Chapter 26


Loki seemed in much better spirits when Thor awoke the next day. Which alluded to Thor that that had been no normal blanket day.

"Can we talk," Thor asked as he sat beside his lover, sipping coffee and watching him closely.

"About the other night," Loki asked, though Thor could see the leaner man already knew the answer. "I'd rather not."

"Lo Look," Thor began slowly. "I just need to know if I did anything that upset you. You have no idea how terrified I was that I'd hurt you somehow. And then you wouldn't answer your phone. I didn't know where you were, or if you were okay or not. I care about you Lo, a lot." He didn't want to have the love talk, not right now. The mood was still too fragile. But he did want to let Loki know partially what he felt.

"I know you do," Loki replied quietly as he stared intently at his cup. "You didn't hurt me Thor. You were wonderful, you always are." He said still not meeting Thor's steady gaze. "As I said, it was me. I just...I just needed to sort some things out. Look, can we have this conversation later?"

Loki's hopeful gaze finally raised to meet Thor's and he couldn't help but smile at his love. Leaning forward to kiss him tenderly on the forehead. "Sure Lo," he conceded, still keeping a hand on his lover's shoulder. "But we will talk later, okay?"

"Yeah Thor, later," Loki said offering the larger man a smile before turning back to his coffee.

Thor would have to take it. For better or worse, there was a lot that Thor needed to accomplish today and talking with Loki was actually last on his list. Hoping by then the leaner man would be in a much better mood to receive it. After today it would all be laid out on the line and he'd know once and for all where he stood with his lover. But first, he needed to talk to Steve and Bucky.

He decided that he would discuss it with his friends, as they were accompanying him to help move his things, and finally get their thoughts on the matter. They had known Loki the longest and maybe have some insight to help guide him.

As he got ready to leave, making certain he looked his best for no other reason than to show he was truly doing okay to his ex, Loki wormed his way between Thor and the mirror to pull his hair back into the little half ponytail he enjoyed wearing whenever he skated. Holding the elastic band up to the larger man expectantly. Thor smiled and took it automatically. Now quite used to helping Loki with his hair, he carefully smoothed the strands back and tied it up.

"Going skating today," he asked mildly curious, as that was usually the reason Loki would tie his hair up. That and ballet.

"I might," Loki smirked bumping him back with a push of his butt into his groin to get the larger man to move.

"That's good." Thor remarked, and it was. Loki wanting to skate already was actually an excellent sign. "Endorphins." He said smiling the leaner man as he watched him in the mirror.

"MmmHmm," Loki agreed as he brushed his teeth.

"Well Hopefully this won't take all day. I'll see you this afternoon then," he added grabbing his jacket then leaned down to kiss Loki on the cheek. Pleased that the other man didn't pull away. "Have fun."

Loki spit out the toothpaste, catching his gaze in the mirror with a small smile already tugging his lips. "You too," he said, thought the lilt to his voice dripped in sarcasm.

Thor found himself grinning broadly back. That was the Loki he knew and he felt bolstered to see him returning already.

The meeting with Jane, if you could even call it that, went better than expected. Having his friends along helped squash any anxiety he was still feeling and as it turns out Bucky and Steve had both knew that his relationship had been over. Even long before Thor had, they just hadn't wanted to hurt Thor's feelings. Though apparently hitting him over the head had been mentioned by Bucky once or twice. That, and Thor had been quite stubborn about wanting to get back with Jane .

Jane admitted to having feelings for Tony for awhile. Stated they were blissfully happy. While Thor doubted that would last long, he didn't comment on it. In the end she commended Thor for being so responsible about moving on.

Responsible. Is that what it was? As if he hadn't been the responsible one throughout their relationship. Still, he let those emotions go before they could well up. Blowing up now would do neither of them any good and just be a waste of energy. As Loki liked to say, It was all water under the bridge now.

Though Bucky made certain to bring up Thor's new coaching career disguised as idle chit chat. Bragging quite heavily about how good he was at it. Steve even chiming in about the wait list to get into his classes and how all the parents vied for a spot. Thor couldn't help but smile proudly and puff out his chest a bit. Leave it to his friends to have his back. He could see the look of astonished surprise on Jane's face, and that made him feel even better. That's right honey, you played this all wrong and now you're holding the losing hand. It was so much better than any cutting words he could've ever thought of to throw in her face. And as Steve and Bucky helped him move his boxes into Steve's Suburban, he finally felt a bit of closure. He could finally look forward to the rest of his life hopefully with a certain skater.

