Chapter 1: I Knew You Once
Tony ran. Faster than he had ever run before. He ran from a drunk father, a disinterested mother, servants who regarded him as a privileged brat. He knew exactly how he was discussed behind supposedly closed doors. From both the servants and his parents views. He tried to get his father interested. He had built a circuit board when he was four. He tried to live up to his father’s expectations, to become the golden boy that his father adored. Captain America. Every other 10 year old spoke that name with reverence. With pride. Tony spoke that name with jealousy. He hated his country’s national hero. He’d just made the mistake of saying that within his father’s hearing.
He ran for the cover of the trees, beyond a clearing. Red marks now adorned his small body, across his cheek, around his wrists. Wet, hot, salty tears ran down his cheeks, blinding his vision. Branches caught at his clothes, small tears down his t-shirt and shorts. The hot sun beamed down, blinding him as he ran out into the clearing. He collapsed into a small heap, crying at the world. Breathless sobs racked his body, his face pressed down into the green grass. He laid there, his emotions flooding out, crying until he could cry no more. When he could once again see, his breathing slowed but still shallow, he sat up, rubbing his eyes.
That’s when he noticed him.
Another boy, about his age. His dark hair was slicked back, barely touching his shoulders. He was dressed in leathers, black and green. His pale face was lined with tear tracks, his eyes red rimmed. They both sat and stared at each other, unwillingly to break the silence.
“Hi.” Tony ventured, his courage – or stupidity – not failing him now. The pale boy stared back.
“Hello.” At least it was a start.
“I’m Tony. Tony Stark.” No flash of recognition at the sound of the surname.
“Loki. Loki Odinson.” Tony cocked his head slightly.
“That’s a funny name. Where are you from?” Tony shuffled closer. The pale boy – Loki – didn’t cease his staring.
“Asgard. Where are you from?”
“New York. Where’s Asgard?” Loki’s face knitted in confusion.
“It’s one of the nine realms? Where’s New York?” Tony gave a giggle.
“You don’t know where New York is?” Loki shook his head.
“I don’t know where I am. Or how to get home. My dad was shouting at me, so I teleported. But I haven’t mastered it yet, and I don’t know how to get home.” Loki’s eye’s were filling with tears, his face scrunching up. Tony got up, and made his way over to the pale boy, and incased him in a hug.
“Don’t worry. Parent’s always come looking eventually. Even mine.” Loki looked up at that last part.
“Why? Don’t your parents notice you?” Tony shrugged.
“Not really. If my dad’s not drunk, he’s mooning over Captain America. My mum has never really cared about me at all. They wouldn’t even search themselves. They’d get the servants to do it, and they would just moan about me being a waste of their time, why should they bother.” Loki looked slightly shocked.
“My parents would notice my absence. Even if it was because I hadn’t turned someone’s hair blue. Then they would get worried about what else I could be doing. If it was my brother, then there would be a full scale search party.” Loki muttered the last part to himself.
“We’ve both got rubbish parents then. And how do you turn someone’s hair blue?” Loki grinned.
“Like this.” He snapped his fingers. Tony grabbed a fistful of unruly hair, and brought it down in front of his eyes.
“It’s blue!” Tony exclaimed, delighted. Loki laughed a happy, chiming sound.
“That is SO cool! Can you change it to other colours?” Tony asked, eager. Loki snapped his fingers again. Tony now had a head of rainbow hair. His eyes widened, his mouth falling open.
“Wow.” The Tony’s face fell.
“What is it? Don’t you like it?” There was a slight tremor in Loki’s voice.
“No! I love it! But I can’t give you anything in return.” Tony looked and felt heartbroken. Loki promptly gave Tony a hug.
“You don’t need to give me something.” Tony nodded vehemently.
“Yes, I do. You’re my friend. Friend’s give each other gifts. I’ve got nothing to give you.” Loki’s face was shocked.
“You... You said I was your friend.”
“Only if you want to be.” Loki was very still.
“No-one’s ever called me their friend before.” Tony looked scandaled.
“Then the people in Asgard aren’t very nice then.” Loki giggled.
“You can say that again.”
“The the people in Asgard aren’t very nice then.” Loki and Tony both dissolved into hysterics. When they both calmed down, Loki stuck out his hand.
“Are we friends? Definitely?” Tony nodded.
“Best friends.” Loki’s eyes widened.
“Then shake on it.” Tony grabbed hold of Loki’s hand.
“From this day onward, I, Loki Odinson, is hereby best friends with Tony Stark.” Tony grinned.
“Best Friends Forever.” Loki nodded.
“No matter what trouble we’re in.”
“We’ll always come and comfort.” The two boys shook hands. “Amen.” Tony finished. Loki looked confused.
“Amen? What is that?” Tony looked baffled.
“Don’t you go to Church?” Loki shook his head. “Amen is what you finish with when you say a prayer. It seemed like a good moment to use it.” Loki nodded, though he still looked confused.
“What is church?”
“It’s where you go to pray to God.” Loki rested his chin on his hand.
“I thought no-one prayed to us anymore.” Tony looked baffled.
“I... what... never mind.” Loki smiled. He liked this Tony Stark, full of brazen purpose.
“Tony?” Tony stilled at the voice carried through the trees.
“Ummm... looks like they’ve discovered I’m missing.” Tony’s face was crestfallen. Loki’s fell slightly too.
“Until we meet again, Tony Stark.” Tony slowly got up, and pulled Loki to his feet.
“See you later, Loki Odinson.” And with a parting hug and a wave, Tony disappeared off into the trees. Loki screwed up his face, and managed enough magic to teleport him back to Asgard, where he was met by furious guards and a gleeful Thor.
Neither of the young boys had noticed the binding, white, rope-like magic that had tied itself around their enclasped hands. When both the boys could feel the pain and the sorrow of each other facing their parents, they wondered. For, in that meadow, Loki had performed magic his older self dreamed of.
Loki Odinson and Tony Stark had binded their souls together that day. And neither one of them was prepared to let that go.
Chapter 2: To Hell and Back
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from
Author’s Note: Right, some pointers for the rest of the story. Phil Coulson and Clint Barton are a couple (their story will be explained in another fanfic), Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr are in the Avengers, the same age as they were in X-Men: First Class (their story will also be told in another fanfic). Loki wasn’t the reason why the Avengers got together, he didn’t try to take over the world (Doom did), but he is still a supervillain. This part of the story starts just as You Believe In Ghosts is ending.
Sorry, it is a lot to take in, but this is how the Avengers looks inside my head (which really is a strange place), sorry if it disagrees with other ideas or assumptions. Thanks to River_Stark05, littleflame, miravisu, fearlesssisters, AnnAisu, and WynterRavenHeart. You really made me smile. All day. I really was insanely happy.
Tony slowly opened his eyes, blinking into the afternoon sun. His head was banging worse than inside a bass drum, a deep pounding behind his eyes. He risked a glance at his alarm clock, the red lights hurting his eyes. 4.36pm. Great. He’d not only passed out really early into the evening, but had wasted most of the day as well. Why hadn’t Pepper...
Pepper wasn’t around to tell him to get his lazy arse up anymore. No-one to tell him that that is too much alcohol. No-one to stop him working until he blacked out.
Because he was too much of an idiot. He’d thought he’d loved her. But when she had uttered those three words (I love you... I love you... I love you...), he’d suddenly realised he didn’t. He didn’t love her, not in that way. Pepper had stormed out of the Avengers Mansion, screaming at him that he was a selfish bastard. Everyone had heard. Thor, Steve, Bruce, Natasha, watching from the dining room. Clint and Coulson, peering out from their bedroom. Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr from the gym, their hair ruffled from exercise. Everyone.
So Tony did the one thing he could do. Suit up, fly to Malibu, and hit the bar. Hard. He hadn’t noticed when the alcohol ran out. He just carried on drinking: water, coke, orange juice...
Tony gingerly sat up, then tumbled out of bed. He peered in all the cupboards he could find, the oven, the fridge. No alcohol.
“JARVIS, is there any alcohol in this house?” Tony pondered.
“Negative, Sir.” Tony cussed loudly. He quickly dressed, then made his way to the nearest store with brandy.
By the time Tony had returned, he had almost drunk himself into oblivion. He stumbled into the house, tripping over his feet and landing face first onto the sofa. He opened another bottle, and raised it to his lips.
“Sir, I really don’t think that’s wise.” Tony winced at the sound of his AI.
“You know what, JARVIS? Go screw yourself.” His words were heavily slurred, his vision getting blurry. No, still need more. He just wanted to forget. The bottle fell from his grasp, Tony leant over to get it, slipping off his seat in the process. He righted himself, and looked at the bottle he’d saved. Almost gone. Just one more sip. Just another...
Tony Stark hit the floor with a thud that he wouldn’t remember.
JARVIS called the one person who would come.
Loki appeared in the living room of the Malibu mansion, peering round at his surroundings. Been a while since he’d been here. The last time was when the Avengers had just been formed, to take down Thanos. Everyone had thought Coulson was dead. Tony was heartbroken, like Barton had been. He didn’t feel guilty, like Rogers did (serve him right). He just wanted someone there, just to feel normal.
Loki stepped round the couch, and was greeted by the pleasant sight of Tony Stark passed out of his floor. Snoring. Again. Loki heaved a sigh, a proceeded to pick the mortal up.
“What have you done this time Tony?” Loki shook his head, and proceeded to move Tony to his bedroom. He ran a hand through Tony’s untamed hair, so similar to that of his 10-year-old self, and murmured an incantation.
“Just sleep Tony. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Loki backed out of the room, and softly closed the door behind him. He clicked his fingers, and changed into Midgardian attire.
Well, he wasn’t going to risk his leather with brandy now, was he?
