Chapter 1: Prolouge: I Am Alone
“Soul marks such as yours are rare.” She told her son. Gently she touched the strange raised and coloured letters on his skin. The boy looked up at his mother.
“What does it mean?” He asked.
“Well it means someday, you will meet someone who has a matching mark. It may not look the same but it will pull you like a magnet. They will change your life.” She holds her child in her arms.
“How come I have one and not you?”
“Like I said they are rare. Not everyone has one. Some times it means you will make a friend who will be by your side when you need them most. And sometimes, sometimes they mean you will find a person who will love you for everything you are. Those are the most rare soul marks, heart marks. They can last a lifetime and beyond. Mind marks, marks for soul mates that are friends, can fade over time. Not heart marks though. They stay bright forever.” She kissed her son. “Now off to bed with you, before your father gets angry.”
“What if I die before I find my soul mate?” He asks solemnly. It breaks his mother's heart to hear him so sad.
“You won't. You will find them. I know it and I hope I'm there to meet them too.”
Many years later.
“He fell.” She is told. She weeps. Her son is dead before the promise of the strange raised letters on his skin could come true. She wonders if her son's soul mate can feel the pain. She wonders if her son's soul mates mother is trying to explain what happened.
He stood, waiting for the man who he had once known as his brother. He knew now that his mother had died. He knew he would never meet that someone she had promised him. Looking out over the dead world he said to himself. “I am alone.”
He stood, looking over the immense house. It looked dead. He knew someone was inside. There had been lights on an hour ago. Quietly he snuck in a window. He sat at the table, waiting for the sole occupant to be alerted by his home to the presence of an intruder. He knew his own name was Bucky but not much more. Softly he spoke to a movement in the darkness. “I am alone.”
“I can't believe you are making me do this.”
“Well how else am I supposed to fix what’s wrong, Barnes. I can't just plug into it and run a diagnostic. With it being connected to your brain and all, you feel things with it long before the on board circuits notice.” Stark scolded as he walked around the shirtless, metal armed man, who was posed with said metal arm on his hip and his normal fleshy arm in the air. “Okay. Now go like this.” The inventor pumped his arms up and down in the air above his head.
“You're just doing this so you can set it to music and post it online. I know that’s what you're planning Stark.” Bucky grumbled but he repeated the motion anyway.
“Ah-ha now I can see it.” Tony looked up from the computer. “Yeah I think you have some plates catching on each other at the elbow. Come here and keep moving the joint so I can see it with my eyes.”
“It feels like a servo might be stuck.” Bucky said as Tony watched the joint closely. He grabbed Bucky’s arm and twisted it to see the problem area in different lightings.
“One of the plates isn’t sitting right. Probably a servo.” Tony let his arm go. “Go get lunch or coffee or whatever keeps the rest of your weaponry running. It’s gonna be a slow fix.”
“Thanks Tony. You want anything while I’m out?” Bucky smiled. Tony was the only one he would ever trust with his arm.
“Cannoli. From that pastry shop you always go to. I’m gonna need to keep the brain fueled up so cannoli are required.” He grinned and slapped Bucky on the shoulder.
“There that should be enough to show him what it is. Between the photos and the video he should be able to get an idea of what ails you.”
“I do not understand why they won't allow me to just show him. It would save time and energy.” The broad blond man placed his hand comfortingly on his adopted brother's thin shoulder.
“They have their reasons. These Sanctums are not open to anyone except by invitation. I happen to have a good relationship with Doctor Strange. He will see me but you must remain out here. I hope I do not need to be asking this but…”
The slender raven-haired man rolled his eyes. “I know, stay nearby. Don't get into trouble and try to remain unnoticed. I am not a child. I doubt I will be noticed.”
“Here. Buy a tea or something and wait on that bench. You seem rather moody today.”
“I have had this damned collar on for a month. I have none of my magic and feel like I am exhausted all the time. We have traversed most of the nine realms looking for answers and now you've dragged me back to this vile city so you can visit with your friends. Perhaps I am done with this and would just like to be returned to my cell at this point.” The thinner man grabbed the bills from the brute. “Go see if this Strange is any smarter than the last imbecile.”
He watched the blond enter the odd building. He was glad to be alone for a moment. How the other man could be so smothering with his presence was beyond him.
It always had to be the shop Bleecker Street. Bucky liked the walk but it was a bit of a hike for cannoli. He figured he’d grab a sandwich at the café while they prepped Tony’s order. He also thought he might grab Tony something to give Steve. They had only just started trying to make the thing between them work and Tony had no idea what Stevie liked.
The little café had a good selection of teas and he was enjoying something with an odd combination lavender and green tea. It was unusual but also a bit relaxing. The raven-haired man stood next to a newsstand looking at the headlines. This world always seemed to be headed for destruction. Just off to the side of the papers announcing that the world was ending next week, Thursday to be exact, he felt strange small pull. It was not unlike the draw that came with using a tracking spell but more compelling. He looked up to see what was trying to draw him.
Bucky passed by the Sanctum on his way to the café. He always hoped he might run into Doctor Strange. From what the few who had met him said he was a genuinely interesting person. No luck today though. As he passed the nearby newsstand he felt a weird pull. Looking around to try and figure it out he locked eyes with a pale man looking at the papers.
It was brief. As they looked away they felt something that made them wonder about their mothers' words to them as children.
The pale man turned to the stack of books next to him as Bucky passed. Whatever had happened, it was gone now and he still had cannoli to buy and a lunch to eat.
He wasn’t sure if the man had pulled his attention or if it was the books. Next to him were a number of books on translating one language to another. Mostly they were something to English. Picking up the top one he was surprised to find he recognized a few of the symbols. The book was “Russian to English, with unique words and Cyrillic alphabet references, to help any traveler”. He rubbed the mark on his shoulder before asking the man seated behind the ledge about the cost of the book.
It didn't take long for Bucky to get his lunch, Tony's cannoli and a dozen cookies for him to give Steve. He decided he'd pass the sanctum on the way back. Maybe see if he could figure out the weird pulling feeling. He rubbed the soul mark between his shoulders, a nervous habit from his childhood, as he got close to the newsstand.
Chapter 2: Only One Love
Loki and Bucky meet...
This chapter has been posted as a stand alone fic on Tumblr (@kaleenjackson) for the Language of Love Challenge from @howlingbarnes. I have edited it a bit more since that was posted, nothing major just little errors I have noticed.
There is cursing in this chapter... and from here on out.
I will also apologize now, this story is gonna have LONG chapters. this one is over 4600 words alone.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He looked up from the book, wondering what was taking that idiot so long as he tried to ignore the terrible swirling feeling in the pit of his stomach. Checking to make sure he was still unnoticed, sitting alone on the park bench, he tried to adjust the strange collar he had hidden under his dress shirt. Waking up with that thing around his neck had been a shock. Almost as bad as the one he'd had a few years ago. If he regretted anything it was not escaping when he had the chance. Now he had to be escorted everywhere, like a child. Glancing back down at the book in his hands he reread the translation for the strange word. Odnoliub, Russian, meaning someone who has only one love in their life. Of course it had to be love. Damn sentiment. Marks like the one on his left shoulder were rare. Some saw them as a gift, others a curse. It meant you would meet someone who would change you. Not something he was interested in. Love was a child's emotion, one he had never felt and one he certainly didn't want. He cared for a very select few people, but he didn't feel that urge to help, impress or even be truly kind to them. His eyes once more surveyed the street. A man stood across from him, staring. An impulse to go to this man caught him off guard.
“Loki.” He nearly jumped at his own name.
“Are you alright?” Thor asked. “You seem unusually distracted.”
“I am fine. What did this sorcerer Strange know of my predicament?” His voice was cold as usual.
“He cannot help.”
“Cannot or will not?” His tone sharpened.
“He cannot help Loki. If that collar didn't appear to be draining energy, perhaps he could but he would like to take it to utilize once you are free of it.” Thor placed his hand on the thin dark haired man's shoulder. “Now tell me, what has you so distracted that I surprised you?”
“It is nothing that concerns you, Odinson.” Loki looked to see the stranger had gone.
“You are not to be keeping secrets from me. That was your bargain with the Allfather. You would make me aware of any and all things affecting you. I am well aware that you are displeased about this arrangement but-“ Loki cut the blond brute off.
“Seeing as I am no longer allowed to keep my own counsel.” He gestured at the book. “That cursed mark is from a Midgardian language. Now I know it's meaning and am trying to process what it means for me. The man who was staring at me from across the way then distracted me.”
“So, someone shall unfreeze your soul then.” Thor snorted a short laugh, reading the marked word. “I wish them luck as I do not envy their position.” He turned to leave.
“Are we not returning to Asgard? We have exhausted all those in this realm who might have had the skill to remove this infernal thing.”
“No. We have exhausted all of those you thought may have be able to help. Doctor Strange commented about it's mechanical appearance and an idea struck me.” Thor smiled. Loki didn't like that smile, it was too much like his own. “There is only one Midgardian who is capable of dealing with machinery like this.”
Loki stopped in his tracks. “No. Absolutely not. I will live with this collar, thank you.”
“Stark could help.”
“I am not going anywhere near that place. Heimdall! We are ready to return.” Nothing happened.
“You forget he cannot hear you because of that collar, and that you are still a prisoner Loki. I am simply trying to help you. You may not be my brother but that doesn't mean that the past millennium of being so didn't happen.” He looked like a kicked puppy. Loki might have felt a small pang of sympathy, of the desire to give in just to make him smile but he pushed it back down.
“They will kill me Thor. After what I did here and what they must go through everyday because of it, I doubt I would make it past the entrance hall.”
“Strange said the collar will likely kill you if not removed.” Now he had Loki's attention. “He told me that you are so deeply connected to you abilities that it draining that power is likely draining your very life force.”
“I do not like this, but if the choices are slow death or a quick one at least I have some choice.” He spoke quietly.
Bucky sat quietly as the engineer poked at something in his metal left arm.
“Ok Iceman, what gives? Your freaking me out with this whole silent thing today.” Stark put his tool down and looked him in the eye. Well at his nose really but the intent was there. Most people couldn't get past the strange distant look he had.
“I had a weird moment on my way back. Just trying to figure it out.”
“Well why don't you share with the class and maybe we'll understand.” Tony smirked as it was only himself and the decommissioned human weapon in the room. Well JARVIS and Dum-e were there too, but only one of them might have some insight. The other just had a fire extinguisher.
“Well, since I found myself in your kitchen in Malibu, with my brain all fucked up and my arm seized, I have had a quite a few things come back. One of those is that I have a soul mark on my back at the base of my neck.” He leaned forward so Tony could see it. “It's why I haven't cut my hair.”
“Is it a heart mark or mind mark?”
“I have no idea.” He felt his hair get moved and then a light finger move over the raised green symbols that hid just below the collar of his shirt. “I don't even know what language it's in.”
“So what about it has you so quiet then Barnes?”
“I'm not sure. I think I might have seen the person it connects me to on my way back from the coffee shop. Just some random guy, sitting on a park bench reading. Outta nowhere I get this crazy urge to go talk to him. I was about to move when it was gone. The guy had been startled by someone and the weird pull was gone.” Bucky looked at the other man with some confusion. “I think it was my soul mark pulling me but I have no bloody idea.”
“Beats me. You're the first person I've known with one. So I have no clue.” Tony sat back. “You got anythin' J?”
“None of my searches have come back with any relevant information, Sirs. However, Mr. Stark, I should inform you that Thor and his brother are in the lobby looking for you.”
“The hell? Why'd he bring that psycho here?” Tony grumbled, getting to his feet. “Send ‘em to the common floor. I'm gonna find out what the hell he's doing here.”
“Tony. Wait! I'm still... strapped to the table.” Bucky watched as he marched out the door without ever looking back at the soldier.
“Anthony!” Thor bellowed cheerfully as Tony stepped out of the elevator. “It has been far too long my friend.”
Tony accepted the offer hug because, really, no gave better hugs than the Asgardian and sometimes you just have to accept affection.
“Hello again, Stark.” Loki's cool voice quietly reminded them both why they were there.
“Reindeer Games. What the hell are you doing in my tower again? I thought you'd been locked up for the rest of eternity.”
“Loki has found himself in a bit of a situation. We were hoping you could help.” Thor stated.
“Okay, uh, why me?”
“Because, it appears to be a problem more in your skill set than anyone else’s.”
“Because no one else in this blasted realm seems to be able to help. Bunch of pathetic, feeble-minded, humans.” Loki snarled after Thor spoke.
“Loki, hold your tongue.” Thor snapped. Loki leaned against a wall, crossing his arms over his chest.
“So what's the matter with him?”
Thor looked at the raven-haired man who sighed and undid the top few buttons of his shirt. Around his neck was a rather mechanical looking collar that seemed to be attached to his skin.
“That looks painful. How'd you get that around your neck?”
“If I knew I might be able to get it off myself and yes it is quite painful.”
Tony immediately began looking the whole thing over. Humming and muttering as he did so. After a few moments he looked Loki in the eye.
“Getting it off may hurt, a lot. I think I can do it but why are you coming to me and not trying yourself?”
“Because it has dampened his abilities and we believe it may be slowly killing him.” Thor sighed.
“Holy hell. So this is sort of a right now kinda thing then eh?”
“Preferably, yes.” Loki rolled his eyes. All of this banter was wasting his time, possibly his life.
“Alright. I'm already setup in one of the labs. I think the tools there should work. Follow me you two.”
Bucky was playing on his phone when they arrived in the lab.
“What the heck are you still doing here Barnes?”
“Oh, I don't know Stark, maybe I'm still strapped to the fucking table.” Barnes snapped at the genius.
“Why didn't you say anything?” Tony asked but Bucky wasn't paying attention. That same strange pull had hit him again.
Loki felt the strong impulse to approach the man Stark had strapped to his work bench.
“Who are you?” Both asked in unison.
“Oh right, you were still being a murder puppet when Loki was here last. So uh, Loki this is Sergeant James Barnes, everyone just calls him Bucky and Buckaroo, This is Loki Odinson the guy who tried to destroy New York with creepy ass aliens. He's Thor's adopted little brother.”
“Laufeyson. Odin is NOT my father.” Loki corrected coldly.
“Well, I guess it's good to meet you Loki Laufeyson.” He offered his free hand to the pale man.
Loki stared at him for a moment before remembering it was a greeting. He shook the Sergeant's hand. “Yes, well, the same for me as well James.”
Neither let go of the others hand right away.
“I prefer Bucky, if you don't mind Loki.” Loki raised an eyebrow. “Not a lot a good memories of my name rattling around in my brain.”
“Oh. I guess I understand that.” Loki's voice was quiet as he finally let go of Bucky's hand. “Why are you strapped to the table?”
“Oh. My arm is messed up and Stark's been fixin’ it for me.” He looked at the man mentioned. “Are you gonna finish with me before or after whatever you're doin’ for these guys?”
“After. He's kinda got a life sucking collar in that needs to get removed.” Stark finally unstrapped his arm. Loki was stunned when Bucky turned and revealed the metal appendage.
“Mind if I stay and watch? I've got no where else to be.” Bucky asked. Something about Loki was intriguing him. He really wanted the chance to talk with him.
“Well.” Thor spoke before everyone. “Loki is to be under supervision at all times so I can leave that to you Bucky. Think you can handle him?”
“Well, you have yet to beat me in sparring so yeah, I think I got this.” Bucky gave a charming smile. Loki looked away. He felt a now very familiar stirring, a strange pull towards the metal armed Bucky.
“I'm going to find Captain Rogers then. Loki, behave, please.”
Bucky watched as the black haired man rolled his green eyes at Thor as he walked out of the lab. He could still feel the pulling sensation. It hadn't subsided since Loki had stepped into the room. Bucky smiled as Loki sat himself on the edge of the table.
“Okay asshole, I'm not that tall.” Stark glared at Loki who was now smirking. He was messing around with Tony and Bucky could see on his face that he enjoyed getting a rise out if the engineer. Loki slid off the table and sat next to Bucky.
“Is that more to your liking Stark?” His voice dripped with sarcasm.
“Much. Now can we loose the shirt and get your hair up out if the way?”
Loki sighed undoing the shirt and slipping it off. He didn't look at Bucky until he felt a cold metal touch on his hand.
“Here. Use it to put your hair up.” Again Loki stared at him and the odd little circle he held between his fingers. “I can do it for you if you want.” He was trying not to sound nervous. Loki nodded and Bucky gently put his hair in a half bun, flip thing.
“Thank you.” His voice was surprisingly soft.
“You're very welcome.” Bucky let his tone match the alien man's.
“Great. So now look up and don't move. I need to be able to see.” Tony picked up the tool he'd been poking Bucky with just moments earlier and began to look for a way in.
“When did this happen?”
“About a month ago. I woke up in my cell with it on my neck. No one came in, no one went past and I didn't wake once. The only thing that changed was a power drop right before I awoke.”
“So someone magicked it onto you? That's gutsy. You're one of the most dangerous beings I know...” Tony looked at both men. “I have two of the most dangerous people I've ever met in the same room and they aren't trying to kill me or each other. JARVIS record this. It's a miracle.” Tony waved his hands in the air and Bucky snorted a laugh.
“Why would we be trying to kill each other?” Loki inquired.
“He's Cap's best pal from before he became all Cap like.”
“Stark, what are you raving about?” Loki was actually starting to worry that he was letting a lunatic near his throat.
Bucky was still chuckling. “I knew Steve when we were kids. He was a tiny, sickly, little fella with far to much aggression. He let a crazy person and a doctor experiment on him and he got all, well, big.”
“That crazy person was my dad Barnes. Just ‘cause you killed him-“ Bucky jumped in.
“And I knew him during the war. He's the crazy one who flew the dumbass behind enemy lines to see if I was alive.”
“You killed Stark's father?”
“He killed a lot of people.” Stark stated with a cold edge. He moved to a tool box across the room. “Go ahead and relax for a moment Loki.”
“Really?” Loki looked at the soldier with a sudden interest.
“I don't wanna talk about. Don't ask.” Bucky stood up and moved away from the strange man.
“I think the tool I need is in another lab. I'll be back in a sec ‘kay?” Stark knew neither man was actually paying attention to him. He just needed an excuse to leave. He didn't want to be a part of this conversation.
“Oh, but I am so curious about you. Who you kill or attempt to kill can tell much about who you really are.”
Bucky scoffed. “So you and the loud blond man are from Norse legend, or at least that's what everyone told me when I met Thor the first time. You tried to destroy New York with aliens and according to Steve, you’re at least kinda scared of thunder. I have heard you called a trickster, a silver-tongued liar, a war criminal, a heathen god and a psychopath. Even some sorta monster from a world different than you appear to come from. So why in world would I tell you anything about myself?”
