Ummm...hi. *gives little wave, then ducks out of way of tomatoes* I know it's been a while, but this time (last chappy of The Darkness Within will be up this week or next week cross my heart), I do have a good excuse; my 'puter broke, so I had to wait for a few months to save up to get a new one. Say hello to Pooky Bear, my new laptop! Pooky Bear says hi.
But, onto business. This was supposed to be a prompt fill for '12 Days of Avengers Christmas'. But since my computer died *glares dead computer, which sulks alone in a corner*, I had to make it more...simple (okay, so maybe it wasn't JUST the computer; just call me the queen of procrastination! :) So, there are 3 chapters (2 prompt fills for each). It is Earth 3490/female Tony Stark, so if you don't like genderbending, I don't recommend this story.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
Oops, almost forgot:
Disclaimer: My name is Koko and I do not own Avengers, thought it would have made a lovely Christmas present. Oh, well. There's always next year.
And all chappies are unbetaed. All mistakes are my own.
Christmas Trees-Candy Canes
Steve could feel his left eye twitch.
'Just breath.' he thought to himself. 'Ten deep breaths, then…'
Oh, and there went his eye again.
The Avengers were going to pick out a Christmas tree for the tower, and Steve (heaven knew why) had insisted that they all go together, as a fam…team. As a team.
So, Phil had rented a huge, white van (Toni had called it a "molester van", whatever that meant), and they'd all piled in for the mini-road trip to Carlson's tree lot.
Toni had whined and complained (of course, it wasn't like everyone else was happy about it, either-the only ones who appeared to be happy about it were Steve-team bonding-and Thor, who was "most happy to see the "set of trees grown by the son of Carl"). Still, they'd had to forcibly buckle Toni into a seat in the very back, which was a little too dramatic. The billionaire had moaned that it was bad for her image to be seen in a 'molester van'. They all knew different, though-they just couldn't tell if it was arrogance or insecurity, but suspected it was more one than the other. Either way, they'd gotten her into the van and were on their way. Steve had been adamant they all go together.
Only now he wished he hadn't.
"Would you…please…stop that." Steve managed to grit out, clenching and unclenching his fists as they rested on his knees.
Toni grinned at him through the rearview mirror.
"Toni." Phil's voice was calm, emotionless, his eyes trained on the road. "There are seven people in this van, and you are the only one who has to cause problems."
"Hurry up and finish your candy cane!" Steve growled.
It felt as if his eye was trying to tap dance.
Natasha smirked over at him. "She's only doing it to get a rise out of you, Cap. Just ignore her and she'll stop."
He nodded, letting out a pent-up breath and slowly uncurling his fingers. He could do this. He was calm. He was…
A very loud, very deliberate
Steve lost it.
"I can't believe you did that." huffed Toni, trudging along in the wet, brown sludge that coated the side of the icy winter road. A good chunk of her dark hair was missing, just over her left ear (he'd Avenged his eye twitch).
"You asked for it." Steve huffed right back.
Running her mitten-covered hands up and down her arms with a shiver, she heaved a loud sigh. "I still can't believe Coulson made us walk. I mean, what are we, 5?"
"Yes, you did ask…wait, what?"
Electric blue eyes rounded one, quick rotation. "Nothing. I always though you had more of a lid on it, Cap."
Milky air gusted from his flared nostrils as a smile ghosted over thin lips. "I don't when obnoxiously little girls crunch candy canes right next to my super-serum enhanced ears."
"'M not a little girl." she muttered, arms clamped defensively over her chest.
He reached down to ruffle her hair, letting his fingers slide through the silky, boyishly short (she claimed it was called a 'pixie cut' and even Romanoff had said it was 'all the rage'), strands. "You are, compared to me."
Toni bumped her hip against his own (or his leg-he had a good foot on her). "Don't be so modest; you were frozen most of the time."
He chuckled low in his throat. "Thank you for that lovely confidence builder."
She regarded him with innocence framing her doe eyes. "Oh, you know me. Always striving to please."
He couldn't stop his eyes from darting to the missing hair. "Sorry about your hair. I…didn't really mean to pull it out. Honest."
