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More Than Just a Season. It's a Feeling.

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***

 

Loki crashed to one knee, hand going up in surrender as he struggled to catch his breath. ‘I yield,’ he grunted, hoping he’d be granted mercy.

‘Come now. Loki, Prince of New Asgard… surely you are made of stronger stuff than that,’ Stephen teased, holding out his hand for Loki to take.

‘I might be if someone hadn’t kept me up for hours last night.’ He shook his head in amusement, taking the offered hand.

Stephen looked over his shoulder at Tony across the courtyard, talking to Peter about something.

‘To be fair, you offered to help him with the experiment,’ Stephen teased as Loki regained his footing, reaching forward to pat off the dust from his clothing as an excuse to look him over.

‘In an attempt to find favour and in the hopes my repayment would end in us tangled in bed.’

‘I thought you both had a ceasefire in your pranks?’ Stephen asked with an arched brow.

Loki couldn’t stop his amused smile. He was truly thankful he had a lover who not only appreciated his mischief but sought to see more. It had started off small between him and Tony, a simple charm to make any item of clothing Tony wore green for the day. The retaliation had been Loki finding his desk and chair stuck to the ceiling of his office in the palace.

He recognised the spell as one of Stephen’s.

Loki had then taken things a step further, charming Tony’s mugs so whenever he poured coffee into them it’d change into bitter tea.

He was signed up for a charity auction where mortals had to audacity to bid for a night with him.

Stephen and Tony had found it hilarious.

More so when the winner turned out to be a rather dreary, elderly women who Loki had to charm and flatter, all the while subjected to Tony sending him images of himself masturbating, calling out for Loki in a wrecked voice, sending suggestions of what he wanted Loki to do with him telepathically, while he had to sit there and play attentive host.

The night had ended with Loki shoving Tony face down in the bed, hand on the back of his head to keep him there, as Loki held his ass in the air with his free hand, plunging his cock over and over into Tony, refusing to let him come until he’d been screaming Loki’s name.

He shifted his stance, ignoring Stephen’s snort of laughter and pointed look at his crotch.

Wandering over to the crumbling steps, Loki took a seat and looked over Kamar-Taj. The bite of winter was in the air, and although the cold did not bother him, Stephen was wearing a long sleeve tunic for his sparring rather than the short-sleeved red one he used in the warmer months, and…

Looking over at Tony, he felt a rush of fondness for his lover, huddled in what he called a hoody. He had the image of him from earlier this morning, wrapped in his blankets, clinging to their body heat.

Dragging his gaze away, he gave the students milling around on the edges of the courtyard a brief glance, watching their fledgling magical skills with a critical eye, wishing not for the first time that something like this had existed in Asgard when he’d been younger. The freedom to practice and learn magic with others, without scorn or ridicule.

Steepling his fingers, he gazed down at them, losing himself in his thoughts. It’d been weeks since Nightmare had invaded Tony’s mind, and although Stephen had to take precautions when going to sleep, things were peaceful. He breathed deep, the crispness of the cold settling in his lungs. It was a peculiar feeling, contentment.

He was loved, wanted, cherished even and he had no desire to be without it ever again. After spending his life chasing after acceptance, he finally had it. There would always be battles to be fought, knowledge to be obtained, but his feelings for Tony and Stephen? That was now an integral part of him, as important as his mischief and magic.

Something is wrong with Tony. Stephen’s thoughts broke into his.

He glanced up. Tony was still speaking to Peter. His stance was relaxed, thumbs hooked into his belt loops, rocking back and forth on his feet with a smile on his face.

Loki stood.

The smile wasn’t real.

What happened? He asked as he made his way around the edge of the courtyard, careful of the students beginning their drills.

I’m not sure, I felt a spike of what felt like…discontent? Unhappiness? Stephen’s frustration washed over their telepathic link.

‘You were supposed to be sparring with us, not wasting time with chit chat,’ Loki admonished as he grew closer to Tony.

‘Sorry, Mr Loki, we were talking about improving the suits and then I got distracted by asking Mr…Tony what he was doing for Christmas and-’

‘Ah, I see. Festivities,’ Loki chuckled, keeping an eye on Tony.

‘You guys celebrate Christmas?’ Peter asked, eyes shining, nose burnt red from the cold.

‘Yes, however our celebrations are probably different from yours,’ he answered, taking his cape from his shoulders and draping it around the child.

‘Yule festivities, isn’t it?’ Stephen asked, coming to stand beside them.

‘It is a celebration of a sort, a wish for good fortune in the coming months, the end of winter, and the rebirth of the sun, with feasting and songs. Is that what you do also?’ Loki had never cared for it, another senseless reason for Asgardians to drink too much, to gorge on food and rut with one another. He’d spent the time studying, learning new spells in the quiet freedom while Thor and his father celebrated with the others.

‘We eat a lot of food, buy each other presents, drink too much…yeah, sounds about the same,’ Peter answered with a laugh.

‘Our version of Christmas is an amalgamation of other religions and cultures, there are bound to be some similarities,’ Stephen spoke, his gaze on Tony who had removed himself from the conversation, eyes glazed, posture stiff with arms crossed over his chest.

‘Oh man, spending time with family, snowball fights, time off from school. It’s great!’ Peter’s voice grew in volume as his excitement increased.

‘There are other meanings to it as well. Charity, selflessness, bringing happiness to others. It’s not just about fun and presents,’ Stephen fixed Peter with a hard stare.

‘I can’t imagine it being something Tony would enjoy celebrating, snow, the cold,’ Loki teased.

‘Hmm,’ Tony made a non-committal noise in return.

Loki saw Stephen shift in his peripheral, both concerned.

Will this be his first celebration since the Decimation? Loki asked.

Five Christmas’s he spent alone.

He could feel the ache Stephen was feeling, the pain at the thought of Tony alone.

‘You stay here with these guys, Underoos. I’ve got some work to take care of, one of you see him home?’ Tony asked quickly, brushing a kiss against Stephen’s cheekbone and then Loki’s.

‘I’ll take you home,’ Loki offered, wanting to ask what was wrong away from listening ears, in the comfort of a safe place.

‘Honestly, Lokes, don’t cut your time short because of me. I’ll ask Wong, don’t stay out too late,’ he ruffled Peter’s hair, practically stumbling over himself to leave their presence.

 

***

 

Loki woke with a start, old terrors plaguing him. Silently, not wanting to disturb his lovers, he pulled himself up from the bed, taking a few minutes to clear the vestiges of his slumber, grounding himself in the land of waking. When fear had released its clutch upon his heart, he slid his hand across the mattress, bumping into Stephen’s ribs. Rubbing his hand over his back, Loki felt the deep and measured breaths. He was asleep, truly asleep, his consciousness not projected in astral form so he could study.

Stephen was at peace.

Tony, however, was gone.

He always slept between them when the three of them shared a bed, and even as Loki checked the other side of the mattress to find it cold, he knew his lover had been gone a while.

‘Why do you never wake us, foolish man,’ Loki cursed under his breath.

Dropping a kiss between Stephen’s shoulder blades, Loki dissolved from the bed, reappearing in his living rooms and looking around.

‘Dear one?’ he called softly.

Only the crashing of the sea outside could be heard. Stretching out his index finger, a small glowing ball of energy appeared at his fingertip. He encouraged it to the ceiling where it hovered, giving him enough light to see by, but not enough to wake a mortal.

His living rooms were empty, no signs of Tony having come through. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on the two charms he had placed. One was burning brightly in the bed he’d left behind, the other was…

‘Why are you in here?’ Loki asked as he appeared in Tony’s workspace.

It was the one thing Tony had asked of him when they began to share his bed, a place where he could work on his inventions if midnight inspiration struck. Tony had his lab in the Avengers Compound, a study in the Sanctum. Loki had gifted him the bedroom he had first stayed in without hesitation, surprised that Tony had thought he would have been denied such a thing.

Despite trying to keep his mood calm and comforting, he felt a spike of rage, his teeth biting into his bottom lip as he thought back to it. Tony refusing to meet his eyes as he asked, cautious, almost afraid.

Loki would find the mortals that had made Tony doubt himself one of these days.

He was sat in the darkness, no holograms in the air, no music blaring as he created his own unique kind of magic, only the cold blue light of his arc reactor illuminating his hunched form. He gave no outward sign that he’d heard, head in his hands, knuckles poking out of his hair, nails digging into his scalp.

‘Tony?’ he whispered, taking a few steps forward, recreating the ball of light from earlier.

Tony glanced over his shoulder, the whites of his eyes streaked with red, the bottom of his eyelids swollen.

‘What ails you?’ Loki was beside him in an instant, crouching on the floor so they were eye level, hands fisting the worn cotton of Tony’s sleeping pants. He would destroy anyone who dared to make Tony feel like this, he would maim, torture…

‘Hey, I’m alright.’ A hand on top of his own made his inner monologue grind to a halt.

‘Yet you look…’

Devastated.