“I am every one of those things and yet none of them. I have committed patricide defending the one I once called my father, and then attempted to stop a war by destroying the planet that the blond buffoon had provoked against us. I was made the rightful king of my world by a woman whom I called my mother only to have that ungrateful bastard who once claimed to be my father, take it from me. In fact he took everything from me in a matter of seconds, simply by revealing that I was a monster, one from the very tales I had been told in my childhood. I was given the choice of death or living without life. I chose death but even that was stolen from me.” Loki dropped his head, then laughed darkly. The impulse to tell this stranger everything drove his mouth. “I was forced to come here with that army. I was told to bring an item you should be familiar with, a glowing blue cube, back for someone who I fear may yet come looking for me. They tried to make me their puppet. Indeed I wanted revenge on Odin but I knew Earth wasn't anything but a stepping stone back to Asgard. I had never intended to actually attack New York. When I realized it would have to happen, I knew how to make sure I was found and stopped before I did too much. I have killed far more than you, mortal. Just on Earth I caused 154 deaths at least. I am the cause of my mother's death.” He stopped. Bucky could hear his breath shaking for a moment. “At least I sent the things that killed her where she was. She defended Thor's lover and he was only a moment to late. He watched her die. I was not allowed to mourn and though, I did not try to have her killed, I was blamed. They were just going to leave me in my cell to rot until I awoke with this collar on.”
Bucky watched the pale man for a moment. He too felt compelled to speak.
“I was never a willing killer. I was drafted into World War 2 from the reserves. Taken prisoner in Germany, experimented on, rescued by Steve, went back into service along side him until I fell from a train during a fight. I survived the fall, was taken prisoner again, experimented on and tortured. It took them along time to make me submit. Then I spent fifty years as an assassin. I have killed civilians and heads of state all without any reason other than following my programming. Steve eventually managed to break the program. I was broken beyond repair but slowly I have put myself back as best I can. I remember the names and faces of every person I killed. From JFK to Tony’s parents. He almost killed me the day I told him. I almost killed myself when I remembered who his father was to me. A friend. At one point all I could really remember was what I had done.” Loki watched as Bucky sighed, looking at his feet, and then looked up. “I learned to live again. I ended up sneaking in a window at one of Stark's mansions and scarin’ the hell outta him. My arm had totally seized and I couldn't fix it. Once he stopped screaming, he helped me. He brought me here and when he found out who I was to Steve, made sure I was well represented in court.”
“I thought you didn't want to speak of all this.”
“Well, you told me more than I think you meant to. I know it's only a fraction of your tale but the past ten years have had more impact on you than the other, what, thousand years. I guess I felt it was only fair that I explain why I am what I am.” Bucky sat back down on Loki's left side. “Just outta curiosity why do you have the word odnoliub tattooed in Cyrillic on your arm Loki?”
“You can read it?” Loki whipped his head around to stare at Bucky.
“Wait. You have a tattoo you can't read? Why do people do that? That's how you get a tattoo meaning slut when you wanted it to say chastity.”
Loki snorted, trying to suppress a laugh. After a shaky breath he said. “You know Russian?”
“Well yeah. That's where I spent most of the past 70 years. They kept me in Cryo in Siberia. So why get a tattoo in Russian if you don't know the language?”
“It's not a tattoo.”
For a moment or two the just stared at each other. Loki trying to figure out why he had admitted anything to this man who he hardly knew, let alone that he had a soul mark and Bucky was trying to understand what all of it might mean. He could read and speak Russian, but Asgardians had that Allspeak thing they could do. Why couldn't Loki just read and translate it himself that way?
“Okay, I have to ask. I don't know all that much about you or Thor or any of it but, why couldn't you read it yourself? I've watched Thor read ridiculously coded messages without a single issue.” Bucky couldn't look him in the eye.
“Allspeak doesn't work on soul marks. If you can read the language without magical aid then you can read it. I don't know why but that's what I was told when I asked.” Loki smiled at him unintentionally.
“Well what languages can you speak then?” Bucky asked. Loki could tell he was leading to something that he had yet to find the words to ask.
“Well Asgardian, obviously, English, a smattering of Nordic languages coming from the old Norse, a couple of Runic…” Bucky jumped at the word.
“You mean like runes?” He asked with a bright eagerness.
Loki picked up a thin screwdriver that Tony had left out. Using it like a pen Loki scratched 4 thin symbols in the metal table. “My name in runes. It was one of the ones I had to learn in order to do what your people call magic.”
Bucky stared at the scratches. Then at the man who put them there. “Can you read the runes on my back?” He asked before his mind had comprehended what was going on.
“You have runes on you back?” Loki tilted his head, fascinated. “I can try. I mean there are a lot of different runic alphabets.” He suddenly felt rather like a child. He knew he had to get this right. That this was his only chance. He felt a warm hand on his give a gentle squeeze.
“I'm pretty sure you'll know it.” Bucky sounded strangely confident. What did he know that made him feel that, Loki wondered as he watched Bucky pull his shirt off. He admired the other man's muscular back for a moment before noticing the raised green symbols.
The soldier shivered slightly as he felt Loki's thin fingers and cool breath on his neck. His soft voice muttered things Bucky didn't understand as the finger traced a line under the words. Suddenly he heard Loki gasp.
“That is just… I mean it can't… it's the exact same.” Loki muttered as he sat back down next to the metal armed mortal. He felt emotions clogging up the tightly wound and fine tuned clockwork of his mind. Images flickered past his eyes. Walking into the room, the man across the street, the rack of books at the newsstand outside the sanctum, his own green writing on the other man's back, the shade of the red letters on his own mark and how it matched the star now visible on Bucky's metal left shoulder.
“What does it say?” His voice was very gentle, almost scared. Maybe even sounding like he was anticipating bad news.
Loki's voice shook as he spoke. “Someone who has only one love in their life.”
They locked eyes. Both knew now but neither could ask the other if he understood. Voices stuck in their throats, Loki surprised them both by moving first. Though he played cold he had always been sentimental and if he was true to himself for a moment he would have to admit, he had always hoped it was a heart mark. That he was meant to find love, to not be as alone as he felt. He didn't realize he had kissed Bucky until he felt the bigger man pull him closer, returning the kiss.
“I feel like I'm supposed to be in love with you.” Loki's voice sounded small and unsure, even to his own ears. “But I don't know what being in love is supposed to feel like.”
“To be honest. Neither do I. I know wanting someone and liking someone but I've never felt what others have told me love feels like.” Bucky didn't look away from his soulmates green eyes and they didn't shift from the cold blue steel gaze that met them.
“Maybe this is why?” Bucky could feel him trembling. It was a lot for both of them.
“I will never fear you James… I mean Bucky… I mean…” Loki stumbled over his silver tongue.
“And I will always trust you Loki.” Bucky said. “I think Tony is probably waiting to finish working in both of us. We can finish figuring this out after I think.”
Loki kissed him again. The collar pulled painfully as he turned his head to do it a third time. “Probably a good idea.”
“JARVIS, you mind telling Stark we're ready for him?”
“Of course Sirs, and Congratulations I believe.” The AI spoke and Loki stared at the ceiling.
“Is that a person?”
“Nah. He's the computer that runs everything from my house to my suit. Not that I should really be telling you any of this, Spaceman.” Tony smiled, holding a larger screw driver. “So are you guys done being weird and almost threatening?” He winked.
“You were watching on a security cam, weren't you Stark?” Bucky smiled, Loki still half sitting on his lap.
“Well let’s just say watching the two of you kiss freaked Thor out more than anything. He said two people as frightening as you are either a match made in hell or fate playing a truly cruel trick on one of us.” He pushed the screwdriver into a well-hidden hole in the back of the collar and it clicked loudly. “Alright, uh Bucky, you need to leave. One of the things I read while I waited basically said you don't wanna be the one to hurt a person in front of their soulmate sooo…”
“I'll be outside apologizing to a pair of muscular, possibly angry blonds. Be gentle Tony, and don't do anything stupid Loki.” Bucky touched his shoulder as he left.
“So what now Stark?”
“Now I hope you don't kill me.” Tony said as he adjust his grip on the metal ring. “Oh and don't hurt Bucky. I actually kinda like having him around here.”
Thor and Steve grabbed Bucky when they heard the scream. He didn't stop fighting them until Loki stepped out to throw Thor the collar.
“I'm fine James. It's Asgardian, I knew it the moment I saw the internal structures. Give it to Strange if you wish, or maybe find out why it was used to try and kill me.” He snarled.
“Bucky, you still wanna get me to look at that sticky elbow?”
“I'm coming Stark. I promise we'll talk more about this later Steve but really, there isn't much anyone can do to change this. I would rather love him and only him than be alone, sleeping with almost anyone just to feel a bit of what I felt holding Loki.” Bucky smiled as he passed the green eyed blushing man.
“Oh shut up.” Loki rolled his eyes at Thor's grin as he followed Bucky back into the lab.
I don't know when I will be putting up the next chapter of this. I have to edit it a bit yet and I have most of the third done. I hate to say it but this may be a bit slow for updates, however I will try to make sure some still get up.
Chapter 3: It Takes Two
Loki and Bucky start to try and sort out their unusual situation, beings soulmates without time.
I have no idea how this story grew legs but the one shot that was the first chapter just up and ran. Now here we are at chapter 2. These chapters are all going to be pretty long so be warned.
Trigger Warnings: Self-loathing, 1 Racial Slur (Irish), oh and Language! Everybody swears! Except JARVIS of course.
If I missed any please, please, please tell me so I can fix it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It Takes Two
“Ya know Reindeer Games, having you standing behind me is…”
“Unnerving?” Loki smirked as he watched the engineer’s hands move with surprising dexterity. He had changed back to his usual attire of black, green and gold armor. “I do not understand why, Anthony. I pose no threat.”
Bucky chuckled. Apparently his soulmate was a sarcastic ass.
“No threat, my ass.” Tony grumbled. “Damn Hydra and their proprietary hardware. They couldn't just use a Robinson head. Nooo they have to use some pentagonal bullshit.”
Loki looked at his soulmate in confusion. Bucky shrugged his one shoulder. “I think it’s a screw driver.”
“Yeah it's a screw driver. Will you move!” Tony stood and snapped at the black haired man. Loki put his hands up in surrender. Even when he had been threatening his life, Tony hadn't raised his voice and it surprised Loki.
“You can see what he's doing from here. Sit down and get out of the crazy man's way.”
“I could just leave that servo stuck like that Barnes.” Tony pointed a screwdriver at him threateningly. “And I'm not the crazy one. How long would fabricating a pentagonal head driver and bit set take J?”
“For one of each in a single size would take approximately two hours, Sir. Might I suggest using the multi-bit?” JARVIS responded. Just like the last time Loki stared at the ceiling.
“Right. That's what I used last time. Barnes remember that, I need the multi-bit. Thanks J.”
“Of course Sir.”
“Are you sure that there isn't a person locked in some room speaking. It sounds… uncannily human.” Loki didn't look away from the speaker until Bucky touched his leg.
“He was a person.” Tony said, not looking away from the arm.
“I met him once. He was Howard's butler. Nice guy.” Bucky smiled. “He was pretty sarcastic too.”
“Well, he did basically raise me. Dad was too busy lookin’ for the Capscicle to pay attention to me. Barnes move your fingers.”
“Yet you're still so much like your dad.” Bucky smiled at Tony, wiggling his fingers.
“Alright. Hand still works and…” there was a metallic pop as the engineer pulled a small hydraulic cylinder out of his elbow. “We have our trouble maker. Now, lets get you back under warranty.”
“That expired when they started tryin’ to fry my brains.” Bucky said.
“Well, just the arm then.” Tony began to fuss about under the plates. “I'm not even looking at the loon and I can tell he's confused. It's like you have two emotions; homicidal and confused.”
“I have other emotions.” Loki feigned offence.
“Yeah Tony, you forgot sarcastic.” Bucky deadpanned. Loki glared and swatted his arm. Bucky grinned, catching the other man's wrist. “Careful. They only made one of me, so warranty or not, I can't be replaced.”
“Well it appears you have few emotions as well James. I would say… Sarcastic and flirtatious.” Loki’s neutral expression showed only a tiny smile.
“See and you forgot murderous. Neither of you actually knows the other yet.” Tony smirked.
“Well it’s not like we just met or anything Stark.”
“He’s right you know. We barely know anything more than each other’s names and a loose description of our stories.” Bucky turned to Loki. “We really should actually talk, instead of trying to passive aggressively threaten each other. Oh Tony, speaking of not knowing anything about your other half, these are for Steve. His favourite.” Bucky reached under his seat and handed Tony the dozen cookies he’s picked up. “And your damned cannoli.”
“I know Bucky and I are good looking but you don’t need to drool openly Antlers.” Tony grinned a moment later, half eaten pastry in his hand.
“Where can I find something to eat? And I would never drool over someone as short as you Stark. I don’t want to have to look down upon my lover like they are nothing more than a commoner.”
“Me, common. Yeah right!” Tony scoffed. “Just for that I shouldn't tell you that there is a vending machine down the hall that is unlocked so you can just grab food out of it.”
“And I assume one of you is going to come with me.”
“Nah. JARVIS can keep an eye on ya. Though Thor doesn't really trust anything he can't touch so Dum-E come ‘ere. You mind taking the robot for a walk Antlers?”
Loki stared at the rolling “arm” Stark called Dum-E. It looked harmless enough. “I suppose it would be fine. At least Thor has something other than myself to hit with Mjölnir if I get caught alone.”
“Well, he isn't what I expected my soulmate to be.” Bucky told Stark as Loki left.
“What did you expect?”
“Well, human and maybe not quite as dangerous as myself for starters.”
Loki sighed, leaning against the doorframe out of sight but not earshot of the other two men. That had hurt to hear. It wasn’t like this was what he had wanted either. Deciding he didn't want to hear anything more he began to wonder down the hallway.
“Mr. Laufeyson?” That voice asked calmly.
“What?” Loki glared at the ceiling.
“You are going the wrong direction, unless you are attempting to calm yourself down.”
Loki stopped and stared at the ceiling.
“Your heart rate appears elevated. Would it be because of the Sergeant’s choice of words?”
He was astonished. The voice was supposed to be a machine, yet he still sounded and spoke more like a man might.
“Yes. I…” Loki sighed again. “It's not like either of us had a choice in this and yet he says ‘I'm not what he expected.’ What did he expect?” His voice got hard. “Some little woman who he could marry and have lots of babies with?”
“More than likely. He comes from a time where men were not allowed to be romantically involved with other men. His situation is probably very uncomfortable, as is yours.” The calm voice of the AI spoke.
“Uncomfortable. That's an understatement. I have to live with the knowledge that even my soulmate doesn't want me.” He slumped against the wall, allowing himself to sink to the floor.
“What leads you to that conclusion Sir?”
“It was the dangerous comment. I am dangerous when provoked but most of the time I am mostly harmless.”
“Unfortunately we only have the singular incident to base our knowledge from and he only has what others have told him. Having watched over Sergeant Barnes and the others for sometime now, I believe he is simple voicing that he got something different. Not that those differences are a negative thing Sir.”
“I can't believe I'm saying these things to a computer and an arm on wheels. How can my differences not be a negative? That is all they ever have been. I was…” He looked away from the ceiling but couldn't continue.
The funny arm nudged him gently. Absentmindedly Loki ran his hand over the metal, like he might an animal.
“Being different was wrong. I was different and therefore treated differently and seen as imperfect. As lesser than I should have, could have been. My differences were my failing. No matter what I did I could never be good enough, or strong enough, or… I don't even know anymore.”
“I believe that being different is what draws the residents here closer, Mr. Laufeyson. No one here falls within the norms of human society and they find comfort in being around others like themselves though each is singular in their own right. Even your brother, and I assume he is very much like his own kin.”
“Yes he is. He is what I was measured against my whole life.” Loki shook his head. “I am considered dangerous by everyone. A criminal, a lunatic, an ‘unrightful' king and just a failure at everything by anyone whose opinion still matters. Put me next to Thor and what am I? Nothing. I am invisible. It was the first major trick I learned. How to not be seen. It was easy when no one ever looks for you anyway.”
“I thought you said the machine was just down the hall?” Bucky hadn't stopped staring at the door since they had heard Loki sigh. Bucky was kicking himself to Timbuktu over what he had said. He knew Loki hadn't understood what he meant but now the strange alien man was likely hurt.
“J would let us know if there was anything major wrong.” Tony said calmly.
“What if it was Stevie who misunderstood what you had said?”
Tony didn't reply or speak for a moment, just kept working on the arm.
“There. I want you back next week to replace about five more. Go find him, that's what I know I should do if we were I the reversed position. Probably not what I would do but I know its exactly what you will do.”
Before Bucky could even stand JARVIS spoke. “Just to inform you Sir but Thor has just departed leaving Mr. Laufeyson in our custody until he returns. He did state he would not be more than a day before returning.”
“The thundering bastard didn't even tell us he was gonna leave tall, dark and psycho behind.” Tony stated. Bucky said nothing, just got up and left. “Thanks for fixing my arm Tony. Thanks for almost getting ripped to shreds by my crazy soulmate and getting the collar off his neck Tony.” He muttered sarcastically under his voice and unintentionally loud enough for Bucky to hear in the hall.
“My Seidr is my greatest strength next to my mind and yet both were seen as a waste. Imagine this, I am standing in my full royal regalia, next to Thor, both of us crowned princes of the realm and yet I have a servant insult me to my face. Thor just laughs it off. So I play a little trick so I can laugh too, so it wouldn't hurt so much to know just how lowly I am viewed. Just how little I truly matter to anyone.” Loki continued to hang his head between his knees.
“You matter to me.” Bucky’s voice startled him but he didn't let it show. “I know you heard me saying that you aren't what I expected my soulmate to be. I heard you sigh outside the door. Whatever you think I meant by that, I think you got it wrong.”
“Really?” Loki still didn't look up. “I think you mean that I am not what you want, or what you deserve. That I am some sort of consolation prize. A broken toy that you are forced to take because all of the perfect ones were gone. I know that you deserve better than me.”
“Better than a prince? Really, I don't even know why I deserve someone who probably had to chase women away from his bed at night ‘cause they all wanted a piece of that action. Men too, I'd bet.”
Loki laughed. The image of himself having to chase men and women out of his bed chamber because they had hidden there to try and seduce him was actually funny. Then the words hit him.
“I am not a prince anymore James. I am a prisoner. Why would you want me?”
“Well, why do you want me? It's not like I spent seventy years of my life as little more than a biological robot.” Bucky slid to the floor across the hall from him. It was wide enough Bucky knew Loki had enough space to not feel crowed but still close enough to know Bucky really was listening.
“I don't exactly know. I know that I don't want to be alone anymore.”
“I would like…” Bucky sighed. “I don't know if you will believe me but I want you to understand that just because you aren't what I expected doesn't mean you aren't what I want.”
Loki finally looked up at him, his expression neutral.
“It’s not that I expected anythin’ in particular. What I got is a person who I have been told can fight with the best of ‘em, is mentally sharp and down right tenacious. Not to mention pretty fuckin' hot and so sassy.” Bucky smiled and winked at him. “I think I got more than I bargained for.”
“You know I will likely have to return to Asgard, to my cell. I doubt they would ever let you come be with me.” Loki started to stand, his face still neutral. Bucky jumped to his feet.
“Then we make the best of the time we have. Thor left about twenty minutes ago. JARVIS thinks he went to Asgard. So you don't have to have him hanging on your shoulder for at least the rest of the night I would think. We can just sit and talk and maybe know each other a bit before we get separated by time and space again.”
