Brooding 34

Clint understood well enough what pheromones were, and he was honestly glad to know they were the reason why he had been so horny around Loki; however, he also knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loved Loki. Just the sight of his red-rimmed, teary eyes made Clint feel actual physical pain, and to see Loki’s delicate nose turned pink from crying made his insides churn in a roiling knot.

“Come here, Baby,” he soothed, lifting Loki’s long legs to one side so he was sitting between Clint’s thighs, cradled by his arms. “Oh, Baby… Oh, Loki,” Clint whispered, kissing away the wet traces on his cheeks. “You have no idea how much I love you. And it’s not just the pheromones talking either.”

“That’s exactly what the pheromones would make you think,” Loki protested, although he did not resist what Clint was doing. In fact he set his almost-empty mug on the bedside table so he could nestle against Clint’s body more comfortably.

“No, I mean it. Just think about it,” Clint began. “When I got snapped out of your spell, my first response was to try to kill you, right? So obviously I wasn’t suffering from Stockholm Syndrome or anything like that.” In answer to Loki’s perplexed expression, he explained, “It’s a thing where people – or at least Humans – start identifying with their kidnapper, even thinking they’re in love with them. Don’t ask me how it works, but anyway, I know I didn’t have it. I hated your guts back then.”

“Of course,” Loki faintly replied, “you were not feeling the effects of the pheromones at that time.”

Clint kissed him and forced him to meet his gaze before continuing.

“The important thing is, after I started digging around for my memories, reliving what we’d done together, I realized that I’d fallen for you. Hard. Because in spite of everything you’d done to me – as well as to my world – I couldn’t stop thinking about you. And when I got that one memory unblocked and remembered what you’d gone through… why you were doing what you were doing, I knew my instincts hadn’t been wrong. You’d gotten under my skin, Loki, and that’s a hard thing to do… for anyone. You can’t just wave a magic wand at someone and make them fall in love; God knows I would be the last guy to fall for a trick like that. No, I’d spent enough time with you to get a feel for who you really are… and that was the Loki I’d fallen for.”

There was a glimmer, the barest hint of hope in Loki’s sea-green eyes. Clint tried to encourage it with another kiss, stroking Loki’s cool skin with wide open palms as though to warm him. When their mouths parted, Loki was looking at him hungrily, his lips open as though poised to say something but he didn’t know what.

“When I realized how I felt about you,” Clint told him, “I wished I could have done it all over again with my head screwed on straight. Of course I wouldn’t have helped you take over my world, but… maybe I could have helped you make a plan against the Chitauri or something. I sure as hell would have been a better partner for you if I’d been aware of what I was doing, not just a robot taking orders. And I know what you’re going to say: that I only thought I loved you because you forced me to, but that doesn’t explain how much I missed you afterwards, does it? Because yeah, I missed you! After I got over the hurt and anger and confusion, I fucking missed you. And… I worried about you. I thought how lonely you must be, locked up all alone in prison, and wished I could at least visit you. But you were a whole world away.”

Clint grasped Loki’s shoulders and gave him a little shake.

“Do you get it? I was missing you when you were locked up on Asgard. When your damn pheromones couldn’t possibly have affected me because you weren’t even on the same fucking planet. I wanted to see you, to talk with you, to make sure you were all right, even after everything you’d done, because I… I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t stop caring about what happened to you because I love you. And that’s not something you can make me feel – I don’t care how many pheromones you throw at me!”

Loki hardly realized that he was weeping, his tears slipping out of the corners of his eyes as he stared at Clint, stunned. The Human’s logical reasoning had startled Loki, forcing him to accept that perhaps Clint was right in his assertions – that he really had come to love Loki without the influence of his pheromones.

“Damn it all, Loki, I missed doing stuff with you, and I don’t mean just sex,” Clint said. “Remember when we went clothes shopping in Milan? At the first place you pretended to be some rich entrepreneur and I was your bodyguard, but then at the second place you told me to act like a rich dude who was paying for everything and you were my boy toy. That was fun. You were fun. And although world domination isn’t something I’d care to put on my resumé, we made a damn good team.” Pulling Loki in close, Clint pressed their foreheads together before stating, “It’s like we were meant for each other. I felt lost – literally lost – once I’d sorted through my scrambled head, because I thought I’d never see you again. When they told me a group was coming from Asgard and wanted me to be here, I was hoping to get some news about you, even if it was just a little scrap of information; I didn’t expect you to come with them in a million years. But now you’re here, and you’re carrying my baby, and I’ve got a chance to be with you again. Maybe it’s not an ideal situation, but I still have another chance… so hell yeah, I’m gonna take it! Because I know this is worth the effort – it’s worth fighting for. You and me, Loki… we’ve been given another chance, and this time I want to do it right.”

Loki was trembling as he sobbed, his sight blurred and watery, but he clung to Clint as though he were the only thing tethering his soul from falling into the Void again. And Clint held him tightly, holding him chains and all against his chest as he murmured into Loki’s disheveled hair.

“The fact that you’re pregnant with my kid… is like proof that we’re meant to be together… like this was meant to happen. I mean, how many guys do you know have gotten pregnant? Maybe it’s a common thing for your people, but it sure as hell isn’t for us. So this baby is nothing short of a miracle… He’s a miracle baby that’s giving us a second chance.”

Loki wept on Clint’s shoulder then without holding back or feeling self-conscious. He needed Clint so much… needed his reassuring voice, his comforting embrace, his warm and accepting presence. Clint’s hands seemed to be everywhere at once, massaging his back, rubbing his protruding stomach, and wiping away his tears, and Loki was grateful for every little bit of it. When the tempest of his emotions had calmed, Clint’s shoulder was glistening wet but the man gazed steadily at Loki as though nothing else in the world mattered to him.

“You done, Baby?” Clint asked, his tone still gentle. “’Cuz I don’t want to hear any more of this crazy talk about pheromones being the only reason I love you, all right?”

Loki nodded and gulped, but something was nagging at the back of his mind.

“What?” Clint demanded, seeing the question in his lover’s eyes.

“I… I was just… wondering,” Loki said, then paused to sniff, “why you keep calling me… as though you’re… talking to the child.”

Clint had to think for a moment to understand what Loki was saying. “Oh! You mean ‘Baby’? That’s just a… a term of endearment. I guess you don’t say that in Asgard, huh?”

Loki shook his head slightly. Clint chuckled at himself before kissing Loki on the tip of his nose.

“Well, it’s just an expression. It felt like it fit… because you are, you know – my ‘Baby.’ The kid is ‘the Kid,’” he explained, touching the baby bump, “and he’s ours, but you’re my ‘Baby’… because you’re all mine.”

“All yours…” Loki echoed, his face full of wonder.

“Yeah. All mine,” Clint reaffirmed, squeezing him close for a moment. “And don’t you forget it!”

When Loki’s thin shoulders began shaking with sobs once more, Clint petted him again, stroking his hair and placing tender kisses wherever he could. Loki leaned into him, absorbing his affection as dry land would the rain. Clint reached over to grab the tissue box on the bedside table and offered it to Loki.

“Damn hormones,” Loki mumbled as he took a handful to wipe his face. Clint laughed, knowing that his own penchant for swearing had rubbed off on his lover.

“Well, my hormones – and probably your pheromones – are telling me to fuck you,” he informed Loki, “but that’s not what I’m gonna do.” Clint cupped Loki’s face in both hands and studied it like a priceless work of art. “I’m gonna make love to you, Baby, for as long as I can.”

As Clint claimed his lips in a searing kiss, Loki’s heart was filled with nothing but joy.

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