Chapter 1: Sweet Dreams
The truth is that Tony never had the chance to fall in love with Loki.
He thought he did in the beginning, when he was still full of confidence with the ability to make anyone want him. He had been so sure of himself the moment he touched eyes with the green-eyed god that it drove him into an obsession he never saw coming.
Nightmares never leave him sweating, not a man like Tony Stark, never when he is free of fear, always because he says, it's no fun on the side lines, and challenges death time and time again, not even when he's gotten shrapnel in his chest, not even when he's bloodied and bruised, not even when arc reactors fail him, because he's still survived them all, and Tony Stark isn't the kind to back down without a fight.
He wakes up sweating the day after he meets his match and has dreamt of lips curled up so aggravatingly that it makes him cuss and swear at what he sees down himself when he's up in the morning and shivering the fuck out of himself because he's scared amongst the want and lust. He starts a new file, project Loki, because he can't think of a better name than just that, and he doesn't care if the HQ finds it, doesn't matter, he hacks into their system all the time anyway and deletes anything he wants to delete and kills all the bugs because he's a genius and geniuses with money can do anything they want to do.
It's picture after picture and article after article that he stores and tells Jarvis to never delete even if he tells Jarvis to in the future, and that instruction is absolute, because, because, because.
Loki appears in his workshop (sometimes), taunts him with laughs and soft touches and cruel words, leaves him with the same kiss, and leaves him to dream of green eyes and vicious lips. He knows it's not fair, and it only makes him try harder for Loki's heart just so for him to trample upon.
"What is wrong with you?" Steve asks, and Tony punches him again because Steve never hits him back, says, "There's nothing wrong with me, you bastard." Then drops to his knees because he's tired from exhaustion and Steve is always so understanding like he knows everything and that pisses Tony off because, you should stop being a fucking fairy godmother when you can't do magic, you bloody fucker, and Steve takes him home from the bar anyway.
Tony starts throwing parties again because he can, and because he doesn't give a shit what SHIELD has to say to him, you can shove that up your ass, says Tony, and does what he wants when he takes in drink after drink, and still sees Loki in the background, and doesn't know if it's himself having one drink too much or if that's actually Loki there, but he's always there these days.
He gets banned from work duty after he arrives there one day, high as fuck from LSD, and tries to offer Fury cotton candy, thinking it's funny, and Clint thinks it's funny, but it's not funny, because he's an adult now but that never stopped him from doing anything because he's (supposedly) not scared of anything that he lets himself go through.
The people from the HQ get Bruce, through orders, to try and hack into Tony's computer to find out what is going on with Tony because there's definitely something he's hiding from them, but no one gets as smart as Tony because he's clever and has the money to spend, and they don't find out what they want, never will, boo-hoo-hoo too bad for you.
Eventually they take away his Iron Man suit(s), and he doesn't stop them because he's long built in a system that makes the suit self-destruct if anyone else steps in, and they know it, but it doesn't matter, because they think it's better for him anyway. He doesn't care that much because he does have the money to spend and he's memorised everything by heart and he can build another just if he fucking wants to.
Pep tells him he needs to stop whatever he's doing with himself, and he still doesn't care, doesn't know how he's supposed to care when he's still high, or drunk, or something, and all he sees is green, black, green, green, black, green, gold, green, black, green, green.
Sometime before he starts taking drugs, all he does is drink himself into a coma to try to not see Loki, because he's still everywhere, what with his lingering fingers and his toxic words, go away, go away, you either go big or you go home, Tony says, and gets another peck on the cheek, and Loki says,in time, sweetheart, and leaves like he always does, and Tony pours himself another cup, and tries to forget about Loki by stumbling onto the pictures of Loki he keeps in his computer, leaves them open and wakes up to them. By the end of two weeks, he's learned every detail of Loki like it's in fine print of something he's came up with and left in his head.
He starts leaving shards of iron and ice (because), even if it melts, knives under his pillow, before he goes to bed, hopes they'll kill him in his sleep while he dreams of green eyes and merciless lips.
It's never easy to forget someone, not with the way Loki haunts Tony in his wake and in his sleep. Tony still sees him everywhere and he really doesn't know if it's fact or fiction, because sometimes Loki dissolves into thin air at his touch, Tony knows because he knows by word every single fucking thing he's compiled together about Loki, and sometimes they fuck like it's the first time because it's always the first time, and he thinks he's got a gift with one liners, but it doesn't matter, because he still stutters around Loki anyway.
After a while, Tony begins to hate his reflection because in his way off the limit doped up mind, all he sees is Loki, and his green eyes, and his vile lips, and Tony tries to make them disappear by slamming his fist into anything he sees them in, and there will always, always, be more Loki on the wall and on the floor, you're pretty with blood on your face, says Tony, and there's more Loki staring back at him, and Loki says, I know and so do you, and Tony laughs bitter, says, I hate my reflection for (you) the perfection I can never have.
He decides to get a lobotomy done because he knows his obsession with Loki is too much, because he's stopped being drunk and high for weeks now, and he just looks like shit these days, doesn't know how the hell he keeps his company running, does it anyway, still obsesses over Loki, does a lobotomy because he can, has the money too, and Tony Stark does what he wants to do.
He has his lobotomy done, and he's in happy land, and he left without even so much as a goodbye note to anyone, not to the SHIELD, not to his company, and not even to his trusty girl, Pep. But Loki knows, regrets, and he can't do anything to change what's happened, a bit too little too late, too much teasing, it was your fault, love. Soon people asks what's became of Tony, and Pep says nothing, but she knows it was because his heart was dying fast and he didn't know what to do, but I wouldn't have done the same as you, you stupid, stupid man.
In his mind, Tony's happy because he's with Loki now, and they're in love with each other. Sometimes they're sad because bad things happen, but it never lasts long, can't last long. They stay happy, they're always in love with each other, and his thoughts lie to him in the ways he couldn't have done to himself.
Even then, Loki never leaves his mind.
Loki still regrets what he's caused, will always, because he's the only one that visits these days, because he's the only one Tony never keeps secrets from, and he talks to Tony all the time, says, why won't you look at me again in the way you used to?, says, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, says, didn't you realise that the windows between us had been open the whole time?, says, come back, please, please, please, says, no one could ever look at me like you did, like I was something worth holding onto.
He's stuck in happiness in the (in)sanity of his mind, Tony, unable to tell that it's all fake, it's all just sweet dreams, that it's all fantasy, but at least he finally lets himself build good memories, lets himself smile, or cry, as they go by in his head. He doesn't see anyone in front of his eyes in the outside world for he's stuck in his own.
Tony talks to himself too, even though his face shows he's in his happy land, asks, why don't you leave me alone?, says, I see you everywhere, begs, just leave me, pleads, please don't leave me, grovels, I need you to love me back, tells no one, (tells Loki), I love you.
And he still can't see the outside world, not anymore, not even when he should when Loki laments and says, "I love you too."
