Thank you, God, for everything.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Avengers. Or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This is my slightly-less-than-realistic Avengers Christmas fanfiction, but that's okay, 'cause it's Avengers, and people write whatever the heck they want to about them. And I know I'm putting Steve and Thor and Tony in a Christmas party BUT LET'S PLEASE JUST ROLL WITH IT YES. Hope y'all enjoy this! God bless you!
It was a dark, cool and chilly December night, and Natasha shuffled her fur stole around her arms more tightly. She pursed her lips and held her package to her closer. Maybe she was just making a big deal of this, getting dressed up. Of course, a black dress with casual jewelry was her way of getting dressed up. Maybe the mink was too much.
She sighed and hurried into the elevator, and turned to press the button to take her to the top floor. She looked up to see snow flying past the front doors of Stark Tower, and that's when she straightened, for in front of her, causally walking through the doors, was Clint Barton. Dressed in a smart jacket and pressed pants, he had made an effort to look nice as well. While it was comforting to know she wasn't going to stand out as fancy at the party by herself, she turned away to face the elevator.
"Wait," she heard, and he came up to the elevator. Her hand quickly darted out and held back one of the elevator doors, letting him in.
"Thanks," he said appreciatively.
"No problem," Natasha said quietly, and she turned away as the elevator doors closed.
"To the top?" Clint asked.
"Where else?" Natasha said. She let out a breath. "If Stark's having a party, you bet it's going to be on the top level."
"Right," Clint said. Natasha nodded, and silence filled the small room as it hurried up the tower. Natasha shifted, and gripped her present tighter.
"Who was yours?" She heard Clint ask, and she turned to face him. He himself was holding a brown paper wrapped package. She looked away so that he didn't think she had seen what his present looked like.
"I'm not supposed to tell you," Natasha said coolly. She lifted an eyebrow. "Or have you not ever been to a Secret Santa party before?"
"First time," Clint said. "So we're not supposed to tell anyone?"
"Secret Santa, Clint," Natasha said, and neither of them spoke as the elevator DINGED! and the two of them entered the top level of Stark Tower.
Natasha looked about as the elevator behind her DINGED! again. Well, Stark outdid himself, she thought. Tony Stark was always a show off, and it was obvious that he took decorating for parties very seriously. There was large, plastic ball boas of red and green draped all along the room near the ceiling. Pots of poinsettias with bows and lights around them were placed at random.
There was a buffet with several different little appetizers and decorated cookies that spanned on for three tables. Natasha could only wonder how many plates of those Thor could get through. There was only four Christmas trees, though, all decked out in bulbs and lights. In the background was the light noise of cheery holiday singing.
Natasha looked ahead and saw that Pepper Potts, Tony's girlfriend, dressed in a sleeveless black dress, gold necklace and red earrings with her hair slightly pinned up, was just finishing talking to a dark-haired woman and was walking over toward her and Clint.
"Natasha, Clint, thank you for coming," Pepper said pleasantly.
"Thank you for the invitation," Natasha said. She added, "Stark isn't as nice as he thinks he is when he signs the invitation you wrote."
"He tries," Pepper said, turning to see Tony dressed up in a smart suit and telling a serious looking joke to Bruce Banner and Thor. Bruce was smiling quietly as he looked away, trying to show that he didn't find whatever Tony said funny, and Thor was laughing very loudly, calling over someone called Jane to hear Tony's funny joke.
Tony nodded and he noticed Pepper, who waved a hand and beckoned him to join them. He sighed and waved off Bruce and Thor and walked over to Pepper, Natasha and Clint.
"Hey, have you missed me?" he asked, looking to Natasha and Clint. He wrapped a hand around Pepper's waist, making her shove at him playfully.
"Stop that," she laughed.
"I don't want to," Tony said, not missing a beat. He looked back to the two guests who were both clearing their throats and looking at each other, wondering if each thought the same thing, and said, "The pile of gifts are over there by THAT tree." (He pointed.) "And the drinks are by the bar. And now since everyone's here, we can actually have a party!"
