Fireangel76

My Writtings

Month: September 2016

You killed him

Crouched in a lethargic trance after an hour or so of remaining still a lonesome figured gazed into the night contemplating the city lights from his temporary hideout in a skyscraper under construction that was left abandoned during the night.

 

Why hadn´t he returned to the base? He didn´t even remembered making that choice. He just knew that he couldn´t; not until he could make some sense of the strange feeling that hunted his soul. It wasn´t fear; he was used to fear. Anxiety over the mission? Never, he would keep trying until it was fulfilled just as it was expected for him. Whatever feeling he felt creeping inside was different, deeper, unfamiliar … a sense of … loss. Why? He had nothing except the missions, no one to miss, no one to lose; nevertheless … he contemplated at his hands absentmindedly. They still had traces of blood on them. Of his blood. He frowned; he had had blood in his hands many times before and it had never bother him before. Why was this time different? What one more death on an endless chain mattered? There were entire years lost from his memory but he knew one thing; he was an assassin. The best there was. Then, why?

 

Unordered memories of the events that transpired a few hours before flooded his mind. “You know me …” No, he didn´t. But, those yes … there was something in those eyes … such sorrow.

“It was just a trap. An attempt to distract me.” He stubbornly claimed over and over without believing it.

“Bucky … why?” He couldn´t forget the look on the man’s face when he had stabbed him for the second time. Why didn´t he even tried to defend himself? It was a trap … one in which the enemy had fallen; not him. He nodded his head in disbelief. It didn´t make any sense.

Cradling his head in desperation he zealously sought for a memory that would help him prove the falsity of his words.

“We were friends.” He had told him as he had feebly attempted to slow the knife from penetrating on his side. “Until the end of the line; remember?” He had volunteered while he fought the pain the sharp blade caused him. Those words, his words had triggered a cold rage within him. “I don´t know you.” He had growled pushing the knife in with a powerful blow. “I’m not Bucky.” He had screamed in feral frenzy as he pulled the knife out to stab him again with even more rage.

“I … am … sorry.” His last words on tearful eyes. “I …” What would have him said if they hadn´t been interrupted? Why did his words vex him so? He didn´t knew him … he couldn´t knew him. Then, why … why did he felt like he did? He had wrestled with himself for what seemed hours trying to dismiss that feeling.

Why couldn´t he forget those eyes? Those eyes … those cerulean blue eyes … that had looked at him with such urgency even at the brim of death. A sudden flash of a repress memory emerged; the same blue eyes looking at him through grief. He gasped shaken. He knew his name; he had told him his name. Without a reason he had pushed it down afraid of … he didn´t knew why. Decided he forced himself to say it out loud. “Steve.” More random memories attached to that name suddenly unlocked. Memories of a young boy; too weak to defend himself, too stubborn not to try. His eyes flooded along with the memories. He smirked at a fuzzy memory of a day at the beach.

“Punk.” The word burst out of his mouth without even thinking. Strange such a word would undo him. He broke down pained; he did knew him, and now … thick tears fell over his hands as he stared at them in horror. “I … killed him.” There was no point on denying it. An overwhelming assurance of what he had done crushed him. Even if his comrades had managed to provide him with medical assistance he should have died by now. He knew exactly where and how bad he had cut him; he must have bleed to death within the hour.

“I´m sorry?” The words now hunted him. “What are you sorry about you son of a bitch?” He raged to the heavens as the memory of Steve´s face while he said them burned into his heart. “For God´s sake Steve …I killed you” He rose up enraged at himself looking for something to vent his anger with. “What do you have to be sorry about?” He kept raging as he trashed the room, knocking the walls in fury, overturning scaffolds and tables until he was too exhausted to continue. He dropped to his knees in grief while sobbing uncontrollably as he embraced all the pain his heart felt. He didn´t wanted to forget it, he didn´t wanted to forget him; his Steve, his friend, his brother … there weren´t enough words to describe what he felt for him.

“What have I done?” He sniveled as he reproached himself harshly closing his eyes sickened by his own reflection in a broken glass. “I …” Repressed memories kept unlocking; surfacing through the devastating pain. He could see Steve clearly in his mind now; a young man that looked at him in deep affection after coming to his aid one more time. A flustered shy Steve that blushed at any compliment he might give him. “You … were … my friend … and I … I … killed you.” Through minutes without end he furiously, savagely pulled every one of the memories he could find despite the pain every one of them caused him; sadly, languishing on the floor; he remembered the war, the Howling Commandos … Hydra. He widened his eyes enraged; next he observed his cybernetic arm. Closing his fist tightly he acknowledged out loud. “They … they do this to me. They turned me into … this. He spat with disgust as his reflection caught his eye again. “They are the ones.” His features distorted by the fierceness he now felt. “They … they killed you.”

Madden by the revelation he stood up; huffing furiously he clenched his jaw. There was nothing he could do for Steve; nothing he could ever do would bring him back. There was nothing except revenge. He knew the base; he knew how to bypass their defenses. Once there he would do what they had trained him to do. They wanted an assassin? That was exactly what they were going to get.

 

Meanwhile in the Hydra base his absence had not went unnoticed. “Comrade Novikov. Do we have a report on the soldier?”

 

“Yes, sir. We located him in the city after failing his mission. He doesn´t seem to be regrouping. “ The technician informed him.

 

“How long since he had moved?” The officer asked.

 

“About three hours Sir.” Novikov repplied. Suddenly the screen beeped. “He´s on the move again.”

 

Karavayev scowled pensively; the Winter Soldier had been out of invernation for too long. It was not unknown to him the incidents his mental instability brought along. “Which seems to be his destination? He asked sternly.

 

“It seems he´s coming back to the base Sir.” The younger man volunteered.

 

“Be sure to prepare the traps …” The superior officer ordered. “Just in case.” You didn´t killed a perfect asset; you just wiped him clean from time to time. And it seemed the time had come to do it again.

Waiting

Clint took Loki to an improvised cafeteria on the same floor; it was evident all personal belonged to SHIELD. As Loki gave Clint an inquisitive look he swiftly explained as he shrugged his shoulders. “I thought it would be safer this way.”

 

Loki frowned upset. What kind of mission had they been into? Why hadn´t they called them sooner? He stopped on the spot and asked him vexed. “Safer? You´d better explain me what´s going on. Do you expect them to come back for Steve and finish the job?”

 

“No … well, not really. I´m not sure.” Clint said to appease him; next he huffed defeated. “I guess I´d better just explain this from the beginning. Do you mind if we eat something while I do? I´m not sure I remember when was the last time I had a decent meal.”

 

“All right.” Loki acceded; he needed to replenish his energies too. He followed Clint to an unoccupied table; as they sat Clint signaled someone and within a minute two food trays were brought to them. “Now, speak.”

 

“Ok” Clint agreed as swallow the food he just stuffed in his mouth a moment earlier. “Natasha and I were sent to investigate a sudden chain of “accidents” to several scientists working on human enhancement projects a couple of weeks ago. We found out that this so called accidents were nothing but assassinations; someone had done a very good job covering them up. As we tried to get ahead of the hitting list we run into him.”

 

“Him?” Loki inquired puzzled.

 

“He was supposed to be only a ghost, a story between intelligence agencies; but he turned out to be quite real. We only know him by his code name “The Winter Soldier”; he´s probably Hydra´s top operative.” Clint acknowledged with a frown. “For what we have seen an expert marksman, with extensive training in explosives and combat techniques.” He volunteered before hurryingly stuffing another spoonful on his mouth. “To make matters worse we think he´s an enhanced super soldier like Steve and I haven´t even mentioned his cybernetic arm.”

 

Loki observed him pensively. “Why didn´t you called us?”

 

“I did … a week ago. But … Steve thought we three alone could handle it … “He scowled as paused annoyed. “He was wrong.”

 

“Even if the soldier is an enhanced human that´s not something you hadn´t deal with before.” Loki leaned considering everything Clint had told him. “There´s something else you hadn’t told me. What is it Clint? Nothing you have told me so far would lead me to believe the soldier would try to come back for Steve.”

 

“You are right.” Clint agreed wryly. “Did Natasha told you that Steve didn´t even defend himself?”

 

“Yes, she did. She also told me about his last orders; to bring the soldier back unharmed.” Loki volunteered gravely.

 

“I know this doesn´t make any sense; but hear me out.  We were guarding the last of the scientists in the list, Dr. Ignatyev. We knew the soldier would come out after him sooner or later; and that would be the best chance we would get to stop him. The Doctor´s attendance to a Scientific Council in the Kremlin was the perfect opportunity for the soldier; as we anticipated … he took it. Steve noticed the soldier in one of the surrounding buildings after we successfully spoiled his assassination attempt. We pursued him to the sewer system under the park. The place is a maze … and with half flooded tunnels covering our own tracks it didn’t took long for us to get separated. When I finally picked up Steve´s trail I could overhear voices at the distance. I couldn’t make up what they were saying but I know they were arguing.” He stopped for a moment angered at the memories; he continued his recollection with a deep frown on his face. “When I finally saw them at the end of a narrow tunnel it seemed Steve was pinning the soldier against the wall … I didn´t knew he had already stabbed him; not until I watched him tore the knife from Steve´s side only to push it rabidly into his abdomen. “Clint stopped again as he remembered how useless he had felt in that exact moment. He took a sip of his drink. “I took a shot at him; of course the bastard just ducked it and fled away. I ran to Steve immediately. “

 

For a moment Clint remained in silence as he gathered his thoughts. “I think Steve knows him … when I got to him he wasn´t … I don´t know … angered, scared or whatever you might think is normal for someone who just got stabbed. He looked … sad, shocked; like he couldn’t believe the guy just stabbed him. And then he made me swear to bring him unharmed.” Clint fists clenched unconsciously. “He´d better have a very good explanation for that because that´s one promise I really don´t want to keep…”

 

Loki tilted his head pensively as he told Clint. “He probably does.” As Clint scowled at his words he added. “You can ask him about it when he wakes up.”

 

Clint sighed with resignation. At least he was waking up. He doubted for a moment he would when Natasha and himself called for the medical team back on the tunnels.

 

Suddenly a young agent approached them. “Agent Barton, sir …Dr. Franklin asked me to report to you that they finally moved Captain Rogers to the recuperation room.

 

“Thank you agent.” Clint acknowledged his report and added. “Tell Dr. Franklin we´ll be joining him in a moment.”

 

“Understood sir.” The young agent volunteered before leaving.

 

Clint hastily ate the rest of his food before asking Loki. “Are you coming?” He had asked him out of courtesy and was surprised when he accepted. While on their way to the recuperation room Clint couldn´t hide his curiosity and longer and plainly told him. “Loki… if you don´t mind me asking … I mean you look genuinely concerned about Steve; and you two … well, you never seemed to saw eye to eye; if you know what I mean.” There wasn´t a real animosity between them; they just didn´t seemed to get along; at least not until now.

