"Don't you love this time of year?"

Her eyes shifted towards the archer as her heart thumped a bit harder. "It's kind of ruined."

"How do you figure?"

"Christmas stuff has been out since August."

"They want people to be ready."

"They want people to buy their products and take away the joy of only having a few weeks. Seriously, Clint, it's all about the money. And Costco's had stuff out since August. It's disgusting."

"But can't you feel it now in the air and see it in the streets, Tash?"

Natasha hesitated. If she was honest with him, she would tell him she didn't like what she saw. While the cleanup had gone well after the Chitauri invasion, the evidence was not only still etched on buildings and the like, but on every face as well. Rubble still lined the streets, making it hazardous for kids to play in the snow. Businesses were still attempting to rebuild their shops, and people would be spending their first Christmas without their loved ones. How was this a special time of year?

"Those lost continue on in memory," he said softly.

She realized then that she was blinking back tears. Of course, Clint would notice. That's when the real issue reared its head. She had almost lost him. If she had, she'd be in that group of mourners, weeping the lost. It was something she couldn't handle and her heart broke for those who were forced into that situation.

"You okay, Tash?"

She took a deep breath and nodded. "Course. I'm just not ready for Christmas."


Steve walked the aisles of the packed wholesale provider. He wasn't surprised that the store was packed on a Saturday. It was when many people were off work and needed to gather groceries for the coming week—or weeks. He had come with Banner and Stark, but they had wandered off.

Steve rounded an aisle and came across a faux Christmas tree. He remembered the days when he had gone to pick a Christmas tree out of the forest and cut it down. The world had changed drastically while he had slept. It was no longer simple. If he could, he'd hand Fury another ten bucks.


Soft fabric ran under his fingers. He loved the feeling of fresh clothes. It was a luxury to someone like him. In all cases, if he allowed himself to get too overworked he destroyed the fabric that normally covered his body. Banner sometimes envied those with a normal way of life—ones who took clothes for granted.

He picked up a shirt and gazed at it longingly. If he knew he wouldn't end up destroying it one day, he would gladly purchase the shirt. A sigh left his lips. He knew all too well that just like everything else, however, he would destroy the clothing as well.


Tony grazed through the aisle, sampling different foods. In some cases, he doubled back around to sample a second time. Finding food to fill the tower with, gave him something else to think about. He didn't like when his mind wandered back towards all the damage the Chitauri and Loki had caused. Those moments, when his thoughts entered the past allowed him to see all his short comings. He should have seen from the beginning where Loki intended to take the cube.

He realized then, he was frozen in the middle of an aisle. He took a deep breath as he grabbed a second helping of the mini éclairs. He would have to grab a few boxes of these. One box would go for everyone, while the others would be for Thor. Point Break would enjoy them immensely.

Holiday greetings to all! This is written in response to Aiko Isari's Advent Calendar Challenge. The goal is to write 24 short little fics (between 100-1000 words) for any fandom, any pairing, any rating you'd like, even though up to T would be nice. On the 25th day write a full oneshot (1000-5000 words) to finalize it.

It's a little AU (like all my Avengers things), but is focused on the aftermath of the Chitauri invasion. Enjoy, follow, review and look forward to the things to come!

See profile for disclaimers.