"Fury and Agent Hill aren't here yet," Pepper reminded him.
"Damn it. All right, I guessed we're going to have to wait for His Royal Highness to get here," Tony said. He nodded to Natasha and Clint and turning to Pepper, said, "C'mon and let me buy ya a drink."
The two of them walked away and Clint turned to Natasha and said, "Shall we add our presents to the pile, then?"
"Right," Natasha said, and they quickly walked over to the Christmas tree, Natasha's heels clicking.
"Don't look," she said.
"Okay," Clint said, and he turned away as she bent down. Tugging her dress down lower, she quickly moved some of the presents and hid her own among a couple of bags. Putting the others back on it, she backed away and said, "There you go."
Clint bent down and Natasha, her quick eyes looking about, saw Steve Rogers standing by the open part of the high level. The housed part of Stark Tower was as warm as a summer's day, but toward the falling snow over New York, it was quite chilly.
She ignored the fact that it seemed poetic for Cap to like to stand near the cold and walked rapidly up to him. She tugged her mink stole tighter and he turned and noticed her. He was wearing a dark blue suit, and in his hand was something that looked like eggnog.
"Oh, hello, Natasha," he said. He looked back over New York and said, "Merry Christmas Eve."
"Likewise, Steve," she said. She looked back over the brightly lit city, with its bustling streets and lit up signs, advertising sales and such. She could see Time Square, how it looked like a piñata. The entire city was alive under the snow, which was making it seem mystical.
She looked to Steve, who had his lips set in a fine line. She could only imagined what Christmas in New York was like in the days of World War II.
He pointed ahead of him, suddenly, and Natasha could see stars past his pointing finger and between the clouds. "There's a shining star there, one that first appeared two thousand years ago. It's up there, announcing the reason this holiday exists."
A silence fell between them as Natasha absorbed what he said. She could only guess that the same shining star was the only thing that was the same with this city around Christmastime now and back in the 1940s.
"The city look a lot more different from what you remember?" Natasha asked quietly, looking back from him to the noisy city.
"Yeah," he said quietly. "Last Christmas Eve I had here, we were at war." A moment later, he pointed out toward the flurry of buildings and said, "I lived there. In Harlem. Had a small apartment. Just by myself. Always had a small Christmas tree in there. I used to love decorating it."
He frowned and looking at his drink, said, "Missed a lot of Christmases since then," and he drained the glass.
"Yeah, well," Natasha said. "This is my first Christmas in a long time I haven't been on a mission."
"This is my first Christmas in seventy years where I'm not frozen in ice," Steve smiled grimly. He looked to Natasha and said, "It's nice to be celebrating the holidays again."
"Likewise, Cap," Natasha said, and he turned and said, "I guess we should rejoin the rest of the party."
"Think they miss us?" Natasha asked.
"I would," Steve smiled, making Natasha nod, and they headed back into the warm part of the penthouse.
They walked up to the bar, where Thor, dressed up a voluminous robe made of large animals over a large red knitted sweater, and his friend Erik, who Natasha remembered from the Battle of New York, were sitting on sleek, metal bar stools.
"Ah, Natasha, Steve, come and join us for a drink," Thor said cheerfully. Behind the counter, Bruce was busy mixing up a beverage.
Natasha and Steve took seats and Thor turned to them, saying, "Natasha, Steve, this is my friend Erik. He was with us at our battle with Loki back in the summer months."
Erik nervously smiled, obviously still wary of what he had done with working for Loki. Still, Steve said, "Hi," and Natasha said, "Pleasure."
Bruce looked up from the drink he was pouring and handed it off to a woman with brown hair, making Thor say, "Oh, this is my girlfriend. She is called Jane, from the region of the southwest."
"Hi," Jane said pleasantly.
"Southwest? As in Arizona?" Natasha asked. She looked interested. "Where Thor's hammer was found?"
