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So, I’m guessing you want to know how he ended up like this, right? Goosebump cold with an even colder friend and borderline murderously glaring as Thor Skywalker and Steve Motherfucking Rogers humiliate Anna Marie Darkhölme and her supposed boyfriend Remy LeBeau (who is known to be visually impaired). You do?

It’s an interesting story.

He gets home around eight-fifteen to find Thor, Sif, and Fandral downright booking it to get out the door. Normally, that kind of thing would have Loki doing somersaults in his happiness, and can you blame him? His blockhead brother and his dreadful friends are going out instead of coming in for once. That’s a wonderful phenomenon, is it not?

The thing that stops him from thinking so is the expressions they carry. Loki has seen those looks way too many times in the past, always on the faces of Thor and whatever friends he had and never on his own in the mirror. They’re excited, determined, anticipatory guises. Loki wants to know why Thor, Sif, and Fandral are wearing them so flawlessly (and don’t they wear everything that way?).

“Where are you going?” he asks in a carefully nonchalant voice, dropping his backpack onto the sofa. Everything about him oozes the perfect amount of indifference and coolness, and it feels good to be so smooth instead of flustered, so collected instead of crumbling.

Thor looks up from where he’s extremely sloppily and hurriedly lacing his boots, blinking like he had no idea that Loki possessed the ability of speech or something (oh, how surprising). And then, just because everything will stop working correctly and buildings will burn and children will die if he doesn’t, he takes a million years to formulate an answer. Loki does a pretty good job of concealing his irritation during this epoch.

“Steve’s throwing a homecoming party,” Thor finally says with a wide grin, finishing tying up one foot and moving on to the other, “It’s gonna be fucking awesome.

“Watch, it sucks because you said that. Thanks, Thor,” Fandral puts in, shrugging on his corduroy jacket (Which is kind of stupid; it’s in the middle of September, so the weather should be warm enough, right? Right.). He glances at Loki, and the man averts his gaze before Fandral can wink or smirk or check him out or whatever the hell else he might do. Jesus Christ.

“Shut your friggin’ mouth,” Thor retorts, but there’s not much heat in it, “Wait until we actually get there. The whole student body is gonna be crammed into that house.”

“Like toothpaste,” Sif muses, standing somewhat impatiently by the door. She has her hands on her hips and her foot keeps bouncing up and down on the floor in this irritating, Get a fucking move on rhythm. It vaguely reminds Loki of his mother, but only because of the sternness in which Sif is behaving. Actually, it’s pretty fucking annoying when Sif’s the one doing it.

“Like toothpaste!” Thor repeats, getting to his feet. He’s got this almost childishly ecstatic expression on his face, like he’s fixing to go to Disneyworld instead of Steve Rogers’ house, and it occurs to Loki that Thor really fucking loves his friends, loves people.

Or he just likes to party a hell of a lot. Same difference, right?

Loki is moving to go down the hallway when Thor’s giant hand on his shoulder stops him. He trains a hybrid disinterested/tired look on his brother, asks, “What?”

“Don’t you wanna come with us?” Thor asks, a note of unusual urgency in his voice. He says it like he expected Loki to be on his knees begging to come with them and be cool and get wasted and grovel to Steve like everyone else does.

Uhm, no.

But something inside of Loki does want to go. Not to bow down under Rogers or to get entirely too intoxicated (while Loki will admit that getting drunk is fun to do, he really only likes doing it by himself or with Tony and/or Frigga). He wants to actually and actively be part of the same thing Thor is, and the naïve part of him is screaming YESYESYES to the notion. The reason said part of him is considered naïve is because common sense says shit like that doesn’t work out in party settings with Steve Rogers and Clint Barton and Bruce Banner and Logan Howlett and a plethora of pretty, popular people who all love Thor and couldn’t give two shits about Loki.

 

So Loki is standing there having this debate with himself, trying to weigh the pros and cons of going and staying, and Thor is looking at him so earnestly and his hand feels really warm and shit. It’s practically impossible to think like this.

“Aww, come on, kitten!” Fandral breaks Loki’s already jumbled train of thought with his rather rude but incredibly persuasive tone (what the fuck gives, man?), “It’s a Friday! You can have fun every once and awhile.”

The worst (and best) part about this is that Fandral actually has a point. Who’d have thought it?

Thor smiles rascally, catching Loki’s attention. “He’s right, brother,” he agrees with his stupid Loki listen to me I’m your brother and I’m always right because I’m older voice, “When’s the last time you went to a party, huh?”

Probably their father’s last year. But Thor most likely doesn’t mean that kind of party, and honestly? It was one of the worst events Loki has ever experienced in his life, simply because the party was practically Thor’s as well (Hey everyone, come look at and be in awe of my perfect son Thor!).

Thor mistakes Loki’s silence for faulty memory, not displeasure, and says, “Exactly. Come with us, man.” He squeezes Loki’s shoulder hard enough to bruise (Loki only expresses his pain with a wince), grinning enticingly.

At this point? Loki really doesn’t even care. If things go horribly, Tony will most likely be somewhere in the massive sea of people. If they don’t? Well, then. Loki finally has a reason to smile, right?

So he says yes, and then Thor, Sif, and Fandral are dragging him out the door and shoving him in the back of Thor’s Hummer before he can even think about changing his mind (and that’s impressive, because Loki can change his mind pretty damn quickly).

“I knew you’d bite,” Fandral is teasing him as Thor speeds at about sixty miles an hour (which is way too fucking fast, Thor) to the party. And this situation is very uncomfortable and wrong-feeling all of a sudden for a number of reasons:


  1. Loki’s in the backseat with Fandral. With Fandral. Fandral. And remember that Fandral has made it his life’s mission to molest Loki once or twice. Yep.

  2. Thor is driving a billion miles over the speed limit. Did I mention that already?

  3. Let’s get even more illegal and dangerous. Sif is practically sitting in the motherfucking center console, whispering God knows what in Thor’s ear (though it’s probably something he likes, because he keeps laughing and Loki keeps wanting to vomit).

  4. The most horrible (like, nauseating, vulgar, makes-your-ears-bleed horrible) music is blasting from Thor’s speakers at a deafening volume. It’s that mainstream, piece-of-crap, terribly autotuned and soaked in effects bullshit that Loki cannot stand. Thor’s death metal is better than this.

  5. He’s going to a party with Thor.

  6. He’s going to a party with Thor.

  7. He’s doing something with Thor.

  8. He’s in a car being driven by Thor (which still triggers feelings of panic inside him).


  9. He’s going to a party with Thor.

Loki is almost shaking (and I’m being totally serious, here; this is not an exaggeration) when Thor haphazardly parks on the curb of the street. When he glances out of the window, he almost throws up because oh my God, would you look at all the people? They’re practically spilling out of the house. Like toothpaste.

(Fun fact: Loki doesn’t like people. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before and it might be a little blatantly obvious, but it’s pretty damn important to note that he really does not fucking like people. Crowds make him nervous and tense like you wouldn’t believe. Everything goes downhill once he’s around more than twenty human beings and he’s not in class or at work. And there are definitely more than twenty people outside of the house. Just outside. Just in the front yard. All in all, you’ve pretty much fucked yourself for the night, dear Loki.)

Fandral and Thor let out these animalistic whoops as they get out of the car, slamming the doors utterly too hard in their excitement. Sif removes herself a lot more civilly, and when Loki steps out of the Jeep, he feels like he’s going to crumple to the ground and just die right there on the sidewalk.

And then Thor is slinging his arm around Loki’s shoulders from his right side, Fandral doing the same from his left while Sif slides into Thor’s free arm (this sucks too fucking much because Loki is so much slimmer than Thor and Fandral, which means he’s being crushed), and his brother is practically screaming, “Welcome to the time of your lives, my friends!”

Yeah, Thor. You go ahead and think that.

Loki almost trips when Thor and Fandral start walking (a warning would be nice, thanks), and the only thing that keeps him from falling and busting his goddamn face is Fandral’s arm, which wraps rather unwelcomely around his waist.

“Clumsy, much?” Fandral goads as he rests his hand in an almost too obviously suggestive way on his hip, and no, Loki is not clumsy, bitch (he really isn’t, even though he’s been doing a lot of nearly-to-all out falling lately). Loki’s skin crawls unpleasantly at the contact, but he can’t move away since he’s sandwiched so tightly between Thor and his harasser. Fun stuff, right?

Loki grits his teeth as they approach the house, taking in the front yard and internally freaking the fuck out at the sight. Holy shit.

There’s about twenty people standing outside around a fucking Johnny Bravo fun jump, with maybe ten more inside the thing. Some of them are just standing around in little groups, talking and laughing. Others are chasing each other around, juggling Dixie cups of alcohol and playing with the way the strobe lights make everything slow down. The party only started thirty minutes ago and people are already extraordinarily drunk.

As soon as they’re close enough to the door, Thor lets go of Loki and Sif and pushes himself to the front, and Loki just can’t not roll his eyes. He does it partially because Fandral’s arm tightens around him, and holy fuck can you let him go?, but mostly because he knows Thor is doing this to inflate his own massive ego, because he needs to enter first so everybody can see him and love him and want him first.

And sure enough, as soon as he walks in, there’s this collective scream from a throng of girls around the door (cheerleaders, ugh), and people left and right are looking up with these knowing grins, like they telepathically all know Hot damn, Thor’s here!. Fandral laughs. Loki sighs.

“Thor!” some chick cries, and when Loki turns to look, Emma Frost is launching herself at his brother, slinging her long arms around his neck and wetly kissing his cheek in a far too forward fashion. Thor smirks like he actually deserves her attention, but he doesn’t know her, and she doesn’t know him. He’s just a linebacker and she’s just a cheerleader – a cheerleader wearing the skimpiest fucking tank top ever and a belt. I say ‘belt’ because ‘skirt’ is too generous.

Two more girls come running to meet Thor and Emma, and shit. Fandral, Loki, and Sif are still crowded all up in the doorway because Thor won’t get the fuck out of the way.

“Steve was worried you weren’t going to make it,” Wanda loudly informs him, sipping heavily from her Dixie cup. Her more serious companion twines her arm with Thor’s and tugs, already pulling him into the thick crowd of people.

“He’s in the kitchen,” Natasha practically yells over the blaring music (which is just as horrible as the shit in the car) when Thor gives her a quizzical look. She’s actually kind of scary for a cheerleader.

Thor doesn’t seem to mind too much, though, and he glances back at his friends, ordering, “Come on, guys. Time’s a-wasting.” as Emma takes his other arm and steers him as well. Le sigh.

Fandral starts moving immediately and goddammit, Loki almost falls again. As he steadies himself with a grumble, he glances back at Sif, who hasn’t budged from where she’s standing in the doorway. Her eyes are hard and trained on Thor’s wall of a back, watching the hefty man being pulled into the mob.

Loki takes advantage of his natural agility and bends out of Fandral’s grasp, ignoring the man’s whine of protest and moving closer to Sif. He doesn’t know why he suddenly cares so much, but he does, and Loki hasn’t made a habit of questioning his emotions (even when they drive him nuts and make no sense).

“Sif?” he asks, brows furrowing when she finally looks at him, “Are you okay?”

Sif’s jaw clenches and her eyes turn to stone, and then she’s pushing past Loki to move into the crowd in the opposite direction of Thor, Emma, and Natasha.

Well, you’re welcome, bitch.

To be fair, Loki knows he’s done the same thing to a whole lot of people in his lifetime. He’s done it to Frigga, to Thor, to Odin, to Tony. People trying to reach out and touch him and hold him and coddle him and say Everything’s going to be alright, I’m here to help you just won’t roll with him. But that doesn’t mean he can’t get pissed off because Sif so rudely rejected his concern, especially when he’s definitely not the type to hold hands and kiss foreheads. Fuck that shit.

