Disclaimer: All Marvel characters belong to Marvel and not to me, obviously.
A/N: After going on a frostiron reading binge this last week I had to at least try to give back some of the feels I got. I think I made myself cry a bit with this one-shot, so read at your own peril.
Tony sometimes wondered what would've happened, had he had taken the golden apple when it was offered to him. Especially now, as he lay under the rubble of collapsed Stark Tower, a steel beam rammed through his thigh, on the verge of dying from blood loss. Even if, by some miracle, one of his team would find him before he dies in the pool of his own blood, they wouldn't be able to do anything. His arc reactor shattered when the magically reinforced missile from one of the doombots, boomdots, he chuckles, hit him square on the chest and it shouldn't have happened, the reactor withstood the influence of the tesseract, hadn't it? But now it's gone, the shards lodged in his chest along with the shrapnel, and as he feels his conscience slipping away, he dreams.
"See? There was nothing for you to worry about, stupid mortal."
"You realize that you can't call me that anymore?"
"I'll call you whatever I wish, Stark." Loki announces before catching his lips in a soft kiss. "Do you have any idea how much grief you caused me with your silly objections? I was worried, so worried that you would die before I convinced you to join me."
"But I'm here, am I not?" Tony smirks and initiates another kiss. Then, Loki leads him to his – their – chambers and they make love on Loki's bed. Afterwards, as they lay tangled among the green sheets, smiling at each other, their scent and sweat and warmth all mixed together, Tony feels more elated than ever. More than when he constructed Mark II, more than when he managed to synthetise the new element, more than when he realized that Jarvis deployed the suit and he won't end up splattered on the ground beneath the Stark Tower during the New York invasion. And for the love of god, he chuckles to himself, he can't remember why he had ever objected to Loki making him immortal. Sure, when he finally decided to accept and announced the news Pepper looked concerned, Rhodey said he could do without the knowledge, the team… let's say the opinions were divided. Fury went as far as to say that he'll give them his blessing, as long as Loki takes Tony to Asgard so that he may be rid of the billionaire on his team. Loki found that hilarious, Tony pouted, and in the end, Steve promised he would inform him of any real emergencies which would require him to travel by Bifrost back to Earth.
Tony sighs happily and clutches Loki closer to his chest, inhaling the scent of leather, herbs and something he dubbed "scent of magic". In fact, he didn't expect anyone on the team to accept them, after how violently they reacted when they found out. They completely ruined his Malibu house and threatened to keep him under lock and key until whatever form of mind control Loki was using on him fades away. He probably didn't help his case, when he asked "What, sex?" and it turned out they didn't know things have gone so far. So when even Clint begrudgingly accepted that Tony's going away to live in the land of gold, and gods, and freaking magic…
Except he didn't, right? Tony's eyes snapped open and he found himself still lying under the rubble, the distant voices of the rescue team ringing somewhere overhead, but too much time has passed and the shrapnel was already too close to his heart and so he took his one last pained breath.
Loki sometimes wonders whether he could've done more. Of course, it's not like it's the first time he lost a lover, because that's what happens when you're a god and fall in love with a mortal troublemaker. He'll get over it. Or at least he wants to believe that he will. He's the God of Lies, he's got millennia of practice in lying and lying to himself is one of the things he learned right in the beginning. Lying that he's not jealous of the preferential treatment Thor gets from Odin, lying that he's not hurt when Thor and his friends go hunting without him, because he doesn't need friends and spending time alone in the library is his favourite pastime ever, lying that he's not hurt when it turns out that Frigga is his not real mother. He continues to love her all the same if more desperately, but deep down it hurts, because he's not of her blood, but he lies to himself that it doesn't matter.
He lies to himself that he's not hurt by Anthony's constant rebuttals of his offer to make him immortal. He tries to convince himself that he's got time and that the human will finally cave in, eat the apple and they will live happily ever after, as stupid as it sounds. But Loki's already tired of running, of losing, of having all that he loves taken away from him, and so he lies to himself that Tony will come around, he just needs a bit more time.
Yet deep down he knows that it may never be.
"Loki, just drop the subject."
"No, I will not." He fights to keep his calm. He really tried to give Stark some space, some time to think, but it's been already three months since he last asked, a year and a half since he first broached the subject, and he believes he deserves some answer at this point. Human lifes are short, aren't they? So surely, eighteen months should be enough time to think on it, if it only took Loki short of a year to decide that he wants Anthony at his side forever. And a year, compared to millennia? A blink of an eye. So, no, he won't drop the subject. "I believe, you have had enough time to think this through." He looks carefully at the mortal's face and sees the unmistakable clench of jaw and slight frown forming around the eyes.
"Come on, Lokes, it's a big decision, I've lived my whole life knowing that at some point in not such a distant future I'll bite the dust. I can't just like that take an out, not when I know that everyone I love and care for will age and die and all will forget I even existed while I'll be traipsing around the golden clouds in some – " but Loki cut him off, a biting edge in his voice and something savage bleeding into his gaze.
"Everyone? Everyone?!" he screeched. "So it does not concern you that I will be forced to watch you die and age and succumb to illness, while knowing that I could have prevented it?" Loki hissed.
"No! That's not… Look, Loki, I know you've went through that already, you've explained…"
"Then you should try to understand!"
"I do! I really do! But it's different. It's just… I can't, I really cannot leave them here, maybe in a few years, if I'm not dead, I can try to, slowly, distance myself, you know how to do that, don't you? You said you did it already…"
Loki cut him off again. "I did. And I can do it again." And he left.
He never returned. Not when Thor pleaded with him, not when his mother, concerned about his well-being, urged him to go back and make amends, not when he heard of another threat to Midgard and Thor asked for his assistance, fearing that even the joined forces of the Avengers may not be enough.
He didn't return, because that day, he clearly saw in Anthony's eyes that the mortal was not ready, would never be ready to leave behind his world, his work, his inventions, his friends, all that made him who he was, because he was one of those idiots who only believe that to live you have to live fast and die hard and so once again, Loki was all alone.