Tony found an abandoned car near the alley, not all that hard to find in the torn city of New York. His ribs still ached from the hit from the Hulk -- he missed Bruce more than ever now, but he supposed he deserved it. He had been the one to tell the big guy to take the stairs, even if it was him from a decade ago.
A decade. He looked through the mirrors of the car, ignoring Scott Lang in the backseat, trying to process again all that happened. The nightmares were still fresh and he was sure he’d have more the next time he managed to sleep. Part of him wanted to go back to drinking, but that wasn’t an option. Not with the promises he made.
If you chase that thing, you come back for me.
“What’s taking him so long?” Scott asked, shaking the car with his constant shifting.
“You asking questions isn’t going to make him come out here faster.” Tony rubbed his eyes, taking in a breath.
Five years. He had held that promise for five years. For lack of anything better to do, he had secretly built a small cabin for when he could fix things. A room for each of them, a guest room for friends; it was going to be perfect. At least, it would be when he had his two lovers back. If they fixed things. No, when they fixed things.
Tony glanced back to the door where Steve should be coming out of any time soon. However, the person standing there wasn’t Steve, but Loki. Still chained, but without the gag, blood dried on his face, was his Loki. Ignoring Scott’s worried question, Tony scrambled out of the car and took a step closer, mouth dry.
Loki had told him, years ago when they first fell in bed together, that something happened after the battle of New York. Something that had drawn him toward Tony in the first place. Standing here, in an empty alley behind Stark Tower, Tony knew this was it. This was supposed to happen to give him everything he had wanted.
The god narrowed his eyes. “Two Starks. I did not realize the Iron Man had a twin.”
“No twin,” Tony said, almost breathless. “No twin, just from the future.”
“You don’t possess the right stone for that.” Loki took a step forward, the chains clinking as he did so. “Though I doubt the time stone can do that anyway.”
“Not that we know of, but quantum physics can.” Tony reached a hand out almost to touch him before lowering it again. “I never thought... It’s been a long time.”
“We’ve slept together,” Loki said suddenly, cocking his head to the side, “but I’ve never seen you before. This happens in our future?”
Tony reached out again, though this time he clasped his hands around Loki’s. “I need to tell you something and I need you to listen. This isn’t the end of Thanos.”
Loki flinched, trying to rip his hands out from Tony’s. “I’ve no idea--”
“Babe, stop it. He comes for the tesseract. He kills you for the tesseract.”
“Don’t let him.” Tony stepped into Loki’s space. “Don’t let him do that to you.”
Loki looked behind Tony before focusing on him again. He nodded and untangled their fingers to put distance between them again. “I’m sure I’ll know what you’re speaking of later. Should I assume to never ask you about it again?”
A smile quirked across Tony’s face. “My younger self won’t know what you’re talking about, so probably not.”
Loki stepped out of the way, revealing Steve in the doorway with the scepter in hand. The Captain frowned and made sure to keep distance between them as he went to the car where Scott still sat. Tony held up his hands, trying to ease the tension that grew between them.
“Another future traveler?” Loki asked. “I didn’t realize the task became so popular.”
Tony held up his pointer finger to Steve before turning back to Loki. “Normally, I love your snark and sass, but right now we don’t have the time for it. We need the tesseract.”
“What for? Is it your portal home?”
“No, but it’s a way to get the universe back to how it was before Thanos.” Tony rested a hand on Loki’s arm. “We need to bring it back here anyway. I swear to you, one of us will return not even five seconds after we leave and you’ll have it again.”
Loki looked between them. “I have no reason to trust you.”
“Look at me.” Tony waited until Loki was staring directly at him. “I know you can tell when I’m lying, so tell me now. Am I lying to you?”
Tension grew as Loki continued to stare at him. Just when Tony thought they would need to find a different way to figure this out, Loki stepped back and brought his hands up. The tesseract rested in his palms between them.
“You intrigue me, Stark.”
Tony smiled, shoulders relaxing for the first time since they got to 2012. “Don’t wait too long before dropping in to say hi.”
Loki smirked. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
There was a comfort with someone watching him work -- usually, someone was sitting in his lab and being a general nuisance. However, this time Tony knew that Steve didn’t come here just to sit back and sketch him, Steve came here to talk about what happened. Scott wisely stayed out of it, not mentioning their alleyway interaction to anyone, and Tony figured he’d have to do something nice for the guy. Eventually.
“Spit it out, Steve,” Tony finally said, bent over the gauntlet he was making.
“Nothing to spit out.”
