells his lies with eyes closed for lives to open up, and that one day they’ll see he’s the better man.

Things in life don’t always go the way you want it to (oh, come on, you should have seen that coming), things in life aren’t always quite what they seem (but you know that, you know that), things in life are never always quite what they seem, and what if, what if… What if the greatest lie of them all is everything we see? Loki tells his lies with eyes closed for lives to open up. He stands in the middle of this one Midgardian street and he doesn’t see that strange old man leading this child away, he doesn’t see that beaten-up man walking by with his stubborn wife, he doesn’t see those fresh cuts on the wrists of this person, he doesn’t see the new wet on the face of that person. He tells his lies with eyes closed for lives to open up, and one day they’ll see that he’s doing this for the greater good, that he’s doing this to be the better man.

We all somehow grow into a person that sees only what we want to see, close one eye, close two. Some people call it being ignorant, some people say it’s just how we live our lives. But it's not our fault, no. Nobody like it when they're helpless, when they can do nothing but stand on the side lines and watch. It's a miserable feeling, knowing such things go on, but, but you're not allowed to help (because your mummy told you so, because your daddy told you so, because people told you so, because you told you so). They tell us not interfere with other people's lives, and we're sorry, we're sorry. We want to help but we just can't. Sometimes even doing the right things can only get you so far. This is another reason why Loki tells his lies with eyes closed (for lives to open up), gods aren't supposed to interfere in the lives of mortals, and they'll one day see that he's just trying to be the better man.

He's never been a liar, Loki, but life (lives) makes him who he is, and he's not sorry, but he's trying to be. He lies, and lies, until he starts to believe that we're all just little white lies, and, and. He's trying to be sorry, but we all only see (and believe) the things we want to have faith in, and. Loki lies because it makes everyone's life (and his own) easier that way. He's learned to lie until he believes his own lies, because, because the sound of his own lies past his lips is like the sound of the television on static, the sound of his own lies past his lips is like the faucet that leaks, the sound of his own lies past his lips is like the music you play at night, the sound of his own lies past his lips is what he finds comfort in. And one day, they'll see that he tells his lies with eyes closed for lives to open up, and that he has just been trying to be the better man all along.

xxviii.

I’m trying very hard to be here, is what Tony is trying to say at a team meeting one day, but it seems like no one’s paying attention, and he tries to say again, guys, I’m trying very hard to be here. They’re not listening. (Score one.) Does anyone if I just leave, then?, asks he, no?, well, then. He stops to think if he’s even speaking, decides he is, decides they’re just not listening, but he wonders why they keep glancing over to him every so often. Guys?, says he, hands curling into fists, head tilting back and swaying, guys?, calls he. They’re still not listening, and Tony thinks, I’m trying very hard to be here. Thor’s the only one who sees Tony’s eyes painted a crystal clear. There are things even a god can’t do to save a human being.

When he’s home, he’s home to his Loki, to his devil, to his lover, to, his- He returns home in the middle of the night to nobody but JARVIS (and it says welcome home, sir), and Tony’s starts singing in his mind again. Then, there’s a glass in his hand (whiskey sounds about right) and whiskey’s only when he’s done with his scotch (they tell him his thoughts are never in straight lines, but he knows, and he knows) and scotch is gone when even the painting of cubes (that he didn’t buy) hung on the wall reminds him of Loki from where he had memorised Loki’s fingers were so carefully placed as he had moaned faster, oh, Tony, faster, and whiskey replaces scotch when every footstep he takes (and he’s tipping toes because, because) screams no matter where I go, you’re on my mind. It doesn’t stop him from wandering around the house in search of a silver tongue and green eyes. He thinks he sees Loki when he passes by a mirror, and this is Tony, shattering his glass against the mirror, crying frantic, smiling bitter, he tells nothing to take what he wants from him, to take all he’s got from him.

But consuming this much of liquor, it makes your head spin, it makes Tony’s head spin, and vomit is what Tony feels in the back of his throat as he falls to his knees and crack is what you hear as shards of glass cracks into finer pieces and in, in it goes, and nothing hurt more than Tony looking into the mirror(s) spread around him praying to find Loki with his green, green (flamethrower) eyes and jilted smile, so you can soothe my wounds and drain my bile. He tells Loki (he tells no one) that Loki is with him all the time, and, then. Remember, he’s warned us all, he’s warned them all.