 

Loki frowned annoyed at his unspoken question. “The fact that the Captain and I don´t always agree doesn´t mean I don’t care about what happens to him.” He spat vexed. “He is an important part of this team; and he almost died. I think I´m more than allowed to be concerned.” He growled, he didn´t owed him an explanation.

 

“Of course you are … I didn’t mean …” Clint apologized embarrassed. “Just forget I said anything.” He offered to placate Loki´s foul mood. All things considered getting on Loki´s his bad side was ill advisable at the moment.

 

When they entered the room the doctors had conditioned as recuperation room and saw Steve again they both visibly relaxed. They had changed him into a clean hospital gown. All the blood and filth had been cleansed away. There were still two central IV´s attached to his arm and neck; feeding Steve fluids and antibiotics to help him on his recuperation. There was no breathing tube; that meant he was breathing on his own.

 

“He´s still under the effects of the anesthesia.” Dr. Franklin informed them as they walked in. “Although he´ll probably awake in an hour or less.”

 

“What´s your prognosis Dr?” Clint asked sternly.

 

“There wasn´t any permanent damage to the organs due to the blood loss; but I would strongly advice some rest; at least for a couple of days. Even with his healing factor and Loki´s healing spell the stress his body was subjected too is likely to leave some side effects.”

 

“Side effects?” Loki inquired worryingly.

 

“Widespread pain, weakness, confusion; all related to the blood loss. We are still giving him fluids and antibiotics to lessen this effects. Now that the bleeding has finally stopped his body should start healing itself. “He made a pause. “Agent Barton; I wonder if we could run over some details; you know; paperwork.”

 

“An agent´s work is never done … not unless the paperwork is done.” Clint acknowledge wryly. “all right Dr. follow me to my office.” He turned to Loki. “Are you coming?”

 

“I wonder if I could stay.” He said to no one in particular; noticing Clint baffled look he added. “He probably shouldn’t wake up alone. The doctor said he might be confused.”

 

“It might be a good idea for someone to be with him when he finally does.” The doctor agreed giving Clint an approving look.

 

“All right.” Clint agreed in disbelief. “I´ll be right back.”

 

“Take your time.” Loki volunteered as he sat in the chair next to Steve’s bed. For a while he just sat there contemplating Steve´s face; he looked so pale. He sighed; only a week ago their roles had been reversed. He wondered what could´ve gone through Steve’s´ mind while he sat guarding him back in the mansion. He leaned closer rearranging a lose strand of hair. Humans were so fragile; even enhanced ones. He stroked Steve´s hair gently again; if he hadn´t been researching ley lines already … he dreaded the thought. “What happened Steve?” He asked in a low tone. “You should´ve called me and Tony sooner.” He ended pained; he knew exactly why he hadn´t … and it had almost costed him his life. Suddenly he gasped; he had forgotten about tony.

 

Standing up to the farthest corner of the room he called the A.I. “Jarvis, patch me to tony.”

 

“Certainly sir.” The A.I. complied instantly.

 

“Tony?” He asked anxiously.

 

“Still on my way. How´s Steve?” Tony replied worryingly.

 

“He´s resting now … “He sighed overwhelmed. “It was a real close call Tony. If it hadn´t worked.”

 

Tony could hear the strain in Loki´s voice; he frowned. Loki wasn´t that easy to shake up; it must had been a real close call. Sternly he reassured him. “But it did. Are you all right?”

 

“Yes, a bit tired; but that´s normal. How long till you arrive?” He longed for him.

 

“Missing me already?” Tony joked wryly.

 

“You wish.” Loki spat jokingly; next he asked again. “How long?”

 

“An hour maybe.” Tony volunteered. “don´t worry I´ll be there before you miss me.”

 

“I already miss you.” Loki confessed with a serious frown.

 

“Then I guess I´d better hurry up. Are you sure you are all right?” Tony asked concerned, he sounded worried.

 

“Sometimes I forget how fragile your lives are.” Loki offered candidly. “And then something like this happens …”

 

“That close, uh?” Tony frowned worried before trying to reassure him. “Don´t worry we are more resilient than you think. You´ll see; I bet Steve will be …”

 

“Don´t you ever die on me, all right?” Loki plea interrupted him. He couldn´t stop thinking it could´ve been Tony in that bed if things had been different.

 

“Loki …. I … I will try not to, ok?” Tony offered softly. What else could he tell him? “Please, don´t worry.”

 

“I can´t help it.” Loki smirked sadly. “Only a week ago Steve was taking care of me and now … there was so much blood, and all those tubes and doctors. If something like this happened to you; and I wouldn’t be able to get to you on time…. I don´t know what I would do.”

 

“Nothing will happen to me.” Tony asseverated adamantly. “Not as long as we are together; all right?”

 

“All right.” Loki agreed softly.

 

“I will see you soon.” Tony volunteered trying to cheer Loki up. “Take care of everyone till I get there; all right? And make sure to give Steve the scolding of his life for scaring us like that. I´m counting on you!”

 

Loki smirked amused by his suggestion. “All right.” He agreed unconvinced; scolding Steve … that was something he wasn´t planning on doing. At least not before giving Steve a chance to explain himself. A soft whimper caught his attention; Steve´s sleep was becoming restless.

 

“I got to go now.” He told Tony hurriedly as he walked back to the bed concerned.

 

“All right.” Tony agreed dryly, by the sound of Loki´s voice something had had to came up. “I love you.”

 

“Me too. See you soon.” Loki said before abruptly cutting the communication as he stood next to Steve´s bed concerned. Steve eyes fluttered as he stirred again; a distraught frown appearing on his face. Would he be dreaming? Remembering maybe? Whatever it was it didn’t seemed to be a pleasant one.

Blood and Bones

As soon as he arrived to Kutaisi Loki moved away from the vortex to the nearest plain field he could find. Once there he called the A.I. “Jarvis send my coordinates to Natasha and patch me to her.”

 

“I´m here.” Loki simply stated over the comlink.

 

“I´ll be there in a minute.” Natasha acknowledged dryly. “As soon as you are in I´m taking off I don´t want to waste any time.”

 

“Agreed.” Loki concurred in earnest; every moment mattered.

 

In less than a minute he could see the Quinjet lights approaching in the darkness of the night. As soon as Natasha lowered the ramp he walked right in. There were alone. Without wasting any time, he sat next to her in the cockpit.

 

As soon as Natasha acknowledged his presence she took off. Once in the air she noticed something; with a confused frown on her face she asked. “Isn´t that …?”

 

Loki knew exactly what she meant even before she ended her phrase. “Steve´s … yes. “ Loki sighed disgruntled. “Tony made me wear it he said it should help me blend in. I can take it off If you want … I really don´t need it.”

 

Natasha nodded her head negatively a deep frown still on her face. “No … leave it. I think it´s his favorite; if it went lost he …” She shut up suddenly; what if …?

 

“How is he?” Loki asked concerned by her gloominess.

 

“He was still on the operating table when I left. They keep giving him transfusions just to avoid him going into hypovolemic shock.” It wasn´t a hopeful scenario.

 

“What happened?” Loki inquired even more worried after hearing her.

 

“I wish I knew Loki.” Natasha volunteered with a sigh. “All I know is what Clint told me.” She frowned deeply as she remembered the earlier events. “We were near the Kremlin on a pursuit; the soldier tried to lose us descending to the sewer system through a manhole in Ekaterinisky Park. We had orders not to face him alone but … we got separated after a few minutes. “She made a pause angered at herself, if only they hadn´t. “Clint was the first to caught up with Steve … just in time to see him get stab …” She nodded her head in disbelief. “I don´t know Loki it doesn´t make any sense.”

 

“What doesn´t make sense Natasha?” Loki asked her intrigued.

 

“Clint said … that he didn’t even fought back.”

 

“He … what?” Loki frowned in disbelief. “That can´t be.” Why would he do something like that?

 

“I know. I can´t still believe it myself. But Clint swears it´s the truth.” She turned around and fix her eyes on him. “There´s something else at play Loki; I can feel it. “

 

“What makes you say that?” Loki inquired puzzled.

 

“Steve´s last orders.” Natasha volunteered dryly. “He made Clint swear we would capture the soldier alive and … unharmed.”

 

Loki remained silent reflecting on her words. Alive? Yes, it sounded like something Steve would say on everyday bases. But unharmed? After stabbing him? And knowing how dangerous the soldier really was? “Did he said why?” He asked her after a while.

 

“He didn´t had the chance.” Natasha answered disturbed. “I can´t shake the feeling that there´s something we don´t know. And I hate not knowing.” She paused as he maneuvered the jet between the city buildings. “I still have some contacts here after I drop you at the hospital I´ll see what I can find.”

 

“Hospital? Why didn´t you take him to the hellicarrier or a base? I´m sure SHIELD must have a base around here somewhere.”

 

“It wasn´t an option.” Natasha offered dryly. “We moved him to the nearest hospital. He had luck it was the European Medical Center and not some second hand clinic.”

 

“I understand.” Loki agreed pensively.

 

For a couple of minutes neither of them said a word lost on their own thoughts.

 

“We are almost there Loki. As soon as you get off I´m leaving.” Natasha informed him sternly.

 

“You are not staying?” Loki inquired surprised at her statement.

 

“There´s nothing I can do.” Natasha acknowledged heavily. “I´d rather find out more about this soldier … just in case.” She smirked unconvincingly; she was too worried. “Clint is waiting for you on the rooftop to take you to Steve.”

 

“All right.” Loki agreed while unbuckling his seat belt. “Don´t be long.” He stood up ready to leave when Natasha stopped him. “Loki …”

 

“Yes?” He stopped intrigued by her change of demeanor.

 

“Thanks for coming so fast.” She gave him a small sad smile.

 

“There´s nothing to thank.” Loki accepted her gratitude graciously. “He would´ve done the same for me.” As a matter of fact he had very recently ago, but that was a story he wasn´t willing to share.

 

“Yes, he would.” Natasha agreed whole heartedly.

 

As Natasha had told him Clint was already waiting for him when he disembarked.

 

“Thank God you are here.” Clint spat relieved the moment their eyes meet.

 

“How is he?” Loki inquired anxiously.

 

“Collapsed lung, splintered ribs, pierced liver … stomach, ruptured diaphragm … I don´t even remember the rest.” Clint volunteered distraught as he pointed Loki to the stairs. “All I really know is that they´ve given him enough blood for a gore movie production and they are still losing him.”

 

Loki scowled at the news but not even Clint´s grim perspective had prepared him for the scene playing in front of him when they arrived to the operating room. There was probably half a dozen people between doctor and nurses all hurryingly working over Steve´s unconscious body.

