Steve glances uncomfortably at Loki, and then down at their hands. He's holding hands with the Avengers' number one villain. He's –
"Breathe." Loki murmurs under his breath, glancing about as if this was just an ordinary day.
Steve inhales to avoid passing out.
He really has nobody but himself to blame for this predicament.
Two hours ago
They're responding to a distress call when out of the blue Tony informs him, "Let me call Jordan, I'm sure you'll be great together."
"What?" Steve spares a glance at Tony as he directs their craft to the Florida coast.
"Jordan." Tony repeats and then gives him quick once-over. "Hmm. Or perhaps you'd want something a bit more – spicy. Mitchell might just be the ticket."
"I don't know Tony, I think Mitchell might just be too much for Captain America to handle," piped Clint.
"Who's Mitchell?" Peter asks and ducks when Clint tries to cover his ears.
"Sorry, forgot the kid was here." Tony grin diminishes only slightly. "Come on, Cap. You know I'm right.
"Look, Tony. I'm not interested."
"As if, don’t worry Cap’ my dad told me all about Bucky and Peggy."
"That's not what I meant."
"You sure?" The glare now intensifies. "Unless, you were actually in love with my dad, and now have a secret crush on his number one son –"
Steve looks horrified. "What? No!"
Tony of course just laughs. Even Peter seems to be hiding his smile.
Steve didn’t have time for another one these debates, especially when they had a job to do. And it’s not that he condoned lying, but he really needed something to get everyone off his back.
"Look, you don't need to find someone for me. I'm – I'm in a relationship."
Only Peter seems to nod and give him the benefit of the doubt, even as Clint and Tony look at Steve in suspicion. "You are?" Tony asks in a somewhat choked voice.
"Yes, with – " Steve is cursing at his inability to lie convincingly when he spots Thor’s brother outside the aircraft with Doctor Doom. Normally, this would be something to worry about, but Loki seemed to be preoccupied with Doom instead of them. He can hear him shouting something along the lines of How dare you muck up my plans Victor!
"Loki!" he exclaims
"Wait, Loki? Dude Thor's going to kill you." Peter tells Steve, as he unbuckles his seat belt even as Clint is picking up his bow and arrow.
"No. No. It can't be Loki. Perhaps you meant to say – Luc?" Tony adds as he puts on his helmet.
Steve is too busy flying the plane to correct them.
This certainly was not how he thought he'd be spending his weekend.
Tony insisted that they get better acquainted with Thor’s brother. After all, if Steve was in love with him, surely he wasn’t that bad deep down. Very deep down.
After their battle they confronted Loki, though, young Peter all but runs to Loki’s side and calls him uncle.
"Parker, I did not grant you such privileges." Loki informs the youngster.
Peter just smiles. "Heard you and the Captain are tight." He teased.
"The Captain?" Loki looks at his brother's friends.
"Yes, he was telling us all about your love affair." Tony gives him a conspiratorial wink.
Loki looks at the mortified Steve and then back to his frenemies. He raises his right eyebrow as if to say, Are you all stupid?
"You lied?" Peter asks, quite shocked at the thought of Captain America lying to them.
"What no –" Steve denies and looks beseechingly at Loki, who looks deeply into Steve's eyes. There's a strange look that flashed in his eyes, some indefinable emotion. Loki then shakes his head as if to clear his thoughts and murmurs, "It was love at first sight."
One would think Steve would be feeling better that Loki was covering for him, but instead he feels worst.
He could either admit to the lie, letting his team down. Continue with the lie and –
"We kept it hidden from my brother," Loki continues on with his explanation. "You know how he is, no one will be ever good enough for me." His smile held boyish affection.
Peter nods. "Thor is over protective."
"Still doesn't explain –"
Steve might have blanked out the rest; still somewhat in shock that Loki agreed to go along with this and that is how he found himself holding Loki's hand.
"What is this I hear?" Thor's words boom across the room.
"Brother," Loki just waves, as if he is used to seeing Thor every day. "Congratulate us."
"What – " The Avengers, including Steve stumble out.
Loki continues speaking to his captive audience. "I have finally found the one."
"The one?" it is Barton who asks. Unlike the others he seems far from convinced.
"Are you sure, Loki?" Thor asks at the same time.
Loki just smiles in quiet humour and softly says. "Yes."