It’s five a.m. and Tony’s on the bathroom floor, do you find me dreadful?

x (ix).

On Loki’s chest, what he sees on top of him is Thor’s fucking Mjölnir pressing him down, making him stay, making him wait.

Stop.

Fast Forward.

Loki knows why Thor is doing this, it’s punishment, Loki knows. Thor’s seen the way Loki looks at Tony, Thor’s seen the way Tony looks at Loki. It’s the only reason why Thor sees the need to claim Tony, make him his (too). It makes Loki wonder if he’s honestly the (not) brother with issues. Things like that confuse the hell out of Loki. It’s tough when you don’t know what exactly your brother is trying to play at, when you don’t know what he’s trying to prove by doing this.

What Loki sees is Thor forcing Tony to sit on his lap, what Loki sees is Thor holding Tony’s hands together behind him, a grip so tight, a grip so restraining, what Loki doesn’t see is Tony’s eyes asking why? Geniuses like the both of them, Tony and Loki already knows the story, and yet, what Loki doesn’t see is Tony’s eyes asking why as wet lines are what Thor’s tongue draws on his neck. What aches is Loki’s heart when he hears the scratching of a zipper and Tony trying to crane his head backwards to look at Loki. This is when Tony gasps, this is when Loki forces himself not to yell Thor, you do not take what belongs to me!, this is when Loki tells himself that sentiment is something he remembers not to feel. He knows that Tony isn’t going to be alright, he knows that Tony will make himself alright. Just maybe. Even he doubts himself sometimes.

Loki tries not to wince when he feels stab after stab in his heart when what he sees is Tony being pushed forward on his knees, sentiment, Loki had told his brother once, and yet this is Loki hanging on tightly to whatever he has. He tells himself that this is for lives to open up. He makes himself shut his eyes, but there are things that he still hears, and doesn’t want to hear, and hears, and, and, he knows that this is punishment from the way Tony screams please (don’t). Loki knows that this is punishment from the way Thor marks Tony (after Tony) and from the way Thor claims Tony likes he’s his, and Loki knows that this is redemption from the way Tony tries to find a way out of this, and Loki knows that it’s still punishment from the way Thor still has Tony on his knees.

Brown eyes on his own greens has never felt anymore excruciating.

v.

There’s a poptart in his hand when he smiles, and he likes how something so soft doesn’t crumble until he has his teeth around it, until he’s chewing, munching. Thor smiles at his brother through a mouthful, or two. He’s never felt happier. He doesn’t even mind when Loki, cup of coffee in hand, (and he knows who Loki has picked that up from), groans, slouches and presses his face against the table. Thor imagines that if he poetically put this in a sentence, he’d say something along the lines of Loki pushed the whole of his face against the flat of the table. Then again, he’s never been one to be good with words, and everyone already knows that from the way some of them first saw him wrapping his hands around Loki’s neck and throwing them off a jet. Thor looks at Loki and thinks chaos has never felt so grand.

This is when Loki lifts himself up and straightens his back. He drinks his coffee, clears his throat, raises his eyebrow (and if Tony was here, you’d see how he’s mesmerised by the muscles pulling Loki’s eyelid up, how he’s mesmerised by more of the green that he sees, but), says, so, our very first meal together ever since…

Thor never learns not to speak with his mouth filled, says, it has been a long time, brother, and I have missed you, and Loki adds another cube of sugar into his coffee, doesn’t wait for it to melt, doesn’t stir, sips it, laughs, I haven’t, but Thor knows this because he knows how the things Loki does are always done for a reason, because Loki always has a reason, because Loki never does things he doesn’t intend to do, and oh, Thor knows his brother, he knows why, why, why. Thor knows he’s one to have never been good with words, Thor knows that he’s one to imagine and see but with bad lines to tell a story. He knows why his brother does all these things, he just doesn’t know how to put them across to others, doesn’t know how to explain, and that was why the only explanation he could come up with back then was he’s adopted when a thousand and one things ran through his mind.