Loki lets Fandral grab his hand and drag him through the throng of people after Thor, biting back a jolt of anger. He doesn’t like it that he’s touching Fandral. He doesn’t like how everybody around him is constantly shifting, propelling him forward simply with the rhythm in which their bodies move. He doesn’t like this feeling of violation and weird betrayal, even though Sif really isn’t his friend. But let’s not forget about what Thor’s doing, too.

When they finally end up in the kitchen (which is thankfully much more vacant and ridiculously huge, like everything in Steve’s house), Fandral fortunately lets go of Loki’s hand. Loki stuffs the appendage in the steel-gray pocket of his jeans and leans solitarily in the doorway, watching as Steve looks up from the woman he’s talking to (Loki thinks she’s Jean Grey simply because of her fiery hair, but he can’t be sure) and grins upon seeing his brother.

Thor!” he howls just as said man yells his name, and it takes so long for them to finish screaming the one-syllable words that Loki is completely perplexed by the time they’re done. Why the fuck do they feel the need to draw the exclamations out? They obviously know each other’s names (and who wouldn’t know their names when they’re the two most prominent Elysian Lions on the team?).

Steve and Thor share this hug that looks more like a fucking fight than an embrace, because, in Loki’s humble opinion, they’re practically pulling each other’s shirts off and roaring nonsense, beating one another’s backs with mallets for fists. They pull away growling at each other.

Loki will never understand this form of primitive communication Thor likes to call bro-speak.

“It’s about time you got here!” Steve says with a grin, and it’s in moments like these that Loki can understand why everyone likes Steve so much; it’s hard not to, what with his warmth and easy friendliness. But there are also reasons to dislike him, and Loki is just as familiar with them.

Thor claps a hand on Steve’s shoulder and shakes him, returning his friend’s wide, toothy smile. “We kinda ran a little late…” he starts to say, and can you speak correctly, Thor?

“No thanks to you and Sif,” Fandral cuts in, and Steve and Thor look over to him and Loki as if just noticing they were there. Thor’s expression is irritated, and Steve’s is mildly interested.

“Don’t get pissy when I got you a date, douchebag,” Thor snaps, smirking with a hint of spite, “You’re the one who wanted to wait.”

And Loki is standing there, suddenly tremendously uncomfortable and just fucked. Date? What?

Is Thor talking about him?

“Hey, Loki!” Steve amiably greets him, breaking Loki out of the glass case of confusion and crossness he’s locked in. More out of method than genuine politeness, Loki forces himself to move out of the doorway and go shake Steve’s hand. He’s hyper-aware of Fandral’s eyes on his back as he moves, and he’s really fucking hating that.

“You’re Thor’s brother?” the woman next to Steve courteously asks, and when Loki actually looks at her, he realizes that one, she is Jean Grey, and two, she’s very beautiful. Beautiful in a natural, wholehearted way; quite unlike her fellow cheerleaders.

Smiling graciously, some of his bad mood ebbing at Jean’s joyfulness, Loki nods, shakes her hand when she extends it, and replies, “That’s accurate.”

Jean beams back, and her smile is a really gorgeous, supermodel breed that Loki instantly admires her for. “I’m Jean,” she introduces herself.

Loki’s about to say something when Emma Fucking Frost obnoxiously inquires, “Aren’t you dating Tony Stark?”

Fuck being pleasant. Loki wants to smack a bitch, hard.

Turning glacial emerald eyes on Emma, Loki asks in an incredibly frozen voice, “Does it really fucking matter?”

And then the world thanks God for Steve Rogers, because the man suddenly and loudly questions Thor, “Where’s Sif, man? Didn’t you mention her?” He laughs this perfectly easy laugh, but Loki knows it’s only for the sake of easing the tension in the room.

That’s another thing about Steve. He’s like oil; if anything starts tripping up and the friction gets to be too much to handle, he’s right there fixing it, making sure everything runs properly. He does it flawlessly, too, and while sometimes, like right now, Loki can appreciate it, other times it just pisses him off so much. Like when Sif and Thor are having a much-needed quarrel and Steve gives Thor the most amazing advice that basically says ignore the problem, and although that does usually end the disagreement, it only makes the next one much worse. Or when Loki’s issues get too much for Tony to handle (this is rare, but it does happen), and Loki finds himself terribly depressed and feeling betrayed because Tony’s got his BFF Steve to make sure everything is a-okay.

Loki averts his gaze away from Emma’s shocked face (which is kind of funny, because she was drinking from Wanda’s cup as she asked the question, and now her cheeks are all puffed out and filled with beer so she looks like a fucking goldfish) as Thor curiously looks around, scanning the room for Sif. Jean smiles empathetically at Loki, and jeeze, can they be best friends now or what?

“I dunno,” Thor replies to Steve’s question, shrugging flippantly, “She was just behind us.”

Sif?” Emma asks (What the fuck is wrong with you, girl? Can you go a whole minute without being a bitch?), her eyebrows raising as she exchanges a skeptical glance with Wanda. She smirks playfully at Thor when he turns to her, adding over the lip of her cup, “You came with her?”

Thor doesn’t miss a beat. He grins at her, says, “Of course I did. That says something, doesn’t it?”

Loki has to commend Thor just a little for that. He’s not really defending Sif, but he isn’t straight-up allowing Emma to be a skank about his friend/girlfriend/whatever Sif is to him.

As Emma’s eyes nearly pop out of her head yet again (damn, Skywalkers are showing her up all over the place today), Steve announces, “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m kinda feelin’ the dance floor right about now.”

And it’s like everybody at the party heard him (they probably did, what with the weird telepathy thing they have going on), because the music gets louder and people start screaming and the house practically explodes with the sheer amount of noise inside of it. Steve and Thor easily grab up Jean, Emma, Wanda, and Natasha and head out of the kitchen; when Thor tries to drag him with them, Loki coldly declines.

So he’s standing there in Steve Rogers’ kitchen with Fandral. Now, this situation automatically sucks. He’s in the house of a person who is just barely his friend, set up with a borderline rapist. On a scale of one-to-ten, Loki feels like this is a good autofellatio.

Fandral watches Loki incuriously as he leans against the counter, sighing softly. Loki presses the heel of his palm against his eyes, trying to ease the anxiety-borne headache he can feel coming on. He doesn’t realize Fandral is approaching him until he opens his eyes and, oh. He’s right there.

“You don’t wanna go dance?” Fandral asks, and his tone is surprisingly gentle and smooth. Loki knows better than to fall for it, though; he’s pretty sure Fandral’s just talking that way to get what he wants, and he’s definitely not going on the long list of people who fell for the act.

Instead of answering the man, Loki scrutinizes him with hard eyes and snaps, “What the hell was Thor talking about?”

Fandral blinks twice, his face contorting into a confused expression. “What do you mean?” he replies.

Oh my God. He is not playing dumb, not with Loki.

Sharply rolling his eyes and scoffing, Loki snarls, “Don’t you dare fucking bullshit me. What did he mean, ‘date’? Was he talking about me?”

Fandral watches him for a few moments, anxiously biting the inside of his lip, and fuck. Loki doesn’t have time for this shit (but he actually does, because it isn’t like he can go anywhere or do anything until he finds Tony or something).

When this bitch finally speaks, his voice is soft and reserved, and he’s saying, “Yeah. He was.”

Loki’s eyes go wide and dark, the irises steadily turning a deep green with emotion and rage. His lips tighten and his cheeks hollow out and Fandral is fucking right to look scared, because Loki is slipping into what’s very close to hysteria. Yeah. It’s that bad.

Just as Loki raises his arms to push against Fandral’s chest, ready to scream and/or curse him the fuck out, Fandral nimbly catches his wrists in his hands, pleading with his eyes and his words to, “Wait, wait, wait. Please, calm down. Please.”

Glaring stormily at Fandral, Loki shakes his head in heated disbelief at the man’s pleas. “I’m not going to fucking calm down!” he yells, trying to wrestle his arms away from Fandral, “You set me up!”

Fandral’s face takes on an expression of hurt (which Loki thinks is both hilarious and insulting), and he argues, “Technically Thor set you up.”

“With you!” Loki loudly retorts, and he feels like he’s going to combust from the wrath building inside him, swelling to immense proportions that terrify the living shit out of him.

And then Fandral scowls, offended. “What the fuck is wrong with me, huh?” he asks in an accusatory tone, his blue eyes mirroring Loki’s in their largeness and their anger.

Loki can’t help it. It’s really a horrible thing to do, especially when he has no idea how Fandral will react, but he’s pissed and impulsive and doesn’t care that much about what Fandral thinks. He laughs, and the cackle is cold and biting and vindictive and oooh. So wrong.

It’s when Fandral yanks Loki against him and kisses him hard on the mouth that Loki realizes he probably shouldn’t have laughed. Uh-unh. That was a terrible idea, especially when he’s trapped against this counter and Fandral is holding him like a vice or a straightjacket, pressing brutally against his mouth. The kiss is almost painful, and Loki loathes it so much that he nearly starts crying right then and there (but he’s much too furious to cry).

When Fandral finally releases him, Loki stumbles back into the counter, panting in time with the other. They stare at each other, both wide-eyed and enraged and upset and confused. And then, it’s like Fandral abruptly realizes something, because his eyes change and he’s looking at Loki a lot differently than he was a second ago.

“Loki…” he starts, but doesn’t finish. Loki won’t let him finish, not today.

Loki thrusts his hands forward and roughly shoves Fandral away from him, setting his mouth into a hard, angry line. And Fandral just lets him, numbly staggering back and watching him with these awful puppy eyes that Loki refuses to fall for.

“You’re disgusting,” Loki gasps, pretending not to see the way Fandral winces at the comment and rushing out of the kitchen and into the mob of dancing, screaming people.

The music is too loud and the room is too hot. Loki’s head is spinning as he squeezes his way in and around clusters of popping, locking, gyrating, twisting individuals, partially because of the kiss, partially because the heat and the movement of everything is dizzying to him, and partially because of his fury. Of all the things he’d expected from Fandral, he never anticipated something like that.

Someone rams against his body, knocking Loki into an unsuspecting stranger. The jostled girl turns to glare at him but, upon recognizing who he is, her eyes become delighted.

“Loki?” Kitty asks, and she really is adorable with all her happiness and her generosity, “I didn’t think you’d be here.”

Loki tries to smile, but the expression probably ends up looking like a confused grimace, unsure whether to portray joy or displeasure. “Me neither,” he manages, and fuck, his voice sounds horrible and broken and upset.

Kitty’s face turns extremely concerned almost comically fast. “What’s wrong?” she demands, knocking into Loki when a tall, lanky boy sways on past her, spilling alcohol all over people’s feet. Loki grasps her hands before she can plant her face on his chest, sighing almost involuntarily. There are way too many people bad-touching him right now, and he’s scared that he’s finally going to have that panic attack in the middle of one of the biggest events of the year. Then he’ll be forever known as that sophomore that freaked out and died at Steve Rogers’ homecoming party. Awesome.

“Nothing,” he lies easily (it’s almost sad how I can say this is extraordinarily normal for Loki; he’s so skilled at lying, it’s almost hard for he himself to figure out what’s true and what’s false), not meeting Kitty’s eyes as he asks, “Do you know where Tony is?”

Kitty blushes a bit (she always blushes whenever Loki and Tony are in the same room/sentence/situation/etc.), replying with a small giggle, “Sorry. I haven’t seen him all night.”

Loki doesn’t stop himself from groaning, well aware of how immature he appears, and he frees Kitty’s hands, quickly throwing her a “Thank you,” as he continues to surge through the crowd.

“You sure you’re okay?!” Kitty calls after him. Loki doesn’t answer.

After he’s finally escaped to the backyard (he had to witness Thor and Emma virtually dry humping to a dreadful song called Lollipop, watch Steve failingly attempt to do the worm; his dance would have been more-appropriately titled the dying raccoon, and have his ass or his crotch fondled at least fifteen times to get there), Loki lets out a huge sigh and surveys his surroundings. It isn’t much better than the inside of the house, but at least there’s space to walk without stepping on someone’s fucking toes, and he can breathe cooler air.

