Okay so recently I have been overcome by Marvel madness. I've now seen the Avengers three times xD So yeah, in my third viewing of the movie I had the idea for this fic. So enjoy! I certainly had lots of fun writing it xD
Thor has always enjoyed festivities. Growing up as the heir of Asgard, the parties and feasts were bountiful, grand and truly fit for a king. Tables were laden with great roast boar and other tantalising treats, and he and his friends would jest most jovially far into the night, telling tales of adventure, slurring from too much alcohol.
When the month of December on the human calendar arrives, Thor ponders why his soldier friend is dashing about the Avengers' tower hanging orbs of coloured light upon every available wall surface.
"Are you performing some sort of a ritual?"
Steve cranes his neck over his shoulder, not turning from hooking an orb over a pipe, and raises an eyebrow.
"Alas, I have not heard of the Huh ritual. Nay, I have not heard of many Earthly rituals. These glowing beacons are most delightful, however." Thor taps a nail on the light beside him, but does not anticipate its clear shell to be so frail. It pops – loudly – and the entire string of lights flickers and extinguishes. Thor pins his hand to his side and slowly brings his eyes to Steve's, who's staring at Thor, looking completely lost for words.
"Thor, damn it!" he groans, bounding down from his ladder and stalking over to the result of Thor's interference.
"I apologise if I have spoiled your preparations, Captain." Thor really is very sorry. Steve looks on the brink of heartbreak.
"It took me two hours to-"
And the Steve pauses. He takes a deep breath in, exhales, and then smiles at Thor.
"Y'know what? It doesn't even matter. It's almost Christmas! Far too merry a time to get angry. Even for Bruce, I dare say."
It is Thor's turn to raise an eyebrow. "Who is this Chris Mass of whom you speak of so fondly?"
Steve laughs, clapping Thor on the shoulder. "Christmas isn't a person, big guy. It's a Christian festival where we celebrate the birth of-"
"Continue no further with your tale, my friend. You had me at 'festival'! Am I to assume that this festival involves plentiful feasts and joy?"
"It sure does."
Thor grins widely. "Then I shall aid you in your quest to perform this ritual so that we can make haste in arranging the merriment of Christmas!"
"The ritual of Huh, of course!"
"…The ritual of Hu- oh! Oh! You mean what you were babbling about earlier? No no, these lights aren't – weren't – for a ritual! They're for Christmas too! See, within the celebrations, we decorate our houses with bright lights and tinsel and a huge tree covered in more lights, more tinsel and sometimes candy canes, if we're lucky. Then, at the very top sits an angel, who watches over us all through the holiday season."
"…You humans have strange festivities," Thor says decidedly. "Yet…it does sound gloriously magnificent. A tree, you say?"
"A tree," Steve confirms with pride. "And I'm gonna put one right in the centre of the living room."
Thor startles. "You mean to state that you place trees inside? Why?"
"…That's…just the way it is, I guess? But yeah, it's inside. All the gifts are placed beneath it."
"Gifts to whom, your God? What animals do you sacrifice?"
Steve's eyes widen, and he chuckles. "Not those kinds of gifts. It's items we give to each other out of affection and sentiment."
"…That…that…why, I did not think Christmas could prove any better than you already claimed! Oh ho, in light of the information you have shared with me with regard to Christmas, I am more than open to assisting you in any way I can!"
"Fantastic!" Steve chirps, his face dawning with happiness. "You seem to be the only other person willing to help me out."
"What reasons do they have to deny revelling in such marvellous activities?"
"They're too busy. Tony and Bruce are getting hounded by Fury to continue working on…whatever it is they're working on. And Natasha and Clint are away for a few days with Coulson and some agents at a conference in Toronto. So it's just you and me, buddy. Setting up for Christmas. It's in a week, by the way. On the twenty-fifth."
Thor rubs his hands together. "Then we must get to work!"
Loki has always enjoyed festivities as much as the next man, maybe even more so, but ever since the discovery of his true heritage, he finds it difficult to look back on those once-happy times with much happiness at all. With sorrow he decides that every jest he had ever shared with Odin was one that the Allfather had not had his heart in because, as Loki had been so brutally told, he was but a stolen relic.