 

The pristine white room contrasted with all the bloody cloths, dressing and gauzes. Steve was still wearing his uniform; or at least what was left of it. His arms and chest were bare; central line IV´s connected to his arm and neck. A breathing tube lodged in his mouth. Monitors endlessly reporting any minor change on his vitals. Midgardian medicine … it played a rather grim perspective on medical care for an Asgardian. Loki´s heart cringe in horror at the scene.

 

“All right people, are you done? Loki is here.” Clint suddenly asked out loud.

 

Everyone looked up for a second; quickly they interchanged some comments before one of the doctors left Steve’s side to talk to them.

 

“We´ve removed all of the bone splinters and set the broken ribs back in place using titanium plates.  They´re just finishing repairing the diaphragm wall.” The doctor informed them; suddenly he turned to Loki “If I understand correctly your spell will heal any wounds on the surrounding organs, am I right?”

 

“True, it will heal any rupture in organs in vessels although it doesn´t set them back in place” He acknowledged sternly. “Do you need more time?”

 

“No, we are ready for you.” Next he turned to Clint. “You realize we´ll still have to deal with the blood loss sequels and any possible infections.”

 

“You made it clear before Dr. Franklin.” Clint avowed heavily. “Now if you are ready …” He pointed at the doctor’s team; they seemed to have finished.

 

In less than a minute everyone was gone. Loki walked towards Steve body assessing as much as he could of the damage inflicted. As far as he could see there were too large entry wounds one on Steve´s left side just below his pectoral and the other one was placed on the center of his abdomen just below the ribs. This wound seemed to be the one bleeding the most; probably because of a punctured artery.

 

“Do you want me to leave?” Clint asked Loki while observing Steve with a concern look upon his face.

 

“No, you can stay. Just be quiet” Loki volunteered as he closed his eyes summoning all his energy for the spell.

 

As soon as he began muttering the incantation a green light lit his aura travelling from his hands towards Steve´s body closing and healing all his wounds.

 

It only took a couple of minutes but for Cli9nt it seemed like an eternity.

 

When he finished Loki leaned exhausted into the stretcher where Steve laid.

 

“Are you all right?” Did it work?” Clint filled him with questions anxiously.

 

“See it for yourself.” Loki volunteered with a smirk. “And … I just need to rest.”

 

Clint was almost afraid to believe his eyes, he tentatively touched Steve´s abdomen. There was no trace of his wounds. He swiftly turned back at Loki and without any warning hugged him tightly. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” He was beyond happiness.

Loki was too surprised at his gesture to react. “Umh … it´s … all right.” He answered doubtful. “Could you release me now?” He asked feeling awkward.

 

“Oh! Yes, sorry. I got carried away.” Clint apologized with a big grin on his face. “For a moment I actually thought we would lose him. I´m so happy I could just kiss you.”

 

“I´d rather you didn´t.” Loki asseverated firmly with a frown. “I think we can call your healers back. They still have work to do.”

 

“You are right.” Clint agreed walking out in a hurry.

 

Loki watched him leave then turned to Steve; he smiled satisfied. “I promised you would be all right.” He volunteered in a whisper as he gently gave Steve´s hand a small squeeze.

 

It didn´t took long for Clint to come back with all the doctors and nurses. If their masks hadn´t been on Loki would´ve been able to see them smiling relieved. Hurriedly they started reading the monitors, ordering new blood units, antibiotics and all sort of complicated studies neither Loki or Clint understood.

 

“Let´s let them work.” Clint suggested firmly.

 

Loki stood undecided for a moment. He didn´t wanted to leave.

 

Noticing Clint reassured him. “I asked them to call us one he´s in the recuperation room. Plus; you look like you could use something to eat.”

 

Clint was right; he felt spent. According to Dr. Banner his spells; especially the more complicated ones consumed enormous amounts of energy; which needed to be replenish as soon as possible. Resting was advisable but the fastest way to get his energies back was eating. Experience and his own particular predilections made Midgardian desserts his best choice.

“All right.” He finally agreed. There was nothing much they could do except watching the doctors work besides he wanted to speak to Clint alone.

Russian Winters

A week had gone by inadvertently since they had been left alone in the mansion. Everyone else still out on missions.

 

They had talks about everything; between other things. It was almost as If they were on vacations. Oblivious to everything but each other until one afternoon as Loki walked idle through Tony´s lab while Tony worked on some modifications for a new suit.

 

“Do you think they are all right?” He suddenly asked while absentmindedly running his fingers over a night-vision prototype helmet for Steve.

 

Tony looked up puzzled at the unusual question catching a glimpse of Loki´s concerned features. “Of course they are. They would´ve called us if something had gone wrong.”

 

“I guess you are right.” Loki shrugged his shoulders, he was right but for some reason he couldn´t shake an uneasy sensation growing on his stomach.

 

Tony stopped working and walked towards him worried. “What´s wrong love?” He embraced Loki by his waist.

 

“I don´t know. It´s probably nothing.” Loki volunteered still troubled.

 

“Is this about Steve?” Tony inquired trying not to sound jealous. “Do you miss him?”

 

Loki snorted lightly. “Are you jealous?”

 

Tony turned him around. “You did kiss him.”

 

Loki rolled his eyes. “I wondered how long it would take for you to bring that up. It was nothing.”

 

“That´s not what I meant. I know you don´t love him.” Tony acknowledged dryly. “Not that way at least.”

 

“Of course not.” Loki agreed swiftly.

 

“But …” Tony continued. “He was there for you when I wasn´t … it must have meant something.”

 

“He´s just a friend.” Loki volunteered; suddenly realizing what he had just said. He stayed silent for a moment thinking; changing his tone he added. “He is a good friend; probably the best I have.”

 

“I know; better than most.” Tony agreed wholeheartedly; he had already forgiven Steve´s indiscretion.

 

Out of sudden Loki´s expression turned to a worried one again. “I never realized he was so …lonely.”

 

“Neither did I.” Tony confessed. “I guess we all assume he could handle it; he´s Captain America after all.”

 

“You should talk to him when he comes back, you know? He could use a friend and … I´m not sure he´ll want me around. Not after all that happened.” Loki added conflicted.

 

“Of course he will.” Tony asseverated trying to cheer Loki up. “He´s better than both of us put together; you´ll see.”

 

As Loki didn´t showed any sign of believing him he shamelessly added. “We could try setting him up.”

 

Loki raised his head alarmed. “Don´t you even dare!” Pensively looking down he added. “He´d probably hate that … although … you might be right about that … he needs someone.”

 

“To fill the void.” Tony suggested in deep thought.

 

“You noticed, didn´t you?” Loki inquired glad he wasn´t the only one to see it.

 

“Yes.” He nodded his head affirmatively. “If you pay attention … it´s not hard to see.”

 

Suddenly they were interrupted by Jarvis. “Emergency call from Mr. Barton Sir.”

 

Tony frowned upset. What could´ve happened? “Patch him through.” He ordered sternly.

 

“How fast can Loki get to Moscow? Without teleporting.” Clint inquired anxiously. He looked like he had just walked out of a war zone. Filth and mud everywhere.

 

“Five hours in a Quinjet, maybe four.” Tony volunteered while doing the math on his head.

 

“He doesn´t have that long …” He mumbled as he frowned distraught. “Isn´t there other way? A faster one?” Suddenly he lost his temper. “Why didn´t he waited for me?”

 

Loki frowned while watching Clint attentively. Why was he …? Suddenly he noticed; it wasn’t mud. “Who?” He asked loudly; fully aware of the gravity of the situation.

 

Clint huffed upset while scowling. “Steve.”

 

“How bad?” Loki asked dryly as his heart pounded on his chest. No teleportation, that alone should´ve alerted him.

 

“Bad.” Clint answered down casted. “The doctors don´t think he´ll make it. He´s losing blood faster than they can patch him up…” He suddenly looked up in despair. “You need to help him.”

 

To heal him, that´s why Clint had said without teleportation. He knew that without the Teseract or some other artifact a spell like that would use too much energy. Even if he arrived in seconds it wouldn´t help at all. Healing spells were complicated; he needed most of his energies to perform them.

 

“Jarvis, display my research on lay lines on the screen.” Loki ordered sternly. “Close in the Eastern Europe region.” He swiftly screened the map. “There …” He pointed to a spot where the lines crossed. “Where is that?”

 

“Kutaisi, Georgia.” Was Jarvis swift reply.

 

“How fast can you pick me up there?” Loki asked Clint with decision.

 

“Fifteen minutes …” Clint answered astonished, there might be hope after all.

 

“Make it ten.” Loki demanded resolute.

 

“I´ll send Natasha.” Was Clint swift reply. “Don´t be late.” He pleaded grimly before cutting the communication.

 

“Tony take me to Bimini now!” Loki snap at Tony who was still too shocked at the news to react.

 

“But … what?” Tony frowned confused while pointing to the map that still was on the screen.

 

“I´ll explain you in the Jet.” Loki volunteered swiftly grabbing Tony´s hand and hurriedly pulling him to the lab´s exit.

 

“Loki what are we doing?” Tony asked while boarding the jet.

 

“I can´t teleport so I´m going to use your planets energy paths to travel as near as I can to Moscow.” Loki volunteered nonchalant.

 

“Have you ever done this before? Is it safe?” Tony inquired worryingly as he buckled his seatbelt and lighted the aircraft.

 

“I don´t know.” Loki replied doubtful. “It should be.”

 

“You can´t do that! You are barely getting your strength back … there´s got to be another way …” Tony spat taking his eyes of the control panel.

 

“I´m not losing him!” Loki yelled furiously. “I´m not … I´m just … not.” He frowned angered with his arms crossed while looking away.

 

Tony glanced at Loki surprised, next he looked ahead in contemplation. After a few moments he agreed. “You are right. We can´t lose him … not without a fight at least. Explain me again, what´s the plan?”

 

Loki sighed relieved. “Thanks” He volunteered softly before explaining Tony the fundaments of the spell he was going to use. If everything worked as plan he should be transported from one energy vortex to the other, the spell was fairly simple and shouldn´t use too much of his energy. “I can´t take you with me.” He heavily informed him.

 

“It would take too much energy.” Tony realized grimly.

 

“Yes.” Loki agreed disgruntled.

 

“I´ll take the long route then.” Tony offered calmly. “It will take me a couple of hours but I´ll join you there. Just … don´t overdo it.”

 

“Are you worried about me?” Loki asked playfully. It was a nice change … to know he cared.

 

“Always love.” Tony answered winking an eye at him. “Get ready, we are almost there. I know cold doesn´t affect you but see if you can find a jacket back there. It´s winter over there; it should help you blend in.”

 

Loki unbuckled his seat as he searched the supplies. Luckily he found a jacket that looked about his size, he wondered who did it belonged to for a moment before putting it on; it almost fitted perfectly. Suddenly he realized; it had to be Steve´s. He closed his eyes pained for a moment as the familiar scent enveloped him. “I won´t be long.” He mentally promised. “I won´t let you die.” With a sigh he returned to the cockpit.