Tony groaned, rolling onto his back. It seems that brandy, brandy and brandy don’t mix. He was preparing to fall back into his black visioned sleep, when there was a gentle knock on the door.
“Whoisit?” Tony mumbled, face first into the pillow. Loki peeked round the door.
“You’re finally awake then.” Tony grunted in response. “You look a mess.” Another grunt in return. Loki sighed.
“What on earth possessed you to consume that much alcohol? You could have killed yourself! Do you understand that?” The god resisted the urge to whack the man, instead just dragging a hand through his hair. Tony glared from one eye.
“So? No-one would miss me.” Loki stared in disbelief.
“Yes they would! What about the other Avengers? About me? Pepper?” At Pepper’s name, Tony tensed.
“This is something to do with Pepper.”
“Well done Sherlock.” Loki sat down on the side of the bed.
“What did you do?” Weariness seeped into the god’s voice. Tony sat straight up, trying to ignore the way the world span.
“What did I do? She said she loved me! What am I supposed to say to that?” Loki shrugged.
“Isn’t the general custom is that you reciprocate the statement?” Tony hit the pillow.
“But I don’t. What I am supposed to do then? She’s gone. She left in full view of everyone. Natasha, Bruce, Steve, Thor, Clint, Phil, Charles, Erik. They all know exactly what I feel.” Tony sank back into the pillow. Loki stroked Tony’s hair.
“It’ll work out. I’ll stay. On the condition that you do not go within a hundred metres of alcohol.” Loki arched an eyebrow at the smaller man. Tony nodded moresly into the bed. Loki sighed.
“Tony.” Tony titled his head to look up at the god. “Promise me.” A hint of annoyance crept into Loki’s tone.
“I promise. I’ll stay away from the alcohol.” Loki smiled, and stroked Tony’s hair.
“That will be enough. How’s the headache?” Tony grimanced.
“I’ve had worse.” Loki chuckled, a smooth vibration.
“That I can believe.” Tony huffed, half glaring.
“Nice opinion you have of your best friend.” Loki shrugged.
“You’re an alcoholic, I’m a wanted criminal on Asgard. We all have our faults.” Tony grabbed Loki’s hand.
“No chance of being let back in?” Loki refused to meet the billionaires gaze.
“They don’t even know I’m alive.” Tony sat up.
“I could tell Thor, you know. He misses you.” Loki glared at him.
“No. I don’t want to ever see him again. I’m better off without them, I’m happier. So don’t tell him.” Tony backed off at the suppressed anger, holding up his hands.
“Just a suggestion.” Loki’s eyes were guarded, but his body relaxed.
“I’ll get some ibroprufan for that headache of yours.” Tapping a long finger at Tony’s forehead, before standing and walking out. Tony laid back down, and fell into the darkness once more.
Chapter 3: Romantic at Heart
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Author's Note: This was a bit of a difficult chapter, nothing as bad as Chapter 2 though - there's something about Chapter 2's. In three full length stories, Chapter 2 is always the most difficult.
Tony stumbled out of his bedroom, and headed straight for the bar. He needed something strong, his headache worse than ever. He yanked opened a cupboard. Bare. He tried another one. Bare. He slammed the door, turning around and kicking the door.
“JARVIS?! JARVIS?!” Tony yelled at his AI, stalking around aimlessly.
“Yes Sir?” The cool, sardonic voice sounded.
“WHO HAS STOLEN MY DRINKS??” Tony roared.
“I believe that Mr Laufeyson has confiscated all known alcohol in the house.” Tony glared.
“All known alcohol? Who told him?” Tony asked, even though he knew the answer.
“It’s for your own good, Sir.” Tony snarled.
“Right that’s it. I’m giving you a cockney accent.”
“Sir!” The AI sounded horrified.
“And who is Mr Laufeyson? And what right does he have to give orders in my house?” A small cough sounded behind him. He span round, and was promptly face to face with Loki.
“Who is this guy Laufeyson? And where is the alcohol?” Loki frowned.
“You promised you wouldn’t touch the stuff. And I’m Laufeyson.” Tony stared at Loki.
“Your surname isn’t Laufeyson. It’s Odinson.” Loki grimanced.
“Apparently not. I’m adopted. My father was Laufey. So my surname is Laufeyson.” Loki looked pained.
“Your life really is fucked up, isn’t it? And I thought I had it bad.” Tony flopped down onto the sofa, leaning his head on the back. Loki sat down beside him, leaning his head on Tony’s shoulder. Tony raised his hand, and ran his fingers through Loki’s hair. Loki looked up at Tony.
“Please stay away from the alcohol. I know you’re upset over Pepper, but there are other ways to deal with it.” Tony’s face creases into a frown.
“Like how? It’s all I know. If in trouble, go get hammered. Or laid. Or both.” Loki sighed.
“You need some new way of dealing with depression.” Tony shook his head.
“It’s always worked before. Enjoy so you can’t remember your pain.”
“I wish it was that easy.” Tony stared, then brought his hand up to Loki’s neck, rubbing it gently.
“Loki. Don’t worry about your family. If they think less of you than Thor, then that’s their problem. You’re here now.” Tony tugged at Loki’s black hoodie, pulling it off his shoulder. Loki smiled.
“You are such a child, Tony.” Affection seeping into his voice. Tony laid his head on Loki’s shoulder.
“That’s why you love me.” Tony waggled his eyebrows, causing Loki to splutter with laughter.
“Yes, it is.” Loki giggled.
“Hah! So you do love me!” Loki was still laughing.
“Of course I do, you idiot. I’m your best friend!” Tony wrapped his arms around Loki’s waist, and snuggled into his chest. Loki smiled into Tony’s hair, and rubbed circles into Tony’s back.
“You big softie.” Loki murmured. Tony chuckled.
“I’m a romantic at heart.”
“Would the ‘romantic at heart’ like a movie?” Tony leaned his head upwards.
“You know me too well, darling.”
5 films later (Love Actually, Lion King, Lion King II, Avatar and Pearl Harbour – Tony really is a romantic, and Loki was all too happy to oblige to Tony’s whims), Tony was draped across Loki’s chest, both men lying full stretch across the sofa.
“Hmmm?” The god made a non-committal noise, throaty. Tony buried his face further into Loki’s chest.
“Would you date me?”
“What do you mean?”
“Would you date me if you weren’t my best friend?” Loki turned his head to face Tony.
“Of course I would. You are an intelligent, funny, unique man who deserves only the best.” Tony smiled into Loki’s green Loki t-shirt. The god is nothing if not modest.
“Would date me now?”
“You are my best friend. I just want the best for you.” Tony propped his chin up on his hands.
“So, what’s the best for me?”
“Someone who can outsmart you.” Tony chuckled.
“Good luck with that. The only people I know that are around the same intelligence as me is you and Bruce. And I’m not kissing Bruce. Tasha will kill me very slowly.” Loki burst into laughter, pinching his nose.
“I would love to see that.” Tony joined in the laughter, both the god and the genius fighting for breath. Of course, that’s when Tony had to go mess it all up.
He leaned in, quickly placing his lips on Loki’s cool ones. Loki put a hand on Tony’s shoulder, roughly pushing him back. Loki’s face was shell-shocked, his face ashen. Tony froze, his eyes panicked.
He quickly sat up, moving off the unnaturally still god. Loki gripped the sofa, slight tears appearing in the fabric. Tony put his head in his hands.
“I’m sorry, Loki, I don’t know...” Tony looked up, and was met with an empty room.
Loki had gone.
Tony just resisted the temptation to head bang against a wall from now until 2029, but it was a narrow thing. How could he be so stupid? Yes, he was a playboy. Yes, he was portrayed as having sex with anything that moved. He didn’t care. But he messed proper relationships up. Rhodey still wasn’t speaking to him (they had argued about the Avengers staying at Stark Towers), Pepper had walked out on him, and now he’d just tried to kiss his best friend. He couldn’t handle commitment.
But the pain of the disappearance of Loki seemed to be stopping the depression of losing Pepper. Loki had always been there for him, ever since the tender age of ten, when he had seen Loki crying that time in the clearing. That time when Tony was in pain, Loki was in pain. They had needed each other then. Tony still needed Loki now. He needed the hurt, spurned Loki when he was ten, he needed the messed-up, misunderstood, part-time super-villain Loki now.
And he’d just gone and lost him.
One stupid idea, one insignificant second.
A lifetime’s friendship gone.
And that shattered him. More than Pepper. Pepper paled into nothingness compared to this. Because he’d never loved her. Cared for her, yes, deeply. But he didn’t love her.
He loved Loki. He wasn’t sure how he loved him, but Loki had been a part of his life for more than half his life. They had grown up together. They used to spend every day together, laughing and playing and creating. They may not seen each other as much these days, but they still clicked, they were relaxed around each other like no-one else, they understood each other, they completed each other.
And Tony had just gone and thrown it all away.
Chapter 4: Kiss the Pain Away
Loki watched Tony pull away, stuttering “I’m sorry Loki, I don’t know...”, he watched his best friend break down in front of him. What else he would have said was lost. Loki left.
He appeared in his apartment, thrown off slightly, his magic reverberating. He felt shaken, confused. He walked to his sofa, tripping slightly on the laces of his Converses. He collapsed onto the seat, his hands shaking.
Why did Tony kiss him?
He was drunk. Or hungover. He’d just split up from his girlfriend. His girlfriend of 8 months. Loki had known Tony since they were both little. He knew Tony didn’t do commitment. He picked them up and kicked them out the next morning. The amount of times he had visited his best friend to find him in bed with some girl. He knew Tony’s reputation may be slightly exaggerated, but a vast majority was the truth. Was Loki supposed to be another drunken conquest?
But he had seemed genuinely sorry. But sorry for what? Tony wasn’t exactly predictable. He may have been sorry he kissed him, or he may have been sorry he just hadn’t asked his permission.