Loki stepped into Bucky’s space, gripped his face and stared at him for a moment. He then kissed Bucky again. It felt so right, no space between them and no one to interrupt them. “I don't want this to be it James.” He murmured, eyes shut, resting his forehead against his soulmates. “I have nothing else to live for. No reason to try and maintain my sanity.”
Bucky pressed a finger to Loki’s lips. “Please stop.” His voice broke slightly. “I don't wanna have that image floating in my head with everything else. I don't wanna think about you alone in a cell. Please.”
“I don't want to lie to you though. It is what awaits me, for the rest of my long life.” He felt Bucky's hands resting on his hips, grounding him.
“How do we change that?”
“Erase my past. Make that old bastard understand what happened to me after he…” Loki drew a hard breath. “He let me fall. He let me try and kill myself. He loves lording his power over me. I am only alive because of him and I have to accept that fact every morning. I doubt he would ever listen to reason about what I did here. He would never let one of his stolen relics out of his sight without being in the trusted hands of his moron of a son.”
“Then we make him trust me.”
Loki looked at the old soldier with some surprise.
“How? He has no respect for humanity. He… well most of Asgard sees humans as lesser.”
“What about you? How do you view us humans?”
Loki didn’t speak for a moment. Bucky knew he was trying to word his answer correctly for what he wanted.
“Both I suppose. I was raised to put myself above all others. Asgard sees herself as the benevolent parent of the other eight realms. However I happen to actually not be Asgardian, but Jotunn, whom they see as monsters. I was raised to believe my own kind were going to eat me if I misbehaved. Finding out what I truly was…” Loki let his words die. Bucky understood what he didn’t say. It had hurt to find out that he wasn’t what he thought he was.
“You’re not a monster. You’re really messed up and finding out that you were “adopted” didn’t help I’m sure. Still you would think a parent would treat his child better, and don’t get me started on the racism. I grew up around enough of that bullshit. I don’t know how many fights that I had to pull Steve’s skinny punk ass out of started with ‘Hey Bog-trodder!’ I can’t stand that sorta shit.” Bucky gripped Loki’s thin hips. “I’m sure he’s gonna love that your lyubovnic is human. I wonder what nasty thing he’ll call me.”
“Mortal. That’s it. They just call humans mortals, even though Asgardians are mortal as well. Jotunns they call mosters, as well as the dark elves. Only the races that fought against Asgard’s rule were labeled as such. You mind releasing my hip, your grip starting to become rather painful.”
“Sorry.” Bucky unlocked his left hand. In his anger it had locked up. Carefully he pulled Loki against himself. “We didn’t fight against strangers ruling us. That doesn’t sound right.”
“Well it was over a thousand years ago. Mostly they just leave Midgard alone believing it not worth the time. Even now they think it to be inhabited by a backwards race of beings who will never understand the universe they inhabit.”
“What do you think?”
Again Loki took a moment.
“That Asgard is the backwards one. At this point they may have more advanced technology but they refuse to see value in people and places different then themselves. I know that with the right group of humans I could likely destroy Odin’s rule and take Asgard for myself. Most of them are inhabitants of this very building. I also know that the true differences between most of the sentient races of the nine realms are very small. All desire to direct their own course, individually and as a collective race. Midgardians have proved no different. I no longer seek a crown in any realm though. I would still be a better ruler than Thor but I do believe that he will do well enough.”
Bucky felt the strange man rest his head against the crook of his neck. He gently ran his flesh hand through the inky black hair. Loki had a lot of issues. He would likely always see himself as better than most people on earth, though never good enough for his own high standards and those he assumed others set against him. But at least he wasn’t about to try and take the world over… again. A thought brought a sudden smile to Bucky’s face.
“You really think that ‘The Avengers’ could over-throw Asgard?”
“Well… Yes.” Loki lifted his head and gave the other man a questioning look.
“We can barely make it through a dinner without killing each other. We’re living, breathing chaos.”
Loki laughed. “I am called the God of Mischief by some. Chaos is something I’m good at.”
“Why doesn't that surprise me?” Tony laughed at the end of the hall. “You never went to get food did you?”
Before Loki could speak, JARVIS did. “He was upset by the Sergeant's words and was attempting to calm down by speaking with myself and Dum-E, then with the Sergeant once he found him.”
Loki didn't look away from Bucky.
“So, are you two good then?” Tony looked at the two men who were still leaned against each other and the wall.
“Perhaps.” Loki said.
“I hope so.” Bucky smiled, running his hand through Loki's jet black hair.
Steve found them a short time later, discussing how the Avengers could over throw Asgard while eating food out of the vending machine. He didn't know what was more disconcerting; hearing Bucky comment about the ease with which he figured he could out wit Asgardian royal guards or seeing Loki eating, and eating Swiss Rolls none the less. The whole scene was just weird. Not knowing what to do he just stood there.
“Your boyfriend is staring at us Tony. I think we're gonna get lectured on eatin' sweets before our supper.” Bucky teased.
“Shut up, Jerk. And you know you really shouldn't binge on junk food Tony.”
Loki just smiled at him. He was enjoying watching the way he made Captain America squirm.
“When was the last time you ate actual food Tony?” Steve finally asked.
“I had a couple of sandwiches during the meeting this morning.” Tony grinned proudly.
Steve looked at Bucky.
“About four hours ago. I grabbed a sandwich at Dino's. Tony wanted cannoli so he sent me to fetch him some.”
“What about you?” He finally made eye contact with Loki.
“I don't know that I would call the disgusting concoction Thor tried to feed me last night food-“ Steve cut Loki off.
“How long before that?” Loki was surprised to see what might have been genuine concern on the Captain's face.
“I don't actually remember. I have been dragged across so many realms as of late that the days have all blended.” He shrugged, taking a bite out of the cake in his hand.
“Well I'm gonna head over to Romanesco's if you wanna come.” He kept eye contact with Loki. “You need to eat something more than that.”
“You guys up for some Italian?” Tony smiled as he went to follow his boyfriend.
Loki looked from the bouncing brunet to Bucky. “Did the Captain and the Man of Iron just invite you to bring me along to dinner?”
“I think so.” Bucky seemed just as confused. “I need to change if that’s the case, you too. I doubt the armor is a good choice. What you were wearing earlier though should work though.”
Loki smiled and Bucky watched his clothing change back to the green dress shirt and black tie in a shimmer of light. “Neat trick.”
“Thank you.” Loki smiled as he flicked his wrist. Bucky felt a strange warm tingle run over his body. Looking down he saw that he was now wearing a black dress shirt, black slacks and a red tie.
“What the…” He looked back up at Loki.
“Your welcome.” He winked over his shoulder.
“Okay, I look great but ask next time. It's kinda rude to magic someone without permission.” He hustled to catch up with Loki who had already begun to move towards the elevators.
“So long as I can still surprise the others once in a while.” Loki gave a sly smile.
“Just don't go turning anyone into frogs or anything unnatural, you ass.” Bucky goosed him to emphasize his choice of word.
Loki grinned as they stepped into an elevator. “I think Stark would make a pretty damsel.”
“You're not turnin' Stark into a Dame. Not after he pulled the collar off your neck today. Wait till he pisses ya off. He muttered somethin' earlier ‘bout you tryin to rip him to shreds, wanna tell me?”
“It hurt and my power came flooding back so I lunged at him with claws and fangs. I had very little control for a moment. If not for the strange cold foam which that Dum-E sprayed me with I fear I may have killed him.” Loki looked at his hands.
“Dum-E sprayed ya? Wait.” Bucky gawked at him for a moment. “You have claws and fangs?”
Loki sighed then bared his teeth. A moment later Bucky could see the fangs. His nails blackened and lengthened, hard and sharp. As he showed how they were retractable Buck noticed his eyes had started to turn red. In the relative safety of the moment Bucky didn't find it all that frightening, in a tight spot however…
Bucky kissed him just as both claws and fangs began to vanish, replaced by a small look of shame and surprise. They walked through the private lobby of the tower in silence.
“At least you don't have to worry about being caught unarmed.” Bucky smiled, grabbing his jacket from the closet.
“I suppose. I still dislike that I have them and that I tend to use them when I'm not in complete control.”
“I can understand.” Bucky said, pulling on a pair of thin black gloves. “Once I started getting myself back, I had a hard time with the arm. It took a bit but now it's just another part of me. A highly useful part but, just like the fleshy one, still just a part of me.”
“Are you proud to have it?”
Bucky tilled his head slightly to the left. “I guess. It’s part of what make me, me. I am Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier. The winter soldier is known for his skill, accuracy and metal arm. Day to day, it’s just a thing I have.”
Loki was silent as his jacket shimmered into existence. Then he looked Bucky over.
“Can I speak of something and expect that you shall keep it between us?”
“Of course. You want me to tell Jarvis to close his ears?”
“If that is alright?”
“Of course, Sir.” The voice spoke. “Would you like to have audio recording alone disabled or both audio and video?”
“Both. Please” Loki swallowed.
“So… I mentioned earlier that I am not what I appear to be.”
“This is what I meant.” Loki closed his eyes. It took a moment but then a soft gold shimmer, different from the green of Loki's own magic, fell away from his body.
Bucky was silent. Unnervingly silent. Loki finally managed to make himself open his eyes. The look on his soulmate's face was… adoring. He was looking at Loki like he was attractive, and lovable and not a monster.
Bucky didn't say anything as he reached his hand out to touch the soft blue skin of his soulmate's cheek.
“Don't.” Loki stepped back, his voice a bare whisper.
“I'm not gonna hurt you.”
“I might.” Loki shifted his strange red eyes away from Bucky.
Bucky stepped forward, filling more of the gap between them. Again he reached his hand out. “I'm not scared of you Loki.” He had pulled his glove off his right hand. Loki flinched as Bucky's warm hand rested against his cheek.
“This… this… monster is what I truly am James.”
“And anyone who calls you that is gonna deal with me. And it ain't gonna be pretty.” He kissed Loki. His lips were cold. For a moment it was almost painful, then Loki seemed to relax into him and the biting chill seemed to fade. “I don't wanna hear you talkin’ ‘bout yourself like that. I don't fuckin care what you’ve been told. Ya ain't a monster, and I would take you however you are, claws and all.”
Loki couldn't speak. For all of his fancy words and pretty lies, Bucky's honesty had caught him off guard.
“My Ma used to say that soulmates were bound to each other. Nothin' could truly drive ‘em apart. That it didn't matter about any dividing lines ‘cause they were gonna want to be with the ones they were pulled to.”
Loki let the glamour reassert itself over his appearance, pale skin and green eyes over taking blue and red, in a shimmer of gold. “I hate myself. You understand that, right? I can't even look in a mirror some days without wanting to destroy it.”
“Well, maybe I can change that.” Bucky kissed him again before gently taking his hand. “Come on. We're gonna be late. Stark will never let us live it down.”
They found Pepper sitting at a table set for five, at the restaurant, alone.
“Pepper! When did you get back?” Bucky hugged the woman gently.
“Just as Tony was dragging Steve into a bedroom.” She wiggled her brows. “I think they're going to be a bit late.”
“I was worried for nothing. I figured I was gonna have to stop Loki from turnin' Stark into a girl ‘cause of the tormenting we would get for bein’ the last to show up.”
“Oh right.” Bucky looked over his shoulder. Loki had been standing back, trying to blend in, which for someone with his stature and natural charisma was an impressive feat. “Umm, yeah. So Pepper, this is Loki. Loki, this is Tony's assistant Pepper. She keeps everything and everyone in the tower on track.” He stepped aside. Pepper stared at them both for a moment.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Miss Pepper. I assure today has been rather strange for myself. I can only imagine what yours has been like.” Loki stepped next to Bucky and gave a small bow before taking and kissing the back of Peppers offered hand.
It took Pepper another moment to regain her footing. “You're… how… what?”
“Well no wonder Tony talks so much-“
I hope to have Chapter Three up in the next few weeks, but my writing time is being taken up by work.
As always thank you to my beautiful beta readers @thegingerslytherin and @reogni
Chapter 4: Three Little Words
Dinner with Pepper, Tony and Steve is not exactly what Loki expected.
Oh My Gods guys. I am so sorry that I took so long getting this up for you all. I hope to have Chapter 4 up in the next week or so but no promises.
Three Little Words
Surprisingly, most of the patrons didn't even look up as Pepper slapped Loki across the face. He looked at her, holding his cheek, with a mildly irritated expression that matched his tone.
Bucky quickly stepped between them.
“That wasn't smart.” He snarled, his eyes and voice ice cold.
“What the fuck Bucky?” Pepper stood her ground firmly, shocked that the soldier may have been triggered so easily.
“He can't help it. It's just a natural reaction to seeing me get hit.” Loki tried to wave it off, still rubbing his jaw lightly.
“We can explain.” Bucky seemed to shake off whatever had overcome him. Although his eyes still held that dangerous glint she'd seen, Bucky was back to… normal?
Pepper was still surprised when Loki pulled her seat out for her. Remembering herself, Pepper accepted the offer and sat, still hesitant of Loki.
“You're sittin’ between Pepper ‘n me.” Bucky gestured to the seat on his right. “There is no way in hell I'm gonna let you sit next to Stark. You're either gonna fight or plot. Either way, the two of you will give Pepper an aneurism. Which is not something we need on top of everything else today”
“Alright. What is going on Bucky? One minute you're normal, the next you're going all winter soldier on me.”
Bucky sighed. He had to prepare himself for whatever his friend might say.
“Well, Miss Pepper, it would appear James and I are soulmates.” Loki said his voice incredibly calm. Bucky braced for Pepper's reaction.
“Oh. Well… Wait. You are the same Loki that attacked us, right? The same one who caused the World Security Council to try and drop a nuke on Manhattan?”
“Yeah, he is. Thor brought him to Stark because someone on Asgard was trying to kill him with a life sucking collar. Like he said, it's been a really weird day.” Bucky leaned back in his chair.
Loki turned to Pepper. “I understand why you are upset. Truly, I would feel the same if it were my home and loved ones that had been threatened. However I am curious, what's a nuke? I have heard Thor use the word to describe reheating whatever slop he calls food but I assume that this is a different meaning.”
“Of course it does.” Tony said, startling Loki. “‘Nuke’ is a slang term for a nuclear weapon. They are highly destructive explosives that leave high levels of radioactive debris in their aftermath. It was the one thing that my dad and I both refused to make before I shut down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark Industries.” He and Steve sat down, his face and tone sober. “It was what I ended up using to destroy the Chitari mothership. That missile would have leveled all of Manhattan and made the whole area uninhabitable for a long time.”
Loki stared at him for a moment. “Holy shit! I have never heard of such an extensive scorched earth strategy. No wonder my takeover attempt was such a big deal. I'm glad I'll never go down that path again.”
“Let alone it was our own governing body that chose to unleash that nightmare on an unarmed, defenseless population. It might have killed some of your army and almost all of the civilians. You did what, like 80? You taking over would’ve been preferable to that thing actually making contact with its target…” Starks voice kind of dropped off and those at the table went silent at such a devastating thought.
Loki cleared his throat. How small his voice sounded was unsettling. “Over the three day span I directly or indirectly caused the deaths of 154 people that I am aware of; 80 before my capture, one on the flying fortress and 73 in New York. Not my highest number by any means, but in any case more than I can justify in my own mind.” Loki said as he stared at his hands. “If I could find a way to help correct my wrongs against your world, I would.”
“Do you really mean that? We’ve been told that you’re a masterful liar Loki. How can we trust you?” Steve's words were crueler than his tone.
“I have no reason to lie. Whatever Thor is doing on Asgard I doubt it's going to change where I go next. I would run but…” He looked at Bucky and then to the strong hand resting in his. “I don't want to run anymore. If I did I would never be at rest again and running for five thousand years sounds rather unappealing.”
“Once you start they'll never let you stop.” Steve said solemnly.
Pepper stared at the four men at her table in disbelief. “What the hell is wrong with all of you?”
“He was under some form of mind control when he attacked us Pep. I always bitched about that blue eyed psychopath right? Well his eyes are green. Green, Pepper not blue. It was like what he did to Clint.”
“Worse, actually. I could control him and see into his mind, but he at least had freedom of thought. He had no ability to act on them, nor could I punish him for those thoughts however. He cursed me out the whole time I had control. I was given most of my conscious functions but I had someone watching over my shoulder. I had threats leveled at me, promising that I would beg for death if I betrayed, if I stepped out of line. I had freedom dangled in front of me and could not reach for it. To do so…”
“Freedom is life's great lie.” Tony quoted.
“Freedom is the greatest joy I know. To be able to make even a simple choice at this point…” Loki leaned into his soulmate. Bucky wrapped his arm around him. Pepper watched him as he collected himself. She understood why Tony and Steve weren't trying to fight the Asgardian. He had changed.
Loki straightened himself a moment later. “I still argue that humans are far crazier than I.” To his surprise, the table agreed.
“Have you ever had Italian food?” Tony laughed as Loki was muttering mispronounced words off the menu, a little while later. “You sound like your losing your mind.”
“I lost that years ago.” He looked at the inventor with a smirk. “It's better not to have it trying to slow me down or getting in the way. Also, when in the grand total of five days that I have been on Midgard would I have gone to get Italian food, Stark? I know you have seen what my brother eats. He would never come to a place like this. Gods I haven't even sat in a proper dining hall in a few years”
“Prison life sucks. Also Thor's idea of Italian is spaghetti-O's.” Steve made a face.
“None of that crap here, just real food.” Stark grinned as he tried to stifle his laughed.
“I apologize if this seems rude but do you eat more like a human or like Thor?” Pepper looked at the alien nervously.
“My lady, curiosity of any sort will never offend me.” Loki smiled as Pepper blushed. “I can assure you my table manners are far more aligned with your own. The quantity of food I would normally eat is more likely comparable to, perhaps two or three people if the plates being served are a good representation. However as Captain Rogers pointed out earlier, I haven't eaten in a few days.”
“Probably as much as me and Stevie.” Bucky smiled at the redhead over Loki's shoulder.
“So, what does offend you then?” Tony smirked unable to resist such a golden opportunity.
“You mean other than my brother, and any comparisons made between us? Ignorance, stupidity, and people who can't see when to not make an impertinent comment. In general at least.”
“I was just stating facts that time, no need to get offended. One in five men really do have performance issues. I wasn't insinuating anything.” He laughed and feigned innocence as Loki glared at him from across the table.
“Okay guys, calm down. We don't need any sort of incident tonight.” Steve spoke, clearly oblivious or at least trying to be.
“We are in a crowded restaurant, with far too many witnesses Steven, and we're also too far from a window for me to throw him out of it. Besides if I start fighting Tony, you would try and protect him, which would drag James into the fight and that, I am sure, is a situation we would all like to avoid.” Loki smiled coolly. Bucky set a cold hard look at his best friend.
“Remember our last fight Stevie? You'd be my mission all over again.”
“Hey. I still won that fight.” Steve lightly shoved Bucky’s shoulder.