 

Tony looked up at him when he returned, he recognized the jacket immediately. “Isn´t that …?”

 

“It was the only one I could find …” Loki answered with discomfort. “I can leave it if you want. I really don´t need it.”

 

“No … it´s all right. You are about the same height; it fits you well.” Tony acknowledged conflicted. “It´s only a jacket” He reminded himself mentally. Loki had picked him and not Steve, he shouldn´t forget that.  He turned to watch Loki, he looked worried. “He´ll be all right. You´ll see. Clint is probably just overreacting.”

 

“I don’t think he is.” Loki volunteered dryly.

 

“I know.” Tony agreed, he wouldn´t overreact about something like that. For a moment the aircraft was completely silent.

 

“We ow him.” Loki acknowledge suddenly. He had help them be together again, they couldn´t just … walk away. They had to do something.

 

“I know.” Tony admitted as he landed in the coordinates Loki had given him. The energy vortex was nearby.

 

“Keep me posted.” Tony asked Loki as he zipped the jacket up before kissing him softly. “And take care.” He hated letting him go; but he knew it was necessary.

 

“I will.” Loki asserted before kissing him back. “Everything will be all right.” With that he disappears into a flash of light.

 

“I surely hope so.” Tony asseverated out loud. Next he hurriedly went back to the Quinjet, he had to get back to the mansion. On his way back he instructed Jarvis with the last details of one of the new suits, one specially designed to withstand beyond cero degrees’ temperatures. “Russian winters.” He mumbled upset before suiting up and flying away.

All I have to give

“Steve I can do this on my own. You don´t need to walk me all the way.” Tony complained more than slightly annoyed by Steve´s company.

 

“I know you can Tony … it´s just …” Steve answered distraught; there was no right way to tell him what the problem was.

 

Tony frowned upset at Steve´s troubled expression and suddenly stopped. “All right. What´s wrong?”

 

“I … It´s just …” Steve rubbed his nape nervously struggling to find the right words.

 

“Come on Steve, spit it out!” Tony demanded losing his patience.

 

Steve sighed deeply before reluctantly telling him. “It´s just that … every time you two have talked I´ve ended up patching one of you guys up and …”

 

Tony raised his eyebrows surprised by Steve´s concerns. “Steve I promise you it won´t get to that this time.”

 

“I´ll just stay in the hallway, you´ll even forget I’m there.” Steve volunteered pleadingly; Tony´s reassurances didn´t comforted him at all.

 

“No, you are not!” Tony huffed vexed. “No, no, no! Don´t you dare give me the sad puppy eyes! Dammit Steve!” Tony nodded his head in disbelief. “I hate you when you do that!” He bit his lip anxiously trying to think of a solution. “All right! How about we do this? Jarvis will monitor the room and report any incident to you. “

 

Steve leaned his head down considering Tony´s offer. “No countermands?”

 

“Jarvis monitor Loki´s room and report any incidents to Captain Rogers. And Jarvis revoke my privileges on that specific order.”

 

“Understood Sir.” The A.I. agreed.

 

“You are not to interrupt us or share any audio or video feed with Cap. Are we clear?” Tony added adamantly.

 

“Definitely Sir. “Jarvis reported.

“There. Are you happy now?” Tony asked Steve with irony.

 

Steve pondered on it for a moment before reluctantly agreeing with a nod.

 

“Now … would you just leave me alone?” He asked impatiently.

 

“I guess.” Steve agreed unwillingly.

 

“Mommy and Daddy are just going to talk. Ok?” Tony mocked him. “Stop looking so worried!”

 

“I´m older than you!” Steve protested annoyed by Tony’s condescending comment.

 

“Frozen years’ don´t count.” Tony pointed out adamantly. “I´m older than you and Loki is older than both of us put together. That makes you the youngest person in this building. Now beat it!” Tony pointed to the elevator sternly.

 

“All right.” Steve agreed looking disgruntled. “But if something happens …”

 

“Jarvis will tell you.” Tony assured him firmly. “Now go! I´m serious. I can´t think with you here.”

 

“All right. I´ll leave.” Steve sighed defeated. “Just … don´t screw it this time.” He looked at Tony in hope for a second before stepping into the elevator.

 

“That´s the plan.” Tony agreed nodding his head affirmatively. That was the plan; although … he still had no idea of what he was going to say. I´m sorry and I´ll do my best sounded like empty words. They couldn´t be enough; not after all that had happened. How could they be enough? He needed to say something better than that. Loki deserved to hear something better than that. Something grand … he had no clue whatsoever what that actually meant. He thought it over and over pacing around silently; dismissing plan after plan.

 

After half an hour of arguing with himself he was again at Loki´s door. “Please! Just this once … let me do this right for once.” He mentally pleaded to whatever higher power was listening.

 

Taking a big breath, he gathered himself and knocked on the door. “Loki? Can I come in?” There was no reply; making the uneasy feeling on his stomach to grow. He forced himself to knock again. “Loki?”

 

“Come in.” Loki´s voice answered nonchalant.

 

As he entered the room he was met by a blunt question. “You made up your mind?”

 

“Yes, I …” He started to reply when Loki interrupted him impatiently.

 

“So, what’s it going to be? Stern looking eyes fixated on him.

 

“Will you just let me talk?” Tony asked annoyed by Loki´s impatience.

 

“Just say what you came here to say.” Loki replied. He didn´t want to drag matters any further. He just wanted to know; and if Tony’s reply was negative he just wanted it done as fast as possible.

 

“Will it kill you to let me do this my way?” Tony raised his voice angered by Loki´s attitude.

 

“I´m not in the mood for one of your speeches.” Loki replied swiftly.

 

“Too bad, cause I am.” Tony spat angrily before softening his tone. “I´m sorry … just … thi isn´t easy for me, just … just let me do this.”

 

“If there´s no other way.” Loki pouted angrily. It was so Tony to drag things over.

 

Tony sighed as he tried to gather his thoughts once again. “I´ve been thinking over and over about what you asked of me and … it would be easier If I just could fix this with a ridiculous expensive gift as I used to do before you … but, I know I can´t. And let´s face it, what could I possible get you that you couldn´t get yourself anyway? All of my fortune amount to nothing. That never happened to me before, but I never met someone like you before either…”

 

Loki listened frowning upset at Tony’s rambling. What was it that he was trying to tell him?

 

Tony noticed and huffed distraught. “I know; you want a straight answer … but I don´t have one. I´m what you see; messy, complicated, egoistic, certified genius but otherwise a complete asshole who can´t deal with his feelings and doesn´t have a clue about how to behave in a relationship. And I know I should´ve been there for you, and I´m sorry I wasn´t.”

 

Loki expression softened with Tony´s apology. At least it was something; even if he still had no clue where Tony was going with all his rambling.

 

“Anyway. I´ve been thinking this over and over and … I´m not sure I´ll ever be anything better than the man you see … I´ve searched my soul for something … anything … and the only thing that could make me a better man, the only thing I could give to you … it isn´t mine to give … not anymore at least.”

 

“For Odin´s bear Tony!” Loki spat vexed. “What are you trying to say?”

 

“The only thing I could give to you … my heart … it isn´t mine to give … not anymore.” Tony looked at Loki pleadingly with sorrowful eyes hoping with all his heart he would understand what he was trying to say.

 

Loki growled irked. “You mean to tell me you fell in love with someone else?” He was beyond furious.

 

“What? No!” Tony exclaimed surprised. “God, I suck at this!” He exclaimed distraught before attempting to explain himself again. “I can´t give you my heart because it´s already yours. It has always been yours! Ever since I clumsily flirted with you for the first time it´s been yours.” He had approached Loki´s bed during his explanation. As he ended his sentence he held Loki´s hand in his own trembling hands. Leaning his cheek into the warmth of Loki´s hand he closed his eyes for an instant. Loki closed his eyes too; overwhelmed. It was the first time they had touched each other in months, not a casual touch; but genuinely touched each other. When Tony opened his eyes again he looked up at Loki´s with overflowing tears. “I´m sorry I haven´t been enough …” His voice broke; fighting his tears he continued. “I´m sorry I´m half the man I should´ve been. I´m sorry I let you down.” He took a deep breath. “I´m sorry we had to come to this for me to realize that the reason I´ve felt so lost all this months, the reason I´ve been so heartless … was that … my heart was missing …” Loki looked into Tony’s eyes attentively with glistering eyes as a turmoil of emotions ran through his head. “You are my heart.” Tony declared adamantly leading Loki´s hand to his beating chest. “Loki, you are my heart. And I pushed you away because it hurt too much.” He couldn´t go on.

 

“Tony …” Loki said with concern, he had never seen him cry like that before.

 

“No … just let me do this.” Tony nodded his head negatively sniffling. “I can do this.” He told him vehemently staring right into his eyes. “I can do this.”

 

“Yes, you can.” Loki smiled at him with understanding between his own tears.

 

“I´ll never be a better man without you, I know it now. I´ll never push you away again. I promise. It doesn´t matter how much it hurts … I´ll never do it again. No pain will ever be as bad as living without you. I know it isn´t much just … please just stay with me.”

 

“Off course I will you … stupid man” Loki hugged him tightly. “You just had to ask.”

 

“I´m sorry.” Tony whined still holding Loki desperately against himself.

 

“I know.” Loki answered sniffling. “We can´t go back to what we were …”

 

“I know, I´m sorry.” Tony interrupted him afraid of his next words.

 

“But we can start anew.” He offered in hope.

 

“I think I´d like that …” tony asseverated relieved. Loosening his embrace to look into Loki´s face he jokingly asked. “Does that mean I can woo you again … my lucky charm?”

 

Loki raised his eyebrows amused by Tony’s reference to that cheesy attempt of a pickup line. “That didn´t worked then and it won´t work now either.”

 

“What do you mean it didn´t worked then?” Tony asked baffled as he frowned. “I thought it had.”

 

“Absolutely not, you just were lucky that I felt sorry for you after Doom tried to obliterate you for using that lame pick up line on me.” Loki informed him plainly before scolding him. “It was the most foolish thing you ever did.”

 

“Nevertheless it worked.” Tony volunteered shamelessly. “You were the best nurse I ever had.” He half-bit his lip mischievously. “Care to play doctor?”

 

“What?! Do you think that after all you made me go through I´m just going to …” Tony silenced Loki´s protests pulling him into a heartfelt kiss.

 

“God, I missed you!” Tony confessed with a relief sigh before hurriedly apologizing. “I´m sorry … I just couldn’t help myself. I´ll understand if you want to take it slo ….” It was his turn to be interrupted as Loki hungrily kissed him back. “I thought you ..” Tony volunteered confused when Loki stopped for air.

 

“Oh, just shut up!” Loki scolded him jokingly as eh pulled him into another ardent kiss.

