Sorry about the wait, I did plan on publishing most of this before Christmas, rather than after, but it went the way of all my recent plans. Time is kinda a bitch – if you'll pardon the expression.
This was written almost exclusively on commission. I was complaining with a number of friends that Marvel wasn't going to do an Avengers-Sitcom – and then I was complaining that they also weren't going to do an Avengers-Christmas-Special.
They reminded me that one ought to 'be the change one wishes to see in the world' – which is a nice sentiment. Truly.
But what really pushed me over the edge was that they started coming up with ideas. Full pages of dialogue. Plot points. Spoofs on my favorite Christmas movies/stories. Avengers-style commentaries.
I penciled a draft. Then I studied the movies. Never done that before. Lots of interesting details go unnoticed when one is merely watching a movie.
Thor and Loki are the only two characters I've ever written before. And it's different to write them in this context, so it's been a fun challenge.
In a few cases I changed characters speaking, because I felt that the original was out of character in some way. A few things were deleted entirely. A few took drastic editing.
But the great majority of their suggestions/requests made it in. Pardon its silliness.
Natasha woke suddenly and completely to the pale ceiling and the black frame of the bed in her room at Avengers Tower.
Exhaling completely, she closed her hands into loose fists. Then she let them go with the dream, whatever it had been.
Turning her head, she saw the thin grey sky beyond the glass of the window, and the glowing red display of the digital clock on the bedside table. 6:41. She'd only been asleep for some four hours.
Whatever she might have to say about that, she was awake now.
Pushing back the cream-colored comforter, she got up and brushed her hair back from her eyes with her hand. Then she stood and she went to the bathroom, splashed her face with cold water, combed her fingers through her hair and put on a pair of Bruce's sweatpants and the hoody she'd stolen from Tony. She glanced at her reflection in the bathroom mirror.
"Is this," Tony'd asked, gesturing to her outfit the first time, "what we're doing now? You work for SHIELD, it's not like you can't afford the Salvation Army."
"You're a billionaire," she'd said back, smirking at him around a grape, "it's not like you can't spare the sweatshirt."
Bruce and Steve had both laughed.
"No, seriously," Tony'd rested his elbows on the countertop, "is there a method here? Because this is seriously a thing. You're like…a kleptomaniac."
"It's what she does," Clint had said. He'd been sitting on the counter, nursing a cup of coffee, kicking his feet.
"So that's it. You really are a kleptomaniac?" Tony had pressed, "Is it – is it how you establish dominance?" he'd turned to the others, "Is it how she…?"
Clint had looked at him without any change of expression, "Is it working?"
And Bruce had nodded, which had made everyone laugh.
Natasha's reflection smiled back at her as she recalled the memory.
It had started with Clint, when she'd run aground and taken shelter in his 'safe house'. The mission was supposed to have been simple, and she'd had nothing but the uniform she'd been wearing. Clint had loaned her something more comfortable.
"I'm keeping this," she'd teased him, losing her hands in the sleeves of his sweatshirt.
His hand had felt steady as he gripped her shoulder. "Good. Then Laura will stop telling me to get rid of it."
With Tony it had begun similarly. They'd been in a bind and she'd needed a disguise with short notice. And she liked the hoody. It had served her well, multiple times.
Clipping the necklace Clint had given her – thin and gold with a tiny arrow – about her throat, she ventured out of her rooms. She took the stairs through the dimmed hallways and down to the common floors. They were wrapped in shadows, and almost eerily quiet with only the thin light from the windows showing the way. Her feet didn't make any sound as she moved. It made her feel uneasily like a wraith herself.
There was light in the kitchen.
It was Steve. He was sitting alone at the kitchen table, fully dressed, with a plate of pancakes he was half-attending in front of him while he tapped at a laptop he'd propped nearby.
"Morning Soldier," she smiled.
Steve glanced up, "Morning Romanoff."
There was something about his eyes that wasn't quite right, she thought. He seemed exhausted.
She crossed the room to open the fridge, "Newspaper a little, out-of-date, for you these days?" she asked, eyeing the computer.
Steve shrugged, "This is faster now. Plus," he half-smiled, "I like gaining fluency."
"Gotta shave some of the credence off of Stark's jabs, huh?" she smirked at him over the top of the refrigerator door.
He gave a short laugh. "Every little bit helps."
"And speaking of Stark," she straightened, shutting the fridge, "has there been any sign of our illustrious host?"
"Not since last night. But," he smiled frankly, "between friends, I wasn't expecting an early start," he pushed the computer further away.
"No, don't stop," she told him.
He looked at her in some confusion.