An alarming number of people are in or around the pool, and that whole section of the yard is basically a mass-drowning waiting to happen. Shit, people are lackadaisically dancing on the cement around the pool, balancing dangerously on the lip that separates solid ground from chlorine water. Loki watches, distressed, as Johnny Storm jerks his sister by her ankles into the pool, laughing drunkenly. Had that been any less expected by Sue and any rougher by Johnny, Loki’s pretty sure Susan Storm would have bashed her head against the pavement and passed out or suffered a serious concussion before helplessly drowning in the pool. And not a person would have cared.

Several more mixed clusters of sophomores, juniors, and seniors stand in the grass, drinking heavily and having loud discussions about how she said this about her, and this person hooked up with that person, and damn, so-and-so is fine. There seems to be a severely disproportionate alcohol-to-food ratio, because Loki hasn’t seen more than three people actually eating something, but nine out of ten of the guests here are drinking like fish.

In the far left corner of the yard, there’s a trampoline with a couple of dark, indistinguishable figures sitting and chatting on it. It’s probably the only part of the lot not swarming with drunk, horny students. Loki is fixing to make his way over there (because it looks like Heaven in the middle of a hellish universe) when Steve suddenly busts through the door, dragging his girlfriend Peggy Carter after him and sipping from a beer bottle as he strides across the yard towards the trampoline. Loki leans against the house indignantly and watches, somewhat miffed because he knows that wherever Steve goes, throngs of people come tripping running after him. That little piece of Heaven won’t remain peaceful for long.

Steve leans over the edge of the trampoline to talk to one of the people sprawled on it, Peggy standing behind him with her arms draped around his waist. It’s not that Loki’s actually interested in the relatively unremarkable situation. It’s just that he has nothing much else to do, and he’s still pretty wounded, and he can’t find Tony.

And then, Steve and Peggy are leading the way back to the house, a man sliding off of the trampoline to follow them. Loki instantly recognizes the figure’s odd, drunken gait, having spent too many nights observing it as his friend paced a dorm room, ranting loudly about nothing.

Loki has barely moved away from the wall when Tony notices him, and the man is immediately grinning like a fool and running to him with an obvious, if somewhat clumsy, skip in his step. Some of the distress inside Loki lessens when Tony wraps his long arms around his neck, tugging him close and squeezing him tightly. He hugs Tony back with a tiny, relieved sigh, just a bit shy of euphoric now that he’s found his friend.

“You’re here!” Tony drawls happily, pressing a sloppy kiss to his temple. The man pulls back a bit to take a drag from the Dixie cup in his hand, asking, “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?”

Loki smiles thinly, replies, “I wasn’t planning to do so.” Steve and Peggy approach the two of them just as Loki says this, and the way Steve’s face falls when he hears the man’s words is actually pretty fucking hilarious.

“You hate me that much, Loki?” Steve groans, but, in his drunkenness, the lack of seriousness in his statement is blatantly apparent, and he, Peggy, and Tony burst into laughter like he’s just said the most hysterical thing ever in the history of the motherfucking universe. Loki maintains his solemnity with almost frightening ease; Tony seems to notice.

“You need to get drunk,” he muses, drinking from his cup as if to emphasize his point. Loki frowns a bit (Tony gets really indiscriminate and blunt when he’s intoxicated and, even though he isn’t particularly subtle while sober, the straightforward, almost rude honesty he has when he’s drunk can rub Loki the wrong way if he doesn’t have the same blood alcohol level), ready to protest, when Steve cuts in.

“And you need to fix my computer,” he tells Tony, already moving towards the house with Peggy in tow, “People are getting a-antsy.”

Tony looks at Loki, arm still swathed warmly around his neck. He takes in the mildly injured expression on his friend’s face and his dark eyes soften a bit, a small smile tugging at his lips. Tony kisses at Loki’s temple once more, and the gesture doesn’t really do anything for the slimmer, darker of them until Tony whispers, “We’ll talk, I promise. Just let me fix Steve’s shit, okay?”

Feeling somewhat reassured, Loki lets Tony drag him into the house after Steve and Peggy, leaning into his friend’s side for a trace of comfort.

When they get inside, Loki takes note of a rather drastic change in the setting: there isn’t any godawful music blasting his ears off and rendering him deaf. All of the intense dancing that had been taking place moments before has transformed into this awkward standing around, glancing at people and attempting to make stunted, inebriated conversation. Loki almost (just almost) feels dickish for finding petty amusement in how uncomfortable everybody suddenly is, and he doesn’t try to hide the minute smirk on his face as Tony gently moves him along through the crowd.

On their way to the front of the room, Loki spies Thor sitting against the wall in an oddly-placed swivel chair (where the fuck did that come from?) with Emma straddling his lap. Now, just seeing Thor right now makes Loki want to scream or cry or destroy something living and/or beautiful, and the fact that Emma Frost can’t possibly seem to keep her hands/mouth/body off of his brother makes his emotions that much harder to handle. In all his life, Loki doesn’t think he’s ever been so embarrassed, upset, or pissed with his brother, excluding the accident.

How am I even going to wake up tomorrow morning?, Loki honestly wonders to himself. The thought of living another day truthfully scares the shit out of him (I know that sounds awfully dramatic, but it’s the reality of the situation) and, while he’s felt like this numerous times before, this feeling of dread and exhaustion and absolute, undeterred rage and depression really, really hurts. It hurts almost too much.

Fortunately, tomorrow is a Saturday, which means Loki doesn’t have to feel guilty about spending as much of the day as possible with Tony (never mind how hungover the man will probably be).

“I don’t know what happened,” Steve tells Tony with a look of bewilderment as they approach his laptop at the front of the room. He sips briefly from his beer bottle, goes on, “The music just stopped playi–”

“Yeah, I got it,” Tony cuts Steve off, and Loki kind of wants to laugh at the determined-yet-drunk glint in his friend’s eyes. Tony takes a long drink from his Dixie cup before carelessly dropping it onto the table in which the laptop sits, and then he’s working the computer with impressive speed and ease.

It’s always amused and awed Loki how much of a technophiliac Tony is. His friend probably enjoys the company of his computer and iPhone more than spending time with actual people (not that Loki really blames him).

Tony pulls a face and stops his feverish clicking for a moment. He starts looking around the desk area, bending over the laptop to examine the back of it, and the sight is actually really funny, considering how drunk (how drunk?) he is. With a barely audible, irritated noise, Tony deftly grabs a thick black cord and plugs it into the laptop. And then the house practically shatters again, first with the sudden explosion of horrible music, next with the raucous, collective cheer that rumbles through the mob of people like a thunderstorm. Loki closes his eyes against the noise, biting the inside of his mouth and shit, why does he feel like sobbing all of a sudden?

Steve lets out this obnoxious howl that makes Loki desperately want to fall over and get trampled by an elephant, and suddenly all of these people in the near vicinity of the table are dancing like a million typhoons, and holy crap, is the earth moving? Because that’s what it feels like with all the movement and the sound and the force coming from everywhere hateful in the universe. I.E., Steve Rogers’ house.

“Come on!” Tony yells over the roar of the music, grabbing his cup and winding his arm tight and protective around Loki’s body, “We need to get some alcohol in you.”

Loki wants to argue against the idea, but he doesn’t, because he feels far too weak to do anything really. He lets Tony practically heave him through the crowd of dancers, ridding himself of any remorse for purposefully leaning all of his weight into his friend. He does it mostly because he doesn’t want to drink anything, not with so many people around him already intoxicated, but also because fuck movement. Loki’d rather be sitting or lying down somewhere, preferably in the middle of a highway.

“Vodka or rum?” Tony asks as soon as they’re in the kitchen, letting go of Loki a few paces into the room. Steve and Peggy brush past him after Tony, probably in pursuit of more alcohol as well.

What Loki doesn’t understand is why they would like to get so heavily drunk for fun. I mean, it’s not like he himself hasn’t casually indulged in alcohol just for the heck of it, because he has, but to get as completely wasted as Steve and the rest of the student body, he’d have to be intensely depressed and/or trying to forget about something. Why would you want to inebriate yourself when you’re as happy and as perfect as Steve?

At least he knows that alcohol is something much more than simply recreation for Tony.

“I don’t care,” Loki replies in a slightly frosty voice, crossing his arms over his lean chest and staring at the floor. He doesn’t see the hard look Tony gives him, but he can feel it. Does he care?

Not really.

“I call the vodka,” Steve says, grabbing a long, clear bottle of said beverage as he does. He and Peggy take turns refilling their drinks, quietly talking and laughing while Tony snatches a few more plastic red cups and the remaining bottle of rum. Loki continues to wait and glare at the tile until Tony is slipping his arm around him again, steering him back into the living room with Steve and Peggy following behind.

All Loki wanted to do is talk to Tony, go home, or both. Unfortunately, the desire for conversation is slowly diminishing, no thanks to Tony’s drunkenness and Steve’s constant presence. Loki kind of wishes he could die right about now.

“Hey, Steve?” Tony asks, turning to his friend. They both lean instinctually towards each other, swaying with inebriation, and Loki reins in the urge to just grab Tony to him and refuse to let go. “Can we borrow your bedroom for awhile?” Tony goes on, slurping loudly from his cup. It’s almost as if he can’t go three minutes without having a drink, and the observation upsets the hell out of Loki.

 

Steve grins suggestively at Tony, glancing between him and Loki, who is giving him what is probably the most discreet Get the fuck out I hate you and your perfection look ever, and saying, “Sure. Just don’t get too nasty, alright? I sleep in that bed.”

 

Tony, Steve and Peggy crack the fuck up again, laughing like what Steve said was actually funny (which it really wasn’t). It isn’t until Loki starts to tug away from Tony, far too irritated and distraught to be dealing with shit like this, that Tony decides to remember him again. Thanks, man.

(Fun Fact that really isn’t a Fun Fact but actually is more like a guideline: Tony can be the most wonderful person in the world to Loki. He can also make Loki want to kill himself, especially in situations involving alcohol, drugs, or Steve Rogers.)

“Hey, hey, hey,” Tony says, moving to drag Loki against his side once more, “Calm down, will you?” He cranes his neck to look Loki in the eyes, and Loki doesn’t stop himself or feel bad for glaring back at him.

“Just get me the fuck away from here, or I will hate you with everything inside of me and you will never touch me again. Understand?” Loki growls, holding Tony’s focus with his icy eyes and hard voice. It’s a gross exaggeration, what he said (He wouldn’t ever do that; please. Loki may be depressive and have the occasional death wish, but he’s anything but a masochist.), but it catches Tony’s attention pretty damn quickly.

“Yeah, I get it,” Tony swiftly replies, sipping from his cup and navigating Loki through the mob towards the front of the room, to the staircase. Loki forces himself to not look too closely at any of the people they pass, afraid that he might notice Thor and break down or something. The moment they’re at the foot of the stairs, Loki grabs the bottle of rum from Tony to make the man’s ascent easier (faster) and starts climbing, taking the steps two at a time in his frantic need to get away.

Tony meets him at the top of the staircase a few moments later, barely dodging Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson when they go hurtling past him down the stairs, laughing loudly. Loki easily, petulantly, catches Tony when he threatens to fall, and Tony repays him with a grin and a fleeting nuzzle to the cheek that Loki crossly pulls away from.

“S’that bad, huh?” Tony notes with a scowl, frowning deeply when Loki rolls his eyes and looks away. He sighs with a touch of distress before taking Loki’s arm and leading him down the hall, saying, “I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, you know.”

Loki frowns shamefully, glancing at the floor as Tony pulls him into Steve’s bedroom and kicks the door closed. “Sorry, Tony,” he replies.