Loki thinks about the winter blue while Thor thinks about the warm gold, and Thor thinks about asking Loki where he had been before that, but. He asks how the coffee tastes like instead, and Loki responds with you’ve had it before about a thousand times, surely you must know how it tastes. Thor laughs, and laughs, and (wants) doesn’t cry, because some things will never change. Thor will always remember how Loki will gives that kind of look as if he’s interested, eyebrows raised so high as if it’d touch his hairline, but his eyes, his eyelids will be so heavily drooped with boredom to the point where it just makes you think twice, thrice, and Thor knows but can’t say why his poptart tastes so differently today.

xxiv.

When Loki calls, Tony comes running, and sometimes, just sometimes, he’ll regret it. This is one of the times when he does, this is one of the times when he’s seen it coming, this is one of the times when he knows and knows that he’s never going to escape from. Being caught between two brothers has never been so infuriating (and trust me, you know he’s been between people before).

There’s hands on his chest coming from behind (and he knows who it belongs to), and there’s hands spreading his thighs, and there’s a lick for his ear, or two, and there’s fingers in him, there’s fingers on him, and he has his head tilted back on familiar shoulders, sighs, laughs, presses his face into that slender neck, murmurs words he doesn’t understand, his own hand cupping this god’s cheek, his hand in that god’s hair, and oh, he doesn’t mind how there’s lips wrapped around his cock, and oh, he doesn’t mind how fingers are replaced with his length, and oh, his eyes are watching that other god now stand, and his hand on this cheek is slipping back to grip on hair so-, and his other hand is wrapping around his own dick, pumping, grazing, and he’s fine with how something is pressed into his mouth, and he sucks on it like he’s-

Hold your breath now, and he sucks on it like his life depends on it (and maybe it does), and the hands on his chest are what keeps him sane, along with the voice in his ear, encouraging, laughing, mocking, he tells Tony that all he wants is here tonight, and Tony laughs, presses his lips to this neck again, now, says, most of what is good dies fast, and he doesn’t (can’t) say a thing when hard that is flesh is pressed into his mouth again, and what’s in him is making him move, making him bounce, and both his hands are now on his lap, supporting, clinging, hates the feeling of this and this, likes the feeling of this, it’s not him, it’s him, and the hands on his chest still keeps him sane, and the voice can press kisses to his cheek, and share a lick of that god’s cock, doesn’t mind how he’s bouncing up higher and higher without his hips being able to sink, doesn’t mind the empty in his mouth, half-minds the wet splatter on his face, still, he’s panting, and moaning like he’s owned, (he is), and between jolts of thunder and silver lies, Tony can’t decide, but what he does decide, at the end of it all, when there’s wet slipping between his thighs and his own wet on his stomach, at the end of it all what he does decide is that it’s one might fine mess that he doesn’t mind, and this scares him to death, cause I needed more, cause I needed more, cause I needed you more…

xxvi.

There’s two fabric in his hands, they’re not there by accident, Thor won’t make excuses for himself, doesn’t have to, well, that’s because he’s sitting in his own room, a room too small for a god like him, a room too big for a heart like his, thinks he, and he’s feeling the difference of the black and black fabrics in his hands, hands too big, hands too rough, hands too clumsy. He feels the difference of black and black in his hands and he tries to say, can’t, thinks, that one tells him it’s silky smooth, like his hair, tells him that it’s slippery, tells him that it’s soft, and (too) cold, and hard, because that’s what life has made him into, because that’s what lying, not-believing, crying, holding onto all things fake does to you.

He feels the difference between black and black in his hands, and the other one tells him that it’s rough, it tells him that it’s not just black, but, it tells him that it’s sharp, and snarky, and it tells him that it’s hard, and hard, and warm, and cold, keeps telling him that it’s almost there, because that’s what dying, and not dying does to you, because that’s what loving the world (eventually, has, does) makes a man into, because that’s what saving the world turns a man into, because that’s what believing, and not believing (being lied to), and believing again turns a man like him into, and between fabric and fabric, Thor still believes they’re both all too familiar, so.