"Not if it's something good. I'll get out of your way,"
"No. It's nothing," he smiled, "Just more of the same thing I read every day. It's nice to break things up."
"Maybe Stark wasn't so crazy, bringing us all together for a few days."
"Yeah," he rested both elbows on the tabletop, hugging his arms, "It'll be nice to see everyone, you know…"
"In a less stressful environment?"
"Yeah. There's –" he shook his head, "I'm sorry. There's pancakes in the oven," he told her, "and coffee on the stove, if Red Bull's not your choice."
"You read my mind." She opened the oven, then turned back to marvel at him. "You made pancakes? You really are a hero, Rogers."
"Eh," he shrugged, "I was up early."
"So modest." Glancing, she saw the little smile on his face and, knowing that she had done something to help put it there, she smiled.
"And there is orange juice in the very back of the fridge."
"Look at you Rogers," setting her plate on the table she smiled at him, "You're pulling out all the stops."
"I aim to please."
"Are you always up so early?" she asked, settling herself at the table opposite him.
"More or less," he shrugged, a touch listlessly. "Old habits. And besides that, I don't always sleep well," he closed the laptop.
"You know, I pegged you for an early riser."
"Did you?" he gave her a lopsided smile. It was the one she liked best from him. It wasn't an expression that could be forced.
"And what about you?" he asked.
Her heart jumped a little in her chest. Nervously, she looked away. "Varys," she managed after a moment, "from night to night."
"I'm," he faltered, "sorry, I didn't…"
"No, it's fine," she recovered, chiding herself for her slip, "it's nothing. I just," she shrugged, she brought up a smile, "don't always sleep well, either."
Nodding his head, he dropped his eyes.
Natasha shifted in her seat, crossing her legs. "So," she said. She set down her coffee and cupped it between her hands.
Steve glanced up at her, "So?"
She leaned forward a little, "I have a wager for you," she smiled.
One brow quirked on his forehead, "A wager?"
"Who," she lifted her cup, pausing for the effect, "will be the last one up?"
"You wanna bet on that?" he asked, his second brow rising to join the first. He smiled.
"Well, who's your bet? Because I have verified evidence that both Clint and Bruce hate mornings,"
"Stark," he said, without hesitation.
"Really?" she laughed.
"Oh, hands down. Did you see how much he drank last night?"
"Yes, but we still have Thor and Loki to account for. Thor strikes me as an early riser," she shrugged, "but I can't get a read on Loki. So," she smiled at him, resting her elbows on the tabletop. "Your bet's Tony?"
"I'd bet on Stark any day."
She picked up her fork, "He'd be touched."
It was perhaps thirty minutes later – Natasha had dawdled through her pancakes and Steve had finished his coffee – when the floor creaked and announced the first addition to their gathering.
"Morning Thor," she said.
He was dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and an open flannel. His hair was loose and mussed from sleep. Natasha couldn't recall the last time she'd seen him without his armor.
"Good morrow, friends," he answered.
They fought alongside one another to save the world, she mused, and yet they knew so little for certain about one another. Tipping her head slightly, she thought again that perhaps Tony was right. Then she laughed, knowing how elated he'd be if she ever told him.
Thor prodded at the things that lay scattered about the counter. "Have you discovered anything that constitutes a proper breakfast?"
"Steve made us pancakes."
"They're in the oven," Steve told him.
Padding past Steve in his bare feet, Thor clapped him on the shoulder, "You're a good man, Rogers."
Natasha bit her lip and watched as mirroring laughter flashed in Steve's eyes. He half-glanced over his shoulder at Thor, "Thanks."
"And there's coffee on the stove," Natasha said.
"A fitting start," Thor straightened from the stove, laying down his plate and carelessly filling one of the mugs that stood beside it, "to the revels of Earth. Are," he took a drink from the steaming mug, "all, holidays so celebrated on Earth?"
"No," Steve shook his head, stifling a laugh, "They're not usually like this at all."
"Unless you know Tony Stark," Natasha countered.
Steve tipped his mug, "Fair point."
"Where is our host?" Thor asked. He leaned back against the counter and crossed his ankles, "I have yet to see him this morning."
"Sleeping," Steve told him.
Natasha scoffed, turning to better include their latest arrival in their conversation, "You hope."
"If he's not," Steve rested an elbow on the table, gesturing with his hand, "then explain where he is, Romanoff. Have you ever known Tony to stay quiet this long?"
Sitting back, Natasha nodded her head, "Touche," she allowed.
Thor was watching the two of them with a puzzled frown on his face, but he said nothing as he ate.
"You can still back out," Steve offered.
