ebyru: (marvel bang 2012)
[personal profile] ebyru
Title: Ball and Chain (of Fools)
This is part 5 of 5
marvel_bang Masterpost HERE



Phil is a big help with the disobedient ‘children’ now that he’s come out of his shell. Steve can even concentrate on sketching again because he has time to himself. He stays nearby, always, to make sure they don’t pick on the serious agent, and also in case Thor and Hulk decide to have another extreme thumb war. (No one leaves the room unscathed when they do.)

Steve has a dozen unused sketchbooks in his room that he’s dying to get his hands on, so he doesn’t wait for something interesting to happen. He draws what’s already marked him. He draws moments in time, like snapshots, all from memory.

The way Natasha’s smile grew when she realized she could finally trust someone; Bruce’s skilled hands and the concentration on his features when he cooked for the entire team; Phil’s uninhibited moments of appreciation for a particularly good movie (usually animated); Thor’s quiet, wistful moments when he thought he wouldn’t be able to see his brother again; Clint’s happiness once he discovered family wasn’t only linked by blood; Tony’s obvious concern for the people he never expected to need around. All of it is important, and therefore worthy of being leaked onto sheets of paper. He doesn’t leave out the harder times – the experiences he sometimes wishes he could have rewound and erased – because struggle is also a part of life after all.

Life isn’t something that’s easy to cram into one sketchbook, so eventually Steve fills the dozen with all of the drawings he’s been dying to let out. Running out of paper to draw on doesn’t mean occupying the walls – as Tony unhelpfully suggests – but buying more sketchbooks to use.

---

While Steve is out doing just that, and most of the household is gone on personal errands, Loki sneaks around the tower.

Clint’s room is barren, clean, almost too clean. They say the people with the most secrets tend to hide them the best. Phil’s room isn’t much better, but his ‘fake’ collection of DVDs makes Loki chuckle since they all know he hides his real one – any and all Pixar and Disney films – behind.

Bruce lives in his lab basically, considering he brings back giant, scientific encyclopaedias with him as his nightly reading material. (Loki assumes that must be the case since they’re on his night table.)

Tony’s penthouse is as luxurious and grand as the man believes himself to be, but Loki finds the hidden area with the videos of Howard Stark, and spends some time watching them instead.

Thor, well, Loki shares his room so that’s uninteresting (and messy). And contains no human technology for Loki to tamper with either.

Natasha has strange Russian dolls that fit into each other, one slightly smaller than the next, spread all around her bedroom. Pepper is in her room, so Loki just smirks as he passes by, to create a sense of unease in her.

Steve’s room isn’t very strange or barren, or anything besides normal, save for the stack of books piled neatly to one corner. And those are strangely intriguing in their simplicity.

Loki hasn’t missed how often Steve’s been lost in his own world, scribbling away in these books, but he never thought he would be so talented. He’s captured details that even the most experienced fighter of Asgard would miss, things Loki hadn’t noticed despite having watched so much of the security footage Stark hoards. Most are of Steve’s teammates - fighting, eating, sleeping, and roughhousing like children – but one drawing captures Loki’s full attention.

Thor is enjoying a film, probably during their weekly movie nights, and Steve is squashed between him and Tony – who insists on holding Steve’s thigh – while Natasha and Pepper share popcorn further down on the couch. Phil is in the sofa on his own with Clint seated in front of his legs on the carpeted floor. And Bruce is in the kitchen preparing another batch of popcorn. Up until there, nothing is special, really. But Loki is next to Thor, his head tilted and leaned against his brother’s shoulder, with Thor’s hand petting through the dark locks gently as Loki sleeps.

Loki doesn’t remember that happening, having consciously tried to keep his distance, to keep contact as unfriendly as possible with Thor when he’s awake. But this, with the entire Avengers team around, and even the two who shouldn’t belong but somehow do, this makes Loki feel like he needs to stop fighting against what he’s been yearning for: belonging.

---

Steve returns to find Loki seated on his bed, still admiring that drawing, his fingers tracing it lightly. He doesn’t even look up at Steve when he murmurs, “Can I keep this one? I will make a copy if you insist on preserving the original.”

Brow furrowing, Steve leans over to see which one Loki’s referring to. “I wasn’t finished yet. Can you wait?”

“I don’t see what could be missing from it,” Loki replies quickly. He looks up to find the mighty Captain America looking somewhat bewildered by that statement.

“It’s…I didn’t add the colour in yet,” Steve admits. “I was going to make a larger version of it and frame it actually,” he says, tucking his hands in his pockets.

Loki blinks slowly, and grins up at Steve when he has to break eye contact. “How long will that take?”

Steve is absolutely adorable – in a mortal, illogically embarrassed kind of way – when he’s trying not to blush. It’s hard to resist trying to rouse that reaction all the time.

“At least a few weeks.” Steve shuffles his feet.

“Pity, but very well.” Loki stands, handing the Captain his sketch and patting his chest as he goes. “I will look forward to the finished product.” He winks, just to see Steve force his eyes away, no doubt fighting to keep his skin from becoming visibly red.

Steve falls onto his bed when Loki disappears. He stares up at the ceiling for a long time, minutes passing by in seconds. He can’t decide whether it’s more shocking that Loki found his drawings and liked them or that he didn’t say a single insulting comment. Steve continues to ponder that, gazing up at the ceiling, the conversation replaying over and over, until he hears Bruce call him down for supper.

Maybe there is hope yet for Loki to change his ways.

