"Yes, sir?"

"I need music. Something loud. And don't you dare let a single soul into this lab."

The AI obeyed his creator's command wordlessly, starting up a new song at a volume that he knew was unhealthy for human ears but that Tony was used to.

If I gave you pretty enough words

could you paint a picture of us that works?

An emphasis on function rather than design.

Aren't you tired? 'Cause I will carry you

on a broken back and blown out knees.

I have been where you are for awhile.

He sat down heavily on the nearest chair and threw his head back, jerking at the short strands of his hair and resisting the urge to scream. It had been such a stupid fight, a clashing of pride from which neither man was willing to back down. He couldn't even remember how it had started. He had just been so tired, and Loki was being a jerk, and then they were screaming, fighting with each other on a rooftop in Manhattan like their lives weren't already dramatic enough. Their relationship problems would probably be all over the 5 o clock news. He laughed bitterly. They were better than this. They were past this. He shouldn't be sitting here alone in his lab pining over his angry lover like a love sick fucking teenager. But he was, because this wasn't just any other petty fight. This one was important.

Aren't you tired of being weak?

Such rage that you could scream

all the stars right out of the sky

and destroy the prettiest starry night

every evening that I die.

Tony hadn't been in his suit, but Loki hadn't been trying to hurt him. They hadn't even touched each other, just standing there yelling. His all-too-human body was too fragile for them to even fight properly. He gave in, screaming at the top of his voice until his lungs ran out of air. It still didn't drown out the music. He grabbed the first thing his hand came to off the desk and flung it at the nearest wall, watching it shatter satisfyingly. DUM-E immediately moved to clean up the mess, beeping in what was probably a concerned manner, but Tony ignored him, far too caught up in his own thoughts to care.

He hated being so weak. There was so little he could do outside of his suit, and it was impossible for him to forget about it when he was literally living with a God. He and Loki had been together for two years now, and as much as he tried not to care about his own mortality, he couldn't help but notice that the Aesir didn't age at all. He wanted that, for a very selfish reason, and one that he would never stop fighting for – the privilege of being with Loki forever.

He had expected to die in a cave in Afghanistan years ago, and when he came back alive, he didn't know what to do. He had saved his own life by working on instinct, building a suit and a life-support to do what needed to be done but he hadn't actually planned on succeeding, on living. His survival had mostly been an accident. Sometimes late at night, when he lay awake, panting from the nightmares of memories, he regretted fighting his way out. But then he had met Loki and he had found something that mattered. And now he was dying and it hurt and he was angry.

I am exhumed. Just a little less human and a lot more bitter and cold.

I am exhumed. Just a little less human and a lot more bitter and cold.

I am exhumed. Just a little less human and a lot more bitter and cold.

I am exhumed. Just a little less human and so much more bitter and cold.

He knew that he was living on borrowed time and he had been ever since he had had a car battery hooked up to his chest during an impromptu home-made surgery all those years ago. And then he took the idea and perfected it and made the arc reactor, but even that was a weakness; if it ever failed or was taken out he would have minutes to live at best. The great Iron Man, the famous lover of Loki Laufeyson, and his own heart was a piece of metal in his chest. Was it really so wrong of him, so much to ask, to just want to be able to live?

Loki said that he wanted him to live his life as a human, because that was natural, it was how it was meant to be. He said that he wanted him to be happy, and human, and as normal as he could be with his life as a Superhero. He looked into his eyes and told him that immortality was a curse, and not one that he wished to burden his lover with. But Tony knew that it was also a curse to have to ever give this man up, even for something as supposedly inevitable as his own death. If and only if Loki ever left him, then he would find a way to die. Otherwise, he couldn't imagine wanting to ever again.

After all these images of pain have cut right through you

I will kiss every scar and weep

you are not alone.

Then I'll show you that place in my chest

where my heart still tries to beat

it still tries to beat.


"Not now, JARVIS."

"But, sir-"

"I said not fucking now. I don't care."

Another voice, cool and smooth joined the conversation. "It's alright, JARVIS. Thank you, but I'll take care of things from here. Could you turn down the music down some, please?"

The AI sounded relieved. "Of course, Mr. Laufeyson."

Tony spun at the sound of his voice. He swiped desperately at his cheeks, trying to hide the tears that were still falling. He hadn't wanted the God to see him like this, so emotional and vulnerable and human. It was the exact opposite of what he was trying to achieve. The last thing he needed was for Loki to think he was weak.

The Aesir considered him sadly. "Oh, Anthony." He strode over to the inventor and took his hands in his own, ignoring Tony's half-hearted protests. He bent down and gently kissed each knuckle in turn before looking back up, his own eyes swimming with emotion. "I am sorry."

Tony understood how rare it was to get an apology from him, even more so a sincere one, and his emotions leapt at the thought. He truly loved this man. He smiled slowly and reached forward for his lover, pulling him awkwardly into a hug. "Loks..." He spoke into the fabric of his shirt.


"Let's go to bed."

Live. Love. Burn. Die.

Live. Love. Burn. Die.

Live. Love. Burn. Die.

Live. Love. Burn. Die.

A/N: Song is Lip Gloss and Black by Atreyu.