But you keep thundering, thundering
I'm wondering, wondering
Why you keep thundering
Won't you just rain and get it over with?
Get It Over With, Rihanna
When Loki storms into Stark Industries Tony is, predictably, in some sort of meeting, and since Loki and Pepper bonded mostly out of mutual respect, Loki has since learned not to simply stomp like a child and demand his friend's attention. Today, though, that is really, really hard, and instead of sitting in the waiting room like any normal visitor, Loki stands outside the door Tony's in, arms crossed and eyebrows drawn, the proverbial dark cloud over his head. He tries not to pace, tries leaning against the wall without anxiously biting his nails, tries thinking about work and not what he came in here for. Happy and Pepper, bless their hearts, both try to distract him with magazines and coffee, and, again, it's only because of years of acquaintance that Loki manages not to snap at them. That he barks a little, they know and are used to, but bite? Today it's hard not to, when everything seems in the process of falling apart.
He breathes, in, and out. He wishes he didn't quit his yoga classes; wonders if he ought to start something more energic instead, something a bit violent. Tai-chi? How are these things called? Some activity to let off some steam and maybe kick something; he thinks he'd probably like that. He thinks he'll probably need that in a not so distant future.
Don't think about him. Don't think about him. Don't think about him.
In the end he goes to the bathroom, splashes water on his face - grimacing, those circles around his eyes make him look sick - and when he comes back, Tony is ushering outside his guests, or colleagues, the meeting was with. He winks and smiles and gesticulates and Loki thinks, hurry up .
Tony, on his part, doesn't seem surprised to see him there, doesn't even falter in taking him by the arm and say, "You're right in time for lunch. I'm buying," and when Loki says he's not hungry, he just raises a brow, says, "Well, I am". Loki rolls his eyes, because of course , but still, something grips his throat and squeezes, and he finds himself saying "Somewhere new, though, alright? Not..." and can't finish, but Tony has already understood that he doesn't want to risk running in any of their friends, is already waving off Happy unconcernedly to drive his own car.
"Wanna tell me what this is all about?" Tony asks while driving, but Loki just says "Later," so his friend just turns the music up and keeps chattering all the while and Loki hates AC/DC but he closes his eyes, tries to clear his mind and breathe.
The place they end up going is a cozy little deli that Tony claims he's been wanting to try out for a while now, all cream-coloured walls and even a fireplace, and Loki, absurdely, thinks this is not a bad place to have a breakdown in.
"So, is this one of those talks?" Tony finally asks before the waitress comes over, and Loki, knowing why that question at that specific time, crosses his arms and averts his eyes, his hard "Maybe" causing Tony's bambi eyes to close a second before decidedly ordering coffee and too much sweet stuff they won't probably be able to finish. The waitress didn't expect it at lunch-time, that much is clear, but what she can't know is that Tony and Loki, they have this sort of pity-party tradition in which they'll only talk seriously about their problems if they're surrounded by sweets, sometimes with disastrous consequences. When Tony and Pepper broke up, Tony's indigestion almost sent him to the hospital; when Loki had to move across the country, he ate so much sweets with Tony beforehand that he couldn't even stand the sight of them for weeks after. Not many people know of this, of course; Thor has always said it is cute and that at least it is probably safer than alcohol, but his coping mechanism is going to the gym so Loki suspects he doesn't and will never understand. It's okay though, this can remain something between Tony and him and, on a couple of memorable occasions, Rhodey.
There are many things that Thor will probably never understand, but damn , Loki thought he would have tried a little longer.
"He wants to break up with me," Loki blurts out between a cupcake and a muffin, and, to his credit, Tony doesn't spit out his coffee and just widens his eyes. "Thor ?" he asks, disbelieving, and Loki makes an impatient gesture, "No, my grandfather's ghost. Yes , Thor. Who the fuck else?"
"Excuse me for being a bit surprised that you think the guy who believes the sun shines out of your ass wants to break up with you" Tony snipes back, and Loki sneers, "Yeah, well, he might not think that anymore, right?"