Chapter 2: Happy Ending(s)
Today, Tony’s thirty-eight and he falls asleep in front of his computer in the workshop because he’s finally completed his latest project after months of work worth on it. He has been spending the last three days in there because he knew he was near completion, so he stays up with coffee and the heavy of staying awake when he’s bursting with the need of sleep, his mind’s still active, doesn’t know what time it is, it’s all work, work, work, and when it’s done he just sleeps, and he sleeps like a baby.
Today, Tony’s five and it’s his first day of kindergarten, and Marie, his caretaker, why do I have to wear a uniform?, why can’t I wear normal clothes when I go to school like the other children?, and Marie is smiling at him as she holds his hand (too tightly, and he doesn’t say it hurts), telling him it’s because he’s special, but what she doesn’t really say is because you’re from a filthy rich family and you will go to prestigious schools, you little shit. Then again, Tony’s smart enough, too smart, and already knows that, but children never stop asking question because they’re curious, we’re all curious, and it’s the right thing to do says the books on children that his mother was supposed to read but never got around to.
Today, Tony’s nineteen and he’s long lost his virginity because boys his age with money and looks and intelligence and wit and naivety has women of all sorts throwing themselves at his feet and he knows that, believes her when she tells him she loves him, doesn’t believe her when she tells him she loves him, sleeps with them all anyway, decides he can be a playboy, becomes a playboy, guards his heart, lets himself be lied to every once in a while, because. And father’s already been dead, but that’s fine, will stay fine as long as, believe in me, boy!, your father and I have been partners for a long, long time, says Obadiah Stane, and Tony does because he’s nineteen and is naïve, and still believes that adults don’t always lie to him, and Tony continues running the company in one way or another the way he thinks his father wants him to.
Today, Tony’s thirty-three and the shrapnel has just entered his chest, has electromagnet built to keep him alive by a stranger, and he’s in captive for three month, so he’s building an arc reactor with a stranger, gets to know the stranger, Yinsen, then he’s building a suit of armor just to escape, gets to lose Yinsen, gets to go home after being rescued by good, good Rhodes. He hates his company for whatever it is, stops believing in whatever he’s been believing in because a missile is a threat is a power is a weapon and a kill is a kill is a kill is still a kill. So Tony announces that the company’s stopping production of weapons, because. And Tony is Iron Man, and liars are always found out, and Tony can learn that even the most trusted ones can lie, and, and Tony still dreams of captivity and tries to claw out his chest in his sleep because things like that were never meant to be, because he doesn’t know yet that he’ll meet green eyes who will be his god and his saviour.
Today, Tony’s ten, and it’s Christmas and he’s somewhere in between his first year of high school, too clever, boy genius, daddy’s boy, but he’s alone for Christmas, has been for six years because daddy’s never home, so Tony buys whatever he wants to buy himself, has the money to, wonders why daddy doesn’t come home even when he’s crying for the attention, scrapped knees, scrapped elbows, bitter and bruised, sometimes, and it’s too young to get into fights, does, doesn’t learn, thinks he can take it, doesn’t know the people are school are bullies, because he’s too young, but he’s already starting to be a lady killer anyway. Remember to flash the ladies a smile, son. The ladies are bound to swoon when we come with a charming smile.
Today, Tony’s seventy-seven, and he’s on his dying bed, but that’s fine because he’s surrounded by his lover, I’m jealous, darling, I wish I was you, because the god doesn’t look a year over 30, because there’s not enough information, and Loki says, I really wish I wasn’t, and there’s sad in his eyes but he’s not crying, not right now, not yet, maybe later, definitely later, and Tony’s also surrounded by his kids, and his grandchildren, and some of them are already crying because they know, I’ll have you know I’ll live forever, says Tony, even if it’s hard for him to, and he’s smug as ever, it makes most of them laugh, makes some choke with sobs then laugh, makes Loki hold on to his hand tighter and press kisses to his forehead. Lights flickering, he doesn’t know what dying feels like.
Today, Tony’s four, and mommy’s gone, died in a car crash, but he doesn’t understand the meaning of someone dying, not at his age, he’s too young to understand, doesn’t honestly know why he’s crying, can’t stop, not even when his maid explain to him gently that mommy’s gone away to a far, far place called heaven, and Tony asks, where’s that?, and the maid dabs away his tears with a tissue, says, it’s a place where good people go to, sweetie. But Tony’s still curious, is still crying because he doesn’t fully understand, wants his mommy, asks daddy, where’s mommy, daddy?, and even without so much as a glance, daddy looks forward, pats Tony on the back, says through the corner of his mouth, your mother’s gone to heaven, son, now stop your fucking crying and man up for the press pictures. Remember to smile.
Today, Tony’s twenty-eight, hasn’t stopped partying for years, and doesn’t want to properly grow up even though he shows his face at press conferences, says what he’s told to say, smile at the camera, believes in what his company (Stane) needs him to believe in, invents what he’s told to invent because he’s the only proper genius around, makes a shit load of money and accomplishes a shit load of things in the way his father would have never been to, but he still doesn’t want to grow up. Dance, girls, drink, girls, drugs, sometimes, girls, girls, girls. War, war, war, he doesn’t know the plans running behind his back, doesn’t know he’s supposed to die in five years.
Today, Tony is fifteen and he’s already entered the MIT, electrical engineering and computer science, of course, he wants to take after his dad. Dad because Tony’s fifteen and he’s way too old call him daddy now. The way he keeps his hair always at the same length, the way he grows his facial hair, the way he goes to bed at night, the way he aces everything he sits for, the way he keeps his nails cut so short it hurts, the way he still has scrapped knees and bruised knuckles and a black eye just sometimes. The way he does things the way he doesn’t know why he does them.
Today, Tony is sixty-four, and he’s at the hospital pacing up and down the corridors the way his son is, and Loki’s shaking his head and rolling his eyes, because it’s Tony’s first grandkid, his son’s first kid, and Loki sighs, says, like father like son, and knows that they’re not allowed in the delivery room where Tony’s daughter-in-law is giving birth because Tony’s banned after the first time Loki gave birth and Tony was a crying, screaming, panicky mess, and his son also isn’t allowed from the way he almost crashed the car into the hospital’s front door from making his way here. Like father like son. But it’s funny how the first grandchild looks almost exactly like grandmommy the way Tony and Loki’s first child looks almost exactly like Loki because his genes have that effect, and how the first grandchild is a male the way Tony and Loki’s first was a male because the Starks sure knew how to pick them.
Today, Tony’s twenty, too depressed for his own good, still under the influence of alcohol, the occasional drugs, sex, lots of sex, because while he was fourteen and fifteen and sixteen, everyone else wasn’t, and because that was the cool thing to do, and anything’s better than thinking about achieving better results for the company, doing more for the company, smile better for the press, this and that and this and that and all Tony wants is to do what the people his age would normally do, stay young, go dancing.
Today, Tony’s forty-six, and he’s been married to Loki for seven years now, and they’ve just had their third child, and it’s their anniversary, but Loki makes a joke about how all their children are male, and, that’s fine because Tony says, you love me anyway, and Loki says, you’re right, I do, and they’re smiling and holding hands, and Tony has wrinkles at the side of his eyes, and Loki still looks the same, and they’re still holding hands, and Tony doesn’t know how his kids look like, and it bothers him that Loki still looks the same, and he doesn’t know why he can’t see his children’s faces, and.