Tony looked up, arching an eyebrow. “Want to try that again?”
Steve put down his sketchbook with a sigh that usually preceded a lecture. “I know you and Bucky are together.”
“As does the team.”
“But what was the deal with Loki?”
Tony focused on his tools, not sure how exactly to explain his life to Steve. Loki had started visiting him a few months after New York -- just showed up in his room with night while Tony woke up screaming from a nightmare. Pepper had long been gone by that point and at the time, all Tony cared about was the soothing feeling rolling through his system and the warm body pressed against his back. He hadn’t understood why Loki wanted to know more of him, but he did now. He understood what had brought Loki into his life.
It had taken them a while before actually having sex. That was around the time SHIELD fell and the Winter Soldier was being hunted. Tony had found all the information, all the needed footage, to know just what the team was up against and it wasn’t pretty. The Soldier had killed his parents, except not really.
You don’t blame the gun for firing, you blame the person behind the trigger. Tony had gone to Steve with his findings and together they not only brought down Hydra, but brought in the Soldier as well. Tony had gone to Loki for advice, they ended up in bed, and never looked back. Nobody knew Loki was still around, hiding in plain sight as a random pencil pusher within Stark Industries, and that was just the way they liked it.
As Bucky came out of the programming Hydra put him under, complications arose. The other supersoldier grew an interest in Tony that he couldn’t shake. While part of him enjoyed just how jealous Loki could get, he also knew that the situation could soon get out of control. Bucky made no secret just how much he liked watching Tony work and how much he wanted his company during downtime, either. Steve liked to remind him, too.
Bucky caught them in the lab, Tony’s pants around his ankles and Loki’s mouth around his cock. Instead of leaving, Bucky crossed his arms and leaned against the doorframe, never breaking eye contact with Tony as Loki brought him to completion. Tony knew that Loki was aware of Bucky’s presence, the god had probably planned it, and that just made the situation all the hotter.
Publicly after that, Tony and Bucky were an item around the team. They took meals next to another, they sat together during movie nights, and they disappeared into the bedroom together at night. Neither of them mentioned how Loki was part of their relationship, and the three of them did like it that way. Nobody questioned what they had, nobody demanded answers as to why it happened, and they were happy.
They had been happy. Until Loki left to go deal with Hela, and Tony followed Dr. Strange into space. Until Thanos. Loki had tried to prepare them, but there was only so much he could warn for. There was only so much that could be stopped. He hadn’t even known their fates until Carol Danvers dragged his dying ass back to Earth with Nebula.
Not he had a chance. And if they were going to fix it, he wanted everything. No more hiding. So he looked up at Steve’s curious face and settled back in his chair. If none of this worked, it wouldn’t matter anyway.
“I’ve been with Loki longer than I’ve been with Bucky,” he said. “We just didn’t want to tell anybody and when Bucky joined us, he agreed.”
“Thor said Thanos--”
“I know.” Tony looked down at the gauntlet. “That’s why I warned him.”
“Just give me this, Steve,” Tony begged. “Give me this.”
The quiet of the room became claustrophobic before Steve nodded, dropping the subject.
Tony had seen Bucky as soon as the man stepped onto the battlefield. He wanted to run over, press them together and never let go, but they had a job to do. They had an army to defeat. Another Thanos to kill. Still, Bucky met his eyes, gave him a smile, and Tony knew he could make it. As long as he had that face to look forward to, those arms that would soon be around him, he could handle a few bumps and bruises.
The fight wasn’t easy. Tony knew he had a few cracked ribs and he lost sight of Bucky a while ago. Danvers arrived just in time, but also still too late. Because Thanos had the stones again. Thanos has the gauntlet that Tony stupidly made to fit anyone. He had to do something, but what? But what?
He looked around the battlefield, searching for Bucky again, but all he saw was Strange. They had one shot, just one. He had to fix this, and somehow, Tony always knew it would come down to this. It would come down to him. There was no other reason Strange would have given up the time stone.
So he shut up his emotions and took his shot, pulling the stones from the new gauntly onto his own. There would be no protection, no chance to get used to the surge of power. He had one shot.
Just before he snapped his fingers, he saw him. Bucky stood on a hill, eyes wide and full of fear. Still, he nodded once and Tony ended it with a snap. The battle and his life, gone with one motion. He shut his eyes, unable to cry as the power ravished his system. The entire left side of his body burned until he couldn’t feel anything anymore. He opened his mouth in a silent scream as his mind stretched beyond its limits.