“No. If I remember right, you said you wouldn’t fight me, and that was right before you decided you didn’t need the shield anymore.”
“Lost the fight, but I still got you back. I think that counts as a win.” He beamed.
“Whatever makes you feel better, Punk.” Bucky returned the smile and playful shove.
“As long as he doesn’t get all preachy on us.” Tony faux whispered to Pepper, who giggled.
Bucky watched Loki touch his throat before speaking.
“What? Don’t you wanna have a rousing conversation about truth, honor and patriotism?” Loki smirked, his voice a perfect mimic of Steve’s.
Everyone seated at their table lost it. Tony nearly fell out of his chair laughing so hard that Pepper had to grab his arm. Bucky started snickering but eventually began to truly laugh aloud. Steven just stared at the giggling trickster until Bucky spoke.
“Stevie, if you ever retire, name Loki as the next Cap. He gets the character and he sounds just like you.” He managed to choke out between laughs. This sent the captain over the edge and he began to snort into his hand.
“By the Gods, can you imagine what I would look like in that ridiculous costume? It’s so tight.” Loki laughed and then felt three sets of hungry eyes on him, as Steve snorted into his hands again. “No. Not happening. EVER” Loki grimaced.
“We’ll see.” Stark gave him that trademark smirk.
“No.” Loki still smiled.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about it Loki. Stark can be pretty persuasive when he wants something.” Bucky pulled his soulmate back against him.
“Behave yourself Barnes. We are in public.” He playfully scolded before kissing the other man.
The rest of dinner passed in much the same fashion. The guys taking shots at each other, laughing and shooting back in turn. Pepper was still wary of Loki, but the fact that he answered every question that she, or anybody there, could think of with seeming honesty and a good deal of charm had begun to win her over.
“So where are you crashing tonight Antlers?” Tony asked as he signed for his credit card.
“Honestly Stark, I’m not sure what is going on. Normally Thor would be forcing me back to stay with him while here on Midgard, but seeing as he has yet to return, I suppose I’ll have to work something out.”
“Why doesn’t he just stay with you? Isn't he your soulmate or whatever?” Steve asked quietly, passing Bucky his jacket.
“I hadn’t even thought of it until now. We also just met this afternoon Steve. Kinda awkward to ask, don’t ya think?”
“Buck, you used to bring girls home all the time, and you couldn't even remember their names in the morning.” Buck glared at Steve, about to deliver a biting remark to his best friends criticism, when Loki touched his shoulder.
“Would you mind if I stayed with you tonight, James?” Loki asked almost shyly. “I agree it is rather awkward to ask as I assume you only have one bed. However I am sure that we…” Bucky kissed him.
He had probably kissed this alien man more than any girl he had dated.
“I shall take that as a yes.” Loki ran his hand through his own hair, blushing.
“Well, that was easy enough.” Pepper smiled as they caught up to the group. “I do apologize about earlier Loki.”
“It is all good, my dear. You did no lasting harm. Besides I like feisty women.” He grinned mischievously. “However, you do hit somewhat harder than Jane.”
“That’s ‘cause she’s gotta deal with me.” Tony grinned.
“I get paid to put up with you, Tony. How Steve manages it…”
“He’s just as bad.” Bucky smirked, holding open the door.
They all laughed as he told his best “Saving Steve from Guys twice as big as him” stories while they waited for Tony’s car. Steve retaliated with his favourite “Bucky getting shot down by pretty girls” tales, including when he tried to ask Pepper out while so high on painkillers for his arm that he couldn't see straight. Loki could barely breathe by the time they got back to Stark Tower.
“I swear the goal after dinner was to see who could be the one to make me laugh myself to death.” Loki snickered as he sprawled out over the extra-large chaise couch.
“Not the worst way to go.” Bucky smiled to himself. His soulmate looked relaxed. He looked happy, in a way that, clearly, neither of them had been in years. “Mind if I join you? You look way too comfortable.”
Loki sat forward and smiled brightly, green eyes sparkling. “I would like that James.”
Carefully, Bucky tucked his athletic frame behind Loki, both stretching their long legs down the chaise, ignoring the rest of the huge empty couch. “Mind if I play some music quietly? I hate the silence.” He spoke softly as Loki leaned back into him.
“Alright. I suppose with all of the variations in Midgardian music, what you enjoy of it must say something about you.” Loki cautiously adjusted his position to ensure both their comforts, taking this opportunity to revel in the warmth of his soul mate.
“You might even find you like some of it too, Loki.” He smiled, opening his phone and starting one of his favorite playlists.
“Perhaps... You know James, we should probably talk...”
“You mean like we keep trying to do but failing miserably? Might be a good plan.” Carefully Bucky wrapped his arms around Loki’s waist. He was so thin! Bucky silently worried about the fact that he could clearly feel his ribs through his shirt. He took a moment to adjust them both, moving his arms slightly lower to avoid hurting Loki’s ribs.
“Thank you for today James.” Loki broke the silence with his soft words. He had slipped his fingers between Bucky's metal ones.
Loki chuckled slightly. For a laugh, it was strangely sad. “I am speaking specifically of everything you have said and done today. No one has been that kind in a long time.”
“You're my soulmate. I have to be there for you.”
“Actually, no, you don't. You have the free will to walk away, if you wanted. It would hurt us both, leaving an unending ache, a hole that would never fill. Although I could understand if you did choose to leave.”
Bucky slid his free hand along the side of Loki's face. It was damp and he was clearly trying to hide it as he sat up slightly and pulled away.
“Loki. I realize this is tough for you to believe, ‘cause I have all these friends and everything, but I actually feel really lonely most of the time. Sure, I have Stevie, but everyone else still gives me a much wider berth than I actually need. They worry I'm gonna snap, similar to what happened when Pepper hit you, but much worse and that I won't come back to myself. I didn't think, in a million years, that someone might not be scared of me anymore.” Bucky sighed and sat up close to Loki
“Why, in the name of Valhalla, is everyone here so misguided in their opinions?” Loki shook his head in disbelief. “It is as though nothing in this world is redeemable.”
“I was a pretty nasty weapon and well, you did try to take over our world. We're also both kinda defensive and have overly protective blonds that have named themselves our guardians. I guess we're not the most approachable.”
“I tried to piss you off when we met and you still spoke to me. I was trying to keep you and my own curiosity at bay.”
“I was damned curious about you too. I needed to talk to you. Now I want to sit here with you in my arms ‘cause it feels good. I know it's freakin’ you out but I actually enjoy your company.”
“Thank you for giving me at least one good day to look back on. At least I can lose my mind in peace knowing that someone might actually love me.” Loki's voice was so soft that Bucky almost didn't hear him. Pulling gently on Lokis' stomach, he leaned them back into the chaise to cuddle.
“And I'll be here slowly going mad from grief and loneliness until I let someone pull the soldier back to the front so I can let go. Loki, we're some kinda royally fucked up.”
“That we are.”
Bucky let his thin waist go for a moment. Behind him Loki could hear a metallic rustling noise. “Hold out your hand Beautiful.” Bucky whispered in his ear, blowing slightly on his neck.
“I think handsome is the more correct word James.” Loki blushed and shivered as he held out his hand. Bucky let a set of dog tags fall into his hand.
“Something to remember me by. I have a set that I always wear and now I know my originals are in good hands. Strong hands with a beautiful soul…” Bucky left his sentence hanging, obvious what he was implying about his new soul mate.
Loki didn't say anything. He stared at the flat metal plates and their chain. It was basic details but it was James. It was the other half of his soul.
“I haven't really been with anyone in a long time so I don't if that’s too much or what but, it feels right for you to have ‘em.”
Loki put the chain on and gripped Bucky's hand with far more strength than he looked capable of. They sat like that for a time. Neither sure of what to say.
“I wish I was able to stay here, like this, with you, forever James.”
“I would like that Loki. Why do you keep calling me James?”
“I think it is a good name. It’s a shame you don't want it used.”
“I might just make an exception for you. I like the way you make it sound. Hell, I like the way you make anything sound.”
“Well I was called Silver-tongue, once upon a time.”
“Loki, would you tell me about your past?”
“Only if you tell me more about yours, James.” Loki placed his head against his shoulder snuggling as close as he dared.
“Sure. We can trade tale for tale.” Bucky wrapped his arms back around that slender waist. He watched as Loki began to talk about how everything went to hell on him. He was a hand talker and soon Bucky watched as the strange green tendrils came from those elegant hands and formed the images of his tale.
“Good lord they fell asleep on the couch.”
“At least they're still dressed. Honestly, Bucky can get a bit… wild when it comes to a new umm… partner.”
“They're cuddling. Oh my god Capsicle. How are they that adorable? Did you even know that Buckaroo liked to cuddle?”
“Yes I knew. Now leave them alone Tony. I know Bucky doesn't sleep much and I can't image Loki does either. What in God's name are you doing now?”
“I am never gonna get a better chance for blackmail material against either of them.”
“Tony… send me a copy of that photo. I can't let you have all the fun.”
“Told ya it was cute.”
Steve finally got up from the island to stand next to his boyfriend. Looking down on the chaise he saw what Tony had sent him. Bucky and Loki had passed right out in each other’s arms. The Asgardian had snuggled into the soldier's neck with his long black hair laying in a mess around his face. Bucky’s metal arm was around him and the other hand held Loki's. They seemed utterly peaceful until he noticed Bucky looking at him from under his lashes.
Wake him and die a horrible, painful death Rogers. Was what Steve got from the look on his friend's face.
“Come on Doll. Leave them alone.” He carefully took Tony's phone.
Tony looked at Steve. “They seem so normal all of a sudden. So vulnerable.”
“’Cause their sleepin' Sweetness. We both know they would be less so-“
Both men jumped at the strange and sudden humming noise. Before they had themselves sorted it was gone.
“No. No no no no no no.” Loki's dark cool voice spoke softly. He shifted himself tighter against his soulmate.
Bucky began to try and soothe him. Tony was mesmerized. Loki hid his face and shook slightly. Bucky looked ready for a fight. Neither of them flinched when Thor came booming into the room.
“Where is Loki?” He asked once he had greeted both men.
Tony looked at Steve with an almost sad expression. Steve sighed. They couldn't interfere with what Thor was there to do. If they did they would break too many laws and treaties to count.
“On the couch, with Bucky.” Steve sounded resigned.
“Loki, it's time to wake brother.” Thor reached down to gently rouse the slender man but pulled back when he saw that the soldier looked ready to bite his hand like a beast.
Loki moved slowly. He remembered how Bucky held him as they spoke. He had been there all night. He didn't want to let his soulmate go. He never had.
“Please Loki. I need to speak with you. The sooner we get it over with the better.”
He began to sit up. Bucky let his hand rest on the dog tags hidden under Loki's shirt for a moment, then helped him off the couch. He watched as the blond led his brother out of the room, looking apologetic.
“You alright Buck?” Steve asked as his friend silently poured a cup of coffee. The continued silence spoke for him. The awkwardness continued for a few minutes until Loki yelled.
“Twenty-four hours and then what? My cell for the rest of my days!”
Chapter 5: Twenty-Four Hours
The soulmates go see New York and learn about and fall for each other.
OMG Smut! Also Loki and Bucky go and explore New York.
There are a couple of things that might need warnings.
Warnings: Discussion about 9/11 (Please no discussing theories in the comments, thanks), Loki being depressed, Language, SMUT
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Twenty four hours
“Unfortunately, yes Loki. You must return to your cell as we had originally agreed.”
Thor had been prepared for Loki to be angry but this was beyond that. He hadn't seen so venomous a look in those green eyes since the day their mother had been murdered. This time three separate plant pots that lined the walls had exploded.
“Has nothing that transpired in the past day been taken into account? Does the fact that a separation of a mere few hundred miles can be enough to cause physical pain to us both, mean absolutely nothing?”
“It is more than you were originally going to be given, Loki. It was hard won, believe me. I do not wish to force your return but I have no choice.”
“It must please Odin to no end to know he now has a new way to torment me into ending my own existence.”
“Brother, please attempt to see the positive here. You know more than I of what returning to Asgard will do to the link between you and Sergeant Barnes. I do, however, understand how it feels to be completely cut off from one you love. You saw to that yourself. I managed to give you a little more time…”
“So now I should be grateful to you?” Loki hissed.
“No. You should be going and spending every last minute of it with your other half, instead of wasting it and your words on me.” Thor placed his hand on Loki's shoulder. For a moment Loki could only blink at the large blond. Then he turned and almost ran back into the lounge that he and Bucky had slept in.
“You aren't being dragged off?” Bucky remarked in surprise. “I thought they…”
“Tomorrow. I will be forced to return tomorrow. I am being given the next twenty-four hours to take care of any business I have here.” He threw his arms around Bucky's neck and held on like this gift of time might be suddenly revoked.
Bucky quickly pulled Loki into him, kissing his thin lips. “So I get to keep you a bit longer?”
“Just a day. Twenty four hours exactly.”
“What am I going to do with you for a whole day?” Bucky smirked, taking a risk and letting his hands slip down past his soulmate’s hips.
Steve and Tony just stared. They had no clue what to do. Seeing Bucky be this physically affectionate was just weird. It was good, but really weird.
“Oh, I'm sure you'll come up with something.” Loki leaned into him with a suggestive groan. Steve choked on his coffee, pulling the attention of both men away from each other.
“You boys mind not making fondue in front if the virgin.” Stark smiled stirring his own cup.
“Tony… I'm not a virgin and stop it with the fondue thing. I know what it means.” Steve whined, rubbing behind his left ear out of embarrassment.
“I'll explain later, Gorgeous.” Bucky pecked Loki's cheek. “Maybe over dinner tonight.”
“That works for me James.” He smiled, looking away from the red-faced blond. “So what ideas did you have for today?”
“I was gonna go down to Pier 45. I like the view and I was gonna just try to understand what the hell happened. I could show you if you wanted.”
“What, go walking around a city I tried to take over like it never happened?”
“Well… do you know where Times Square is, or Central Park?”
“No. I can assume you would show me them.”
“Well yeah. Those, Lady Liberty, maybe even the Brooklyn bridge. It's my hometown. If we were on Asgard I would want you to show it to me.”
“You would want to see the whole planet?”
“Sure. Hell if we had more time I would show you all of Earth, but I think the Island of Manhattan is a good start.”
Stark gagged behind them.
“What, can't a guy be romantic?” Bucky pulled Loki flush against him, winking at Tony over his shoulder.
Tony fake puked and Steve just looked away from his best friend and soulmates antics. hands resting on his ass was starting to drive Loki mad. Leaning into his soulmates neck he gently scrapped his teeth over the spot just behind and below Bucky's jaw. “I do think it sounds like an interesting day out. Particularly as I really haven't seen this strange city of yours. Besides, I would accept just to bother Stark.” Loki smiled as he felt his soulmate's real reaction to his actions. “I was hoping you would enjoy that James.” He whispered.
“Let’s go then.” Bucky took Loki's slender hand in his own. “I know a great place we can grab some breakfast.”
“Sounds delightful.” Loki smiled in earnest.
“Don't get into too much trouble, you two psychos. I still want New York standing when you get back.” Tony said as they left.
Loki leaned back through the door. “So don't do what I did last time. Got it.” He grinned devilishly.
“I mean it Loki!” He yelled as Thor came in carrying a large pile of broken pottery.
“Did you break those planters?” Bucky asked as they stepped into the elevator.
“Not intentionally. I was getting rather upset and my Seidr is tied to my emotions. It gets rather sensitive if I don't use it regularly enough.” He leaned against the wall. Bucky pressed against him, letting him pull his hips closer.
“So keeping you satisfied means you won't break shit, huh?” Bucky smirked before kissing his neck.
Loki moaned. “Yes, among other things. I don’t often let my temper get out of hand like that. I will have to apologize to Stark for it later.” He gently ground against Bucky as he let himself indulge in the physical attention.
When the elevator came to a stop at the private lobby for the high security residents, Bucky pulled him out towards the door so quickly he barely had time to register the archer and the spy staring slack jawed at them.
“That wasn’t… was it? And they weren't... were they?”
“Bucky yes, the other guy… I really hope not or someone is going to be explaining this really well.”
The private Lobby emptied out to a completely enclosed area with several alcoves. Bucky pushed him against the wall of the closest one, and decided to take things slightly further. It took them a few moments to release each other.
“Well that was certainly different from the chaste manner we were interacting with each other yesterday. Do you think we scared the other two?” Loki grinned, still breathing hard.
“Oh, they’re gonna flip shit for sure.” He looked his soulmate over. They were clearly having the same effect on each other. “So, where’d this sudden neediness come from Loki? Not that I’m not enjoying it.” Bucky ran his hand along his hip and down the outside of his thigh.
“I had simply hoped to entice you, James, but to find you this interested... It is a better reaction than I had expected.”
“Hey, the fact that I get to keep you a bit longer is certainly helping. I’m really just glad that I’m not losing you yet. If I get to take ya to bed with me tonight, even better.”
Loki wrapped Bucky’s tie around his hand and pulled him close again.
“Do we have to wait James? Honestly if we spent the entire day in your chambers, I would not consider it wasted.” Loki trailed his fingers down the soldier’s chest, stopping to tease the skin along the top of his dress pants.
Bucky groaned as Loki started to give him rather suggestive puppy-dog eyes. Those damn green eyes were dangerously beautiful. He managed to resist, barely.
“I promised you a day of sightseeing...” he breathed, doing his best not to rub himself against the man.
“And what if the only sight I really want to see is your glorious naked body.” He purred, biting his lip as he pulled his soulmate against him.
“Then we’ll still have all night for you to enjoy that sight.” He ground his hips against Loki’s. “Trust me I am looking forward to the sight that awaits me as well.”
“Then why are you forcing us through this torture James? It’s clear we both desire the same thing.”
“And imagine how bad we’re both gonna want it when we’ve had all day to torment each other.” Bucky smirked as he watched him roll the idea through his mind.
“Godsdammit James. You will be the end of me, you deviant.” He groaned as he pulled him in for another fiery kiss. “So, you did also promise food, and I should like to eat if we’re going to delay other plans for the time being.’
“We need to change. We are way too dressed up and rumpled to go unnoticed, Iubimy .”
“Well…” Loki feigned an innocent look but his devilish grin gave him away. “We could always…”
“I was going to suggest you could just do your thing and make that change. Give you a chance to show off a bit.”
“You mean like this.” Loki snapped his fingers. That now familiar green shimmer quickly washed over him. Looking down the black suit with its red tie were replaced with a grey denim jacket, red Henley shirt, jeans and his combat boots, similar to what he had been wearing the day before. Loki was adjusting the cuff of the fitted black leather jacket he wore over a pale green dress shirt with its collar open, dark blue jeans that were tight in all the right places and boots. He looked really good. Bucky almost decided that they needed to go with Loki’s plan instead of his.
The little café wasn’t more than a three minute walk from the tower with a great view of Grand Central Station. They found a table on the patio and had a waitress walking up to them almost immediately.
“What can I get for you gents this morning?” She smiled sweetly.
“Do you guys still have any of that extra dark brew left?” She nodded. “Okay one of those, two cream, three sugar, a couple banana muffins, a cherry danish and a pair of cheese bagels with cream cheese.”