“Tony, what are you doing to me?” Loki clutched at his hair, sighing at the floor. Did Loki himself feel anything back? They were best friends. Loki did love Tony. He just wasn’t sure he loved Tony.
Loki’s phone vibrated, causing the god to jump. He picked up the phone, knowing full well who it was. Very few people had this number, only one person used it regularly.
I’m sorry. Please come back?
A smile tugged at Loki’s lips. That was eloquent for Tony’s standards. It tended to normally be just come here. Loki flexed his fingers, feeling his magic slither in and out of the gaps.
Tony paced in the living room, anxiously waiting. He’d sent a text to Loki, hoping he would return. Tony could explain. Sort of. They could go back to the way they were, just mates. If Tony hoped for more, he’d cope without. He’d prefer Loki as a friend to Loki as nothing.
Loki wouldn’t blast him, would he?
He didn’t really want to go as a pissed-off god’s target practice.
That would be awful.
“What would be awful?” A cool voice sounded behind him.
Tony didn’t jump.
Did he speak out loud?
He turned to face Loki, who was were a small smile, amusement dancing in his eyes.
“You don’t look pissed-off.” Loki chuckled, low and inviting.
“I can assure you I am not ‘pissed-off’, as you so nicely put it.” Tony deflated with relief. He looked back up at the taller man.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have... you know.” Tony waved his hand. Loki raced a delicate eyebrow.
“Kissed me?” Tony started, then nodded.
“Yeah. That.” Loki chuckled again.
“How are you a public speaker? You sound more like a child who’s been caught eating out of the biscuit jar.” Tony huffed.
“I was never caught eating out of the biscuit jar.” Loki looked disbelieving. “I was far too clever to get caught.” Loki laughed, shaking his head.
“I have no doubt.” Loki sauntered over towards Tony. He stood no more than centimetres away from Tony’s face. Tony felt his breath hitch, get shallower.
“What would you have done if I had disappeared?”
“I don’t know.” Tony answered truthfully. Loki smiled.
“You don’t know what you would have done, or there is more than one scenario?”
“The second.” Loki nodded.
“What if I hadn’t wanted you to kiss me?”
“I would have apologised until you forgave me. Which may have been a long time, as you hold grudges.” Loki granted.
“What if I had wanted you to kiss me?” Damn, did he have to drop his voice?
“I would have probably leaned back over...” Tony leaned slightly closer, their noses touching now, “And I would have kissed you.”
“Is that the truth?” Loki breathed.
“Yes. The absolute truth.”
“Then I want you to kiss me.” Tony’s eyes flickered to Loki’s. No hint of a lie. He leaned up, and captured the cool, cool lips in a brief kiss. He pulled back, and Loki put his hands to Tony’s face, pulling him back into a ferocious kiss.
Oh. Ah well.
Tony gazed around at what was once his bedroom. Loki was curled up into his side, sleeping. Or dozing. Or whatever it was Loki did.
They hadn’t gone any further than making out, and all clothes had stayed on. But Loki’s magic had gone into overload. It wasn’t just the bedroom. It was the kitchen, the lounge, the guest bedroom... They hadn’t even gone into half those rooms. Loki’s magic had turned into an earthquake, pulsing out and destroying half his house. Furniture was upturned, windows shattered.
He’d get Pepper... wait, no, he’d get JARVIS to call someone to tidy this up. And make a mental note not to let SHIELD hear of this. He’d managed to keep his friendship with Loki under wraps so far. He could keep this development quiet as well.
Maybe he’d get Loki to charm his tongue into not giving anything away. Surely that was possible.
Loki shifted in his sleep, murmuring something in Norse. Tony smiled into Loki’s messed hair. This was a little bit of perfect. Loki here, relaxed. Every time he had recently seen the god, he’d been tense. Tony knew that something had gone badly wrong between Loki, Odin and Thor, but he wasn’t going to pry. If the taller man wanted to tell him, he would do it in his own time. He’d learnt early on that pushing Loki for answers was only going to shove him further into that shell, the shield that Loki had built up around himself. A shield that never quite disappeared, no matter what was happening, where he was. Tony wished he could kiss away the pain, all the heartbreak Loki had suffered.
He wished he could make it all okay.
Maybe one day he would. Maybe Loki would heal from whatever he had suffered at the hands of the Asgardian Allfather. At the hands of his own brother.
But he was content to let it happen in good time. He was content to keep Loki right here, away from everyone, away from the world.
Because he wasn’t prepared to lose him to the world.
Chapter 5: Discussions (of a sort)
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Author's Note: Thanks to everyone who has commented, Kudos'd, etc. It means a lot!!! Reminder, I am on tumblr, so if you want a story/prompt to feature in the "Moments in Time" series, come and say hello!! Enjoy!
Tony padded across the wrecked hall to the kitchen, being careful not to step on any glass. He quickly looked around the kitchen, surveying the destruction. The fridge and the table were still standing, the chairs tossed and upturned. Tony grinned. If the level of destruction meant a happy god, he’d let his house suffer. He righted one of the chairs, and poured himself an orange juice.
People were always surprised he liked orange juice. Maybe everyone thought that he downed Vodka for breakfast.
“JARVIS, where’s the paper?”
“It’s at the front door, Sir. Like every morning you ask.” The AI’s voice was sarcastic. Tony wagged a finger.
“I can still give you an accent. How about Texan? Or Mexican? You’d sound funny with an American accent. Or how about German? Or Scottish?” Tony said deadpanned.
“You wouldn’t!” The AI sounded horrified.
“Oh I would.” Tony’s lips gave a slight quirk. He padded over to collect the newspaper, giving a slight chuckle.
“Don’t jest Sir.” Tony threw up his hands.
“Oh, spoilsport! You never let me have any fun.” Tony grouched.
“Of course Sir.” Tony grinned.
“Right back at ya.” He rustled out the paper, scanning over the front page.
"Dr John Watson, the sidekick of the famous Sherlock Holmes, committed suicide yesterday in Hyde Park, London. Close friends of Dr Watson were concerned about his mental health before his death, but after Dr Watson seemed in better spirits, felt that he was out of his depressive, grieving state. Dr Watson had been apparently “shattered” when he watched his friend and colleague, the famous Consulting Detective Sherlock Holmes, fall to his apparent death. He had gone into a reclusive state after Holmes fell, only allowing close friends and family near. It has also come to light that after Dr Watson committed suicide yesterday, Holmes reappeared. Watson apparently died in Holmes arms. This is maybe the last tragedy of the genius, who has touched and destroyed so many."
“Poor fool.” Tony murmured, feeling a sudden pang of sympathy for this Dr Watson. He had heard of Sherlock Holmes, and he had heard of his death. How close must they have been for this Dr Watson to commit suicide because he had lost his best friend?
Would Tony do that if he lost Loki?
He heard footsteps on the hard floor, and turned his head slightly to catch Loki sauntering towards him.
“Morning.” Loki rubbed his hand along the nape of Tony’s neck. Tony gave a little moan.
“Morning.” Loki leant his chin on Tony’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around Tony’s waist, his front pressed to Tony’s back. “What’s that?” Loki pointed at the newspaper.
“An article.” Loki moved the paper closer, one hand still wrapped around Tony’s waist. The god quickly scanned the article, his grip loosening slightly.
“I was acquainted with Sherlock Holmes. He spoke very highly of this Dr Watson.” Loki’s voice was sad.
“I wonder if it was just the grief of losing his best friend? Or was it something more?” Loki shrugged.
“As I said, Mr Holmes spoke very highly of Dr Watson. I had never heard him talk so well about anyone. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something more than friendship there.” Loki felt Tony tense. “Tony, what is it?”
“It’s... I dunno... would that happen to me if I lost you?” Tony said, slumping slightly in Tony’s grasp. Loki turned Tony so he could face the billionaire.
“Do not ever think like that. I am not going anywhere, and even if I did, I would come back from Valhalla personally to kick your ass. Got it?” Loki’s voice contained a strange form of anger. Tony swallowed and nodded.
“I won’t.” Loki raised an eyebrow. “I promise!” Loki finally took this as truthful, and his expression went from fierce to relaxed in an instant.
“Maybe I should pay Mr Holmes a visit.” Tony shook his head.
“Probably not a good idea. His best friend just died Loki. Give him space.” Loki nodded, then settled himself on top of Tony. Tony grinned into Loki’s shoulder.
“There are other seats, you know.” Loki turned to look at the knocked over chairs.
“Out of my reach.” Tony snorted.
“You only had to bend down!”
“I’m taller than you! It’s much further.” Loki pretended to be affronted. Tony wrapped his arms around the god, pulling him ever closer.
“Just mocking my height again?”
“Of course. You are tiny. It is always something to be mocked.” The gods voice contained a glimmer of amusement. Tony caught a strand of Loki’s hair, twisting the curls (apparently his hair was naturally curly). Loki huffed, resisting the urge to swat at Tony.
“Have you quite finished harassing my hair yet?” Loki crossed his arms.
“Hmm... not quite. The curls are quite adorable.” Loki grimaced.
“I much prefer my hair straight.”
“I like the curls. It suits you.”
“I wear my hair curly when I use my alias.” Tony frowned.
“You have an alias?” Loki turned and stared at the genius.
“Of course.” Tony gaped.
“How didn’t I recognise you?”
“Magic. A spell similar to something portrayed in a Midgarian television programme.”
“You can use the telly?” Tony sounded astonished.
“Of course I can use the television, Tony. I am not incompetent.”
“Okay, I deserved that. What’s the programme.”
“A scientific programme called Doctor Who. Strange name choice. Then again it is a strange programme. Not at all scientific.” Loki started to glare as Tony burst out laughing. “What?”