"Don't get me started on that," Jane said as a dark-haired woman came up to Jane and tugged on her sweater's sleeve. Jane turned to her, "What is it, Darcy?"
"Come and look at the presents with me," Darcy said. She whispered, "Mine's in pink paper. I wonder who it could be from."
Jane shot Thor a look as Darcy dragged her arm away, making Thor grin a large grin.
That's when Tony came up to the bar, Pepper at his arm. He looked to Bruce and said, "Hey, barkeep, send out a round."
"I shall have one of your beers," Thor said.
"One for me, too," said Erik quietly, holding up an index finger.
Tony leaned against the bar and looking out among his guests, he said to Bruce, who was reaching up for a bottle of vodka, "Where's your girl anyway, Betty?"
Bruce stopped for a moment, letting the vodka bottle grow tight in his hand before he said, "She couldn't make it. I told you that."
Tony shrugged. "Sorry, then. Well, what do people do at these sort of parties, anyway?"
"What do you normally do at the parties you usually throw?" asked Bruce casually, turning to look at Tony, his hands shaking a bottle full of cocktail, looking over his glasses.
"We all get drunk, I get out the suit, but you all have already seen that," Tony said, shrugging. "What do you do?"
"I sit in a corner and read," Bruce said nonchalantly.
"Wow, you're really fun at parties. Maybe we shouldn't have you near the glasses and cocktails if you're such a party animal," Tony said, tilting his head.
"Don't tempt me," Bruce said lightly, though with sincerity. He started to pass out the drinks when the elevator dinged and in walked Director Nick Fury, wearing a leather long coat, and Maria Hill, wearing a white dress shirt with a black skirt.
Tony ah-haed, and with Pepper on his arm, walked over to the director, who was impatiently tapping his foot against the carpeting.
"Ah, Fury. Right on time," Tony said causally. He waved his drink around a bit. "Bar's over there, and the whole gang's together."
"Was there a specific reason you called us here, Stark, especially on Christmas Eve?" Fury said, his one good eye looking annoyed.
"Well, yeah. It's a party," Tony said. "Not a staff party, just for the ones who did the actually fighting of it all. And those who gave support in spirit, aka the girls and Selvig." (He pointed behind him where Thor and Erik were toasting large pints of beer and Darcy was apologizing to Jane over something.)
"So you basically called Agent Hill and I over here, calling it an 'emergency' and telling us to bring gifts for certain people and to get ready to negotiate, and it's actually a Christmas party instead of a hostage situation?" Fury asked in his quiet, serious voice.
"If you want a hostage situation, I can make this a hostage situation," Tony said, shrugging lightly. He turned. "JARVIS, get the laser guns ready."
"I don't think that will be necessary, Mr. Stark," Fury said, holding up a calm hand.
Tony nodded and beckoned for JARVIS to put away the laser guns. He turned back to Fury, shrugging, and said, "Since you're already here, wanna join the party?"
"I can't get a flight over the holidays anyway, so I'm stuck here," Fury said, stepping over to Tony as he slipped Maria his present before she hurried over to the Christmas tree. Fury looked around and said, "Did you seriously get everyone to come here?"
"Pepper's idea," Tony said. He looked around with a frown. "I wouldn't have anything to do with any of you if it wasn't for her and Agent Coulson."
"Maybe I should hire her," Fury said, looking around as well. "She can gather a crowd."
"Yeah, with the entice of presents and alcoholic drinks," Tony pointed out with a shrug. He looked over to where Pepper was laughing over something with Thor and Erik, who were toasting their beers, and he allowed his mouth to twitch. He cleared his throat and turned to the director. "Speaking of which, what can I offer you?"
"Ah, just a beer will be fine," Fury said, and the two of them walked up to the bar.
"Hey, Director," Bruce said, looked somewhat surprised that he had shown up. He looked around him and said, "What can I get you?"