Today, Tony’s thirty-five and laughing. Today, Tony’s seventy-one and dozing off to the raindrops. Today, Tony’s nine and reading poetry. Today, Tony’s fifty-two and bringing his youngest to school. Today, Tony’s forty-one and saving the world. Today, Tony’s twenty-one and not celebrating his birthday. Today, today, today, Tony is, Tony is, Tony is.
Today, Tony’s thirty-eight, and Tony’s thirty-eight again, or Tony’s a hundred and fifteen, and he’s woken up from his nap because the simulation is over, and the project’s a success and it works the way he wanted it to, and he can play the game again and again, but he’s still thirty-eight even though he feels he’s more than that and still in love with green eyes he thinks he’s not good enough for.
Today, Tony’s thirty-nine, and they’re both in love again, and to Tony, he feels like he’s given a second chance, or, and, and. Now, this is fact not fiction, for the first time in years.
Chapter 3: Pretty Liar
Before they hit zero, they have only sixty seconds, but sixty seconds is all they need for them to accept everything, everything. Before everything fades to black, or white, they’re held against each other (safe in each other’s arms), and Tony looks into Loki’s eyes, and Loki’s smiling at him, and Loki keeps smiling, and Tony wants to say, and it’s as if Loki knows, and Loki does know, and Tony knows this is the moment that he wants to just confess that he told Loki that he loved him when he doesn’t. They don’t let go.
At the eighty-fifth second, they’re standing on the top floor of Tony’s new building, a hundred storeys up high, glass for windows, glass for walls, glass for hearts. Tony’s hand is on the small of Loki’s back. And small (too) because Loki is human, all too human, because Loki gave up his everything just to be with a mere mortal when he could have had anyone. There’s no more magic, there’s no more immortality, because that’s what love does, it makes you throw away everything just to be with the one you love regardless of whether your feelings are properly reciprocated.
And this is Loki trying to teach Tony how to love, but, hell, he’d have better luck with trying to paint a house that’s on fire.
Tony is looking out of the building, proud of himself, knows that he’s making the world a better place, he turns, smiles at Loki who’s just tugged him the sleeve, smiles at Loki who has his head tilted just slightly on Tony’s shoulder, smiles at his lover, smiles at his soul mate.
What’s up, darling?, asks Tony, because he cares, (because he doesn’t care), because it’s always the right thing to do; to ask, it’s the social norm, so he does. A slight shake of head and Loki reaching into Tony’s pants pocket to thread their fingers is his reply, along with a glance from Loki through his hair line, through hair (always) slicked back. And Tony feels his lips curling upwards, typical, and smiles the kind of smile where a short breath of air is huffed out of his nose as his lips curl up.
Now is the eighty-first second.
“We should be going, darling,” Loki says after he has pulled their entangled fingers, their hands, out of Tony’s pocket, and checks the watch on Tony’s wrist.
Sometimes, these days, before today, Loki gets mesmerised watching the clock’s second (third) hand tick. Because that’s what love does, sometimes, it makes you wait. Sure, yeah, the (ex)-god could have done something else, like read a book, watch the television, something else; something that wasn’t waiting. But it’s what he does anyway. Wait for Tony.
“Just a moment longer,” says Tony, still swollen with pride because he’s allowed to. He’s making the world a better place, so he can, and Loki knows, thinks, why won’t you look at me with that amount of pride, doesn’t ask, doesn’t ask questions he knows the answers to. The best liar is the one who lies to himself just to play with lies, just to lie, just to keep in line with the lies, and that is (was) Loki’s job, or so he thinks. God of Mischief, God of Deceit, Trickster, Lord of all Liars, Lie-Smith. Was. Everything he used to be, everything he thinks he still need to be. Why do people always presume that I’m lying?
Five seconds tick by, and to Tony that’s enough. He’s beaming at Loki, he always does, because Loki’s such a prize, Loki’s such a dear. He swirls them around, sweeps Loki around, as if they’re in a ballroom, hands clasp together, Tony’s hand flying to Loki’s waist, and Loki giggles because it’s charming, giggles because it’s endearing, and giggles because.
It takes them three seconds to make their way to the elevator, takes nine seconds for the elevator to arrive and open its doors, takes two seconds for Tony to mock a bow and offer Loki to step ahead first (like a gentleman), takes one second for them to enter the elevator and have the door shut, takes one and sixty seconds for everything to fall to pieces.
At the sixtieth second, the elevator jerks and Loki’s grip on Tony’s arm tightens. They look at each other, Tony raises an eyebrow, and Loki raises both. They shrug, and Tony thinks to give the lift maintenance a call, trying not to be angry, no, it’s a good day, no point getting angry. He thinks to tell the people off later. Lights flicker, and the lift stops, jerks for the second time, drops suddenly, drops a bit, jerks because the third time’s a charm, something snaps, and it’s free fall for all.
Shock is an emotion that not everyone knows they’re going through when they are in it. Shock is an emotion that splats itself across a person’s face for the briefest of moments before panic runs across it and settles there like a plague. Panic is fear that overwhelms a person suddenly, sometimes it’s irrational, sometimes it’s rational. Today it’s rational, today it produces hysteria, today it produces behaviour without proper cause, today it makes Tony grab Loki by the neck and ask what the hell was going on, and today Loki doesn’t know.
Tony tries the emergency brake, and glares daggers at Loki, asks, why the fuck isn’t this working? Loki doesn’t know. He’s rooted to the spot (not really), doesn’t know what to do, tries not to let the screaming in his head slip past his mouth, but he’s not sure if it does.
Do something, says Tony, holding onto a handrail, holding tightly onto Loki (out of fear, maybe), and Loki winces, because it hurts, says, I can’t do anything, doesn’t say, I can’t fucking use magic anymore, and he wonders if Tony even knows that.
There were times when Tony drank because work wasn’t going to well, there were times when Tony drank because he wants to. Times like that, Loki tried to steer clear away from Tony, but Tony always managed to find him. There was no hiding from Tony, not when Loki was in the house. JARVIS wouldn’t help, JARVIS listened to its master. JARVIS found Loki in the closet, JARVIS found Loki in the guestroom, JARVIS found Loki in the bathroom, JARVIS found Loki in the other guestroom, JARVIS found, found, found. If Tony was in one of his better moods, he’d tell Loki that Loki was a let-down. That Loki was another one of his mistakes. In his worse moods, well, he’d leave Loki shaking in his sleep broken and bruised. Loki can’t save himself.
Congratulations, you’ve hit the forty-eighth second.
The next emotion that descends is denial, the kind that has Tony shouting that this can’t be happening, that it isn’t real, that it’s all just a bad dream, that no, no, no, no, no. Denial is a defense mechanism that everyone has to cope with stressful situations they can’t handle. Denial makes you block out things you don’t want to hear, makes you hide from the facts, but denial is hard to stay in when it’s smack right in front of you. You’re falling, you’re dying.