He presses a fabric to his nose, and it smells like he’s home, smells like all things familiar, presses another fabric to his nose, and it smells foreign, like scotch, sweat, grease, like things he doesn’t know, and things do confuse Thor, things like that. He wonders why they go so well together, the two of them. It’s confusing as fuck, and it’s something he doesn’t like, should be used to, he doesn’t understand that much, can’t, tries to, does, just things he should, just the things he’s familiar with, like fighting and mead and family and friends and poptarts and nice warm happy things like kittens and puppies, but this, it’s something he won’t ever understand. It’s confusing, through and through, he doesn’t understand why they’re go so well together, understands why they’re such a disaster together, doesn’t understand why they’re so perfect for each other, understands why Loki does this and why Tony does that, doesn’t understand why they find so much comfort in each other when Loki can have him and Tony can have Pepper instead. It’s just-

He’s okay with it, really, he’s okay with how he knows it’s replacement and all things fragile. He promises he’ll be there when it all comes crashing, he promises he’ll be there to clean after Loki’s mess again and again, and again, because brothers, that’s what they’re meant to do. He’ll learn to love Tony, maybe, the way his brother should (and does).

xvi.

I am sorry, son of Stark, and this is Thor apologising because he should, because he needs to, because Tony deserves an apology, or more, and more. He deserves this, Tony, and he deserves the right to make Thor grovel because there are things you can and cannot do, doesn't matter if you're a god, not when you're on earth and in SHIELD, you’ve got to play by the rules, our rules, things like this, it's wrong, so Tony deserves all the apologies in the world he can gets because even a man like him would never, never, do such a thing (doesn't have to), and no one ever deserves to be treated like that. The only time when things like this is fine is when the other party's okay with it, but you don't exactly call it that when the other party is willing, do you?

Tony closes his eyes, tells himself not to lose the sane of his brilliant, brilliant mind, jokes, you know if you yelled 'surprise' first, I wouldn't have anything to say about it, and Thor, eyebrows pressed together, doesn't smile, says, if you are making jest, I do not understand, and Tony bursts out laughing, eyes crying, shakes his head, mocks, of course not, what would a mighty god like you understand about us?, and Thor bends on a knee, presses his lips on Tony's wrist, pleads, please forgive me, but Tony chooses to ask the god whether or not he should laugh or cry, or laugh and cry. It only makes Thor ghost, press, ghost his lips on Tony's wrist on repeat, on loop, again and again, says, please forgive me.

Tony tells Thor an apology is the least Thor can do, after what he's put Tony through. When you’re put through things like this, speaks Tony to Thor, it changes you, it makes you frightened, it sure as hell does, but me, I’m not gonna change, because after this, I’m so much better than you, Thor, and I always will be. Thor tries to apologise again by telling Tony that he’s brought him to his knees, Thor tries to apologise again by saying please. It’s hard to forgive him, really, but Tony, he knows shit happens in life, (because it has), and, maybe he’ll forgiven Thor, says he, wonders he, maybe, just maybe, but don’t count on it, and until then, Tony says, you can be my little bitch, laughs he, lies he, because he’s not the kind of person to that to Thor, or other people, really. Tony is just the type to say things in the spur of the moment, never meaning it, perhaps, shit ideas won’t follow through, and that’s alright, Thor will heed to Tony’s calls now, maybe, we’ll see, but Thor only owes Tony that much, and, there, Thor asks if Tony trusts him, and Tony smiles (a nostalgic), whispers, sounds like something he would say, and Thor doesn’t hear Tony, and Tony says, no, of course not, and Thor laughs because he’s still sorry, but it’s going to be just fine.

xiv.

Remember how once upon a time Tony used to have a grand piano in the living room, but in the process of testing out Mark II, he managed to destroy it? Yeah, well. He obviously never bothered replacing it, not even when Pepper asked him again and again, sheesh, Pep, I’ll decide tomorrow, said he, and he said that again and again, until one day- Where the hell is my grand piano?, says he, and the pointed look from Pepper is something he truly and honestly deserves because, well, Tony just asks for it sometimes, but don’t we all already know that?

But Pepper being Pepper gets the job done within the next day, and, that’s my girl, says Tony, hand wanting to pat Pep on the ass as an encouragement, but because it is Pepper, and knowing Pepper, his hands are what he keeps to himself when he now receives daggers from a glare before she smiles, asks, why do I even put up with you?, and Tony smiles, says, because no other job pays you as much as I would, and Pepper laughs, says, you’re right, nobody throws away his money the way you do, and Tony mocks hurt, says, Pep, you’re hurting my feelings, and Pepper grins, says, no, I’m not, and Tony grins, says, yeah, you’re right, but your pay is nothing compared to what you’re worth.

