This time it was Steve who woke up first; as he stretched he mentally told himself while yawning. “I shouldn´t get used to this.” Next he looked at Loki who was still asleep. If he had his normal Asgardian strength his wounds would´ve been mostly healed by now. The delayed healing let Steve know just how weakened Loki was. With a disapproving sigh he carefully stood up and walked out.
He directed himself to the kitchen; once there he asked Jarvis. “Is Tony back yet?”
“No Sir.” The A.I. responded.
“Please inform me when he comes back Jarvis.” Steve requested patiently. “But not in front of Loki.”
“Certainly Sir.” Jarvis conceded.
It was late in the afternoon when Tony finally decided to turn up. Luckily Loki was asleep again when he did which allowed Steve to confront him.
“How dare you show up until now?” Steve reproached him vexed. He could feel his blood boiling, if he hadn´t promised Loki he wouldn´t nothing would make him happier than beating the crap out of Tony.
“Mind the yelling Cap. And what´s all the fuzz about? I needed some air.” Tony replied dismissing Steve´s tone as he rubbed his sore temples.
“I needed you yesterday! That´s what´s wrong asshole!” Steve growled furiously losing his patience.
“What for?” Tony whined. “To nurse Loki´s wounded feelings? I´m quite certain you are better than me with that sort of crap.” He looked at Steve irritated.
“You stupid son of a bitch!” Steve spat enraged “You almost killed him!”
“What? No, no, no. That can´t be.” Tony answered incredulous.
“I had to resuscitate him by myself.” Steve stomped the desk with his fist exasperated. “I needed you here, he needed you here. And you just …” He couldn´t even end his phrase.
“No, wait. What? I couldn´t … and even if I did … why didn´t he just healed himself?” Tony asked confused remembering seeing Loki do it before.
“I swear to God if he didn´t loved you.” Steve spat while using all his self-restrain; he wanted to hit him so much. “Jarvis, project Loki´s vitals on the screen.”
Tony skimmed through the data with a confused frown on his face. “That can´t be right.”
“Jarvis project the images of Loki´s injuries on the screen.” He needed Tony to understand the damage he had done.
“No, but how?” Tony rambled confused. “But … he seemed fine yesterday… how on earth he lost so much weight overnight?” He widened his eyes. “Is that … a plaster? Oh my God! I did that?” Tony looked genuinely horrified. “Why didn´t he healed himself?”
“Because he can´t.” Steve replied dryly. “Nor he wants to for what he has said.”
“What do you mean he doesn´t want to?” Tony huffed angrily.
Steve looked at him irked. “I know about Doom.” He crossed his arms while giving Tony an ice cold look. “What he really did to Loki.” His tone was accusatory. “I still can´t believe neither of you said anything. I understand Loki; but you … you are supposed to be in love with him! You are supposed to look out for him!”
“And you think I don´t know that! This is all my fault! If I hadn´t been distracted, he wouldn´t have had to shield me from the explosion …” He could hear his own heartbeat drumming in his ears. “He should´ve just let me die. Everything would´ve been better if he had.” Tony finally confessed. His indifference cracking down showing all the despair inside. “You always say I´ll drink myself to death. I had never wished more you were right. I just don´t know what to do anymore. I´m angry all the time, at Doom, at him, but mostly at myself for letting him down when it mattered the most. I can´t look at him without relieving that day … and … it just sickens me. I can´t even look at myself in the mirror without feeling disgusted. How can he stand to look at me day after day knowing I´m the reason Doom took him? I´ve tried to make him understand he deserves someone better than me, why doesn’t he understands?” He reached frantically for a bottle on his desk. It was too much reality to deal with while sober. “I´m too weak … I’ll only end up getting him killed.”
Steve sighed as he nodded his head in disbelief. “Have you told him what you just told me?”
“Not with that many words.” Tony reluctantly volunteered. “Talking about my feelings … it’s not my thing … I think you noticed.” Tony spat in irony before gulping the leftovers of the bottle he had found. “I ´genuinely tried … yesterday I mean; it didn´t end up well.” Tony leaned down into his hands frustrated. “I tried to end it before. To make him hate me. I wanted him to hate me as much as I hate myself.” He played idly with the empty bottle, suddenly he looked up at Steve. “Was breaking my heart too much to ask? From all the times he chose this to be unselfish …” He casted his eyes down as he asked in a reproach. “Why didn’t Doom took me instead?”
Steve frowned upset by Tony´s self-loathing and dryly asked. “You think that would´ve make this better?”