There is a brief pause in which Tony studies him. "You're actually serious. You believe this," and the look on his face is calculating but still fairly perplexed. "I'm here in fucking Candyland, am I not?" Loki replies, harsher than he needs to, but Tony isn't the type to be offended by some swearing, and pops a chocolate in his mouth. "Want to tell me what this is about?" he asks, deliberately casual, chewing. Loki makes a face, takes a little bite, chews, swallows. Takes his time.
"He asked me to have dinner with him tonight," he slowly says, and his friend makes a confused expression: "Don't you guys live together? I would think that to be a common enough occurance."
Loki smiles, bitter. "Not since I came back. Work has been kind of crazy for both of us, and then he goes to the gym, some evenings I barely have time to eat at all...I think the last time we actually sat down and had a nice meal together, not take away or a fucking sandwich, was in fact when I moved back from Miami, so...a month ago? Something like that. Most of our free weekends are spent with you guys or at Thor's parents, so...you know. Not much alone time."
"Okay, but what does this have to do with Thor wanting to break up with you? He wants to have a nice meal for once, I don't blame him if everything's been crazy lately."
Loki's shaking his head even before Tony's finished: "No, no. You didn't hear him, didn't see him as he asked. He was serious, and...kind of anxious I think? Asked if I was free, if I could possibly get off earlier from work so we could have dinner together. Said he wanted to cook."
Tony emphatically shakes his napkin. "I still don't see the problem! Guy wants to wine and dine and probably bend you over the table after, right? It's Thor!"
"Yes thank you Anthony, I forgot whom we were talking about for a second," he says scathingly, and Tony raises his hands and eyes to the ceiling, "Look, I do think I know my boyfriend of three years a little more than you, genius, okay? Something's off. He wouldn't meet my eyes, and then tried to hold my gaze a little too intensely and fuck , I know this sounds stupid, okay? I know. But this is not how he normally behaves and he wants to break up, I know it. Fuck, he probably has someone else," and he must look like a deer caught in the headlights, because Tony looks for the first time faintly alarmed, "Does he have somebody else? Fuck you Tony if you know and don't tell me I'm gonna fucking end you. Does Steve know? He'd probably tell Steve. Can you give Steve a blowjob and find out? I can't for obvious reasons -"
"Fuck, Look-a-like," Tony finally interrupts, "you're killing me here. Thor is not cheating on you and while I'm pretty sure a blowjob would in fact move Steve to tell me anything I don't believe he would have anything to tell because there isn't. Thor loves you, buddy, okay? And of course I would tell you if I found out something like that, who do you take me for?"
But Loki, predictably, isn't really listening.
"Well, no, I don't believe he'd really tell any of you if there was the possibility you would tell me," he considers, "maybe some colleague, though. Or he'd tell Sif, or fucking Fandral -oh God," he suddenly blanches, "What if he finally regrets breaking up with Jane Foster and is now in a secret three-way relationship with her and Sif?"
"What if" Tony interjects loudly, "the only relationship he actually wants to be in is the one he is already in because he does, in fact, love you very much?"
Loki takes a breath, sips his coffee. Tony's voice takes a gentler tone. "I know you and Thor may have your problems, Lokes, all relationships do, but a cheater? Your man ain't one. Frigga would actually disown him," he muses, and Loki almost smiles, then hides his face behind his hands. Takes one breath, two breaths, then lowers them because he is still in a public place and whining sounds appealing but maybe he'll do that after he's been effectively dumped.
"I know he wouldn't want to cheat on me, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't have happened or that...or that he might not have been tempted, you know?" He swallows hard. "I couldn't even blame him. I mean, I would eviscerate the bastard, no doubt, but the past year has been so hard. I had to move away for work and let me tell you, long-distance relationship is so not our thing, it'd be hilarious if it hadn't been so shitty. Then I come back and it's like we can never take a fucking break, some time to ourselves, you know? If...if I didn't know him deep in my bones, sometimes I'd feel like I was living with a stranger. I miss him and I was actually working harder to be able to take more time off but now I'm convinced he's going to break up with me so damn it all to hell, I will die at the office."