 

It wouldn´t be easy, there was still much to be said, many explanations and apologies to be made … so many. But it could wait. For a single moment in time they could forget about it. It could all wait.

 

Meanwhile in the living room. “Jarvis are you sure everything is all right?” Steve asked anxiously for the hundredth time.

 

“Yes, Sir. I can assure you there hasn´t been any undesirable incidents.” Jarvis volunteered dryly.

 

Steve could almost swear he had heard a hinge of irony in the A.I. voice. “all right. I guess they finally patch it up this time.” An hour and a half had gone by since he had left tony in the medical level.

 

Suddenly a virtual screen lit up. “Clint!” Steve smiled at the welcomed interruption. “I thought you were arriving tonight. Will you be arriving sooner?”

 

“I´m afraid not Steve. This business turned out to be more complicated than what we had originally thought. How fast can Tony, Loki and you join us?”

 

“I … don’t know.” Steve frowned upset. Loki was better but in no shape to go on a mission or stay by himself. And he was pretty sure Tony wouldn´t leave him behind anyway. “Give me a moment I´ll get back to you.” Whit that he cut the connection. He frowned in deep thought before raising his voice again. “Jarvis patch me to Tony.”

 

“Sir, I must remind you Mr. Stark left precise instructions about …” Jarvis informed him.

 

“I know Jarvis, but this is important. I need to talk to him.” Steve asked as gently as he could.

 

“As you wish Sir.” Jarvis reluctantly agreed. “The channel is open.”

 

“Thank you Jarvis” Steve quickly thanked him. “Tony …”

 

“Fuck Steve! What the hell?!” Tony´s voice sounded vexed between the panting that could be overheard in the background.

 

Steve face palmed himself embarrassed; even if it was only an audio channel he could picture exactly what the scene looked like. “I´m sorry, it´s important.” He regretted convincing Jarvis to make the call.

 

“It better be…” Tony warned him irked by the interruption. Loki´s laugh could be overheard; clearly he was amused by the whole situation.

 

“Clint called. He needs help. I´m taking the Quinjet.” Steve informed him as fast as he could. He just didn´t wanted them to get the wrong impression by leaving so abruptly.

 

“All right. All right. Is that all?” Tony asked anxiously.

 

“Yes, I´m sorry for the interruption. I just didn´t wanted to worry you.” Steve volunteered abashed.

 

“forget about it! And I mean it Steve!” Tony told him sternly. “Jarvis close the channel and don´t open it again until I say so! With those last words the communication went dead.

 

Steve remained silent. At least he knew they would be all right by themselves. A mission after all could be the best thing to keep the matter out of his head. He took a deep breath; pulling himself together he asked Jarvis. “Patch me to Clint, please!”

 

“Right away Sir!” Jarvis agreed almost mockingly; Steve was beginning to wonder if Tony had been messing around with its programming lately. “Clint. I think you will have to settle with me for the moment.” He informed him calmly.

 

“What?  Why? Where are Tony and Loki?” He asked puzzled.

 

“Umm, they are … otherwise engaged.” Steve volunteered doubtfully.

 

“Oh! The love birds finally patched up.” Clint offered jokingly.

 

“Umm, yes.” Steve agreed feeling awkward.

 

“That´s what I call bad timing; but I’m glad they finally did. I´m sending you the coordinates.” He acknowledged mockingly.

 

“Where am I going?” Steve asked with curiosity.

 

“Russia.” Clint volunteered with a smirk.

 

“Why?” Steve asked interested; while wondering what could be the assignment.

 

“Well … that´s the part where it gets complicated.” Clint answered rubbing his chin pensively. “We are … kind of … after a ghost.”

 

“What do you mean a ghost?” Steve asked puzzled while Clint volunteered plainly. “Umm … have you heard of … the Winter Soldier?”

 

The End ….?

To be continued in “Till The End of The Line”

If you loved him

Steve was washing the dishes from breakfast when Tony suddenly showed up. For a moment they both ignored each other until Steve heard a familiar sound that made him turn around. The sound of a can being opened; a beer.

 

“How´s the headache?” He asked with irony knowing Tony would have a very bad one due to all his drinking the day before.

 

“Don´t even pretend you care.” Tony spitefully answered as he leaned the cold can into a sore temple. It was only a momentary release but he relished in the cold sensation.

 

“I wouldn´t have asked if I didn´t.” Steve volunteered sternly. Why did everything had to be so difficult with him?

 

“You have a strange way of showing it. Kissing my boyfriend on one side …. knocking me out on the other.” Tony mocked him resentful.

 

Steve huffed upset biting his lip he looked down. “I´m sorry for both. It won´t happen again. I know this doesn´t mean much to you right now but I´m truly sorry I betrayed your trust. It´s just … “ He nodded his head negatively clearly distraught “Solitude is a bad counselor.” He looked up at Tony; repentance in his eyes.

 

“Forgive me if I don´t trust the man that just a few hours told me he would steal my boyfriend from me if he had the chance.” Tony pointed out wryly.

 

“What is it that you want Tony? You want to take another shot at me? Scream at me? Just tell me what you want and get it out of your system.” Steve raised his voice frustrated before warning him sternly. “Just don´t make me your excuse for not dealing with Loki. You really don´t have the time for that.”

 

“Really? Why wouldn´t I have the time?” Tony asked with irony. “Maybe you already have a plan, isn´t that right Captain?”

 

“Fine. You don´t want my apology; fine. I´m not playing this game with you Tony. You can believe whatever you want but the only thing standing between you and Loki is yourself. I won´t interfere anymore.” With those final words he directed himself to the kitchen door.

 

“Why?” Tony asked loudly stopping Steve on his tracks.

 

“Why, what?” Steve asked baffled as he turned around.

 

“Why not stand between us?” Tony asked nonchalant. Shrugging his shoulders, he continued calmly. “Obviously Loki likes you … or he wouldn´t have kissed you back.”

 

“He didn´t …” Steve tried to tell him wrong.

 

“Don´t lie to me Steve. I saw both of you remember? I might be selfish but not stupid … and I know him better than he thinks.” He took a sip of his beer, he felt so thirsty.

 

“I don´t know what is what you think you saw Tony but Loki loves you.” Steve assured him. “You can have my word on that.”

 

“For what it´s worth, I love him too.” Tony agreed wryly.  “But … he does like you and … you are a better man than me, you´ll always be … better.” Tony acknowledged somberly. “It would solve everyone´s problems.”

 

“What the hell are you saying?” Steve asked irked hoping he had misunderstood.

 

“You know what I´m saying Steve. Stop acting as you didn´t. “ Tony stared at him bluntly. “Loki can have a better man; one that won´t let him down. You can have Loki and I … I can keep doing whatever I want no strings attached.” Tony explained wryly, he had convinced himself that it was a solution. One he hated but a solution nonetheless.

 

“You are still drunk Tony. Go back to bed.” Steve dismissed him incapable of believing what he had just heard. “Sleep it off.”

 

“On the contrary my Captain. I´m quite sober … I can assure you.” Tony asseverated firmly before changing his tone to a more familiar one. “Come on Steve, you say it all the time. I´m a big screw up; and accident waiting to happen. He would be better off without me.”

 

“Loki is not a stray cat you can put up for adoption when it´s convenient.” Steve scolded him angered by Tony´s last remark.

 

“What is it Steve? Are you afraid of a little commitment? I thought you loved him.” Tony spat with irony.

 

“More than you at least.” Steve growled in return. Vexed he turned his back on him ready to leave; he had only taken a few steps when he returned to confront Tony. Irked he poked him strongly in his chest as he stated. “The real question here is if you love him.”

 

“Of course I love him.” Tony asseverated offended. “Do you think it´s easy for me to give him up? I love him more than you can ever understand.”

 

“I don´t believe you.” Steve stated firmly. “I don´t think you even understand the meaning of the word Mr. I´m doing what’s best for everyone.”

 

“I do understand the meaning of the word, you … self-righteous popsicle! I do love him! And that´s why I want you to be with him!” Tony shrieked painfully.

 

“No, you don´t Tony.” Steve growled vexed. “You don´t desert the one´s you love because it´s too hard to love them. You don´t leave them because they would be better off without you. That´s what cowards do, they justify leaving just to make themselves feel better about not having what it takes to stay and fight. When you truly love someone you fight for them. You strive to become more than what you are; someone they can be proud of. You just don´t leave because it´s convenient. So no, I don´t believe you love Loki. I don´t believe you ever did.”

 

Steve´s words touched a nerve. “I don´t care what the fuck you think. I do love him!” Tony growled enraged.

 

“Then prove it!” Steve dared him defiantly.

 

“I…” Tony gasped thunderstruck. “I …” He frowned in deep thought.

 

“If you do love him probe it!” Steve dared him again sternly. “Go to him right now and tell him you made up your mind.”

 

Tony looked at Steve in amazement. Did he just used reverse psychology on him? “You almost had me there Cap. Do you think I wouldn´t notice?” He asked between irritated and amused.

 

Steve nodded his head in disbelief. “Tony … stop getting in your own way. You know you love him. Furthermore, you know you would be lost without him. Why on earth do you keep resisting?”

 

“I will screw up again, maybe not right away. But at some point; I just know I will.” Tony volunteered somberly.

 

“Yes, at some point you will.” Steve agreed, as Tony looked up at him baffled for his admission he continued. “It´s called life Tony. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don´t.” As Tony remained quiet he continued. “He´s not asking you to always get it right Tony … after all … we are only humans. What he wants to know is that you won´t drop the ball again.”

 

Tony frowned for an instant considering Steve words before raising his brows as he mocked him. “Sports analogy Cap? Really? You are really going with that?”

 

“Stop being a dick Tony.” Steve admonished him with a smirk. Something told him he had finally gotten through this time.

What have I done?

Still furious Steve directed himself to the infirmary. Only when he stood in front of Loki’s door he stopped anxiously as the full realization of what had just happened hit him.

 

“What have I done?” He asked himself mentally as he drove his hands to his temples distraught. “What have I done?” He asked himself over and over as he paced around the hallway in a futile effort to make sense of his last actions.

“What do I do know? The question stopped him dead on his tracks; he cursed himself mentally. “I have to tell Loki.” Taking a deep breath, he entered the room down casted. “Loki?” He asked as a scared child about to confess his misgivings.

 

“Steve?” Loki asked sleepily before taking a good look at him. “What happened?” He exclaimed both surprised and worried looking at Steve´s noticeable bruised cheek.

 

“I screwed up.” Steve confessed disappointed. “I think I made things even worse than they were.”

 

He looked so guilty. What could´ve happened? Loki questioned himself mentally before motioning Steve to his side. “Tell me what happened.”

 

Steve acceded discouraged as he heavily sat in the chair next to Loki´s bed. “He saw us … Tony … he saw us kiss.” The words hurt more than he had thought they would. What had he been thinking? Right … he wasn´t.

