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.