“And for you?” She looked to Loki. He was rubbing the palm of his left hand with his thumb.
“I'll have the same, except with a black earl grey tea please...” He didn’t look up at her.
“Got it, it’ll be a few minutes.” She slipped back inside.
“Eh, what’s got you all bothered gorgeous?” Bucky slipped a gloved hand over Loki’s fidgeting ones.
“I recognize her. The waitress. I think her name is Beth. She survived… the ah, the attack.” He hadn’t looked up and his voice became almost inaudible over the traffic. “I almost caused her death. She was on your news, talking about it, the day I left.” He glanced down the street. “This whole area, I left it in ruins. Gods, why did I let you talk me into this?”
“No one is gonna recognize you. They didn’t last night at the restaurant and they won’t this morning. I eat here all the time and hardly anyone notices me. It’s the nature of the city. People here are resilient and ignore what doesn’t affect them directly. If I get asked your name I’m gonna tell them it’s James by the way.”
Loki was about to comment when the waitress returned.
“Here you go Bucky.” She placed a coffee and a plate stacked with the pastries in front of him. “And here’s your tea…”
Loki took the initiative to fill in her blank. “James. James Laufey. It is a pleasure to meet you…” He glanced at her name tag. To his horror he was right. “Beth.” He smiled pleasantly but Bucky could see his discomfort. She placed his plate of food down as well.
“If you need a bag to take any of it with you, just let me know.” She winked at Loki.
“Told ya.” Bucky said smirking over his coffee.
The hard thud of their boots on the boards of the pier was a pleasant sound to both of them. They walked in step with each other, stride and speed perfectly synchronized. Both found the sound comforting, a reminder that this was real. The sea breeze mussed their hair. Bucky laughed as Loki fought to get his to stop blowing into him mouth.
“Here.” Bucky handed him the hair elastic that had found its way back onto his wrist the night before.
“Thank you James.” He smiled as he pulled his hair into a low pony. “That is so much better.”
“It looks good.” Bucky laced his fingers through the god's. He then reached up with his free hand and carefully pulled a lock free with his pinky. “Perfect.”
“If you feel it is then I will agree.” Loki looked almost innocent as he turned to lean on the rail of the pier. “I will also agree that the view from here is quite lovely.”
“I've always been a fan of the ocean. Especially since I came back to the world of the living and free-willed.”
“You told me last night you fell to what should have been your death in the mountains, correct?”
“Yeah. In the middle of winter too. Surprising that my soulmate is kinda like winter incarnate.”
“Surely I am not that cold-hearted?” Bucky would have thought Loki was insulted if he hadn't been smirking.
“Nah, just a bit cold blooded.”
“We both are Ást.”
“So, does Asgard have oceans?”
“Yes.” Loki sighed. “I fell off the edge of the world, where the sea falls into the abyss. The true Rainbow Bridge connects the Bifrost to the main city and it sits over the sea and it is from there that I fell. Though the sea here is...” He smiled as a wave crashed beneath them. “Like everything I have seen on Midgard. It is far more alive than Asgard.”
“If I didn't know better, I would think you were starting to like it here.”
“I am loathed to admit it James, but I may just be falling as much in love with this strange little planet as I am with you.” Loki turned to face him, elbows resting on the rail behind him. Bucky leaned into him and kissed him as another wave sprayed up behind them.
“I'm falling pretty damn hard for you too, Loki.”
It was his curiosity. That was what Bucky had decided he liked most about Loki, aside from his physical beauty. He couldn't deny that he was enjoying those legs that went on for days, or that the way he smiled, and every time they touched was making his knees weak, but it was the way he seemed to light up when Bucky would answer his questions. Plus the fact that once he realized that he could ask about anything he did exactly that and had captivated the soldier.
Loki smiled to himself as Bucky used his phone to look for the answer to his question about one of the monuments they had passed. Looking out over the water he could see the statue Bucky had wanted to show him.
“Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered New York Harbor and he worked for the French, even though he was Italian.”
“Interesting. I will have to read more about him later.” Bucky smiled quietly to himself. He had managed to achieve his goal of making Loki forget he was going to be dragged away in less than twenty-two hours.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Bucky recited as he looked out towards the statue standing in the harbour.
“That is a lovely sentiment. Did you write that bit of verse?” Loki asked.
“No. It was written by a woman named Emma Lazarus. It's called ‘New Colossus’. The line about the huddled masses in engraved on the tablet that Lady Liberty is holding.” Bucky pointed to the crooked arm of the statue. “The whole poem is on a plaque on her base. I don't remember the whole thing. I still find it odd that her torch no longer lights up.”
“Her torch lit up?”
“When I was young, she acted as a beacon to those who were looking for liberty and freedom from persecution in their home lands. Also she was a light house marking New York Harbour.”
“So why is the statue that strange blue-green? Wouldn't something brighter and more contrasting be better. Also why did they replace her flame with a false one, and why isn't it green?”
“Alright, the statue is greenish because she is made of cooper which tarnishes to that colour, though for being only a little older than me she does look pretty good. The torch is covered in gold which you know doesn't tarnish. And finally, they no longer needed the torch to light up so they made it look more dramatic. It was never actually a flame though, just made to look like one.” Bucky smiled as his soulmate processed the information.
“If I made it look like real fire…” Loki flashed that mischievous grin at Bucky, not bothering to finish his though.
“You would cause a panic probably.” Bucky took a few steps back from the railing. “Hey Loki, turn ‘round and look at me.”
“What?” Loki turned and Bucky quickly took a picture with his phone. It was a nice photo, Loki was smiling and only kind of looking in his direction. “Why did you want me to turn around?” Bucky smiled and showed him the image on his phone.
“I wanted to get a few photos so I would have something to make sure I can remember today. Now smile and do this.” Bucky flashed him a peace sign, then grabbed a shot of him giving an adorable confused face.
“Like this?” He held his hand in the wrong way, his hand facing himself instead of the camera.
“The other way gorgeous.” Bucky laughed. “That way means fuck you in England.”
“Really?” He let that look of mischief settle on his face.
Bucky shook his head. “Loki, you…”
“Hey, I was just taking some pictures of the statue, and noticed you snapping some of him. You want me to take a photo of you guys together?” Some stranger approached them.
“Sure.” Bucky smiled and handed him his phone. “Thanks.”
“You're sure he's not gonna…”
Bucky wrapped his arm around Loki's waist. “Relax, Iubimy.” He gently kissed his cheek.
“Wait.” The man smiled. “You two are together together. God you guys are a cute couple.”
“Umm. Thank you?” Loki blinked at the stranger.
“You're very welcome. Now smile.”
The man took three photos for them. They were just together, arms around each other’s hips and smiling in the first. The second they were flashing peace signs, well Loki still had his hand backwards but they both knew it was intentional and Bucky surprised him by kissing him in the third.
“Thanks again. Here.” Bucky handed the guy a couple of fives as he took his phone. “For you trouble.”
“Not a problem man. I enjoy helping out tourists. You guys have a great day, you two lovebirds.”
“He didn't recognize either of us.” Loki shook his head as Bucky flipped through the pictures. “Are they what you wanted?”
“Even better.” Bucky kissed his cheek again. “They're perfect.”
“So why would you worry about forgetting me?” Loki asked nervously.
“My brain has been fried for a long time now, thanks to Hydra. If Stevie hadn't also survived his little artic bath, I wouldn't be having this conversation with you or be looking for the hotdog stand I like down here. My memory still gives out on me and sometimes new memories don't stick. So, if I really want to remember something I take pictures or write it down, sometimes both and I need to remember everything I can about today.” Bucky pulled the raven-haired man against him as they walked.
“I wish I could fix that for you James, however I don't believe even my abilities are strong enough.”
“It's not that bad Loki. I doubt I'll forget you. Hey, check it out. We found the bridge. On the other side of this is the part of New York where I grew up.” Bucky pointed at the suspension bridge ahead of them. It looked as though the towers had been cut from a castle wall. Old technology even by the standards of earth but still marvelous to see and Bucky had said it was older than himself.
“So why are we not going to see this Brooklyn you keep speaking about?”
“Two reasons; first, I told you I would show you Manhattan Island. Second, I don't live there anymore. It's my past, not my present and I want you to see me as I am, not as I was before. Enough people see me as the guy from Brooklyn who followed his crazy best friend into the jaws of death, instead of the young guy trying to find his place in a modern world. Even without my past, this is a tough place to find yourself in.”
“But you have a place you belong.”
“Only ‘cause of my past. If I decided that I wanted to walk away from Stevie's life and his friends then I wouldn't have a leg to stand on. I stay because it's what seems best.”
“I suppose that is more than enough reason. The past seems to infiltrate everything here.”
“It was one of the first cities in America. History is just a part of everything and everyone here, including us. You know you're older than New York?”
“Why is that not surprising?” Loki rolled his eyes. “I feel like I am older than everything in this realm.”
“We need to go to Europe, there are things older than dirt over there. Or maybe to a museum to see fossils. Stevie is the only thing ‘round here older than that.”
“Aren't you older than Steven?”
“Iubimy, I might have age on him but no one acts more like they are ancient than Stevie. You might as well be eighteen compared to Old Man Rogers.”
“So I need to turn Stark into a woman and let Steven feel his true age then.” Loki winked as Bucky pulled him against him and leaned on a rail overlooking the water.
“You are evil Loki, wonderfully terrible.”
“Oh, I know I am.”
“Yet, somehow, I enjoy your plotting.”
“Maybe you're just a bit evil yourself “Bucky” Barnes.” Loki purred with humor in his voice.
“Well I was an assassin for most of my existence so it's not a real stretch.”
“Hmmm, proof perhaps that I can be “reformed” then. I doubt it but you might try.”
Bucky placed his hand on Loki's chest, where the scar from Alagim's blade was hidden under his shirt. “I think you're only called evil. You're golden hearted but people only see what they want don't they?”
“Your friends see only the man from the past and not the lone wolf, broken and lonely before me.”
“And a crazy usurper instead of the misguided and tortured soul who would give anything to show those he loves what they mean to him.”
“Even my life wasn't enough.” Loki dropped his head.
“No. It was more.” Bucky ran his hand down his soulmates back. “It was more than enough.”
After a moment or two Loki sighed. He finally looked up at Bucky who smiled softly.
Trying to hide the tears collecting in his eyes again. “So you mentioned something you called a hotdog…” Loki hedged, clearly tried to change the subject.
Bucky smiled. “Right, lunch.” Taking his soulmate's hand again he lead him away from his past and all of the stories he would tell another day, if they got one.
“James, please tell me this is not dog meat. I really dislike dog.” Loki looked at the meat tube in bread as Bucky started to eat his own.
“Probably just a blend of pork and beef. I don't think they use dog meat in these but I don't think you wanna look it up. Might be gross.”
“Yet, without knowing that, you still eat it? Should I be concerned?”
“Nah. Just try it Loki. You might enjoy it.”
“Well I can think of something similar that I know I would enjoy having in my mouth.” Loki grinned wolfishly. He loved watching Bucky fight not to smile as he blushed at the innuendo. The way those slate blue eyes glinted every time he made a suggestive comment and the smile that always followed after it were perfect. Quietly Loki had been fighting himself all morning. Since he had awoken wrapped in those strong arms, held against his soulmate's broad, strong chest he had been craving more. Bucky’s idea to stretch the torture out over the day was brilliant. By the time they finally made it back to his chambers they wouldn't be able to stop until they were satisfied. However at that moment another moment of curiosity had crept up on him.
“So, why are the people here so seemingly unaffected by my actions?”
“Well… I think this one would be best answered by showing you rather than just explaining it. Come on, I know where we need to go next.” Bucky smiled taking another bite of his hotdog.
Moments later, Greenwich Street opened up in front of them.
“Is that where we are going James?”
“Yeah. What gave it away?”
“It seems there is a building missing and the number of people moving through the gap left behind is unusual.”
“What happened there was unusual. I wasn't even “conscious” when the attack happened.”
“What atta… Oh wow.” Loki's jaw dropped as the rounded the corner into the plaza. The area was awe inspiring.
“From what I was told, the attack that happened here changed everything.” Bucky sat on a bench overlooking the two large pools as he began to explain.
As he finished Loki stood. His soulmate did nothing to stop him as he began to walk around the bases of the two towers, now pools of flowing water. Running his hand over the names carved into the bronze plates, he noticed just how quiet the pools made everything. It was eerie to be somewhere so quiet in such a noisy place. Bucky had said there were almost 3000 names surrounding the two pools. 3000 compared to his meagre 154. No wonder New York seemed to have picked up after his mess so fast. This had taken ten years to complete. From utter destruction to a place of peace and remembrance, beautifully constructed to ensure those lost were not forgotten in such a short time. Looking at the name his fingers currently slid over he notice it was followed by the words “and Her Unborn Child”. Loki felt his heart break. Humans had done this. They had killed other humans without a concern of who those humans were. Not just warriors and the few unfortunate to be caught between armies but any and all they could take to Hel with them. The children, especially the unborn, in that number were truly innocent. How was he any better than the men who caused this? He hadn't cared who here had died and Jotunheim, he had intended to kill them all.
Bucky found him on a bench, maybe 10 minutes later, as far from everything as he could get. He pulled back from his soulmate's touch. Sitting next to him Bucky tried to get him to open up. Finally, after a few moments of gentle prodding Loki looked at him.
“James. I am just as… as evil as those men who did this. Who killed so many innocent people. I have done this on the planet I should consider my home.” His black hair, now down and loose once more, hung in front of his tear stained face, obscuring it from passersby. Loki barely spoke above a whisper. “I don't deserve freedom, or even to be alive. Please James, do me and the universe a favor… Kill me.” Somehow, without anyone around them noticing, Loki pulled a dagger out of thin air and handed it to Bucky.
“Please. I have done terrible things. I would do them again. Like them, I believed what I was doing was right.”
“No, they wanted to start a war. You wanted to protect the people you called your own by ending one before it started.” Loki looked shocked. “You said you were King. You were just trying to do what was best for your subjects. As for here, you were being forced, you made that clear last night.” When Bucky placed his hand on his soulmate's shoulder he didn't try to pull away. “The men who brought this area to ruin, from what I know they were doing it willingly, thinking heaven awaited them for their willingness to kill. No different than someone at war but they didn't have a war to fight. You did.”
“I don't deserve forgiveness.”
“I'm not saying you do. I brought you here to see why you changed the larger world but not New York. This happened and they picked up the pieces and kept moving. You proved aliens exist and can be terrifying and also really hot. My friends kept the damage limited but then New York picked herself back up and shook that off too. Neither event made New Yorkers stop being New Yorkers. They eventually went back to work, to eating their hotdogs and watching baseball. They won't forgive or forget but they moved on. They had to or the city would leave them behind.”
“If you could go back and stop what happened here, would you James?”
“Well, yeah. Who wouldn't? Prevent the deaths of three thousand people between New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Why wouldn't I try to stop that?”
“And what if they had survived, would you exact revenge on them?” He twirled the dagger in his hand.
“Do you regret your actions Loki?”
“If you could go back and undo everything, would you?”
“In a heartbeat. I wouldn't even try to ruin the coronation. I would find a different solution to the Jotunns threatening to invade. Hel if the only thing I could change is what happened here, I would take the tortures I was suffering until I died or could no longer be of use to anyone, including myself.”
“That's the difference between you and them Loki. Regret and remorse. They would do it again. They would kill every single person and more if they could. They meant to kill more actually. Even if they had seen the aftermath of their actions. It would have lead to thoughts of how to kill more the next time not how do I prevent this. You would change things. Save more lives. You regret your actions, you feel for those who lost loved ones and those who lost everything at your hand. You have a good heart. Don't ever forget that.”
The dagger vanished back to where Loki had pulled it from. Leaning into his soulmate he understood. Bucky was right, he regretted his actions. All of them. He lied to himself constantly about repeating them and he needed to stop. It felt like this was the first thing he had done right in a long time though. No, saving Thor and Jane, that had been right too. They were not enough to redeem himself. Nothing ever would be. Yet he could try to do better with the life he had though it would be difficult to do much of anything from his cell.
Silently he continued to let Bucky hold him. He felt safe and calm in his arms. The arousal he had been enjoying less than an hour before was still there but now again he felt the love he had always thought he would be denied. That he had, for years now, thought he didn't deserve.
It had taken some time for Loki to be willing to move again. He had thought the memorial at the World Trade Centre site was beautiful and moving. He had been shocked when he noticed how small the actual memorial for those he had killed was. Just the statue above the main entrance to Grand Central Terminal. No plaque, no names, just the statue and the words “The Battle Of New York” arched over the clock. It bothered him that those people had no place to mourn. Loki had decided he would change that as soon as he could. Not if but when.
The walk from there to Central Park hadn't taken very long. Loki was still quiet, shaken from their earlier conversation. Bucky felt nervous, that he might have pushed the wrong buttons with him. He didn't seem to be plotting as they walked but his silence was still concerning.
“Are you alright Loki?”
“Hmmm, what?” He looked at his soulmate. Those slate blue eyes were more cautious now than even the day before when they had met.
“Are you okay? You've gone from asking about everythin’ we passed to not speakin’ at all. I'm kinda gettin' worried.”
“Sorry. I got lost in my own mind. You gave me much to mull over.”
“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.”
“No no. It's good actually. I was trying to think of what I can do from my cell to improve things, or at least, perhaps, be helpful to…” He paused, and then made a choice. “To Thor, when he is finally made King.”
“So, you're gonna bury the hatchet with him then?”
“What?” Bucky noticed that little spark come back to those emerald eyes.
“Means moving on, without forgiving or forgetting past actions.”
“Yes. That is precisely what I intend to do, much like this unusual city.” He smiled softly. Bucky's concerns faded as he watched Loki's attention slip from him to the scenery around them.
It was a long time before the comfortable silence between them was broken. Quietly Loki had begun to sing to himself. Bucky couldn't understand the words but enjoyed the sound anyway. His voice was cool and dark, and after the tales Loki had told him the night before, seemed to be an embodiment of the world that he all but denied to be his birthplace. He only sang for a few moments before noticing what he had started doing and how Bucky was smiling. Like he knew a secret and it was one that, in knowing, brought him joy.
“You seem pleased James.”
“More content than pleased. You have a lovely voice by the way.”
Loki blushed. Not saying a word he slipped his hand into Bucky's. Closing his eyes as he leaned into the other man, he trusted him to not lead him to danger.
“I'm lucky to have gotten to meet you Loki.” Bucky said a few minutes later. He was enjoying the slow conversation. They didn't need to talk constantly to feel connected and it was nice.
“I must say the same of you James. If I had known how these past hours of my life were to go I would not have resisted my brother bringing me to Stark's tower.” Loki stopped and looked at his soulmate. “This single day maybe the only thing my life has led to. Thank you for this.”
“You're welcome, Iubimy, but I don't think this is it for you.”
“So what if you leave tomorrow? We may still have other days. You told me maybe half an hour ago that Thor would eventually be king. He's on your side ya know. You may still get another chance. And if not, if this is it, well… I'm very happy I got to be a part of it Loki.”
