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Done Pretending

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"Big man in a suit of armour. Take that off, what are you?" Tony did not like Steve Rogers, not one bit.

"Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist," Tony rattled off, secretly proud that he trip up on the last word.

"I know guys with none of that worth ten of you," Steve snarled back at the man. "I've seen the footage. The only thing you fight for is yourself. You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you."

Tony was starting to see red. This was the guy that was a hero to him when he was a kid? This was who his father spent most of his life searching for? "I think I would just cut the wire."

"Always a way out," Steve shook his head, not believing that this was what he had woken up too. "You know, you may not be a threat, but you better stop pretending to be a hero."

Not a threat? Pretending? Oh, this little tart was asking for it. "A hero? Like you?" He stopped himself from laughing. "You're a lab rat, Rogers. Everything that you are came out of a bottle!"

"Put on the suit. Let's have it out." Tony wanted nothing more. He wanted to put on the suit and beat the whelp down, take out all his childhood transgressions on the man. But the small issue of the helicarrier being attacked stopped him. He would have to pretend to be a hero one more time.

Even while JARVIS was making the calculations to get the engine running again he couldn't get Rogers words out of his mind. Of course he fought for himself, if he didn't then his enemies would have killed him long ago. He was usually the main target and he wasn't about to sacrifice himself just because a few people with some loose screws wanted him dead. Where would the world be then?

That's what had gotten Coulson killed. Tony stared at the spot of blood on the wall. He was an eternal optimist, unselfish, and look where that had gotten him. "He was an idiot," Tony muttered.

"He was doing his job!" Of course that would be Steve's response.

"For taking Loki alone, he was out of his league," Tony argued.

"Is this your first time losing a soldier?" There was that red tint again.

"We are NOT soldiers!" Tony rounded on Rogers. "I am not marching to Fury's fife!"

Steve took a step back. "Neither am I! He's got the same blood on his hands as Loki. Right now we've got to put that aside and get this done."

And suddenly Loki didn't look so crazy in Tony's mind. Barring his incoming invasion, how much worse could Loki be than what they were doing right now? Banner had been right when he said they were bomb just waiting to go off. And boy, did they make some fireworks. He narrowed his eyes in thought.

"He wants to beat us and he wants to be seen doing it. He wants an audience." He was talking mostly to himself now.

"Right, I caught his act at Stuttgart."

"Yeah," Tony waved his hand a little, paying little attention to the man. "That's just a preview, this will be opening night. Loki's a full-tilt diva. He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built in the skies with his name plastered...." Then it hit him. He was exactly like Loki, he knew exactly where he went. "Sonofabitch." He took off running, leaving a confused Rogers in his wake.

When Tony Stark landed on his balcony and the suit came off, he had no idea what he was going to do, but he knew that he was doing it for himself, not the world.

"Please tell me you're going to appeal to my humanity," Loki mocked as Tony walked to his bar, and pulled out two glasses.

"I was hoping you'd appeal to mine," Tony retaliated, throwing Loki for a loop. "Because I'm quickly losing reason as to why I should actually stop you." Loki raised an eyebrow at him. "Drink?"

"Stalling won't help," Loki told him, walking closer.

"Stalling is the last thing I want to do right now," he knew the super team was on it's way. What was left of them anyway. "You've got about three minutes before that portal opens, and four before the goody goodies get here." He pushed a glass towards Loki as he picked his own up. "I'm actually looking to make an offer."

"Are you going to nobly sacrifice yourself in exchange for my surrender?" Loki didn't take the glass.

Tony snorted and shook his head. "No, that'll never happen. I'm offering you everything that you want, without the invasion." Tony gestured outside. "I have no doubts that we could stop that army of yours, Let's say that we don't though, do you really think that whoever helped you get here is going to let you Keep this planet as your own?" Tony laughed a little. "No, you're as dead as we are." Loki narrowed his eyes a little.

"You expect me to believe that the great Iron Man-"

"I like Invincible," Tony cut in.

"-would help me in taking over Midgard?" Loki had raised both his eyebrows this time. "If this is the best ruse that you're little team can come up with-"

"They aren't my team," Tony growled out. That intrigued the god. "They never were. A team brought together by lies, and blood, and secrets is Not a team. Not like that."

"What assurances do I have?" Tony tossed two bracelets down on the ground by Loki's feet.

"Those would have called a brand new suit to me. I could have activated it at any time to kick your ass out of my tower," Tony pointed and a panel started to slide away from the wall revealing the suit. "I'm willing to go up to the roof now with you, no armour, and have you turn off that machine up there." He glanced at his watch. "Two minutes until the wonder squad gets here."

Tony made a noise when Loki's hand suddenly grabbed the short hair above his neck tightly, pulling his head back. He didn't move as Loki studied him with narrowed eyes. Tony felt a tingle and suddenly there was wind whipping around his face. He blinked a little and looked around to see that they were on the roof. "That was fast."

Loki pulled Tony over to the device and gripped his scepter. "I will need a place to go after I do this."

"Malibu," Tony answered immediately. "I've got a place there. It would take them hours to get there if they figured out that's where we went."

"You have just made a very foolish deal with the devil, Stark," Loki grinned at him.

"No, I did that a long time ago," Tony muttered as Loki pushed his scepter in the device to power it down. Tony felt the tingle of teleportation again as Loki grabbed the tesseract this time.

Just one more fight that he did for himself. No more pretending to be the hero he wasn't, he had proved that to everyone now.