“At least for me.” Tony confessed. Being the victim, at least that was something he was familiar with.
“You …” Steve started to yell at him enraged.
“What? Selfish bastard? I think we have establish that. Why does it even surprise you? Yes; I´d rather be the one broken. That way I wouldn´t have to think.” He leaned into his palm distraught. “I can´t stop thinking … why didn’t he just leaved?
“Because he loves you, you moron.” Steve grunted.
“I don’t want him to.” Tony protested sulkily.
“It´s not your decision to make.” Steve pointed out harshly. “Don’t ask me why because I don’t understand it myself but he does. All he wants is for you to be with him.”
“I can’t.” Tony asseverated guiltily.
“Then tell it to his face, but you´d better explain him why.” Steve poked him in the chest firmly. “He is convinced you don’t love him anymore and it´s killing him, literally killing him. “He ran his hand through his hair in despair. “He´s been starving himself to death because he´s rather die than to live without you. He even went so far as to casting a spell so none of us would notice until it was too late.”
Tony kept nodding his head in denial. “I can´t. Not after what I did to him.”
Steve pulled Tony through his collar as he menaced him furiously. “I´ve had it with you Stark! You are going to see him and you´re going to explain him everything in full detail! I don’t care if I have to drag you kicking and screaming all the way.” As he let go of him asked. “What is it going to be?”
“I wouldn´t even know where to start.” Tony admitted nervously; knowing Steve wasn´t kidding.
“You´ll figure that out along the way.” Steve asseverated firmly.
“Shouldn’t we wait until I´m alcohol free? Or at least hangover free?” Tony asked in hope.
“That’s your problem.” Steve informed him looking grave.
“But …” Tony started to protest again thinking of some other pretext.
“Tony …” Steve warned him bluntly. “You are exhausting my patience.”
“You wouldn´t …” Tony said trying to feign disbelief.
“I´ve been consoling your heart broken boyfriend since yesterday …” Steve glared at him rabidly. “Do not test me.” A part of him wished Tony to keep resisting so he could go good on his word about dragging him to the infirmary. Finally, he asked at him irked. “Do you love him?
“Yes.” Tony asseverated quickly, he didn´t needed to think his answer, he knew it.
“Do you want him to die?” Steve yelled. “Cause that´s what it´s going to happen if you don´t do this.”
“I … I don´t.” Tony answered frightened, he didn’t felt he was capable of making things better. “But …”
“For crying out loud Tony!” Steve blurted madden. “If I had someone to love me like Loki loves you I wouldn’t hesitate. I would break myself in pieces trying to help him. No matter how much pain I would have to bear I wouldn’t desert him. Not even God would be able to keep me apart.” He was trembling in anger; suddenly he changed his tone as he took a step back adverting his eyes from Tony. “Regret is the worst part Tony.”
Tony didn’t need to see Steve´s face; he could hear the hurt in his voice as he continued. “Unsaid words will hunt you like ghosts.” Unexpectedly he looked back at him. “Don´t let that happen to you.”
Tony was taken back by Steve’s sincerity. It was so easy to forget how much he had lost; he seldomly showed it. “Steve … I am sorry. I didn’t know. Who?”
“It doesn´t matter.” Steve replied as he covertly dried his tears. “It´s too late for me. Don´t make the same mistake I did. You can still fix this. Don’t wait until it´s too late.”
“You really think he can forgive me, even when I can´t forgive myself?” Tony asked doubtfully. Steve’s´ confession had hit a nerve. What did he had to lose? His sanity? Worst case scenario Loki would truly hate him and leave him; best case scenario? He didn’t dare to hope.
“Why don’t you ask him that yourself?” Steve replied giving him a small sad smile.
“Probably I should.” Tony acknowledged; one way or the other it would be over. He started walking to the door when he turned back worryingly. “Seriously, what´s the worst that can happen? That he turns me into a toad?
Steve sighed as he nodded his head negatively; Tony always joked more when nervous. “If he does you would have well deserved it. But don´t worry if that happens I´ll get you a nice terrarium. I would even get you some friends.”
Tony considered it for a few moments. “Mmm … better not. I don’t want to wake up to learn I had tadpoles.”
“I guess not.” Steve couldn´t help to smirk to Tony´s comment. “Now stop stalling or …”
“I´m going, I´m going.” Tony asseverated, he had no desire of being unceremoniously dragged to Loki’s feet. Was there really hope? Or it was just Steve´s wishful thinking? Either way he was about to find out.