Tony passes him a bagel. "So you think he's going to break up with you because of work or because he's found somebody else?"
Loki takes a big bite, "Could be either, could be both. I just know tonight when I come home he'll have cooked for me as some kind of way to compensate for the fact that at the end he'll probably put a couple of suitcases in front of me and send me on my merry way." He takes another bite, says gloomy, "Maybe he will bend me over the table anyway, as a last hurrah or some other bullshit."
Tony's smile is crooked, and he has crumbs on his goatee but Loki isn't going to tell him. "How's the sex, anyway?"
"When we are actually awake and home at the same time?" Loki answers even more darkly, "Well, fuck, it's good. It's always been pretty out of the ordinary, you know that."
Tony nods solemnly, because damn him, he does. There might have been times Loki should have wisely kept his mouth shut, but it was exciting to have someone to tell and if Loki was a bit smug, hell, try having a boyfriend like Thor and not feel like bragging a little.
Oh shit after tomorrow Loki will not have a boyfriend like Thor anymore.
"What am I gonna do," he says a bit desperately.
Tony, for once in his life, is actually sensible and wise about it all, but what he says inevitably doesn't stick in Loki's brain, because Loki's brain is busy doing what Loki's brain does when he's convinced of something terrifying.
Loki does his best to be on time that night. For once, it's not work that is the problem: he couldn't concentrate even if it was the last thing he had to do, too much Thor on his mind, so he leaves early (ignores the stares thrown his way) and - and ends up walking all the way home instead of taking the subway as always, too much pent up energy to sit still and wait.
What is he going to do? He won't say that Thor is his whole world: he worked hard to be as important for his job as he is, and sometimes he thinks he worked even harder for his friends to be able to call him a true friend in return. Loki has always been a loner, always not minding being alone if it meant not having to deal with idiots, but somehow he found people he genuinely didn't mind so much being around, and well, he might have had to work a little on his character for the feeling to be mutual. These things, his job and his friends, they will still be around when Thor is not.
But Thor. Loki can't bear the thought of actually not being able to call him his own.
It would be cheesy to say they fit like puzzle pieces, a lie to say he believes Thor to be perfect; but Thor is acceptance and fun and home and love and fuck if Loki is going to be dumped without a fight, damn it. Thor might have forgotten how good they can be together, how fun it is to be bad; but Loki hasn't, even while trying to sleep in an empty bed thousands of miles away. Now that he is back sleeping next to his big, buff blond he is not eager to relinquish the privilege without trying.
But still. The thought of fighting to make Thor change his mind is pathetic , isn't it? Loki isn't one to simply beg in these matters, he's truly not, and imagining pleading with his hands in prayer, tears in his eyes and broken voice, is enough to make him take a left when he should have taken a right to avoid arriving home quite so soon. He can't do it, can he? He won't lower himself that much, right? Instead of being moved and changing his mind, Thor will probably realize even more what a pathetic little boy he really is, and will be even happier to put all this behind himself. Should he try to remain stoic, then? Nod in aknowledgement, shake Thor's hand and leave with his stuff without saying a word? Should he be venomous instead, spit at Thor things that will hurt him as much as Loki? Or should he lie and say that yes, he was thinking the same too and maybe they can even remain friends?
Ha. Friends. Over his dead body.
"Oh, you're home!"
Thor's big smile is incongruous with what Loki expects, but there is still a trace of nervousness in his boyfriend's eyes that tells him to keep bracing himself for the worst.
"Do you want to have a shower first, or..." Thor asks him after a brief kiss to Loki's temple, "Dinner's ready when you are."
Loki's stomach is not at all ready, but since Thor seems determined to go with it, he might as well not stall further, so they sit.
Thor prepared a wonderful risotto, his specialty, and Loki does his best to appreciate it, but the glasses of wine he's drinking probably tell more about his state that he'd want to show. They make small talk, but it's so clear they're both tense and nervous. Loki would confront him at once, but perversely now that he knows he doesn't have a future with Thor anymore he can't bear the thought of cutting off the short, precious time they have left together. So he endures, but it is so awkward and painful, he mostly just looks at Thor's face. It's not like he hasn't committed it to memory already, every line, crinkle and colour, but he can't get enough of it.