~*~*~

 

“I know your ways, brother,” Thor tries to say in a low voice. “You must not corrupt precious Captain of America. He is not like us. He is not like most creatures in fact. He is pure and innocent to a degree I thought only existed in tales for children.”

“Are you telling me what to do? Because, dear Thor, you know how well that works,” Loki replies, turning the page of his book soundlessly. “Besides, if I were scheming as you are so inclined to believe, how could I corrupt him if he is as untainted and innocent as you say?”

Thor frowns, tying the last of his armour in place. He picks up Mjolnir, pointing it at Loki. “Do not attempt it, Loki. He is needed on this planet. You know what would happen if you defied me.”

“Yes, yes.” Loki waves a hand dismissively, licking his index finger to turn the page. “I don’t much want to return to Asgard’s custody.” That would prevent him from continuously making Steve blush, wouldn’t it?

Thor grunts, giving Loki one last, stern look before shutting the door.

Loki sneaks a copy of Steve’s drawing out from in between the pages of his book – he may or may not have used his magic to ease his impatience - gazing at it with the same interest he had the first time. Too bad Thor can’t see the beauty in cerebral pastimes; he wouldn’t question Loki’s newfound fascination otherwise.

~*~*~

Steve is looking at the same drawing (the original) when Thor says they have matters to discuss.

“What’s up? You seem serious today.” Steve closes his sketchbook, putting it on his dresser.

Thor squeezes the handle of Mjolnir, looking at Steve like the world is crashing around him. “My brother is going to attempt something. And I think he may try to use your kindness as a downfall.”

Steve’s brow furrows; did he miss something? “What?”

Thor stalks towards Steve, a severe crease to his brow. “Loki is dangerous, Steven. For reasons that are still unclear, he has taken interest in you. I believe he will attempt to seduce you. I have yet to find out the logic, but you must be wary of my brother. It pains me to say such things of him, but I know it to be true. He has used my own caring for him against me before.”

Someone needs to invent an Asgardian-Earthian dictionary so Steve can translate these poetic speeches. It’s bad enough he doesn’t know the lingo from this decade. “So if I understood right, you think Loki is going to try and—”

“Bed you, yes.” Thor nods once, curt.

Really?” Steve doesn’t see how hatred can skip straight over to sex, but this world is certainly nothing else if unpredictable.

“You must believe me, Steven. I wish only for your safety.” Thor grabs Steve’s shoulder, peering into his eyes with a fierceness he reserves for battle.

“Okay,” Steve breathes out, overwhelmed, “I believe you.” But that doesn’t mean he thinks it will happen. Loki is many things, but interested in Steve would be the last to come to mind. “I’ll watch out for him,” Steve adds for emphasis.

It seems to do the trick because Thor’s fun-loving smile returns, and he dashes out with a skip to his step.

~*~*~

One day, Steve sees a commercial about a body spray that makes people want to rip their clothes off when they’re around you – Axe something or other; he’s not good with product names – and it reminds him of exactly what goes on for the following weeks after he spoke to Thor. Everyone except Loki seems to be throwing themselves at Steve with renewed vigor.

Worse yet? That isn’t even the weirdest part about it all.

It’s more or less Steve’s fault – probably. He felt bad for having become a recluse – in favour of drawing and pondering his recent sexual awakening – and not spending much time with his many roommates. And so he sought to correct that by visiting them, at random, like he had before an alien prisoner showed up.

~*~*~

Tony is obsessed with finishing what he started. Steve tries to explain that he just wants to hang out, and Tony pretends like he agrees, but then he leans in extra close to whisper things, he brings Steve to fancy restaurants he could never afford, and he offers to dress (and undress) Steve on numerous occasions. And none of that qualifies as ‘friendly’ behaviour in Steve’s book.

When at last Steve feels their friendship stabilizing again, Tony trails kisses down Steve’s neck during a movie. Steve isn’t exactly against where this is going, but he would have preferred not to take this course of action. He gets into it after a moment, but apparently Tony’s suits have a mind of their own because three of them start flying around at once.

It takes the two long enough to catch them that Tony falls asleep once his body settles back into the couch. Steve doesn’t wake him; this could be a sign after all.

Steve passes the least time in Phil’s presence, so he ends up in the kitchen with him one evening. The stove catches fire, completely inexplicably, while they try to cook their favourite dishes for each other. Three times. That’s the kind of happening you pay attention to. Or, that’s what Steve tells himself when he avoids the kitchen altogether for the next few days.

Luckily Bruce can still be found outside of his lab, but the reason is because he and sneaky Clint have taken a liking to each other. Romantically one could say. And who is Steve to come between a blossoming love between fellow teammates?  They end up in ten pages of his sketchbook because of it, though.

Natasha is without her other half, and seeks out Steve’s attention. He gives it gladly, wanting to know more about the fiery redhead with the ability to turn your blood to ice with a simple look. With that said, that expression tends to shift when in Steve’s presence to something of baser human need. Arousal.

She had made it perfectly clear what she expected and why, but sometimes Steve can’t connect the threads of his mind and body, and he ends up in situations he wishes he wouldn’t be in. Like the one he’s in now, in her room watching her strip out of her skin-tight leather. He’s human, no matter what anyone says, and he has desires like anyone else. But usually he’s able to keep them restrained.

In this case, however, she is very nearly in her birthday suit when a phone call from Fury comes in for her. She stomps out of the room in a bathrobe, expecting to return, but after an hour of waiting, Steve decides she most likely isn’t.

