AN: Okay, so I couldn't leave it without a happy ending after all.
Six Years Later
It had been a quiet morning. A few people had come in when it had started to snow, ordering hot drinks as they tapped away fretfully at their phones and huddling close to the heaters. But that had been hours ago and most of London had since shut down as the snow continued to fall. Harry sat behind his counter with a latte by his right elbow and a newspaper spread out in front of him. He'd followed the Muggle news avidly since the incident with Loki six years before. Images of the Hulk slamming something not-human through a building never failed to remind him of the lucky escape Loki had had – facing Asgardian justice with people who cared for him rather than whatever the human race could have concocted.
The letter Loki had given him all those years ago rested in a drawer in his bedside table, covered in preservation charms that he'd only thought to add after the folds became too deep and fragile for him to look at it without it falling apart. Not that he needed to. He'd long ago memorised the layout of the runes it was written in.
He'd fallen out with Hermione over it. Apparently his willingness to turn a blind eye to Loki's supervillainy meant that he couldn't be trusted to take care of himself. Or something like that. He'd tuned her out after a while and she'd left in a huff. He hadn't seen her in years, though he had heard through the announcements in the Daily Prophet that she'd had another child since – a boy called Hugo.
He sipped his coffee and glanced out of the window. The streets outside were empty apart from the fat flakes of snow that were drifting lazily downwards. He frowned. The only reason he'd stayed open this long was because he had a feeling that something was coming. He'd developed a knack – over the years – of being able to tell when someone who needed his café was approaching. The last time it had been so strong had been when Nick Fury had invited himself in for an espresso and a chat about magic.
"It wasn't that hard to find out about wizards, and after that, it wasn't hard to find out about you. Do you realise how much good you could do, Mr Potter?"
Fortunately, Harry had managed to convince him that he wasn't really Avenger material – that his 'super powers' didn't extend much beyond being able to bring himself back from the dead and that really, apart from the immortality thing, he wasn't all that special. That there were far more talented wizards out there who might actually be willing to work for S.H.I.E.L.D rather than because they had been bullied into it.
He'd only barely won that argument. He hoped that his hunch wasn't the result of Fury rehashing his proposition into something Harry wouldn't be able to refuse.
It had been tempting to accept the offer in the first place. It was getting harder and harder for Harry to hide the effects that the Hallows had had on him. He'd managed to pass himself off as 'baby-faced' for far longer than most people could have; now that he was officially in his thirties, it was hard to explain why he still looked like the seventeen-year-old boy he'd been when he'd united the Hallows under one master. Joining the Avengers would have meant he was only one freak out of a whole sideshow, but he still hadn't been able to bring himself to do it.
"Good? Last time I martyred myself it did absolutely nothing. The Wizarding World is still full of paranoid, racist pricks who would rather sacrifice a seventeen-year-old than fight for themselves. And besides, last time we met you were suspending the guy I'm in love with over a mile-high drop. Not exactly going to entice me to work for you, is it?"
He wasn't exactly hero material. Not anymore.
He gathered up the newspaper and its stories of the Avengers' exploits and tossed it over his shoulder into the recycling bin. His coffee had gone cold but he downed it anyway and carried the glass mug to the sink. Or, at least, he tried to. The bell above the door chose that moment to chime and he turned automatically to greet his customer only to freeze in shock. The glass mug slipped from his fingers and shattered on the tile floor.
Loki stood in the doorway, flakes of snow caught in his black hair and on the shoulders of his coat. Harry gaped at him. He looked so…real, so there that Harry couldn't actually believe that he was. He closed his eyes. When he reopened them, Loki was still there, looking at him warily as if he expected Harry to throw him out or start screaming or something.
"You," Harry choked out. "You're back."
"I did say I would be," Loki replied.
And he had, when he'd left to go on his quest for world domination. Harry had almost forgotten that. He took a deep breath. Glass crunched under his boot as he stepped around the counter. The poor mug was possibly beyond even a repairing charm, but he didn't care because Loki was still standing in his doorway.
"How long has it been?" Loki asked. "Earth time."
"Six years, give or take a few months."
Loki looked puzzled. "You haven't aged."
Harry grinned at him. "It's a thing." Loki looked kind of adorable when he was baffled and Harry crossed the room to stand in front of him and wind his fingers in the long grey scarf that Loki seemed to favour when dressing like a human. "It's a long story."
"I have time," Loki replied. His hands lifted to cup Harry's face. His fingers were so cold that they burned. "I am on earth for the foreseeable future, I fear. The All-Father decided that if it worked for Thor, then it would work for me."
Harry suspected that Thor might have had something to do with that decision. The big guy had been pretty cool about the almost-relationship that existed between Harry and his brother. He kept his suspicions to himself, though, and chose instead to lean into Loki's body.
He was so solid and real and there that Harry felt a lump rise in his throat and before he knew it he was trying desperately not to cry. He'd thought that six years had numbed the pain of their separation, but it hadn't. He'd only got used to it.
He tugged down on the scarf and tilted his head back and brought their lips together. Kissing Loki was like being caught in a riptide. It was cold and powerful and Harry couldn't breathe for how intense it was. Loki's hold on him tightened – a hand dropped to Harry's waist to crush their bodies together – as if he was afraid that Harry would vanish from his arms. Harry simply slid his hands up and around Loki's shoulders, gripping his hair and trying to tell him as best he could without words.
He wasn't going anywhere.