Brooding 33

Loki took a drink of his cooled tea as he watched Clint sleep. His human lover had finally succumbed to exhaustion after another round of lovemaking and was sprawled spread-eagle on the bed, snoring. Loki did not mind; there was enough room for him to curl up against the other man’s chest if he wanted to, and Clint’s snores were not loud compared to Volstagg’s or even Thor’s. But Loki simply could not bear to sleep when his time outside of the cell was so limited – even carding his fingers through Clint’s short hair was a privilege the demigod did not take for granted.

Loki still felt as though he were in a dream. To have Clint offering his support and companionship felt unnatural somehow, especially when Loki remembered how the archer had turned his deadly aim upon him. tumblr_maaqtiRTMy1qb9cuto4_250 Even when Loki had been forced to surrender in Stark’s ruined penthouse suite, Clint had kept an arrow trained upon his forehead, ready to release it if the trickster god made a threatening move. Loki had known he had lost his general and lover the moment their connection had been broken, but he had felt the pang of loss more acutely when he had seen Clint’s keen eyes glaring at him, all remembrance of their time together erased. It had driven home the realization that he had lost – lost not only the battle but also everything he had held dear.

And yet, against all odds and even defying reason, Clint had embraced him upon hearing the news of their child. Although Loki was certain the man had felt attracted to him right from the start, that alone could not explain Clint’s sudden acceptance of him as a lover again. The child was not motivation enough, either, so it had to be something else.

As he sat there, observing Clint’s peaceful face, Loki remembered what the chief healer had mentioned after examining his alien body, something he had overheard while his mind was still numb with shock: his pheromone emissions were extremely high, much higher than anything she had ever encountered before.

Such a high level of pheromones, Loki knew, would incite an Æsir male to mate senselessly if exposed to it for a long time; a mortal man would be driven mad with desire… just as Clint had been since their reunion… just as he had been during their original time together. With cold dread pooling in the pit of his stomach, Loki realized that all of their passionate lovemaking might have been triggered by something as simple as chemistry – and nothing more.

Bowing his head in anguish, Loki struggled to breathe. The healer had not been able to tell Frigga whether Loki’s body was constantly emitting pheromones at that level or only when his body was fertile. Either way, he realized, it could have been the reason Thor had lusted after him so irresistibly in their youth. It would explain why, after they had been discovered and chastened by their father, Thor had grown disinterested in Loki just as suddenly – they had ceased to spend time together, so the effect of the pheromones had worn off. What Thor had declared as his love for Loki had been nothing more than chemically induced lust.

Loki’s eyes flooded with tears and he cursed the hormones now raging through his body, amplifying his emotions a hundredfold. His quick mind raced ahead to when he would be locked in the cell again, quarantined from the rest of the world. He knew the same change in attitude would happen with Clint. Separated from Loki’s overwhelming pheromones, the man would cease to feel any desire for him and begin to look for another lover. After all, Loki would not even be able to touch him, let alone offer his body to satisfy Clint’s natural needs – why would Clint continue to remain faithful to him then?

Pulling his knees up to his chest, Loki tried to stifle the sobs that wracked his body. Clint was leaving his friends, his work, and his entire world behind to be close to Loki and the baby; when the madness brought on by Loki’s pheromones subsided and his supposed love for Loki cooled, he might regret having made that decision. Especially if he found out that he had made it while under the influence of such powerful chemical urges. And if he realized that Loki had known about it all along…

“He will hate me for certain,” Loki told himself. “What little affection he might yet have for me will be obliterated by rage.”

Loki understood well the kind of hatred that secrets could engender, having had his own sense of self shattered by Odin’s revelation. The knowledge that he was Jötun had been devastating enough; but to find that his adoptive parents had kept that knowledge from him had made him feel betrayed and disparaged – as though he were a child or, worse yet, a creature incapable of comprehending it. He could not trust anyone, not even the woman he had regarded as his mother, anymore. It had been a dark and lonely path since then and at times Loki wondered if, when he had cast himself into the Void, a piece of the Void might have lodged itself permanently into his soul. Clint Barton had been the first person in whom Loki had willingly confided some of his thoughts, even if not all of them.