(It turned out to be a prank call – believe it or not – someone mimicked the man’s voice and had her fly in only to be told she was mistaken. Imagine the suffering her team had to endure when she was deprived of her needs.)

Going back to drawing, Steve sketches his extended family until he’s stumped with one of Pepper’s poses. He asks her if she can model for him, for one afternoon, and she frees up her schedule just for Steve.

The robe should have been a hint. The grin on her face should have been another. The knowledge that she used to date one Tony Stark should have set off fire alarms. In retrospect, it all should have been an obvious plan.

Pepper is naked and standing in the middle of Steve’s room, holding a bottle of champagne. And, before she can even open it, it…explodes in her hands. Steve could not have made that up if he tried, regardless of his vivid imagination.

Her schedule is magically filled up for the next month.

Thor is a nuisance to most of the Avengers, but a loveable one. To Steve he is a companion, a man of honour, and out of his depth just as Steve is. They are similar in the ways that matter, but that only makes their differences seem like errors of creation.

Steve isn’t as affectionate as he could be, as Thor is, but he’s slowly getting to that comfort level. In Thor’s world though, slow does not exist. And that’s one thing that sometimes pushes them apart.

It’s awkward enough to be visiting Thor in his bedroom, but now that Loki shares it, it’s the worst.

Steve feels the back of his head being burned through with a laser-strength glare that Thor insists is only in Steve’s imagination. Thor drags Steve in by his collar to prove some point – Steve lost track somewhere around Thor’s lips touching his own – and then Thor pulls away like he’s just touched the surface of the goddamn sun. The pain across the god’s face is so striking that Steve knows he’ll have nightmares about it while he’s awake. Loki laughs softly from where he’s seated cross-legged further back on the bed.

And that’s when all the pieces snap into place.

~*~*~

 

Steve waits until Loki is preparing a snack on movie night to confront him.

“Loki,” Steve says, taking in a deep breath before continuing. “Are you the one who’s been…” Steve grasps at straws. It’s not exactly interfering. Preventing their roommates from having sex with him? But that sounds ridiculous. There must be a better way to phrase it.

“—waiting for your finished piece? Yes.”  Loki puts a quarter of butter on a plate, putting it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt.  He looks at Steve when he sighs. “Is what I’ve said fallacious?”

“No. But that’s not what I was going to ask.” Steve crosses his arms, looking down at the kitchen tiles. “Have you been doing all those strange things around the tower?”

“Define strange. Our delineations can be quite dissimilar.” Loki turns away when the microwave pings. Steve can swear he sees a smirk on Loki’s face before he does.

“I don’t know if I bother you, or if anyone else does, but you can’t do things like that.” Steve tries for an authoritative tone that only ends up sounding petty to his ears. It’s not the easiest thing to scold a god when you’re only human. When you’ve fought them before.

“If I did not know better, I would think you were accusing me of being an obstruction to you,” Loki retorts. “And that seems unlike the Captain America I’ve heard so much about.” He narrows his eyes at Steve who stands his ground, arms still firmly pressed to his chest.

“I know you’re the one doing it. But I wish you’d at least admit you’re the one behind it all.” Steve sighs, rubbing his hands together. “I was just going to ask you why my relationship with everyone bothers you so much.”

Bothers me?” Loki snaps, tearing his gaze away from Steve’s questioning look. “This planet bothers me. This country bothers me.” He grips the side of the counter, angry with himself for letting this ignorant man get under his skin. “Your team of pests could not bother me even if they tried. You, however, are a thorn that I cannot remove from my side.”

Steve’s brow furrows. Loki’s words are tinged with sadness rather than the fury he’s trying to project. His sob in the next sentence only confirms this to Steve.

“I cannot bear witness to your happiness with others while I am banished to this vile world filled with nonsense creatures and insignificant worries.”

Loki swipes a hand underneath his eye, wiping away the warm tear he couldn’t stop. It’s been a long time since anyone has made him enraged to the point of tears. Thor is usually best at that.

Steve approaches Loki carefully, but the Trickster turns around, mask of lies replacing the vulnerability. He stops in his tracks, taking in the stony look Loki insists on wearing. But it’s too late; Steve’s seen the truth.

Steve leans in to murmur, just low enough for Loki to hear, “I’m sorry. I thought you didn’t care about us…any of us.” Obviously, Steve was wrong.

“I do not,” Loki states flatly. Lies don’t devastate you, they protect you. “I cannot stand to be in the presence of two lumbering fools, constantly cheerful and blind to everyone’s feelings.” He slaps Steve’s hand away when he tries to pat Loki’s shoulder. “Do not touch me, you heartless being. Your imperfections will only seep through.”

“I don’t understand, Loki. You’re mad because I’m happy? Because they can make me happy?” Steve watches Loki intently, worrying his lip, trying to understand.

“Why must I explain everything?!” Loki shouts, shoving Steve back until he’s against the counter. “Can you not see what pains me? If I am unworthy of your attention then tell me, don’t force me to watch as everyone else claims it.”

“But you hate me,” Steve mumbles, uncertain of the truth in that once Loki’s fingers wrap tighter around his arms.

Loki shakes his head, pushing away from Steve. “So be it.” He disappears from the kitchen, and from the tower altogether.

Steve is left wide-eyed, back pressing too hard against the counter, with blue prints on his wrists where Loki’s fingers were moments ago. How could Steve know Loki was jealous? He’s always hiding behind Thor, behind books, behind stinging words that keep people at bay.