This is Tony clinging onto Loki with all his might trying to ignore that he can’t feel his own weight, this is Tony clinging onto Loki with all his might trying to ask himself why this is happening, this is Tony clinging onto Loki with all his might trying to ask himself if he brought this upon himself, this is Tony clinging onto Loki with all his might trying to ask the god if he had any part in this, this is Tony clinging onto Loki with all his might asking the god if it was because he was doing this out of spite, and this is Tony clinging onto Loki with all his might still not quite believing this is happening.
And this is Loki not knowing what to do.
When it’s the fortieth second for them, denial is long gone, for Tony (at least), anger perches on his back the way dust still clings onto a person no matter how they try to sweep it off. Anger is an emotion that is supposed to be all the feelings a person doesn’t want to feel redirected and expressed as. Anger is an emotion that can make someone aim it at anyone; stranger, family, (un)loved ones. Anger is an emotion that makes us feel guilty for knowing it’s not their fault, anger is an emotion that makes us feel angrier for feeling guilty.
Anger is Tony punching Loki across the face because someone has to take the blame. Anger is Tony irrational because sometimes he acts first and thinks later. Anger is Loki holding his cheek with tears in his eyes. Anger is Loki quietly fuming at Tony. Love is Loki standing there and taking in all the blame that Tony is throwing onto him. Anger is Tony sobbing and pounding against Loki’s chest asking why me. Anger is Loki trying not to be. Love is Loki standing there still and taking in all the blame.
Add the ice cream (the love), add the milk (the tears), put them in a blender (keep it in a bottle, keep it bottled), spin (hurt), cut (hurt), round and round and round (never ending). This is the way someone makes a milkshake, and this was how Loki feels towards Tony sometimes, except the ice cream and milk just never seems to stop coming in and the blender is still the same inside, and the mixing just won’t stop.
Thirty-one is Loki’s turn to be angry while Tony starts to bargain. Bargaining is something people do, and it’s completely normal, when feeling vulnerable and helpless as fuck. If only is a bargaining method, please is a bargaining method, god is a bargaining method. Begging to postpone the inevitable is a bargaining method that is a shit and weaker line of defense to protect people from reality that likes to punch them in the face.
Twenty-nine is Tony telling Loki that please, I’m sorry, just forgive me, I didn’t ask for this, please. It’s also Loki glaring down at Tony, silently blaming him for everything, silently blaming himself for everything. Twenty-nine is Tony telling Loki that he’d treat Loki better, that he knows he’s not been treating Loki right, that he’d be better, promise, promise, promise. It’s also Loki starting to lash out at Tony because no matter how collected a person can be, everything can crumble easily.
But Loki knows how he’s always pressing at the open wounds, because that’s what mischievous gods do best, and he knows wounds can mend, but it’s like how the raw of the skin sliced on the roof of the your mouth would heal faster if you would just stop tonguing at it like a fucking stubborn mule.
Depression is at twenty-one, where both Tony and Loki’s shoulders are slack and they’re just leaning against each other because they need the support and because there’s no one else there to rely on, and because Loki loves Tony, and Tony. Feeling anxious can be being depressed (bone-rattling breaths), feeling restless can be being depressed (shaky feet that want to run), feeling upset can be being depressed (choke sob cry), feeling worthless can be being depressed (I can’t save us), feeling hopeless can be being depressed (trapped and sinking), feeling guilty can be being depressed (all the things I’ve done).
And depression is where feelings are sometimes throw aside, and depression is where remorse gets to better of you. Tony, he says, sorry, Loki. And Loki, he says, it’s not your fault.
“It’s not yours either.”
Everything, is what Tony doesn’t say.
Seconds are sixteen and it’s all they have left, time for acceptance. Not everyone is graced with coming into acceptance (who wants to accept that they’ll die this fast, die this young), but Tony and Loki, they’re strong (but anyone can fake anything) so they can come to terms with their falling. They know they’ll die, they know it’s (not) fine. Kissing sounds about right, because they’ve said their sorry, forgiven, and forgiven, and because kissing is what lovers do when death does do them part, or when death is about to at least. Kissing for the last time feels like zero-gravity, then again, it is free-fall, and Tony feels his heart fluttering and he wonders if it is love because his heart never skips beats and his stomach never flutters. Well.
When someone is about to die, when you’re about to die, and you don’t want to be alone, well. Even the most shit of all things would appeal to you. But Loki isn’t shit, so for Tony it felt like falling in love. For Loki, it felt just like falling in love again.
The ticker hits the last six seconds. It feels like the end is near (but they don’t exactly know that), so they call each other’s names (Tony/Loki) and tell each other simultaneously that they don’t want to die. Nobody wants to die like this, they want to die by their own hands, by their own time. Arrogance is Tony and Loki thinking that they would never die. On both parts, they’re both fools to believe they’re immortal. If Tony has to tell his tale, it’s because he’s just full of himself, thinks he won’t die, not when he’s a super hero. Then on Loki’s part, it’s because he doesn’t know what death is, most gods don’t (fucking immortals, I tell you), doesn’t matter because magic can cure twisted bones and split open skin, gods don’t know how to die, not properly at least.
At one, the way Tony tells Loki I love you is the way some children would tell their parents that they love them when they want something out of their parents (he still wants to be saved)- not a complete lie (most of the time) and never exactly meaning it. But because he’s allowed to lie one last time, (even if it’s to himself), Loki tries not to see past the first part because Loki knows a lie when he hears one, and a lie is a lie is a lie, but it’s easier that way. And every time Tony says those fantastic three words, Loki feels like he’s going through a bit of jamais vu (that’s the opposite of déjà vu, darlings), because it always paints a different picture. Now, Tony cracks a smile, pulls back a strand of Loki’s messy hair, and he’s trying not to think yeah, you are beautiful, but you don’t mean a thing to me. But now, Loki, he smiles, and says, I love you too, (but I can’t save you).
And they’re back to zero.
Chapter 4: Nervous Games
He never meant for this to happen, really. But, Tony, he’s cheated before, and what’s to stop him from doing so again? He half-thinks that girls like Pepper are a dime a dozen and hell, being thrown out the window by a god does shit to you, and this god, he’s beautiful. So when Tony falls out the window, glass in the air with him, glass that will cut his back, his eyes are on green, green, green, and all he thinks of is, shit you’re beautiful.
And he’s cheating because Loki is the god of mischief and Loki can always get mischief managed, and Tony’s still a fool, and a fool loves a pretty god with a silver tongue. Tony loves Pepper, or so he thinks. They’ve been together for quite some time now, but still. Who’s to resist a god so fine like that? Tony, he finds himself in hotel rooms, Tony, he finds himself giving excuses to Pepper, Tony, he finds himself on the bed with Loki, Tony, he finds himself saying sorry to Pepper, Tony, he finds himself alone in the mornings missing him already, Tony, he finds himself giving flowers to Pepper as apologies, Tony, he finds himself thinking, shit I just might be falling in love.