“When he returns to his senses, he will no longer love me… but I cannot bear to have him hate me,” Loki realized. “At least if I tell him now, he may retain some kindness for me… he may still wish to be a father to the child and, possibly, help me for the child’s sake. Perhaps he would be willing to stay in Asgard until the child is born if I told him it would ease my mind… that it would be helpful for the baby’s health. Just a few months until the child is born… although it may seem like an eternity for a mortal…”

Loki drew in a shuddering breath. He did not know how he could survive the ordeal alone, despite having steeled himself to do so already; now that he had envisioned having Clint beside him as a partner in the process, it was untenable to imagine going through it without him. It was as though he had been given a glimmer of hope only to have it ripped from his hands before he could fully appreciate it. But he had a limited window of time in which to inform Clint – once they left Midgard, telling him would not spare Loki from his wrath.

“It would have to be enough in advance that he could… choose to remain on Midgard instead.” The thought squeezed at Loki’s heart, forcing more tears from his eyes. “But I can wait yet… wait until Thor is on his way back here… or until he is close…” He would wait as long as he could, enjoying the precious hours, minutes, and seconds of Clint’s undivided and unreserved attentions. It was the best he could do. It would have to do.

Loki sniffed hard, wishing he could use his powers to summon Frigga’s handkerchief from his robe pocket. He nearly jumped out of his skin, however – sloshing what remained of his tea – when he felt a hand touch his waist.

“Easy,” Clint said, his voice thick with sleep. When Loki turned his startled face to him, Clint’s eyes widened and he sat up quickly, reaching with both hands for Loki. “What’s the matter, Baby? What’s wrong?”

“Wh-What? N-Nothing,” Loki stammered, then realized how pitiful a lie it was since his cheeks were still wet with tears. No doubt his eyes were red as well.

“Don’t give me that,” Clint chided, but his tone was concerned as he wrapped his arms around Loki’s naked body. “Tell me what’s bothering you. Come here, Baby – tell me everything.”

Loki could almost see the last few blissful moments with his lover being cut short, but there was no getting around it now. He simply did not have the wherewithal to deceive Clint; and, to his own surprise, he found that did not want to.

“I… I must tell you something,” he began, already aching for his loss. The only thing that kept him going was the specter of Clint angry with him – pointing his crossbow at him. “All of this… it’s not real.”

What?” Clint responded, squinting at him in confusion.

“What you think you feel toward me,” Loki clarified, “is not true. It’s… caused by my pheromones. I’m emitting an extraordinarily high amount, which makes you want to mate with me, but… once I’m returned to my cell, you will no longer be influenced by it. You will realize then that… all of this… was just your body’s response to… natural chemical triggers.”

Clint blinked a couple of times, processing this news. “Okay… So what?”

Loki swallowed and focused on the mug in his hands. “So… I thought you should know about it… before you left your world. Once you return to your senses, you may regret having moved to Asgard. I would rather you make an informed decision… understand what is happening here.”

“I understand that your pheromones are what turned me into a horny sex addict all of a sudden,” Clint replied, “which is actually a relief – I was wondering if there were something wrong with me! It sure explains the marathon sex sessions. Damn, I’ve been feeling like a teenager again!” Clint lifted Loki’s chin, forcing him to look at him. “That’s not a bad thing, you know. In fact I’ve been enjoying every minute of it!”

Loki’s lips twitched, attempting to smirk, but he needed to impress upon his lover the gravity of the situation. “While I don’t doubt that, I must remind you… once in Asgard, I will not be allowed any conjugal visits. Your sex drive should abate as well, but… you should reconsider your decision to move there in light of that.”

“Why?” Clint countered. “I’m going there to be with you and the kid – I already knew we probably wouldn’t get to sleep together. I’m glad that I won’t be tempted to hump the railings on your cell or anything, but why wouldn’t I want to go?”

Loki gaped at him for a moment, wishing it were that simple.

“Because you don’t really love me, Clint – you only think you do. And while I… appreciate your offer to be by my side until the child is born, you may come to find it… tedious and… a poor use of your time.”

Comprehension dawned in the Human’s eyes, making Loki feel some relief at having gotten through to him. But he was shocked by Clint’s next statement.

“Oh, Loki,” Clint sighed, holding him even closer. “Why is it so hard for you to believe that I love you?”

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