It’s true that lately he’s been less verbally abusive, but Steve couldn’t treat Loki like the others even if he wanted to. He’s not the same; he hasn’t been around for a year. He’s the one who committed the crimes that brought them together in the first place. How could Loki expect to be taken in with open arms when there is so much history following him?

Thor may be able to accept Loki lovingly, but Steve Rogers needs time to forgive someone.

 

---

 

Loki is nowhere to be found that evening. If he were too far from Thor his bracelet would change to red, and he would be immediately transported to Thor’s side. That may not be the case, but he’s far enough that Thor spends the night locked in his bedroom, pacing.

Surprisingly, Thor isn’t the only one affected by Loki’s absence. They miss the mud in the pool, his cynical laugh, his snooty expression when they tease him about liking junk food, Thor’s racing around the house when they play a magic version of tag, his smirks and grins, his insults that they have to look up in dictionaries, and his otherworldly attire that sometimes puts Thor’s to shame.

The hardest part is trying to cheer Thor up after it’s been days since Loki disappeared.

(Steve didn’t tell the god of thunder that he’s certainly the cause; he would be fried before he even finished explaining.)

Instead, Steve offers him drawings he made of Loki, half his portion of food, and brings him on quite a few ice cream runs. After a week, Thor gains some weight, but he’s still not the same. He won’t be until he knows Loki is around, that he’s safe.

---

Between the time Loki fell from the bridge and returned to Earth, he picked up a few tricks. The most useful and used of these is the ability to open up a dimension between worlds where he can be alone with himself and his thoughts.

All it takes is a flick of his wrist and he transports to that spot, that sanctuary, he created when his mind was constantly in turmoil. That’s what he did when he couldn’t deal with naïve Steve Rogers any longer.

Loki is chewing on greasy french fries, making copies of Steve’s drawing he liked so much, and ruining each of them. Sometimes by fire, sometimes by acid, other times the old fashioned way – with his bare hands. There aren’t many people who can surprise Loki, but one person seems to be the exception.

A man with shoulder length brown hair drifts into Loki’s hiding place, wearing a helmet much like Loki’s. His armour shines, the cracks and dents of usage doing nothing to the elegance and regality of it. Loki isn’t too dumbstruck to recognize an important person when he sees one.

“Loki,” the stranger calls, his armour clinking with each step he takes. “Do you know who I am?”

Loki sighs, waving a hand to make his meal and mess of paper disappear. “Should I?”

“I suppose I have been on my quests for too long. I am Balder,” he answers.

Loki tilts his head; the name sounds familiar.

The stranger stops in front of Loki. “Balder Odinson.”

Loki blinks, his lips parting into an ‘o’. “Thor’s half-brother?” Loki and Thor aren’t related, so Balder isn’t their half-brother.

“I see they told you of me. I left when you were still too young to remember.” Balder replies, expressionless. He’s almost as severe as Heimdall, and it reminds Loki of dark times. “I am your external guardian. You have strayed too far outside your boundaries. Either respect the laws of our world or I will be forced to return you there myself.”

“Although I have yet to break any rules, I am being warned?” Loki scoffs, turning his back on Balder.

“Do not belittle the judgment that has been passed. You have committed grave crimes. You have only been saved because of your relation—”

“They are not my family!” Loki snaps, his natural blue colour suddenly returning in an instance. “And if you knew anything, Balder, you would know that.”

Balder doesn’t react, but observes Loki as though what he’s said is irrelevant. “Will I be returning you to the holding cell now?”

Loki curses their family under his breath. “I will go to Thor on my own.”

“Wise choice, Loki. You’ve always been the smartest of us,” Balder says before slipping back through to the place he came from.

Finishing up his fries, Loki calms himself before leaving the safety he longs to stay in forever.

---

Before going straight to the tower, Loki searches for the one who caused this situation, and finds Steve in an art store.

“I’ve returned,” Loki says dryly, brushing the end of a paintbrush against his palm. It’s surprisingly soft.

Steve’s frame jumps at the sudden appearance, and he drops the canvas he was inspecting. Thankfully Loki uses his magic to stop it from falling to the floor and ripping.

“Thank you.” Steve picks up the canvas and puts it away. He narrows his eyes at Loki, grabbing his shoulder. He knows he can’t actually keep Loki from escaping, but he can damn well try. “Thor is worried sick about you, we’re going back now.”

“No,” Loki replies simply. He teleports across the store, looking through watercolour and oil-based paints.

“What do you mean no? Why are you here then? So I can feel worse?” Steve rushes over to where Loki is standing; people are starting to take notice of the ex-villain and leader of the Avengers having a spat.

Loki sighs, putting down the paint set. “I wanted to apologize in private before I returned to my brother. He will be insufferable once I am within reach you realize, Captain.”

“Steve,” he says automatically. Loki quirks a brow. “My name is Steve right now.” He offers Loki a sincere smile.

Loki licks his lips, suddenly feeling parched in spite of the milkshake he just ingested. “Very well,” he starts, but Steve grabs one of his long sleeves, dragging him out of the store before he can continue.

Steve stops once they’re in front of the store. “I don’t want you to apologize to me. Tell Thor instead and I’ll forgive you.” Loki’s eyebrows shoot up, and Steve laughs embarrassedly. “I feel bad enough not telling him it’s my fault you left.”