Her playful expression instantly transformed into a guarded pout as she patted her tresses down to cover the bald spot. "You should be."
"In my defense, it was you who was…"
"Hey! Don't you dare to pin this one on me, it…"
"… eating that candy can rather loudly."
"…was just as much you as it was me!"
"You're the one who was purposefully being…"
"Oh, yeah?! Well, you're the one who jumped over the backseat like…"
"…obnoxious! I mean, really, you'd think a…"
"…like a kangaroo!"
"Hey! I am not…"
Toni stopped, clamping her hands over on her ears, curling in on herself. There was a wild, hunted sort of look in those eyes, a look that instantly made him feel bad. "Stark…"
Steve scowled. "Stark, really…"
"I said stuff a sock in it and shove it where sun don't shine, Captain, O my Captain."
The rest of the walk was full of silence and glares wasted on the innocent snow ahead.
The tree lot was swarming with people, and was heavily forested with large pine trees.
It was a wonder they didn't have a search and rescue team there to help people find their way out.
"This is just great." Toni griped as her wool coated fingers curled around Steve's bicep, trying to keep track of him in the thick knot of people and trees. He barely contained a gasp as electricity jolted up his arm-not an altogether unpleasant feeling. Toni apparently hadn't felt it, if her enduring chatter was anything to go by. "I mean, we'll never find them with all these people running around like crazed ants. And you wouldn't let me bring my phone! Team outing, my big toe!"
He ignored her in favor of glancing down at her small hands in confusion as tingles continued to race up his arm. Did she have Natasha's Widow's Bite under those mittens?
She noticed his look and pulled on hand away to stretch it out before them. "They're not much to look at,"-it was true-the wool was dyed an ugly maroon with puke-green stripes, and it appeared the knitter had unintentionally dropped several (hundred) stitches, "but surprisingly warm. Pep made them for me last year." The genius smiled softly down at the mittens. "She promised me a matching scarf this Christmas."
Steve couldn't stop his own tender smile. He'd never seen Toni look so blissfully vulnerable.
He realized, with a small start, that she was beautiful.
After that kind of revelation, the last thing he needed was a cannon ball to the stomach. But, fate just loved Steve Rogers.
Glancing down, he saw a dazed little boy, lying on his rump in the middle of the cobblestone path. He must have been about 6 or 7, all bundled up in scarves and coats and double gloves. A few, wet strands of pale blonde hair peeked out from under his Iron Man beanie, barely brushing his tear-filled blue eyes. He bit his lip as he stared up at Steve, letting out a squeak of, "Sajnálom!"
The soldier knelt down, resting his weight on one knee and fixing a friendly smile over his worried frown. "Hey, little guy. Are you alright?"
The boy blinked up at him uncomprehendingly. "Ninics English, nincs English."
Steve's brows crumpled in confusion. "What?"
"Aha!" Toni snapped her fingers, startling both males. "Hungarian, Capsicle! He's speaking Hungarian! I knew it sounded familiar!"
In a flat, exasperated tone, he murmured, "I don't speak Hungarian."
"Well, I do. Move over." The woman crouched down and gave Steve a little nudge. He took the hint and stood, stepping out of her way.
"Ummm…oh, right! Sorry, I'm a little rusty. Jól vagy?"
Relief flooded the boy's face and he shook his head emphatically. "Azt hiszem, az elveszett."
Lips pursed, Toni's head dipped slightly in confirmation. "Sajnálom. Ha megyünk meg a szüleid?"
The child eyed her distrustfully. "Nem szabadna, hogy szóba idegenekkel."
She threw her head back and laughed, the column of her tan throat illuminated by the Christmas lights blinking cheerfully around them. Steve swallowed thickly, focusing on the exotic words as they poured easily from Toni's lips. "Igen, de én nem vagyok idegen. Én vagyok Iron Man."
The boy's jaw dropped. "Tényleg?!"
Toni laughed again, her own eyes sparkling. "Tényleg. És ez a fickó Amerika Kapitány."
He edged closer to Toni, eyes bright and excited. "Ön egy titkos küldetés? Ezért te álruhában?"
