Please forgive for I know not what I do. I do not ship Loki/Steve in any way, shape or form - this just sort of blindsided me and it was easy writing. Don't own The Avengers, that's all Marvel.

Edit: Re-uploaded on 01/06/2012 after Fanfiction deleted it because I was naughty and put the f-word in the summary.

Loki wins, eventually.

Hulk gets pretty much turned to dust by some mammoth of a spell Loki launches at him during one fight in England whilst Loki asserts his rule there and the Avengers try to say no. Two years later, Loki blows up Stark Tower, killing Pepper and Hawkeye. Nick Fury dies of stress. Loki's confrontation with his brother lasts for five straight days, during which they destroy most of California, and by some truly horrific disaster, Thor loses. Loki sticks him like a pig with his spear, Phil Coulson-style.

And the humans tire of the fighting and the struggle. They fight to the end, of course— they're the Avengers, Earth's Mightiest Heroes, all that, even though there's only three of them left. Natasha hadn't slept in two months and she simply collapses one day and she doesn't wake up at all.

Loki is a God. He tells his subjects this, punctuating the declaration with mounting violence until no one dares shout him down. He leaves a trail of scarlet footprints in his wake on his way to the highest throne. No shouting, then. No shouting, and the wails cease with the general outcry. His servants bemoan him in private, and he allows it, because he is a tolerant God, cutting down only those who really have it coming. Like certain genius billionaire playboy philanthropists.

No shouting, but there is much whispering where the rebels run. They don't call him "My lord" or "Sire". They don't even call him Loki. In their subdued but insolent words, he is it, complete with a diminutive "i"—little more than a petulant child wielding an unholy power to wreak a despair that it cannot possibly understand with its tiny, immature mind.

Somewhere—maybe in one of the few unlevelled, abandoned warehouses standing in Texas, maybe deep down in the dirty darkness beneath the cracked streets of Old New York—the First and Last Avenger dwells, ever the war hero. The leader of a rag-tag group of dreamers who plot their laughable plots and scheme their impossible schemes.

Loki genuinely appreciates Steve Rogers's gall.

"I killed your, ah… girlfriend." Loki tells him.

"She's not… she wasn't my girlfriend." Steve says blankly without looking at Loki. He's sprawled out on his back on the huge, luxurious circular bed that fills most of the room.

Loki walks over to the edge of the bed, looming over Steve and staring down at his face. "Do you like the sheets?" He asks, suddenly, unnervingly cordial.

"Like I give two damns about sheets."

"They're your sheets."

"Oh, they're my sheets?" He finally looks at Loki, turning his face towards him and raising a disdainful brow.

"It's your room." He stares up at bright green eyes. All traces of mischievous twinkle have fled them; Loki speaks now with grave sincerity.

"Well, then." Steve forces out through his teeth. "I thank you for the sheets, my lord."

The amusement returns at once, and Loki laughs. "I did not actually kill her." he reveals. Then he adds with a grin that shows all his white teeth, "Yet."

"She's just a tool." Steve says with a shrug, but Loki simply carries on smiling, tilting his head to one side.

"What is her name?" Loki asks.

"A cog." Steve emphasizes, dodging the question. "She's just part of the wider mechanism. That's all."

"What is her name?"

"You're not gonna do this. You're not gonna use her against me."

Loki joins Steve on…his bed then; his knee in-between Steve's and his palm flat beside Steve's right arm.

"You're lying, Captain, and excuse me for saying that it is an ugly trait on you. This woman of yours is no tool." He chuckles then, softly, admiring how Steve glowers up at him, The Star-Spangled Man With A Plan, right to the last. "Lying to the God of Lies, how gallant. Gallantry, of course, being the kindest word for idiocy."

"You're not a god," Steve argues, leaning his face up towards Loki's until their noses practically touch. "You're the devil."

Loki bends, resting his temple against Steve's. He feels Steve go totally rigid beneath him. "What is her name, Steve?" He whispers into Steve's ear. "Come now. You can save her. Otherwise… she merely goes the same way as all the others."

That's no particular way, really. Agonizing and irreversible generally sums it up.

"You're—" Steve hisses, his voice trembling. "You're psychotic. You're—!"

"Evil?" Loki guesses in a rasp, moving away and up, gazing down at Steve once more. "You have the ability to assuage that, you know. With your goodness, hmm? Your humanity. Why don't you stop playing? And do something… useful?"

Steve manages to extricate one arm from the tangle he and Loki have got themselves into and he smacks Loki hard around the face. His slap resounds like a gunshot across Loki's jaw. His hand burns and Loki stays where he is for a moment, his head in the position Steve's violence moved it to. He sniffs, and Steve can see his jawbone working beneath the surface of his pale, pale skin.

Then Loki's eyes snap back to his, holding him there, pinning him to the mattress with more power than Loki's limbs. They breathe the same air and mist it across each other's lips.

"What is her name?"

"SHUT UP!" Steve screams. "I don't know her name, okay? I don't know anybody's—! I don't know anybody." A sob breaks from his throat. "I'm so lonely. I'm so fucking lonely!"

He uses all his strength to shove Loki's long, lithe body off of him. Loki stumbles for a moment but regains his footing, his eyes shining and his breath ragged. Steve sits up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed, feeling old and exhausted and heartbroken and dirty. He puts his elbows on his knees and puts his face into his palms.

Captain America weeps.

"Help me, God…" He pleads in a hopeless, broken voice.

He feels cold fingers encircling his wrists and gently pulling his hands away from his face and he feels a forehead resting against his own. Steve blinks away the tears: he looks into Loki's eyes and it's like staring right into the end of the world.

"I'm right here."

Feel free to tell me how this traumatized you.