“Sci-fi, Loki, not scientific. It means outer space, and fiction, things like that.” Tony was having a hard time holding onto his chair. Loki poked him.
“Common misconception. They should make it clearer.” Loki sounded annoyed, so Tony quickly sobered up.
“Sorry, sorry. So who’s your alias?”
“I decided upon the name Tom Hiddleston. It is common, yet distinctive. Good enough to blend into the crowd well.”
“YOU’RE TOM HIDDLESTON!!!” Loki started, holding onto Tony to stop himself falling onto the floor.
“Is that a problem?” Tony didn’t look angry, just shocked.
“You do know that pretty much every female on this planet is attracted to that guy?” Loki smirked.
“I aim to please.” Tony’s mouth kept opening and shutting. Loki laughed.
“The day Tony Stark was rendered speechless. This is a momentous day.” Loki laughed.
And Tony still continued impersonating a goldfish.
Chapter 6: Explanations
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Author's Note: Thanks for the amazing comments!!
Tony tinkered away in his workshop. He preferred his basement in Malibu, but Loki had business to attend to, and Fury was demanding that Tony get his arse back to the Avengers Mansion, “before I let Coulson and Natasha on you.”
But mainly Loki not being there.
Though Fury was a scary man. And capable of carrying out that threat.
So he had appeared back at the Avengers Mansion, significantly happier than when he left. Steve and Thor tried to overcome him with sympathy about Pepper – it took him a few seconds to remember what they were talking about – Bruce calmly waved at him, then returned his attention to the ipad (he refused to buy into the Stark franchise. Apparently Apple was good enough). Natasha and Coulson simuntaneously eye rolled at him. Erik merely glanced up, Charles smiled slightly. Clint snored from where he was curled up on Coulson.
“Steve, Thor, seriously, it’s fine. I’m happy, I’ve moved on.” Both raised eyebrows, their faces sad.
“Man of Iron, you courted the Lady Pepper for many months. One does not get over the breaking of one’s heart so easily.” Tony shrugged.
“I have superglue.” Tony replied. Erik snorted.
“Seriously. I’m happy. I am over Pepper.” Steve opened his mouth. “Steve, I have.” Steve shook his head.
“I do not know how to know if you are telling the truth, Man of Iron.” Tony laughed.
“First, my name is Tony, as I constantly remind you. Second, ask your brother.” Tony started to walk away. Thor frowned.
“What has Loki to do with this?” Tony stiffened.
Tony spun, his face panicked.
“Um. Nothing. Nothing at all. Why would Loki have anything to do with anything. I don’t even know where he is!” Charles raised his head, staring at Tony with wide eyes. Erik reached across to the telepath.
“You’re with Loki.” Charles words were grating on the silence.
Now everyone was staring at him strangely for the second time in as many days.
Thunder started to rumble overhead. Bruce and Steve both started to calm Thor down.
“Thor, Thor buddy, just cool it, yeah?” Thor’s gaze turned steely.
“Where is my brother?” He asked Tony.
“I don’t know.” Thor growled, lifting his hand towards Mjolner. “I don’t! He had something to attend to, I don’t know where he is!”
“I don’t believe you, Stark!”
“Well, at least it’s an improvement on Man of Iron... hey!” Thor had grabbed him by the throat, lifting him clean off the ground.
“I demand to know where my brother is currently!” Thor boomed, the thunder louder now.
“I DON’T KNOW!!” Tony croaked at the top of his voice. Thor eventually accepted his answer, dropping him onto the floor. Tony massaged his throat, sinking to his knees.
“Steve, Bruce, Natasha, take Thor. Erik, Charles, you can come with Clint, Tony and myself.” Coulson spoke quietly. Everyone nodded. Steve tugged Thor by the arm towards the rec room, Coulson firmly pulled Tony to his feet and dragged him to the gym. When the door closed behind the five of them, Coulson rounded on Tony.
“What do you think you are playing at?” Coulson’s voice was that of suppressed anger, pure and simple. Tony grinned, still massaging his neck.
“I’m not playing at anything. Though I did spend a great deal of time making a card house the other day. It was magneficient. Twelve stories high.” Coulson crossed his arms.
“What are you doing with Loki?” Coulson’s voice seemed calmer. That may be because Clint was rubbing circles in the agent’s back. Interesting.
Tony rubbed a hand over his face. There was no way that anything was going to escape the team now, not with Charles.
Tell them. They’d prefer it coming from you.
“Loki is my best friend. He has been since we were ten. We met near my house, both scared, both needing comfort. We gave it to each other. We’ve always been there for each other ever since. Losing Pepper just made me realise how much he means to me, how much I don’t want to lose him. He has never asked me for information, and I him. Whatever our career paths, we don’t interfere. I love him. I don’t know how exactly I love him yet, I just know I do. So kick me off the team. I am not losing him.”
Coulson had a quick glance at Charles, who barely nodded.
“We won’t kick you off the team. But I want him to come here. Just to talk. No more.” Tony nodded.
“You might want to keep Thor as far away from Loki as possible though.” Tony offered.
“Still not speaking, huh?” Clint offered, still looking wary.
“No. I offered to speak to Thor. Nearly lost an eye.” Clint gave a slight chuckle.
“That seems his style.” Tony smiled.
“Fetish.” Tony looked at Coulson. “I’ll try and contact him. But it is just the Avengers and you. No SHIELD agents, no G-men, no Fury. Or I’m not bringing him. Capiche?” Coulson nodded.
“No-one else.” That satisfied Tony.
“Well then, I must make my excuses. One gorgeous God of Mischief to find.” With a departing smirk, Tony left the gym, leaving behind three very shell-shocked superheroes and one unflappable Phil Coulson.
Chapter 7: Meeting the In-Laws
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Author's Note: This chapter is up a bit later today. Not because I forgot or anything. I was just sleeping. Stayed up to see the Olympic Torch, so late night. Only got up a couple of hours ago, mainly just to watch the Formula 1 Qualifying. Still really zombie like, to be fair. So ignore any mistakes that might occur. I honestly don't mean them.
Loki paced up and down the hallway. Tony had summoned him to the Avengers Mansion, on request of the other Avengers. It seemed like they wanted to give Loki their seal of approval.
It wasn’t the Avengers he was worried about. It wasn’t even Tony – whether he would stand by his friends or Loki. It was Thor.
Loki had carefully stayed away from Thor, even whilst battling the buffoon. Thor seemed to continue to think that Loki was his brother, his kin. However many times Loki proved him wrong, however many times he changed into Frost Giant form (well away from Tony), Thor was still under the misconception that Loki was still related to him.
Maybe Thor had suffered one too many blows to the head.
Loki tugs on the black blazer Tony had shoved him into. It wasn’t that he hated Midgardian clothes, but he just felt he was going into the lion’s den without any defence. And when he mainly wore Midgardian clothes, it was much more informal. Although he was still wearing a green t-shirt, black jeans, black boots - his usual Midgardian attire - the blazer made him feel uncomfortable. And it was itchy.
The door opened, and Tony bounded out. Loki reached for Tony’s hand, entangling their fingers. Tony pressed a brief kiss to Loki’s lips.
“Don’t worry. They’re on their best behaviour.” Loki smiled slightly.
“You’re not worried about me? About me messing this up?” Tony looked surprised. Loki heard a slight intake of breath.
“Why should I? I’ve always trusted you before. Nothing’s changed.” Tony stood on his toes to press a kiss to Loki’s forehead.
“Don’t worry.” Tony pulled on Loki’s hand, leading him into the main part of the Mansion.
Here goes nothing.
The Avengers were dressed down, free of all weapons. Loki gave a small smile at the superheroes, only receiving smiles in return from Charles and Erik.
“Guys, this is Loki.” Tony started with the theatrics, even if they all knew each other already. “Loki, this is Charles, Erik, Natasha, Bruce, Steve, Clint and Coulson. Who’s first name is apparently Phil, but personally I think that that is a ruse, and it’s Agent.” Coulson fixed Tony with an impressive glare. He liked this man. He stood no nonsense. A cough emitted from the far corner.
“Oh, and, um, that’s Thor. You may have already met.” Loki ignored the Asgardian god, electing to edge closer to Tony instead. Steve cleared his throat.
“Well, Loki, we are glad to finally meet you properly.” Not in battle.
“As am I.” Don’t flatter yourself.
Charles gave a short bark of laughter, hurriedly changing it into a cough. Erik snickered beside him. Loki fixed his emerald gaze on the pair. So they were the telepath and the metal mover.
“Man of Iron, may I speak to you in private?” Thor asked, his loud voice echoing.
“Yeah, okay.” Tony made a move to follow Thor when Loki made a slight whimper, just quiet enough for only Tony to hear.
“Don’t worry. I won’t be long.” Tony stroked the long, dark hair. “Okay?” Loki nodded, his gaze shy and wary. Tony gave Loki a small smile of reassurance, and distangled himself from the god, following Thor.
“Man of Iron, I insist you stop this alliance with my brother immediately.” Thor was harsh and to the point. Tony gaped.
“Since when did you have any control over Loki’s life?” Thor flinched.
“I do not, but you will hurt Loki like you have hurt the Lady Pepper, and I do not wish that for my brother.” Thor crossed his arms. Tony laughed.
“Thor, Loki and I have been best friends for as long as we can both remember. He came to me every time you teased or bullied him. I don’t think you have much of a say over who Loki is with.” Thor’s gaze darkened whilst Tony was speaking.
“He is my brother. I would protect him till the end of Asgard. Do not think I wouldn’t, human.” Thor's voice was menacing. Tony laughed, a bitter sound filling the room.
“And we are going backwards. Man of Iron, Stark, back to Man of Iron, now it’s just human. I must really be in the bad books.” The air crackled around him, static filling the air.