Loki shifts away, eyeing Steve in disbelief. Forgiveness? So soon? Can anyone be this good? “But I wanted to—”

“Save it for Thor,” Steve interjects, clasping Loki on the shoulder. Loki looks down at the foreign hand, feeling the same warmth Thor’s touch usually brings him.  “Can we go back now?” Steve glances at his watch to avoid Loki’s incessant stare.

“As you wish.” Loki snaps his fingers and they return to the tower.

Thor must have smelled his brother or something because he is jumping over furniture and rushing over to him, crushing Loki against him in a brutal hug. Steve slips away in the commotion, and doesn’t speak to anyone for the rest of the evening. (Except Bruce when he pleads for Steve to try his new recipe.)

Steve can’t sleep that night, and he has a feeling Loki is restless as well.

~*~*~

 

Tony is something else.

The other people living in the tower – that includes pesky, sleazy Clint – give Steve the space he requires to settle back into living with the god of mischief (and their awkward relationship). If Thor notices the two acting weird around each other, he’s too busy doting on his brother to pay it mind.

But Tony…he is definitely something else. That’s no doubt why Steve likes having him as a close friend, but sometimes he’s a bit trying of people’s patience.

They end up on the balcony of Tony’s penthouse after a few drinks Tony insisted Steve have (even if the effect is lost on him), and Steve enjoys the view. There’s a beautiful, navy blue sky over them, the city lights replace the stars Steve can’t see up above, and the air is warm and nice. He keeps this in his mind for later, when he can have a moment to draw once again.

“Why don’t you lie back, Cap? You can almost see stars if you do,” Tony slurs, pouring himself more scotch.

Steve decides that he likes that advice, and so he lies back, resting on his folded arms. There are tiny, sparkling dots peppered throughout the canvas of blue, but the view is obstructed when suddenly Tony is hovering over him, blowing heat and the scent of alcohol on Steve’s face.

“What are you—”

Tony presses in the rest of the way, cupping Steve’s face while he kisses him with the obvious intent of someone who wants to get laid – and fast. Steve mumbles protests against the kiss, but Tony is having none of it, draping himself more on top of Steve to silence him. Steve holds on to Tony’s back after a beat, stroking gently, decided on taking things as they come.

Can you not see what pains me?

Loki’s voice bounces in each corner of Steve’s mind when he tries to enjoy the moment.

I can’t stand to be in the presence of two lumbering fools, constantly cheerful and blind to everyone’s feelings.

Tony’s tongue swirls playfully, his hand fisting in Steve’s hair, unaware of the thoughts filling Steve’s mind. Loki couldn’t have meant those things. He lies. He always lies. That’s what he’s known for. Steve rolls them over, kissing Tony back with a bit more zest.

If I am unworthy of your attention then tell me, don’t force me to watch as everyone else claims it.

Steve pulls away, face flushed, and breathing heavier than he has in months. It’s not the kiss, it’s the discovery. Loki wants this – what he’s been doing for months, trying to find the right match – and he wants it only with Steve.

“I have to go,” Steve mutters, running off before Tony can convince him to spend the night. What are friends for if not understanding?

---

Loki is in the living room, plagued by insomnia again, but for another reason this time.

He didn’t think Earth had anything to offer, no matter how often Thor praised the humans and their creations. They seemed like children, infants, too young in their history to be taken seriously. But Steve, the man who is out of his depth, a stranger to the world he was born of, somehow Loki can relate to him.

Newspapers and websites don’t speak of the man behind Captain America, so Loki thought he didn’t exist. How mad must a Frost Giant traitor, an Asgardian adoptee, be to fall for the man who could arguably have anyone he chose to pursue? Loki does not appreciate celebrity or fame; family and recognition have been his values of choice. And when they could not be attained, revenge would have had to suffice.

Unbelievably though, Steve has shown Loki the strength of family – related or not by blood – and how having one important person recognize your worth could be fulfilling enough to last your existence. Sadly, Steve’s one person was far in the past now. And, selfishly, because no one has spoiled Loki or even tried to, he believed himself worthy of filling that gap in Steve’s life. He wanted to be a reason for Steve to wake in the morning.

How wrong he was.

---

Steve sits next to Loki on the couch, hair disheveled and shirt twisted and wrinkled, but otherwise wearing his usual serious expression. Loki glances at him momentarily, then away to the television, trying not to imagine what could have caused this state. It’s not his place to be jealous; he is nothing to Steve and his tricks will only amount to a more difficult living situation. It’s torture enough to have to spend the next thousand years by Thor’s side, day and night.

“Hey,” Steve whispers, crossing and uncrossing his legs. He fiddles with his shirt collar afterward, waiting impatiently for Loki to respond.

“Evening,” Loki murmurs, watching Steve from the corner of his eye. Steve hasn’t been able to stop fidgeting for a moment. “Have you insects in your trousers?”

“What? Oh, no. Just—” Steve scratches his cheek nervously. “—can we talk?”

“I believe we already are,” Loki replies smoothly, a small curl to his lips. Steve is still as adorable as ever.

“Right. Well, tell me if I got this wrong but you – you seem to like me.” Steve swallows, eyes darting over to Loki then back to his hands, wringing them together. “Am I wrong?”

Loki considers lying; it’s never failed in the past. It’s also never brought him much happiness, if his current predicament is any indication. Steve looks about ready to scrape off his own skin when Loki mutters, “That is correct.”

Steve’s mouth falls open. He suspected this may the reason they’d become so unfriendly, but he didn’t actually believe its truth – until this moment. “Really?”

“Why do you have so little faith in yourself and so much in others?” Loki replies, avoiding the question in ways only he can.