Tony quickly steals the bottle of rum from Loki’s fingers, placing it, along with the cups he carries, on the carpet. “You’re forgiven,” he breathes, and then he’s grabbing Loki by the sides and pushing him (with a hint of tenderness) against the door. Loki makes a small, surprised noise when Tony moves forward to kiss him, and the gesture is almost too much like the episode with Fandral from earlier. He flinches and squirms, squeezing his hands around Tony’s shoulders and tasting alcohol thick on his lips.

Tony hastily breaks the kiss to press his face against Loki’s neck, sighing heavily. He’s guilty now; Loki can tell, and one part of him wants to be a pissy bitch and let Tony feel bad about himself (which probably isn’t smart, since Tony does that enough already), while another part is telling him to exercise sympathy and patience.

What the fuck is wrong with his emotions today?

“Tony, you’re drunk,” Loki sighs, still holding Tony’s shoulders tightly.

Tony laughs quietly into his neck, raising his head a bit to smirk at Loki. “You think, Captain Obvious?” he drawls, chuckling at the end of the jibe.

Okay, screw being nice for now. Loki glowers darkly at Tony and abruptly shoves him away, ignoring a minute twinge of remorse when the man stumbles a bit. He swiftly moves past his friend, roughly and spitefully bumping his shoulder as he does.

“Fuck you, Tony,” he snaps as he plops down onto Steve’s low-to-the-ground platform bed, and it’s actually pretty fucking weird to be sitting on Steve Rogers’ most likely million-dollar mattress like it’s his own.

Tony gazes wistfully at him, clumsily steadying himself with a hand braced on the door. He grabs the rum and Dixie cups from the floor with a resigned sort of noise, and Loki continues to watch him tempestuously, slumped over with his long legs folded under him.

“I’m sorry, Loki,” Tony murmurs as he approaches said man, stopping beside the bed to look down at his addressee. His voice is soft and slow and thick as he goes on, “You’re right. I’m drunk as a skunk.”

Loki stares up at Tony with lasers for eyes, replying, “I don’t like it when you drink.” He isn’t very appreciative of the sudden difference of height between them, because it makes him feel like a freshman always in Tony’s shadow (not that Tony thought so) again.

Tony laughs bitterly, his eyes hardening just a little as he says, “Yeah, you and the rest of the world, babe.”

“Don’t call me that!” Loki barks in a suddenly-loud, urgent tone, his hand snatching out to take the bottle of rum and a plastic cup from Tony’s grasp. He jerkily unscrews the bottle cap and starts to pour the dark brown liquid into his cup, adding, “Not when you’re being such an asshole.”

Tony narrows his eyes, the corners of his mouth turning down into a small grimace. “Well, fuck, I said I’m sorry, Loki!” he argues, brows coming together, and at this point? Loki’s unsure whether to just go the fuck off on Tony (who is the only real friend he has here as well as a possible ticket home) or do the extremely uncharacteristic thing and give up. He ends up doing neither.

Dropping the bottle on the floor (thank God it doesn’t break or spill, because can you imagine how delighted Steve would be with that?), Loki snaps his head up to glare at Tony, snarling, “Just shut up and get the fuck down here.”

Yep. His feelings are officially fucked up tonight.

Tony doesn’t hesitate in falling to his knees and scooting right up against the side of the bed, shrugging his leather jacket off of his shoulders and carelessly onto the floor as he does. He rests each forearm on the mattress at either side of Loki, leaning up to press his forehead into the other’s and sighing in what could be relief, happiness, or both when Loki digs the fingers of his right hand into his dark hair and pulls him up for a firm, brief kiss.

“You haven’t been taking your medicine,” Tony notes with a far too satisfied grin, nuzzling against Loki’s chin, “Bad, bad, bad…”

“You don’t mind,” Loki replies lowly and pulls away to drink from his cup; the rum is a bit too strong, but does he give a fuck?

Tony is nosing contentedly into his neck, getting all up in his space and looping his arms around Loki’s waist as he purrs, “Not when you’re super-extra-friendly and more willing to let me looove you.”

Loki can’t bring himself to laugh, not when the noise would come out sounding so fake, so he takes another sip of rum, idly running his hand down Tony’s back and watching the way it makes his friend twitch with pleasure.

“So it’s completely fine that I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster of death as long as Tony Stark gets touched the right way,” he says, voice slippery and cold like ice, “I see.”

Now that was pretty low, even for Loki, and when Tony pulls back and looks at him with these round, deeply offended eyes, he realizes it with a huge pang of guilt. And he feels like a total shit for saying what he did, simply because he’s upset.

“Oh, Tony,” Loki sighs, anger quickly giving way to sadness as he pulls his friend’s face to him, kissing his forehead, his cheeks, his lips, “I didn’t mean that…”

“I know,” Tony grumbles, kissing Loki back and practically dragging him off the side of the bed when he tugs him closer. Loki obediently unfolds his slim legs and lets Tony rise between them, sliding his arms around the man’s shoulders and carefully holding his cup upright when Tony grips him under his thighs and lifts him off of the mattress.

“I’ve said worse things to you,” Tony says as he knees his way onto the bed, laying Loki down in the center of it. It feels girly and romantic and entirely too sex-after-the-first-date-ish, but whatever. Everything is weird between them.

“Yes, but I’m sober,” Loki replies, drinking from his cup and leaning against a short stack of pillows as he watches Tony reach over the side of the bed to get his own rum, “Anything horrible like that, you’ve said to me while you were drunk.”

Tony hums into his cup as he takes a drink from it, lying back next to Loki and getting comfortable. “It doesn’t matter,” he assures his companion, fixing him with a look that’s surprisingly assertive, considering how intoxicated he is, “You’re pissed off. People tend to say shit they don’t mean when they’re upset, right?”

Loki frowns. “People also become surprisingly truthful when they’re hurt,” he indicates, even though it really doesn’t help his case by doing so. God, what is wrong with him?

Tony, surprisingly (but actually not really), laughs, asks, “What are you trying to get at, Loki? Do you or don’t you want me to be mad at you?”

Loki smiles wryly and drinks a bit of rum, shakes his head and says, “I’m going crazy, Tony. Don’t mind me.”

And then Tony grins like a kid in a candy store, making a show of pointing epically at Loki and announcing, “Ha! Didn’t I tell you you were driving yourself insane?! Isn’t that what I said?” He chuckles and takes a drag from his cup, looking entirely too pleased with himself for such a desolate revelation as he adds, “I called it.”

Loki weakly bats at Tony’s shoulder and continues to nurse his drink, contradicting his earlier aversion to getting intoxicated. The idea of inebriation is suddenly much more appealing to him now that there’s the illusion of being alone with Tony, never mind the fact that he can still hear music booming from downstairs and that he’s lying in the middle of Steve Rogers’ bed, which is possibly one of the weirdest situations he’s ever found himself in (the irony of this will be much more apparent later on, trust me).

“Talk, Loki,” Tony says after awhile, turning onto his side to face him. He drinks, asks, “What happened? Because something had to happen, otherwise you wouldn’t have hated me a second ago.”

Loki grimaces at his cup, not looking at Tony. “I didn’t hate you…” he starts to say, but Tony cuts him off with a wet kiss on the cheek.

“Shut up about that,” he demands, voice loud and blunt. Loki kind of wants to get sensitive and bitch again, but what good does that do? Really?

Instead of being an asshole, Loki takes in a large mouthful of alcohol, feeling a tiny buzz of it in his blood. Now we’re getting somewhere.

“Long version or short version?” he pauses in his drinking for a moment to ask, the bottom of his cup quickly becoming visible.

“Long,” Tony drawls with a grin, laying his head against his pillow and saying, “I like it when you talk. You have a nice voice, did you know that?”

Loki smirks, pleased, and instructs Tony to, “Grab the booze, then.”

Tony obliges and rolls onto his back, stretching his hand to the floor to retrieve the bottle of rum. When he returns to his previous position, he and Loki hastily refill their cups, both of them equally interested in going through the tale Loki has to tell. After taking a short sip of rum, Loki begins.

“So I get home at around eight-fifteen and Thor, Fandral, and Sif are tripping over themselves to get out of my house,” he says, leaning back into his pillow and against Tony, “I ask them where they’re going, and Thor’s like ‘Steve’s party, it’s going to be fucking awesome, you should come with us!’. And so I, like the grand idiot I am, say yes…”

“You’re not an idiot,” Tony cuts in, pouting a bit.

“Can I finish?” Loki asks insolently, grinning with amusement when Tony makes a wounded face at him.

“But, no, no, no,” Tony protests, maneuvering his arm around so that he’s resting most of his weight on his elbow. Loki takes a careful drink (seeing as he’s almost completely horizontal) as Tony points out, “If you hadn’t said yes, I wouldn’t have gotten to lie in Steve’s bed and get drunk with you.”

“Forgive me if I’m not leaping for joy at that,” Loki replies, half-serious and half-joking, “That’s actually extremely depressing to me.”

Tony quirks his lips knowingly, sipping from his cup and musing, “I guess it would be.” He grins impishly, goes on, “Even though you claim to not want me.”

Loki hums with laughter and drinks, says, “That doesn’t mean I can’t be jealous.”

“Aww, look!” Tony cries, smiling wider, “You do care about me! That’s sweet.”

“Don’t be so stupid, Tony,” Loki rejoins, freeing a hand to pinch his friend’s chin between his thumb and forefinger and forcing him to meet his eyes, “You know you matter the most to me. Stop being such a martyr.” He pauses to take a sip of rum, then asks, “Now may I please tell my story before I explode?”

Tony smirks, leans closer to briefly, playfully nuzzle Loki’s nose, and replies, “Suuure.”

Loki laughs quietly and pushes Tony’s face away, only for the man to lay his head against his shoulder. He doesn’t give a fuck, though (actually, he kind of enjoys it), so he continues.

“So I said yes,” Loki says, “And they shove me into Thor’s car. And I automatically know that it was a bad idea to go with them…”

“You should’ve come with me,” Tony puts in, but Loki goes on as if he was never interrupted.

“… because Thor can’t drive legally to save his life, and I’m fucking terrified that he’s going to get into another accident and I’ll actually die this time,” he pauses to take a drink, choosing to disregard the small frown that appears on Tony’s face, “We somehow make it to the party in one piece and people are spilling out of the house like toothpaste, already drunker than drunk.”

“Drunk as a skunk,” Tony repeats himself, laughing when Loki pokes hard at his stomach.

Shut up, will you?” Loki chuckles, sipping from his cup again, “I’m trying to talk.”

“Sorry, sorry,” Tony hastily apologizes, burying his face in Loki’s neck and kissing there. It’s the most sensual, risky thing he’s ever tried on Loki; most of their kisses are restricted to the chin and above. If Loki was sober, he’d probably be freaking out about it, but since he’s buzzing with alcohol and giddy with how close Tony is, he simply purrs and leans into the touch. Yeah, they’re pretty bizarre.

“We go inside, and will you guess who throws her skanky self on Thor?” Loki asks, moving to glance at Tony.

Tony gives him a tight-lipped look and says, with the hint of a smirk, “I thought you wanted me to shut up.”

Loki shoves him in response and they both burst into laughter, nearly dropping their cups on the bed. Damn, does it feel good to actually find something funny and be in on the stupid, quite non-hilarious joke for once.

“Who?” Tony manages when their laughter subsides enough to allow for speech. He says this into his cup, so his voice sounds somewhat hollow, and he’s blowing bubbles in his rum because he can’t stop chuckling long enough to actually drink correctly.

“Emma Fucking Frost,” Loki replies, disgust apparent in his voice. He takes a long drag from his cup as Tony curves an eyebrow at him.

“The White Witch?” Tony asks, grinning mischievously. Loki laughs sharply at the joke, thinking it much more humorous than it actually is in his inebriation (because honestly, the ‘White Witch’ nickname is so old and overused to the point where it really isn’t that funny anymore; it’s actually pretty redundant and annoying now).