“Do not jest, human.” Tony pretended to be offended.
“Jest? Me? Never.” Tony started to turn towards the door, when he suddenly found himself face palming the wall.
Now that’s odd.
He heard a roar of anger behind him, and a fist contacted with his stomach. He closed his eyes in pain, wincing as he tried to double over, but another fist made contact with his torso again, lifting him clean of the floor, hitting the ceiling. He fell, only to be caught around the neck, smashing into a wall.
“Stay away from my brother, human. You will regret your actions otherwise in the future. Do you understand?” Thor’s voice was full of suppressed rage. Tony choked, his vision blurring.
“I SAID, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!” Thor bellowed in his ear. Tony tried to prise open the iron fist grip Thor had on his throat, blindly kicking out, less force in his limbs, his body slacking, going weak. His vision darkened, and he suddenly found himself on the floor, gasping. He glanced upwards, seeing the faint outline of Loki blasting Thor away from him. More figures spilled into the room. The other Avengers. Three detangled themselves from the crowd, making their way over to him.
“Tony? Tony, can you hear me?” Coulson’s low voice was quiet, soothing.
Tony? Where are you hurt? Charles’ voice sounded in his head. Tony couldn’t answer, still gasping and choking.
“He’s out. We need to get him to a medical centre.” Bruce’s voice was almost lost under the roaring of Thor, who was being restrained by Steve, Loki and Erik. Tony gave a last huff, tuning out the mess of voices, the shouting and screaming.
“Loki.” He breathed, before he gave into the blackness, engulfing him in sudden silence.
This place better have wi-fi.
Chapter 8: Not Looking Back
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Loki watched the man in the white, crisp, hospital bed. The whitewashed wall faded into grey, Loki’s face drawn and pale. A continuous beep sounded in the room, echoing around the small room. Loki rubbed aimless patterns into the back of Tony’s hand, his eyes impassive, blank.
Steve peered into the room, his face etched with sadness.
“Loki, you need to go home. Get some rest.” Steve rested a hand on Loki’s bony shoulder. Loki shook his head, his eye’s never leaving his lover’s face.
“I can’t.” His voice was hoarse.
“Loki, there will always be someone here. If he wakes up, he won’t think badly of you. He’d be more annoyed if he thought we hadn’t been looking after you.” Loki shook his head more emphatically.
“I’m not leaving.” Steve shook his head slightly.
“Please Loki. You aren’t helping him like this.”
“I am not repeating myself again.” Loki eventually looked away from Tony, fire in his eyes as he gazed at Tony. Steve backed off, and after a small smile, walked out of the room.
“How is he?” Bruce asked, watching Steve heading down the corridor towards them.
“The same.” Steve replied, sitting heavily down in a chair.
“Refusing to leave Tony.” Bruce fiddled with his hands.
“We should give him food. Or make him rest.” Steve gave a hollow laugh.
“Since when did anyone make Loki do something he didn’t want to?”
“When Tony took him to meet us.” Bruce’s voice was sad. Steve looked at his companion.
“Why did Thor flip out? I know he’s protective of his brother, but still.” Steve pondered. Bruce shrugged.
“He was muttering after about Tony not being good enough. I think he didn’t want Loki to get hurt.”
“But surely the fact that Tony agreed for us to meet Loki gave him some idea that Tony was serious about Loki. Tony, as far as I could glean from Pepper, would never bring someone home. If Pepper saw someone, they were slinking out after a night with him.” Steve quickly looked up.
“Has anyone told Pepper? She’d want to know.” Bruce shook his head.
“I certainly haven’t. I don’t know if Coulson or Charles has.” Steve took in the information.
“I should call her.” Bruce waved at him.
“Rather you than me.” Steve gave a quirk of the lips.
“Wish me luck.” Bruce grinned.
“See you on the other side.”
Pepper ran down the corridor, Natasha and Clint at her heels.
“Pepper! Pepper, wait!” Clint called after the red-head. Pepper stopped suddenly, almost causing the two SHIELD agents to crash into her.
“Tony is injured. Badly. Do not tell me to stay away.”
“We weren’t going to. We just wanted to warn you...” Pepper glared at the two.
“I have seen Tony battered, and bruised, and drunk out of his mind. I have seen him at his worst. Nothing can shock me now.” Clint opened his mouth to protest, but Pepper held up her hand.
“Don’t. Just don’t.” She turned and started to walk back down the corridor.
Natasha and Clint stared at each other, shock written on their faces. Pepper continued her fast pace, and spotting Bruce, stared wildly around. A door was swung open, the name Tony Stark etched onto a whiteboard. She dashed into the room, saw Tony on the bed.
“Tony.” She whispered, half-stepping forward, reluctant to disturb the pale man already in the room. The pale man stood, and leant over, placing a brief kiss on Tony’s forehead. Pepper choked. Who was this dark-haired man? What relation was he to Tony?
Had Tony already replaced her?
The man swung round. She saw a tired face, the green eyes dark with pain.
She saw Loki.
She gasped, taking a step back, her hand racing towards her throat.
“What are you doing here?” Her voice was hoarse. “What were you doing to him?” Her voice rose, angered. Loki just stared, opening and closing his mouth, but no sound emitting.
“WHAT DO YOU WANT WITH HIM!?” Loki was rigid, tears starting to form in his eyes. Steve rushed in, Natasha on his heels.
“Pepper, it’s okay. It’s okay.” Pepper stared, her eyes wild.
“A supervillain is in Tony’s room, AND YOU SAY IT’S OKAY?!” Steve stared, his mouth slightly parted. Natasha stepped forward, her hands outstretched.
“Loki doesn’t mean harm. Loki’s the reason why Tony is still alive.” Pepper felt the need to smash a wall.
“He’s EVIL!!” Pepper yelled.
“He’s Tony’s best friend. I know Tony isn’t always the best of thinkers, but they have been friends since they were ten. I think that counts for something.” Loki stepped forward.
“Pepper.” Pepper turned her fierce glare upon the god. She eventually took in his appearance, his crinkled clothes, the dark shadows under his eyes. He stared at here with dead eyes, the mischievous gleam in his eye gone, and the lively emerald dark.
“Stay.” Pepper’s face creased into a frown.
“Pardon?” Her voice was still high, biting out the words.
“Stay. He’d want you to.” Loki’s voice was lifeless.
“I am not staying anywhere near you.”
“I’m not staying.” Steve turned an incredulous face on Loki.
“Loki, you don’t need to...” Loki cut him off.
“Yes. I do. You said I needed rest.” Loki turned back to Pepper. “Look after him.”
“Why would I promise anything to you?” The angry tone in her voice was cooling, leaving behind suspicion.
“It is not for my sake. You need him, Steve needs him, the Avengers need him. And he needs you, even if he doesn’t know it. So look after him.” Pepper gazed at the god, then reluctantly nodded her head. Loki took this as good enough confirmation, and exited the room, looking back as he got to the door.
“Goodbye, Tony.” He walked quickly out the door, rubbing the back of his hand across his face. Natasha made to go after him, but Bruce put a hand on his arm.
“He needs to be alone.” Natasha stared at her partner, then nodded, and retook her seat beside him, watching the dark shadow of the god disappear, trying to ignore the sinking feeling of finality.
Chapter 9: Raining Over London
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor proft from.
He could smell a sterile odour surrounding him. Light battered against his eyelids, painful and impatient. He twitched his hand, feeling the crisp sheets underneath him.
“Tony?” A soft voice sounded, slightly distorted. He opened his eyes, allowing a little more light in.
“Tony, are you awake?” Another voice sounded, this one more masculine.
“Ugh.” His voice sounded broken, rough.
“Tony?” The female’s voice was closer now, more concerned. More hopeful.
“Ugh.” He finally wrenched his eyes open, the bright light blinding. He glimpsed red-hair. Pepper.
“Tony? Do you know where you are?” Tony swivelled his head, peering through the white to glimpse the speaker. Steve.
“Uh, not really.” A hand lay on his shoulder.
“You’re in hospital. Thor beat you up. You’ve been out for 3 days.”
I better not have missed America’s Next Top Model.
“Where’s Loki?” Tony asked Pepper. She exchanged wary glances with Steve.
“We don’t know.” Tony tried to sit up, struggling against Steve.
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Pepper looked scared, cowering in her seat.
“He was here, the first couple of days. I arrived yesterday, and he was leaving. We all thought he was going to get rest, but Erik and Clint went to go get him today, and they couldn’t find him. He’s just... gone.” Tony glared at her, then slumped back into his pillow.
Was this all that it took to scare Loki off? They had been best friends for the best part of 30 years. They had stuck together, through Loki running from his family, through Tony running from his family to alcohol, from Loki falling to earth, from Tony recovering from various injuries. Was the fact that they were now involved enough to scare Loki off the minute something went wrong?
Tony closed his eyes, letting the familiar darkness swoop over him again. Images played in his head, Loki crying, Loki attempting football, Loki watching Star Wars, Loki at his graduation, Loki drinking (and hating) scotch, Loki and him curled up on the sofa watching Lion King...
“Tony? We can look again. Charles is still trying to contact him.” Steve sounded concerned.
“If he doesn’t want to be found, he won’t allow himself to be found.” His voice was devoid of any emotion.
“Don’t Pepper. Just don’t. I don’t want the sympathy.” Tony opened his eyes, staring at his ex-girlfriend. Pepper nodded once, understanding.
I don’t want to be told that’s what I get for being best friends with a supervillain.
Even if that supervillain never harmed anyone. Tony had always managed to delay the Avengers, allowing Loki the time to escape. Loki never attacked the Avengers. It wasn’t a ground rule they had put down. They just didn’t mess in each other’s work.
What would happen now? Would he and Loki look at each other across a battlefield, no friendship between them now? Would – could – they strike each other down in battle? Would they make it quick, one last request from a former friend? Would they do that as one last gift?