 

Loki gasped surprised, even if he had toyed with the idea of cheating on Tony to punish him this wasn´t exactly what he had thought of. He didn´t felt guilty as Steve did, not really. He was still to hurt to care about that; maybe once things got better … if they ever did. What he hadn´t factor in was Steve´s reaction; he looked extremely anguished. He may not love him even if he was earning a place in his heart quickly but he hadn’t meant to hurt him nor get him trapped in the crossfire between Tony and himself.

 

“He did this to you?” He asked gently as he tilted Steve´s down casted face to examine him. “He used that cursed gauntlet of him.” He snarled disapprovingly, knowing by own experience the damage it inflicted. “I´m going to give that man a piece of my mind.” He spat angrily as he attempted to get of the bed.

 

“No, wait!” Steve pleaded frightfully. “Don´t make this worse. I told him that … that it was my fault; that I was the one that kissed you believing there was something there when it wasn´t. Let him believe that … it´s the truth anyway.” He ended with a depressing sigh.

 

“You did what?” Loki inquired baffled. “You lied? For me?”

 

“Of course I did. What did you expect? That I was going to betray you? This is my fault anyway I should never have said anything to you. I started this by believing I could have something that wasn´t mine to have. Let him be angry at me, he´s right I betrayed him.” He lowered his head again sulked fighting with conflicted feelings.

 

“I … I can´t believe you lied.” Loki said softly mostly to himself. He didn´t recalled him lying before. He felt conflicted.

 

“What´s a lie to the God of lies?” Steve answered in a whisper. “It´s done anyway.”

 

“Steve I´m sorry. If I knew this would happen …” Loki apologized, he did felt guilty although not about the cheating … at least not yet.

 

“You would´ve done it anyway.” Steve acknowledged. “I should´ve known better.”

 

“I was the one that kissed you.” Loki reminded him sternly.

 

“Only because I … I opened a door a shouldn´t have. It´s just … if you offer a raft to a castaway he will take it; never mind the consequences.” Steve admitted painfully.

 

“I´m a raft?” Loki asked intrigued by Steve’s´ words.

 

“Forget about it.” Steve said with an ever deeper sigh. “I miss him …” By the tone in his voice Loki knew he was fighting unshed tears. “Maybe too much.”

 

Loki´s heart ached at his words. He knew exactly what Steve meant … the pain, the longing, the hopelessness, the horrifying notion that you will never be loved that way again. Tears were streaming from his eyes before he could prevent them provoked by the acute pain he felt in his chest; a pain he now knew mirrored Steve´s. That´s why he felt such a connection with him, in a way they were both lost hoping for someone to save them from themselves.

 

It was his sob that made Steve look up; for an instant they just looked at each other acknowledging just how much pain their hearts felt. When Steve´s own sob escaped from his lips it undid them. Desperate they search comfort in each other’s arm as they cried about their own miseries.

 

As they both calmed down Loki examined Steve´s bruise closer. “That brute! Look what he did to you!” He frowned upset even if he knew it would fade in a couple of hours.

 

“I think you could say it was a draw.” Steve volunteered as he bit his lower lip trying not to smile.

Loki looked at him questioningly.

 

“Umh … I kind of knocked him out with a stapler.” Steve blurted out unable to stop laughing.

 

“You did what?” Loki looked at him shocked, even if he felt a bit concerned about Tony he couldn´t stop himself from laughing as he pictured the scene.

 

They both laughed for a minute or two shedding all the tension that had built before.

 

“I can´t believe you actually did that.” Loki acknowledged “He´s all right, isn´t him?”

 

“Yes, I made sure he was.” Steve asseverated with conviction. “I even bandage his wrist … uh … he hurt it when he fell.” What did one more lie mattered? “Although …” He quieted suddenly.

 

“He´s drinking again isn´t he?” Loki volunteered, Steve´s expression was easy to read like Thor´s.

 

“How can you stand it?” Steve inquired baffled.

 

“It didn´t used to be this bad.” Loki admitted. “Sometimes it was the only sign I had that he still cared.”

 

“He does care Loki, but he´s so bad at showing it it´s frightful.” Steve tried to comfort him.

 

“Not all … Steve are you sure you are all right?” Loki interrupted himself in mid-sentence; he thought he had seen Steve wincing slightly.

 

“It´s nothing. I´ll be fine in the morning.” Steve dismiss it.

 

“I’ll be the judge of that. Now let me see.” Loki demanded sternly.

 

“But …” Steve complained.

 

“Steve, now!” Loki commanded him with a frown in his face.

 

Steve sighed displeased. “You know this is how it all started. What if Tony is watching us right now?”

 

“I´ll deal with my jealous boyfriend. Now show me!” He ordered him sternly.

 

Unwilling to upset Loki Steve raised his shirt reluctantly. A large purple bruise marked the spot where Tony´s propulsor ray had hit him.

 

“Tell me again why I don´t choose you over Tony?” Loki joked wryly as he nodded displeased at the new found injury.

 

“Because you love him?” Steve volunteered gingerly

 

“Well, yes. There´s that.” Loki acknowledged emotionless before frowning as he helped Steve to set his shirt back in its place. “It´s hard to like him when he does stuff like this. I´m truly sorry Steve. I didn´t meant for you to get hurt.”

 

Steve shrugged his shoulders “He´s jealous; I really can´t blame him.”

 

“Why not?” Loki asked intrigued, if he was in his place he would be angry at least.

 

“Don´t ask me that. You know the answer already” Steve volunteered shyly.

 

“Steve I …” Loki looked at him worryingly unsure of what to tell him.

 

“It´s all right. I guess I always knew you would choose him.” He admitted sadly

 

“I could change my mind and choose you.” Loki offered, he just wanted to make Steve feel better somehow even if it wasn´t the truth.

 

“No, you wouldn´t.” Steve painfully admitted. “You don´t have to lie to me. I know it, you know it. Probably the only person that doesn´t knows it is Tony.”

 

“Steve I…” Loki felt at loss, there really wasn´t anything he could do to make feel Steve better.

 

“Either way I told Tony I wouldn´t stand between you two. Unless … you want me to.” Steve told him against all his instincts, it was futile, he knew it, but he didn´t wanted to leave anything unsaid, not anymore, not ever again. He looked into Loki´s eyes in hope of an answer he knew would never arrive. Loki stared into his eyes for a moment before adverting his gaze.

 

“There’s your answer. “He volunteered disappointed.

 

“I´m sorry Steve. If I could …” If he could he would wipe all the sadness from his face, but he couldn´t.

 

“It´s all right. I already told you. As long as you are happy that´s enough for me.” Steve smiled sadly at him; suddenly he changed his tone. “I might have said Tony something I shouldn´t have.”

 

Loki looked at him questioningly. “What did you said?”

 

“That he ever screwed up I would steal you from him.” Steve confessed embarrassed almost ashamed.

 

Loki opened his mouth surprised. “I might hold you to that.” He finally volunteered to Steve jokingly.

 

“I was hoping you would.” Steve replied warmly. That was all he had, maybes and what ifs … somewhere in his heart he knew Loki would never be his.

Jelous

Steve went to Tony´s lab quite sure he would be able to find him there and he did. Maybe it was the fact he was starting to feel guilty about what had just happened with Loki, it might have been the fact that Tony seemed awfully concentrated on fixing something on his right glove while he was wearing it but whatever the reason he had approached Tony stealthy almost silently.

 

“Tony …” He called him distractedly.

 

Without any warning Tony closed the gap between them in one swift jump over the table and taking advantage of an unsuspecting Steve threw a punch to his face with his gauntlet arm.

 

Steve fell to the ground tackled by a raging Tony who tried to hit him again. The second stroke came from Tony´s bare hand giving Steve an opportunity to block the next punch. Seizing the gauntlet to avoid being hit again Steve rolled Tony pinning him effectively under him.

 

“Are you out of your freaking mind?” Steve howled furiously.

 

“Sanctimonious bastard! You kissed him! I saw you!” Tony spat vexed.

 

Steve gasped surprised. “It´s not what you think!” He couldn´t tell him the truth. The truth wouldn´t help him this time.

 

“It´s not what I think? Don´t try to deny it! I saw both of you through the surveillance system.” Tony yelled enraged as he kept trying to escape from Steve´s grip.

 

“You were spying on us?” Steve inquired baffled. How much had he seen?

 

“I wanted to see if he was all right. I was worried. And guess what I saw, the two of you kissing … and you´re trying to tell me I imagined it?” He growled furiously. “What sick game are you playing Steve?”

 

“I never …” Steve uttered confused. What could he tell him? As he tried to think of something Tony managed to loosen his armored arm and fired a repulsor blast against his unprotected ribs. The blast knocked Steve a few meters away as he forced himself to raise up despite the pain he felt on his injured side he noticed Tony walking towards him ready to fire another blast. Swiftly he jumped behind the nearest desk avoiding being hit by barely a second.

 

“Tony wait! Just listen to me!” Steve yelled from behind the desk while he quickly scanned his surroundings; he needed something to defend himself, anything.

 

“Why would I do that?” Tony shouted at him while looking for the best angel to shoot at him again. “You are trying to steal my boyfriend.”

 

“Tony come on just listen to me, I´m not playing any games. I wouldn´t have talked you into meeting with Loki if I was. I made a mistake ok? A stupid mistake! I´m not trying to steal your boyfriend. Just let me explain.” He tried to reason with him as he grabbed a stapler that had felt to the floor, he grinned wryly at it, he had hoped for something better. He had one chance and one alone, a stapler wasn´t much but with the perfect aim.

 

“I don´t know.  Maybe you´ve been spending too much time with Natasha. All that double agent crap … I don´t know Steve. I wouldn´t have believed it if I hadn´t seen you.” Tony rambled, it bothered him that part of what Steve said made sense. “But I did.”

 

Steve huffed distraught. “I know you did … you didn’t imagine that. I´m sorry. It happened but it´s not what you think.” He acknowledged mortified.

 

“Backstabbing traitor! “Tony fired his propulsor enraged by Steve´s guilty admission. Steve had been expecting it; as he jumped to the next desk for cover he threw the stapler against Tony´s head.

 

In the next moments the only sound Steve could hear was the beat of his own heart. Carefully he peeked around from his new hiding place. From the corner of his eye he noticed a boot; Tony´s boot. He jumped out and nervously checked Tony for breathing and pulse. When he found both he sighed relieved; the only visible wound was a red mark on Tony´s forehead where the stapler had hit him.

 

Steve sat demoralized next to Tony his face buried between his hands. “What am I going to do?” He questioned himself mentally over and over. Maybe he wasn´t the one that had kissed Loki … this time but he would have to fix it whatever it took. Rubbing a still sore cheek he looked at Tony´s gauntlet. “I´d better get rid of this first”

 

As he removed the gauntlet from Tony’s armed he gasp surprised; he had a very recognizable hand patter bruise around his wrist. He squinted as he touched it, it didn’t seem broken but it was swollen. Undoubtedly it was painful.