Thor waited for the drive back to finally broach the subject.

"Look, I need to talk to you about something." he began a bit hesitantly "It's about Loki."

He had practiced the speech in his head over and over, yet still felt nervous as his feelings for the other man and his intentions spilled from his lips.

"Wow, I'm proud of ya man," Bucky stated after Thor had laid it all out on the line. "That took real balls. I mean, we know you're fucking him. "

Thor looked at Bucky a bit sheepishly, then to Steve who just nodded in agreement. "Is it that obvious?"

"Aside from the other night when you told us you were fucking him? Painfully so," Bucky replied with a sigh. "Like you two aren't out there every evening flirting around on the ice. Though, to be honest, even if it wasn't, it would be." He continued, and Thor could only look at him in confusion. "Snowflake isn't exactly the chaste little angel, ya know. If you spend more than a day with him, the odds are in your favor that you're fucking him. Us excluded of course."

Thor was taken aback, he wanted to be angry at Bucky for stating such a thing about Loki. His Loki. But he couldn't, he had come to grips with the fact that Loki had been quite promiscuous before Thor came into the picture. Maybe even for a bit after. But he was hoping all that would change now.

"Sorry Thor, sad as it is to say, Buck's right," Steve sighed. "But you're the first to not only stick with him this long, but want to take it to the next level."

"Well, he keeps saying he has a strict no relationships rule," Thor explained, looking down as he rubbed his sweaty palms on his thighs. My goodness, if he was this nervous just talking it over with his friends, he was going to be a total mess when it came to discussing it with Loki. "Which is why I didn't approach him sooner. But I'm hoping to change that. We're practically in a relationship already."

"Ha! No shit, Sherlock," Buck agreed sarcastically.

"Any idea how he'll take it?" Thor asked, ignoring Buck's comment as he searched his friends faces hopefully.

"I think you'll be fine," Steve said smiling gently at his friend.

"Really," Thor asked breathing a sigh of relief as a smile spread his lips.

"Yes, but Thor, you can't.." Steve broke off, the worry clearly etched on his face.

"Don't you dare break his heart," Bucky warned pointing a finger at Thor sternly.

"I'm definitely not planning on it," Thor chuckled, then held up his hands placatingly. "Look, I know Lo is a special situation. I've been studying at night, looking how I can better help him and how to be better with him. I would never do anything to further compromise him,or hurt him. I promise."

"Well, aside from your latest lover's spat, it seems to be working, I'll give you that," Bucky relented with a shrug. "So when ya gonna pop the question?"

Thor didn't know, he wanted the moment to be just right. Maybe give it a bit more time so it wouldn't look like he was relationship jumping too soon. Though he had no experience in that field, what would be considered too soon? Still, he felt incredibly bolstered by his friend's words and thought of nothing else on the drive back but that incredibly handsome figure skater and how good it would feel to hold him in his arms again.

Steve and Bucky helped him unload at the door, Thor chasing them off as he wanted time alone with Loki. Only absently noting the rental car parked next to his motorcycle in the otherwise empty parking lot. Probably somebody still changing as the rink was technically closed by this time. No worries, it would give him time to get his things upstairs and get a pot of tea going before sitting down with his love and having a long overdue chat.

What he wasn't expecting that evening, was to walk into the rink and spot Loki skating with another man. A trim man with short blond hair, slim mustache, and neatly trimmed goatee. His hand holding Loki's arm as they glided around the ice, matching his elegant movements like a mirror. HIS Loki's arm, he thought as his blood boiled in jealousy and his heart pounded in his ears. He sat the box down and slowly approached the ice, fists already clenching at his sides.

This man was far too familiar with his intended, guiding him effortlessly around in a smooth circle. Who was this person, and just what the hell did he think he was doing? They moved too easily together for this to be their first time meeting. Loki had obviously skated with this man before. Was he an old lover, returned to once again glean Loki's affections? Did Loki already have this meeting arranged when Thor was leaving that morning?

Thor's feet felt like lead, though his blood pounded as it scorched his veins. The blond man's hand was on Loki's trim waist now, Loki's own hand covering his. He could see their lips moving, obviously talking, but unable to hear the words. Thor's eyes, narrowed and he could hear his heartbeat in his own ears. He wanted to rip that blond's hand off. How dare he! He watched, in quiet seething as they held their opposite hands together out in front, a far too well practiced move to be their first time performing it. He could see Loki give a small nod and their skates matched step for step as they turned. The blond's hand pulling on Loki's trim waist as he jumped and the blond pushed him off. Throwing him into a triple Salchow, Loki using the momentum provided by his partner to jump, spinning around counter clockwise three times, before landing smoothly on the inside edge of his skate and gliding off. Their arms waving elegantly at each other like swans. It was more than Thor could stand. That should be him out there performing with his partner, not this invader! Who did this man think he was?