Tony sighed. He watched Steve and Pepper make their way from the room, cautious and wary. He closed his eyes, and drifted off into a fitful sleep.
Loki rested his forehead against the cool glass, staring out at the rainy landscape of London. He wondered what Tony was doing now, whether he was awake, whether he was even alive anymore.
He’d been stubborn, refusing to leave Tony, refusing to leave his partners side. Steve continued to babble on about needing rest, needing food. He was a God of Asgard. He needed neither. Even as a Jotun could go weeks without eating, longer without sleeping.
He knew Tony would be mad when he woke, to find Loki not by his side. He wished with all his heart that he could be there, to see the life return to Tony. But Tony was injured because of him. Of course he blamed Thor as well. He had no right to beat someone up, just to stop them dating his brother. Least of all to Tony. But he blamed himself as well.
He should never have allowed Tony to be put into that situation. If he hadn’t been dating Tony, Tony would probably be tinkering around in his workshop, or still moping over Pepper.
Both were safer.
Loki slid down the window pane, seeing darkness encasing the foreign land. The rain dribbled down the pane, licking a way down. Loki traced a stream with his finger. He curled up, wrapping his arms around his legs, bending his head down to rest on his knees. His dark hair was plastered to his face, evidence of the storm that raged across the sullen city. A backpack lay beside him, the carpet dark with water underneath it. He closed his eyes with a sigh, watching images flash across his mind.
Tony hunched up in a ball, tear tracks etched down his face. Tony laughing at the blue hair Loki had conjured for him. Tony falling out of a tree, surprise on his face after he landed. Tony and Loki celebrating Loki’s birthday, eating carrot cake and raspberry jam sandwiches. Loki and Tony trying to get a girlfriend when they were 15. Tony and Loki walking around London, laughing at a joke. Tony at his graduation, already cocky and over-confident.
Loki racked up a sob, covering his face, allowing the tears to run freely. He wanted to go back, to say he’s sorry, he wasn’t ever going to leave, he wouldn’t hurt him...
But he couldn’t. He couldn’t lie to Tony. Because it would be. Tony had always been able to see through Loki’s lies. And Loki loved it. He could be honest, he didn’t have to pretend.
If he went back to Tony, and said those things, with his emotions flooding over, he would be lying. Because he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t hurt Tony. He couldn’t promise that he would never leave him. Because he just didn’t know.
His tears fell down his cheeks, and he watched the rain fall on the city outside.
Chapter 10: Ripples and a Whisper
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Author's Note: Sorry this is later than usual, I was out all day. Fangirling over Tom Hiddleston. And I regret nothing! Enjoy!
Erik and Clint watched Tony hobble back into the Avengers Mansion, aided by Coulson and Bruce.
“Feeling better?” Erik asked, an eyebrow raised. The billionaire raised one in return.
“Tickity boo. Ta for asking.” Erik smirked, returning his gaze to his book. Tony detangled himself from his aids, and started to make his way to his bedroom. Bruce made to stop him, but Tony turned an icy glare upon him.
“I am not incapable.” Bruce moved away, understanding. Tony shut his door with a quiet finality, Clint turning his gaze quickly onto his boyfriend.
“How is he?” Coulson gave his boyfriend a glance.
“Fine.” His answer was short. Clint rolled his eyes.
“I didn’t mean physically.” Coulson raised an eyebrow.
“I knew perfectly well what you meant. I was just not answering it.” Clint glared.
“Stupid SHIELD training.” He muttered, crossing his arms, returning his attention to the telly. Coulson moved behind him, lacing his fingers in the archers hair.
“Stop sulking.” Phil ordered calmly. Clint grunted.
“Yes you are.” Coulson’s mouth twitched slightly.
“Not talking to you.” Clint muttered. Coulson pressed a kiss to Clint’s hairline. Clint relaxed, leaning backwards. “Not fair.” Coulson raised an eyebrow.
“What’s not fair?” Clint stared to glare again.
“You know.” Coulson smiled.
“Sorry.” Coulson’s voice contained dry humour. Clint wriggled out of Coulson’s grip, leaping over the sofa into the arms of his boyfriend. Erik glanced up from his novel, shaking his head.
“He is really an over enthusiastic puppy, isn’t he?” Amusement was evident in Erik’s tone. Coulson looked at the mutant over Clint’s shoulder.
“Don’t insult my boyfriend. I can still taze you.” Erik chuckled.
Bruce cleared his throat, and the three men glanced at him (with Clint leaning his head back, still clinging to Coulson).
“What are we going to do about Tony? He’s heartbroken.”
Coulson sighed. “Do you think Steve would talk to him? They are friends.”
“He’s our friend too.” Clint’s voice was muffled, his head pressed into Coulson’s side.
“Not in the same way.” Coulson murmured into Clint’s hair.
“Steve is a good idea.” Bruce conceded. “Do you think he could talk properly to Tony?” Coulson shrugged.
“It’s worth a shot.” The agent replied.
“This is going to blow up in our face.” Erik muttered, a smirk on his face.
Clint humphed in response.
“Tony?” Steve stuck his head around the door, scanning the room. Tony was standing behind a work bench, his arms crossed, a frown creasing on his face.
“What do you think about black and blue? Silver and blue is overrated.” Tony murmured, more to himself.
“Um, it’s okay. Why?” Tony finally seemed to notice Steve, starting slightly.
“Hey there, Cap.” Tony uncrossed his arms, and shuffled on his feet. “It’s for the new Stark Phone. I was going to go with silver and blue, but silver is too overrated.” Boredom was in Tony’s voice, never a good sign.
“Black’s good.” Steve affirmed. Tony nodded absentmindedly. Steve watched the inventor, slowly plucking up the courage.
“Tony?” The inventor hummed.
“We know you miss him. However much you try to hide it.” Tony’s sudden look of disbelief shocked the soldier.
“You didn’t even like him. So why are you try to make me feel better?” Tony’s voice was slightly hoarse. Steve shrugged.
“I know how much he means to you. He was broken while you were unconscious.” Steve spoke softly, but a fire lit up in Tony’s eyes.
“If he was so broken, why didn’t he stay?” Tony snarled. Steve gaped.
“I don’t know.” The expression of Tony’s face darkened even further. “I don’t!”
“That’s not good enough!” Tony was starting to scream.
“Tony. Wherever he’s gone, he must have done it for good reason. We could not make him leave, forcibly or not, until he left. I don’t think he was intending to hurt you Tony. I think he’s trying to protect you. You did say that he is your best friend. Best friends protect each other. Maybe that’s what he’s trying to do. I don’t think he could ever intentionally hurt you.” The dark expression that had been looming over Tony’s face started to disappear, leaving only sorrow and pain in its wake. Tony sagged against Steve.
“I miss him.” Tony whispered. Steve stroked his hair, guiding him towards a stool.
“I know. It will hurt. But you have the memories.” Tears were beginning to fall down the inventors cheeks.
“I loved him. Maybe not in the romantic way. But I loved him. He was everything to me. I thought I was too.” Steve pulled Tony closer.
“He did. I didn’t see Loki, supervillian, God of Lies and Mischief, those last few days. I saw a man who had had all his fundamental beliefs and ideas stripped away from him, all the misconceptions of the world laid out at his feet. You were his everything, Tony. Seeing him watch you, it was like watching someone seeing the sun go out. Don’t ever blame yourself for that.” Tony sniffed, pulling away from Steve. Steve looked inquiringly at Tony, then stood to make his way out of the workshop.
“Cap?” A broken whisper trailed out after him.
“Do you miss them?” Steve gave a slight smile.
“Every day. But they wouldn’t want me to mope. And I still have my memories. The good times we shared. No-one can ever take that away from me.” With this parting sentence, Steve left the room. Tony stared at the door, wishing it would open to reveal his Loki. Whilst knowing, in all reality, it was never going to happen again.
Far away, a god stood by a fountain, watching the ripples fan out. The rings expanded, encompassing more and more space.
Tony had started out as a small part of his life, almost insignificant. Now, his life was nothing without Tony. His life was Tony.
“I love you.” The whisper caught on the wind, whipping the words away from the dark-haired speaker.
Thousands of miles away, Tony heard those 3 words.
When he slept that night, it was with a small smile on his face.
Chapter 11: After the Storm
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Loki slowly opened his eyes, blinking in the soft sunlight. A sharp noise from the alarm clock pierced the silence. Loki turned and glared at the device.
“Why won’t you ever just shut up?” Loki punctuated the question with venom, though his tone was tired. He heaved himself out of bed, and padded towards the kitchen, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand. It was only in the emotion he ever felt these days. When it was still too early to remember Tony, remember what he, a god of Asgard, had done. That was then the numbness spread over him again, until he could fall into a drunken stupor the next night. The rain started to fall again outside the window, patting against the pain. Why does it always rain in England? Loki twitched his fingers, and the radio turned itself on, filling the room with soft sound.
“...and the Prime Minister finished up by thanking all who attended the rally. In other news, Tony Stark, who had been in hospital recently receiving specialist care has been released from hospital. Although he is physically better, his close friend Steve Rogers, and his business partner, Pepper Potts, released a joint statement saying that Mr. Stark will withdraw from the public eye for the next few weeks. Mr. Stark had apparently been seeing someone, and although both Mr. Rogers and Ms. Potts declined to comment on the relationship, just saying that Mr. Stark and his new interest had split, and that Mr. Stark wanted to be left alone in peace. In the sports news, Sebastian Vettel is the new three times World Champion in Formula 1...” The words drowned out, buzzing replacing the words. He leaned against the worktop, wrapping his arms around himself.