“I don’t see myself the way people on the outside do,” Steve says, running a hand though his hair to smooth it back. “But you really – you like me? You? A god?”

Loki shuts off the television, sighing. Incredulity is only appealing for so long. Loki faces Steve, green eyes trying to convey his genuine feelings for the first time in his life. Steve’s blue eyes search Loki’s visage for hints of a lie, a trick, and finds nothing but apprehension. Steve smiles approvingly, and it hurts as much as it heals Loki.

Then Loki is shifting closer, pulling Steve in for a kiss that they’ve both been waiting a lifetime for. Steve wraps his fingers around Loki’s neck, stroking his nape as Loki ventures in, tilting his head to deepen the kiss, and allow Steve’s tongue access. The moan that one of them makes (or both perhaps) startles them out of dreamland, and Loki moves away first, straightening his clothes and hair.

“Has my answer appeased your disbelief?” Loki says, voice low and filled with promises his words can’t hide.

“Yes. But I just want to know one thing.” Steve reaches for Loki’s hand, lacing their fingers together. “Is this serious? You only want to be with me? Or will you be with others, too?” This time, Steve doesn’t think he wants to share.

“I don’t appreciate the insinuation, but I will allow it this time.” Loki grins when Steve frowns at the pseudo-threat. “I am teasing as you would say. My interest lies solely in you, and I expect you to offer me the same.”

“Of course.” Steve squeezes Loki’s hand gently. “I’m an old man inside, you know. I just preserved well.”

Loki brings Steve’s hand up to his mouth, kissing the back softly. “In that case we are the same.” His skin turns to blue, and Steve watches in awe as a creature that is already so exceptional becomes even more so.

“Beautiful,” Steve mumbles without meaning to. Why would a man want to be called beautiful? “I mean - uh –”

“No, that is,” Loki hums, slowly switching back to pale skin, “pleasing. I’ve never been complimented on my natural form before.”

“I don’t see why not.” Steve smiles, a hint of red crawling across his cheeks.

Loki could write a thesis on ‘why not’, but it would ruin the moment. “Yes, well. I am glad you feel that way.”

And that’s it.

As easily as that, Steve and Loki fall asleep wrapped together in a blanket on the couch. The fire of that passionate kiss was enough to soothe the desire in both men, their insomnia merely a thing of the past.

But Steve gets the feeling they forgot something…

---

“What have you done?” Thor bellows loud enough to make the frames on the walls shake.

Steve’s eyes snap open, and then he remembers who he’s currently cuddled with on the couch. Loki peers at Steve, seemingly just as sleepy and unsure as Steve is. They can’t tell which of them he’s yelling at (more).

“Loki,” Thor continues. “Have you forgotten what we discussed? You have taken advantage of him, have you not?”

Loki sighs, burying his head in the place where Steve’s neck and shoulders connect to calm himself. He breathes in the scent he looks forward to learning intimately before biting down. Steve yelps, and Thor glares at the head of hair with no visible eyes.

He is the one who has offered me the pleasure of his company, Thor,” Loki corrects. Thor’s eyes dart to his leader’s face, eyeing him warily.

Steve rubs at his neck, looking anywhere but at Thor’s face. He is going to get murdered any second now, isn’t he? Loki laughs, face tucked too close to Steve’s skin for anyone but Steve to hear it.

Steve clears his throat. “Thor, I – I meant to tell—”

Thor is coming closer, and Steve is considering jumping over the back of the couch and running away to avoid a thundergod-style execution, but Loki is still laughing. That’s a good sign, right?

“We have already shared a kiss,” Loki adds, delighted.

Thor roars, and Steve’s face blanches at the monstrous sound. The hand reaching out must be to choke the life out of him—

Thor ruffles Steve’s bedhead. “Steven! How I am proud of you. You’ve succeeded where I have failed countless times. Loki indeed seems like a changed man.”

Thor looks over at Loki with a softened expression, a smile small enough to be missed. He cups Loki’s face, and nods, walking away with a spring in his step.

“I must share this fine news with the people who inhabit our home!”

Steve grumbles, and Loki giggles, kissing Steve’s neck where he’d bitten. “You see? You’re still among the living. He has not called for Mjolnir yet.”

Yet?” Steve croaks, going cross-eyed when he tries to look down into green eyes.

Loki smirks, untangling himself from Steve, and sauntering away to follow his brother.

“What do you mean yet?” Steve calls after the Trickster. A bowl of fresh fruit appears next to him on the couch where Loki was seated. The apple has the word ‘yet’ carved into it.

Steve’s head falls back against the couch as he bemoans his previous outcast state, wondering if he’s going to regret dating Loki for the rest of his life.

~*~*~

There are a lot of inappropriate comments and questions at first (mostly from Clint).

Clint, and secretly Natasha, are curious about Frost Giants. What does he taste like?

Does he change into a girl so it’s easier to have sex? Clint, again, curious, but this time about Loki specifically.

Phil making sure his idol is well taken care of.  Does he ever compliment you?

Is this why he disappeared for a week? Bruce, ever the perceptive scientist.

Were humans and Asgardians not good enough for Captain America? Tony, of course feeling rejected, using guilt and humour.

And the insanity continued for many more days until Thor threatened to eradicate the next person to utter a question involving ‘Loki and Steven’s destined joining’.

Loki still spends most of his time in Thor’s room or in common areas, but at night he creeps into Steve’s room, and they share his queen size bed. It’s the only way they’ve found to ensure they get eight, uninterrupted hours of sleep.