Thor approached the ice heatedly and Loki finally spotted him. Smiling far too brightly as he waved to him. Talking to the intruding stranger a moment, and hugging?! Yes, actually hugging, before they both approached. Thor was definitely seeing red by the time they glided over.

"Ah, I'm glad you're back," Loki greeted stepping off the ice to stand next to Thor, though still panting a bit from his exertions. " This is my dear friend Fandral. Fandral this is Thor, he's my.."

Thor's blood turned to ice. This was Fandral. THE Fandral with all the circles and stars and squiggles. The one that had a page all too himself in Loki's little black book. The one he was texting while everyone else was losing their minds with worry over whether Loki was even alive or not.

"Boyfriend," Thor interjected firmly, his hand immediately slipping possessively around Loki's trim waist and pulling him tightly to his side as he glared at the other man. Loki just looked at him momentarily curious, before smiling and shaking his head.

"Well then, you are a lucky man, Thor," Fandral stated easily, extending his hand to shake Thor's. And if Thor maybe gripped it a bit tightly, who could blame him. Had to show this Fandral fellow just what he was up against. Making moves on his Loki. "You'll excuse me, I must go change. Loki, you're good, yes?"

Loki nodded and smiled, watching Fandral leave before turning to face Thor, his smile instantly falling away. "Look here Thor, I've no idea what game you think you're playing but…"

Thor cut him off the only way he knew how. By catching his jaw in one hand and pressing their lips together. It was a soft kiss, much more tender than their usual passion filled, greedy ones. There was no fighting for air, just a small ghosting of tongue. A light caress, all while Thor gently cradled Loki's jaw in one massive hand. It was far too short for being so intimate, but Loki's lips were still perfect, all plush and cool still from the ice.

As they parted, he braced him self for the verbal backlash he was sure to come. This was not the way he'd intended for this to happen, though it did do much for cooling his temper.

Much to his surprise, Loki merely titled his head, looking at him thoughtfully.

"Well," he finally asked, unable to take the suspense much longer.

"I don't hate it," Loki admitted slyly, the corners of his mouth already pulling up a bit in a poorly hidden smile. "Do it again."

Thor didn't need to be asked twice. This time when their lips met, it was full of all the passion and emotion that he'd been harboring for the other man this whole time. Loki's mouth opening to his prodding tongue to allow the larger man in to stroke their tongues together. Though, still keeping it gentle and tender, taking his time to enjoy tasting his love. Gods his lips were like honey and Thor just wanted to kiss them like this for hours.

This time when their lips separated, it left them both panting for air as Thor searched his love's eyes, seeing the emotion he felt reflecting back at him. He knew he had to get the words out that had been eating him up all this time.

"I've fallen in love with you, Lo." Thor breathed finally feeling the weight those words lifting as they poured from him, but the new weight of not knowing how Loki was take it, immediately began pressing in. "I know it's sudden and you may not feel the same, but Lo, it's the truth. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have I'm my life except for you."

Loki was still looking at him, thoughtfully silent and it made Thor's stomach churn with worry.

"Is this okay?" he asked finally. "I'll admit it's not exactly as I had planned."

"Are you asking me," Loki chuckled openly, finally releasing some of the tension. "Because it sounded more like you were just announcing it quite firmly a moment ago."

"I'm sorry," Thor said ducking his head a bit. "I just saw you with Fandral and I thought.."

"Fandral and I go way back," Loki replied honestly. "We competed against each other back in the day and often had a bit of fun on the ice between sessions. " he met Loki's gaze with a frown. "Oh, don't look like that, it wasn't THAT kind of fun. He's just a really good friend. You've truly no need to worry. Though I could get used to such possessiveness." he teased lightly. "Does it come out often?"

"Only when I'm around you," Thor admitted pulling Loki by the hips a little tighter against him.

"So, how long have you been having these, thoughts," Loki asked ever curious, his head tilting to look up to regard Thor with those emeralds of his.

"Honestly? I think since the first time we met ,"Thor said a bit sheepishly. " I wasn't looking for anything at all when I met you. I certainly wasn't planning on falling for anyone, especially as I was technically in a relationship at the time. "

"If you want to call it that," Loki added, Thor just gave a nod and continued. Of course Loki would know.