"A lager," Fury said, waving a hand as he took a seat at the bar. A beer was given to him, and as he took a sip, he looked around the bar, and raised an eyebrow when he saw Thor. Obviously drunk, but not dangerously so, Thor was laughing as he pushed at his nose, which had a bright red ball on it.
"This Rudolph, I like him," he laughed. He straightened as Jane handed him a band with reindeer antlers on it. He put it on, and grinning, he said, "He shows grit and character."
"You remind me of him," Tony said, a drink in his hand as he leaned against the bar next to Pepper. "An outcast who falls from the sky."
"I shall let that one pass," Thor said cheerfully, making Darcy smile.
"Well, I think you look like him because you're cheery and nice like him," Darcy said, spinning her drink around, making it swirl. She was wearing a Santa's hat.
"Thank you, Taser Girl," Thor said.
"I have a name, you know," Darcy pointed out, though not unkindly. "It's Dar-cy."
"I can say your name. It is not hard to pronounce it," Thor said.
Darcy shrugged, and walking over to him, placed a plate of cookies on the bar. He eyed them curiously; her face searched him for a reaction. He took one and spun it around, asking, "And what kind of pastry is this, Dar-cy?"
"It's a pin wheel cookie," Darcy said matter-of-factly. "Took me a while to make them."
"She burnt her first batch," Jane said. "But that's what you get when you try baking cookies in my RV."
"Hey, they lasted the trip, didn't they?" Darcy pointed out as Thor ate half the cookie in one bite. Darcy turned back to Thor and said, "Well?"
"This cookie, as you call it, tastes quite good." He ate the rest in one bite and demanded another. Darcy happily obliged and he ate through half the plate with a beer in his other hand and that's when the radio started to play 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.'
"Oh, this is the reindeer's song," Jane said excitedly.
"He has his own song? Jolly good," Thor said cheerfully, and Erik put an arm around his shoulder, and Jane and Darcy and Pepper and Clint joined him in singing along. Bruce wiped at a glass behind the bar, smiling to himself as he looked down at his work. Fury merely raised an eyebrow and wondered why he even knew these people.
Natasha and Steve exchanged looks and Tony said, "Well, usually my parties have more class than this."
"What's classier than this?" Steve wanted to know, smiling at Tony's unamused face.
"See, that's a sign it's time for presents. Okay, come on, let's go to the tree and see if Santa was here," Tony said sarcastically. He left toward the tree, and Pepper, still smiling, stopped singing and clapped her hands, regaining everyone's attention once Thor had finished leading everyone into the finale, which was hard for him, considering it was his first time hearing the song.
"Time to go open gifts," Pepper said as she waved for people to join her and Tony.
"Ah! Presents. How I enjoy those," Thor said as he stood up carefully, pulling Erik up along with him. Erik laughed as his feet fumbled, and Thor grinned as Jane eyed them warily, knowing fully well how Erik could be when he was full-on drunk.
"You all right?" she asked as she took up Erik's other arm and slid under it. While he wasn't fully out of it, he needed some help. Darcy bounced up to Thor's other side, but Thor was looking ahead, smiling brightly, and looked perfectly content.
"Helping Erik? He is not that hard to drag." A green sofa came up and Thor and Jane let Erik fall, chuckling, on the furniture. Thor put his hands in his pockets and said, "Having a good time, Erik?"
"Oh yes," Erik said, and he hiccuped.
"All right, does everyone want to find a place to stand or sit?" Pepper said, gaining the role of leader as everyone settled down. Darcy sat on one side of Erik, her hands wrapped around a big green pillow. On Erik's other side was Thor, who had Jane sitting on his lap.
Natasha and Maria stood with drinks in their hands as Fury slowly made his way over. He put his hands on the top of the four's sofa. Clint and Steve both took seats on a two person couch while Bruce hung in the background, a cup of eggnog in his hand.
Tony sauntered over to Pepper, who was nodding and saying, "All right, who wants to go first?"
"So you're officially Santa now?" Tony asked.
