The golden sun rose above the horizon, its rays of light reached like limbs over the lively city of New York; the people were beginning to wake up, cafés and restaurants were opened for breakfast, and those obsessed with their fitness (aka Steve and Natasha) got up to exercise. It wasn’t an unusual, as far as summer days go in New York; in fact, the avengers hadn’t been called on once, if you didn’t count the petty criminals—whom Spiderman was happy to take care of.
Meanwhile, in the main kitchen of the Avenger’s mansion, Thor happily hummed to himself as his Pop Tarts cooked in the toaster, remembering to start the coffee when Bruce trudge in, still half asleep. Clint joined them with a yawn and a demand for pancakes; Natasha announced her own entrance by slapping him in the back of the head. She’d just taken a shower, a towel still wrapper around her neck as she waits for the coffee. Steve came in from his morning jog, newspaper in hand, and sat at the table to read. Thor had just started on the pancakes when Loki entered, plopping himself into the chair next to Steve after dragging himself to the table. There’s a brief pause as the group notices an uncharacteristic silence in the kitchen, reminding them of a fact they had been too tired or uninvolved to notice or mention; Loki was alone.
“Where’s Stark?” Clint asked, the first to vocalize his surprise.
Loki sighed heavily and rested his head on his arms. “I do not know. I woke up and he was absent, having left no note—or any clue at all—as to where he might have gone. He left his phone on the nightstand.”
There was a brief and unsure silence. Steve and Natasha looked at each other, their faces unreadable as they exchanged a seemingly telepathic conversation. Steve had left at five for his jog, and Natasha had gone to the gym at six,so assuming he had slept there at all, he must’ve left between the window.
“I asked JARVIS as well…but he refuses to tell me,” He glanced up, frustrated. “useless piece of machinery.”
“JARVIS, is that true?” Steve asked, looking to the ceiling.
Mr Stark has requested that his whereabouts remain unmasked. He will return home soon.
Clint patted Loki’s back. “See Loki! He’ll be coming back.”
“For everyone’s sake I hope he is right.” Loki sighed, his mind filled with different places Tony might’ve disappeared to. To his knowledge, Tony hadn’t had any corporate meetings, and he couldn’t think of why he wouldn’t have said in advance if he was meeting a friend. He couldn’t have gone for a flight in the suit; it was still in his lab. Where could you have gone?
“Don’t fret so much, Loki.” Steve said, a big smile on his face. “I’m sure that Tony’s just out on some adventure—-”
“Steve, Steve, Steve! Guess what, guess what, guess what!” Tony yelled as he skid across the kitchen floor. He’d left the door gaping open; a perfect view for his car—which was parked in the middle of the grass. “Guess what, guess what!”
“Tony, where were you?” Loki asked, only to be ignored by the over excited billionaire. Tony, he noticed, was wearing a business suit—which meant he had actually gone to a corporate meeting after all. But what for?
Steve laughed, folding his newspaper. “Okay, what? And where were you?”
“Guess what I got!”
Tony reached into his pocket, pulled out two small tickets, and slamed them on the table between Steve and Loki. “Two tickets to tomorrow’s World Series! And you know who’s playing? That’s right—the Dodgers!”
Loki watched as Steve’s perfect Boy Scout face brightened as he grasped the tickets. He recalleld that the Dodgers had been Roger’s favorite baseball—a Midgardian sport—team back in the 40’s, before they were traded to LA (whatever that meant). “T-Tony, this is- how?! I read that all tickets were sold out!”
Tony smirked and flashed his infamously guilty grin. “There was a guy who owed me a favor.”
The smile dissolved. “What? Tony what did you—”
Tony pulled up a chair and sat closer to the blonde man, the two forming a bubble in their own world, having completely forgotten that the rest of the Avengers were still in the room. “No; it’s nothing like that! A couple years back I saved this small company from bankruptcy and the father of the CEO said that he owes me for helping his son. Well, being me, I completely forgot about the whole thing—until today, when Pepper calls me and forces me to go in and sign some papers last minute. So, on my way out, I ran into the guy’s dad—now a successful businessman—and he’s telling me he’s got two spare tickets to the World Series! So I mention that you went to a Dodgers game while they were still in Brooklyn, and he just gave me the tickets!” He playfully punched the Captain. “So happy late birthday! You and Me, World Series! What do you say?”
Loki could’ve sworn he saw fireworks go off in Steve’s eyes. “Of course! Thank you Tony, this is amazing!” The two stood up and embraced in a giant, bear-like hug. “I-I need to pack or something—oh it’s tomorrow right? But it’s one day what do I—”
“I have a jet leaving for us this afternoon, just pack for a night. World Series, baby!” The two high fived and Steve took to his room to get a change of clothes, and Tony, his smile still bright on his face, sat down again. “Oh hey—when did you guys get here?”