‘Only a bad dream, Loki. Just a helluva bad dream. Get back to bed, Stephen will miss you.’ Tony began to turn in his seat, but Loki halted him with a touch, pulling them both to standing and holding the man close to him.

‘He’ll understand if I’m with you. Do you wish to talk about it?’ He coaxed, cradling Tony’s head into his neck, free hand rubbing soothing circles in his back. He looked exhausted, his body tense and unyielding even as Loki held him close.

‘No,’ Tony muttered, refusing to give in to comfort.

‘You don’t need to pretend with me, to act stro-’

‘I don’t want to talk about it!’

The rebuff shook Loki down to his core.

Is this my doing?

 ‘Tony, I-’

‘Shit. No, don’t apologise, fuck.’ Tony’s arms clutched his back, his face burrowing into Loki’s neck. ‘Sorry, it’s not you, it’s nothing you’ve done, I promise, I’m just… tired and bitchy, don’t pay me any attention.’

He said nothing, returning the embrace, resting his chin on Tony’s head.

‘Come. This is not a place to relax.’ He teleported them back to his living quarters, encouraging Tony to recline on the couch while he flicked his fingers at the fireplace, green sparks catching the kindling and igniting. He could feel eyes on him the entire time he moved around the room, making a hot drink and summoning a blanket.

Tony’s hair was frazzled, caused by hands running through it too many times in frustration. His demeanour was reminiscent of the time Nightmare held him hostage and it made Loki skittish, wanting to help, but unable to.

Setting the drink down on the floor beside the couch, he gingerly sat beside Tony, words tumbling in his mind but nothing of substance that he could use. He considered waking Stephen, knowing that he was better at comfort than he was, that their history might have made it easier for Tony to open up.

As he was formulating a plan, Tony twisted so he was sitting in Loki’s lap, mouthing at the skin of his neck, lips dragging down to his collarbone.

‘Make me forget?’

Fingers knotted in the hair at the back of his neck, harsh enough to bring a sting of pleasure. In contrast, Tony’s lips were tender against his, a far cry from their usual. Tony had always matched his darker passions, liking an edge of dominance and pain in their sexual endeavours.

They suited each other well.

Despite lust burning bright in his veins, Loki knew it was not for tonight.

‘Beloved, nothing tempts me more than you, but I will have to decline,’ Loki whispered, pressing his index and middle finger to Tony’s mouth.

‘Turning me down?’ Tony dragged his tongue over his fingers, grinding down on Loki’s lap.

‘This is not what you need,’ he refused, despite his body straining under Tony’s.

‘I always need you,’ he growled, struggling against Loki’s hold.

‘What you need is sleep.’ He remained firm, not giving into temptation. ‘Sit beside me instead.’ He lifted him with hands to his waist, dragging over the blanket he had summoned earlier, tucking it over Tony’s lap and then reaching down and picking up the mug.

 ‘Here, drink this, it will help you sleep.’

‘This is tea,’ Tony muttered in disgust.

‘Indeed. Drink it.’ Loki settled next to him, arm over Tony’s shoulders.

‘How do I know you’re not going to use magic on me to make me fall asleep?’ Tony challenged, drinking the tea and pulling a face.

‘Because of my word that I would not use magic on you without your permission,’ he answered, hand coming up to stroke over Tony’s head, fingers rubbing over the back of his neck, lulling him back into slumber. He caught the mug as it tumbled from his hand, chuckling as he felt Tony slump against him. ‘I did not say anything about natural remedies to help you sleep. Rest, beloved. I will guard you from your dreams.’

‘Chea…ting,’ Tony burrowed closer.

‘I apologise for nothing,’ Loki smiled, conjuring his book to keep him company for the rest of the night.

 

***

 

Even after that night, Tony still wasn’t forthcoming about what was plaguing his dreams. Stephen had checked to make sure there were no residual fragments of Nightmare, he’d spoken to Banner while Loki had asked Peter (covertly) if anything was bothering their lover. There was nothing.

It had been a week since they’d last shared a night together, Stephen busy with his duties as Sorcerer Supreme and, according to Peter, Tony was working on a secret project. He’d said it with such a gleeful smile on his face that they’d instantly known what was happening.

Tony was crafting presents for them.

The idea that Tony was thinking of something to gift them made Loki rethink Yuletide festivity. Despite Loki already claiming them, he knew that gift-giving was an important part of the Midgardian holiday of Christmas.

It led him to daydreaming in meetings with Thor, distracting him from his studies, barely listening to diplomats from other realms.

‘What holds your attention, Loki?’ Thor asked him one evening, picking up another Pop Tart from the plate in front of them.

‘Yule,’ Loki answered absently.

‘Ah, I too have been thinking about the Yule festivities,’ Thor’s voice rumbled, offering Loki the plate of food. He glanced down, pulling one from the pile and breaking a piece off before placing it in his mouth.

Not bad.

‘What are your thoughts?’ Loki inquired, bringing his attention back to their kitchen in the palace, berating himself for not paying attention in the first place. It wasn’t often he and Thor spent time alone, both with their different duties and Loki’s demanding lovers.

Well.

That wasn’t fair to Stephen.

His lips curved in a smile.

‘It is our first Yule celebration since Ragnarok, since Thanos. I believe it will do much to raise our people’s spirits to have a celebration in the Great Hall, for all Asgardians. What are your thoughts?’

He felt a warm flush in his chest towards his brother. Thor was king, yet he still sought his advice, he trusted Loki enough once more to seek his council.

‘I think that it would do much to bolster the spirits of our people. Maybe time spent with their families during the day, and a celebration in the evening…’ Loki crossed his arms over his chest as he thought. ‘I did not participate in the Yule festivities, but I remember a week’s grace from yours and father’s celebration,’ he shot a smile at Thor to lessen any offence he might have taken from the words.

‘A way of keeping both our heritage and merging with the Midgardians, excellent idea! A week of hunting, tournaments and feasting!’  Thor leant forward in his seat, excitement colouring his cheeks. ‘What if we did it the week leading up to the Midgardian festival of Christmas?’

Loki did the calculations in his head. ‘They celebrate Christmas on the twenty- fifth, so the eve is the twenty-fourth…if we started our celebrations on say the sixteenth?’ A week of celebration finishing before the eve of their celebrations.’

‘Then let it be done. I must say…I’ve never seen you excited about Yule, it makes me glad.’

‘I’ve never had anyone to share it with…ah, forgive me, that is not-’

Thor waved his apologies off.

‘I know what you meant. Will your loved ones be joining us for the festivities? I remember one such Christmas at the Avengers Compound, Tony… he knows how to celebrate.’

‘You’ve been with Tony at Christmas?’ Loki drained his forgotten chamomile tea, eager for details.

‘Only the once, before…’ Thor trailed off, frowning.

‘Before?’ Loki prompted.

‘Before the team was torn apart and then Thanos set upon us.’

They fell silent, staring at the table between them.

‘It was…an amazing time,’ Thor whispered. ‘Not unlike my time spent with the Warriors Three, they were my comrades in arms, my brothers. It was a night of friendship, the celebration of life. Tony… I do not think I have ever seen him smile so much as I had that day.’

He had underestimated how important this festival was to Tony. The man hadn’t brought it up, possibly because he believed Loki would not understand the importance of such an event.

‘Bring him to our celebrations, him and Stephen both. Long before you cared for him, I too cared for Tony Stark. He was my partner in battle, my friend. My heart aches when I think of those years he spent alone while I was here…’ Thor trailed off, eyes closing in pain.

‘Do not punish yourself. We all had our demons in those terrible years, our own ways of surviving. Tony does not blame you for it.’

‘I blame myself for it.’

 

***

 

‘Hey, Lo. Haven’t heard from you in a while, everything alright?’ Tony asked as soon as Loki materialised in his cabin. Despite his wariness that his partners might be irritated due to his absence, Tony made space for him easily enough.

He plucked Tony’s tablet from his hand, chucking it onto the other couch and picking the man up, settling down with him in his lap.

‘Everything is fine, I’ve been preoccupied with Thor. Where’s Stephen?’

‘Kitchen, it was his turn to do the dishes. Have you eaten? Do you want a drink?’ Despite the offer, Tony rested his head on Loki’s shoulder, unwilling to move.

‘A tea, if it’s not a hardship to you, lazy one,’ Loki jabbed him in the rib.

‘Course not. Stephen! Loki wants tea! See, simple,’ he grinned kissing him.

‘That is cheating,’ Loki mumbled when they broke away.

‘You’re the sneaky, cheating one, not me. Spiking my tea to make me sleep, honestly…’ Tony continued mumbling to himself as he got off, snatching his tablet back up and settling on the other couch.

‘You bellowed?’ Stephen drawled from the doorway, mug in hand.

Loki pointed at Tony as the other man pointed at him.

‘Hmm, well I’ve made one hot chocolate, and it was meant to be for Tony…’ the man in question sat up, hands grabby as he reached out. ‘But I think someone needs to learn some manners first.’ He gave it to Loki. ‘You know where the kitchen is,’ he smirked sitting beside Loki.

