“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”