Natasha rolled her eyes and Clint (coffee for himself and Natasha in hand) sat down across from him. “Wow Stark, way to upstage our presents for Steve!”
“You’re the one who got him socks with the British flag.” Tony replied simply.
“Hey, he wears them sometimes!” he rolled his eyes. “it was a joke!”
“Barton, be quiet.” Loki requested, trying his best not to yell. “Why didn’t you tell me that you were leaving early?” He said, a small pouting look on his face.
He smiled and kissed his partner’s cold lips. “I’m sorry; I got dragged out in such a rush by Pepper, not only wasn’t I able to wake up—Heaven help me if I had—but I forgot my phone.”
Still pouting, Loki decided to let it go. Tony stood up. “Well, I gotta go get ready, too. See you guys later!” He left the kitchen, his face as luminescent as it had been when he’d hurried in, bouncing and yelling like a child. He’d forgotten to get coffee. He must be really distracted.
Loki looked around at the team, who was proceeding as though nothing had happened. And truth was, nothing had happened except that Tony Stark, his lover of almost a year, had invited Steve Rogers, his lifelong crush, to a baseball game that required an overnight stay out of state. Just the two of them, alone, in a private plane and hotel. But there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, should there? Because it’s Steve and Tony, and he can trust them. Right?
Several hours before the had two left, Loki found himself following Tony like a duckling as he made arrangements for Steve’s birthday present. He wasn’t sure if Tony had noticed him, but he wasn’t say much to distract him. At one point, Tony turned and saw Loki, apologizing for not paying attention to him earlier—only to immediately return to his planning.
“Out of curiosity, isn’t it customary for one lover to invite the other to an event such as a game?” Loki hinted at his annoyance, his arms crossed.
“Oh, you’re not jealous that I asked Steve and not you, are you?” To anyone but an Avenger, it might’ve sounded like pure sarcasm. Loki, while he wasn’t an Avenger, was no idiot when it came to Stark, though, and knew better. He forced a small smile and gave Tony a light hug.
“No I’m not, I’m just…asking a question.”
Tony sighed into his chest. “I know you don’t like baseball, so I’ve never asked you to one of these before. And like I said, this is for Steve’s birthday. I got him a pretty crappy present.” He reminded.
“A waffle maker isn’t that bad of a gift.” Loki replies.
“Loki, he barely uses it, and it was a tacky, and last minute—his billionaire best friend gave him a waffle maker, Loki! And he’s loved the Dodgers longer than anyone alive—this is the perfect present.”
“I suppose so. Just…”
Tony looked at him. “Just what?”
Loki shook his head and kissed the top of Tony’s head. “Never mind, have fun. And don’t do anything stupid.”
“What? Me?” Loki raised his eyebrow. “Don’t worry! I’m pretty sure Clint absorbs all the stupid in me.”
“I heard that Tony!”
Sif walked out of the training room, towel in hand and headphones still in her ears (Tony bought her an iPod, and with lots of patience, had taught her to use it). She passed by the staircase that leads to Bruce and Tony’s lab and saw that the light was on, despite the fact that she not only knew that Tony was out of town, but that Bruce and Clint had been leaving to get food when she’d gone into the gym. Assuming that one of them had left the light on, she headed over to find the switch, only to discover Loki sprawled out on the couch, holding a wrench to his chest as DUM-E nudged his feet. She held back a giggle and and entered, removing her headphones and putting on a stoic face. “What are you doing here with that wrench?”
Loki sighed deeply and looked up at her. “Tony left with Captain Rogers to a stupid mortal game.”
“So I heard. But what’re you doing here?”
He gave her an expectant look. ”Because Tony is at a mortal game with Captain Rogers.”
Oh yes, Sif knew why Loki was there, moping like a child, but she just wanted to hear him say it. “No, I still do not understand. Please elaborate.” She replied, sitting down.
Loki rolls his eyes. “Sif, I am the God of Mischief and Lies, and I know when you’re lying. I’m also not stupid. Don’t mock me.”
The warrior smiled. “I apologize—but it is humorous to see you like this. He’s only been gone a few hours, are you that reliant on his company?”
“Yes.” He said, even though there was more to his discontent.
“But he’s been gone before for business meetings and you’ve never done this before,” she protested. “What’s really wrong Loki? And since I am not busy today, I shall wait until you answer.”
Loki crossed his arms. Two can play at this game; he’d simply have to keep his mouth shut until she left. Sif smirked, realizing he’s not going to talk. She relaxed into the leather couch, taking the remote off the coffee table and turned on the television. She searched through a couple of channels before settling on Dora the Explorer.
“Come on everybody, let’s say it together. Swiper no swiping! Say it with us. Swiper no swiping!”