‘Traitors, both of you,’ Tony growled before storming to the kitchen.

‘What did you say this was?’ Loki asked, looking down at the creamy liquid.

‘Hot chocolate, you’ll like it with that sweet tooth of yours,’ Stephen smirked, resting his arm over the back of the couch and angling his body toward him.

‘Is this where you’ve taken a leaf out of my book and substituted it for something I don’t like?’ Loki eyed it sceptically.

‘No. I promise, I’m Switzerland in this prank war of yours…neutral, means I’m neutral, drink it.’

Loki did, coughing a little in surprise at the pleasant taste hitting his tongue. The liquid was thick, sweet and settled satisfyingly in his stomach.

‘Told you,’ Stephen brushed his hair behind his ear, his touch lingering on Loki’s neck. After drinking some more, he placed it on the coffee table, turning to face Stephen and gesturing for his hand.

‘You are shaking more than normal. What happened?’

‘Interdimensional threat, you know, usual day in the office.’ Hesitating for only a moment, he gave his hand to Loki. Not using enough pressure to hurt, but enough to smooth the tension from Stephen’s long fingers, he rubbed over the muscles. As he worked, his magic probed Stephen’s body subtly, seeking out any injuries.

‘What’ve you been up to? You’ve been quiet,’ Stephen asked, groaning as Loki soothed a sore spot on his palm.

‘That’s what I said…You okay, Doc? You didn’t say your hands were hurting.’ Tony’s mug thunked on the coffee table beside Loki’s, chocolate spilling over the sides. 

‘I’m fine, just excessive use of magic.’ His gaze flickered down once to where Tony sat on the floor, resting his chin on Stephen’s knees and giving Loki his full attention.

‘I have not meant to be absent. Thor and I had the idea of reinstating Asgardian Yule tradition of a week of celebration, hunting, fighting tournaments, to conclude before your holiday of Christmas Eve,’ he explained, switching Stephen’s hand, smiling as he saw Tony link their fingers.

‘A way of merging the two holidays, good idea. So, that’s what you’ve been busy with?’

‘Yes. I was wondering if you both would join me for part of it.’

‘Stephen will, the guy loves Christmas,’ Tony laughed, saluting him with a mug, Loki’s stolen hot chocolate. ‘That’s right, Wong ratted you out, Doc,’ he snorted into the drink.

Stephen’s cheekbones flushed pink and he fixed Tony with an annoyed glare.

‘You…love Christmas?’ Loki encouraged.

The sorcerer breathed out deeply through his nose, crossing his arms over his chest.

‘You say it like it’s a bad thing,’ he grumbled.

‘Not at all. It is as you said, a time for family, snowball fights, fun and presents,’ Loki parroted back what Peter had told them.

‘Bringing happiness to others,’ Stephen corrected, ‘but yes, those as well. I can attend some of it, depending on the safety of the Sanctum and Wong. When are you starting the festivities?’

‘The sixteenth-’

Loki broke off as Tony dropped his drink over himself, swearing and hopping around the room as the liquid burnt him.

Stephen was quicker than he was, removing the shirt from Tony’s body with a spell and checking him for any damage.

‘Are you harmed?’ Loki asked, watching as Stephen’s hands carefully probed.

‘No. Shit, I’m not normally clumsy.’

‘No… you’re not. It didn’t burn you. Be more careful, douchebag.’

‘Yeah, yeah, I’m gonna go shower, then I need to do some work. I’ll see you guys later.’

‘Will you be coming too?’ Loki stood as Tony rushed from the room.

‘I don’t know if I’ll have time. I’ll talk to Pepper about the events we have with Stark Industries, try and move some of them. Try not to be a stranger, Loki.’

Loki was left staring after him, trying not to let Tony’s gentle rebuff hurt. They all had busy lives, demands on their time, people depending on them.

But still.

‘It’s difficult, not to ask him outright, for me to pry into his emotions but-’

‘It’ll destroy whatever fragile trust he has in magic. I know. I have not pressured him into talking, I had hoped he would come to us.’ Loki sighed, hanging his head.

‘Whatever’s going on with Tony, he obviously needs to deal with it alone.’ Loki felt the warmth at his back, Stephen’s arms wrapping around his waist.

‘We spoke of communication, trust in this relationship. Nightmare is gone and yet I feel on the edges, that he does not trust us enough,’ Loki whispered, overlapping Stephen’s arms with his own.

‘I don’t think that’s it. He’s always been closed off about things bothering him. Give him time, he’ll talk to us when he’s ready.’

 

***

 

Loki’s breath was a smoky exhale as he waited with Stephen on a street outside the bar. There wasn’t snow here yet like in Norway, but there was frost clinging to the bare spindly branches of the trees.

 He’d already tried to barge in, twice, but both times Stephen had held him back, asking him to wait. He could hear the music from inside vibrating through the air, the door swinging open a few times for giggling girls to fall through, giving him a look over, wondering if they recognised him.

One or two had looked at Stephen, wearing Midgardian clothing instead of his usual sorcerer tunic, one offering a brazen smile at his lover.

It set him on edge, his teeth grinding together as he waited for Stephen to reciprocate the looks, the flirtatious smiles. Blue eyes didn’t acknowledge any of it, fixed firmly on the door, waiting. It soothed Loki somewhat, but the unknown of what state Tony was in, the place he was in made his insecurities rise.

He'd received Stephen’s frantic telepathic message only a few minutes ago, abandoning his task of monitoring the royal guards training, to meet with him.

Stephen had received a phone call, alerting him that Tony was drunk in a bar.

That wasn’t the problem.

It was who he was drinking with.

‘Calm,’ Stephen demanded, clutching his wrist. Loki looked down to where his magic was beginning to curl around his fingers. ‘We don’t know what’s going on. Let’s hold off on our judgement.’

Loki was furious, with a half a mind to simply leave Tony there. If he was going to be childish enough to put himself in this position, then he could get himself out of it.

The door opened and out came Barnes, half dragging, half carrying Tony came out.

Loki didn’t know much about this particular mortal from Tony’s merry band. He knew that there had been a fall out, and that Barnes had stood with his friend Steve Rogers (a mortal Loki had never been able to stomach).

Oh, and that he was responsible for murdering Tony’s parents.

Unable to help the Jotun growl in his chest, he stalked forward, not stopped by Stephen this time. He snatched Tony from his grip, gathering him into his arms with one arm underneath his legs and the other across his back.

‘Why the hell are you here?’ Stephen barked.

‘Easy, man alright. I didn’t realise he was doubling up on me until he started slurring his words.’ Barnes drawled, concerned gaze drifting to the man in Loki’s arms. It set off every protective instinct Loki had and he bared his teeth, teleporting them both far away from the situation.

He didn’t wait for Stephen to join them, trusting him to deal with the intruder.

‘Explain yourself!’ He snapped, rolling Tony from his arms and onto Stephen’s bed, glaring down at him.

‘Christ! Don’t do that,’ Tony moaned, cradling his head in his hands. He looked awful, ill and wrung out.

 ‘Loki,’ Stephen warned, portal closing behind him.

‘No! We’ve been skirting around this long enough. We promised communication in this relationship of ours!’

Truly, Loki couldn’t recall a time he’d been this furious with another. How dare Tony seek counsel from another and not his partners. How dare he shut them out of his life. His neck and shoulders were rigid with fury, his teeth clenched to prevent any spiteful words escaping.

‘Communication,’ Tony scoffed, laughing manically and spreading out on the bed. ‘When you’ve been so busy planning your little Christmas party for the Asgardians.’ He said it with such scorn, that it made Loki unfurl his fists, coming closer to Tony on the bed.

‘Is that the reason for your behaviour recently? Petty jealousy because you haven’t been the sole focus of my attention?’

‘Sole focus? Loki you’ve been distant for days now, not responding to us, missing our dates!’ Tony’s voice went hoarse from his shout.

‘You know how important this is. To me. To my people. I am their prince. I have to be there for them.’ The pressure of suppressing his rage, his hurt at Tony began to bubble over, turning vile and sitting at the back of his throat.

‘That’s me. Selfish prick who wants to spend Christmas just the three of us rather than sharing you with thousands of others.’ Tony flung his arm over his eyes.

‘You speak of not wanting to share me…you who speaks to another about your problems.’

‘Save it, I don’t have time for your possessive crap tonight, I don’t have to explain myself to you,’ Tony mumbled from underneath his arm.

‘But you can to the one who slaughtered your parents?’ His rage, his jealousy was evident with each malicious word.

‘Stop it. Both of you!’ Stephen demanded.

‘Defending him. Why am I not surprised? Even when he is showing us the reason he was considered selfish, his actions atrocious-’

‘Leave then,’ Tony snarled, sitting up in the bed and glaring at him. ‘You’re never here anyway, so go!’

The depth of the anger in those brown eyes, usually filled with warmth and humour, pierced through his rage, wounding him.

He said nothing further, teleporting away with his feelings of hurt and betrayal.

Loki should be well used to such things by now.

 

***

 

He refused to give in.