Sometimes Loki can’t sleep until he asks Steve what he feels, if he misses being with the members, if they were better company. It was different with each of them, but it wasn’t better. And even if Steve wanted to go back to that strange game of musical rooms he was playing, they’ve moved on.

Clint and Natasha start dealing with their sexual tension, and it makes for many noise-filled evenings in the tower. How two people can break a bed once per week will never make sense to Steve. Even Thor doesn’t manage that.

Tony convinces Bruce that sex won’t make him Hulk out, and then proceeds to scream for help when it actually does (that one time). Nothing keeps Tony from good sex though; he installs an emergency button that alerts the team of his imminent demise, and brings it with him every time they have sex – just to be safe.

Thor takes affection where he can get it (now that the two he’d take it from are involved). Phil seems to like the big, manly types, and Thor…takes where he can get. They end up in the same bed a lot, but no one asks if they’re getting serious because it doesn’t matter either way.

Pepper is all over the place, sometimes with Natasha and Clint, other times with Thor and Phil, but unfortunately never back with Tony unless she’s drunk.  Mostly she’s too busy being the best CEO in the world to have sex in the Avengers tower. (There are rumours about her and a certain god’s half-brother though.)

And when any of them need a bit of variety, they have no qualms with exchanging partners once in a while.

The strangest part of all these couples, the swapping, and family meetings in between crime fighting is that it makes sense to them.

And another oddity? The fact that Steve and Loki haven’t had sex yet. The team seems to be waiting for them to, so they can eavesdrop (and possibly film it), and it’s only making Steve push it further and further down on his list of things to do with Loki.

The drawing that brought them together in the first place is finally completed, and hanging in Steve’s bedroom where Loki admires it every night before curling up and snoring softly. Maybe they don’t need to move quickly; they can just kiss and sleep in the same bed.

That could work, right? Loki is an understanding guy…sometimes.

~*~*~

Steve kisses Loki’s forehead when he wakes up one morning. Loki hums, shifting impossibly closer, his hips moving in slow circles against Steve’s thigh. Steve blinks the sleep from his eyes, trying to focus enough to see if Loki is awake or doing it in his sleep.

“Steve,” Loki breathes, batting his eyes in a feline manner.

Steve stretches, lifting the blanket to see what his mischief maker is up to. Loki nudges a leg between Steve’s thighs, continuing to roll his hips against Steve’s hip until he feels Loki hardening. Steve sucks in a breath – anxious, nervous and excited all at once – when Loki rolls his body on top of Steve’s, holding his face in his hands.

“I have been patient long enough,” Loki explains, grinding harder now, each movement making Steve’s length have to follow along Loki’s path. “You are going to give me this because I know you crave it as well.”

Steve moans, trying to slip out from under Loki – that sound is probably enough for ten ears to already be glued to the door – but Loki continues to pin him easily, with a little help from his magic. Loki grins, scraping down Steve’s chest as he claims his mouth, tongue lapping hungrily over swelling lips.

“Loki,” Steve pleads, but the rest turns into sporadic breathing patterns when Loki dips his hand in Steve’s boxers, stroking him to full hardness.

“You were saying?”

He can’t just give in. “Loki, we can’t—”

“I beg to differ. We will, in fact,” Loki chides, gripping Steve’s erection tighter on each up stroke.

Steve bucks into Loki’s hand, gasping when long fingers press into the slit at the head of his cock. “I don’t - I don’t want to--”

“Use your words, darling,” Loki teases, sealing his lips over Steve’s, and concealing Steve’s cries with some of his own.

Loki’s magic fades, and Steve shifts away to say, “I don’t want them to hear, Loki.”

“Is that what you have been concerned about?” Loki chuckles, relieved. “I thought you were afraid I could not satisfy you.”

“Of course not,” Steve pants out. Loki’s fingers continue stroking, but with less urgency.

Pressing a kiss to Steve’s brow, Loki slides his fingers away, parting his lips and swirling his tongue around his digits obscenely. “Well, I have just the solution for our predicament then.”

They appear somewhere else, in a bigger bed with fancier blankets and softer pillows, but in the same position.

“Better?” Loki smirks, throwing the blanket over his head, sliding down Steve’s body.

A tongue traces the head of Steve’s cock, around and around, and Steve’s brain feels like it’s going to slowly ooze out through his ears. And he can’t even see Loki. Or maybe that would be worse. But it’s not fair anyhow that he’s so good at – whatever he’s doing.

“Wait – wait – where are we?” Steve manages after many painful breaths, drawing the blanket down enough to at least see hair.

Loki hums, lips stretching around the head of Steve’s cock, tongue darting out to collect pre-come. Steve mewls, abandoning the blanket in favour of gripping Loki’s hair, patting it in an attempt to distract himself from bursting at the seams.

“We are in not place they could hear us,” Loki mumbles, slurping along Steve’s cock messily, saliva trailing down his mouth. Steve reaches out to wipe it and Loki sucks Steve’s fingers instead. “You are going to enter me, Steve. I have been prepared since last night.”

Steve bites his lip, each pad of his fingers wet and sensitive. “When you say prepared…”

“I have inserted an item of considerable girth, Steve. Do not disappoint,” Loki explains, smirking when Steve’s face reddens in record time.