Now, this new grand piano, it’s put in the same place, and yes, it’s as black as Loki’s hair, and yes, Tony thinks of Loki when he sees it, and yes, Tony can actually play the piano, and no, because Pepper says that Tony doesn’t appreciate art at all, but that’s not true. She hasn’t seen the way Tony plays the piano, and certainly hasn’t seen the way his fingers dance across the keyboard as he makes an attempt to serenade the god of mischief, and of course, of course, she hasn’t seen the way Loki climbs on top of the keyboard, legs spread and feet curling around each of Tony’s shoulders, halting Tony’s playing, stopping Tony’s breath, making Tony watch, making Tony gulp.

And Pepper says that Tony doesn’t appreciate art, but that’s not true because Tony knows what art is from the way the piano booms (and booms again) under the weight of them both, and he knows what art is when he knows he loves how he’s played like a puppet with the way Loki controls his every thrust with every key the trickster’s finger hits.

xxx.

When Tony wakes up today, the first thing he thinks of is, I know the longest word that’s ever been published in literature, and it’s a hundred and seventy-one words, and it’s a transliterated from Ancient Greek, and that it’s a kind of dish, hell, I can even spell it out for you, lopadotemachose-

Huh?, thinks he, and tries again.

I also know the entire chemical name of titin, and that, my loves, is the largest known protein, and it’s one hundred and eighty-nine thousand, eight hundred and nineteen (that’s 189,819 there, mind you) letters long, and it’s-

He tries clicking his tongue, and he thinks that his mouth is dry as fu- I need water, thinks he, but I can’t get up. What he does instead is turn to his side and sees familiar that isn’t supposed to be familiar, sees white, sees blue, sees white, doesn’t see his room. He wonders (but knows) why he’s here. He hears those familiar footsteps, and it’s Thor again, it’s always Thor. Thor’s the only one that visits. It’s your fault, is what Tony wants to say but that’s not true because-

He wants to try again, but it’s white and orange and white and blue and pink down his throat along with the gushing of water, and he says, Thor, there’s something I need you to-

And even with a genius like Tony, there are things that he won’t ever understand how they work (one, because he doesn’t want to, two, because he isn’t meant to, three-), and through all this, he’s trying to put together (and that’s funny) why his thoughts won’t connect, or end, just sometimes, but maybe, maybe, that’s how thoughts are supposed to be, and, oh-

ii.

They tell him he is his brother, they tell him he is not his brother, they tell him many things, and this is Thor not listening as he watches the slip of her dress off her shoulder, and this is Thor folding him arms and rubbing a thumb to a beard kept the way it’s always been, kept to the way he wants it to be, this is Thor pretending he doesn’t Tony’s hand running up the length of Loki’s (her) thigh, and this is Thor licking his lips with blue eyes flickering open and shut. He thinks then, maybe, the scene will change, and, guess what? It does, and he still sees Loki in front of his eyes, except.

They tell him he’s the kind of person who will never watch from afar, they tell him he’s the kind of person that will always be on the front lines, will always be there, in for the action, but he knows that’s not true. He knows it’s not true from the way he watches Loki from afar, from the way he knows they would call it stolen glances, but they don’t because they don’t know. He remembers them when they were fine and young, and he remembers how Loki dances by the fire when he thinks that no one is watching, but oh- They would call what Thor has to be stolen glances if only they knew, but, but they don’t, and this is Thor’s blue, blue eyes fluttering open and shut, and the scene will always change because maybe, he thinks, that memories will always be between the hands of time.

He loves his brother, he loves his not brother, he loves his sister, he loves Loki, he does, but Thor tells himself he won’t do anything about it, no, not unless Loki does, and Thor has an explanation for this (and that’s surprising because he’s never really been one to explain himself), and the explanation is that he knows how Loki is like, how Loki’s a trickster, how Loki’s of deceit, so he tells himself something like my mind is playing tricks on me, and he doesn’t do anything more than these stolen glances unless Loki does, and he remembers that his mind can be playing tricks on him, and the images will always be carved in stone, and this is Thor’s eyes blinking open and shut, and he promises himself that what he sees isn’t Tony’s hand running up Loki’s sides, until.

xxvii.