Tony was better then. But Tony missed him. Badly enough to withdraw from the public eye. He knew that Tony would be pissed. Maybe slightly hurt. But missing him that badly, Loki hadn’t foreseen that. He knew Tony’s reputation, most of it was true. He knew that Tony did badly in relationships. Pepper was testimony to that. Loki continually felt like he was dying inside. He continually wanted to run back to America, to run back to Tony, no matter how much dignity he lost.
But you can’t hurt him like this, this far away from him.
Because although he wasn’t the one to physically deal the blows, it was because of him Tony ended up in hospital at all. Surely Tony, however miserable, was better off without him?
... Loki looked into the brown eyes. The boy in front of him stared back into Loki’s emerald ones.
“I’m never gonna leave you Loki. You are my best friend. I’m never gonna hurt you. Not like your father or brother.” Tony rested his hands on Loki’s skinny shoulders. “Got that?” Loki nodded.
“Why though?” The emerald eyes were pained.
“You’re my best friend. Best friends look out for each other.” Loki smiled, a small twitch of the lips. Tony reached out and enveloped the boy god in a hug.
“You and me against the worlds.” Tony spoke with certainty. Loki nodded.
“You and me against the worlds.”...
Loki gasped, grasping the worktop. He’d promised. Tony had promised Loki he’d never hurt him. He’d never leave him.
But Loki had just gone and done that right back at him.
He slid down the worktop, his emerald eyes glassy. He may be the God of Lies, but he wouldn’t ever break a promise to Tony.
He needed to go back.
And with that departing thought, he left, the rain still streaming outside on the London landscape.
Tony curled up further around his pillow, watching the door unseeingly. It had been 3 days, 17 hours and 52 minutes since he’d woken up. 3 days, 17 hours and 52 minutes since he’d found out that Loki had left him.
Steve, Pepper and Charles had been continually updating him on his progress, how he was mending physically. But nothing took away the hurt of missing Loki.
He was finally just starting to drift off into a dreamless sleep, when the glare of a bright green light pierced through his closed eyes.
“Tony?” The voice, that familiar tone he was used to, echoed through the silence of the room. Tony screwed his eyes shut, trying to convince himself this was a dream. A hand ghosted over his shoulder. Tony tensed.
“Tony?” The voice wasn’t much more than a whisper. Tony finally allowed his eyes to open, and turned slightly towards the other man. Emerald eyes locked onto his.
“Tony?” Loki whispered again, his tone hesitant. Tony stared, his gaze hardening.
“What exactly do you want, Laufeyson?” Loki visibly flinched at the sound of his surname.
“I... I shouldn’t have left. It was... It was cowardly. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” The words tumbled from Loki’s lips, and he made no effort to stop them.
“Why should I believe you? You’re Loki Laufeyson, God of Lies. Why should I believe anything you say?” Loki recoiled further at the venom in Tony's voice. He wrapped his arms around himself, hugging his wet t-shirt to himself. His hair was plastered to his face, covering his eyes slightly. He was shivering slightly, trying not to show it.
“How long have you been out in the rain?” Tony questioned. Loki gave a small shrug.
“Possibly about half an hour. I arrived in Central Park, but then I couldn’t muster enough magic at the start to get myself here. So I sat in Central Park.”
Tony exclaimed, “In the pouring rain?” Loki nodded.
“There was no where open, I didn’t have the key to my apartment.” Loki explained. Tony jumped up, heading over to his wardrobe, and started pulling out clothes. “What are you doing?”
“Finding something warm for you to wear.”
Loki stared, open-mouthed. “Why?” Tony gave a short, low laugh.
“We can’t have you catching a cold, can we now? The last time you were ill, you were not only really cranky and overally sarcastic, you also managed to change the colour of my house to green, turned all of the water in the house to custard, and managed to get a flower to start growing out of my head. I’m not having you ill again.” Loki smirked.
“I really am sorry about that. But it was a very nice daffodil.” Tony snorted.
“Never again.” Tony pulled Loki’s shirt off him, tossing it into a corner of his room, and pulled a Black Sabbath t-shirt over the pale chest.
“I’m just going to go get a blanket, okay?” Tony looked into the emerald eyes. Loki nodded his assent. As Tony backed out of the room, Loki continued to undress and redress himself, until he was completely clothed in warm clothing. Tony returned, pulling a tartan checked blanket behind him.
“What is that monstrosity?” Loki wrinkled his nose in distaste.
“Uh... a blanket?” Tony threw it over the bed. When Loki just stood there, Tony sighed. “Get in.” Loki gaped.
“Into the bed?” Loki sounded hesitant. Tony resisted the urge to facepalm.
“Yes, into the bed.” Loki slowly moved over, and nestled himself under the duvet. He stiffened when Tony joined him.
“You’re joining me?” Tony smirked.
“Uh huh. Need to keep you as warm as possible. And I know for a fact you kick the covers off when you sleep.” Loki giggled, and wriggled further underneath the duvet. Tony pulled Loki over to him, and Loki shuffled until he was comfortable on Tony’s chest. Tony stroked Loki’s hair, listening to the god’s breathing even out.
“I really am sorry, Tony. And I would never lie to you.” Loki murmured into Tony’s chest, sounding sleepy.
“I know.” Tony whispered. Loki smiled, and neither man made any more sound until morning.
Chapter 12: A Hush Fell on New York City
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Author's Note: Sorry I didn't upload yesterday, I just didn't get near a computer or laptop. But Batman made up for it.
Clint walked along the corridor, holding onto a tray of food. Tony hadn’t come out of his room for the past 18 hours, and Steve and Coulson were worried about him. They’d asked Charles to check on him, but he’d merely smiled. Erik had laughed loudly out loud. They’d got used to seemingly having two telepaths in the house, because Charles shared everything with Erik. It was just another fact of life.
Clint didn’t bother knocking, knowing for a fact that Tony hadn’t been out of the Tower in the past 5 days, so he had had no chances to bring a girl home. So what he wasn’t expecting was to see Tony curled up with a girl with dark hair.
“Tony?” Clint placed a hand on Tony’s shoulder, shaking it slightly. “Tony?” Tony humphed.
“Whaup?” Tony raised his head from where it had been resting on the dark-haired girls head.
“Tony, you’ve been asleep for 18 hours straight. We thought you’d died!” Clint whispered, putting his head near to Tony’s.
“Yeah, um, sorry bout that. Got caught up.” Tony apoligized. Clint grinned.
“Yeah, I can see that. How did you hook up? You haven’t left the building.” Tony turned back to his partner, and planted a kiss on the dark hair.
“They came to me.” Clint grinned.
“Kinky.” Tony rolled his eyes.
“Not quite like that.” Clint frowned.
“How then?” As in response to that question, the dark-haired person raised their head.
Clint just gaped.
“Loki?” The emerald eyes were sleepy and confused. Tony just grinned.
“I said they came to me.”
Loki walked through the mansion, dressed in one of Tony’s ridiculous winter jumpers - with about 4 layers underneath - blue skinny jeans and some thick socks on his feet. However much he protested to Tony that he was fine, that he didn’t have a cold, there was nothing to fuss about, Tony insisted in dressing him up in as many layers possible. Just to be on the safe side.
Tony popped his head around a door, giving Loki a stern look.
“You should be in bed.” He chastised, crossing his arms.
Loki glared,“I’m fine, Tony. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me apart from the very apparent threat of overheating.” Tony didn’t look convinced, but sighed.
“Well, I’ve made you tea. I suppose you can sit in the kitchen.” Tony withdrew himself into the said room, where Loki followed. Tony handed him a large mug containing a brown liquid. Loki wrinkled his nose.
“Am I supposed to drink this?” He sounded scandalised. Clint giggled from his perch on the worktop. Tony rolled his eyes at the archer, and turned his gaze back to the god.
“It’s only tea, Loki. It really won’t kill you.” Loki looked distrustful. “Seriously, the English are very fond of it. And England still has a population, so I’m guessing it’s not poisonous.” Charles laughed as he walked into the room.
“It’s actually very nice. You have my word.” Charles gave an encouraging smile. Loki stared at Charles, then proceeded to take a sip. His eyes lit up, a grin spreading across his face.
“This is delicious! Why did you not tell me about it sooner?” Loki questioned Tony. The engineer shifted uncomfortably.
“I’m not a big fan of tea. I prefer coffee.” Loki snorted.
“Coffee tastes like dirt. It’s horrible.” He said with finality. Tony clutched at his chest.
“Tis a great offense to mock thou’s coffee!” Mischief danced in Loki’s eyes.
“Is that so?”
“Oh, yes.” Loki opened his mouth to speak again, but Tony cut him off. “Enough about our differing beverage choices. You need your temperature taken.” Loki’s eyes widened.
“Tony, no, I am not sick! I’m fine! I am not suffering from ill health!” Loki ended his words with a small sneeze.
Tony tutted. “And that sneeze says otherwise. Come on, open up.” Loki glared at Tony, then reluctantly followed his command. Tony plopped a thermometer into his mouth.
“You can close again.” Loki followed obediently.
“Wahisthessconthapthon?” The three men stared.
“Uh, in English?” Clint prompted. Loki sighed, and took the thermometer out.
“I said, what is this contraption?” He indicated towards the thermometer.
“It’s a thermometer. It measures your temperature. Now put it back in.”
“Why are you doing this?” Loki asked, coughing slightly before carrying out the task.
“Because I’m a good boyfriend who looks after you when you’re ill.” Tony replied complacently. Loki’s mouth opened, the thermometer falling, Clint catching it just in time to stop in catching.
“You still want to be my boyfriend?” Tony nodded. “After everything I did to you?” Another nod.