Tony was at fault here, not him.

No messages of apology were given, by either of his partners. Once, in a moment of weakness a few days ago, he had checked on his bond with Tony, only finding fury and hurt radiating from it.

The silence from Stephen hurt.

Shoving it all to one side, he accepted another drink from a strikingly pretty woman, not objecting when she sat beside him, engaging him in conversation.

It didn’t stop the pain.

The first day of Yule festivities.

And he was miserable.

‘Is something on your mind, my prince?’ she asked carefully, eyes soft with concern.

Looking down into his tankard, he studied his reflection in the amber ale.

‘I fought…with someone I care about,’ he hesitantly spoke.

‘King Thor?’

They looked at Thor in the middle of a raucous song, cheeks ruddy, a grin on his face. Despite his melancholy, he smiled, glad that one of them was enjoying themselves, that the festivities had done what they sat out to do, bringing all of their people together in the hall for the evening before the first tournament in the morning.

Loki, I need to see you. Now.

Stephen’s voice thundered in his head.

Of course Stephen would demand his attention now, when he knew Loki to be busy with his people.

It’s important. The voice was urgent.

Panic spiked in his gut and he got to his feet, reaching out with his magic to Tony, checking on him.

The anger was still there, but it had simmered down, leaving behind pain. An old, festering wound.

How had he overlooked that?

He saw a flash of orange out of the corner of his eye, and he was moving towards it without sparing a thought to the woman he’d been speaking with.

‘What’s wrong? Are you injured? Is there a battle?’ he demanded as soon as he got close, looking Stephen over.

‘I know what’s wrong… with Tony…what’s wrong with Tony.’

‘I thought more of you than that, charlatan,’ Loki hissed, the affectionate nickname reverting back to his earlier scornful one. ‘If he wishes to apologise, then he can explain himself. My time is-’ Loki stopped, looking down at the phone Stephen shoved into his eye-line.

‘That is…’

‘A newspaper article. It was today. Tony’s parents were murdered on the sixteenth of December.’

All his indignation, his anger flowed through his body, pooling in his feet and then washing away. He carefully cradled the phone, finger swiping over the screen like they’d taught him, reading the article, mouth drying when he saw the distraught picture they had taken of a young Tony when he had found out.

Oh, beloved.

‘Why hasn’t he told us?’ Loki whispered.

‘Because he wouldn’t have wanted to ruin things for us,’ Stephen sounded pained.

The celebration melted into the background. Loki understood, everything clicking into place. On the day of his mother’s death, he liked to hide away from everyone, to grieve on his own, his moods erratic as he tried to come to terms with his guilt, his loss.

‘He never really spoke to me about his parents. I didn’t know the date of when it happened, only how betrayed he felt when he found out who was behind it and Rogers hiding the information from him. It was him seeing Barnes that made me think about it having something to do with his parents…but then I had to defend the Sanctum, and-’

‘Stop.’ Loki shushed him with a kiss. ‘This is not your fault. The bad dreams he’s been having, it is probably because of the time of year it is,’ Loki carried on. ‘This is why he has been withdrawing from us.’

‘Stay with your people, I’ll go to him. I’ll get Wong to mind the Sanctum.’

‘No.’ Loki decided, thrusting Stephen’s phone back at him and clutching his wrist to drag him forward. ‘Thor.’ The tone of his voice captured his brother’s attention immediately, pulling away from his friends to stand beside Loki.

‘What is it?’ he asked, immediately alert for threat.

‘I must go. Tony needs me.’

‘Is he hurt?’

‘No, not injured. Yule is important for our people, but it is also important to the Midgardians, as a time for family.’

Loki held Thor’s gaze, his hand moving from Stephen’s wrist to grasp his hand.

‘My… family needs me.’

Thor was silent for a few moments.

‘I understand. I wish I could join you…’

‘One of us must remain with our people, I understand. Tony will too.’

‘Look after him well.’ Thor clapped Loki on the shoulder and then Stephen, squeezing once.

‘Loki, this is important to you. I can go, as much as he’s been angry, he wouldn’t want you to-’

‘I am their prince, that will always be the truth. But there is nothing more important to me than you both. Let us go.’

 

***

 

He was always hesitant to appear in either of their personal spaces without warning, wanting to respect boundaries. At this moment in time the need to see Tony outweighed their established rules of privacy. Using their bond to tether his teleportation, they appeared at Tony’s lab in the Avengers Compound, wincing at the music blaring louder than usual.

‘FRIDAY, lower the volume by half, would you?’ Stephen grunted, looking around for their partner.

‘For the last time, Bruce! I’ve told you I don’t want to talk about it, so either get on with your work or go somewhere else!’ Tony shouted from underneath a car.

Loki had been looking underneath the desks, knowing that Tony sometimes liked to power nap beneath them despite the noise level. One time he had found him with paper strewn all over the floor, hissing an order not to stand on anything, a stressed, beautiful Tony in the midst of creation.

He got to the vehicle faster than Stephen could move, hooking the rolling board Tony was laying on with his foot, dragging him away from his work.

‘What the fuck-’

The anger melted from Tony’s expression as he gazed up at Loki, hardly daring to believe before his gaze turned hard, teeth gritted.

‘I don’t have anything to say-’

‘We know what today is,’ Loki told him.

‘Save it. I’m not in the mood, go back to your party or whatever the fuck it was you were doing and leave me alone.’ Tony attempted to disappear under the car, but a lasso of eldritch magic caught around his foot, yanking him out further.

‘Why didn’t you say anything?’ Loki could hear the undercurrent of fire in Stephen’s voice, threatening to erupt.

‘Nothing to say. I’m a selfish prick, we’ve established that, now go!’ Tony kicked at the magic restraining his ankle, a stream of curse words babbling from his mouth as Stephen didn’t release him.

He leapt to his feet, kicking the rolling board away from him, and getting in Stephen’s face.

‘Let me go, or I swear to God I’ll-’

‘Stop!’ Loki shouted, startling them. He grabbed a fistful of Tony’s shirt, ignoring the way he flinched, the way his eyes went wide. ‘Stop,’ he said again, voice tender as he held Tony to his chest, not reacting at the struggles, the pushes to his chest.

Loki understood now, saw what the behaviour the last few weeks had been about. They were alike, he and Tony, pushing away those they loved when times were tough, unable to handle grief or loss well. He recognised Tony’s struggles against him now for what they were, half-hearted, desperate to be held, but unwilling to succumb, his pride, his self-preservation not allowing him to express himself in any other way but anger.

Stephen’s gaze was gentle as he watched Tony grow still in his arms, his attempts to push Loki away transforming into anguish, hands fisting in Loki’s tunic, Tony’s shoulders shaking.

‘Sweetheart…’ he whispered, coming closer, wrapping his arms around them, resting his head besides Tony’s.

‘I hate Christmas,’ Tony spoke into Loki’s chest. ‘I hated my father, despised him, but…mom,’ his voice broke. ‘I had to go through that Christmas alone. People were there, business associates, distant family members…but I was on my own.’

Tony’s knuckles turned white.

‘It got better as the years went on, until Steve and Bucky lied to me, until my whole team tore apart, until you were all turned to dust, and it was just me.’

Tony looked up at Loki, fury radiating from him despite his eyes shining with tears.

‘I didn’t speak to Barnes about my problems. He was at the graveyard when I went to visit her, apologising for something he’d done while brainwashed. Fucking hilarious isn’t it? I can forgive someone who murdered under Thanos’s mind wash, but not Bucky,’ he spat the name.

Loki took the brunt of his anger, not releasing him, despite the words hurting.

‘That’s what I tried to do, to forgive him, took him drinking with me, thought maybe I could let the past rest.’

‘Did it help?’ Loki asked softly.

He didn’t answer, burrowing against Loki’s chest. He could feel dampness seeping through to his collarbone.

‘I didn’t want my negativity to infect you, our relationship,’ he suddenly whispered. ‘You guys already had to put up with me being infected with Nightmare, the strain that put on you both, I didn’t want to burden you again.’

‘Tony,’ Stephen pulled his head up, gaze imploring Loki to do something.

‘I warned both of you, I’m useless at this, at relationships. I know how important these celebrations were to the Asgardians, Lokes, you guys deserve it, but I…I can’t. Maybe in a few years, but-’

‘Hush,’ Loki silenced him, ‘You have nothing to say sorry for.’

‘You did warn us you were emotionally constipated,’ Stephen sighed, nuzzling his nose beside Tony’s ear. ‘Just tell us how you’re feeling. Don’t worry about the negative impacts, or being a burden, we’re here for you.’

‘Lo?’ Tony’s voice was pained. ‘I’m sorry, don’t go anywhere.’ The hands fisting into his tunic turned painful, but he endured it, holding Tony closer.

‘I’m not angry with you. You’re my mortal, nothing, not even death will take you from me.’

‘I miss her,’ Tony choked out. ‘I know it was years ago…but God…I miss her.’

Stephen shifted to rub a hand down Tony’s back, his reassuring words of comfort mirrored by the ones promised next to Tony’s ear. They held the man they loved as he broke.