Four in the morning is when Loki knows where his mind and body will always be, and now, Loki’s walking towards Tony’s bed, and now, Loki’s palm are sliding across the surface of the sheets, and now, Loki’s knees are raising up and sinking into soft, and now, Loki’s crawling towards Tony’s (not) sleeping form, and now, Loki’s above Tony, green eyes on brown, brown eyes mesmerised by green. A kiss, and a word (and more words) is all it takes for clothes to disappear for Loki’s (too) sharp teeth to bite into Tony’s neck, (mark), to nip at Tony’s neck, (me), to gnaw at Tony’s neck, (love), and Tony knows that something is wrong from how his neck feels like wet and wet when Loki pulls away and smiles like filth isn’t his sin.

Tony knows that something is more than just wrong from how Loki smiles and smiles and says you’ve been sweet, but can you show me rough?, fingers up Tony’s chest, fingers drumming on the one arc reactor, fingers turning, fingers turning back, teeth sinking in again and again, and it’s wet, wet, wet, and Loki (doesn’t) says, I think we’re lovely, when we screw up. But Tony, he’s more than just resigned. He’s seen it coming, well, no, not this, but, he has seen it coming, he always has. Sometimes being such a smartass isn’t that much fun, and Tony knows and tells Loki he’s been ready for this, then Loki smiles the smile where he tilts his head to the side, eyebrows raising just briefly, smiles the smile he smiles because he knows Tony isn’t. Loki says a little something, soothing words, perfect lies, sinks his teeth in again once more, closing around skin, forcing, closing, forcing, pulls, yanks, chews, swallows, licks his lips, says, give me a part of you, for a part of me.

Of course, of course, it hurts like fuck and it hurts like hell, (or Niflheim, if you please), but Tony has been ready for this, hasn’t been ready for this, he doesn’t yell, because it also doesn’t hurt, because he’s been resigned, and for a god like Loki, Tony closes eyes that roll to the back of his head, sighs, pants, it stings, (hah, funny), but that doesn’t matter, it doesn’t, he’s resigned, because he has seen this coming, and he knows that this is the price he has to pay, because this is Loki trying to show love.

xii.

Loki is sitting on the corner of Tony’s bed.

And he thinks it’s not fair how the normal human beings expect gods and superheroes alike to not have any form of weaknesses (we don’t, maybe, but, people still do), and how unfair he thinks he is always so hard on himself, putting on face after face, telling lie after lie. It’s really not easy, but, being the God of Mischief, (Lie-Smith, liar, liar), it’s what he’s expected to do, it’s what he will always be expected to do, it’s what he has to do, and even if he doesn’t want to tell a lie, he has to, and.

It hurts.

But he’s never been one to understand things like that, no, gods like him don’t understand things like that because you don’t get to control who you’re born to become, who you grow up to be. He’s never asked to be a Jötun, never asked to be the adopted child, never asked to live in his brother’s shadow, never- He doesn’t understand why it’s easy to fake tears, (crocodile tears, they call it, and do you know the reason why?), and what he doesn’t understand more is why he actually cries. His sobs leave him rattling in his chest, his sobs leave him shaken in his bones.

But the question tonight asks him what he wants (and he’s known it the whole time, yeah, he’s known it the whole time), that’s why instead of just sitting at the corner of the bed now, he has moved closer to the genius (his genius, maybe, maybe) even though he has his knees pressed to his own chest and he’s biting on his lip, and his eyebrows are frowned just so slightly, and his eyes, they’re-

And when Loki’s by Tony’s side, tears gushing down his face, cursing at himself for his weakness, whispering please, but he doesn’t say a work when Tony, hand tucked under his cheek, the other arm stretching out up beneath him, Loki doesn’t say a word when Tony opens one eye lazily, removes the hand under his cheek, reaches out for Loki and tugs him closer.

iv.

We all have firsts, and so will gods, so do gods.

Gods like Loki and Thor have had their first kill, have had their first fuck. Loki had gotten his first steed after Thor got his first, Loki had gotten his first helmet after Thor got his first (and second). Thor’s had had his father dear tell him how much he loves him for the first time, and Loki- Loki has told his first lie years and years and decades and years ago to Odin while Thor drank and partied the day away with the Warrior Three, and Sif, and girls, and Loki has told his first lie to his father a long time ago because he wasn’t invited to a feast by brother dear and he protects his brother and does his duties anyway. It’s fine, it’s fine. Loki has had his first fall, Loki has had his lips first sewn shut, Loki has had and lost his first child, (and second, and third, and fourth), and Thor has had darling Loki for the first time, and, boy, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Think tears and blood and pain and sweat and all things beautiful.