"But then I met you and that was it," he said smiling down at his lover as he held him with both arms about the waist. " I found myself wanting to spend time with you. Wanting to know more about you. It was simple, and easy, and I think that's how the best relationships begin. You're not looking for anything and then suddenly, you realize you have something. Something pretty special. You asked me one time who would want a relationship with a dented, manic depressive, hot mess? I would. I do Loki. I know you said you don't do boyfriends or relationships, but we're good together Lo. And I just know that this can be good, for the both of us, if you'll just give me a chance."

Loki ducked his had a bit as though thinking and when his eyes once again raised to meet Thors, he could see how hopeful they were and how heart flipped. " Look Thor, I don't do relationships because I can't handle rejection. I keep everyone at arms length so that I can survive. But you, you still got in and I fell for you. Gods I fell so hard. I kept telling you that I didn't do relationships in spite of my own feelings. And to spite them as well, hoping the infatuation would wear off , or that you'd give up, and I could just go back to being alone and miserable. But you persisted. I wanted to tell you so many times, but I couldn't do it alone. I still don't know if I can do this. " Loki's voice broke and he looked over towards the locker room as though looking for his friend. "Fandral is the only reason I'm still alive today." He admitted softly. "He was there when I thought about ending it all."

"The balcony?" Thor asked and felt his heart ache at such emotion as Loki gave a small nod. "Steve told me, Oh Lo," he breathed hugging his love tight.

"He pulled me in and saved me that night. He made me get the help I needed at the time and he's always been there for me. That night you accused me off talking to a boyfriend out on the ice. That was Fandral. I needed him here just in case,... well, just in case I couldn't do this" Loki sighed and looked back up. Thor could see the trepidation in his face. He looked like he wanted to bolt any moment, so Thor shifted him a little closer. "I'm sorry I ran from you. It was all getting so intimate and heavy and then you said love. Not sex, love. You said you wanted to make love to me all night and, well, I panicked."

"Is this what the text was urging you to tell me," Thor asked smiling as he already knew. Loki would likely have confided in his friend, much as Thor had confided in Steve and Bucky.

Loki gave a quiet nod, his hands plucking nervously at Thor's shirt.

"It's okay, Lo. I've got you," Thor said kissing his forehead and hugging him again. Feeling as though he just wanted to hug and squeeze him forever. "I should have told you sooner. I've been such a fool"

"That you have," Loki stated his lips pulling up into a smile as he gave Thor a gentle push. Thor loosened his hold a bit, but didn't let him go completely, still holding him by the waist. "But so have I. This won't be easy you know. It's been forever since I've been with anyone like this. And if you change your mind..."

"Lo, relax, it's okay," Thor assured him, seeing his love beginning to wind up again and giving him a tender kiss. "As you've seen, I don't let go of relationships easily."

"Yeah, no shit. Even when.." Loki sighed and stopped himself. Thor knew he was about to mention Jane, but was grateful his love didn't. It would be best to keep the past in the past.

"Let's just say, I get quite attached," Thor said gently. "Chances are, I'll be needing to call Fandral for me when you get tired of me," He jested lightly, earning him a smile from his love. "So, it wasn't all about endorphins, was it?"

"The roses and the chocolates went just extras, were they?" Loki retorted narrowing his gaze.

"Touche," Thor admitted smiling. "Though I'd like to properly take you out to Fellinni's sometime."

"You'll get no arguments from me there," Loki replied with a bright smile. "Oh gods, and the love song you made me skate to?"

"All for you," Thor replied with a tender smile. "I love you like a love song, baby." he half crooned

"Doesn't count if you sing it,"Loki replied gently, closing the space to kiss Thor again.

Thor wrapped his arms firmly about him, holding him close and taking his time. Kissing, tasting, just enjoying finally having Loki as his. It felt so good to have that thoght in his head. His. All his. He was surprised, as Loki was ever sharp edged wit, and often nipped during sex, he was a surprisingly gentle kisser when he wanted to be. All Soft lips and tender caresses with his tongue. It was just one more layer of Loki that made him love him all the more.

"Ah, I don't mean to interrupt," Fandral's voice called them out of their moment.

"Fandral," Thor greeted much more warmly, offering him his hand. "I owe you an apology. I can be quite possessive at times, as it's been pointed out to me."

Fandral smiled and politely, though declined another handshake. "No apology needed, Thor. You're right to be possessive of this one. In fact, I'll expect it from you. He's quite the catch. "

Thor smiled and kept an arm about Loki. "That he is. Join us for dinner?"

