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“I still think it should be Thor, I mean, it’s his brother,” Nat said, glancing at the cabins that were clustered near the river.

“Makes sense to me,” Clint said, his hands signed more after he spoke, and Nat sniggered.

“Well, I stick to my ‘no-dibs’… Seriously. It’s a thing for a reason people,” Sam huffed, arms crossed. “Plus, I figured Steve and I would room together when he and Bruce get here.”

Loki watched, hidden from their sight as they all argued, none of them wanting to be paired with him for the weekend.

“But I am the one he is most likely to play pranks on!” Thor argued.

Loki’s jaw clenched. Even his brother refused him. Enough. He took a deep breath, stepping out of the shadows, and allowing himself to be seen. “I’m taking cabin three,” he said, nodding toward the cabin closest to the river, set a bit apart from the others. “Whoever loses this silly debate can join me there, or not. I really do not care.”

You watched as Loki turned and walked toward the cabin he had indicated. He seemed… hurt. And no wonder, with these big babies bickering about not wanting to be ‘stuck’ with him. You squinted at your teammates. “Really? I would’ve thought y’all were way to old for this high school bullshit. I know you have your issues with Loki, and rightfully so, but have you forgotten that since he joined us he’s saved all of our lives? Hell, I don’t even want to think about what would have happened to me last mission if he hadn’t been there.”

They glanced at each other uneasily. You scoffed. “You know what? I’m staying with him. I’d much rather room with him than any of you right now,” you finished in a mutter.

***

You walked into cabin three, pushing the door closed softly. Loki looked up from where he was lounging on the bed, paging through a book.

“Lovely. Why did you have to be my roommate,” he sneered, standing from the bed. “Draw the short straw? Pity. The others are at least worth the air they breathe, if nothing else. You on the other hand…” he tsked, shaking his head. “Utterly worthless.”

You closed your eyes, bracing for more, but Loki strode past you and you heard the door click shut. Fuck. Of course, he knew just what to say. The words that circle in your head. When you’re at your worst, they get so loud you have trouble not believing them. And to hear them from him of all people?

You had worked so hard at keeping what started out as a crush secret, you didn’t let yourself spend as much time as you’d like with Loki. You only took up for him when he wasn’t present, and only in a way that you would take up for any of your friends… you took care never to go overboard, even when it was warranted. You had hoped, that as your feelings for him grew, he might have feelings for you as well. You got along so well, discussing books and movies, bantering a bit. Your favorite mornings were when you and Loki were up before everyone else and everything was quiet. Sometimes he even had your coffee ready for you. You sighed.

And this last mission? You hadn’t been embellishing when you said he saved you. He had been amazing. He even sat next to you in the quinjet on the way home. He had seemed almost… protective. Now you felt like a fool. Sure, Loki knew everyone’s buttons, and just how to push them. But this… it was brutal. You had never been on the receiving end of one of his tirades before. It. Fucking. Hurt. You set your bag next to the bed that Loki hadn’t claimed, before climbing onto it and curling up. Maybe a nap would help. You felt the tears stinging your eyes as you tried to find sleep.

*********

Loki looked out over the river, watching the colors of the setting sun reflect across the water. He had been hoping you would be paired with him. It was preferable to being pair with any of the others. He found you… calming. Even when he first ‘joined’ the team, you had been the only one who was relaxed and open with him. Your smile had taken him off-guard at first. He had been sure you were plotting something. But nothing came. You even made him cookies! Just for him. Thor’s jealousy of the treat had put a smirk on Loki’s face. And when you said Loki didn’t have to share unless he wanted to? Perfection.

Loki hadn’t been surprised the others didn’t want to room with him. Not really. But that you were included? That you not only witnessed it but were involved? It was like a blade in his chest. He had come to covet your smiles. And when you laughed? Especially when you touched his arm, or leaned into him? Loki hadn’t realized how much he had come to favor you. And to see you there, amongst the others. He had gone to the cabin to get away from his feelings and ended up wallowing in them. Then when you came in shortly after, he couldn’t stand to be your punishment for losing and being paired with him. He lashed out. At you. The one person he never wanted to hurt.

So now here he sat, watching the darkening sky and feeling something akin to regret. And guilt. He heard his brother’s approach and sighed but did not acknowledge him. Thor sat a few feet from Loki, looking at the sky, letting the moment stretch between them. Finally, when Loki was ready to tell him to get on with it, Thor spoke. Loki didn’t brace. He should have.

“I went to your cabin first, looking to apologize…”

“I don’t need…”

“No. No, brother, you’ll let me finish,” Thor said, turning toward Loki finally. When Loki didn’t speak, Thor continued. “I heard crying.”

Loki tensed. Certainly not. You wouldn’t…

“I thought I was mistaken. I was not. The crying... it sounded as if the world had ended. The pain was so… I would’ve thought someone had died. What did you do, brother? Why would you hurt someone who did nothing but care for you? Hell, after you left earlier…” Thor shook his head. “You should’ve heard the lecture we got. You would have been proud. And making it clear that you were the chosen over all of us? The feeling behind it was clear. What did you do to break that?”

Loki sat, stunned. You had taken up for him? Chosen him? But… that couldn’t… Loki pictured the look on your face as he left. Fuck. He darted up, not responding to Thor’s question. He had to get to you. He heard his brother’s parting mutter, though. “I hope you can fix this.”

*********

You stirred as you felt someone enter the room. Wiping your eyes, you sat up. Loki. He stood, scanning you face. His face twisted, not in anger… agony. Before you could take a breath to speak he was next to you, wiping you face and smoothing your hair.

“I am so very sorry my love. I was an ass. I was hurt when I thought you felt as the others do, and I acted rashly. I lashed out and said untrue and hurtful things. Please know you are worth more to me than anything in any realm. I would sooner have your smile than my next breath. I lo…”

You stopped his words with your lips against his. You felt as he relaxed into you, before pulling you closer. You sighed into the kiss and felt his lips curve before he pulled back slightly. “Well, pet, can I take this to mean…”

“I love you, Loki.”

He grinned, his eyes twinkling before he closed them, resting his forehead against yours. “And, I love you. I have considered you mine for so long, but I never thought…”

“I am yours, Loki. All yours.”

“Oh love, you have no idea how pleased I am to hear that,” Loki murmured, pulling back to look into your eyes again. “Now, where were we?”