Loki covered his ears and turned to the backrest of the couch to smother himself. Sif’s smirk grew wider and she turned up the volume. “Swiper no swiping!” Loki was sure that by the fifth ‘no swiping’ the fox would’ve given up, but the chant goes on and the volume goes up.
“For Odin’s sake how the hell do you stop a masked fox by telling him not to swipe?! What is this teaching to children?!” he finally snapped, throwing his wrench at the television. The screen cracked, but didn’t relent.
“Swiper no swiping!Swiper no swiping!Swiper no swiping!Swiper no swiping!Swiper no swiping!Swiper no swiping!” Like imps chattering in his ear. Sif turned off the television.
“Oh… um, I swear I’ll replace that.”
I will not tell Sir. JARVIS says.
“Thank you… um. I do not like that show.”
Sif laughed and playfully punched Loki’s shoulder. “Will you tell me now?”
“Will you leave me alone?”
“There’s another television on Bruce’s side on the laboratory.”
“Argh! Fine!” Loki runs his hands through his hair and leans back on the couch. “If you must know, it’s Rogers.”
The warrior turns her head to the side. “Captain America?”
“Is there another Rogers here?”
“I don’t need your sass.” She replied, rolling her eyes. “What’s wrong with him? He’s kind and gentle—”
“And was Tony’s former love interest. My lover is on a private trip with his “kind and gentle” lifelong crush and I am not there to stand between them.”
Sif laughed, reaching to ruffle Loki’s hair. He jerked away, scoffing half-heartedly. “You don’t think Tony would actually cheat on you, do you? He’s stuck to you like flies and poop.”
“Flies and what?”
“…nevermind. Clint has been teaching me Midgardian slang. Perhaps I should consult Natasha the future.”
“Or you could stop asking the pigeon for advice.”
“I HEARD THAT TOO!” Clint called from upstairs, startling the two Asgardians.
“How does he do that?” Loki asked.
He would have liked to stay and to talk to Sif, but their conversation is interrupted by Thor, and she apologizes before running off to do some “Warrior Business” that Loki can only guess actually involves food. At dinner, Loki ate alone (having shooed off anyone who would have him do otherwise), choosing sulking in his and Tony’s room over company. He’s calmed somewhat by a phone call from Tony, reassuring him that they’d gotten to LA safely, only to have his happiness washed away by Steve’s voice, calling Tony in the background. Tony quickly said good night before hanging up, leaving Loki to pace and worry himself into to a light, anxious sleep.
The next morning is no better; Loki refused to entertain the others with his presence, once again preferring worry to company. He is, however, kicked out of the lab by a sighing Pepper, who’d arrived to replace the television after receiving a call from JARVIS. She said nothing to him, only giving him a slightly reprimanding look that shows she understands, but hates the inconvenience. Tired of his room, he went instead to the living room, where he was surprised by an empty couch. Letting out a sigh, he put on a DVD Tony had recommended to him.
About three or so hours later he is greated by a horrified Bruce, who, having heard the sound a gun going off, rushed over. “What the hell is that?! Are we being attacked?”
He entered the threshold to find Loki slumped on the couch, pistol in hand, blindly shooting at a spray-painted yellow smiley face on the wall. “What the heck are you doing?! I thought we were being attack!” He asked.
“Bored!” Loki stood up, shooting around his back at the yellow face. “Bored, bored I’m bored without him!” He emptied the last bullet out of the gun with a final pop, the projectile disappearing into thin air.
“And how is shooting at the wall supposed to cure your boredom?”
“The detective on the DVD did it when he was bored.”
Bruce took the DVD off the table; it read BBC’s Sherlock. He rolled his eyes “Really? You’re taking advice from a psychotic detective?”
“Highly functioning sociopath.” Loki corrected nonchalantly.
The doctor sighed. “I have no idea why Tony likes this show, or he thought it was good idea for you to watch it.” Loki ignored him, waving the gun a bit, new bullets appearing in the chambers; he shot the wall again. Bruce rolled his eyes, holding out his hand. Loki deposits it in his hand and gives him a look of discontent. “Look, I know that you miss Tony…but this behavior is unusual, even for you. He goes on business trips all the time, and yet here you are now, shooting at the wall like a maniac.” Loki lied on the couch, his arms crossed. “Is it about Tony and Steve?”
“Did Sif say something?”
“I’m sure she said something to Tasha—but it doesn’t take a god to see that Steve and Tony being alone together is making you like this. Are you afraid Tony’s gonna fall for him?”
Loki gripped his bicep in frustration and looked away from the doctor. He hated to feel this way. Tony’s had drastically cut down on his flirting, even with Steve, always politely rejecting people who flirt back too hard, even going so far as to tell them he’s already found his “life partner”—something Loki’s heart jumped at hearing. And yet here he was, not trusting his boyfriend.