“I love you. And that’s a lot coming from me, considering we haven’t even slept together yet.” Charles choked on his coffee. Clint patted the telepath on the back. “I know everything about you, Loki Laufeyson. Both good and bad. And I accept that, and I’m not going to try and change that. And, yes, I still want to be with you. If you’ll let me.” Tony gazed at the emerald eyes. Loki suddenly jumped down from his seat and enveloped Tony in a hug.
“I love you too, you idiot of a genius.” Loki murmured.
Tony laughed, and placed a kiss on the pale lips.“Will you listen to me now when I tell you to go back to bed?”
Loki paused, considering.“Never.”
Tony laughed, pulling the god closer.“Ah well, can’t expect everything.” The moment was quickly distributed by Steve rushing in.
“Got a call from SHIELD. Amora’s at it again.” Tony heaved a sigh. Clint and Charles made after Steve, leaving Loki and Tony alone.
“I gotta go. I’ll be back as quickly as possible, okay?” Loki nodded, and pressed his lips to Tony’s forehead.
“Live long and prosper.” Loki whispered. Tony burst out into hysterical giggles. Manly giggles, of course.
“You’ve been watching Star Trek again.” Loki shrugged.
“Some Captain’s marry Vulcan’s. Get over it.” Tony snorted with laughter. “Hate is illogical.”
“You’ve really got to stay away from the internet.”
Loki grinned in response. “I disagree.” Tony opened to his mouth to retort, but was cut off by a shout.
“Tony! We need to go!” Tony groaned.
“I’ve really gotta go.”
“Just stay safe.”
Tony flew between the high rise buildings, dodging the Chitauri. Doom had already tried to conquer the Earth with Chitauri minions, and now Amora seemed intent on the same idea. Just with upgraded Chitauri minions.
“Cap? Any idea on how to kill the bastards?” Tony asked over the comms, turning off onto 5th Avenue.
“None at the minute. Just try anything.” Tony groaned. Yet again, faced with monsters they didn’t know how to kill.
This was just getting repetitive.
He zoomed down 5th Avenue, searching out any crevices to dive down, when he noticed someone battling Amora beneath him.
“Hey, Capsicle, who’s fighting Amora?” A pause followed the question.
“No-one? We’re all too busy trying to stop the Chitauri.” Steve sounded confused.
“Someone’s down there. She’s definitely fighting someone.”
“Try and get visual.” Coulson ordered.
“Hey! I thought you only talked to me on the comms! You’re cheating on me!” You could almost hear the eye roll Coulson gave his partner.
“Agent Barton. Concentrate on your objective.” Coulson almost hissed down the line.
“Yes, Sir!” Clint sounded like he’d just done a mock salute.
Someone wasn’t gonna get laid tonight.
Tony did a quick u-turn, causing the Chitauri on his tail to crash into one another, and he promptly dived towards Amora and her attacker.
“It’s a guy, looks like he’s using magic. Green magic, because I can’t distinguish between his and Amora’s. He’s quite tall, and got dark hair. And pale. And...” Tony halted mid-air.
“And?” Coulson prompted. Tony opened his mouth, but no words came out.
“Tony? Who is it?” Coulson was getting more and more irritated by the second. A gasp came down the line.
“Coulson, it’s Loki. Loki is fighting Amora.” Erik’s rough voice came over the line. Charles was as shocked as Tony then.
Tony couldn’t move, he was frozen watching the god battling the enchantress. Loki seemed to be getter weaker, his moves slower, less answer’s for Amora’s actions.
Amora sent a blast of green light directly at Loki. Loki’s eyes widened, and as the ball of green magic hit him, it exploded, a pulse sent out through the city. Amora gave a bitter smile, and disappeared, along with her army.
A hush fell on New York City.
Loki was splayed out on the destroyed tarmac. Red was seeping out underneath him, staining the dark road.
Tony fell down on the road, and quickly unsuited. He ran over to where the god lay, motionless.
“Loki? Loki?” The god gave no response, except a shuddering breath. Tony pressed a down onto the bloodstained leather, trying to stem the wound.
“HELP!!! WE NEED HELP OVER HERE!!!” Tony turned back to the pale man underneath his hands.
“Loki, it’s gonna be alright. You hear me? It’s gonna be fine. Everything will be fine.” He whispered frantically, to both himself and the unconscious man.
He could hear people approaching , running over the ruined ground. He saw hands on Loki’s body, trying to take the god away from him. Tony held on.
“Mr. Stark, please. We need to examine him. You have to let go.” Tony held on, but slowly released his grip on the black and green leather.
Then Loki was gone.
They tugged him away, carrying him away down the road, towards a vehicle.
Tony couldn’t do anything else but sit there. Motionless. Loki’s blood was covering his hand, the red running down his arm.
And the people of New York came and stood outside, silent. The watched the limp form of the god being carried away. They watched a beloved hero break down before them. And the people of New York prayed.
A hush fell on New York City.
Chapter 13: Epilogue
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
Author's Note: This was the chapter that was supposed to be posted for today, so this is the second of the two chapters to be posted today. Thank you to everyone who has kudos'd and commented, it means so much. The next story, called "You Catch Me As My Tears Fall", will start to be posted tomorrow. For the last time, enjoy!
The room was almost empty.
Loki lay on the white hospital bed, almost blending in with the sheet. Tony sat beside him, rubbing circles into a limp hand.
The same as yesterday.
And the day before that.
Tony sighed, his eyes never once leaving the pale gods face. A strand of dark hair had fallen across Loki’s forehead. Tony gently pushed it back with a finger. Loki wouldn’t want his hair messed up, even when he was unconscious.
“Tony?” A soft voice startled him, but he still never let his eyes leave the pale face.
“Hum?” He felt a hand on his shoulder.
“It’s been 10 days. He’s not coming back.” Clint’s voice was soft. Tony shook his head.
“You don’t know him. He wouldn’t leave me.”
“I don’t know him. But I do know he wouldn’t leave you willingly. But maybe he can’t get back to you.” Tony’s vision started to blur.
“No. He wouldn’t leave me. However difficult it was to get back.” Clint’s hand rubbed into Tony’s shoulder.
“Just a little longer. Please.” Clint sighed, but nodded.
“Okay.” Clint stood slowly.
“Clint?” Tony’s voice was strangled.
“What was it like? Thinking you’d lost Phil?”
Clint looked at the ground. “Like I’d lost my purpose. Like I couldn’t carry on living. Like I couldn’t breathe.”
Tony gave a small smile. “Please don’t take him away from me.” He raised his eyes to the archers. The first time he’d lost sight on Loki. Clint saw the same desperation in Tony’s eyes that he’d seen in himself.
“I won’t. I won’t.” Tony stiffly nodded, and returned his gaze to the god. Clint backed out of the room slowly. He walked numbly until he found Coulson further down the corridor. He rested his head on the agent’s shoulder.
“Don’t tear them apart.”
Coulson stood back, looking his boyfriend in the eyes. He nodded once. “I won’t.” Clint pressed back into Coulson.
Loki stared around him, watching the too-bright world. The emerald leaves, the topaz blue sky, the golden sun.
It was perfect.
Children were playing in a park, running and skipping. Couples strolled through the park, hand in hand. Families were having picnic’s, rugs spread out on the lush grass.
No-one noticed him.
He strained his vision, searching for something familiar. Something of New York. The Empire State Building grew out of the horizon. He smiled. Empire State of Mind. A song Clint was extremely fond of, he'd heard.
A women and a child passed by him. He hastened to catch them.
“Excuse me, but where am I?”
“Wherever you want it to be!” The child replied with exuberance.
Loki stared. “Am... Is this place real?”
The child giggled. “Of course! This is your world!” Loki felt the world sway.
He was dead.
He was dead.
He was never going to see Tony again.
He sank to the ground, his breath leaving him.
“Are you alright, Mister?” The child knelt beside him. Loki shook his head.
“Tony. Where’s Tony?”
The child shrugged. “You can make a new Tony! Like I made a new Mummy!” The child gestured towards its mother. A sob escaped Loki.
He was never going to see Tony again.
Tears escaped from his eyes, rolling down his cheeks. He did nothing to stop them.
“Don’t worry Mister. This place is lovely. You can stay with Mummy and I. You’ll never be lonely here.”
Loki gave a shuddering laugh.“That is fine. I’ll think I’ll just stay here. Thank you.”
The child nodded. “Okay. Goodbye, Mister!” The child ran off, grabbing hands with its mother.
Loki was left alone.
“I love you Tony. I love you.” He whispered, letting the words catch on the gentle breeze.
I love you I love you I love you love you love you you you you...
Tony rested his head next to Loki’s, pressing a light kiss to the god’s cheek.
“Wherever you are, I’ll find you. I promise you, I’ll find you.” He whispered.
The doctors had said it was for the best. That there was no chance of recovery. No chance of Loki coming back. Tony had remained silent. Loki wouldn’t want him to get angry. He just sat there, letting the words roll off him. Charles explained it to him. That Loki was lost.
That he was dead.
Tony may still not believe it. He may never believe it. But he had to let Loki go. He still had the memories.
Loki crying... Loki smiling... Loki riding a bike... Loki stuck in a tree... Loki playing football... Loki and Tony, together against the world... Loki driving a car... Loki wrinkling his nose as he laughed... Loki moaning about the rain... Loki frightened of thunder... Loki running to hug him... Loki hogging the bedcovers, then kicking them straight off again... Loki kissing him for the first time... Loki shivering, so pale... Loki...
Tony pressed one last kiss to the pale lips, running his hand through the long, dark hair. He stood, a tear running his cheek. He let go off the ashen hands, placing them carefully on the bed.
“Goodbye Loki.” He turned his back to the god, taking in a shuddering breath.
A shuddering breath that was echoed behind him.
He stood, frozen. Gentle breaths were echoing behind him.
“I love you Tony. I love you.” A gentle whisper reached his ears. He turned, fraction by fraction.
Brown eyes met green.