Toni nodded. "Igen, de nem mondja el senkinek. Titkos, emlékszel?" For emphasis, she placed a finger to her lips-although the effect was lost, seeing as she had only two fingers in those mittens.
When the boy nodded eagerly, Toni added, "Vagyunk egy szuper-titkos küldetése, hogy segítsen megtalálni az anya és apa. Hol láttad őket utoljára?"
The little boy pointed down a path that wound through the trees to the side of where they were standing. "Ott lent."
Toni smiled brightly, rolling back up to her full height and taking the boy's hand in hers as she wrapped her arm around Steve's once more. "Keressük őket!"
As they turned down the walkway, Toni asked brightly, "Mi a neve?"
The child smiled shyly up at her. "Albert."
"A nevem Toni." She gestured to herself, then at Steve. "Ez Steve." In English, Toni said, "Cap'n, this is Albert. We're helping him find his anya and apu-his mom and dad."
Steve sent Albert a small wave. The boy grinned, then ducked behind Toni. The man chuckled. "I didn't know you spoke Hungarian."
She cheeks flushed lightly. "Surprise? I kinda forgot about it. I learned it a few years ago, when I got back from…" She broke off suddenly, clearing her throat with an exaggerated cough. "When I got back."
Steve's brows rose in curiosity, but in the short time he'd known Toni, he'd found he wouldn't get anything out of Toni that she didn't want to tell him, so he let the matter lie.
As they continued down the path, Steve couldn't help but think how…right this felt-his arm around Toni's shoulders, her hand held tightly by a child who had her eyes and his hair. What would that be like, to have a family with her?
The illusion shattered as Albert squealed, "Anya! Apu!", and broke from Toni's hold, running into the arms of an anxious looking couple several yards away. They received him with scolding cries of "Hol voltál?!" and "Hol voltál?!" and even a "Buta fiú!" (whatever that meant.)
Oh, well. It had been a hopeless dream anyway; there was no way he and Toni would ever stop arguing long enough to even consider a relationship.
Did he seriously just think that?!
"Hey, C.A., you coming? Our anonymous good deed of the day is finished so…ninja vanish!" She ducked behind a tree, poking her head around to grin at him. "'Sides, we gotta go find the others. Geeze, it's like a Christmas corn maze. Only, the corn is pine trees and…yeah, I'll shut up now. Whoever finds them first gets dibs on the first cup of coffee tomorrow!"
But, as Steve laughed and chased her through the sweet-smelling pines, he couldn't help but wonder about what could never be.
Hungarian Translations (I used google translate, so...they're probably not very correct. BLAME GOOGLE NOT ME!) XD:
Sajnálom: I'm sorry
Jól vagy?: Are you alright?
Azt hiszem, az elveszett.: I think I'm lost.
Sajnálom. Ha megyünk meg a szüleid?: I'm sorry. Should we go find your parents?
Nem szabadna, hogy szóba idegenekkel.: I'm not supposed to talk to strangers.
Igen, de én nem vagyok idegen. Én vagyok Iron Man.: Yes, but I'm not a stranger. I'm Iron Man.
Tényleg. És ez a fickó Amerika Kapitány.: Really. And this guy is Captain America.
Ön egy titkos küldetés? Ezért te álruhában?: Are you on a secret mission? Is that why you're in disguise?
Igen, de nem mondja el senkinek. Titkos, emlékszel?: Yes, but don't tell anyone. It's a secret, remember?
Vagyunk egy szuper-titkos küldetése, hogy segítsen megtalálni az anya és apa. Hol láttad őket utoljára?: We're on a super-secret mission to help you find your mom and dad. Where did you see them last?
Ott lent.: Over there.
Keressük őket: Let's go look for them
Mi a neve?: What's your name?
A nevem Toni: My name is Toni.
Ez Steve: This is Steve.
Hol voltál?!: Where were you?!
Hová tűntél: Where did you go?
Buta fiú!: Silly boy!
(I just realized that most of this story is written in Hungarian. O.o I really need a life. Ooo, and a fun fact: Albert is actually a Hungarian name; it means bright :)