 

***

 

Yule…Christmas was a time for giving gifts, for being selfless and for family.

Loki appeared in Stephen’s bedroom at the Sanctum, taking a moment to watch them sleeping. Tony’s face squashed against Stephen’s chest, the taller man curved around him, arms keeping him close. He knew that even in sleep, if he joined them on the bed, they would accommodate him, but for now, he watched them.

He hadn’t seen them since the sixteenth. He had remained in contact, encouraging them to spend time together and not correcting their assumptions that he was spending time with his people.

Hopefully, today would be another step in healing the hurt in Tony’s heart.

Kneeling on the bed beside Tony, he ran his lips over the hair covering his jaw.

‘Lo?’ Tony mumbled, voice drowsy with sleep.

Loki hummed in agreement, tongue trailing over the cartilage of Tony’s throat.

‘Why ‘ere?’

‘I wanted to see you both on a day that holds such importance to you,’ he whispered, kissing the hinge of Tony’s jaw.

‘What about the Asgardians?’ Stephen’s husky voice asked, fingers trailing over his arms.

‘They can spare me for an hour. Come, let us go downstairs,’ Loki stretched over to give Stephen a kiss, groaning into his mouth as Tony shifted beneath him, wrapping his legs around Loki’s waist and thrusting up in a lazy, sleepy grind.

‘Can’t we spend it in bed? I don’t remember the last time we fucked and that means it’s been too long,’ Tony rolled, trapping Loki between them. He was at their mercy, two sets of hips thrusting against him, sweeping him away with their slow, indulgent movements. He moaned as Tony took his lower lip into his mouth and sucked, slipping his hands under Loki’s tunic.

‘It’s Christmas day after all,’ Stephen coaxed, hands skimming across his back, kissing his neck.

It had been long. Far too long.

He slipped his thigh between Tony’s legs, dragging him closer, encouraging him to rut against him, reaching a hand back to tangle in Stephen’s silver streaked hair, demanding attention to his neck which the sorcerer happily complied, biting into the flesh of Loki’s neck with a deep groan.

No. Not now.

Loki teleported from the bed, panting, cock painfully hard.

‘Another time, darlings.’

‘Loki?’ Tony reared up in alarm, wrong-footed. ‘What’s wrong? Is everything alright?’

Stephen sat up beside him, cheeks flushed, eyes also wide with concern.

‘I am well, but please, I need to speak with you both downstairs. Take a moment to cool down and join me.’ He disappeared to wait downstairs, feeling guilty for scaring them both, but he needed them to do as he said.

He leant against the back of the couch as he waited, praying to the Norns that he hadn’t messed this up, that what he was about to do would be well received.

Tony opened the door from the corridor first.

The wonder in his eyes was worth everything.

‘Surprise! Merry Christmas!’

He looked shocked, completely open and surprised. His mouth slowly curved in a smile as he saw those waiting for him, taking a trembling step like he was unable to believe it.

His gaze met Loki’s and he felt himself burn with happiness.

You did this for me?

For both of you. Yule wishes to you both. He sent the thought to them both, smiling as he watched Stephen shove Tony gently aside, a wide smile spreading across his face.

In the limited days he had, Loki had managed to meet with everyone Tony and Stephen considered family, describing to them what it was he wanted to do.

None had disappointed him.

Peter swooped down from the ceiling, straight for Tony who managed to catch him out of reflex, spinning the child around with giddy laughter.

‘You look shocked! Did you honestly not know Mr Loki was planning this?’ Peter laughed as Tony set him down, dragging the man over to the colourful tree his aunt had insisted to Loki that they needed, echoed by Banner and Wong.

‘No…Although I should have expected the God of Lies to be able to keep things well hidden,’ Tony grinned as he sat, reaching over to kiss Pepper on the cheek as she sat next to him.

Surprisingly, Loki felt no jealousy as he watched, not even when Stephen gave his friend a hug and a kiss of her own. No bitterness, no vengeance.

He was truly happy to have given them both this.

Thor and Rhodey watched him, both reclining their heads towards him in gratitude.

‘Presents!’ Peter crowed.

‘We spoke about this.’ Stephen began.’ Christmas is not just about-’

‘Presents!’ Tony shouted.

***

 

‘Hey…Lorea was it?’ The woman teased as she approached. Christine. Her name was Christine.

He was standing beside the odd-shaped window of the Sanctum, giving himself a few moments to think after the whirlwind excitement of the day.

‘Pleased to meet you, properly this time,’ he shifted the glass of wine in his hand so he could offer his hand to shake, pulling her forward at the last moment and kissing the back of her knuckles.

‘I can see why he fell for you,’ she smiled, pink dusting her cheeks. ‘You did a great thing here today. I don’t remember the last time I saw Stephen smiling like that.’ Together they looked at Stephen sat on the couch, the Cloak trying to place a red hat with a white pom-pom on his head, the man waving it away in feigned annoyance.

‘It was worth it to see them happy, both of them.’ Loki found himself smiling as his gaze went to Tony, playing on the games device with Peter and Banner, yelling in victory as he was triumphant once again.

The day had been nothing short of wonderful. They’d shared stories, feasted on snacks until Loki felt almost sick. Wong had decorated the Sanctum as his role in all of this, and all of them had fun at pushing Loki underneath a plant called mistletoe with either Tony or Stephen.

He drank from his glass, burning the image of the ones he loved with the ones they loved, the image hazy from all the multi-coloured lights crisscrossing the ceiling, the glittering material they called tinsel seeming to reflect the room’s happiness.

Loki hadn’t been expecting gifts. Stephen had, in an act of uncharacteristic shyness, passed him several wrapped books, additions to Loki’s rapidly growing pile Midgardian classic literature, (which he was secretly enjoying but wouldn’t admit). Then a smaller, rectangle box. It was a frame, a picture of Stephen and Loki asleep propping the other up, Tony draped across their laps.

‘FRIDAY took it for me. I thought you might want it on your desk in the palace, I’ve got a copy at Kamar-Taj and-’

He silenced Stephen’s rambling with a kiss.

Not to be outdone, Tony had then shoved several packages in his arms.

Midgardian clothing.

‘To fit in with our culture, plus you’ll look damn hot!’ he’d told Loki with a wink.

He’d been gifted new shirts of different sleeve lengths in different shades of green. There were also softer shorter black T-shirts with logos and words printed.

Everyone but he and Thor laughed at the one with Mischief Maker stamped across black material in gold letters, and even Stephen laughed until his eyes watered at the one that proclaimed that he solemnly swore he was up to no good.

Mortals.

They were ridiculous, but it was worth it all to see how happy they both were.

‘Stephen always loved the holiday season. He’d deny it of course, but I could see the sparkle in his eyes when it rolled around.’ She sipped her hot chocolate, gaze going distant as she looked out of the window.

‘What was he like?’ Loki asked quietly. He knew of the accident, his role as a healer from when he’d done some brief investigating about the man when he thought they were rivals, but he didn’t know much of the time before.

‘Hard working, determined, impossibly arrogant,’ she snorted into her drink, ‘but underneath all that, he’s always wanted to save people, to help them. When he operated on a patient, he would see it through until the end, until their health was completely back to normal…as the years went on though, that core part of who he was became secondary to his desire to be the best.’

Loki looked back into the room to where his partners were now standing, discussing something in hushed, secretive voices away from the celebration.

Honestly. Stephen did look ridiculous in that hat.

‘After the accident…’ she trailed off, lost in thought. ‘I never thought we’d see him again. He was broken, in pain, lashing out at anyone close to him. I might not understand any of this,’ she gestured around the Sanctum with her hand, ‘but, it’s brought him back to the man I used to know. The Stephen Strange who wanted to heal people.’

He felt the tiniest bit guilty. Stephen was the strongest out of the three of them, their grounding force. Loki on occasion forgetting that he too had his share of horrors and pain. He was unwavering in his dedication to them, supporting them both.

To hear from Christine that Stephen too had struggled…

They were all broken in some way, perhaps that was why they needed each other, their fragments making a whole.

 

***

 

After he and Stephen had finished returning all of their guests to their places of residence for the night, they reappeared at the Sanctum, watching Tony talking to the Cloak as he cleaned up the mess from the festivities.

Stephen held him back as he went to call out a greeting, watching Tony with fondness as they moved around, the Cloak holding the rubbish bag as Tony tossed pieces of wrapping paper towards it, the two of them making it into a game.

‘Ready for another surprise?’ Loki whispered.

‘I’m not sure how you’re going to be able to top this. Thank you, for today,’ Stephen wrapped an arm around his waist, leaning his weight into him.

‘Hey! No having secret hugs without me!’ Tony yelled having spotted them, lobbing a piece of wrapping paper at their heads.

‘Come here,’ Loki asked, laughing as the Cloak wrapped itself over Tony’s shoulders, floating him over. As soon as they were within reach, Loki teleported them all to Tony’s cabin.

