I do not own the Avengers or anyone therein.
This is the last chapter guys. I hope you like it.
It isn't my last story; keep an eye out, I'm in the final stages of revision and will be able to start posting another next week hopefully.
Thank you to everyone who has read, favourited, alerted, and reviewed as we went. Thank all of you for it; while the story was written, it is nothing without an audience, and you are all wonderful. Thank you for staying around for it, and until the next story, best wishes.
Clint nearly explodes out of his bed, grabbing the intruder leaned on his bed by the throat, a knife whipping out and pressing against the carotid artery. His eyes haven't really adjusted to being awake, but whoever it is goes absolutely still. He blinks the sleep out of his eyes, focuses, and sees the most brilliant cat green eyes watching him wake up.
"Loki?" he says, brain still trying to catch up to instinct.
Loki licks his lips, but doesn't speak. There's a thin line of blood where Clint's knife is pressing into his throat.
"Fuck." Clint lets go, puts the knife away. Loki relaxes, slightly, but he's still watching carefully. Clint runs his hand through his hair, making it stick up, and looks up at Loki. The god is... hovering might not be the right word, but he's nervous. Loki's eyes flick around the room, and his pulse isn't steady.
"Where the fuck did you go?" he suddenly demands, shoving Loki off the bed. The god yelps, sprawls in a heap, and starts to sit back up. Clint's out of bed and grabbing his shirt-dark green, cotton-heaves him to his feet and pins him against a wall. "Left a fucking note, nothing else, and didn't even send a goddamn postcard, what the fuck, Loki?"
Loki's staring at him, still too taken aback to really fight back, or push, though Clint knows that without the collar Loki could poof in a wisp of green mist if he really wanted to.
"I... did not think-"
"Yeah, fucking right you didn't fucking think. We gave you a goddamn home, didn't fucking send you back, and you just fucking leave. No one knew where the fuck you were. You know how much those assholes fucking worried? All I fucking heard for a fucking week, where the fuck did you go?" He shakes Loki, both hands gripping the shirt and blinks backs the sudden sting in his eyes. "It's been three goddamn months."
"Clint, my fucking name is Clint, you asshole-"
"Clint!" Loki has his hands around Clint's wrists, like he would sometimes when he wanted his attention before, when he was still recovering. Clint blinks, takes a deep breath, but he doesn't let go. "I needed to think. I needed to sort things out. I didn't know..." and Loki stops, trying to put into words what he didn't know.
"You didn't know what was you and what wasn't," he says, because he remembered, and isn't it fucked up that he cares so much about the one who made him doubt himself. He sighs, rests his head on Loki's chest-tall bastard-relaxing his grip. Loki's hands are cool on his wrists. "You could have at least sent a postcard or something. Let us know you were alive."
"Of course we fucking worried!" Clint shoves Loki into the wall, letting go and pacing because he can't do this, can't look at the god right now.
"But youdid. Even after...?"
And there it is, hanging in the air, blue light and no sense of self.
Clint swallows, tries to go still. He's shaking, and his eyes are burning and his face is wet, so he keeps his back to Loki. He can hear Loki moving behind him, but the god has the decency not to try to circle around.
"Yeah. Yeah, I did. You didn't fucking deserve all that, and hell, whatever you did, you didn't really have much left in the way of sanity." He licks his lips, and his voice is a whisper. "I missed you."
"Why?" Clint turns, because he has never heard Loki's voice so raw and hurt and confused. The god is staring at him, unable to comprehend, and Clint admits that he doesn't really get it either.
"Because I like having you around. Because you don't shoot fifty questions out of your mouth and zoom off on some other tangent before you get answers, because you dance or whatever the fuck that was, because you're curious even when you're this ruined wreck that barely fits together anymore." Clint pauses, Loki still clearly not comprehending. "Look. You can go. Just. Just send me a postcard sometimes, alright? You know what that is? Little note with a picture? Let me know you haven't thrown yourself off a building or jumped in traffic or whatever it is you gods do when you're committing suicide. Please."
Loki did send postcards, though he apparently never looked up what they actually were based off what showed up. They usually would end up wherever Clint was sleeping, right next to the knife he kept under his pillow-small notes with curling, elegant script and sticker pictures with one of those new cameras that made them. Also usually sickeningly cute little stickers of dinosaurs and the Avengers and little cats with too big eyes. Apparently the god was fascinated with them.
He got a box, once, which had everyone looking curiously and he wondered why the hell Loki didn't just magic it in like usual. To be safe, he opened it in the kitchen with Steve and Bruce.
Tony banned boxes from Loki being opened in the kitchen when Hulk smashed the wall out.
Going up to his room, his attic, his nest, still trying to brush plaster and confetti and silly string off, he stopped when he heard a chuckle above him. Green eyes watched him with a smirk where Loki half-dangled out of the loft.
"Asshole," Clint said firmly, and climbed up the ladder.
"I'm not dead," Loki said, smiling, sitting up and scooting away from the edge. He had probably noticed where Clint had started pinning the notes covered in stickers, but he didn't say anything about it so Clint didn't.
"Obviously. Bruce just took out the fucking kitchen. Asshole."
Loki smiled like a cat in cream. Clint grunted, sitting down next to him. One of Loki's hands touched his wrist, soft. Clint looked at him out of the corner of his eye but didn't move his hand away. Loki staring out into the middle distance, still smiling at his prank. Clint licked his lips.
"Planning on being here long?"
"Mm." Clint hesitated a second, then moved. He was planning for the cheek, but Loki turned at the sudden movement, still wary apparently, and the kiss landed on the corner of his mouth. The god's eyebrows shot up, but Clint tried playing it off, leaning against Loki and resting his head on his shoulder. His heart was thudding in his chest, but he ignored it. Played it cool. Smooth. Tony wished he was this slick.
"I suppose I can stay for a bit. I've missed Steve's cooking," Loki said, letting him play it down. They sat there for a while, comfortable silence that Clint hadn't even known he'd missed surrounding them.
It was enough.