But falling in love, it’s easy to do, and when they meet up, it’s always Loki who makes the appointments, it’s always Loki who decides the where and when, and, Tony, he can’t say no. Loki appears just to drop messages, and Tony thinks, it’s really inconvenient with the way he has work, and has the Avengers, and has Pepper. Nobody likes seeing uninvited guests, nobody. So he gets Loki a phone, makes Loki learn how to use it, it’s funny, really, but Loki doesn’t know why he does it anyway (lies). They text each other constantly, and sometimes, Loki calls and he says, where are you, bad boy?, in that sultry voice of his, and Tony, he knows who his god is. It goes on for a year or so. All in good fun, sweetheart.
I’m getting married, is what Tony sends Loki one day. We can’t do this anymore.
He doesn’t get a reply within the hour, and he knows something’s off, because Loki’s always been so quick to reply to every message sent regardless if Loki was up to something fun or the both of them were up against each other in their battlefield, yeah, they still message each other anyway. The reply he gets instead is Loki turning up in his workshop past midnight, ever dramatic, really, Loki shows up wearing that one ACDC shirt he stole from Tony, bloody sentimental, Loki shows up in a shirt and dark blue jeans ripped at his knees, there’s a bruise on his face, really, Loki, everyone knows the god can patch himself up easily, but.
“Does this surprise you, Anthony?” asks Loki, back of his hand rubbing at his bruise, eyes on Tony, chewing on his bottom lip, brows furrowed, eyes on Tony, eyes teary, eyes not crying. “Here I am, running after you. I’m missing you to death already… but to each his own. …then again, why do you care?”
We don’t get answers to everything we want to know, and Tony, he has the answer Loki’s searching for, but it’s still what he does to the god, and that god, he knows how much power Tony can, would, do have over him, so that’s exactly what Tony does. He doesn’t give Loki the answer Loki needs to know.
Loki, ever quick to be angered, summons the Cask, and what he wants to do is to send shards of ice in Tony’s way, and scream at Tony that he only loves himself. But that last part, well, we all know it’s half true. We all know that Tony does love. That Tony does love Loki.
We all break our own hearts sometimes by holding on.
It’s exactly what Loki does.
He leaves without damage, he leaves without saying goodbye, he leaves wanting to break down, he leaves wanting to stay in his dream, he leaves with his world empty, he leaves because he needs his Tony.
Tony stays where he is because it’s the right thing to do, good guys don’t fall in love with bad guys, superheroes don’t fall in love with supervillains, humans don’t fall in love with gods, when what he really want to is to run after Loki, finds Loki, and embrace Loki, keep Loki safe in his arms.
But no matter how much Tony wants to do something else, sometimes, sometimes, sometimes the world still expects him to do this or that and, well, as much as he honestly doesn’t care about the public’s opinion on him (most of the time), there are still things he has to do simply because the public expects him to.
Like getting married to Pepper Potts.
It’s exactly what he does.
He does things like that to break his own heart, but he loves her, doesn’t he?
Tony can’t bring himself to properly laugh at parties, no, he can’t seem to bury his emotions for Loki even over the entertainment or loud music. It doesn’t even help when he drinks. He gets past the next two months anyway and right now he finds himself by the wedding altar, and he’s supposed to be looking at Pepper who’s walking down the wedding aisle, Pepper who’s supposed to look splendid and amazing in that wedding dress (it’s every girl’s dream), and yet Tony’s eyes.
His eyes are past the girl, his eyes are past the church’s doors.
Because right behind them, there’s a god standing there, there’s a god standing in the same clothes he wore that night, there’s a god staring, and there’s a god crying. We all know shit happens when gods start to cry, or was that just some saying? The god, he stands there with a hand cradling the door, cheek pressed against it, staring, not at Tony, but the bride.
Loki thinks, and he’s laughing at himself because it’s so fucking stupid, that he should be the one walking down there, the one walking to Tony’s side, the one taking the vows with Tony. Supervillains aren’t supposed to have weaknesses, but it is fine, if that one weakness he would (does) have is the one Anthony Stark, Loki thinks, that’s fine.
But of course, it’s only natural, that Tony is staring at what he would rather have, Pepper thinks that Tony’s staring at her, smiles, Tony smiles back but not at her, but at Loki, and that Loki stares back eventually, and, well.
There’s them at the beginning, properly falling in love against all odds, but hell, they’d do whatever they want to do anyway, and they’d be happy. They would be. Then one day Loki would move in with Tony, it’d annoy the fuck out of everyone else, really, but still, they’d be happy and they wouldn’t care. They’d have little domestic moments, like getting up in the mornings, Loki having a bowl of cereal, watching cartoons on the television based on the Norse, and Tony would just be huddled next to him, reading the newspaper maybe. Every once in a while, they’d kiss. Maybe they’ll go on little dates, ignoring the media as much as they could, Loki would probably get frustrated, send the media somewhere else, and Tony, he’d laugh, roll his eyes, scold Loki without actually meaning it.
There’s no maybe for this, but they know they’d definitely sex the fuck out of each other, they would never get enough of one another. They’d be in love. They’d cuddle, and Loki might hate it at the beginning, because supervillains really don’t do that shit, but Tony would tell him to fucking get over it anyway, and they’d love each other’s company all the same. Then, then, probably somewhere in between, they’d go to Paris, they’d fall in love again, and Tony, he’d probably propose, Loki would cry, because he would be happy, he’d say yes. They’d get married. They’d have their happy ending.
Though right now, all they can do is see that in their minds, even if both of them are thinking of the same things, even if both of them really want to be with each other. Loki has his doubts that Tony loved him back, Tony has to do what the world expects him to do, Loki isn’t meant to fall in love at all, Tony isn’t meant to fall in love with Loki, Loki knows he loves Tony, Tony knows he loves Loki, but some things just aren’t meant to be.
And reality always has to bring Tony back to earth, so.
Tony stands, smiling the way someone would (eyebrows just slightly furrowed, lips forcefully curled up at the sides, no smile in his eyes) when they’re holding a crying child, standing facing Pepper, and no, he can’t relax, everything feels off, the suit didn’t feel right, her hands in his were too cold or too hot, no, it’s not right, no, it’s someone else’s dream. Please, I don’t want to do this. There’s someone else, who I know who would have loved me more.
Close the doors and take the stairs, sweetheart.
Loki’s ran away, but he would be back. Gods don’t give up, they never do.
It was only a matter of time.
There’s conversation in front of him, but he’s not paying attention. He’s glancing at the someone in front of him, watching their mouth move, it’s all a buzz, and he glances down, swirls the champagne in his glass, then looks up at the someone again. The talking is still sounding like a drone, Tony’s still not registering who exactly his conversation partner is, well, he says conversation. All Tony is doing is smiling and nodding when it seems like the right time to; his mind is miles away. His mind, it’s on someone else.
That someone, he catches a glimpse of when he looks sideways, sees him at the corner of his eyes.
The god’s standing there, he’s standing near the corner of the reception area, against a wall. He’s in a suit now, and Tony wonders if he actually invited the trickster. No one would have liked him there, and, but, maybe. Green eyes touches Tony’s, and they well up almost immediately. It causes Tony’s heart to beat harder, it causes his heart to run faster.
This little communication between them, it happens all in a second, really.
Loki’s eyes tearing up, the oh-so-visible gulp of his throat, Tony chewing down on his bottom lip, the champagne glass slipping out of his hand just slightly, and then.