The candles he’d prepared earlier flickered into life, casting an amber glow across the living room. He hid his smirk as Tony’s gaze immediately went to the furs he’d spread out in front of the fireplace, the flames in the hearth crackling invitingly.

‘I think someone went overboard with the romantic gesture,’ Tony teased.

Loki felt a flicker of alarm, uncertainty as he looked around.

‘I fucking love it.’ He was tugged down for a kiss. ‘Everything you’ve done today…I don’t deserve you,’ he whispered next to Loki’s mouth.

‘You deserve everything I can give you, and more,’ he rested their foreheads together. ‘I know this day is important to you both, that it’s been tainted by loss and heartbreak.’ He reached out for Stephen, the three of them hugging in a loose circle. ‘I was told it was a time for family. I wanted to remind you both that despite the loved ones we have lost, there are others that remain.’

Loki tilted Stephen’s head giving him a hard kiss.

‘You’re my family, both of you,’ Loki swore.

‘Speaking of, I’ve got something for both of you,’ Tony said, dragging them both over to the furs and encouraging them to sit down.

‘You already gave us gifts,’ Loki told him, confused.

‘These aren’t ones I wanted everyone else to see…not yet anyway.’ He rose to sit on his knees. ‘You told me… a while back that placing the spell on me was a sort of protection charm, to allow us to talk to each other and a way to tell others that I was off the market.’

He reached into his back pocket, and pulled something out, keeping it hidden in his palm.

‘It’s like Steve said, when it comes down to it, I’m just a guy…a mortal in a suit-’

‘You’re far more than that,’ Stephen interrupted, stretching up and forcing Tony to meet his gaze.

Thor had made him promise not to harm any Midgardians…but Norns, a few of them tested his patience. Judging by Stephen’s dark look, Steve Rogers was a sore point for him also.

‘I realised there wasn’t any way of me doing the same in return, not magically at least,’ he opened his hand. Three rings nestled in the palm of it.

‘These are made from the first ever suit I created, the one in Afghan…the one that allowed me to escape from the Ten Rings,’ Tony swallowed, the action looking painful. ‘I kept part of it back, a memento to how stupid I’d been, but I was also kinda attached to it you know? If I hadn’t built this shitty thing, I’d be dead.’ He plucked out one of the rings, giving it to Loki first.

‘There isn’t much I can do to protect you, you’re super-fast, super strong, super-hot.’

Loki smirked at the last bit.

‘Loki…here on Earth, when we marry… when we declare ourselves in a relationship for the rest of our life, we wear rings to symbolise it,’ Stephen whispered.

Loki’s gaze snapped up to where Tony was blushing, scratching at his neck.

‘…Truly?’ he asked, wonderment robbing his voice.

‘I know we can’t get married or anything being three of us in a relationship, and it’s too early for that sort of commitment, although you both have made my life span infinitely longer, and I don’t want anyone else, and I can’t imagine-’

Loki shut him up with a heated kiss, tangling one hand in the hair at the back of Tony’s neck, the other cradling his gift to his chest.

‘I’ll cherish it. Always,’ he swore when they broke away.

Tony’s gaze slid to Stephen, who was looking down at the floor.

‘I can adjust the size to your middle finger if you’d prefer, asshole. It can be an accessory, it doesn’t have to mean-’

‘Give it,’ Stephen said gruffly.

He looked at it for a moment, before sliding it down his fourth finger, and by Tony’s hitch of breath, this was a significant gesture, so Loki copied, staring at it for a moment.

‘Of course I’d be with you, marry you if we could,’ Stephen told him.

Tony looped his arms around Stephen’s neck, burrowing his head into the sorcerer’s neck.

‘They’re more than just sappy sentimental knick-knacks,’ Tony spoke, sliding his own ring on. ‘Try tapping it. Loki you go first, stand up.’

With a frown, he did as asked, eyes widening as a line of azure blazed in the centre of the chrome ring.

‘Tony,’ he managed to get out in concern, before tiny black things were forming over his hand and up his arm, he barely restrained himself from trying to rip them off, only recognising they were similar to Tony’s own armour when they reached his elbow.

It wasn’t dissimilar from what he wore into battle, minus his cape and helmet. His pants were skin-tight and tucked into armoured boots, gold plating on the shins. Green coated his chest and arms in the same clinging material, his torso covered in patterned green and gold armour, like snake scales.

‘The reinforced fabric will stop knives and any other stabby things, this,’ Tony stood, rapping his knuckles on the armour covering his chest, ‘is the same as mine. I know you have armour back from your days on Asgard, so I’m not sure if this will come close but-’

‘Tony, it is stunning, thank you. The fact that you find me worthy of your protection is gift enough, the idea you spent hours crafting this for me warms my heart.’

Loki knew this was physical proof of his love. Hours of toil, work, sweat, blood, frustration. It was typical of Tony, the fierce need to protect what was his.

Tony looked at Stephen expectantly, rocking back and forth on his feet at he waited.

As if he’d been commanded, Stephen did the same, watching with interest as his new armour spread over his body like an ink drop over wet paper.

Loki sucked in a breath, lust making his gut clench.

‘You didn’t change his colours,’ Stephen tossed his head over towards Loki as he turned in a circle, looking over himself in critical appraisal.

‘Green is important to Loki. Holy fuck, I sort of regret designing that now.’

Stephen stopped, mouth opening to ask.

‘You look fuckable, charlatan,’ Loki hissed, eyes drawn to Stephen’s ass.

‘You’re a hero, asshole, thought it was about time you looked like one. Not that I mind the whole, musty wizard ensemble, but this…’ Tony gave a low whistle.

Stephen’s legs seemed even longer covered in sleek black material, the shiny substance stretched over his broad chest, muscled shoulders, and narrow hips.

‘It’s the same fabric as Loki’s. I know you both need more freedom to move when you do magic, so I’ve protected the important bits,’ Tony explained, placing his hands on the brilliant white breastplate covering Stephen’s chest. Loki’s gaze didn’t stay there, it followed the white line leading from Stephen’s sternum to his groin.

The armour looked like a bird, its wings unfurling over Stephen’s chest, its tail feathers trailing down over his stomach.

 ‘I’ve also added some support for your hips and legs,’ Tony dragged his nails over the shimmering metal plating over his thighs, not seeing the way Stephen swallowed thickly.

Loki did.

‘I know you do a great job,’ Tony was speaking to the Cloak now, ‘but you haven’t been flying together for very long, and I wanted to minimise the impact it had on you when you’re landing and things. My legs used to be in agony for days when I landed in my suit until I reinforced it, and these new forearm supports should help your hands. Whatcha think?’ he asked, taking a step back to admire his handiwork.

‘You’ve put a lot of thought into this.’

‘I want you both to stay safe,’ Tony answered, glancing over his shoulder at Loki to make sure he knew he was also included.

‘Thank you, dear one, truly.’ Loki touched the ring on his finger and the armour melted from him.

‘Don’t thank me yet. If you are feeling generous my prince, there was something else we wanted to ask from you.’ Tony’s mouth curved in a seductive smile, grasping the hem of Loki’s tunic and pulling it over his head.

He knew what using Loki’s title did to him, the desperate longing it inspired.

‘You mean a day of festivities was not enough for you, greedy thing,’ Loki teased, running a hand down Tony’s stomach, cock twitching as he felt muscles contract under his touch. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Stephen’s Cloak float upstairs, probably to keep watch for its master.

‘I’m insatiable. Sit down,’ he commanded, playfully shoving Loki into the armchair facing the fireplace.

‘C’mere baby.’ That voice was all sin, delightfully tempting, but it wasn’t directed at him. Loki fought his impatience as Tony beckoned to Stephen, armour melting from him as he went.

Watching with a dry mouth, his eyes widened as they settled on their knees in front of the fire, Tony surging towards Stephen to demand a kiss, moaning as scarred hands circled his hips, fingers digging into his ass.

‘I fail to see how you want something from me,’ Loki breathed out, heat fanning over his skin that had nothing to do with the fire or candles.

Impatient, sweetheart? Stephen teased, one eye opening to gaze at him, even as he deepened the kiss. Their kiss was filthy, he could see Stephen’s tongue slide into Tony’s mouth, making him buck his hips into Stephen’s stomach, the smaller man holding him there and encouraging him to do it again.

Loki clenched his fist, knuckles pushing into his lips as he watched Stephen tug Tony’s shirt off, Tony ripping at the sorcerer’s clothing in return, both struggling to get the other undressed. Tony was the victor, getting his hands behind Stephen’s knees and jerking backwards, climbing over Stephen’s body as soon as his back hit the floor.

Loki palmed his erection as he watched them, trying to relieve some of the pressure as he watched them writhe together. The orange glow complemented them beautifully, illuminating Stephen’s pale skin with a delicate ginger glow, deepening the shadows of the contours of Tony’s body.

His pants were still on, unbuttoned but still hugging Tony’s hips, the swell of his buttocks tantalisingly visible. The flex of his muscles across his back drew Loki’s gaze, his teeth biting down on his lip as he thought about the strength there, the urge to map out said muscles with his mouth.