"No, perhaps another time," Fandral said waving him off. "I have a very expensive plane ride to catch back to New York. That is, if we're all good here?" He asked looking pointedly at Loki

"Yes," Loki said smiling softly at his friend. "I'm sorry that I dragged you all the way out here for moral support."

"Nonsense," Fandral said waving him off. "You know I'll always come when you call."

Thor released his hold for Loki to bid his friend goodbye. Taking Loki's skates from him and stowing them away, while his love walked Fandral to his rental car. Suddenly wishing he'd have more time to get to know someone from his lover's past. Perhaps they could invite him down for Christmas. He was sure Loki would enjoy that.

"So," Loki asked curiously "How'd it go?"

"It went fine," Thor assured him easily.

"Don't be so modest," Bucky stated. "We totally roasted her."

Loki raised his eyebrows, but was smiling as he waited for them to explain.

"I wouldn't say roasted," Steve interjected. "But we may have mentioned at some length about Thor's quite lucrative and very exclusive new coaching career."

"Yeah, you guys were awesome," Thor said shifting his arms to hold his love a little tighter.

"Well, good riddance I say ," Bucky exclaimed, munching a fry as he watched the two across form him. "And It's about time you two officially hook up. I mean, officially officially."

Thor just chuckled and shook his head. He was sitting back into the corner of the booth with Loki pulled back into his chest, wrapped firmly in his arms as though Thor never wanted to let him go. He'd never felt so right and complete before. The grin the leaner man had brought when accepting his feelings for him, still painted firmly on his face.

"It is nice," Steve agreed with a smile. "You two look good together."

"Seriously, Jane's loss man," Bucky scoffed openly earning him a nudge from his love. "What? I'm just sayin'"

"Well, you know how it goes," Thor interjected. "She never closed her eyes anymore when I kissed her lips. And there was no tenderness in her finger tips."

That's all the lead in it took for Bucky and Thor to break into song. "You're trying hard not to show it, baby. " They crooned loudly causing Loki to cover his ears in dismay ". But baby, believe me I know it. You've lost that loving feeling. Whoa that loving feeling. You've lost that loving feeling now it's gone gone gone."

"Steve, make them stop," Loki begged. "They're exceeding the limitations of my medication."

"Hey, your boyfriend started it." Steve supplied with a shrug, but fortunately the two didn't appear to want to sing the song in its entirety.

"Oh, ho!" Good one!" Bucky cheered. "I say double points because it's a song that was in a movie."

"I fucking hate that movie," Loki frowned in distaste, dropping his hands back to twine his fingers into Thor's.

"How can you hate Top Gun," Bucky argued. "That's just unAmerican! Tell him Steve."

"I don't think it's unAmerican," Steve said placatingly.

"Well it's certainly not normal," Bucky returned still undaunted. "I mean, that's way out there, even for you Snowflake."

"Thor, you're my boyfriend, aren't you going to defend me," Loki asked peering up at the large blond with a scowl.

"I don't know, Lo," Thor replied with a shrug "He's been calling you Snowflake since before I got here. Be a shame to change it now."

"You ass," Loki grumbled, knowing Thor was just ignoring the intended subject, though his words held no bite.

"Fine, no Top Gun ever, I promise," Thor stated smiling, giving his love a tight hug and a kiss. "I'll just go watch it at Steve's place... because it's an awesome movie!" He added at the end earning him a hell yeah, and a high five from Bucky.

Loki rolled his eyes and shook his head, knowing he'd not win this one.

"Oh, holy shit, Nat is never going to believe me when I tell her you two are together," Bucky stated digging out his phone. "Come on, how about a smile this time?" He asked hopefully as he raised his phone to capture the moment.

Loki narrowed his gaze but Thor just smiled and bent his head down to Loki's ear, whispering gently. "I love you."

Thor's words finally brought a genuine smile to Loki's face, one that lifted his cheeks and brought out the fine laugh lines in the corners of his eyes. And one which Bucky immediately captured on camera.

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

So in the end, Thor didn't get back to hockey and Loki didn't get magically cured from his depression. However, the fix they got may not have been what they had thought they wanted, but was exactly what they needed.

Endings are always so bittersweet. I hope everyone enjoyed the story. I may yet go back and make this a series in the future. Thank you to everyone who commented and followed along for the ride. It's the readers like you that keep us writers chasing the plots to their eventual ends and beyond. Until next time, Cheers! 3