That little smile.
It’s as if-
We could have had everything, couldn’t we? Tony says in his head.
And he hears that quiet voice. He hears it, doesn’t need to confirm it, but he knows who.
Yeah, we could have had it all.
Tony’s standing there, shaking in his shoes, ready with an excuse to part from whom he had been speaking with, ready with three words for his god, ready to leave, ready to throw it all away, and maybe it didn’t matter that Pepper’s just taken hold of his arm, because his eyes were still on Loki’s, and maybe.
Maybe there was still enough time.
Chapter 5: Homewrecked
Okay, short, but this is maverikloki's fault for requesting for the gif of Loki screaming Tony's name. SIGH.
Your first step feels like caving in/ You’re never going back again/ Call out to your old friends/ You’re never going back again
It’s not December, but it’s cold as cold can be in Jotunheim, and Tony isn’t freezing because suits like his can keep him warm, and the Avengers are there, well, not anymore, it’s just him now, just Tony, and this is because war is on Asgard again, and Thor helped the world, and friends will help friends, but, people do, can, die. It seems like ice and magic can penetrate through green skin, life is short-lived, arrows mean nothing but splinters, and bites from a spider do them no harm, and even a shield can fail you, and speed can beat even a god of thunder.
Tony doesn’t know why he’s still alive, but, he is, and he’s not dying any time soon, and, being in love can hurt like fuck, even though he knows that the war is almost won, but, but it’s not something he can win, because, because.
Love is a dreadful thing when another blue body falls dead and in front of Tony is a god whose blue skin is now not, and Tony licks his lips behind the suit that keeps him warm, and this means that Loki is staring at him with apologetic eyes that mean nothing because war is what he started, and, this, this isn’t how it was meant to be.
“Weren’t we supposed to be in love?” asks Tony, and his voice is amplified by the vast empty, and his voice is amplified by the suit stays warm.
Loki scoffs because Tony should know that gods like him do tell lie after lie, and a Lie-Smith is something that he’ll always be, but that doesn’t mean that Tony is wrong. He doesn’t say Tony is right, either, and that’s because he wants, needs, Tony angry. This is Loki saying sorry in a thousand ways, this is Loki telling Tony sorry in a thousand ways. He needs someone to end him, and he can’t let it happen to easily. This is Loki telling Tony he loves him because Ragnarok is something that is meant to happen, and he needs Tony to end him.
That’s why even with a face so straight, Tony can see wet gathering at the corner of Loki’s eyes. He’s crying, they’re both crying. A god is sorry, and a mortal stays confused.
Why is a hundred and one questions that Tony has for Loki, but there are questions that stay stuck, clenched in your throat, this is why instead of Tony speaking, Loki’s the one asking Tony to end him, and he even says please. It’s something that breaks Tony heart because being in love is a vile cruel thing, and killing Loki is something that Tony can’t do.
Tony walks away, and that’s why Loki is scrambling to his feet, that’s why Loki is running after Tony, footsteps loud and echoing louder than Tony’s voice did, and Tony keeps walking, walking. Can you hear his heart breaking? He knows that Loki is coming after him, and yet he’s not stopping.
“Tony!!” is Loki yelling desperately, stopping dead in own tracks because Tony isn’t stopping, because love is a loathsome thing, and Tony is still crying but Loki’s words of love now mean nothing to him.
Chapter 6: Intermission
An AU based on a gif set that isn't made by me, by the way.
Also written a while back.
“Laufeyson,” says Tony, nodding curtly as he sets his glass of scotch down slowly, eyes fluttering up to meet Loki’s green, green eyes as he saunters into the room. The man closes the glass door behind him, standing there in his black suit, silver tie, eyes glazing over the room as if he actually cared what was held in it.
“Take a seat,” Tony says again, mildly gesturing to the chair in front of him.
It’s midnight, they’re dwelling in the midst of their city, in Tony’s building, in Tony’s office, and.
“Darling, we’re way past that,” purrs Loki as he rounds the desk, fingertips dancing across the table top, and, he’s settled himself on Tony’s lap. Tony has his glass picked up again, takes a sip, tongue wetting his bottom lip, growls, “You need to stop whatever you’re doing, Laufeyson.”
The green-eyed man with the long, long slicked back hair has his lips on Tony’s, they’re wetter now, and there’s so much fight for dominance, there always is, and it always ends with both of them pulling away at the same time, taking in deep breaths.
“You’re not so bad,” one of them will always say, adding the other person’s last name behind it, and the reply will always be “You’re not so bad yourself, sweetheart.”
And because Loki’s always the one straddling himself onto Tony, it’s always Loki who’s tugging Tony’s hair back, exposing his neck, it’s always Loki swooping down to nip on Tony’s neck, leaving red angry bruises that Tony has to explain about to the press and Pepper the next day.
If only people knew the owners, long time nemesis, of Stark Enterprises and Laufeyson Inc. were going at it like fucking animals behind everyone’s back.
“Stop,” he pauses, fingers clawing their way up under Tony’s still buttoned shirt, flicks them over hardened nipples, continues, “this?” There’s a growl from Tony, all too familiar hands on Loki’s waist holding him down, and Tony’s bucking up, pressing his erection against Loki’s arse, moans, “Yes.”
“Honey, I really want those stocks.” Loki whines, his own tie now around Tony’s neck, pulling both his and Tony’s at the same time.
“I know you do,” whispers Tony, and their clothes are torn away, scattered across the floor amongst the broken glass from Tony’s table and other paperwork.
“Darling, I want to destroy you.” Loki says that, between gasps and whimpering of Tony’s name.
“Is that a confession, dearest?” Tony asks, when they’re done, playing with Loki’s hair like it’s a completely normal thing to do.
And Loki’s by the door again, fully dressed, hair perfectly slicked back, eyes taunting and teasing, says, “Perhaps, but who’s counting your blessings, love?”
Then he’s gone, as always.
They’ve been together for a year now, Tony and Loki, and nothing’s ever easy; they fight a lot, but their relationship (or the lack of one, or more than just) is something that they both try to work out. Codependent on each other is what they are, sanity for sanity, not king for the heartless, lost as you can be in alcohol, green for brown, black for black, green and gold against red and yellow, heart for heart, sex for sex, love for love, he’s my god, and my king.
A year isn’t a long time, not for Loki, but a year is a long time for Tony because even counting Pepper, he’s never been with someone for this long, and they have both never certainly been in love this much before. It’s no secret the first time they went out, in public, shy yet defiant little smiles playing across their faces while they tried not to care about the world as fingers were placed between fingers and palm was pressed to palm, and then, they both believe that they’ll never love anyone else better.
Now, Loki is an extremely curious being, he’s always eager to learn something new, like anything that Tony makes, or the latest electronic products, like the iPad, and he has one himself, even though Tony scoffs and complains that he can make something better, and Loki will tell him to move his lazy arse and make something then, instead of just lazing in bed all day with Loki. Loki finds that photographs are evidences of existence, and existence is something that is eternal, but Tony isn’t, and if photographs are eternal then eternal is something Loki wants Tony to be.