"Well, unless you want to do it," Pepper said brightly, making Tony frown. He shook his head as she said, "Oh, c'mon."
"Make Thor do it," Tony said, looking over to him.
"I thought I was Rudolph," Thor said, a little confused.
"Fine," Tony said, a bite to his voice. He looked around the room of expectant faces and rolling his eyes, turned and squatted in front of the Christmas tree. He muttered to him before his hand launched on one of the presents. Pulling it out and straightening up, he read the name tag and called, "Hey, Fury, it's for you."
Fury raised an eyebrow as Tony tossed it to him. He rubbed his hands together, saying, "Let's just hope that wasn't fragile. Not that it matters if it was." He turned back and started once more. Pepper nodded for Fury to unwrap his gift as Tony started tossing presents left and right. Clint had a plain, black, long and sleek box, which he started to open as Natasha started to unwrap a small, long black box.
Steve ignored Tony's calls as he quietly started to open his present. It was a square gift, wrapped in wrapping paper that took him back seventy years. There was wreaths with red bows and candy canes on it. He was careful not to tear it as he peeled it off of the gift. He only looked up once, when he heard Thor, sporting a new and large case of beer, laugh as Darcy tried to hit him with her new taser. He could only guess who got her that.
The paper folded under his elbow, he took off the top of the brown box to reveal a large envelope-like packaging. He instantly knew what it was as he lifted it up, tilted it, and a large black record slid into his hand. He looked at it for a moment before looking back to the packaging, which had the list of songs on it. All were Christmas songs that were popular in the 40s'.
He couldn't help but smile at that, and looked up when he heard Thor exclaim, "Erik, it is just what you need!"
Erik nodded and held up his new pint-size mug as if he was toasting. Steve shook his head with a smile. Guess he had picked out a good present.
Fury looked at his new eye patch, which had a big red X over it, with a little surprise and unamusement, and he looked around to see who might have given it to him. He failed to notice Tony smirking to himself before he turned to Pepper.
"And this one's for someone named Pepper Potts. Weird name," he said as she started to unwrap it. She gasped as she held it out for Tony to see. "A digital organizer! You know, I needed that."
"Good thing you got it then," Tony said. Pepper beamed and hurried to the Christmas tree, and picking up the last package, held it up to Tony and said, "Last one."
"I don't like be handed things."
"I don't care," Pepper said, and she put it into his hands.
"Hmm, wonder what it could be," Tony said sarcastically. He pulled out a red and gold tie and said, "Ah. See? This is what you get when you have everything else."
"Here," Pepper said, and she handed him her package and started to tie his tie, looping it around his collar and putting it into place.
"Oh, don't choke me. You didn't get me this, did you? 'Cause it's a clever way of getting rid of me. Choking's a way, you know," Tony said.
Pepper patted it and said, "I didn't get it for you."
"Well, who did?"
"We're not supposed to know," Pepper reminded him as she took back her digital organizer. Tony shook his head but bent down to watch her as she pressed the buttons and started to learn how it worked.
Both were so absorbed with the technology that neither noticed Maria clearing her throat and turning away from them. In her own hand she had a gift card to an electronic store, and she looked to Natasha, who looked like a statue.
"What'd you get?" Maria asked her.
Natasha answered her by clearing her throat and slipping her fingers under a pearl necklace. She pulled it up into the air, the bright lights from the party reflecting on the jewels. Maria nodded with approval and said, "Well, someone likes you."
"Apparently," Natasha said, and she gently put the pearls back into the box. Maria went to talk to Bruce, who was looking over a new book with interest, leaving Natasha the freewill to look at Clint, who was a few feet away from her and had his back to her, partially keeping his face hidden. She could see that he was smiling, though, as he showed Steve his new state-of-the-art bow.
She looked back at the gift, and was convinced that it was him who had gotten her this. There was just the thing about confronting him and confirming it. . .
That's when Thor stood up with Jane, who was putting down a new book, a large arm around her laughing form, and said, "I say we should now carry on with more of your Christmas songs!"