 

“I´d better patch him up now that I can.” He reasoned doubting Tony would give him the chance once he regained consciousness; not that he would blame him. He went for the first aid kit they kept on the lab. Once at Tony’s side again he asked Jarvis out loud. “Jarvis, can you scan Tony for any fractures? Specifically, his right wrist and head. As he waited for the A.I. diagnosis Steve stared at Tony´s unconscious form worryingly.

 

“There are no factures, a mild concussion and a muscle sprain Sir.” Jarvis reported after a few moments.

 

“Thank God!” Steve uttered relieved. He then proceeded to take care of the strain wrist; when he finished bandaging it he looked at Tony´s head; it didn´t seemed it needed any bandages. When he finished he took special care of gather every item of the first aid kit worried Tony could use any of them as a weapon. Once he had finished he sat again near tony while he wondered what to tell him. He was still in deep thought when Tony woke up suddenly.

 

“What?!” He tried to get up quickly as he rubbed his hurting forehead getting dizzy in the process.

 

“Wait Tony! Take it easy. You were out for a couple of minutes.” Steve hurried to him steading him gently against the desk.

 

Tony smacked Steve helping hand aside as he wryly scolded him. “And who´s fault is that?”

 

“You didn’t give me much choice.” Steve complained sternly.

 

“You kissed my boyfriend.” Tony reminded him angrily. “You … bandage my wrist?” Tony spat surprised noticing the wrapping on his right arm.

 

“Yes.” Steve admitted dryly.

 

“Why on earth would you do that? We are fighting! I took a shot at you …” Tony rambled annoyed.

 

“Several as a matter of fact.” Steve volunteered despondent. “I guess I deserved that after all.”

 

“No, no, no. You are not doing that. You have no right to do that.” Tony growled vexed.  “I´m angry at you. You have no right to place nice.”

 

“I just want you to listen to me. You can take a shoot at me afterwards if you still want to. Just let me try to explain.” Steve volunteered downhearted.

 

“Just because you did a good job with my wrist. Don´t hold your hope, I really want to kill you right now … as soon as my head stop hurting.” Tony agreed reluctantly. “So, what do you have to say for yourself?”

 

Steve sighed. “Well …”

 

“Stop right there, If I´m going to listen to you I need something to drink. Get me that bottle over there.” Tony interrupted him wryly.

 

“But you just had a mild concussion …” Steve protested

 

“Thank you Dr. Rogers for your input. Now handle me that bottle before I fetch it myself and throw it against your traitorous head.”

 

“Fine.” Steve sighed upset. He knew Tony wasn´t kidding. He gave Tony the bottle reluctantly and sat an arm and a half away from him leaning into the same desk.

 

“So …?” Tony inquired impatiently as he gave his first sip.

 

“I … I thought I saw something that wasn´t there. I´ve always liked Loki …” Steve acknowledge discouraged.

 

“Ah-ha!” Tony exclaimed triumphant. “I knew it!”

 

“Are you going to let me explain or not?” Steve questioned Tony irked by his childish reaction.

 

“Go on.” Was Tony´s nonchalant response.

 

“I mainly avoided contact with him cause … well he is your boyfriend but these past days … with everything that happened … we´ve been spending a lot of time together … and just now … you made him upset again … I thought I saw something … I thought … and I did something utterly foolish I kissed him … “

“Did you …?” Tony asked upset sternly eyeing Steve.

“Did we …?” Steve first asked not understanding what Tony meant; but when Tony just tilted his head raising his eyebrows exasperated for his delayed answer. “What? No! I swear … it was only a kiss. “

 

“It looked more than just a kiss.” Tony volunteered upset.

 

“It wasn´t … I´d never …” Steve claimed anxious. How much would Tony had saw?

 

“Why not?” Tony asked with a frown. “He´s not good enough for you? Just someone to snuggle when you feel lonely? Do you feel good about yourself? Taking advantage of him?”

 

“You are such an ass!” Steve coursed angrily. “Because he loves you stupid, that´s why not!” After a few seconds he spoke again in a low tone. “And because I hope that you love him back. I´ll never have what you two have. You are the only one that can make him happy.” Steve confessed sullen.

 

There it was again that melancholic tone of someone who knows lose. It had softened Tony´s heart the first time he had heard it but this time he refused to let it affect him. “You´re so full of crap Steve! I don´t care what you delude yourself into thinking … you took advantage of him. You don´t even love him! Not like I do.”

 

Steve stood up too angry to remain sited. “Thank God I don’t” He spat furiously. “He was raped and you just let him fence for himself because you felt too guilty to dealt with it.” He clenched his firsts irked. “” If I hadn´t been in the house yesterday you would´ve killed him. Don´t you dare preach me about love, you selfish bastard!”

 

He walked away; after a few steps he walked right back. “He asked me to tell you that you have until tomorrow night to make up your mind.” He walked away again with Tony’s words biting at his heart he turned back to warn him vexed. “If you ever screw up like this again. I will steal Loki from you!” Slamming the lab´s door he stormed away.

 

“Maybe I should just let him.” Tony wryly told himself as he took another sip before clumsily standing up. He directed himself to his room, his mind was too clouded to think.

Temptation

As Tony walked out of the room Steve turned his head right. He didn´t wanted to eavesdrop on the couple but he wasn´t comfortable leaving them completely alone after all that had happened. He had settled on sitting down on the farthest corner of the corridor in case he had to intervene again.

 

When Tony finally walked out Steve could see him protectively nursing his right wrist with a concerned frown on his face. He stood up quickly as Tony walked absentminded right in front of him.

 

“Tony?” He called worryingly.

 

Tony looked back at him startled by his presence. For a moment he opened his mouth as if he was to say something but at the last moment refrain from saying a word and just huffed upset as he walked out of the medical level.

 

Steve watched him leave with a heavy heart. Things didn´t seemed to have gone right. Next he walked into Loki´s room startling him.

 

“Steve? How?” He spat surprised then frowned upset “Were you eavesdropping on us?”

 

“No!” Steve defended himself quickly. “I … I stayed on the corridor as far as I could … I was worried something could happen … and … I saw Tony leave. What happened?” He couldn´t conceal the concern in his voice.

 

“I gave him an ultimatum.” Loki told him with an air of self-satisfaction. “Either he stands by me side or he doesn´t at all. I can´t him wavering anymore.”

 

“You did what? I can´t believe it! What did he say?” Steve asked baffled by Loki´s response.

 

“Nothing yet.” Loki volunteered calmly. “I asked him to think about it. I want him to be sure about his decision.” Next he changed his tone. “When are the rest of the team coming back?”

 

“According to Clint tomorrow night … at least him and Natasha. I´m not sure about the rest.” Steve told him shrugging his shoulders.

 

“All right.” Loki sighed. “Then I guess he has until tomorrow night to make up his mind. I´d like to keep this incident … private.”

 

Steve looked at him confused, how did he planned to do that?

 

“You should tell him that.” Loki added snapping him out of his thoughts.

 

“Ah … umh … all right.” He agreed absently.

 

“What´s wrong Steve?” Loki asked reading the confusion on his face.

 

“I … I´m just surprised you did that. I thought you wanted tony back no matter what.” Steve dryly pointed as he withdraws his real question.

 

“I thought that too.” Loki agreed pensively. “I really hadn’t realized it until now … “He raised his head to look at Steve as he added. “He might be wrong about a lot of things; but I think he is right when he says I deserve better. Now he just has to figure out if he wants to become that sort of man.”

 

Steve nodded affirmatively as he considered it. Next he asked. “How´s your arm?”

 

“Still sore, but better.” Loki acknowledged, this time he was sitting up without any discomfort.

 

“Seems you are starting to heal faster.” Steve pointed out relieved.

 

Loki examined his arm briefly and smiled. “I´ve had an outstanding nurse.” He bowed his head slightly thanking Steve.

 

Steve blushed at his compliment embarrassed as he bowed back. “Then I guess I should check on the rest of your wounds or I would be neglecting my duties. I think I should start with your eye.” He walked towards Loki right to examine it.

 

“It seems it …” Without any warning Loki pulled him into an ardent kiss. Steve widened his eyes surprised before he was swooned away by Loki´s kiss. When Loki loosen his grip on him to get some air he tried to ask. “But … Tony …” Without any delay Loki threw his arms around his neck and pulled him into another kiss to silence his words. This time he leaned down into the bed taking Steve down with him. Taken by surprise by the sudden position change Steve barely steadied himself leaning his arms into the bed. When a muffled moan escaped his lips Loki smirked and tried to pull him into the bed with him. He pulled too hard too fast with a disastrous result; feeling unbalanced Steve´s instincts told him to roll with such bad luck he rolled himself out of the bed taking Loki down with him. By some miracle neither of them had got entangled with Loki´s IV. The scene was hilarious Steve sprawled on the floor while he tried to catch his breath back as Loki laid on top of him staring worryingly at Steve´s red frowned face. When Steve finally looked up and found Loki´s eyes upon him he couldn´t help to laugh.

 

“You scared me!” Loki scolded him first, then joined him laughing as he realized just how silly they looked. After a while he leaned to kiss Steve again. This time Steve closed his eyes. “If this is a dream I never want to wake up.”

 

Feeling Steve responding to his kiss Loki blindly reached for his crotch with his healthy ARM. Steve gasped surprised. “No … wait!”

 

“Why?” Loki replied with a confused frown on his face. “I thought this is what you wanted.”

 

“More than anything.” Steve confessed which encourage Loki to try again. Steve panted. “But … not like this.”

 

“Like this, how?” Loki inquired both concerned and intrigued.

 

“Not to get back at Tony for whatever he has told you.” Steve replied with a frown; he looked at the distance as he regretfully added. “I don’t want you to regret this in the morning.”

 

“I´ll regret nothing.” Loki adamantly told him working his way down again as he nibbled on Steve´s neck.

 

Steve huffed; it was taking all of his will not to give into Loki’s loving ministrations. “You just said he has until tomorrow.” He spat swiftly.

 

Loki stopped dead. “Yes … I did.”

 

“Wait until then … if … if you still want me then I´ll be yours.” Steve sighed, he knew that it wouldn´t happen, not if Tony …

 

“Why wait?” Loki asked mildly angered. Mischievously he breathed into Steve´s neck making the younger man shiver. “You know you want this.” What did it mattered what he had said?

 

Steve tensed up, if Loki kept going he would lose his resolve. Huffing he begged him. “To be yours … yes. But not like this. Not to get back at him … please, not like your plaything.”

 

His desperate tone made Loki look back into his eyes, those blue eyes that looked at him with such yearning they now looked at him pleadingly, glistering.