“You are a good friend of Tony’s, are you not?”
Bruce smiled. “Clint likes to call us ‘science bros’ or something. Why?”
“D-does he… does he speak of Rogers? As in the way he speaks of me?”
“Ah, so you are jealous.”
“If you are going to mock me like Sif—”
Bruce shook his head. “Calm down, I’m not mocking you. Yes, he does talk about Steve—but not in the way you think.” Loki waited for him to explain. “I don’t know if you’d noticed, but there’s still a bit of tension between the two of them.”
“Tension?” Is there? Loki—still not a huge fan of Steve’s, had barely paid the man any attention. They’d gotten over the mess with Tony and Loki pretending to be a SHIELD agent…but the two still weren’t friends. Then again, Tony hardly ever spoke about Steve these days—why hadn’t he noticed? “What kind of tension?”
“Tony told me a few months ago they the three of you had come to a resolution…but he said it wasn’t the same anymore with Steve. Before you came along, they were inseparable, so when someone Tony actually cared about came into the picture, Steve freaked out a little…and then of course—Tony told you about the kiss, right?”
Loki nodded. “Rogers tried to convince Tony he was in love with him—but he was lying.”
“He loves Tony, but not in the same way you do. They’ve struggled a bit since then, because Steve still worries about the fact that you two are dating. They’ve slowly rebuilt that trust and their friendship, so the baseball game is a perfect way to seal it.” Loki took a deep breath. “If anything, Tony is probably trying to get Steve more comfortable with the fact that you guys are dating.”
The God sighed and rested his head on the red couch pillow. “I-I didn’t know that.”
“I don’t think Tony wanted you to be worried so he didn’t say anything.”
“Oh… well, that does reassure me more. Thank you doctor.”
Bruce smiled and patted his back. “Any time.” Bruce’s phone went off then, alerting him of a text message as Natasha walked into the room.
“Did you just get a text from Tony saying to watch the game?” She asks.
“Yeah,” Bruce nods as Clint and Thor walk in with their phones in their hands.
“Hey what channel is the—what happened to the wa?” Clint asks.
Loki and Bruce looked at each other for a brief moment of silence, not saying anything.
With popcorn and chips on the coffee table, JARVIS turned on the television to the World Series. The game hadn’t started yet, but the announcers were speaking about the players, and Loki fought the urge to tune them out. He slouched in his seat on the couch as Sif and Thor put popcorn kernels in his hair.
Before the game had begun the screen turned to static. Bruce hit the remote a couple of times and tried to change the channel, but the picture returned, showing not the field, but two people sitting in the audience—Tony and Steve. Tony was to be holding a small remote control, pressing buttons as the camera zoomed in. He looks up at it, smiling and waving. Steve is turned away, apparently talking to the person on his other side.
Tony reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone and types something in. Loki’s phone vibrated, and he pulled it out and opened the text message; a holographic image appeared in front of him—a crayon drawing picturing Tony and Loki, holding hands. Tony smiled and winked at the camera again.
The Avenger’s eyes turned to Loki, still slumped in his seat, his face tinged with a subtle blush. His phone then vibrated with another message from Tony that says ‘I love you.”.
“Are you still worried?” Sif asks.
They look back at the screen, all stopping in surprise when they realize that Steve and his friend are doing more than just talking. “JARVIS call Tony!” Natasha yelled. The house dialed and Tony answered. “Stark, turn the camera to Steve!” She told him.
Tony stares confusingly into the camera but does so, only to drop the remote in surprise at the sight of Steve.
Steve is in a full on tongue battle with the man sitting beside him, hands to his cheek and thigh. Tony’s mouth is wide open and they stared in surprise at Steve. Innocent, boy scout Captain America Steve Rogers making out with a stranger. “I swear I did not set this up.” Tony said through the speaker.
The blonde man pulled away with a smile, revealing his partner’s face. The Avenger’s find themselves even more surprised at the revelation. The man Steve had been kissing was none other than SHIELD agent Phil Coulson. “I swear I had no idea he was going to be here!” Tony yelled.
“Tony, who are you talking to?” Steve asks. The billionaire immediately turned off the camera and hung up the phone, leaving the team to staring blankly at the baseball game.
“The hell just happened?” Clint asked with his arms in the air. They’re too shocked to respond.
Bruce was the first to say something. “He told me that he was training Spider Man!”
Natasha and Clint cocked their heads in confusion. “He told us he’d be in Dubai for reconnaissance.”
“Nay, he told Sif and I that he’s conducting more research with Dr. Selvig in New Mexico.”
They all break into confusion, talking rapidly of their surprise and of Colsoun’s varying and unusually messy excuses. Thor turned to Loki.
“Did the son of Coul say anything to you, brother?”
Loki only smiled as he shook his head. “This man is a talented liar.”