This chapter: An explanation and a resolution.
Notes: Okay so this is it! We're done! Thank you to everyone who read this, especially those who reviewed!

It's Christmas Eve when they finally see each other again. Tony has snuck out of his workshop (because he hasn't had access to his room since Loki had locked himself in) to steal the leftovers and Loki's intent on doing the same thing. They're standing in opposite doorways of the kitchen when they notice each other and Tony freezes with his hand on the doorframe and Loki has stopped with his hand on the light switch (because the others refused to live in a house where you have to ask the house to turn on the lights) and they're just staring at each other.


'No.' Loki turns to leave and Tony can feel that he's losing already.

'Please.' Loki pauses, whether it's at the desperation in his voice or just what he said, but it's enough to get him to turn back. He sits at the breakfast bar, and Tony joins him, sitting on the other side. Tony can't respond to the heat and the anger in that gaze so he stares at the marble countertop, following the patterns with his fingertips.

'Are you going to explain what happened? Please, I am dying to know.' And Tony flinches away from the venom in that voice and he's reminded of that time in the cave before this got serious and he wants to hold Loki and tell him that he's sorry but he knows this isn't going to be that easy.

But it's still a pretty good place to start. 'I'm sorry.'

'Is that all? An apology? I was-'

'No. Stop. Just-' Tony sighs and he's not going to cry but his throat is constricting and he knows this is his last chance but his normally so witty and talkative tongue is frozen and he can't think of what to say. 'I am sorry. I freaked out because that's what I do. I don't hang around people enough to get attached and on the off chance I do, I know it won't last and I thought that I'd been pretty good with not having a breakdown over us but then you mentioned next year and I know it seems stupid but it really hit home how serious this-'

He's cut short when Loki takes his hand and traces patterns across the back of his hand. 'That is all you are afraid of? The future?' And his voice is quiet, soft, and Tony isn't as nervous as he was anymore.

'That and the fact that you're immortal. You're going to be the same forever and I'm just going to get old and die.'

'Are you worried that I will tire of you?' Tony looks up at that, surprised that Loki would work out what he was afraid of. He nods slightly, almost afraid to say it out loud. 'I cannot promise you the future and I cannot promise you the world, but I can say that for now, it is you I love, and that does not look as if it will change any time soon. Why should you fear the future when you cannot possibly know what will happen?'

'Did you just tell me to enjoy myself while I can? Because that's normally my line.' Loki laughs quietly, grasping Tony's hand.

'Perhaps you should take your own advice.'

'Perhaps I should.' Tony smiles, looking up and Loki and maybe he just needed to hear that Loki does love him and maybe he is the insecure partner and he doesn't care because Loki hasn't complained yet. Just as long as he doesn't run off again. Tony squeezes Loki's hand. 'I am sorry, though.'

'I know.'

'It's just- I love you. And I'm scared. And-'

'Tony, stop.' Loki cuts him off and squeezes his hand. 'Do you remember our conversation in your tower?' He carries on when Tony nods. 'That was the first time we had met properly, without your suit being in the way. And you made me hesitate. Normally, I would have killed you and been done with it. But you made me want to stay, to talk. You were witty and clever and when the tapping did not work, I- I panicked.'

'And throwing me out of the window seemed like the best idea?'

'I saw you as a threat. If I could not have you on my side, they would not be able to have you on theirs.' Loki pauses, considering his next words carefully. 'I was convinced I would either win the battle, or I would be captured, taken to Asgard and killed. There was no middle ground for me.'

'And when neither happened?' Tony pushed when Loki didn't continue.

'I was stranded. All I could do was be a nuisance -I had lost the boost to my power that the Chitauri had given me, and I could not risk trying anything again for fear of angering Asgard. Every time I saw you in battle, my resolve to fight weakened.'

'You were falling for me as we fought?' Tony teases, testing the water, smiling when Loki laughed.

'You could say that, yes.' Loki starts tracing light patterns across Tony's wrists. 'That night, I was angry. Angry that you had such power over me, and that you did not realise you did. I went to you room with every intention of ending you. But, before I realised what I was doing, I had you pinned against a door and I was kissing you, rather than killing you.'

'If it helps, you did technically end me that night. You made me yours.'

Loki shakes his head but he's smiling and blushing slightly. 'After the first time, I found that I could not stop. I- I became addicted to you and I found that I did not want to fight it. I did not want to fight you.'

'Why are you telling me all of this?'

'So you are aware of why this happened. It was you, always you. I do not plan for the future, I do not plan for a change in circumstances. I plan for you, with you. If next year is too far for you, then we do not have to think about it.'

Tony can't describe the relief he feels at that. It feels like the world has been taken off of his shoulders and he doesn't care that it kind of makes him feel pathetic that Loki has to explain that to him, but he buries that along with his fear.