Loki has never had the first time to wonder why he still wants to be his brother’s equal after and through all these. He thinks it not worth his time, until, until that one fine day, when he first tries to take over the world, but he still thinks it’s worth it anyway, and, nobody tells him it’s going to be alright, until Tony, but we play at games, and we will always, always have new firsts, so there’s a first time that Tony’s not around, and there’s a first time that Tony won’t be there for him, and…

Brother dearest, says Loki, and this is the first time Thor doesn’t question why Loki has his long, long fingers unclasping velvety red that pools to the floor (almost the way blood would), and this is the first time Thor doesn’t bite back a moan when teeth sinks into his jaws, and this is the first time- Brother dearest, says Loki, and this is the first time- Brother dearest, says Loki, I’ve yearned for you for so long…

xxii.

When he’s told pick your poison, he thinks it to be a cue for himself, he smiles because he knows what he’s going to do, but the girl in front of him, she’s just another faceless creature that he won’t remember, but what he knows and does know is that she’s a bartender, that he may or may not have her, that he will be drinking himself shit-faced drunk, or pissed, (or-), he orders one shot, two, maybe five shots of whatdoyoucallthat?, oh, uh-, downs it all, and the smile on his face has never been wider when he leans forward and whisper just two words that makes get tell her partner she has to get off work early, and it’s only then that Tony realises that she has black hair and green eyes which makes his brain scream, go, danger, danger, danger.

He’s looking at the dirt under his fingernails when she places a hand on him, and she’s winking because it doesn’t, doesn’t, (does), remind Tony of him, and he licks the roof of his mouth because he knows what he’s going to do with those three beautiful, delicate words, and he takes her to the car, ignores her when she asks if he’s sober enough to drive, and he’s laughing because, sweetheart, do you even know who I am?, because he doesn’t actually have to drive, gets her back to his house, his tower, and Pepper’s angry, and so is Loki, and so is Thor, but Tony knows what he’s going to be doing with those three words, so it’s okay, he tells them it’s okay, he knows what he’s doing, and that Loki can still be there at four, and when he takes her to bed and stares into her eyes and her hair and their clothes around the room, he thinks about how it’s such a strangle perfect disarray.

He says words to her he doesn’t mean, just for Loki to know, just for Loki to know, and he holds her hand the way he’s meant to hold the one he loves because of black hair and green eyes with limbs (not) like a goddess, and he tells her comforting words and says thank you, thank you. Three words to him has never felt more important, never been more important, but he needs a plan, will have a plan. Her, you know, her, not her, but her-, and her laughter is like the church’s bells when she says that words can be like knives, they can cut you open, and Tony throws the girl underneath him out because she’s just a cheap thrill along for his fun ride. He knows himself to be the kind of guy that makes love hurt.

He knows that she is the kind of girl (guy) that makes love hurt.

xxv.

The window where he once had its old glass shattering into his back is where Tony is sitting with his forehead pressed against it. He has the tips, just the tips, of his fingers pressed to the glass, and what he hears is tap, tap, tap coming from where his fingers are and aren’t, and what he hears is the second ticking away in his head as he knows what is near, as he knows what he’s planned is all set, and the only thing he’s worried about is don’t save me, and he’s tapping away at the glass for a back-up plan, plan B, for plan B and maybe more, but nothing’s coming to his head because it’s getting difficult, and this is because there are songs and memories and data looping themselves over and over in his head, You Might Have Noticed by The Academy Is… is playing in his head and the lines that he sings along to are everything because, if you know it, (and I know every word), it will and does hurt him more than sticks and stones, and that’s why it’s on repeat, that’s why he knows the words. You don’t control what goes through your mind all the time, and one of the times for Tony is this, and another line from another song loops but tell me you love me, come back and haunt me. Tap, tap, tap is the sound of his fingers, his little countdown for his own time, and he does it with smiles and quiet tears to tell himself it doesn’t hurt.

xxxi.

If there’s one certain thing everybody (you) must know, it’s that our past is our prologue, and here’s to every chapter being written, and rewritten, and that sometimes the only proper way to get people like Loki to fall in love with you by falling into pieces.