“You are what has made it so wonderful James, Ást.”
“Could you humor me and do something?”
“What is it you want?”
“Well, start by looking down.” Bucky smiled as Loki gave him a skeptical look before dropping his gaze. Between their feet was the word “Imagine” in black tiles, set on a white background. They were standing in the centre of a large mosaic. Looking back up Bucky's smile grew at the look of surprise and fresh awe on his soulmate's face.
“I want to have a moment where our pasts don't matter Loki. I want to know what meeting someone without my being anything other than another person on the street would feel like.”
“I had no idea who you were when we met. Why would doing this be any different?”
“You knew I was a friend of Stark's or at least associated with him. And that Thor seemed to know me. What if neither of us had a past that we wished we could erase?”
“Blank slates, basically. No killing or false deaths. Nor any other worlds or times. Just two people meeting in a giant park?”
“Yeah. I know, it's silly.” Bucky looked away.
“Actually, now that I understand it, it's not a bad idea. Instead of asking about all the things that made us into feared people, we could just talk about who we are now.” Bucky nodded. Without a word they both stepped a few paces apart then pretended not to notice each other as the bumped shoulders. Loki stumbled and Bucky caught him.
“I am fine.” Loki smiled then glanced around. “Actually I think I may be lost. I was trying to find a little café my friend recommended. It has an incredible view of Grand Central.”
“Well you are pretty lost then. This is Strawberry Fields, in Central Park. You have about a half hour walk south of here. I know the place though. It's really good.”
“Thanks ahh, you never did mention your name friend.”
“Sorry, I'm James. Most people call me Bucky.”
“Loki, and why do they call you Bucky?” They started to walk east, with no actual destination in mind.
“I know a lot of other Jameses growing up so I just shortened my middle name, Buchannan.”
“So what's the last name that goes with that tongue twister?”
Bucky laughed. “Barnes.”
“It's nice to meet you James Barnes.”
“You do you have a last name to go with that unique name, Loki?” He smiled mischievously.
“No. I stopped using it years ago. I like just being Loki without any other pretense.”
“So, is this your first time in the Big Apple?”
“No. I was here a few years ago but only for a few hours. I didn't get to see much.”
“Well, I'm just out for a walk, wanna join me? I mean if you aren't in a rush to get to that café that is.”
“Actually, I think that would be lovely James. Thank you.”
Their conversation stayed light as they walked. It felt amazing to Bucky to just be a person and not his past. He knew Loki didn't see him that way but it was a chance to not see it himself. However it was short lived.
Loki stopped short as they passed the Bethesda Arcade.
“This…” He started to walk away from Bucky. “This is where we left from.”
Bucky knew their little moment was over. “You mean after…”
“Yeah. After everything. This is where Thor and I used the Tessaract to leave Midgard. I never thought I would return here, or even to this realm then. I have been back twice now.”
Loki had stepped onto a grey medallion set in the cobbles of the raised section, overlooking the fountain.
“Thank you James, for everything today.” If any of the others who had been present when Loki was taken back to Asgard had seen them, they would have noticed that Bucky stood where Thor had and Loki was in the same spot he had left from. “I can never tell you enough.”
Bucky pulled him in and kissed him with unabated passion. All of the kissing since they had left the tower had been sweet but chaste. This was different even from those they had indulged in that morning. Loki would tell it as being out of a fairytale, Bucky compared it to the one from Casablanca. Perfect.
“I don't want today to end James.”
“Well,” Bucky smiled over the chocolate fondue pot they were sharing. “It hasn't yet, especially since I intend on keeping my promise from earlier… oh how did you put it this morning?” He teased.
“Spending it in your chambers, and I suppose you did promise. You have also spent all of dinner teasing me with it since I figured out Stark's bit of sass from earlier.” Those emerald green eyes sparkled.
“He stole the line from his dad.”
“Still, it is a good line. Oh, please tell me no one has taken Rogers for fondue yet.”
“When Stark proposes he will. Well, if he proposes.”
“He will.” Loki stated, dipping a strawberry in the pot.
“Maybe. He’s really unpredictable Loki. You of all people should know that.”
“Nope. The only reason I’ll be wrong is if The Captain asks for his hand first.”
“How are you so sure? Did you read their minds or something?” Bucky asked, his tone somewhere between playful and dead serious.
“Never. I can't do that without using the scepter to control their minds anyway. They're soulmates.”
“No they aren't. Stevie ain't got a soulmark and Stark told me he didn't.”
“Stark's is behind his left ear. He wouldn't really be able to see it and with it being a soft red, it is camouflaged on his skin anyway.”
“Is that what you were looking at while he was working on my arm?” Bucky popped a marshmallow in his mouth.
“Yes, and I believe Steven is his match as he was rubbing the same spot when we and Stark embarrassed him this morning.”
“Well, Stevie did have a birthmark behind his ear when we were kids. I never thought to look after they juiced him. So why do you think their each other’s match?”
“Simple. Heartmarks always sit in the same place on both people.”
“Except us.” Bucky pointed out.
“Well we are an unusual case. I have never read about people from two different realms being soulmates. Besides you lost your left arm.”
“So why isn't yours on your back then too?”
“I do not know James. However mine does line up perfectly with your star and I would recognize my own writing in my favourite colour anywhere. Us being soulmates is the simplest answer.” Loki sounded so calm. His eyes gave away his fear to Bucky however. What if we are only fooling ourselves? They seemed to say. What if we're not meant for each other?
Bucky reached his hand out and rested it on Loki's. “I'm sure we're meant to be together. That’s why I know this won't be the last dinner I get to eat with you.”
“However if we treat the rest of tonight like it is the last time…” Loki leaned forward and reached under the table to lightly touch Bucky's thigh.
Bucky got the point and flagged down their waiter.
In the elevator Bucky had told JARVIS that they weren't too be disturbed for any reason until the next morning. He also made it clear that it was not to be at sunrise either, but about 9 am when they would be forced to say goodbye. Once it was confirmed they practically ran for Bucky's suite.
“Please tell me you are like this the whole way. I have been with too many males who start like this but want to be under me in the end.” Loki moaned as Bucky lifted him up and pinned him against the wall.
“One hundred percent, Loki. I am an absolute top.”
“Oh thank the Gods.”
“I thought you were a God, Iubimy?” Bucky asked as he began to bite and suck at Loki's long, pale neck.
“Easy mistake Ást, made centuries before your father's father was born.” He pulled Bucky's head in tighter to his neck. It had been far too long since he had had much physical contact and longer still since any of it had been sexual or this intense. “I am mortal, just very long lived. Please do that again.”
Bucky rolled his hips as he sucked in the spot Loki had teased on him earlier eliciting an excited whine from his soulmate. He had been wanting to pick Loki up and pin him to a wall since this morning. Now his cybernitic arm bore most of his lover's weight as his human hand wove it's self into his hair and that lithe body pressed into him.
“James… You are such… A tease.”
“Damn, I wanna peel your armor off of you.”
“James.” Loki thrust against him. “Why?”
“If this is my only chance to have you, I wanna take you the way I would normally find you. I want you in all your glory, so I can take you properly.”
“Only if I can ask something in return.”
“Make me beg.” He whispered. “Make me lose control, James.”
As he felt the strange warmth of Loki's seidr Bucky softly said, “Yes.” Before he could react, he could smell the leather and feel the metal plates. Carefully he set his lover back on his feet.
Stepping back he admired his soulmate. The armor was mostly black and green with gold accents. It made him somehow look taller and thinner. It was intimidating as he straightened himself up. He really did look like royalty as he stood waiting and watching. Loki's expression slowly shifted from one of pent up lust to one of egotistical confidence.
“Do you find me intimidating James? Do I frighten you like I do all the others?”
“No. I'm trying to decide whether it will be worth the trouble of undoing everything or if I should just cut them off of you. Or I could have you strip for me.” Bucky smiled in a dark way that Loki found he really liked. After a moment he motioned for him to come closer. Bucky slid his hands along Loki's chest before slipping his jacket off of those thin, muscular shoulders.
It hadn't taken them long to get lost in each other. Behind them they left a trail of their clothing. The moment Bucky had gotten Loki's leather tunic shirt off he had started to try and uphold his end of the deal.
Loki had never been much for foreplay honestly, but then again he had never had someone so determined to make him plead for what he wanted. So determined to see him come apart. He moaned around the metal fingers in his mouth as he sucked on them. Bucky was teasing his nipples as he straddled him. Grabbing at the hem of Bucky's shirt he silently asked to see more.
Slowly Bucky pulled his fingers from Loki's mouth, his soulmate teasing them as he did. Before Bucky could move Loki had whipped the shirt up and off of him. He stopped in his tracks at the sight of the scaring around his soulmates left shoulder.
“I guess I should have warned ya, it's kinda grotesque. I understand if-“
Loki ran his hand over the discoloured and uneven, hard flesh. “James, you do know I come from a warrior culture, both by birth and adoption?” He sat up as far as he could and kissed the area, reveling in its texture against his sensitive lips. “They are beautiful. A testament to your strength, your determination and perseverance. I will never find that repulsive.” He smiled, those green eyes tracing over the place where metal met flesh and currently his fingers lightly traced. “Actually, I find scars to be somewhat of a,” He licked his lips as Bucky watched him in awe. “Well, they turn me on actually.”
“So I guess doing this,” Bucky ran the still wet metal fingers up the scar in the centre of Loki's chest. “Is a good thing to do.” He grinned as Loki dropped his head back and moaned so loud that Bucky hoped Tony had paid for soundproofing. “I will take that as a yes. Who knew you were so vocal, Loki? Do you want everyone to hear you as I take you tonight?”
Loki grinned. “Well you could gag me for at least a short time.” He reached down and stroked the obvious bulge in Bucky's jeans. “If you wanted to, that is.”
“You're wantin’ to taste me already?”
“Should I remind you, I wanted this for lunch instead of the strange sausage thing.” Loki winked, while gently teasing his new lover.
“Awe come on, they weren't that bad. Damn, you look way too good like that for a prince.” Bucky ran his hand though his lover's now messy hair as he knelt down in front of him.
“Please James. I want to taste it.” He ran his hands up Bucky thick sculpted thighs, glad for the jeans that accentuated them. Hooking his fingers on the waistband of his soulmate’s pants he locked his pleading green eyes on those blown out slate blue ones. “Please.”
He locked his hand in Loki's hair. “Who in their right mind could say no to those eyes?”
Bucky's pants where tossed across the room seconds later. He groaned as Loki carefully and methodically began to torment him. Licking and sucking near but not right on the swollen flesh in his cool hand. It was agonizing minutes before he started to pay any attention to Bucky's incredibly hard cock.
“You tryin’ to make me beg, Iubimy?”
“Maybe.” Loki teased then dragged his tongue up the underside of Bucky's erection. Stopping with the tip resting on it, he looked up at his soulmate. Bucky almost lost control at the sight of Loki like that.
“Oh fuckin’ hell.” Bucky thrust forward into his mouth, receiving a pleased groan from his lover. Loki gripped the backs of his legs enjoying the sounds Bucky made as he lightly dragged his teeth along his length. His lover seemed to be employing every trick in the book, causing him to race towards the edge. Far too quickly Bucky had to use Loki's hair to pull him back off his cock. He watched him trying to catch his breath for a moment before dragging him into another hard kiss.
“Do I impress you James?” Loki panted once Bucky released him.
“Yeah, ya do, Sexy. Now hows about I show you what I can do.”
As they switched positions Bucky made a point of kissing down his body, worshiping him in every way. Loki fought to keep his composure while Bucky slowly ran his hand and mouth over his erection, through the leather pants. He began to think this Midgardian might just be his weakness and he reveled in it. In the way Bucky touched him and made him feel so desperate. How this man could make him feel whole and perfect again.
He felt the soft leather finally sliding down his legs. “Please, James. Gods, I want you.” Loki could feel Bucky's hot breath on him. The difference in their body temperatures was an incredible sensation that nearly bordered on painful.
“But you aren't begging yet, Gorgeous. That’s what you wanted, isn't it, to be made to beg.” Those warm lips grazed the cold skin of his stomach making the muscle beneath twitch. He dragged his hands up Bucky's back, making him hiss. “Careful with the claws, Iubimy. Try and not leave any new scars.”
“Just another way to remember me.” Loki groaned as he tangled his hand into Bucky's hair. “Now take me in your mouth, please.”
Bucky didn’t make him ask again. Just like he had before however he left him wanting when he stopped after only a few minutes.
“You really are taking my request to heart, aren't you?”
“What, am I makin’ you crazy?”
“I was already crazy James. You're torturing me in a most exquisite manner however. I would do just about anything just to feel your mouth on me again.” Loki purred. He was his own form torture as Bucky tried to control himself and not just throw him into his bed and take him on the spot.
Bucky stood and ran a hand along the sharp angles of his soulmate's face, caressing the side of his neck and finally resting his hand on Loki's soulmark. Without prompting Loki slipped his hand through Bucky’s thick brown hair and managed to get him to moan with a gentle tug. Slowly he dragged his fingers down Bucky's spine until the felt the raised skin of his mark. For a moment they didn't move, their eyes locked and they felt complete. A moment later Bucky finally moved placing his metal fingers on the dogtags around Loki's neck.
Loki moved much quicker after that simple touch, throwing both hands into Bucky's hair and meshing their mouths together. Bucky maneuvered his left hand down Loki's body and began teasing his sensitive flesh. With a moan his soulmate let his head fall forward onto Bucky's shoulder.
“Let me take you Loki. Say I can have you for myself.” Bucky's voice was soft but demanding and Loki found it impossible to resist any longer.
“Take me James. Please take me. Make me yours. Claim me for your own. I will have no other. Please James please.” He pleaded into the scared flesh of his soulmates shoulder. His heart began to race as he was lifted off his feet again and placed on the soft bed. Moving in unison Loki laid back as Bucky pushed him down. Any time their lips parted Loki was pleading to feel Bucky inside him, to feel that heat burning his icy heart and Bucky was murmuring back about how good it would feel, how much he wanted him and how much he loved him.
Bucky managed to grab the lube from his nightstand, or maybe Loki summoned it for him, but neither really cared to remember as Bucky finally gave into his soulmate’s desires. Pressing two of his metal fingers into Loki made him moan in a lascivious way. He began panting as soon as Bucky moved his hand.
“Oh my Gods! James!” It surprised Loki how gentle Bucky was being and how good it felt because of that. He could feel every incredible movement of the metal digits as they slowly and methodically stretched him open. “Please Ást, I need you.”
Slipping his fingers out Bucky leaned over Loki as he lined himself up. “I need you too Loki.” They kissed as Bucky pushed into his soulmate's body. “You're perfect Loki. God you feel so perfect.” He began to move.
Compared to how desperate they both felt their movements where unhurried. Instead of the frantic rutting both had anticipated, it was deeply passionate. Savouring each sound and movement the other made, neither held back. Bucky hissed as Loki clawed his back, fangs nipping his neck. He made Loki scream out his name when he pushed him into a position that overwhelmed him in a good way, making pale blue lines stand out on his skin. It felt like they were losing their virginities all over again. Loki had Bucky cursing in every language he knew as he rode him, neck and shoulders covered in bruises. They both were bruised and cursing by the end.
As the clock counted down the last remaining hour of Loki's freedom they dragged each other over the edge again and again until neither could move. They collapsed into each other's arms.
“James… Please don't let tonight end for me.”
“If I could stop time I would. I would do anything for you Loki.” He stroked the ink black hair feathered out over his bare, bruised chest.
“And I for you.” Loki’s voice was soft and sad. “This is the end of my life James.”
“I will see you again. I promise.” Bucky whispered into his ear.
“I love you.”
As they slept in each other’s arms the clock ran out.
Yes The Bethesda Arcade is the location from the Avengers. It took me hours to find it out.
I would love to hear what you guys think about this chapter.
Chapter 6: Chapter 5: Five More Minutes
Isn't five more minutes the same thing everyone wants in the morning. Saying good bye takes more than that.
So we are gonna get a touch angsty here guys. Fear not this is not the end. Not by a long shot.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bang! Bang! Bang!
“Five more minutes…” Bucky grumbled at the door. He wasn’t ready to get up yet. Not when he still had his soulmate wrapped in his arms. Loki hadn’t moved since they had finally fallen asleep, whispering promises that they knew they could never keep. To protect each other, to bear witness to the important moments together, to never be parted. Even just a promise to see each other again was a lie. Yet they spoke them to each other until they were finally able to sleep.
Again there was pounding on Bucky’s bedroom door. This time followed by a bellowing voice.
The pale man in his arms shuddered. Thor had arrived to return him to his home. His cell in the dungeons under the grand palace of Asgard, where he would remain alone, unwanted, untouched and unloved for the rest of his days. Almost 1.5 million of them. All that stood between him and that terrible, but well-deserved fate, was the door to the bedroom he never wanted to leave. If it remained closed that fate was avoided, non-existent.
The door swung open.
The broad shoulders of the Asgardian prince filled the doorframe. “Please Loki. Father is threatening to send Lady Sif and the Warriors Three. He believes that I will allow you to escape. Please do not make this worse.”
Not caring about his nudity or the number and colour of the bruises that covered his upper body, Loki sat up.
“Define worse Thor. Worse than having nothing left to live for save the ever-present pain reminding me that I am not whole? Or is it that you mean to say do not make this worse for you, having to drag the one who you were raised to believe was your brother back to his prison cell?” His words bit.
“Worse than watching you be dragged, unwillingly, from the place and person that make you happiest, knowing that you will never feel that way again. You have five minutes before you must make your way to the roof of the building Brother. Please, make good use of them.” Thor spoke softly before turning and walking out, closing the door behind him.
Bucky sat up wrapping his arms tight around Loki. There was no longer any need for any façade of confidence or self-discipline between them. Loki crumbled into his soulmates arms, sobbing. Neither spoke for a moment. There were no words that Bucky could say to calm his love and none that Loki could say that hadn’t already been said.
“Come on Iubimy. We should get dressed.” He gently ran his hand through the tangle of black hair. Loki nodded, wiping tears from his face. “I… I don’t want this either.”
Loki waved his hand. For an instant Bucky thought he was waving off his comment but the warm tingle of his soulmates power made the thought leave. Bucky found he had been dressed in black and Loki in his armor. “If I am to be forced to return than I shall return, as Stark would say, in style.” He tried to smile.
“You really do look imposing dressed like that Loki.” He gently stroked Loki’s cheek. “I wouldn’t want to be on your bad side that’s for sure.” Now Loki really did smile. Bucky did too. “I love you Loki.”
“These are yours James. I should give them back now I suppose.” Loki slipped his hand under his top. Bucky placed his hand over his soulmate’s.
“No. I gave them to you so you would have some small part of me with you no matter what. They’re yours now.” He closed his hand around Loki’s hand. “Please don’t ever take them off.”
Again Loki felt tears prickle in his eyes. He felt Bucky press his free hand onto his back and hold him. “I have nothing to leave with you James. I… actually I do have something.” He stepped back only enough to reach inside of his sleeve.
“You have a literal trick up your sleeve?” Bucky laughed slightly.