The first picture Loki takes of Tony is when they take their first vacation together, somewhere in the world, somewhere in Europe, somewhere in Italy, and Tony’s tired because excitement is something that Loki has, and when I say excitement, I really mean curiosity, and Loki wants to learn everything, it’s the only reason why Tony’s so tired, exhausted, falls asleep on the couch as soon as they arrive at the suite of their hotel, but this, well, this is the past because this is the first picture that Loki has ever taken of Tony, and it’s something that Tony still doesn’t know to this very day.
It’s been two years now, and Loki grins at the two thousand and fifty-eight pictures he has kept in his phone, because photographs are eternal, and so is he, but eternal isn’t Tony, and kissing Tony forehead, still hiding the photographs, promising Tony that being in love with him is something Loki will always be.
Chapter 8: Unfold
“I mean to have you,” is the first thing that Tony remembers Loki telling him when he sees the god again after years and years from that war. “Even if it must be burglary.”
But these days, from the way Loki has him by the knees, shaking and begging, Tony does(n’t) exactly understand what that means anymore. He tells Loki that this will never be love, and Loki tells him that this isn’t everything they can have. He does have Tony, Loki, and still, still, still judging from the way Loki has Tony begging on his knees, he knows, oh, he knows, and yet, he lies to himself.
It’s more than just love, Loki tells him, but it’s lust more than anything, really, and the things that they can accomplish together, together. Loki tells Tony in his ear, when he’s skin deep in Tony, when Tony’s eyes are clasped tight, and he’s panting- oh, please, Loki, please, fuck me harder, please- for Loki, Loki tells Tony in his ear that they were made for so much more than this. Just close your eyes and give yourself to me, Loki tells Tony, and Tony keeps whispering please, please, please.
Loki dreams all night to have Tony as his, but love is something that will never be for him, and he knows this from the way how love had so easily crumbled everything he’s ever loved. Tony won’t be this, but Tony will be his, and Tony, Tony tells Loki that things like this won’t work, not with him. People like him, Tony says, people like me, they don’t fall in love. They can go at it like animals, they can close their eyes and pretend that superheroes and supervillains are meant to be, but love is, love is something that will never be for them.
And Loki knows that even a god like himself can be fooled sometimes. He knows that he has been fooled from the way he doesn’t know why he’s attending some charity party that Tony is hosting, especially when all the other Avengers are there, but at the party is where Loki is anyway, and Loki knows that he has been fooled when Tony sees him with someone else, and their fingers are touching; physical contact. Tony and Loki and the someone else, and everyone, everyone, they know that this is called flirting. Loki knows he’s been fooled the moment Tony catches sight of this, and drinks more than two glasses of gin in less than fifteen minutes.
Love is something that Tony will never admit that he has for Loki, and Loki asks him Anthony darling, if this isn’t love, then pray tell, what is this? It’s jealousy, Tony tells Loki. It’s envy for all those other people Loki takes to bed at night. It’s greed for wanting Loki more. It’s wrath towards Loki because Tony knows exactly what Loki is trying to accomplish. It’s lust for black hair and green eyes and long limbs and a silver tongue. It’s Loki, it’s you, it’s you. Loki laughs and Tony hates how he wants to cry. This isn’t love, this isn’t love, this isn’t love. Then why is it me you dream of at night?
Tony says nothing, and it’s only because he refuses to believe in things like that, and Loki, he says nothing too because he knows that Tony doesn’t know who it is that he dreams of, instead, at night.
Smiles can dance on lips, but so can frowns and quivers and whimpers.
So when Loki has Tony bent over a railing somewhere in public- right in front of a mirror for Tony to see, for people walking by to see, just as Loki pleases, with fingers pressed deep into Tony’s mouth, and all Tony can do is suck and lick and plead through them, with Loki snapping his hips against Tony’s ass relentlessly, with Loki’s other hand tugging hard at Tony’s hair, with Tony’s hands both on the railings but they’re still scrambling for purchase, with all these, and Tony is still begging please, please, please- all Loki can do is try and memorise, through his hooded green eyes, is how Tony is such a filthy sight to see with saliva dribbling down the side of his lips, and, then, later, come sliding down his thighs. You’re such a sight, Loki tells Tony this too, and Tony, with his shaky legs, can only nod and whimpers because he knows, he knows. It’s funny that no one realises that it was them, but Tony supposes that that’s what magic can do.
This is more than just love, but it’s lust more than anything else, but words are also something that are hard to believe in these days. Words have too many meanings now. Is this love, is this love, is this love?
Indifference is something that some of us has been told is worse than hate, worse than despise, is the worst, will always be the worst. Tony asks Loki if it is better to be treated with indifference and pretending you can be loved than knowing that you’re being hated completely, and Loki, he says nothing because indifference is better than ever acknowledging that he’s falling in love and risking later that Tony is something that he will lose.
Tony falls in love with Loki and Loki meaning to have Tony is something that he accomplishes, is something that he’s always know he’d succeed at, but him falling for Tony, now, that is something that isn’t in the plan, and the plan is something that is completely thrown off because love is something that makes you do silly, stupid things, that’s why lying is something that Loki still does to himself to get by.
We know that they don’t fall in love, not immediately, not like in the fairy tales because they know that love’s not a fairy tale, but they do fall in love, and Tony becomes giddy with happiness, and it takes time before Loki is happy that Tony is happy, (it’s not easy, being thrown off the tangent like that), I’m going to lose you one day, and it doesn’t matter that everyone else is upset, because if love is love, then love will prevail and everyone else can and will learn to be happy for them to, because Loki does what he wants, and Tony does who he wants, (something we all already know), and Tony and Loki put together is a force that can’t (so they say, so Loki knows, so I’ll say) be stopped, and everyone else will learn to be happy for them, because, well, Thor’s never seen brother dearest most at peace and so utterly content.
The press isn’t happy when they first find out, most of the world isn’t when they first find out, that of all people, Tony Stark has decided to date Loki, someone who had tried to destroy the world, at one point of time, it doesn’t even matter that Loki was male, that Loki is not of earth, all it matters to the outsiders was that Loki had once tried to rule them all, but it never matters to Tony, he is in love, and so is Loki, because if love is love, and the saying goes that true love will be, then love will prevail, and everyone will learn to accept that sometimes superheroes fall in love with supervillains.
Happy endings are mostly superficial, and we know that life isn’t always easy.
So yes, they’re in love, and Loki has long moved in with our beloved superhero, Tony, and they’ve their romance, yes, like how Tony takes Loki out to eat at least thrice a week, like Loki bringing home a litter of abandoned kittens and Tony loving them and they keep them and they name them and the kittens are almost like their own children, like Loki learning how to cook just for Tony, like Tony makes himself sit down to watch cartoons with Loki in the mornings, like them falling asleep in each other’s arms, naked, with tangled limbs and intertwined fingers, like the gentle kisses in the mornings from Loki as Tony leaves for work, like the way they tell each other they love them, like the way how a god of mischief and a playboy can learn that love can be something simple and sweet.
This story is (not really) going to tell you how Tony fights Loki’s demons during the nights, and how they fall out of love. It’s still simple, it’s nothing sweet. Remember, love is something that will never be.