"Yes!" Darcy said, standing up quickly.
Pepper smiled at Tony and with her arm in his, led him over to where a piano was set up in the corner. Bruce was forced to put down his new book and play the piano. He shook his head but laughed and gave in.
Natasha pursed her lips, and as Clint stood up to join them, said, "Clint."
He turned to her, and noticing her annoyed appearance, let his smile disappear. He turned back to Steve, who was looking expectantly at him, and said, "Go on. Just a minute."
Steve looked at them for a moment before turning, knowing well enough to not get involved. Clint turned back to Natasha, who took two swift strides toward him so that only a few inches separated them.
"What is it?" Clint asked.
"Whose name did you get?" Natasha asked bluntly.
"I thought I wasn't supposed to tell," Clint reminded her.
"Don't even try that, Barton," Natasha said. She held up the jewelry box containing the pearl necklace. "I know you got this for me, Clint. Look, I only came to this party looking for a little time away. You're making that hard."
Clint looked at her for a moment, and then he said quietly, his eyes still on hers, "Are you mad?"
"No." She looked at him for a moment. "But you know, Clint, I told you-"
"Are you going to wear it?" Clint asked, interrupting. His voice was very, very quiet, and Natasha stopped talking. She looked at him for a moment. His never ending stare and calm demeanor made her bend her head and pick up the delicate necklace. She held it up, turning it slowly, and Clint said, "Let me."
She gave him a look before she set it in his hand. Even now, her spy habits made her feel a little suspicious. She turned and felt her collarbone grow cold as the jewelry lined her neckline. She touched a hand to them and turned.
"Thank you," she said, her voice sounding unsure of something. What something? She didn't know.
Clint's eyes flicked up, and narrowing his eyebrows, he said, "Stark's got a weird sense of humor."
"Pardon?" asked Natasha, looking bemused.
He pointed up and Natasha frowned when she saw what was on the ceiling. Attached by little hooks, the entire ceiling was covered in mistletoe sprigs, their light red berries glistening tauntingly at them. "Yes, yes he does," she said, looking back to Clint.
He eyed the mistletoe one more time before looking back to her, his eyes shining.
"Well what?" Natasha asked.
"Do I what?"
And that's when she was cut off. For Clint, smiling at her interrupting, stepped forward and wrapping his hands around her head, tangling in her hair, brought her to his lips, and they kissed.
She didn't know how to react. Clint knew what she thought of things. About kissing and him and Budapest and he knew that . . . and . . . and she put her hands on his shoulders and kissed him back.
The kiss, though quite lovely and tender and just right for Christmas Eve, ended after a few seconds. Their foreheads met, and Clint let out a breathy laugh.
"Wow," he said quietly.
"Yeah . . ." Natasha said breathlessly, and she was just about to wonder if anyone was looking so she could kiss him again when the elevator DINGED! and her and Clint's heads turned abruptly to see who it was.
Tony and the rest of the party around the piano stopped their singing. Bruce stopped playing his song as the doors opened, and out walked a brown-haired teenaged boy with a blonde girl on his arm.
"Hey guys," the teenager said, emitting brightness and shyness at the same time. He looked around and said, "Am I late?"
Tony shook his head with a sigh. "Peter Parker, you have no idea."
I couldn't help the ending. :D My Blackhawk and Spiderman feels got away from me. Besides, Spiderman was supposed to be part of the Avengers, and the party IS in New York and a lot of time could have passed between the Avenger movie and Christmas Eve. :) I imagined the Amazing Spiderman!Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.
Here is the order of who got who what present:
Tony = Nick, Nick = Clint, Maria = Tony, Erik = Thor, Jane = Bruce, Thor = Darcy, Steve = Erik, Darcy = Jane, Bruce = Pepper, Clint = Natasha, Natasha = Steve, Pepper = Maria, Peter = Gwen, Gwen = Peter.
Thank you for reading, and MERRY CHRISTMAS! God bless you! :)