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Men Amongst Gods

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Tony rifled through his books and papers, pretending to be busy. If he couldn’t go with the rest of team, he certainly wasn’t going to show them how much it bothered him.

Clearly, his acting skills were subpar because he could hear Bucky sigh behind him.

“Tony…” Bucky had trailed off, having had this discussion time and time again.

“Oh? You’re still here? I hadn’t noticed.”

Tony paused, willing himself to stop speaking before he said something he would regret, which later would result in him raiding Thor’s best and strongest ale.

“I thought you would have run off with the rest of the team by now. Enemies to slay. Damsels to rescue,” he exclaimed, waving his hand dismissively.

Clearly, the whole “not speaking thing” panned out.

“Tony, you know you can’t join us. We still don’t know the extent the dark elves magic had on your heart. You are lucky to be alive!”

Oh, how could I forget? I’m reminded enough.

Tony glanced down at his chest, seeing the blue swirl of magic that kept his heart working. It was the most beautiful and terrifying thing he has seen in his entire long existence.

He remembered the dark elves smile. The silver orb glowing in his adversary’s hand as he felt the intense, crippling pain in his chest. He recalled his companions screaming his name, as Bucky rushed to his side. Tony felt the hard ground as he fell to his knees, accepting that this was the moment that he would die.

The worst thing, the most regretful thing, was knowing that he would never see Bucky again…

“Tony!”

Startled out his daze, Tony looked up to see Bucky reaching towards him, only to be frozen mere inches away. It didn’t surprise Tony, knowing what had happened when Bucky has tried touching him in the past when he had been in one of these states.

“I’m fine, great actually!” He said, giving his best, ‘look-at-me-I’ve-never-been-better’ smiles.

Bucky approached him slowly, placing his hands on the sides of Tony’s upper arms. Thankfully, he didn’t call Tony out on his lie.

“I promise I’ll come back.”

Damn right you will.

“It’s not the same without you.”

Tony grins. No need to tell me things that I already know.

“You’re amazing.” Bucky leans in to gently kiss Tony.

You, of course, make valid points.

“I just can’t risk you coming, something could happen to you.”

Tony froze, as Bucky tried to kiss him again.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to hold anyone back,” Tony said flippantly, pulling away.

“Tony…please.”

Tony couldn’t stand there anymore, couldn’t take the fact the Bucky realized what a broken man he was. Why did he even pretend anymore? He would never be a warrior again.

"Good luck. Don’t die.”

Without waiting for a response. Tony took a deep breath, concentrated and felt the world shift around him.

He ended up in the great hall, dizzy and clutching his chest. Thankfully, the room was empty.

“I hate magic…” He muttered, steadying himself against the table.

“For someone who hates magic, you certainly excel at it.”

Tony whipped around, which, frankly, wasn’t the best idea in the state he felt. Loki smirked walking through the doorway.

“Well, we all have our quirks,” Tony stated, as he took a seat.

“And what are we doing out of our chambers? And teleporting no less. I’m quite sure, you were under strict orders from my mother and me, not to over strain yourself, both physically and magically.”

Tony huffed. “I do remember the queen’s orders.”

Loki smirked. “And yet you refuse to listen. How unlike you,” Loki exclaimed sarcastically, placing a hand over his chest.

“Ha. Ha. Very humorous of you. I do know how to follow orders…most of the time. I do not need looking after! I can take care of myself!”

“Oh, that is what this is about. Another squabble with that Neanderthal.”

Tony glared. “He is not a…”

“Right. Right. How silly of me to say such a thing.” Loki sauntered closer. “Let me guess, he is off with my brother and the rest of the warriors on my father’s behest. And while I’m sure there is another enemy to rule or kingdom to conquer,” Loki stated sarcastically. “You are upset you will not be able to join them, even though it was just a fortnight ago that you were injured.”

Tony’s shoulders slumped. “Would you believe me if I said, no?”

“Not even a little.” Loki sighed, sitting in the chair next to him. “Tony, I did not expend my magic to put you back together for you to overexert yourself and damage all the work I have done.”

Tony’s face fell and he turned away. “What’s the point anyways? I won’t be able to join the warriors again. I’m broken….too damaged.”

Loki’s hand gripped Tony’s jaw as he turned to face Loki, there eyes locked. “Don’t you ever say that again! You are not broken. Fighting is not all about who is the biggest and how hard you swing a hammer. There are other means at your disposable. You can still be strong.

“But how?” Tony whispered.

Loki’s grip released, his smirk turning into a full grin.

“I’ll just have to show you.”