He has fallen through the cracks of reality, traversed space, walked countless worlds. He has woven magic, witnessed horrors, cast his wrath into the teeth of his enemies. He is powerful, fearsome, wonderous, strange. He is Loki.
And yet, there is something here. There is something about this human, this arrogant, annoying, infinitely breakable thing. This Tony Stark. Something that ... takes his breath. Something that makes him want to rend the man, to destroy him, to fling him to the farthest corners of the universe, where he can never interfere with Loki again. Where he can never stir this faint thing in Loki's breast that he had thought abolished, thought banished, thought gone forever. That he had wanted gone forever.
And yet ... That's part of it. What seizes him, what throttles him in the man's presence. That he could do that, he has done that, and Stark still does not retreat from him. That this fragile creature will stand in the face of him, and not flinch. That he may open the world beneath the man, watch him fall undefended, and see, beneath the terror, that fierce, awed grin, that willful determination to bend the world to his shape, for all he is helpless against it. That he may show the man all the wonders and terrors of his universe, and Stark will smile, around the terrified beating of a fragile heart, and raise his hands to it.
Stark is not a hero, not as Loki was raised to understand heroes. He is not like Thor, no paragon of virtue and strength, no golden child to be held up before the masses. Stark is not strong. He's not pure. He's sly, and inventive, and infuriatingly arrogant, and childishly hungry, and stupidly courageous. He reaches with bare hands, plunges them happily into the workings of the universe, the laws that spin it together, and wrests with it, tricks it, shapes it, as much for joy as for power, with that interminable, unyielding grin, and there is something in Loki that ... loves, that. That yearns for it, hungers for it. That wants to wrest Tony to him, to stand him on the brink of the abyss, to cast him forward from it, out into this universe full of horrors, just to see how he falls, how he flies, how long he may smile in the face of it.
And, too, a part that yearns to ... to fall alongside him. To own him, to feast from him, to weave him wonders and have that hungry smile be his, be for him. To hold that beating, bloodied heart in his hands, the forged, shining wonder of it, and watch the man grin his defiance into the teeth of Loki's wrath. Even, perhaps ... to have the man hold him, stand beside him, smile fierce and fragile and inventive in the face of Loki's enemies, to weave wonders in tandem, and forge armours from the hearts of stars.
He has seen horrors, Loki. Wonders. He has walked across worlds and fallen from the bridges between. And even still, it is this thing, this man, this arrogant, infuriating, endlessly breakable human, who steals his breath, who staggers his heart.
And there is nothing, Loki thinks, nothing that this universe has ever done to him, that he forgives less, or hates more.