As if he were reading Loki’s thoughts, Tony’s gaze slid to his, eyes black in the dim light, a blend of the demonic and a siren’s lure. Settling in between Stephen’s legs, he spread them apart and up, leaving his feet on the floor.

His hand stilled as Tony ran the nail of his index finger over Stephen’s ribs, leaving a thin, crimson line which made Stephen squirm, fingers twisting in the strands of the dark fur he was spread out over.  As he sucked a bruise into the cream skin of Stephen’s thigh, Tony’s gaze didn’t waver, beckoning Loki, drawing him into his spell.

He could smell their salt-stained skin rubbing together, feel the phantom sting of Tony’s teeth in his own thigh, could imagine the viscous sweetness of Stephen’s precome on the tip of his tongue.

What was he up to?

‘You cannot be serious,’ Loki gasped as Stephen muttered a spell, recognising it as a similar one he used for such purposes. His gaze flew from Stephen’s face to Tony’s glistening hand.

Pretence gone, Loki’s hand scrambled to release his cock from where it was straining painfully against his pants, hissing as his hand stroked over bare flesh, attention fixed on where Tony was circling Stephen with a lubed finger.

Tony’s attention switched back to Stephen, distracting him from any potential pain with a languid tongue over his cock, occasionally sucking on the head and twisting his fingers just so to have Stephen arching from the floor, his back a sensual curve.

The scent of sex, of musk sat thick in the air, and he felt his head spin with it, tilting his own head back against the armchair to desperately try and draw breath into his lungs, drunk with the image before him. Every gasp, every whimper, plea and beg from Stephen made Loki’s cock weep, and he too was begging, unashamed in his need to be included. 

‘Come here,’ Tony demanded, voice husky.

Loki was powerless to his command, ripping his clothes from his body and crashing to his knees beside them both, gaze captured by Tony’s once more. Tony’s hand grabbed the side of his neck, yanking him down with urgency, kissing him painfully, chasing the sting of it with his tongue.

‘Be careful with him,’ he murmured and Loki cried out in sharp pleasure as Tony’s hand twisted over his cock, spreading lubrication over him and leaving him gasping as he broke away, making Loki watch helplessly after him.

Where had this side of his lover come from?

His attention was quickly snagged by Stephen shifting on the floor, chest flushed a beautiful ruby, frustrated tears glimmering in his eyes, his body tense and uncertain. Forgetting about Tony for the moment, he coaxed Stephen’s legs to fall either side of his hips, doing nothing but trailing his fingers on the outside of his thighs.

He felt Stephen’s discomfort as acutely as if it were his own. Loki had been in that vulnerable position before, the uncertainty of allowing another to enter your body for the first time. His own experience had been lacklustre, full of disappointment as both he and his partner had rushed the experience, making Loki reluctant to repeat such a thing for many years to come.

‘Truly, you are beautiful beneath me, beloved. As I knew you would be.’ He moved to kiss him, their lips meeting softly.

Stephen moaned, hooking his ankles into the back of Loki’s knees. He did nothing more than deepen the kiss, tongue gliding over Stephen’s and tracing his lower lip. He ground his hips down into Stephen’s, teasing his cock with the slick glide of his own. Encouraging Stephen’s head to nudge back with his nose, he breathed over the skin of his exposed throat, leaving scalding kisses as he increased the friction of his hips.

‘Loki,’ he gasped, leg hooking over his hip, drawing him closer.

‘You desire it? Desire me?’ Loki checked, memorizing every inch of his face. Hair streaked with silver was a sweaty, tousled mess, falling into his eyes. His eyes were glazed with passion, chest rising and falling in rapid pants, laboured in fervour, delirious for him.  Loki grasped his cock, teasing Stephen’s entrance with the head of it, thumb rubbing over the stretched hole, driving him mad.

‘Fuck, yes,’ Stephen gasped, his hand gripping Loki’s elbow painfully.

Still, Loki knew this vulnerability was difficult for him. His muscles were still tense despite being coaxed into acceptance, his pride a difficult thing to ungrasp.

Tony took it upon himself to distract him then, perhaps a little in jealousy as he claimed Stephen’s mouth, fingers toying with Stephen’s nipples as Loki cautiously inched his way inside his body, convincing his proud sorcerer to accept him, to trust him.

A look of discomfort flashed over his face, his eyes squeezing shut as he let out a pained gasp. Loki immediately stilled, supporting all his weight on one hand so he could brush the other through Stephen’s bangs.

‘It’s okay, baby,’ Tony soothed, giving Stephen tiny kisses next to his eye, across his cheekbone.

‘Do you wish me to stop?’ Loki asked.

Stephen shook his head, turning to he could kiss Tony properly. When Loki felt his muscles relax, he pushed in further, exhaling a shaky breath when their hips were flush together. Stephen’s body trembled from the sensation, hand clutching the back of Tony’s neck so hard that Loki could see blood beginning to seep out.

Reaching up, he untangled Stephen’s hold, encouraging him to squeeze his hand instead, his Jotun strength better suited for the abuse then the tender skin of Tony’s neck.

The deathly grip of legs around his hips loosened, and he took the opportunity to withdraw slowly, pushing back in with the same glacial speed.

‘That’s it, beloved, relax,’ Loki encouraged, keeping the gentle place, getting Stephen used to the slow drag and push of his cock rather than chasing any pleasure.

Oh, it was divine, the knowledge of knowing he was Stephen’s first, the trust that had bestowed upon him.

Tony moved, wrapping his hands under Stephen’s shoulders and sitting behind him. Glancing up to see what Tony was up to, he watched in disbelief as Tony lifted Stephen’s body from the floor, holding him aloft between them with strength alone.

It changed the angle and pressure for Stephen, who arched up in a whip crack of pleasure as Loki brushed against his prostate.

‘There! Again!’ he begged, heels of his feet digging into his ass. Keeping one hand on his hip, Loki moved one to support his lower back as Tony held him suspended. Tentatively, Loki increased his thrusts, keeping a watchful eye on Stephen’s face, swearing under his breath when he cried out in pleasure.

‘That’s it, baby, we’ve got you, let go,’ Tony crooned, arms steady under the weight of Stephen’s body, keeping him secure, supporting him.

Watery blue eyes cracked open, gazing up at Tony before flickering down to Loki.

He wanted to wrap his hand around Stephen’s cock, to feel him clench around him in orgasm, but he couldn’t do it and keep his hold on him. Instead he satisfied himself with hitting Stephen’s prostate on every thrust, driving him mad if his whimpering cries were anything to go by.

Sweat snaked its way into his eyes, and despite the sting he refused to look away from the two who held his heart in their thrall. The heat from the fire beside him was nothing compared to the burn of Stephen’s body under his hands, the blaze in Tony’s eyes as he watched.

It wasn’t long for either of them, both mindless puppets under Tony’s direction.

Stephen came with a muffled shout, teeth ripping into his lip as he reached the point of orgasm, body tightening around Loki, attempting to force his own orgasm from him. A few more thrusts and Loki came with a cry of his own, head hung low, hips flexing sporadically in aftershock.

He was excruciatingly careful when he withdrew, bending over, forehead against Stephen’s stomach as he fought to regain his breath. A shaking hand cupped the back of his head, encouraging him closer.

‘Are you well?’ Loki asked when he could speak, his magic threading between his fingers and seeping into Stephen’s skin, seeking out any hurt, tears or general muscle fatigue.

‘…’m fine, Lo,’ Stephen rumbled.

‘Beloved…you were…magnificent, truly. None other can compare,’ Loki whispered, kissing him over and over, moved beyond words at what had just been offered, the depths of love he felt.

He heard a throat clearing.

‘That was amazing,’ Stephen smirked, dragging Loki down on top of him, kisses tumbling together, the world melting around them.

Loki felt a sharp nudge in his rib.

‘None can compare, huh?’ Tony folded his arms over his chest. ‘You never worry about me like that after you’ve fucked me, hell, I don’t think you’ve ever been gentle with me.’

‘I always check your body with my magic after any sexual activity,’ Loki growled, glaring at the man.

‘Liar, you’re only with me to get to Stephen, I knew it,’ he pouted.

Knowing he was teasing didn’t deflect the slight to his honour, the suggestion that he didn’t hold them both in equal regard. With one last kiss for Stephen, Loki pulled himself free of the cradle of his arms and caught Tony’s upper arm in a bruising grip. He tugged Tony onto his lap, forcing the man to straddle it.

‘You dare question my affection for you?’ His voice was dark, the tone usually reserved for threatening others. Loki growled in pleasure as he felt Stephen’s hand slam into his back, the spell he was holding taking effect instantly. He was achingly hard once more, any exhausted feelings from a few seconds ago swept aside, lust for Tony taking its place.

‘Dunno, Loki…I mean, you’ve never been that tender with me,’ Tony refused to look at him, the jut to his jaw infuriating.

‘If I thought for a second that was what you wanted, then I would give it to you. However-’

Tony grunted in alarm as Loki suddenly stood, a lubed finger slipping inside him while he held Tony secure with his other hand.