It's not until Thor stands to fetch their desserts that Loki closes his eyes, takes a trembling breath, because this is it, isn't it?
"Well, this is convenient," Thor says from somewhere, "Would you mind terribly keeping your eyes closed until I tell you to open them?"
This is it. "Sure," Loki says, trembling. Surely now Thor is taking Loki's bags to put them in front of him, eloquent as nothing else could be, or worse, Thor is taking his own bags, ready to leave Loki to deal with the memories carved in their flat...
A blink, two. He immediately looks at their surroundings, but can't see bags or suitcases lying around. Thor is unmistakably nervous as he is once again sitting in front of him, but it's not until his boyfriend meaningfully looks at something near Loki that he lowers his eyes to the plate Thor put before him.
Oh. Oh .
Thor evidently baked a batch of cookies as dessert, and they are arranged in a tidy circle at the edge of the plate; what's shocking, what Loki can't tear his eyes off, is in the middle of them.
It's a tiny box. Really tiny. Ring-sized, probably, emphasis on the ring , and Loki suddenly hears a static noise, has probably stopped breathing.
"Would you like to open it?" comes Thor's voice from seemingly far away and still closer than it should be, and wow, when has Thor stood up to sit next to him, close to him?
Words evade him, and he takes the box - it's light, but seems the heaviest thing in the world - and opens it with trembling hands, trembling lips.
Inside is a golden ring, beautiful in its simplicity, elegant and refined. Its colour is the exact shade of Thor's hair in the sunset light, and there are some engraved lines Loki's thumb goes over and over.
His eyes are full of tears when he finally looks up at Thor, and through the haze he sees Thor swallow hard and then, and then...he lowers himself on one knee in front of him, and Loki reflectively turns his chair a bit in his direction, makes to stand up, but Thor puts a hand on his knee to stop him, the other finding Loki's one, the one holding the ring.
For a few seconds none of them talk, then Thor takes a deep breath, takes Loki's other hand and guides it to cup his own cheek, nuzzling it a bit as to give himself courage.
"Loki," he starts, "I love you. I love you so much, and I miss you. You mean the world to me, and - and I really want you to be mine forever. Will you marry me?" He kisses Loki's hand, all the while looking him in the eyes with the most hopeful, scared expression.
Like he truly is afraid Loki is going to say no to him.
Which should totally be a rightful concern knowing of Loki's emotional maturity, and yet , as he thought that...he really had thought that...
"I thought you were going to leave me," he says without really thinking, a bit numbly, "I thought you were finally sick of me, thought this was it."
Thor's shocked expression is, somehow, even more reassuring of his feelings than the fucking marriage proposal . "What?" he asks, confused. "You thought I made dinner just to leave you?"
Loki suddenly feels like an idiot. "You can be stupidly nice like that," he grumbles, defensive, "Like some kind of parting gift or something."
Thor doesn't look pitying, really (Loki could kick him for that), but the sympathetic sorrow on his face is still too much for Loki to bear. "How could I," he says helplessly, "how could I leave you when I love you more than anything?"
"I don't know, okay?" and damn these damned tears that won't dry nor fall, "the past year has been pretty much a nightmare, I'm well aware of it. I wouldn't have blamed you if you'd gotten tired! But still," he hurries to say after Thor makes a pained noise, "I wouldn't have understood it because no matter how hard I cannot imagine ever wanting to break up with you."
At this, Thor cracks a beautiful smile, eyes shining, and Loki's stomach does a weird flip and he thinks nope, never getting enough of this .
He still is on one knee, the sweet oaf.
"Which is why," he goes on, almost whispering, "yes, my love. I will marry you."
Thor is openly crying, now, as he fits the ring to Loki's finger and then kisses it and then Loki's hand, and then his wrist, one, two times until Loki is dragging him up and finally kissing his lips. They're both crying and Loki would say they're losers, except then Thor is making him stand up and taking him in his arms and spinning him around, and they're crying, and kissing, and laughing, and Loki has never been happier.