“I’ll t-try,” Steve fumbles out. He sits up, bringing Loki in to sit in his lap. “Did you really put something—”

Loki guides Steve’s fingers down to his boxers, slipping in the back right against his entrance filled with a rubber object. Steve mouths at Loki’s shoulder, shivering when Loki forces him to push it in further. Loki throws his head back, crying out when Steve eases it out and then in a moment later.

“Can you get on with it now?” Loki urges, hair falling in his eyes when he gnaws at Steve’s throat.

Steve pushes Loki’s bangs away, holding him just below his mouth, thumbs resting on his chin. “How do you want to do it?”

It’s insanely hot for a submissive man to finally take control, Loki decides. “Like this. I cannot bear to wait.” Loki puts his hands on Steve’s shoulders, standing with trembling legs. “Take them off. Now.”

Sliding off Loki’s boxers, Steve lifts his hips to strip off his own while Loki kicks the blanket into…nothingness. It just disappears. Steve is distracted by the, well, magic of it all, and Loki uses that to shove Steve back against the headboard.

“Remove it for me,” Loki orders, spreading his thighs. “Slowly, if you are able.”

“Okay,” Steve mutters. He doesn’t follow the lines of pale skin like he wants to; he knows how angry Loki will be if he isn’t obeyed immediately. He spreads Loki’s ass, holding the object with two fingers as he gently drags it out.

“Ah. Keep going,” Loki encourages. His nails dig into Steve’s shoulders as he pulls it out completely. “I don’t need lubricant, thankfully,” Loki jokes. “I hope you appreciate all the work I’ve done.”

“Yes,” Steve answers. “I always am.”

“Emotional during intercourse, are we?” Loki smirks, lining himself up with Steve’s cock. “Let us see if I can’t adjust that.”

He lowers his hips little by little, leaving a cluster of bruises in Steve’s skin where he’s digging in deep, fighting to not sit down faster. Steve holds Loki’s hips, tracing the bones there gently, pressing soft kisses to Loki’s bare chest. Loki’s face contorts with the need to just be filled.

“Does it hurt?” Steve asks, worrying more because he isn’t in control.

Loki looks at Steve through lowered lashes, smirking. “Not until tomorrow.”

Loki sensually drops his hips all the way down, impaling himself harshly. Steve holds in a swear word, biting his lip so hard he tastes metal on his tongue. He squeezes Loki’s hips, concentrating on the tightness around his cock, on the weight of the man in his lap, on what this means.

“This is,” Steve begins, his hips jolting up without his consent, forcing Loki to wind himself around Steve not to be bucked off.

After nipping Steve’s ear for being a naughty mortal, Loki finishes for him, “Amazing. I agree.”  He gasps with each thrust, meeting them with a grind of his hips so rough it leaves him feeling raw and achy down to the soles of his feet. He’s definitely going to hurt tomorrow, but Steve is more than worth it.

“Faster,” Loki pants, running his fingers through Steve’s hair, their chests pressed together and rubbing with each uncoordinated, powerful thrust.

Steve moves his hands down to Loki’s ass, spreading him wider to slip in and out just how he wants. Then he finally finds his rhythm, and Loki is thanking the heavens his lover is a fast learner because Steve’s hitting something inside him that makes him want to weep with joy.

“Is it good?” Steve asks. Loki cries out, nodding.

Forget words when Steve is thrusting in harder, his cock opening Loki up, sliding in and out slicker with each desperate stutter of his hips. Loki wraps his palm around his cock, tugging it at the maddening pace Steve’s set. The rough slapping sounds Loki’s ass makes when it lands in Steve’s lap is enough to make Steve come, but he wants to share this with his lover.

“Close,” Steve grinds out, fucking into Loki mercilessly, banging against Loki’s prostate on each try. Loki hides his face in Steve’s neck, sinking his teeth into Steve’s flesh when he finally comes with a startling shout. It drips over Loki’s knuckles, sticking to their stomachs as well. Steve lets himself release when he feels the clench inside Loki. He pushes in deep one last time, and stays there. Steve’s body shakes as he tumbles from the ladder he’s been steadily climbing, Loki clinging to him with similarly trembling limbs.

Steve leans back against the headboard, his eyes falling shut with the excitement of it all. Loki purrs, leaning into Steve’s strong hold, floating back down to earth while Steve pets his hair.

“When are we repeating this experience?” Loki utters, grinning against Steve’s shoulder. Steve looks at Loki, incredulous. Loki rolls his eyes and strokes Steve’s cheek, following the shape of his cheekbones and chin. “I did not mean today.”

Steve laughs, kissing the end of Loki’s nose. “Whenever you want.”

Loki quirks a brow; Steve doesn’t actually mean that. He can’t be serious.

Steve watches Loki happily, his eyes drooping with sleep. He smiles, grateful to have someone like Loki to keep him entertained. Loki chuckles when he sees the romantic side of Steve returning.

Steve clearly does mean what he said, and Loki settles in against Steve’s chest, not sure he can ever move if this is what it’s going to feel like each time.

Circumstances, however, always get in the way.

“Loki,” Balder says, unamused.

Steve gasps, reaching for something to cover them, and Loki frowns at Balder standing in his armour. Thor’s irritating brother is ruining his post-coital bliss with his precious mortal.

“I thought we agreed,” Balder continues, stern and unaffected by their nudity.

“This is Steve. He and I are intimate,” Loki explains, trying to avoid the scolding he’s about to receive. Steve hides behind his hands.

“I saw,” Balder deadpans, unimpressed

Steve whimpers. Maybe it would have been better to just stay in the tower where Steve knows the people who watch him have sex.




-End!
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