“What sort of trickster would I be if I didn't?” Loki smirked pulling a small sheath from its hiding place. “I want you to have my push dagger. It is a good weapon for close combat and when you need someone to let you go. You look like knives are familiar territory for you.”
Bucky took the offered gift with a smile. “So if Stevie gets a bit too clingy I can just poke him?” They both laughed.
“It worked on Thor so I don't see why it wouldn't be effective with the Captain. I hope it keeps you safe, as I wish I could protect you. You are here with these other heroes, I can only assume you partake in their antics.”
“I have to repay my debt somehow. If I can save a life then maybe I have done a good thing and if your knife can help then maybe you did too.” Bucky carefully tied the sheath to the side of his leg tucking it into his boot. “Thank you Loki. I hope I never need to use it.”
“I agree but I expect it will see more use in your possession than in mine.” Loki smiled, then pulled out of Bucky's arms and walked over to the window. “I think you were right yesterday, that I am falling in love with this realm. I never thought I would rather live somewhere other than Asgard. And yet…”
“Now leaving feels like saying good bye to your home.” Bucky placed his hand on Loki's lower back. “I remember a similar thought as I watched the Statue of Liberty fade into the horizon behind me when I went to Europe, to the war and my doom.” He huffed a soft laugh. “I was right though. I told Stevie that day we were going to the future. We really did.”
As they entered the common area most of the others were there. Tony looked surprisingly sad, Steve too, with his arm around the inventor. Pepper stood by the elevator and Thor was speaking softly to the two master assassins who no longer seemed so suspicious. Barton looked at the pair. He walked over to Loki and stood in front of him.
“You know things about me that few others do. I want you to tell Nat what you know and I'm gonna talk with Bucky real quick.”
“I assure you Agent Barton, I haven't shared anything of what you told me involuntarily.”
“Then I wanna see it.”
Loki nodded and waved his hand over his left shoulder making the sleeve of his shirt disappear. “I didn't lie.” Clint stared at the soulmark on Loki's arm.
“Odnoliub. Huh. Is it a-“ Natasha was cut off by Bucky.
“It's a soulmark Nat. It matches mine.”
Natasha smiled. “Well, at least you found who it was that you were meant for.”
“Yeah, well… I guess fate has a sick sense of humor, pairing an assassin and a murderous alien together.”
“Murderous? James, is that truly what you think of me?” Loki laughed as he moved next to his soulmate. “Brave words from a mortal man with a metal arm.”
“You seemed to be impressed by my metal arm plenty last night.” Bucky teased as he slipped that same hand along the back of Loki's neck. He shivered.
“Hey Bucky. Too much information.” Clint whined as he looked away covering his eyes. Tony started laughing and Bucky smirked at him.
“At least Tony soundproofed the living quarters or it wouldn't be.” Bucky said a bit louder as Clint started to walk away.
“Shut up Barnes!” He called back. Natasha began to laugh, throwing her head back.
Loki grinned as Natasha spoke something through her laughter to Bucky before clapping his shoulder. He returned the gesture and thanked her. As she moved away Loki felt Bucky's arm slip around his waist.
“Hey Antlers, Iceman. C'mere a moment.” Tony called across the room as he moved to the bar on the back wall.
“Iceman?” Loki repeated a quiet edge to his voice.
“Yeah, Stark calls me that after a mummified body that was found frozen. Every time he’s thawed they risk him breaking, kinda like me.” Bucky whispered and felt his soulmate's body relax.
“I still owe you that drink don't I?” Tony smirked.
“I suppose you may, though we never did actually discuss it.” Loki slid onto a barstool. Bucky stood next to him watching Tony pour three glasses of scotch.
“Now, I know this stuff isn't as strong or as old as the stuff you guys drink in space but it's still got lots of flavour.” Tony slid a glass in front of Loki and picked one up himself. Bucky took the third.
“Thank you for all of this Stark. To your health and good fortune.” Loki raised his glass.
“For all of what?” Tony stopped his glass just before his lips.
“Well, getting that collar off for a start. Then allowing me to stay with James in your home for two nights and dinner the other night. Just for being kind in general. After everything that I did here I don't exactly deserve the kindness and consideration you, The Captain and even the assassins have shown me.” Loki sipped the scotch. “This is quite nice actually but yes, it is rather weak.”
“Don't worry ‘bout it. I get the feeling that you and I would actually get along quite well if we hadn't met with you being forced to crush us puny humans.” Tony set his glass down. “We've all had a rough ride ‘round here and I saw the way you looked at me after Dum-E sprayed ya. Like you were scared that I might hurt you. Kinda realized that we might have been wrong about you.”
“It is good to know…” Loki's voice trailed off as Thor came over to him.
“Loki, we must be leaving. Stark and the others may come to bid you farewell if they wish.” He turned to Bucky. “I have to ask that you not interfere Sergeant Barnes. I cannot pretend to understand how you are going to feel but I can imagine that this will not be pleasant, if what Loki has said is true.”
Bucky looked at Thor. The Asgardian prince seemed sad. Almost ashamed of what was happening. He wanted to ask if Thor agreed with Loki's punishment and if he knew about everything.
Loki followed the man that was once his brother to the elevators. Pepper waited by them, clearly wanting to say something. He stopped in front of her.
“I really am sorry about hitting you Loki. Tony filled me in and said you had already had a bad day to that point and I didn't make it any better.”
“Miss Pepper. You did nothing that you need apologize for. As I had said before, you aren't the first Midgardian woman to strike me, and I would guess you won't be the last. I would also have wanted to do the same if I had been in your position. Though I wouldn't wish to strike a woman outside of combat, save if she explicitly requested me to.” He winked and Pepper giggled.
“Loki!” Thor thundered and the pale man smirked at him.
“Yes, brother?” Loki's tone was pleasantly taunting. Thor smiled for a moment, seeing the man he once knew underneath everything.
“We must go. I am so sorry, Loki, but we must.”
Loki shook Pepper's hand then followed Thor into the elevator. As the doors slid shut both men stared ahead. For a brief moment neither said anything. Then Thor spoke softly.
“It is good to see you smile Loki.”
Loki glanced at Thor, not believing his ears. Just two days ago he had been taunting him about his soulmark and now, he was speaking sincerely.
“I know you blame me, in some way for what has happened to you. You need to know, Mother told me that she did make you King, that you were hurt and scared by my father and that you are so alone that you would cast illusions upon yourself to try and get lost in a world where you were worshipped. This morning however, I saw my brother again, teasing, tormenting and even flirting. I saw the young man I remember from my childhood. The person I loved was standing in front of me once more even though I thought him dead.”
“The person you loved was a lie Thor. I was never your brother, just another stolen relic to be kept until needed.” Loki sighed.
“Mother saw you as her son, Loki. I saw you as my brother and I wish for it to remain that way.”
Loki glanced around the small metal box they stood in. He had no escape. The need to know the truth of how Thor would react to the real image of who he was became overwhelming.
“Look at me Thor. Tell me what sort of man you see.”
“One who has been underestimated and misunderstood throughout his life. Beaten down but always able to pick himself up and try again.” Thor slapped his back making him stumble to catch himself. “In some ways you were stronger than me. So many times I would have found my head on a pike if you had not used the right spell at the right moment or said the right insult. You followed me into even the most reckless of situations. I simply wish I had been mature enough to see your value sooner, Brother.”
Loki was touched. Yet he still knew he needed to tell Thor the truth while he had the chance. He reached out and pressed the stop button.
“Loki, we cannot delay.”
“I need to show you something Thor. I do not believe Odin will ever tell you the truth.” Loki closed his eyes and focused. Without a Jotunn artifact it took more power to force the glamour down than many of the spells in his repertoire. He felt the strange slipping sensation of it falling.
Opening his eyes he asked, “And now, what do you think of me? Am I still your brother?”
Thor stared. He had seen the gold colour, his father’s power not Loki's, fall away to reveal the face of an enemy. Of a monster. Yet the voice and movements belonged to his brother. Those red eyes studied his expressions in the way Loki did. Choosing his words with care, Thor spoke.
“You are Jotunn then?” Loki nodded. “So you spoke true before?”
“Yes. I am of Jotenheim not Asgard. Odin believes I am the lost prince, youngest of the sons of Laufey.” He looked at his own hands and Thor saw the painful sorrow cross his face. “I am not even fully of their kind either. I am far too small and weak to be of strictly of their realm or Asgard even.”
“As I said to you two days ago, you are my brother, none of these perceived flaws that you use as a wall is going to change that. For a thousand years I was raised to believe you were my brother. And you were the worst brother and the best.” Thor took a deep breath and placed his hands on Loki's shoulders. “Before you use your silver tongue as a blade against yourself further, you are not a monster. I have witnessed that you are a better man than anyone including yourself believes. You were willing to give your life for me and my lover Loki. No matter what Odin says or thinks, you really are my brother.”
“Even though you once wished to kill all of the frost giants.”
Thor laughed. “I was but a child, Loki. Even when we ventured to Jotenheim with our friends, I was acting like one.”
“That was my fault. I told them how to get in just to ruin your coronation.”
“Father told me. Mother said you were jealous, that you always have been. I do not understand why though.”
“You were loved by all, while I was laughed at. Father loved you and praised you like the sun fucking rose with you every fucking morning. Nothing I ever did was good enough for him. And you ignored me.” Loki slumped back against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest as the glamour reasserted itself over his true form. “You blatantly ignored the shitty way our ‘friends' treated me. They taunted and goaded me until I would fight them, just to prove I was the weaker. Then laughing when I would try and defend myself.”
“Why tell me all of this now Loki?”
Loki laughed softly “Was that not the deal I made with Odin, that I tell you all that troubles me?”
“Indeed it was.” Thor gave a snorted laugh “And I should tell you that I have been trying to get the Allfather to see that you are not a villain. Alas however he refuses to listen, even to me. The time I managed to get you is poor compensation for my wrongs against you Loki. I am sorry.”
“I appreciate it and the sentiments behind your actions and words. I have, however, made peace with my life.” Loki touched the small metal plates resting against his skin.
“Damn. If Jarvis is right about this Barnes, Loki leaving is going to be physically painful for you both.” Stark said looking up from his tablet as they waited for the elevator.
“He mentioned that to Thor this mornin'. Said that it would be a constant reminder that he wasn't whole.” Bucky said staring straight at the elevator's doors.
“Did he mention that it only happens to those with heartmarks and only if they have ‘sealed their bond'?” Stark inquired, grinning.
“So what it only effects them if they... ya know… or something?”
Bucky laughed. “C'mon Punk ya still can't say sex? And unless it requires some sorta blood ritual or somethin' we probably did it already.”
Steve stared at Bucky open mouthed for a moment. “I thought you were teasing Clint! After how awkward you were the other night I though… goddammit you jerk! Here.” He handed Stark a ten.
“You thought I wasn't gonna take the last, and only, chance I was gonna get to have him? The hell Punk? And they think my brain is fucked up… ” He messed up Steve's hair. “Course I slept with him.”
“Besides they sealed their bond with in the first ten minutes of knowing each other.” Stark had started reading his tablet again. “Says here that, ‘the bond is sealed when the marked persons acknowledge their paired markings and then; for mind marks, spend twenty-four hours with each other. And for heartmarks, they kiss.’” He looked up at Bucky. “That’s why he kept kissing you.”
“It also helps that heartmarks actually relate to the person. Ours means we both will really only love one person, each other.” The elevator pinged and the door opened. “I think we’re lucky in a weird way. We know we love each other even though we're gonna spend the rest of our lives apart.” Steve and Tony got in with him.
“Bucky. Are you gonna be a'right Jerk?”
“I will, I think.” The corner of his mouth lifted. “I never did thank you for fixing my arm Stark, or for helpin’ Loki out, or for leavin’ me strapped to that damned table. If you hadn't done that, well…”
“You're welcome Bucky.” Stark patted his shoulder as the elevator opened.
Thor and Loki stood near the centre of the small section of roof. Loki was examining the scorch marks that were still visible from Tony’s attempt to destroy the Tessaract.
“I have left an indelible mark on this world Thor. I am learning how to remove it though.”
“You were right about my realization that you were not yourself Loki. I am sorry I couldn't help you then, or even now for that matter. I wish father would listen to me.”
“The old curmudgeon will never listen to reason about my actions Thor. Someday you may be able to change things but I may be so far gone by then…”
“I will still continue to try, though if you continue to speak of the Allfather in that manner he may have your head.”
“No. If he kills me then he can no longer dangle freedom before me like a piece of meat before a starved wolf.” Loki sighed, and then looked at Bucky as he stepped out onto the roof. “Though it would make things easier, I doubt he would be so kind. He refused the last time I asked him to kill me so why would this time be any different?”
Thor stared wide eyed at his brother. Never in all his many years had he thought that Loki didn't want to live. “Why… why would you have asked?”
“My entire life has been a lie Thor. Maybe I am tired of all the deception. For the last two days I have had no lies and no tricks other than messing with clothing. It was good. I finally found what I want, in fact it has never changed. Not a throne, but to be seen as an equal. To be loved for who and what I am.”
Suddenly Loki looked straight up. Before anyone could react a bright white column of light interspersed with prismatic colours dropped down upon the roof. Two men, a robust redhead and a lean blond, along with a dark hair woman, all in Asgardian armor stepped out.
“Why are you here Sif?” Thor asked stepping forward, placing himself between the warriors and Loki.
“We are here by order of the Allfather to collect the prisoner.” Sif replied coolly.
“I have not yet missed my deadline Sif and I was only moments from calling Heimdall.”
“You are two hours late already Thor. Odin has been as patient as he is willing to be with your pandering to the prisoner. He must be returned now.”
Loki had had his head down the entire time therefore he didn't notice as the humans shifted, surrounding him. Next to him he heard Bucky's soft voice. “This isn't right. You were gonna go willingly.” Without a word in response Loki took Bucky's hand and squeezed.
“It is good to see you have made some friends Loki.” The blond man spoke in a seemingly cheery voice.
“Thor you must step aside and allow us to take the prisoner, you may remain as long as you would like.” Sif said. “Now stand aside.”
“This is wrong. Why aren't we fighting them? We could take ‘em. Steve you get big red, I'll take Xena and Bucky gets the sassy blond.” Stark muttered from behind Loki.
“We have no choice. Odin could start a war over this.” Steve whispered. “He could destroy Earth. We have to let them take Loki. I'm so sorry Buck, Loki. I really am.”
Thor looked over his shoulder and nodded. As the other three stepped out of the way Bucky pulled Loki into his arms, clearly trying to protect him.
“Fandral, Volgstagg.” Sif nodded at the two men who both moved towards them.
“Please don't.” Bucky spoke in a calm voice over Loki's shoulder as his soulmate tried to shrink into him.
Neither man stopped or even hesitated. “Come on Loki. It's for your own good.” The blond said, his voice seemed reassuring as they managed to get their arms under Loki's. As they began to pull Loki started struggling. Trying to keep a hold of Bucky, he only managed to catch his right arm. As the Asgardian men pulled him away, Loki's claws ripped into Bucky, leaving three deep gashes in his forearm.
Steve put his arm across Bucky's chest to stop him. “I really am sorry Buck.”
He watched as Loki stopped fighting what was happening. Seeming to give up and accept his fate.
“Your arm… James, I'm sorry.” His voice was soft and sad. Tears staining his face. Bucky looked at the bleeding cuts and chuckled. Glancing back at his soulmate he smiled sadly.
“Just another thing to remember you by.”
“I love---” Loki was cut off by the bifrost returning and whisking him back to Asgard.
Bucky gave a pained gasp as the light vanished. It was like someone had ripped his soul out of him. The pain of having his arm removed was less than this. Steve kneeled next to his collapsed friend and wrapped his arm over his shoulders.
Unable to hold it back any longer, Bucky began to cry. “I just wanted five more minutes… I just wanted to protect him. Why does it hurt so much?”
The bifrost released them into Heimdall's observatory. As they stepped on to the familiar floor the warriors and Thor heard Loki scream. Turning they witnessed the normally composed and calm Prince collapse, clutching his chest as he fell to his knees. The only one who seemed concerned was Thor, until Loki got enough air to speak. His voice was pained.
“Please, Heimdall, if you have any mercy, you will kill me!”
They all stopped and stared as he cried out again.
“Please, for the love of the Gods make it stop. Make the pain in my soul stop. KILL ME! PLEASE!”
I hope to be posting chapter 6 next week! I am currently working on chapter 9 and hope to continue to make progress. As always Comments are LOVED! Let me know what you think.
Chapter 7: Six Feet Under
Even small separations are a living hell for bounded soulmates and they"re on separate planets, and have been that way for eighteen months.
Okay I was a bit later than I said I would be. My weekend was busier than I expected and I didn't get on my computer. Some things with this chapter did take me a bit to write and it is part of why there was so little progress for a while there.
As always I would LOVE to hear what you guys think.
Oh and sorry about formatting weirdness on the last chapter.
Six Feet Under
Eighteen months later.
Bucky stood watching the sun rise, fidgeting with the push dagger he kept in his left boot. This was his morning ritual. Standing on the roof, welcoming the new day. Some mornings he contemplated jumping as the sun rose, only to remind himself that the end result was not what he actually wanted. Other mornings he would simply cry for the loss of his soulmate. He knew Loki was still alive on Asgard. His chest still hurt and in the time since “Asgard's Finest” had taken Loki back to his cell, Bucky had learned that heartmark soulmates could feel when the other died.
The books and articles that JARVIS had found said it would make the pain stop but the one still living would feel a terrible hollowness. It wasn't the only thing they could feel from each other either. He hoped Loki could feel how he felt most mornings. The small happiness that the pain did bring, knowing he was still out there, somewhere. He had felt the crippling sorrow that his soulmate felt on occasion. Bucky assumed those would be times when he was thinking about him or Frigga. The rage was the worst but it would pass quickly. Most days however he only felt his own pain and sometimes wondered what of his emotions Loki felt.
Rubbing his chest, it took a moment for him to realize he wasn't alone.
“I ain't gonna jump Punk, so whaddya doin' up here?”
“Brought you some Joe. Still missin’ him huh?” Steve held out a cup of coffee to him.
“Of course. Soulmates.” Bucky shrugged as he slipped the push dagger back into its sheath on his left ankle. “It’s not like I get a choice in how I feel.” He stated, taking the offered coffee. “Thanks.”
“Sometimes I think you have it better with havin your mark, ‘cause you know you got someone out there in the universe. Then I see ya like this and wonder if it really is.” Steve clapped him on the shoulder.
“You and Stark fightin' again?”
“God Buck, I don't know why I keep goin' back to him.” Steve slumped onto one of the chairs that Tony had provided for Bucky, seeing how he spent most mornings up here.
“’Cause you're hopeless.” Bucky smiled sitting across from his best friend. In the year and a half since Loki had left he had all but confirmed his suspicions about Steve and Tony being soulmates. They both had marks and Steve's was definitely in Italian. He hadn't managed to get a good look at Stark's but he had seen the same red writing behind his left ear that Loki had. However in eighteen months they had broken up and gotten back together no less than three times.