‘I was under the impression you enjoyed me doing things that others cannot?’ his voice was low, seductive as he added another finger, stretching Tony without mercy, avoiding his prostate.

‘You are my reflection when it comes to darker desires. You crave pain, danger alongside your pleasure.’ He bit down on Tony’s earlobe. ‘Tell me you want me to be gentle,’ Loki whispered, pressing hard against his prostate, growling as nails scratched over his back, thighs vice tight on his hips.

‘I want you to love me,’ Tony growled back, retaliating with the abuse to his ear with a bite to the tendons of Loki’s neck.

‘You know my feelings for you.’ Manoeuvring Tony with ease, he guided him down onto his cock. Tony’s body succumbed without the resistance Stephen’s had given him. He could feel Tony’s forehead bumping his jaw and neck, and he stretched to let the man nuzzle there, hands clawing at Loki’s shoulders as he impaled himself.

‘You think a mortal can do this for you?’ he asked, wrapping one arm around Tony’s back, forearm aligning with Tony’s spine and hand cradling the back of his head. ‘You think a mortal can hold you like this with their strength alone?’ His other hand gripped the jut of Tony’s hip as he slammed the man down, laughing at the strangled moan.

‘I’ve had this done before,’ Tony challenged, head tipping back as Loki shifted his stance, changing the angle of his thrust.

‘Really?’ Loki purred, kissing Tony’s throat and sucking his ownership into bronzed skin, ruthless in his thrusts before stopping suddenly, not moving despite Tony’s whine of disappointment. His hand left its deathly grip on Tony’s hip to stroke over a defined stomach, brushing over nipples, suppressing a moan as the man’s squirming made him clench down on Loki’s cock.

‘Have you done this, I wonder?’ Loki questioned, toying with the idea of pushing Tony a little further, making him submit entirely. His hand came up to cover the device on his chest, hand smothering the blue light, doing nothing further.

‘Can you trust me, entirely? Give yourself up for my pleasure, trust that I will protect you?’ his voice was cautious, wanting something from Tony in a similar way in which Stephen had just submitted. Tony was never without the arc reactor on his chest, it was the core of who he was, his armour both inside and out.

Tony ripped it off, tossing it across the room.

‘Do your worst, Reindeer Games.’

‘I do love the way you’re always hungry for me, Stark,’ Loki praised, tongue stroking over the bruise he’d just left.

His gaze slid to Stephen, who was watching them with a hungry gaze, cheeks flushed both from earlier and from watching the carnal display of Loki teasing Tony. A face on the side of his hand wrenched him away, Tony’s tongue thrusting into his mouth.

‘Pay attention to me,’ Tony snarled, attempting to fight Loki’s strength so he could slam his hips down.

Loki held him still without any effort, a sarcastic laugh rumbling in his chest as Tony grew frustrated.

‘I thought you’d done this before.’ His hand stroked over to where they were joined, his finger sliding in beside his cock, both thrusting in with aching slowness.

‘Loki,’ Tony gasped, nails drawing blood at the sting of being stretched further

Despite his cruel teasing, Loki was keeping a careful eye on Tony’s reactions, especially as he added another finger.

Care to join me? he asked Stephen.

He was on his feet in an instant, the glow of the earlier spell he’d used on Loki glowing under his skin. Tilting Tony’s head back, he kissed him, a messy excuse of one, little more than them panting into each other’s mouths, tongues curling together.

Deeming Tony stretched enough, Loki adjusted his hold, spreading Tony’s ass for Stephen to slot behind.

‘I wish I could see this from another angle. You stretched around me, ravenous… ferocious with your need to be filled.’

Careful now, ease in.

‘I wonder, Stark, have you also done this before? Been fucked by two who love you?’ Loki drew him in for kiss, distracting him as Stephen’s cock bumped beside his, his quivering hands holding Tony still as he tried to move away, the sensations confusing.

Tony ripped away from his kiss, magnificent brown eyes opening to stare up at him.

‘Lo?’ his question was a sheer contrast from the cocksure man he’d been moments before, overwhelmed by what was happening, trepidation of the unknown.

‘Let us both love you,’ Loki reassured, tempting him back into another, gentler kiss. He could feel Stephen move into place beside him, the three of them trembling as Tony cried out.

‘Jesus fucking Christ,’ Tony swore, body gripping them both, tearing gasps from their chests.

‘Is it too much?’ Stephen asked, brushing gentle kisses over his neck.

‘We will stop if you need, beloved,’ Loki promised, trailing his tongue over Tony’s collarbone.

‘No… ‘m good, just, gimme a sec,’ Tony gasped out, chest heaving from his laboured breaths. They did as he asked, showering Tony’s body in affection, fighting the urge to move, to climax on the very spot from being inside Tony and rubbing against the other.

After a few long moments, Tony shifted, looping one arm behind Stephen’s neck, the other spanning Loki’s shoulders.

‘Move, now,’ he insisted.

Loki moved first, cautiously withdrawing, before thrusting up, swearing a phrase under his breath that he wasn’t sure his Allspeak would translate. It was exquisite, it was Valhalla, the epitome of pleasure, everything at once. Their skin brushed together in a slippery glide, creating sparks of friction that heightened the pleasure.

He wanted more, he always wanted more. Loki craved everything his loves had to give him and then some, to make this moment in time everlasting and eternal, caught on the knife edge of painful ecstasy.

 ‘Look at you, you bewitching creature, taking us both,’ Loki’s voice was more growl than words, his hold on his Jotun side slipping.

‘Beautiful, sweetheart,’ Stephen praised, voice as wrecked if not more.

‘I’m gonna…it’s too much…’ Tony panted, body seeking out something.

‘Succumb, we have you,’ Loki begged, groaning as Tony went limp in his hold, surrendering his pleasure to them.

Tony and Stephen came within seconds of each other, the combined feeling of hot come over his chest, and the additional lubrication inside Tony had Loki plunging over the precipice of his own pleasure, shouting into Tony’s neck as his climax reverberated through him, stealing his conscious thought.

Stephen held them together, using his magic as his limbs were trembling from exhaustion. When he became aware of Loki’s return to sanity, he withdrew first, holding out a fur for Loki to drape over Tony’s body as he cooled from sex.

Leaning back, trusting in Stephen’s magic to hold him, he raked his nails over Tony’s scalp, massaging the muscles at the back of his neck. The feeling was similar to being in water, floating in warmth buoyed by magic. His own magic checked Tony’s body, ensuring there were no tears, or lingering pain.

You weren’t truly jealous, were you? Loki asked when Tony leant his head back, clarity returned to his eyes. He was certain Tony was secure in their relationship, but there was a small doubt. He’d been so clingy, demanding with his pleasure that time.

Stephen doesn’t give up control easily. You can’t jeopardise his trust by being too rough.

Loki persuaded his muscles to move, bringing them down to the floor, slipping out of his body as they moved. Stephen was there immediately, cleaning him with a spell and covering Loki with a fur, his healer side taking over as he checked Tony over, worry evident in his gaze. He reached his hand out, summoning Tony’s arc reactor to him and securing it back over his mortal’s body.

You did not answer me.

‘No, I wasn’t. I’m fine, Doc,’ he murmured, stretching up to brush his lips against Loki’s. ‘C’mere, both of you.’ He yanked them both down, wriggling his way under both their arms. Three hands rested on Tony’s chest, identical rings on all of them.

‘Thanks…for today, Loki. I think that’s the best present I’ve ever had,’ he yawned, eyes struggling to stay open. ‘Stephen?’

‘Hmm?’

‘Thanks, for letting us be your first.’

Stephen propped his head up on his elbow, gazing at them both and then at the ring on his finger.

‘I know…I know why you find Christmas hard, why you didn’t tell us,’ Stephen’s voice was soft, lulling Tony to sleep more than encouraging him to listen. Loki poked his leg with his toe, hiding his smile when Tony’s eyes snapped open.

‘I hope you know, that you both know that I consider you my family as well,’ Stephen held Loki’s gaze even as he kissed Tony’s forehead.

‘I know, sorry, I’ll work on my communication,’ Tony’s voice went muzzy.

‘Let him sleep, charlatan, his body has been taxed. I’ll wager he hasn’t experienced that before,’ Loki grinned.

No more words were said for a time, Loki taking enjoyment from the sounds of the fire crackling beside them, Tony’s breathing deepening as he surrendered to sleep.

‘Loki?’

‘You should be sleeping also,’ he reached over Tony’s body to stroke Stephen’s arm.

‘I don’t think I ever apologised for how I initially treated you. I meant what I said. I thank God, Gods, the Norns, Vishanti, whoever it is that’s out there, every day for having you both in my life.’

‘It was you who said Christmas was about bringing happiness to others. I cannot think of any more deserving than either of you. Sleep now.’ He settled down again to watch over them as they slept.

‘Merry Christmas, sweetheart.’

Loki smiled.

‘Merry Christmas, my beloved pair.’

 

 

The End.

 

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