Then, as soon as it started, pressure was against his temples and his mind froze. His breath hitched as arms wrapped around his waist and his back pressed against a strong chest. He didn’t know was Bucky was saying, but his deep voice murmured in his ear. Tony knew he was dying, but this wasn’t a bad way to go.
The pain eased enough to where he could open his eyes, and a familiar green stared back at him. “Lo...?”
“Relax,” Loki said, kneeling between his legs. “Close your eyes, I need to work.”
A metal hand clutched at his own and Tony closed his eyes, letting Loki do what needed to be done. Whatever that was. Between the gentle pressure and the soft murmurings, he eventually drifted off, safe.
He had them back.
The papers were published a few days late, but that was to be expected with the influx of people. Someone detailed exactly what Thanos had originally done (for those that were dusted), and then further explained what was sacrificed to put things back to where they belonged. Tony’s name was among those who passed in the final battle. Together, Bucky and Loki agreed to keep it private.
When the new dust settled and the funerals over, Steve and Scott brought the infinity stones back to where they were stolen from. Loki and Thor reunited and while Loki refused to join New Asgard, he was promised to always have a seat at Thor’s table there. Bucky as well, since the soldier stuck to Loki’s side since the battle. Together, they made sure Steve had been successful before deciding to explore the universe together. It was something they insisted Tony wanted to do and they would do it now to honor him.
No one questioned when they disappeared.
A gentle hand combed through Tony’s hair, pulling him from the dream he had been in the middle of. It was a nice dream -- he and Bucky were making cupcakes made from pieces of Loki’s leathers. Every cupcake they made, another piece of cloth tore itself from Loki’s body. Just before the strip in front of the god’s crotch could be pulled away, Tony opened his eyes.
Dreaming about them was one thing, but having them both in front of him was better. He knew he wasn’t still sleeping (the pain in his side told him so), but part of him wasn’t sure he could believe what he was seeing.
“You worried us,” Loki said.
Tony reached a shaking hand up, cupping Loki’s face. “You’re alive...”
Loki smiled, turning his head to press a kiss to Tony’s palm. “I took your warning to heart and, when Thanos came for the tesseract, I was ready.”
“He got dusted,” Bucky cut in, giving Loki a smirk. “I always said he was an unlucky bastard, but this proves it.”
“You’re terribly rude.” Still, Loki leaned over to press a kiss to Bucky’s cheek before looking back to Tony. “I fooled Thanos into thinking he killed me, but I still barely made it out alive. I found a pathway to the closest planet and let myself heal, but fate seems to think I still needed time. As soon as I was ready to find you, he must have snapped his fingers and I was gone. When I came back, I had no idea how long it had been and I got to you as soon as I could.”
“Just in time,” Bucky said, reaching out to squeeze Tony’s fingers.
“Where is everyone now?” Tony asked, raising Bucky’s hand to kiss his knuckles. “Everyone okay?”
Loki nodded. “They’re fine, but you’ll have to forgive us.”
“Loki faked your death,” Bucky said. He shifted closer, resting his free hand on Loki’s back in support. “Honestly, I would have done the same thing.”
Tony knew he should feel something about that, but all he could think to say was, “Why?”
“The Captain informed us what happened the last five years,” Loki said. “He told us how you were and how hard you worked to bring us back. Not that he had to because I could feel it in you. Anthony, you were tired and I could not hurt you anymore.”
“And don’t lie and say you wouldn’t have been hurt staying alive. You would have tried to solve everyone’s problems again and that would just break you again.”
Tony couldn’t deny what Bucky said and he let out a breath. “So...”
“So you’re officially retired. We all are.” Bucky shifted to lay next to him on the bed. “They think Loki and I are traveling, and we can definitely do that later.”
“When you’re healed.”
“Yes, when you’re healed.” Bucky pressed a kiss to Tony’s cheek. “We love you.”
Tony closed his eyes again, unable to help the smile on his face. “That’s good because I love you two.”
Loki settled next to him, sliding a hand over Tony’s stomach. “We’re going to make up these past five years to you,” he promised.
Tony let out a soft, happy laugh, getting comfortable between the two bodies surrounding him. “Is that a promise?”
“Yes,” Bucky said, hand resting over Loki’s. “Let’s get some more rest.”
That was something Tony could agree with. They had time to be together now, no worrying between them about what the team would think or what the papers would say. And as soon as he woke up again, Tony would take them to the cabin he built. Loki would ward it from people stumbling upon them. Bucky would decorate it with trinkets he liked to find.
They were finally together.