“You mean the White Bitch?” Loki naughtily corrects, smiling when Tony throws his head back and outright cackles, his eyes crinkling perfectly at the corners, “Yeah, that one. She comes flying out of nowhere as soon as Thor walks in the house, and Wanda Maximoff and Natasha Romanoff are right after her, telling Thor about how ‘Steve’s in the kitchen, he was worried you wouldn’t come, na-na-na’…”

“I honestly think Steve would’ve cried if your bro didn’t show up,” Tony interjects, ignoring the unimpressed look Loki shoots him, “He was seriously freaking out, going on about how the party wouldn’t be complete if Thor wasn’t there and-”

“I don’t give a fuck about Steve’s boner for Thor, Tony,” Loki snaps, taking a quick drink from his cup. His expression softens, though, when Tony’s face grows dejected and just a tad sorrowful (Jesus Christ, can someone say something without offending everyone in the world tonight?), and he moves to kiss his friend in a largely successful attempt to lift Tony’s mood once more (these are the moments when Loki is extremely thankful that Tony is desperately in love with him; his feelings are so very easy to take advantage of).

“Sorry; that was awfully rude,” he whispers against Tony’s mouth, considering himself victorious when Tony sucks a brief, alcohol-laced kiss to his bottom lip.

“Nah, I get it,” Tony replies, resting his crown against Loki’s shoulder again, sipping from his cup, and requesting that he, “Go on.”

“Okay,” Loki says with a tiny smile and drinks some rum, “So Emma, Wanda, and Natasha are herding Thor into the kitchen and Fandral’s got his fucking arm around me, which is extremely unpleasant, and when I look back, Sif’s just standing there in the doorway, throwing Thor the nastiest look. I go and ask her if she’s okay, and this bitch has the fucking nerve to glare at me and walk away.”

Tony hums as he takes a drink from his cup, nodding to show that he’s listening.

“And I’m not a friendly person; I’m just not,” Loki goes on, making ridiculous faces at the ceiling as he talks, “So it really fucking pisses me off that in the rare instance that I’m actually not being a prissy bitch, she glares at me and walks the fuck away.”

That’s why you’re so angry?” Tony asks, a note of skepticism in his voice. He glances at Loki, dark eyes questioning.

Loki scoffs, slurps the remaining rum from his cup and replies, “That’s probably the least significant reason why I’m having a fit and getting drunk with you.”

Tony quickly refills both of their Dixie cups as he muses, “So something happened after that.”

Loki laughs bitterly and takes a long drink, saying, “Oh, God yes.”

“Talk, talk, talk,” Tony demands, and Loki chuckles again, with humor this time, before he keeps going.

“She walks away, and Fandral grabs my hand and drags me in the kitchen after Thor and his sheepdogs,” Loki continues, “We get in there, and Steve and Thor…” he pauses and tsks quietly, pulling a thoughtful face, “I don’t know how to describe it. It was like they were two bears fighting over a fish or something.”

“Were they saying hello?” Tony asks, smirking like he knows exactly what Loki’s talking about.

Yes! They were saying hi to each other, but it was the most ridiculous display of welcome I’ve ever seen in my life!” Loki exclaims his agreement, his eyes growing wide and excited as he does. Tony starts to laugh at the man’s enthusiasm, and Loki grins into his drink when his friend goes on nuzzling and kissing at his neck again, laying an arm across his stomach for support.

“Tony, stop. I won’t be able to talk,” Loki says as he sips his rum.

“But you’re so cute when you get excited like that,” Tony whines quietly, his voice muffled against Loki’s throat. Loki can feel his friend smile into his skin.

“You can appreciate how very adorable I am without being a total vampire,” he says, shifting a bit to fix Tony with a mock-serious look.

Tony scowls at him for a moment before bringing his cup to his lips, drinking his rum with a soft grumble of assent. He remains squished against Loki’s side, though, defiantly pressing his forehead into the man’s pale neck like it’ll actually get on Loki’s nerves (yeah, right).

“Where was I?” Loki wonders aloud after a moment of thought, his jade eyes whipping about the room as he struggles to remember where his story left off.

“Thor and Steve were fighting over a fish?” Tony tries with a chuckle, grinning when Loki makes a scrunched face at him.

“So they took a thousand and eight years to say hello, and uhm…” Loki pauses, contemplating briefly before deciding to reroute his tale just slightly, “We walked in the kitchen, and before Steve and Thor started screaming at each other, Steve was talking with this girl, and I didn’t know whether or not she was Jean Grey…”

“Was she?” Tony asks suddenly, watching Loki with alert eyes and oh my fucking God, he is the most horrible listener in the history of the world, is he not?

“I’m getting there,” Loki groans, reaching a hand down to grab Tony’s and squeeze it, “Be patient, God.”

Tony goes silent and drinks obediently, grasping Loki’s hand back just as tightly.

So, Steve and Thor are talking, and Steve is telling Thor about how he was so worried he wouldn’t come,” Loki goes on, “Thor tells him that we were running late, and Fandral decides to be the rudest person ever and say something like ‘oh, no thanks to you and Sif, dur-hur!’” Tony laughs at the theatrical interjection, “Thor looks at him, and here’s what he says…” Loki pauses for dramatic effect (but actually just to sip his rum), “He says, ‘Don’t get pissy when I’ve gotten you a date, you’re the one who wanted to wait’, or something like that.”

“That rhymed,” Tony remarks with a smirk before asking, “Date?” in an incredulous tone, wrinkling his nose to indicate his confusion.

“Yes. A date,” Loki clarifies, rolling his eyes and feeling a trace of resentment creep up inside him at the memory.

“What, was he–” Tony starts to say, but promptly covers his mouth with his Dixie cup when Loki squeezes the fuck out of his hand. Loki grins a bit, glad to have found a way to shut Tony up.

“Thor said that, and I’m sitting there freaking out and thinking, ‘Was he talking about me? About me?’” Loki continues his story, resting his cup on his chest and gazing vacantly at the ceiling, “And then Steve says hi to me, and I’m not going to be rude and ignore him, so I go and say hi back and shake his hand and whatever. The woman Steve was talking with asks me if I’m Thor’s brother, and it turns out that she is Jean Grey…”

“You met Jean?” Tony blurts, raising his head to beam childishly at Loki.

Loki sighs quietly and drinks a mouthful of rum with deliberate slowness, watching Tony twitch a bit with impatience. When he pulls his cup away from his lips, he carefully swipes his tongue over his teeth, biting the inside of his cheek out of habit and for the sake of consuming time. Being a tease is always fun, especially with Tony.

Yes, I met Jean,” Loki exhales when he finally decides to speak, and a smile tugs at his lips when Tony’s own grin grows at the answer.

“She’s amazing, isn’t she?” Tony asks, taking a quick sip from his cup before going on in that throaty, constricted voice you get after drinking something, “And beautiful, too.”

“Yes, yes, she’s delightful,” Loki replies with a bit more spite than is really necessary, quirking his brow and pursing his lips a bit at Tony. It’s nothing against Jean; he just wants to finish his goddamn story. But Tony takes his snippiness for the exact opposite.

“You don’t like her,” he assumes with a tiny frown, which only deepens when Loki chuckles at the foolish postulation.

“No, Tony!” Loki laughs, shaking his head a bit, “I think she’s wonderful.” He tilts his head accusingly at his friend, turning his eyes up to look condescending and irritated as he says, “It’s you that I have a problem with.”

Tony smiles modestly and returns his head to Loki’s shoulder, mumbling, “I’m sorry, Loki.”

Loki leans his head against Tony’s and hmms his acceptance, softly requesting, “Just listen, okay? Can you please do that? Because if I don’t get to tell you the worst part before I’m too drunk to take it seriously, I’m going to be really upset.”

Tony nods and swiftly empties his cup of rum, chucking it to the foot of the bed before totally adhering to Loki’s side and winding his arm around the man’s middle. “Promise,” he whispers, deeply and intimately enough to make Loki shiver and remind him how intoxicated the both of them are, how Tony’s never said anything to him like that, with that voice that could melt his skin off.

“So, uhm,” Loki starts, stammering a bit because fuck, it’s like Tony’s voice threw his already-jumbled mind in a whirl, “Uhm, I tell Jean that yes, I’m Thor’s brother, and it’s the start of what could be a really good conversation, when Emma Fucking Frost…” Tony laughs quietly, “… asks me ‘Aren’t you going out with Tony Stark?’”

Loki mimics Emma’s tone as repeats her words, pausing to take a drink. He purposefully takes his time and cleans his cup out, almost waiting for Tony to say something despite the fact that he promised he wouldn’t interrupt anymore.

Well, it wouldn’t be interrupting if Loki wasn’t talking, would it?

Tony elevates his head again, watching Loki carefully as if asking for permission to say something. When Loki nods a bit, finishing off his rum and throwing his cup to the side, Tony speaks.

“Did you say yes?” he asks in a muted voice, raising his eyebrows and angling his head towards Loki. It sounds like a trick question, and it kind of is but at the same time isn’t; Loki knows that. He knows that Tony’s really saying, Are we going out? Are we a thing, even if we don’t say we are and even if you’re stubborn as hell and even though we’re just drunk? without actually voicing those words.

“My answer wasn’t the truth,” Loki throws back, observing the way Tony narrows his eyes a bit, sucks at his teeth.

“What did you say?” Tony questions, barely letting his voice or face belie anything. That’s another thing Tony does when he’s intoxicated, but only sometimes. Mostly, he’s blunt and rude and obnoxious and up front, which can be both a positive and negative thing. Occasionally, he’ll do what he’s doing now and shut down all visible emotion, which is even harder to deal with than his audacious honesty. Loki really hates it when this happens; it’s usually when Tony’s in android-mode that he ends up getting unpredictably pissed or loving or upset or hyper with him.

“I said, ‘Does it really fucking matter?’” Loki replies, absently stretching his spine and feeling the vertebrae pop pleasantly. Tony blinks, scans his face, and goddammit, why did they have to get drunk to have this conversation? Like, really?

“So you’re saying it does?” Tony eventually asks, some of the emotion (confusion, hope) bleeding back into his expression. Loki sighs in casual relief, which Tony must think is irritation, because he scowls until Loki rolls leisurely onto his side and curls into him, leaning their foreheads together.

“I’m saying it shouldn’t to her,” Loki answers carefully, holding Tony’s eyes, “She shouldn’t give a fuck. It’s not her business what we do together. What matters to her shouldn’t be what matters to me and how it matters to me, which is you, and more than anything.”

It’s a miracle he said that without screwing up or confusing himself; Lord knows he’s drunk enough to do it.

Before Tony can start jumping for joy or asking more questions, Loki kisses him briefly, says, “You’re my best friend, however difficult that is to believe with the shit we get ourselves into. Trust me; I’ll tell you the moment we start being more than that, okay?”

Tony watches him silently, a lot like he did in the library awhile ago. He has this weird, beautiful, horrible combination of melancholy and wonder on his face, like a part of him can’t believe what he’s hearing while another is elated with the words Loki’s saying to him.

“Trust me,” Loki quietly prompts once more, blood buzzing.

Then Tony makes a soft noise of acquiescence, closes his eyes and says, “Keep going, Loki.”

Loki is more than happy to oblige.

“I said that, and then Steve asks Thor where Sif is, because she’s definitely not in the kitchen,” he continues, closing his eyes as well and letting himself get comfortable leaning against Tony, “Thor looks around and, uhm… and realizes that she’s not there. He’s just like ‘Oh, I don’t know , she was just right behind us’, and then Emma decides to crank up her bitchiness to level eight and go ‘Oh my God, you came with Sif?’, like Sif’s so horrible. Thor sort of but not really stands up for her, Steve makes an announcement about how much he wants to dance, and everybody but Fandral and I rushes out of the kitchen like the purple monkeys in Horton Hears a Who!.”