He sighs sadly as he walks through the streets of New York. No one recognises him – he's transfigured into his female form. A thick black jacket with green trimming is wrapped around him, and his boots crunch down on the sludgy black snow that has been churned by the persistent crowds. It appears as though the humans are beginning to celebrate "Christmas". There is a putrid sense of merriment in the air that twists his innards.
He knows all about Christmas after conversing with some drunken loon in a bar a few nights previously. Apparently in religious aspects, some humans celebrate the birth of a child named Jesus, whoever that is. For others, it's mainly about a plump, bearded old man who dresses in red, flies a sleigh and delivers presents to all of the children around the globe.
Loki thinks this sounds a lot like magic.
Magic he's very interested in procuring.
Santa comes on Christmas Eve, a week from now. Loki plans to wait him out, and strike when the aged goof least expects it. That way he can demand that he give over his power and his flying reindeer (Loki likes the idea of a flying contraption. He'll make sure he transfigures the reindeer though. From their appearance in store windows, they look far too cute to be the beasts that drag his chariot. Plus, their horns resemble his own helmet, and he really doesn't want to be mocked for that.) Then he'll kill the (Loki peers through a toy store window at an open story book about the ruddy man) 'right jolly old elf' (he most certainly is not an elf. Loki has had run-ins with elves before. He knows what they look like. Humans, clearly, have no real brains whatsoever) with the 'belly like a bowlful of jelly' and be done with it.
He passes a woman ringing a bell and holding a bucket.
"Money for the poor! Money for the poor!" she cries most aggravatingly. Loki hasn't had much fun in a while – mischief being fun – and decides to fix that problem. With a casual, sly flick of his wrist, the bucket begins to fill with small snakes. The woman doesn't realise. Loki leans against a nearby wall and waits.
Sure enough, a hunched old woman stops to drop some coins into the bucket, peers inside, screams and then faints on the ground. Loki smirks, watching the crowd form and then scarper at the noticing of the serpents.
A smug smile on his face, Loki tucks his hands into his pockets, holding his head high, and disappears into the crowd.
"But why can I not use Mjölnir to-"
"THOR!" Steve cries, exasperated, "just use the normal hammer to put the tinsel up!"
"You will break the fireplace if you use Mjölnir. Look, if you don't do it then I will."
Thor unwillingly places Mjölnir at his feet. "No! Steve, this is my task. I will do this." Gingerly, he lifts the puny Midgardian hammer which he could crush into splinters if he so wished, but instead begins knocking a nail into the fireplace and attaching the tinsel accordingly.
"Funny how everything Stark does is so high tech, but he builds a traditional fireplace," Steve says from the rafters, hanging another giant bauble.
"It's homely," Tony announces as he steps into the room, closely followed by Bruce. "At least that's what the movies say it is. It's not like I've actually ever had a real fireplace. Maybe I'm making up for my deprived childhood." He shrugs. "Who knows?" The two stop to admire the other's work.
"Nice job, guys!" Bruce chimes, walking to Thor and holding up the other end of the tinsel to make it easier. Thor grins. Placing his hands on his hips, Tony peers up at Steve.
"Those sure are some big balls you got there."
"Why don't you start helping out if you're available?"
"I'm always available for you, baby," Tony winks, and Steve just rolls his eyes and glares. Tony lifts his hands in defence. "Okay, okay. Jeez, d'you put on your pants too tight, Cappers? Take a joke, will ya?"
"Will you help or not?"
"What's to do?"
"You could always decorate the outside of the tower."
The noise Tony makes is nothing short of undignified. "I'm sorry, but you want me to put tacky lights across my building?"
"No need to get stroppy."
"Woah, any tenser and those pants are gonna ping off, what with all those muscles flexing. See, there's one bulging in your jaw right now."
Steve drops from the rafters and approaches Tony. "Shut up, Stark, and go and do something proactive."
"…You shut up," Tony mutters childishly.
Steve is about to retaliate when Thor steps between them, hammer raised.
"You two are not acting the way the spirit of Christmas intends! You, Steve, taught me that Christmas is a time for peace and joy. Do not quarrel further. And you, Tony…" Thor lifts his hammer as though ready to send Tony flying. "You go and put lights on the building because Steve is excited about all of this and you are killing his Christmas festivities with your refusal."