“Sometimes it feels like I just can't breathe without him and then he goes and starts trying to use your soulmate's scepter to make a new AI to protect the world. Thank god Rhodey and Bruce got him to stop or we'd be fightin’ some crazy ass self replicatin' murder bot.” Steve half laughed.
“You thinkin’ ‘bout goin' back Punk?”
“I dunno Buck, and don't start goin' on ‘bout us bein' soulmates. Jerk, I ain't got a mark.”
Bucky groaned. “Yeah ya do, Punk. Behind your left ear.”
“It's a birthmark Bucky. I don't get that pull you talk about.”
“But you keep getting pulled back to him. What is the difference?”
“The difference is that Tony and I keep fighting like…” Steve stopped speaking as they both felt an odd tingling.
“Move the table. Last thing we need is an Asgardian breakin’ his neck.” Bucky grumbled as he grabbed his chair and coffee. Steve had the table moved just in time.
The bifrost touched down in the middle of the roof. Bucky held his breath as the light vanished. He was disappointed that only one man stood in its wake.
“Sergeant Barnes, Captain Rogers. It is good to see both of you.”
“Thor, welcome back.” Steve walked up to him and was almost instantly embraced. A moment later he turned to Bucky, offering him a hug as well. Putting a hand up and taking a step back he refused it. Thor had learned in the couple of times he had been back that Bucky was not a physically affectionate person with anyone, save Loki.
Throwing his arm around Bucky's shoulder instead, the blond Asgardian smiled. “I come bearing news of my brother, Sergeant Barnes.”
“Is he alright?” Bucky froze, fearing whatever Thor might say.
“Loki is alive though, I fear his mind may be slipping. He did, however, tell me to ask you for more books as he thoroughly enjoyed the ones you sent him.”
Steve laughed. “He asked for more books? What the hell?”
“I sent Loki a couple of books with Thor after the last mission, Sherlock Holmes and Lord of the Rings to be specific. I figured he might want something new to read, seeing as he has nowhere or anything else to do.”
“And Odin was alright with this? I thought he was trying to keep Loki away from everything?”
“It is part of a deal he made. Odin promised us each one wish, the one Loki was able to get him to agree to is that Bucky can send him anything he wants. Mostly that just means books.” Thor smiled. “I need to talk with Bucky for a moment Steven. Would you mind contacting some people for me?” He handed Steve a piece of paper.
Opening it Steve nodded. “Sure. But umm… why?”
“I will tell you when I tell the others. Please I need to speak with James.”
Steve shrugged as he stepped onto the elevator. “Alright. See ya in the boardroom. Be nice ya Jerk.”
“So, what do you want Thor?”
“I need some help with the wish my father has granted for me.”
“What the hell can I do?”
Thor sighed as he sat in one of the chairs. Bucky dragged the other closer.
“James. I have convinced my father to give Loki a legitimate trial.”
Bucky almost fell from his chair. “Holy Shit! Does he know?”
“We are telling him tomorrow. Both of us. I plan to take a group of you to Asgard, to help prove the truth. That my brother is not at fault for all that he has done. You know him personally better than anyone except perhaps our mother. I need you to impress the jury both with your words and your actions.”
“So, the soldier needs to show up then?”
“Aye. I will be asking all of my SHIELD siblings to be in their uniforms. However I have an idea of how to make you intimidating.”
“I am intimidating on my own.” Bucky's entire physicality shifted. Thor smiled.
“Perfect. My entire idea is that other than the few who must see you before, we keep you until last. The Soldier is known for waiting and hiding in the shadows until called for is he not?”
Bucky nodded. “Should I bring a gun or five.” Thor laughed and Bucky cracked.
“I can't believe we get to go to Asgard!” Tony was bouncing as they left the boardroom. Steve was holding his head. Jane had been the most calm. Going back to Asgard was something she wanted badly. Darcy was just as bubbly as ever and had shrieked with excitement when Thor had asked. Clint had been silent and the last to agree to come.
“Well we all know why Bucky is going to Asgard, why is everyone else agreeing to go and help Loki?” Tony asked as they walked into the common area.
“To help someone who is so clearly not the demon he has been painted as.” Steve said, pouring himself a drink.
“Always lookin out for the underdog eh, Punk?”
“Ya know it Bucky.” Steve grinned. “What ‘bout you Tony?”
“Are you shittin' me Cap? I Get To Go To Asgard! That and Loki isn't actually evil. A diva…”
“And you would know about being a diva.”
“Shut it Barnes. As I was saying. A diva and a lunatic but not evil. Last but not least, agent Barton… why the hell are you joining us on planet craziness?”
“Bucky is Nat's friend. Seeing him in pain upsets her. I would leave that skinny bastard to rot where he is but if it is going to fix Bucky and that makes Tasha happy then so be it.” He snarled. “I have to pack and call Nat. If I am going off world she is too.” Then stomped back to the elevator.
“You need to be back by ten hundred hours, Barton.”
“I know Rogers. We will be there.”
Bucky sat on the chaise of the couch and started fidgeting the push dagger.
“Hey Tinman. You doin alright?”
“Yeah. I am doin a'right.”
“You're playin’ with his dagger again Buck.”
“Nerves. How do ya think you'd feel if ya hadn't seen each other in a year and a half? What if he really has lost his mind or if he is just acting to hide his pain?” Bucky tossed the dagger in the air and caught it. Then did it again. “Fuck, I miss him.”
“Ya gettin’ to see him before hand?”
Bucky caught the knife again. “Yup. First thing when I get there. It is gonna be nice to not hurt anymore.”
“I hate to ask this but…” Tony started.
“I have no idea. He'll go mad, maybe even try to kill everyone. I might just let him. Not gonna live with this damn pain anymore.” Bucky threw the dagger at the bar, plunging it into the wood. “I gotta pack.” He walked over and put his hand on the dagger's hilt. “Thank you both. I really do mean it, thank you.” He pulled the dagger out as both Steve and Tony stared at him.
They all piled their bags in the middle of the roof, milling about until Hiemdall opened the bridge.Bucky had been up on the roof since the sun had started to rise. Jane and Darcy had shown up with bagels, muffins and chocolate raspberry croissants for everyone.
Thor was the next to arrive, promptly eating four of the croissants. Darcy began asking him about the workings of the legal and political systems of Asgard. Jane sat next to Bucky and didn't speak. She was doing this as a final favour to Thor. She didn't know if she would leave Asgard once there. Though she didn't look it, Jane was dying. Her exposure to the infinity stone called the Aether had left her body damaged and Thor believed that Asgard might be able to make the end of her life more comfortable.
“So, you looking forward to seein' your boyfriend?” Darcy sat down next to Bucky.
“Soulmate, Loki is my soulmate, but yeah.” Bucky nodded catching the push dagger.
“Nice dagger. Gift for or from?”
“From. Gave Loki my old dog tags, this is what he gave me.” Bucky continued to flip it in his hand. “The literal trick up his sleeve.”
“That is actually really sweet. Who wouldda thought the psycho alien was romantically inclined?” Darcy smirked. “You actually make him seem sweet.”
“He actually is once you get him to chill.” Bucky smirked at his own joke. “It's harder when people call him crazy though. Bothers him ‘cause he's really not.”
“I know, I was just trying to be funny. How could a crazy person understand why I tazed him?” Darcy's tone changed slightly, almost sounding serious. Almost.
“You tazed Loki… and he didn't kill you?” He turned to look at the smirking brunette.
“Well I am sitting here, so I don't think he killed me. Either that or I was soo lied to about heaven.”
“Why? What were you expecting Darcy? Rivers of wine and trees made of money?” Bucky snarked playfully.
“Cabana boys.” She nodded. “Four smokin' hot Cabana boys at my beck and call, a never-ending glass of wine and all the books and movies I could ever want.” She smiled ernestly.
“Well I doubt Asgard will have all that, though from what I remember Loki telling me you might just find a bottomless wine glass waiting for you.” Darcy giggled and started to look hopeful when an argument interrupted their conversation
“You are not bringing that with you Tony. I am sure they have lots of booze on Asgard.” The roof door clicked shut as Steve and Tony joined the group.
“But Caaap.” Tony whined, only because he had an audience. “It's to celebrate Loki's release. He said he liked it so I thought it would be a nice gift. And Bucky can just chug the whole thing while he watches Loki rain down destruction if the shit hits the fan.”
Steve glared at him then pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration as he walked away from the inventor.
“You’re hopeless Stevie.”
“Oh shut up Buck.” Steve rolled his eyes as he dropped his and Tony's luggage in the pile.
“So now we are just waiting upon Barton and The Widow.” Thor said sternly. Bucky checked his watch. They had a few minutes before their scheduled departure time. Thor could call the Bifrost at any time but they were expected at ten o'clock. Tony leaned on the little table.
“You think your godly lover will approve of my offering of booze, right Tinman?”
At some point Tony had traded Iceman for Tinman as Bucky’s go to nickname, not that anyone could remember when.
“It's the scotch right?” Tony nodded. “Then I’m sure he will. I appreciate you guys all agreeing to help.”
Steve slapped Bucky's shoulder and said nothing. It was the happiest any of them had seen the former assassin in almost two years.
“I'm not yelling at you Barton. I don't care if you changed your mind, you agreed to help James and you are going to see that through.” Natasha scolded Clint sharply as they walked past the gathering to drop her bag. Clint was walking backwards so he could keep signing at her in frustration. She groaned a moment later and with a hard edge signed something back to the archer. Turning to the others she shrugged.
“He keeps saying he regrets agreeing to this.” She shook her head.
“He was given the option to walk away. He didn't have to say he'd go. I get it. In some ways Loki should stay where he is but we have enough proof that he wasn't in control of his actions, At least not fully. And if that is the criteria that Clint is basing his opinions on, then both he and Bucky should also be thrown in jail for what they did under the control if others.” Steve's voice was stern. “I get that it was really personal for him but he made the choice to do this for you, Nat.”
“Oh, I know that. And it isn't having to be on another planet or just that he wants to see Loki stay behind bars. I told him he shouldn't just be doing this for me. In fact I think he feels some sympathy for him and Bucky. He gets the sort of pain they are feeling but he doesn’t want to admit it.”
Something clicked in Bucky’s mind. Clint really had no reason to bring Natasha with them. She wasn’t testifing or participating in Loki’s trial, yet he had insisted on being allowed to bring her. He remembered a small detail about Natasha from his time training her as the Winter Soldier. Natasha had a soulmark. It sat just above her sacrum and was a small purple bird.
“The seperation really hurts doesn’t it.” He said slowly, looking at Clint. He nodded and Nat smiled. The others just looked at them dumbfounded as Clint signed something to Natasha. She nodded and then Jane, coming to the same conclusion, spoke.
“If being a couple of cities apart is uncomfortable for soulmates, what would being seperated by such a great distance that you require an Einstein-Rosen Bridge to cross the distance feel like?”
“I think I would rather be whipped over and over again than spend another day dealing with this pain.” Bucky said plainly as he stood.
“Then lets get you someplace where it doesn't hurt anymore.” Steve clapped his hand on to Bucky's right shoulder. “I think everyone is as ready to do this as they’re gonna be.”
Thor made everyone gather around the luggage. Then tipped his head back. “Heimdall! Bring us home.”
Loki paced in his cell. Subconsciously he rubbed the heel of his right hand against the scar on his chest. It wasn't the scar that hurt but more of a manifestation of pain that centered in his chest and therefore centered on that scar.
According to what Thor had told him the last time he had visited the dungeon it had been a year and a half since they had returned. He had begged for death for the first while, unsure if it were weeks or months. Being stuck without the sun he struggled to keep track. Odin had proved true to his nature and continued to deny Loki even that freedom.
As he moved through the small space his fingers ghosted over the rough cover of one of his books. It had been a true shock when Odin had agreed to allow him to receive gifts from James and an even bigger one when Thor showed up with them. He had thought it a lie until he found the short letter tucked into the pages of the book with the red cover. The writing and words were clearly James, straightforward and to the point. James missed him and wanted him to be as happy as he could, even though he was trapped in a cell.
The two books were a delightful escape sometimes. Other times he needed something more tangible. Carefully Loki rearranged the cushions and pillows on the chaise that doubled as his bed. Once done, all they lacked was warmth or else he could have almost convinced himself he was leaning against another's chest.
Sighing he leaned back into the cushions and drawing in some of his power he cast an illusion. Loki had learned one new trick since leaving Midgard. He no longer needed to cast the illusion over the whole room to immerse himself within it. Now he simply cast the charm upon his eyes and closed them.
“Ya know, we coulda just seen a play back in New York Loki.” Bucky smiled as Loki leaned further into his chest.
“Indeed, but I like this one.” Loki glanced up at the soldier to see him smirking.
“That's ‘cause you wrote it.” He laughed.
“And that’s a problem because…?” He dragged the last word out to make Bucky laugh again.
“You really are a diva, ya know?” The soldier kissed the top of his soulmate's head.
“I know.” Loki felt those strong mismatched arms wrap around his waist gently. The scent of his cologne and the rise and fall of his chest against his back were comforting. His subconscious mind was screaming that this wasn't real but Loki pushed those thoughts back down. He knew that if he continued to let himself believe this was real it may eventually become reality to him. As real as the cell he had now left behind.
“I'm always surprised that you hate it here.”
Loki laughed softly. “That is because you don't see the side of the courtiers that is gossiping about us.”
“Hardly. They despise me and wish to see me flayed. If any of them had ever wished to be me, they ceased to feel that way years ago.” Loki shook his head.
“Just proves that they're idiots.”
“Why?” Loki smirked. He needed to hear Bucky's reasoning for this one.
“Well, me. Obviously. They should want to be you because on top of being a prince and incredibly attractive, you get me.” Bucky laughed.
Loki's mind tried to shout that Bucky wasn't that egotistical but he ignored it. Who cared about a few inconsistencies when he had his soulmate's body all around him. He rubbed his chest slightly. Noticing what he was doing Bucky grabbed his hand.
“Isn't this your favourite part Loki?”
That it was. The intelligent trickster was beginning to insult the other players and their characters. Loki loved the way the sarcasm and snark rolled. Yes the others got their shots in, as the trickster was far from innocent, but he had a comeback for every pointed tongue. At the moment, however, Loki was more interested in Bucky than the play.
Wrapping his arms around James he turned to face more towards him. “Bucky, why'd you come to Asgard?”
He laughed. Loki smiled at the sound. “To be with you, my darling. Why else?” He kissed him. It felt amazing, any physical contact felt incredible after being alone for so long. After being kept apart from each other for such a great stretch of time.
As he pulled his soulmate into a deeper kiss a tingling in his back drew his attention. Thor was nearby. Damn cockblocking asshole.
“Loki?” Thor sounded confused.
“Can't you see that I’m busy, brother?” Thor continued to stand behind where they sat. Rolling his eyes, Loki stood.
“Loki, what the hell is going on?” Something about Thor's voice was wrong. To Loki's frustration his subconscious mind was screaming again to try and draw him out of his illusion.
“You are interrupting James and I as well as they play which I had requested. What do you want?” Loki snarled. Stupid Thunderer, blind as ever.
“Loki, I have no clue what you're seein' but it's not real.”
“Of course it's real. I'm not insane, Brother.” Loki was getting irritated.
“Loki, listen to me. It ain't real. Please look at me.” Thor stepped up to him and placed Mjolnir against his chest, right on top of the dog tags and shocked him.
“LOKI!” Bucky shouted as Loki suddenly collapsed to the ground. He had touched Loki's chest and before Bucky could do anything Loki began to seize.
“Thor! Get help! Somethings wrong with Loki.” Bucky yelled as he shoved the chaise to the side of the cell, making it bounce off the force field. “Loki, Loki. Hey, c'mon, wake up.” Panic threatened to take over as he watched Loki's body shake and thrash of its own accord. Thor stood frozen in fear. He had never seen anything like that happen to his brother.
As quickly as it started, Loki became still. Bucky rolled him onto his left side and kept him still. His breathing became calm and regular after a moment. Sitting up, and groaning from the effort, Loki sighed as he realized he was back in his cell. Scanning the room he froze as he saw Bucky kneeling next to him. He blinked a few times before registering that he wasn't going to vanish.
“James?” His voice was shaky.
“Hey Loki.” Bucky smiled.
Loki looked though him. Tipping his head back Loki laughed. “I did it. I finally did it.”
“Did what? Loki, are you alright?” Concern filled Bucky’s voice. Loki didn't look right. It was like something had finally snapped.
“I have driven myself over the deep end. Madness has finally found me. James, you aren't real, and I don't fucking care!” He laughed again. “At least I'm no longer alone”
“Loki, I am here, on Asgard, really. I swear this is real.” Bucky reached his hand out and touched Loki's cheek.
“Apparently my spell is fat more effective then I originally thought... Your hand is even warm. Gods it feels good to be touched. Odin can't take this from me!” Loki stood and again looked up a wild and slightly insane gleam in his eyes “You hear me you Old Fuck? You can't take my mind and it's creations from me. This is better than being six feet under, as the mortals put it. I will have freedom from this torture in my own head.”
Bucky scrambled to his feet. “Loki I'm real. Please believe me.” Loki looked like his mind was gone. Bucky could feel his hope faltering. They were too late. His soulmate had gone mad. He reached out, his heart breaking, and gently ran his hand through Loki's hair. “Iubimy.” He barely managed before he felt a tear escaped.
Loki froze his expression changing from insane to confused. “What did you call me?”
Bucky sniffed. “Iubimy. It means beloved. I called you that the last time we…” He stopped as Loki shook his head.
“That's impossible. I forced that word from my mind. I kept hearing it my dreams and it hurt too much. You shouldn't know it.” Loki began to pace.
Bucky grabbed his shoulders and held him still, facing him. “I'm not a figment of your imagination Loki, I’m real. You’re my soulmate Iubimy. Stop this bullshit, you know I'm real.”
Loki tried to pull away. “Prove it! Prove you're real!” Tears had begun to stream down his face.
Bucky stepped back and, knowing that he would try to forget Loki calling him Ást as a pet name, followed his gut. He pulled his right sleeve up to the elbow revealing the three pale scars that ran to his elbow. “Something to remember you by.”
Before Bucky could move Loki was kissing him. “I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt you James. I shouldn't have struggled. Oh Norns you're real. And you’re here. And I don't hurt. You must be real if I don't hurt.”
Bucky held him, and held him tight. He needed to remind himself that this wasn't a dream. “I'm gonna get you outta here Iubimy. I swear I'm gonna get you freed.” His own voice was louder than he expected.
“You can't.” Loki's voice sobered up quickly.
“Father has agreed to give you a real trial, before the Nine.” Thor finally spoke.
Loki was shocked. “The Nine? My Gods, I might just have a chance then. How? How did you convince him? And how did you bring my soulmate, my darling James here?”
“He swore to grant me a wish. I want my brother back.” Thor shrugged.
“We're going to testify in your defense.”
“What you thought I could keep Stark from crawling into my luggage?” Bucky laughed. “And Stevie is gonna follow him even if he can't help fight for the little guy.”
Loki slight smile grew as Thor stepped into the cell. “We can catch up later brother. Now we must plot.”