Tony chuckles amusedly at the comparison, and Loki is secretly immensely soothed. He didn’t want this whole situation to become more depressing than it already was.

“So I’m standing in the kitchen with Fandral, which is absolutely horrible and terrifying and strange and ugh,” Loki says, bringing a hand up to rub at his nose and accidentally hitting Tony’s on the way, “He comes up to me and asks, ‘Don’t you want to dance?’” Loki sniffs and briefly bites his lip. “And I’m not going to bullshit or beat around the bush, so I ask him about what the fuck Thor meant. He decides to play dumb and ask me what I mean, but, you know me,” Tony makes a noise of acknowledgement as Loki goes on, “I’m not going to let him get away with that. Eventually he tells me that Thor was talking about me, and that… that I was set up.”

Loki pauses to breathe for a moment, noticing how it’s suddenly a degree more difficult to accomplish that simple, involuntary task. He’s getting upset again; not to say that he ever stopped being so, but the feelings of betrayal and helplessness and wrongness are all the more prominent in his mind and his heart as he goes on telling his story. It feels like Loki’s growing farther and farther away from Tony and Steve’s bedroom, moving closer to the kitchen and that awful moment with Fandral.

“I-I get really angry with him, and he’s begging me to calm down, but I just can’t,” Loki continues, squeezing his eyes more firmly shut against the wave of emotion that hits him, “And… I make it clear to Fandral that I’m not very pleased it was him, and he asks me what’s wrong with him; as in, of all people, why is he so horrible? And I do the stupidest thing…” he stops talking for a long moment, only continuing when Tony starts to say his name, questioning.

“I laugh at him,” Loki blurts, cutting Tony off somewhat unintentionally, “I laugh at him, and he gets so upset, and then…” he swallows thickly, “… and then he grabs me and traps me against the counter, and he kisses me.”

There’s a long moment of scary silence after Loki says this, and all he can hear is how Tony’s breathing gets quiet and rapid. He refuses to open his eyes simply because he feels like he’ll explode if he does before he manages to calm down, and he’s sort of-kind of hyperventilating now, freaking out and tensing up and what is happening to him? (It’s starting to become plausible to believe that Loki is developing some sort of stress and/or panic disorder, because this really doesn’t make that much sense, and it’s kind of terrifying him how easy it is to start outright losing it now.)

Fuck relaxing, though, because Loki’s emerald eyes go flying open as soon as he feels Tony’s presence leave him. His head snaps up as he watches Tony swing his legs over the side of the bed, already trying to bolt for the door with a visible, fiery-hot tension in the line of his body. And it’s completely obvious what the man’s going to do as soon as he’s out of the room, and that’s murder, to put it lightly. Shit, shit, shit, shitshitshit.

“Tony, no!” Loki exclaims, dragging himself across the mattress to fling his arms around said man’s waist just as he gets up. Tony barely halts in his jerky, swift movements when Loki does this, and he nearly ends up dragging his thinner, weaker friend all the way off of the bed and onto the floor. That actually would’ve been hilarious and much more effective in stopping him from decapitating and castrating Fandral, but also more harmful to Loki, who’s already wounded enough emotionally.

Tony makes an aggravated noise, firmly grasping Loki’s wiry arms and attempting to pry them apart, which only causes Loki to tighten his embrace, the stubborn asshole.

“Let me go, Loki,” Tony growls, squirming helplessly in his friend’s grip. Loki’s whole upper body is hanging awkwardly over the edge of the mattress, and the side of his face is squished somewhat uncomfortably against the base of Tony’s back.

“Stay,” he pleads, hiccupping softly (shit, here they come; almost every time Loki gets drunk, he starts to hiccup after awhile), “You don’t have to do anything.”

Tony scoffs, trying to glare over his shoulder at Loki, but he can probably only see the man’s back from his position. “Don’t have to do anything?” he asks incredulously, irritation and fury thick in his voice as he does, “What the fuck are you talking about? He kissed you without your permission.”

“I never said that,” Loki points out lowly, even though Tony’s right. Why he says something so stupid and foolish is beyond him; it’s probably because he’s intoxicated. He hiccups again.

Tony’s eyes widen, and he does a one-hundred and eighty degree turn in Loki’s arms (which is the funniest thing of all time, because then Loki’s just hanging onto his waist and he starts resting his chin against the man’s belly button, and can you imagine the epic innuendo that could be associated with that pose?). He glares down at his friend who stares innocently, piteously up at him with his round, pretty eyes.

“Did you want him to kiss you?” Tony asks in a quiet, disbelieving voice, like he’s mindless enough to think that the answer might be yes (just because you’re drunk doesn’t mean you have to be a dumbass, Tony).

Loki stifles a laugh, replies, “Of course not, but don’t just up and assume something I haven’t said.”’

Tony scowls, his brows coming together as Loki continues to gaze at him, hiccupping. “Loki, let me go,” he orders, clutching the man’s arms again. Loki tightens his grip once more.

No, Tony,” he retorts, frowning slightly, “Hurting him wouldn’t do anything.”

Tony smirks bitterly, snorts, “Hurt him? I’m gonna fucking destroy him. I’ll rip his fuckin–”

You’re not my boyfriend!” Loki cuts Tony off, his tone unpleasantly whiny and sharp. He can feel himself slowly slipping off of the bed (no thanks to the blanket covering it), and he digs his feet into the mattress as he adds, “You don’t have to protect my honor, so don’t try to.”

Tony’s expression melts into one of brooding at his words. He moves one hand to brush a dark lock of hair out of Loki’s face, argues, “But he hurt your feelings.” Loki senses a note of impending defeat in his friend’s tone; fuck yes being a boss is awesome.

Loki smiles gently and hiccups cutely (he felt the spasm coming and shot a gallon of deliberate charm into it, because he can be a manipulative bitch when he needs to), replying, “And I’m asking you to make them better by staying here and letting him die of AIDS or syphilis or something.”

Tony goes silent, watching his face, and Loki would be absolutely fine with this situation if he wasn’t moments from sliding off of the bed.

“Tony, I’m about to fall on the floor,” he says with deceptive calmness, breaking into laughter when Tony grins and hooks an arm under his body, swiftly sliding him back onto the mattress. Whew.

 

~*~

 

So they passed the next hour or so in Steve’s room, completely emptying the bottle of rum and generally being drunken fools the whole time. They listened to Steve’s music (the good of it that they could find) and danced, talked about how Sif was probably jealous and Fandral was probably guilty (Loki had something of a hard time believing this at first) and Thor was probably the most horrible brother on the face of the planet. Laughter was frequent, as was smiling, but even through all the alcohol and intoxication, Loki was still upset somewhere inside him, like there was a second heart in his body that pumped the occasional negative through his bloodstream. Of course, Tony was there to be an amazing painkiller, but he was no surgeon and did no permanent removal of this additional organ mutated out of pain.

After Steve’s room grew boring and Loki threatened to fall asleep, Tony dragged him up onto the roof, where they sat Indian-style and watched the party rage on in the backyard, still going strong at eleven-thirty at night.

“I was kind of hoping you’d drive me home,” Loki murmurs, breaking the long, comfortable silence that had persisted for about five minutes between them. He leans against Tony and enjoys the corporeal sensation of a zephyr breezing through the air, blowing against his face and through his hair and on his arms and making him feel alive.

Tony laughs quietly, sliding a pack of Marlboros and a lighter decorated with red and gold stripes out of his jacket pocket. He sticks a cigarette between his teeth, replies around it, “Now? No. It’s only eleven-thirty.” Tony lights his cigarette as he glances at Loki, who lowers his head.

“Only eleven-thirty,” Loki repeats with a trace of bitterness. He yawns softly and leans more into Tony, ignoring the way the smell of tobacco makes him want to cringe away. Tony briefly puffs at his cigarette before plucking it from his lips, exhaling a cloud of smoke, and resting his hand against his knee.

“Plus, I’m crazy drunk, babe,” he adds with a small chuckle, more smoke escaping almost beautifully from between his lips when he does, “Driving under the influence is illegal.”

Loki snorts and coughs softly, feeling goosebumps rising on his arms as he replies, “That hasn’t stopped you from doing it before.” And it’s true; Tony has done more drunk-driving than could be considered normal or average for a person valuing their life and their image. He hasn’t even gotten caught yet, the lucky bastard.

Yeah, but I split a whole bottle of rum with you and then some,” Tony laughs, flicking his cigarette ashes onto the roof beneath him, “That ain’t very promisin’.”

“Whatever,” Loki drawls, moving to stretch his back and yawning again, wider this time, “I’m tired, and I’d really like to just go home and cry forever and ever.”

Now, take a moment to think about what Loki has done ever since he’s arrived here. He’s gotten himself betrayed by his brother and violated by Fandral, he’s had to resist the urge to jump on Steve and/or Emma and just start caving their faces in, he’s holed up in Steve’s bedroom with Tony, gotten terribly drunk when he convinced himself he wouldn’t, had mood swings for a straight hour and a half (and still going), and now he’s sitting on the roof of Steve Rogers’ house, watching the student body of Elysian University make complete, perfect fools of themselves. Worst party ever, and Loki hasn’t even done any actual partying. How about that?

Loki,” Tony whines, bringing his cigarette to his lips for a moment before turning to his friend, scowling, “Aren’t I here? Don’t I make everything better?”

And that makes Loki sad, because he knows how badly Tony wants to do that. He does do that, to an extent, but you can’t cure bipolar disorder, can you? And even though broken hearts are fixable, they usually take time to repair, and Loki’s already made it clear that it’s impossible for Tony to mend glass (his heart) that Thor’s broken, to salvage a horrible painting (again, his heart) that Thor has started. If he did, Loki would end up a Frankenstein, missing all the right pieces that would make him truly whole.

In short, Tony’s a huge part of him, and he’s there, perfectly in place. Thor just needs to follow his example and find where he fits into the puzzle.

“Tony, hush,” Loki whispers, leaning over to kiss his friend, ever the Machiavelli. They’ve been doing that all night, kissing each other. Loki still hasn’t changed his mind, though, despite how much Tony’s been hoping their necking would have caused him to.

Tony hums quietly, and Loki tastes bitter tobacco and sweet alcohol on his lips. It’s weird how it both repulses and intrigues him, draws him in. Tony must notice, because he grins, asks him, “You wanna try it?” and holds up his cigarette. Loki makes a face at the cancer stick.

“It’s unhealthy,” he argues, glancing to the side for a moment when he hears a shrill, lengthy scream from the ground. Loki watches as Clint Barton pours a bucket of ice water all over Betty Ross, laughing obnoxiously the whole time. Bruce Banner, her boyfriend, isn’t looking too pleased with his fellow footballer.

Tony snorts incredulously, catching Loki’s attention again. He’s smirking as he retorts, “I’m unhealthy. You sure do like me, now don’t you?”

Loki rolls his eyes and snatches the cigarette from Tony’s fingers, watching a bit irritably as his friend’s smirk turns into a full-blown grin at the action. He examines the small white stick in his grip like it’s something fascinating and unknown, asking, “How do I do it?”

Tony pulls a bewildered face that is probably the funniest thing Loki’s ever seen (it just looks that way because he’s wasted). “What do you mean, ‘how do I do it’?” Tony questions skeptically.

“Well, I don’t want to start choking and die,” Loki huffs, absently flicking the cigarette and watching the ashes fall to the roof.

Tony makes an expression that obviously says Ooohhhh, moving to sit at an angle to Loki. He props his elbows on his knees and rests his chin in his hands, instructing, “You put it in your mouth and let the smoke collect for a few seconds, and then slowly inhale till your lungs are full. Then you just breathe out,” he stops and grins, “Easy?”

Loki nods a bit, still inspecting the cigarette. He’s a little scared, he’ll admit, but it’s only a one-time thing, right? Plus, he’s in college. He’s allowed to be a little stupid.