The first night Loki is wide awake and unable to fall asleep is the first time they didn’t fuck like they had something to prove, and it’s also the fourth night ever since he’s moved in with Tony, and it’s the first time he’s shivering around Tony for a different (a, in bed), and a different (b, when Tony admits how he loves Loki, and Loki doesn’t believe him), reason, and it’s not the first time he’s trying to pretend to be strong; the last thing he wants is for Tony to find him utterly weak.
Loki fights his own demons instead on the first night by making Tony bounce of his lap with words sings in his ears, goes please, please, please. It occurs to him that day, that he doesn’t exactly know what Tony is begging for, and Tony, he doesn’t know exactly what it is himself. Maybe I just want more of you, he tells Loki slyly when Loki does ask, which earns him a slap and a few words that means Tony has to go faster.
Tony pressing his head to Loki’s chest to feel the thump-thump-thump of Loki’s heart is the second time that Loki is unable to fall asleep, sixty-two days after the first. They make conversation, talk about things like the prank that Loki pulled on Steve the other day, about things like what they’re going to have for dinner tomorrow, about things like tomorrow, about things like the future. For this reason exactly, it’s why Loki can’t fall asleep, and it’s why Tony doesn’t help in fighting Loki’s demons at night.
The future will forever remain a uncertain thing, even for a god like Loki who has lived for years and years, and decades and decades, and centuries and centuries, and millennia after millennia, the future is something that he will remain something he has no grip on, and it’s not just him. Even Thor doesn’t know, even the All-Father doesn’t know what the future may bring.
It scares Loki, this, and has him trembling at the thought of it, and furthermore, Tony’s death is something that makes Loki not think properly, that makes Loki hate how he’s fallen in love with a human. Things aren’t quite so beautiful now, he doesn’t say. Love between them is something that will always and never be. Tony knows that there are things that Loki will never tell him about, and he doesn’t (does) know that this is one of them. Loki knows that Tony has his own fears too. Prideful creatures, the both of them. Not understanding that help is not even a finger’s breadth away.
Fear can take away the best of you, Tony knows, Loki knows, and for that, Tony says absolutely nothing to why Loki doesn’t return to their home for the first night, or the second, for a week. But wait for Loki by the door is what Tony does anyway, and it pains Loki to see Tony there with a broken smile on his face even as he holds both arms open for Loki, and Tony’s arms is right where Loki wants to be, even if it hurts, even if it makes him hate himself a little bit more, knowing the things that he’s going to do, and yet he promises Tony he’ll stay forever.
I can’t stop you from dying, Loki tells Tony, finally, on the eleventh night he can’t fall asleep. “Magic doesn’t always heal damages,” Loki says to Tony, brushing Tony’s hair away from his forehead, to place kisses that he wishes he’ll be able to remember. “Idun’s apple can keep you around just for a little longer, but you will forever be mortal. Your body system won’t be able to keep it with the apples. You will rot on the inside, my love, looking just as handsome as you are now on the outside. And-” Loki pauses, placing kisses soft on Tony’s lips, just to still himself, just so crying is something that he won’t do. “And,” he repeats himself. “I’ll lose you, my Man of Iron. But I’ll find a way, I promise. That’s why I have to go, for now. I’ll be back soon. This is for you, Tony. So stay strong without me. Fall in love with someone else in the time being, even if I don’t want you to. And that is okay, because I know who your heart and mind will always belong to.”
He leaves like that, Loki, and it doesn’t matter that Tony had been sleeping soundly in his arms through all his words. Jarvis will tell Tony, maybe, someday, maybe, or not. But a part of Tony, he has always seen this coming.
It doesn’t make it any easier for him to move on.
And he doesn’t.
Tony grows old still waiting for Loki who has promised to stay forever. Tony doesn’t fall in love with anyone else, and yes, sure, he has slept with many others, and Loki’s to blame, for that. Black hair and eyes green are all that Tony wants. Pretending that it’s Loki who he spends his nights with. It’s easier, it’s easier for the days to go by.
He grows old like that.
The last time he sees Loki is when he’s taking his last breath. And Loki, trying to run towards Tony with forever in his hands, he sees Tony with accusing eyes, sees Tony’s eyes asking and saying things like we were close, we were close, we were sure to grow old, where did you go?, where did you go?, this is all such a low-down dirty.
Loki, he asks Tony, Tony with eyes closed and ears never to hear again, he tells Tony shame on you for expiring in our world, love. I promised, I promised, why, why couldn’t you wait just a minute longer? Then he remembers the amount of times that Tony has told him words of love, promises of forever, but the amount of times that he himself has told Tony words of love, and promises forever.
“I’m sorry,” Loki tells Tony, clutching a hand with fleeting warmth. “I love you,” he says for the first time ever, caring not about the other superheroes around them, caring about the fact that Tony can’t hear him. “This is my fault,” he whispers, kissing closed brown eyes he’s already missing more by the second, brown eyes he’s been missing for all these years. “I found us forever,” Loki chokes out, squeezing on the hand harder than he should be. “Why?” he asks, but knows the answer to this question.
He tells himself that he isn’t crying.
Gods like him don’t get sentimental about mortals like Tony.
And yet, and yet.
It occurs to Loki later, when Loki is in Tony’s new, new, new, new, new home that Tony never looked back on that night, that Tony had only stayed alive for this long on faith that Loki will come back to him. He laughs bitterly at himself, remembers eleven words he once told Tony, and laughs even more because he realises that he’s always had Tony. Love is, no, was something that had always been for them, Loki finally admits, and now, love is something that will never be for him.
Chapter 9: Numbers
Sometimes, Tony finds it hard to break habits like that.
I like the idea of Tony with an obsessive personality, and I like numbers, and I like to count, so.
Sometimes, it's not like Tony can help that he keeps counting down the numbers (one two three, one two three four five, one two three four five six seven eight). He doesn't care, really (but there's three windows in his bedroom, and a total of seventeen to his apartment). He has a pair of eyes like everyone else, Tony knows, and teeth, (one two three four-), and Pepper is telling him to pay attention, but there are pictures and there are things to be counted, and even as his hand is running along the zipper of his jeans under the table, he's trying to count how many teeth there are on his zipper (goes one two three four five six), and Pepper's trying to get him to pay attention again, but it's not working, so she leaves, and Tony's alone with eight pictures of Loki scattered on his desk, trying not to count because he doesn't care, because he does care, because the amount of wrinkles Loki has on his face when he smiles is sinful, and Tony is, Tony is-
And Loki knows why it is that Tony counts. One reason being that Tony has, has, has (three) an obsessive personality that makes things in his head go clickclickclick, and the other reason is that-
There are things that Tony try to keep off his mind, but numbers don't help, not exactly, not even if he's trying to see how many things he can count at a go- one two three four (one tick two tick) five six (one two three seconds) seven (three tick four) eight nine ten- that can stop him from seeing a pair (two) of green eyes constantly in his mind and,
Even when the green eyes (two) are no longer on pictures but in front of his eyes, Tony can't help but count one two three four pause one two three four pause go when their body moves skin against skin.