 

“If you still want me after Tony and you have talked, I´ll be yours.” Steve kept reassuring him.

 

Loki frowned upset. “You make it sound as if you were expendable.”

 

“Am I not?” Steve asked rueful. “If you and Tony weren´t fighting you would´ve never noticed me.” He looked away conflicted. “you never noticed me before.”

 

“Steve that’s not…” Loki complained abashed.

 

“Don´t try to deny it.” Steve demanded softly turning his gaze back at him. “I knew it since the beginning.” He smiled wryly almost shamefaced. “I´m just your way out in case … in case things don’t work out with Tony. Why else would you have given him a chance?”

 

Loki didn´t knew what to answer to that.

 

“It doesn’t matter. I´m fine with it.” Steve admitted looking morose.

 

“Why didn´t I noticed you before?” This time he asked out loud. Everything would be different if he had fallen in love with Steve instead of Tony.

 

Steve opened his mouth surprised by Loki´s question. Frowning he answered it. “You wouldn´t have liked me back then.”

 

“You mean before the serum?” Loki asked intrigued.

 

“I was too skinny … weak.” Steve admitted.

 

Why would he go back so far? Loki questioned himself mentally when it hit him. Because tony wasn´t around back then. He genuinely though he would never notice him with Tony around. “Do you really think that´s all I´m attracted to?” Loki asked between amused and annoyed. There was something really cute about Steve´s lack of self-confidence.

 

“No … I´m sorry. I didn’t mean. I know you don´t. You wouldn´t …” He snapped his mouth shut hiding his face with his hands abashed as he cursed himself for being stupid.

 

Loki looked at him attentively, sighing he kindly told him. “You can say it. I wouldn´t have dated Doom. I agree; I wasn´t with him for his looks.”

 

Steve apologized ashamed. “I´m sorry, I didn´t meant to.”

 

“It´s all right Steve.” Loki reassured him. “I know you didn´t meant anything by it. How about we change the subject?” Loki asked as he rested his head on Steve’s´ chest.

 

Steve looked at him flustered. What if Tony decided to come back?

 

“I´m still making you nervous?” Loki smirked amused as he listened to Steve’s´ rapid heartbeats.

 

“I … umh … shouldn’t we get of the floor?” He asked shyly as he turned into a darker shade of red.

 

“I´m comfortable here.” Loki stated nonchalant before looking back at Steve who know looked even more conflicted. “All right.” He finally conceded. “You win. If you promise not to knock us down again we can get back into bed.”

 

“I didn´t meant to.” Steve answered pouting slightly. “and I think it would be better if you alone got back into bed … for the moment.”

 

“You could still reconsider.” Loki flirted shamelessly with him.

 

“Please don´t tempt me.” Steve pleaded mentally feeling all of Loki´s weight over him. It was excruciating; so near, and so far at the same time. “Tomorrow you might change your mind.”

 

Loki looked kindly at him, after all he was right. He was angry at Tony and he wanted to hurt him back as he had hurt him. “You are right … as always. Don´t you get tired of doing the right thing all the time?”

 

“I wouldn´t be myself if I didn’t.” Steve confessed. “Besides it´s easy to do the right thing when it doesn´t cost you. “

 

“I guess so.” Loki admitted.

 

“The real challenge is doing it when it does.” Steve added with melancholy in his voice. “But I don´t regret it at all. As long as you are happy I´ll be all right.”

 

Loki was taken back by his words and effusively told him. “Whatever happens I want you to know … you are precious to me now. That won’t change.” He sat up allowing Steve to get off the floor.

 

“Uh … thank you?” He blushed even darker as he sat up.

 

“Thank you?” Loki inquired amused.

 

“I really don’t know what to say to something like that.” He admitted embarrassed.

 

“You don´t have to say anything.” Loki comforted him. “Will you stay with me tonight?” He asked worryingly; Steve´s presence was reassuring.

 

“As long as you stay on the bed and me in my chair I will.” Steve agreed raising up carrying Loki up with him. He smiled relieved he didn´t seemed so weightless now.

 

“What are you smiling at?” Loki asked bemused.

 

“Nothing. I´m just glad you are feeling better” Steve volunteered cheerfully. If Tony and Loki could find the way to be together again he would be heartbroken. Even so he thought; it would´ve been worth it. “I’ll just deliver your message to Tony and I´ll be right back.”

 

“Message?” Loki asked puzzled.

 

“About his deadline.” Steve reminded him.

 

“He dare to tell me I shouldn´t have save him.” Loki complained distraught to Steve who looked at him with understanding eyes.

Too Hard

Tony walked all the way down to the infirmary pensively. What could he say? That he was sorry? He really was, but somehow he doubted that it would be enough.

Finally, he arrived to Loki´s room. Nervously he raised his hand to knock on the door only to back it down quickly. He tried to do it again and ended pacing anxiously on the hallway for a couple of minutes trying to gather enough courage to walk in. Admonishing himself mentally, “This is ridiculous, just do it” swiftly he walked in.

When he did both Loki and Tony looked at each other startled by his entrance. Loki was the one that spoke first. “You finally decided to show up; I was beginning to wonder if you would.”

Tony squirmed uncomfortably, he already knew he wasn’t walking towards a warm welcome from the start. “I … I´m sorry.” He finally spat.

“For breaking my arm or my heart?” Loki asked wryly.

“Umh … both … I guess.” Tony admitted ashamed.

“You guess?” Loki asked annoyed.

“Come on Loki! You are not making this any easier.” Tony complained anguished.

“This is not supposed to be easy.” Loki told him harshly.

Tony sighed, he was right. “I´m not good at this sort of things, remember?”

“After all you have done you could at least try.” Loki reproached angrily.

“I know.” He admitted scratching his nape. “I´ve made a mess of things. I just … I didn´t … well, I still don´t know what to tell you.”

“That you don´t love me anymore. That should be easy.” Loki volunteered irked.

“I wish it was that easy.” Tony blurted out. “If I didn´t loved you anymore it wouldn´t hurt so much.”

Loki looked at him quizzically. So, did that meant he still loved him? Then … why? Sighing impatiently, he softened his tone and asked. “What hurts?”

“Everything. Being with you … being without you … knowing …” Tony tried to explain.

“Knowing what?” Loki asked hastily, all of Tony´s rambling was beginning to wear down his patience.

“That it was all my fault.” Tony finally confessed. “If I hadn´t allowed myself to get distracted …”

“What are you talking about?” Loki asked angrily. “I was the one distracting you!

“It wasn´t my first dance, I should´ve know better!” Tony raised his voice irked.

“Neither was mine!” Loki yelled at him in same vexed tone. “Do you forget who are you talking to?”

“You should´ve let me die!” Tony screamed at the top of his lungs in despair.

Loki looked at him too astonished to react; after a few seconds he asked incredulously. “What?”

“You should´ve let me die.” Tony repeated in a low tone while looking grimly to the ground. “You shouldn’t have saved me.”

Loki had never felt so rabidly angry at Tony before. “How you even dare to say that?”

“Because it is the truth.” Tony asseverated desperate. “If it wasn´t for me … he wouldn´t have …” He couldn´t even say it out loud.

“Raped me.” Loki ended his sentence venomously. “If we are finally going to talk about it; you could at least have the decency to say it out loud.”

“I can´t.” Tony acknowledged abashed as he nodded his head negatively.

“Coward!” Loki spat vexed.

Tony smiled wryly as he moved his head in approval. “You are finally figuring it out. Yes, I am weak and a coward.” Prodding at his own chest with both his hand he continued. “This is what you risked your life for. You deserve someone better, someone braver and stronger, someone who can protect you like Steve or your friends back in Asgard”

“I don´t want someone else.” Loki growled softly down casting his gaze.

“I know.” Tony scowled painfully. “That´s what makes it so hard. I really would like to be like that; but I´ not. “He acknowledged sorrowfully looking at his feet. “I don´t know how to be with you anymore; I really don´t know. As much as I try I can´t stop thinking about that day.”

“And you think I can?” Loki asked aggravated. “Do you think I can just forget what happened?”

“That´s not what I meant.” Tony tries to apologize knowing he’d just screwed it up.

“Then what did you meant?” Loki demanded exasperated.

“I´m just trying to tell you how I feel, I …” He walked timidly towards his bed. “I … I just …” He raised his hand with the intention, no the need to touch Loki´s cheek but stopped himself a few centimeters away. “I miss you so much.”

Loki tried to grab Tony´s hand and lead it the rest of its way to his face but Tony quickly retrieved. He looked frustrated. “I’m sorry … I don´t know if I´m strong enough.”

His sweet gesture followed by his negative and indecision left Loki confused and hurt. He frowned thinking of Tony´s word when the hurt turned into anger. “And who would know Tony? Who would know if you love me enough to help me get through this?”

“I´m sorry.” Tony nodded his head in denial, he didn´t felt he could. “It´s just too hard.”

“Too hard?” Loki couldn´t believe he actually had said it. Out of anger he snatched Tony´s wrist and pulled him near so they would be facing each other. “Do you want to know what hard is? How about being raped by someone you used to love? Someone who knows you so well … someone that knows exactly where your breaking points are. Someone who knows exactly what to do to terrify you … how´s that for hard?”

“Loki!” Tony tried to wriggle his wrist out of Loki´s grasp scared.

“And you know what the worst part is? That the one person you clung on to survive through it; that one person you strived to survive for … that person can´t even look you in the eyes afterwards because … it hurts too much!” He snarled at him through clenched teeth allowing all the anger he felt inside to surface.

“Loki, stop!” Tony shrieked in panic.

His scream snapped Loki out of his thoughts. The pain in his eyes, the fear … Loki let go of Tony´s wrist as quickly as he had grabbed it shocked.

Tony nursed his injured wrist appalled; he had never seen Loki that angry. He wished he could´ve taken all back. “I´m sorry.” He pleaded anguished. “Please, I want to try …”

Loki looked at him with a heavy heart. “Try, Tony? No. I can´t handle you just trying. I need to know. No, I want to know if I can trust you to be at my side no matter what. I´m sorry, but trying it´s just not good enough anymore.”

“Loki …” Tony tried to convince him.

“No, don´t say anything. I want you to think this through. You need to realize if you love me enough for us to get through this.” He calmly said while looking at Tony with sorrowful eyes. “I want you to figure out what you really want; but do it quickly before I take the decision for you.”

“What do you mean?” Tony asked frightened by his sudden calmness.

“You have your own thinking to do, and so do I.” Was Loki only answer. “I´m tired now, I´d like you to leave.”

“But …” Tony felt reluctant to leave.

“I won´t do anything foolish if that´s what you are concerned about.” Loki informed him. “I already promised Steve I wouldn´t. Please leave.”

“If that´s what you want.” Tony agreed defeated. Maybe Loki was right; trying wasn´t good enough anymore. He deserved better; now he had to figure out if he could give him what he deserved.

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