Steve goes red, and Tony stares at Thor who is literally right up in his face.
"Okay! Okay! I'll…put some lights up. For Steve." He looks past Thor. "Because this is a special time of year for babby cap cap America, isn't it schnookums?" The babyish turn on his voice clearly amuses Bruce, who's cackling, but Thor takes a step forwards and Tony scarpers in the direction of his suit.
"Sonofabitch Christmas lights on my own damn building," Tony grumbles to himself as he fixes the last of the lights to the tower. He propels away far enough to take in its entirety.
"Okay, Cap. Throw the switch."
Steve doesn't reply, but obviously hears him because suddenly the lights flare and the Avengers tower looks…looks…
"Well?" Steve asks hopefully. Tony bites his lip, and lowers his eyebrows.
"Sorry I doubted you, Steve-O. It's impressive, to say the least. But everythingI do is at least impressive, so." Tony can almost see Steve roll his eyes.
When Tony walks back into the living room, Bruce is settled in an armchair with a book, Steve is fixing the askew tinsel on the fireplace and Thor is…nowhere to be seen.
Bruce lifts his eyes from his novel and looks around. "…He was here a moment ago?"
"I think he mentioned having some sort of revelation," Steve says. He perches himself on the arm of Bruce's chair. Tony stretches, getting out all of the kinks in his joints, before sliding his phone from his pocket and hitting the speed dial. Pepper answers, but she sounds flustered.
"You okay, honey?" he asks, worried since she's hissing curse words under her breath.
"I fell out of the bath on the way to get my phone."
"Are you hurt?"
"Good. Now I can laugh because the whole image of that is hilarious."
"Ha ha," she sighs, sarcastic. "Let's all joke about Pepper's pain. Why did you even call, Tony?"
"The living room. It's all Christmassy. I wanted you to see it. Also, the tower's covered in lights and I'm really proud that it doesn't look tacky and I just wanted to take you onto the roof of the bank at the end of the block so you could admire it and then I could kiss you senseless." He pauses to let her breathe. Then he shrugs. "But, y'know, whatever."
"I…uh…I'll dry off then and-"
"Oh no. You can't just tell me you're in the bath and think I'm not going to join you. The lights can wait." Tony glances down. "I, however, cannot."
Thor is proud of himself, oh isn't Thor proud of himself. His momentous idea had struck upon him like a bolt of his own lightening, and he had bid Steve and Bruce farewell before going back to Asgard to seek out what he had come for. People greet him as he walks up the palace steps – bowing and curtsying – smiling to welcome their prince home, if it be only for a moment. Mjölnir swings at his side, and he crosses the courtyard, breaking into a sprint when he makes the forest. He knows what he is looking for – he and Loki used to play in these lands as children. He runs fast, wind whipping his hair in his eyes until at last he stops; stares.
He finds his prize.
Tony is grinning curiously when he emerges from the elevator, Steve thinks. Perhaps they fondue'd.
Pepper follows behind him, her cheeks pink, and Steve has to turn away because dammit if they're not flaunting it right there.
"I'm gonna go show Pepper the tower," Tony announces, jerking his thumb towards the window.
"I think you already did that," Bruce says, not looking up from his book. Tony chooses to ignore this comment, and Bruce does lift his eyes to only Steve who smirks back at him.
Tony is heading towards his suit when there's an almighty crash outside. Then he runs to his suit and jumps into it. Steve is on his feet, along with Bruce, who's growling dangerously. Pepper is standing her ground, unprotected but courageous nonetheless. The four of them exit the living room onto the balcony, and Steve's jaw hits the ground.
"Greetings, friends!" Thor cries gleefully. "I found us a tree!"
Weighing down on Thor's upstretched hands is the most enormous, un-Christmas looking tree Steve has ever seen. Its branches and trunk are twisted somewhat beautifully, but it is absolutely humongous.
"I collected one that would just fit inside our living room! Isn't it grand?"
Pepper, Bruce, Tony and Steve share questioning stares, but none of them can reject Thor's "gift" because the god just looks so damn proud. And the face that he went to collect this tree all by himself brings tears to Steve's eyes. Thor really is trying to get into Christmas.
"It's perfect, Thor. Completely, one hundred percent perfect."