“It’s okay to cough,” Tony adds, scratching his temple, “That happens.”

Loki doesn’t reply, instead placing the cigarette between his lips. The end is damp with Tony’s spit, and Loki lids his eyes as he follows his friend’s directions and inhales slowly. Smoke tickles at the back of his throat just shy of uncomfortably. As his lungs expand, he starts to feel dizzy and lightheaded, like the fumes he’s taking in are pushing everything in his head to the side to make room for themselves. Tony is watching him intently, completely transfixed.

And then Loki jerks the cigarette from his mouth, exhaling a large puff of smoke and coughing a bit. The itch in his throat relieves some as Loki sways slightly, holding the cancer stick in his hand away from him and waiting for Tony to take it back. But Tony’s still gazing at him, blinking rarely.

“What?” Loki asks curtly, observing the fumes still fleeing his mouth. Tony smiles, chuckles dumbly.

“That was… extremely attractive,” Tony replies, leaning forward to kiss Loki again. Loki lets him, experimentally breathes smoke between Tony’s lips and grins when his friend groans softly, pleasantly at the gesture.

“When you finally admit your undying love for me, can we shotgun like that more often?” Tony teases, grabbing his cigarette from Loki and sticking it back in his mouth. He looks like he’s getting off on the saliva Loki left on the butt of the stick, and knowing Tony, he probably is.

No,” Loki answers promptly, shivering at the chilliness in the air, “Because even if I ever lose my mind and go out with you, I’m not smoking again.”

Tony pouts around his cigarette and removes it, exhaling smoke in a way that’s impossibly elegant (Loki kind of envies him) and debating/flirting, “But that was so sexy. You’d be a hot smoker.”

“You mean a hot cancer patient?” Loki retorts, raising an eyebrow and smirking a bit as he shudders again, “Yeah, I guess so.”

Tony watches him thoughtfully for a moment before noting, “You’re cold.”

Well, no shit, Tony. Thanks for noticing. (Just kidding; we love him.)

“You know what? I completely agree with you,” Loki sarcastically counters, nodding with exaggerated approval and narrowing his eyes to the snottiest degree. Tony grins, immediately putting his cigarette in his mouth and shrugging off his leather jacket.

“Here,” he says around his cigarette butt, tossing the heavy article of clothing into Loki’s lap. Loki palms the worn black fabric as an angry, cursing cry rings from the backyard. Tony glances over the edge of the roof and laughs at whatever he sees, removing his cigarette and whistling a thin stream of smoke.

“Bruce’s fucking giving it to Clint, man,” he chuckles, crossing his arms and watching the alleged fight taking place. Loki’s not really paying attention, though; he keeps looking between the thin Harley-Davidson t-shirt Tony’s wearing and the leather jacket in his lap.

“Tony, you’re wearing less than me,” Loki points out, gesturing to the dark flannel shirt he’s donning.

“Hm?” Tony says distractedly, glancing up to look at Loki. He quickly realizes what his friend said, though, and shrugs flippantly, shaking his head. “S’fine, man,” he reassures, “I don’t mind.”

That doesn’t stop Loki from feeling like a bitch.

Sighing softly, Loki moves to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with Tony. He slides the man’s jacket around his shoulders, not putting his arms into the sleeves, and rests (albeit sleepily) against Tony once more to share body warmth, or something. He doesn’t want Tony to freeze to death (which is fucking crazy, because it’s September) while he sits around, pampered as can be. No. Just, no.

Almost as if to say thanks, Tony leans into Loki, idly puffing at his cigarette. The two sit silently and watch Bruce and Clint attack each other; the former has Clint in a half nelson, using one of his arms to hold the man in place while he punches the shit out of his face with his free hand (Bruce tends to get really fucking violent when he’s pissed, and a number of people have learned that the hard way when they’d mistaken his scholarly disposition for weakness, never mind that he’s on the football team). Clint is screaming and cussing horribly, but the sound is probably more for the sake of making noise than out of pain. People begin to circle around the brawl, loudly cheering the two competitors on with chanting and fist-pumping.

“Why do they encourage the violence?” Loki asks offhandedly, honestly at a loss for comprehension. Tony gets shit like this better than he does, what with his stronger social standing.

“Because it’s funny,” Tony automatically answers, smoke rushing from his lips as he does. His eyes stay glued to the fight going on in the backyard when Loki looks up at him, face skeptical.

Funny?” Loki questions, his eyes thinning, “What the fuck about watching a human being experiencing pain at the hands of another is funny?”

Tony glances at Loki when he says that, and his expression softens a bit when he sees the genuine distress on his friend’s face.

“Well… funny is probably the wrong word for it,” he amends, bringing his cigarette to his lips for a moment to inhale. Tony pants a gust of acrid smoke, goes on, “Entertaining would be more accurate.”

Loki scowls, watching Tony smoke and continue to survey the nonsense taking place below them. It doesn’t add up at all to him, and truthfully? He’s just a little depressed with the fact that Tony can find amusement in watching his friends fight, even if they are drunk, even if they don’t mean it, and even if they’ll wake up tomorrow and laugh about it.

“I don’t understand, Tony,” Loki says, his voice tired and light, “Why is it entertaining?”

Tony looks at him again, and the way his expression goes through a series of changes lets Loki know that sometimes his friend has to remind himself that Loki’s different from everyone else, that he thinks and feels and wants in a whole new, unusual way.

“It’s like an action movie or a comic book,” Tony eventually replies, “People are drawn to that kinda stuff. I guess it’s just human nature to seek out violence or something.”

Loki makes a muted noise and turns his head to bury his face in Tony’s shoulder, mumbling, “Humans are stupid.”

Tony laughs and catches Loki under his chin with his hand, and Loki doesn’t even stop himself from chuckling when his friend kisses him for the millionth time, says, “That’s not true. You’re just insanely wonderful and smart compared to the rest of us.”

Loki shakes his head and moves to lay across Tony’s lap, faint and feeble with fatigue and intoxication. He peers over the edge of the roof and observes the fight, still carrying on, as he murmurs, “Stop, Tony. I don’t like it when you flatter me like that.”

Because he doesn’t. It’s that sort of customary complimenting shit that friends do with each other that Loki absolutely despises. It’s too common, too much like a tradition or a convention. He enjoys Tony cooing over him, don’t get me wrong, but stuff that sounds like you’d find it on a greeting card or hear it in a movie bothers the living fuck out of him, because it sounds empty and weak. That’s why Loki likes it when Frigga calls him chameleon, but hates it when she addresses him as sweetie pie; why he loves Tony telling him he’s a hot smoker, but loathes the man comparing him to humanity. It’s an individuality thing.

Sorry,” Tony keens, indolently playing with Loki’s dark, silky hair and smoking his cigarette, “Don’t fall asleep, pretty thing.”

Loki laughs quietly and replies, “Wish me luck.” He actually feels like if he blinks too long, he’ll go plummeting helplessly into unconsciousness; that’s how fucking tired he is. Gosh, Tony, just take him home already.

The fight between Bruce and Clint eventually dispels, but not because they’re being pulled apart or have reached a truce. Things just don’t work that way in this horrible, cruel world where everyone relentlessly hates each other.

The reason why the two Elysian Lions momentarily quit their brawling is because everybody at the party suddenly has their undivided attention on Anna Marie Darkhölme (more commonly known as just Marie) and Remy LeBeau (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). The two had previously just been chilling out and minding their own damn business on the trampoline before suddenly, everyone in the near vicinity was practically screaming at them, pointing their fingers and laughing at… at what?

“What happened?” Loki asks, bewildered, as he sits up, squinting his eyes in an attempt to see better. Where people had been clustering around Bruce and Clint before, they’re now crowding over to the trampoline, trapping Marie and Remy on it when they make a human wall surrounding it.

Tony frowns and leans over, trying to see as well. He carelessly flicks his cigarette butt over the edge of the roof, replying, “I have no fucking idea. I thought everyone was watching Clint an–”

“Me too,” Loki cuts him off, ignoring when Tony glowers a bit at him. He’s struggling to distinguish something, to catch a word or two amongst all the yelling, but all he hears is raucous laughter and ugly noise. And then Loki sees Thor and almost starts sobbing uncontrollably (he’s tired and emotional; can you blame him?).

Thor and Steve are unceremoniously shoving their way through the throng of people towards the trampoline, with Emma and (oh my God, Loki will cry before the night is over) Fandral (Fandral) following behind them. It’s a little humorous to watch their journey from an aerial view, because it’s like the people are a bunch of cornstalks in a field and Steve, Thor, and their train (ha, their train) are tractors cutting them down. As soon as the group reaches the trampoline, Steve bends over the edge of it and slaps his hands down on the canvas, shouting loud enough for Loki to hear, “Hey, guys!”

It’s not friendly, the way he says it. You know that deliberately nice, sugar-coated voice people use when they’re being supercilious, perfect assholes? That’s the one Steve used.

Now, let me digress just a little bit to talk about Marie and Remy. Marie is, to be brutally honest, a hard-addicted stoner and one of the toughest girls you’ll ever meet, and she’s only fierce because she’s vulnerable, if that makes any sense. She has merely a few select friends, and honestly, Loki only knows who she is because he’ll occasionally overhear people gossiping about her in his anthropology class. She has a major in anatomy and physiology and a minor in biology, and Loki has heard someone mention that her parents are forcing her into a career in sports medicine, but all she wants is to become a traveling musician or a rockstar or something else unreliable and creative.

Remy is different. Remy is one of the biggest flirts at the university, and not in the nasty, almost-rapist kind of way (uhm, Fandral). He has a visual impairment that makes his eyes super-sensitive to light, so he’s always wearing these iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses for protection, even when it’s dark out (like right now). Loki sees him in the library a whole lot and has even helped him find a book before, so he’s more familiar with Remy, but still a relative stranger. He knows that Remy isn’t satisfied with anything simply by looking at him. He also knows that Remy wants to go home and stay there more than anything.

(What I’m trying to say is: Marie is an outcast and Remy is welcomed by most of the student body. Makes sense?)

That has a little bit to do with why Loki feels a twinge of anger when he hears Steve’s horribly sarcastic, “Hey, guys!” Because he knows what it feels like to disagree with your parents, to want to be something ridiculous and free, to be frustrated and discontent with life, to want to go home. Not to mention the fact that Thor and Steve are probably about to be the biggest fucking douchebags ever.

Loki watches Marie crawl to the edge of the trampoline to get in Steve’s face, and he sees her lips moving, but can’t hear what she’s saying. Steve and Thor start to laugh really loud and obnoxiously in response to whatever she told them, and soon after, everybody around them is cracking the hell up and jeeze, people can be fucking horrible.

“That’s Remy, isn’t it?” Tony asks suddenly, and Loki almost jumps and screams, having momentarily forgotten about his friend (which is a little stupid, since they’re brushing sides).

“Yeah, that’s him,” Loki replies, noting the way Tony is shivering just slightly from the cold. Quickly, because he really doesn’t want to miss anything, he moves behind Tony and wraps his arms around him, peering over his shoulder to see the ground.

Steve says something and the crowd goes silent, but not soon enough for Loki to hear the man’s words. Marie responds quietly, and Loki thinks she’s saying, “Why does it matter to you?”, but he can’t be sure.

“So you are?” Thor blurts out, and Emma giggles at his rear. It’s when Steve and Thor exchange arrogant, grinning expressions, when Marie lowers her head in the face of her challengers’ spiteful laughter, that Loki realizes just what’s so funny to everyone.

Anna Marie Darkhölme and Remy LeBeau are an item, and everybody thinks it hilarious that a prince fell in love with a pauper. Stories like Charles and Diana’s don’t exist in the world of college; here, you stick with those of your own “class” or suffer the consequences.

And here is where we began our lovely story.