Tony stands and walks over to stand in front of Loki, who spins on his stool, opening his legs to allow Tony to step between them and duck his head to claim Loki's lips. It starts as a chaste apology and confirmation that he's okay again but it quickly becomes more heated and Loki's hoisting Tony up onto the bar and the height difference works just perfectly for them to be able keep kissing in this position and Loki's hand are pushing Tony's t-shirt up and they separate long enough for it to be pulled over Tony's head and thrown into a corner of the room.

Loki's lips move downwards, peppering his neck and chest with kisses and 'iloveyou's and it works because Tony feels wanted and feels his fears melting away and Loki's hands are expertly undoing Tony's pants and Tony doesn't want to linger on what just happened -he wants to move past it. So he pulls Loki's shirt up and over his head and he needs this too much right now to take his time undressing Loki and he stops caring when Loki dances his fingers up Tony's cock, aching and hard and he can't help but make a desperate keening noise and buck his hips up, needing more friction. But Loki is loath to give it to him and just keeps going with the feather light touches and Tony's just about to go insane when Loki murmurs something and suddenly his finger is pushing into Tony and he's spreading his legs wider apart, body begging for more. And Loki is still going slowly, so slowly, and Tony is falling apart under his hands.

The second and third fingers come in quick succession and Tony knows that Loki can't keep this up -he needs this as much as Tony. And it's uncomfortable -there's a reason that Loki bottoms more often than not -but Tony doesn't care and just as his body is getting used to it Loki pulls his fingers out and Tony is whining long and high pitched and Loki is pulling him forward, off of the counter and straight onto his magically lubed cock and the stretch is bordering on painful but Loki doesn't move, hands the control over to Tony and Tony pauses, letting his body get used to it. He rolls his hips experimentally and yeah he's ready. He rests his hands on Loki's shoulders and uses the leverage to push himself up and force himself back down and it's awkward but it's also intimate and gentle and loving and it's exactly what they both need. The kiss lazily, Tony rolling his hips and Loki twists just so and jesus it feels so good and a litany of fucklokijesusfuckloki is spilling from his lips.

But Loki, ever the impatient soul, gets bored of the slow pace and, planting his hands underneath Tony, he lifts him up, lying him on the bar and raising Tony's leg onto his shoulder so he can go deeper and he moves fast, so fast, and it's brutal and the marble is painful against his back and he throws a hand above his head, holding fast to the edge and trying to alleviate the chafing and Loki just keeps going, pumping his hips viciously. The heat is building inside Tony and he's digging his heels into the small of Loki's back, toes curling as it builds and his back is arching and then he's coming, untouched, over his stomach and Loki isn't stopping, ploughing into his own orgasm and then he's collapsing on top of Tony, briefly kissing him before standing up and pulling out and dragging Tony down onto the floor with him, where they curl up together.

'I love you.' Loki is the first to say it this time, and Tony nuzzles his cheek before whispering that he loves him too and they fall asleep, curled together, naked on the kitchen floor.

They're woken up the next day by a loud girlish scream that comes from Clint and Natasha muttering 'That's one hell of a Christmas surprise.'

Loki teleports them into Tony's bed, but there's no way that Tony's going back to sleep because it's Christmas and it's his first Christmas with his new 'family' and Christmas means presents and he wants presents despite the fact that he's kind of the man who has everything and he wants to give the others their presents and see the looks on their faces and he wants to eat a hell of a lot of food with them and he wants to sit around and watch movies and play games and talk about everything and nothing. He wants the Christmases he never had, and as he lies here and stares at the ceiling, curled into Loki's chest and trying to ignore the ache in his neck from sleeping against a counter and the ache in his lower back and the raw feeling of the rest of his back he can finally have that.

He feels like he can finally have the Christmas he wants because he has the team and they're dysfunctional, yeah, and they've known each other for less than a year but they belong together in one flawed family. And he has Loki wrapped around his side and his heart and it doesn't look like he's going anywhere soon and that's a miracle in and of itself because someone finally taught Tony Stark how to love and to not be afraid of the future and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

He bounds out of his room (pausing briefly to get dressed) and into the lounge where the tree is and he apologises for having sex in the kitchen and promises to clean it up later and he laughs at the excitement in Steve's eyes and the way Thor's bouncing up and down. Loki appears behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist and kissing his cheek before resting his chin on Tony's shoulder and he feels weirdly like the parent of this eclectic family. And Tony's not an idiot. He knows that the world can't be this perfect and this picturesque forever and something will inevitably go wrong, but he isn't afraid anymore. Because he knows they can handle anything that the world throws at them, all of them together.