Loki glances at Tony, who is watching the scene with a conflicted expression. That really pisses Loki off, to be honest, because he knows that Tony’s not letting himself be truly affected by the events taking place in the backyard for Steve’s sake. Steve can do no wrong and Steve is so perfect and so right and so justified and so everything to Tony, and the fact fills Loki up with so much poison and resentment that he can’t stand it. He knows that if he ever did some of the things Steve pulled off, he’d be disappointed with Tony for not getting angry with him. Honest to God.

“Remy, why her, man?” Thor asks in a booming voice, filled with mirth and malice.

“Yeah, why her?” Steve adds, bumping Thor’s shoulder with a chuckle. He’s looking straight at Marie as he says this and damn, that’s about as cruel as you can get.

Remy moves to kneel beside Marie, a scowl apparent on his face. Loki makes out, “… shouldn’t… to you… your business.” When he mentally fills in the blanks, he imagines that Remy said, “It shouldn’t matter to you; it’s not your business.”

And then Steve says the most terrible thing in response to that. Just, honestly. Loki knew the man could be a total dick, but this was beyond anything he’d ever expected to hear coming out of his mouth.

“Of course it’s our business. Everything’s our business,” Steve laughs. He laughs, like it’s something humorous, something pleasant, something accepted.

The thing is that he says this with such prerogative, as if because he and Thor are so well-known and liked (feared) by most of the students at EU, they automatically deserve to know everything about everybody, and they’re automatically allowed to walk all over lesser beings, and they automatically have permission to tell someone who they are and what they need to do. Just because of their positions at the top of the social ladder, they’re entitled to act like gods. This is what he’s saying, and Loki loathes him and Thor for it. Thor especially.

Tearing Tony’s jacket off, Loki rips away from his friend and bolts for the hatch leading back into the house, stumbling with how drunk (the alcohol in his system is actually starting to wear off) and sleepy he is. Tony calls his name, but Loki doesn’t give a fuck; not one. He just needs to get to Thor.

Loki almost falls as he rushes down the stairs, and thank God he didn’t (if he did, he’d probably have had a nervous breakdown right there in the middle of the floor before he bled to death). Ignoring Tony’s scrambling and yelling after him, begging him to stop, he crosses the living room (which is a lot more vacant than it was before) and hurries outside. Unfortunately, there’s a wall about a thousand feet-thick and composed entirely of laughing, intoxicated human bodies that separates him from Thor. Motherfucker.

Willing himself to be strong (he has to do that a lot these days), Loki starts forcing himself into the crowd, rudely shoving people out of his way and not caring when they glare or curse at him. Here comes that violated, helpless feeling again, gushing its way up inside him every time he touches one more person or gets bumped to the side. About halfway through the mob, Loki starts calling for Thor, hollering his older brother’s name as loud as he can.

It’s a smart decision, because people start moving out of his way a lot easier when he’s in pursuit of their idol. He knows that they only do it because they all want a spectacle, because everyone wants to see what he has to say to the mighty Thor.

Finally, Loki’s hand lands on Thor’s shoulder, and he yanks his brother back to face him. He’s painfully aware that he’s standing right next to Fandral, whose whole universe is suddenly fixated on him now that he’s there.

“Loki?” Thor asks, and he has uncharacteristic shock and what almost looks like relief written all over his face. He staggers back from the force in which his brother pulled at him, questioning, “What’s wrong?”

Loki outright glares at Thor (this one is probably a subzero, level ten stare of death), says in a hard, frozen voice, “Leave them the fuck alone. They didn’t do anything to you.”

A few people laugh behind him, and Loki reins in the urge to round on them and start fucking screaming. Thor looks confused for a moment; again, like it’s surprising that Loki has the gall to defy him or something, and he grins with just a hint of tension. Steve turns to slide his oily self into the situation as Thor chuckles, “What?”

Loki raises an eyebrow just a bit, intimidating, coldly replies, “I said, leave them. The fuck. Alone. You don’t have the right to tell them what to do and who to do it with.”

Nobody laughs this time, and Thor and Steve give Loki equal looks of bemusement. Remy and Marie are peering confusedly at him from behind the two huge jocks, and Loki feels a stitch of angst at the fact that they can’t believe he’s standing up for them, that no one can believe he’s talking back to Thor Skywalker (even though they’re brothers, that’s still totally scandalous).

Eventually, Thor snorts a bit, flippantly shaking his head and moving to stand closer to his brother. There he goes, doing that predator thing again and getting into Loki’s space to threaten him.

“You’re drunk, brother…” Thor starts to say, but Loki abruptly cuts him off.

“Does that mean my words aren’t fucking justified?” Loki snaps, his previously glacial expression molding into something irate and hard, “We’re all drunk, and that means that their feelings don’t matter?”

Tony suddenly rams Fandral to the side, moving to stand next to Loki. He doesn’t dare say anything when his friend fixes him with poisonous emerald eyes, though, because he really does value his life.

Thor’s face takes on a shade of wrath as Steve strolls forward, cool and slick. Loki actually cannot believe that this man is going to defend himself for humiliating two faultless sophomores in front of the rest of the student body.

But, oh! He does believe it, because that’s why everybody loves Steve Rogers; he’s charismatic enough to protect his own seamless image and perfect enough to do it flawlessly. That’s right.

“Listen, Loki, it’s no big deal,” Steve laughs with a grin, smiling easy and persuasive (and what sucks about this is that he doesn’t even know Loki, not really). It’s enough to make a couple of students in the crowd hum their agreement, and did you know that the world sometimes begs for Loki to hate it? It really does.

No big deal?” Loki echoes skeptically, and his face conveys the utmost disgust at Steve’s words. It has Steve faltering for a moment (And seriously, what the fuck? Loki wanted to talk to Thor, my fucking God.) before he’s all smiles and shrugs again, maintaining his perfectly smooth front. Loki wonders if he’s actually reaching Steve; if what he’s saying makes an impression on the man even if he doesn’t show it, or if Steve is really as shallow as Loki thinks he is.

“No. They’re just–” Steve starts to respond, but he doesn’t finish. Loki knows what he was going to say, knows Steve thinks of them as just sophomores, without faces or lives or importance. The only excuse why he himself isn’t a just sophomore is because of Tony and Thor, and fuck, it’s awfully depressing how the two of them have given him practically everything he has here.

The reason why Steve doesn’t finish his sentence is because, in a moment of abnormal violence and complete insanity, Loki is launching himself at the man, grabbing him viciously by the hair and spitting, spitting, in his face. About ninety-nine percent of the people watching have this massive heart attack and gasp, and it’s like all of the air has just been sucked from the atmosphere.

Think about this. Loki spit in Steve Rogers’ face. He spit in Steve Rogers’ face. His saliva touched Steve Rogers’ face. Do you understand the magnitude of this?

Good.

That’s about as far as Loki gets, though (and it’s probably for the best), because Tony’s arms are suddenly around his chest and he’s being yanked away from Steve. He lets out a sharp, furious snarl as Tony hauls him back through the shell-shocked throng of people. Everyone is gaping, totally mindblown, at him, because… well, you know.

The last thing Loki sees before he’s enveloped by the mob is Steve’s impossibly dazed face, the sudden, red-hot anger on Thor’s, and the rueful grins on Remy and Marie’s.

So, instead of being forever known as the sophomore that freaked out and died at Steve Rogers’ homecoming party, Loki will be remembered as the sophomore that freaked out and spit in Steve Rogers’ face at his homecoming party. That’s just a tad awesome, isn’t it?

Eventually, Tony wrestles Loki into his truck, cursing about how stupid and horrible he is and What the fuck is wrong with you? Why would you do that?!.

Loki doesn’t care about all Tony’s freaking out, though. He just wants to get home, fall in bed, and go to sleep.

“I can’t believe you did that, Loki,” Tony says for the millionth time, turning into said man’s neighborhood. Loki sighs softly.

“I’ve heard,” Loki replies in a defeated voice. Most of the fury inside him has died down and been replaced with anguish, which has sent him flying past exhaustion and straight into system-breakdown. He feels like he’s a building caught on fire and collapsing from his interior, unable to support himself, like there’s something inside him that’s been broken off and thrown into the ocean, never to be found. That’s what it’s like after the manic episode of absolute rage is over and the unbearably low period of depression starts.

“All the ridiculous shit you’ve done, and never have you tried something so fuckin–” Tony goes on, shaking his head at the road (which isn’t that smart, because he’s still intoxicated and his vision is already skewed enough).

“Stupid,” Loki finishes, lifting his head (that feels much too heavy) to look at Tony, “I get it, okay? I get it. You love Steve and I spit in his face. Now say something beautiful or shut up before I get out of this car and let you run me the fuck over.” His tone is cracked and fragmented, and his eyes look like these bottomless puddles of green and sadness; dark, tired rings circle them like markings.

Tony grows quiet, and Loki can tell his words hit home like arrows in a target. He watches as Tony turns to look at him, suddenly and horribly sympathetic and drunkdrunkdrunk. Shit.

“Look at the road, Tony,” Loki says, not even finding the strength to scowl. He just stares at his friend and hopes he gets it.

But Tony, being the craziest, most wonderful person Loki knows, stops in the middle of the street and gazes at him, hands resting on the wheel. He frowns, and his eyes get narrow with disbelief.

“You basically just told me you want to die, Loki,” Tony murmurs, holding his eyes. Loki exhales deeply and leans back against his seat, head lolling limply onto his shoulder. Shit, he feels like a goddamn ragdoll.

“It happens,” he groans, “Especially when I go to Steve Rogers’ party and my brother sets me up with his best friend who I fucking hate and you’re drinking and everybody hates me and…” Loki trails off with a small whine, closes his eyes. He hates this part, because it’s when he’s too depressed to even cry that he knows he’s fucked up.

Tony stays silent for a few long moments, and Loki can feel his dark, penetrating eyes on him. When Loki doesn’t continue to speak, the truck starts moving again; thank you. The movement of the vehicle is soothing to him, and he struggles not to fall asleep when he’s so close to home.

After what feels like forever, the truck stops once more and Tony squeezes Loki’s hand, prompting his eyes open. The first thing Loki sees is Tony leaning across the center console, and he allows a small moan to escape him when his friend presses a deep, gentle kiss to his lips.

“Help me inside, or I’m going to hurt myself,” Loki murmurs faintly against Tony’s mouth when the kiss is broken.

“I believe that,” Tony quietly replies, pulling away almost reluctantly to get out of the truck. Loki shakily unbuckles his seat belt, shuddering with fatigue and hunger, and he jumps despite himself when Tony tugs his car door open. Tony scowls at the action.

“Give me your keys,” the man instructs, and Loki feebly digs them out of his pocket and hands them to his friend. He watches as Tony smiles briefly at the Minnie Mouse charm before reaching into the truck and sliding his arms underneath him, one hooked below his knee and the other around his back.

“Hold on,” Tony says. Loki obliges by wrapping his arms around the man’s neck and marginally tightening them when he’s pulled out of his seat. He rests his head against Tony’s neck as his friend bumps the car door closed and carries him bridal-style to his front door. Thank God for Tony.

Loki carefully lowers his feet to the ground when Tony directs him to, and he leans the majority of his weight into the man as Tony quickly unlocks his door.

After that, there’s getting Loki into his house and back to his bedroom, which would be a virtually impossible feat if he didn’t have Tony’s assistance. He lets Tony undress him, rewards him with weak, feathery kisses whenever the man reaches for them. Loki assures Tony that he’ll be fine for the night, though he really has no idea how he’ll keep himself away from his medicine cabinet (never mind how drained and frail he is). He doesn’t even know if he’ll wake up tomorrow, because honestly, Loki feels like as soon as he falls asleep, he won’t be able to come around again for about a millennium (and what’s scary is that that’s a positive thing to him). All of the strength inside him has been squeezed out, like toothpaste.

It’s when Tony is gone and Loki is alone with Fenrir that he spots his phone.