Natasha stretched her legs under the table and crossed her ankles, "Nope," she smirked.
Thor set his fork on his plate, very deliberately, with a little clink. "I do not understand." He said. "What is…" he gestured with one hand, indicating the two of them, "this?"
"Nat bet that Stark would be the last one up."
"You," Thor frowned, "made a wager, on who would be the last to rise?"
Natasha set her coffee down, "We did," she said. "Hey, no correlation, but, by any chance, does your brother like to sleep in?"
"He did turn in pretty early," Steve reminded her.
"He did." Natasha agreed. "But," she looked at Thor candidly, "it's got no connection to the wager, you understand."
"Oh no, of course," Thor chuckled, "It is but friendly interest. Yes…well, at least in our youth that was his way. These days his habits are more…varied. I cannot say for sure."
"But your guess is yes," Steve prompted.
"That would be my best conjecture," Thor replied.
"Don't get cocky, Rogers," Natasha said, "Stark's unpredictable."
Thor shook his head, "Truly, you mortals are amusing."
Natasha turned in her seat and saw Bruce, barefooted, in sweatpants with his shirt untucked. He looked confused and unkempt as he stood uncertainly on the threshold. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Hey Baby," she smiled, "Morning."
He glanced at her and softened almost to a smile, "Hi."
"There's hot water on the stove," Steve said, "or coffee, if you want that."
Bruce sat silently between her and Steve, nursing one cup of tea and another of orange juice. At Natasha and Steve's joint insistence, Thor took the opposite place at the table.
"How is this season typically celebrated, amongst your people, if not in such manner as this?" he asked, settling his plate. "For Stark's invitation came as little surprise to me, as celebrations in Asgard are very similar, if not longer in duration, than this."
Steve and Bruce both looked at her.
"Well," she started, "It's a little different depending on where you are,"
Watching her intently, Thor settled himself to listen.
A shift in the air behind Natasha, interrupted her some time later and made her turn her head. On instinct, she stiffened. Then, calculating her response, she made herself relax. She did not turn again.
"Morning," she said.
Behind her, helping himself to the orange juice Bruce had left out on the counter, Loki 'mmm-ed' noncommittally.
Thor stood, "Good morning my brother!"
"Yes," Loki said. He turned to face the room and spread his arms, giving a flourishing, if aped, bow, "Good morning, everyone. Thor, if I may,"
The room was not the largest of the kitchens in Avengers Tower, and it was a bit cramped with five of them there. Especially with Thor standing and his chair pushed out behind him as it was. The only other way out of the room was to cut behind Bruce, and Natasha had noticed that Loki did not like to settle himself especially close to Banner. Glancing at Bruce, she saw how he'd tensed, watching Loki. She smiled and patted the hand that rested on his knee under the table.
Giving them half a glance as he brushed past Thor, Loki caught himself. He scoffed and muttered something sarcastic about 'revels.' Thor grinned at him – a gesture Natasha noticed that Loki deliberately ignored. She wondered if it secretly pleased him, since clearly his comment had been directed at his brother, and only him.
"Pancakes on the counter," Steve said amicably, "and the coffee should still be hot."
"Mm," Loki said, "I thank you." He inclined his chin just barely in recognition of Steve's offer, then promptly turned on his heel and left the room.
Thor's face fell.
"Well," Banner said. "There's somebody else who's not a morning person."
Through stories Thor had told, and the brief, infrequent, glimmers Loki himself let slide, Natasha thought she might have caught glimpses of the boy Thor assured them he'd been. She wondered about him. What it was he was still hiding. Through the years she'd grown to trust him in a fight – he'd been back-to-back with each of them enough times to ensure that she trusted him as far as his own freedom was concerned. And that pivoted on his behavior towards what Thor called their 'mortal allies' – but day-to-day interactions were something different entirely. They had their own set of laws. And, as Loki was a strictly 'business' associate, those laws had yet to be tried.
He puzzled her.
"I…apologize for him," Thor said.
"Thor," Steve interrupted, "you don't have to do that."
"He wasn't always like this."
Steve gave a wry smile, "But family's family, right?"
Thor sighed, "He's unhappy,"
"So…" Bruce spread his hands, "what, he's just gonna sit in his room until he gets…un-unhappy?"
"He will return," Thor said, "I suspect, once he has finished his Threkaefing."
Bruce started, "Thhhr…" then trailed off, utterly lost. He looked at her and Natasha could only laugh.
Steve's eye danced as he looked at Thor. "Do I wanna ask?"
"Of course!" Thor laughed, "I had forgotten your assured ignorance. It is an exercise peculiar – almost exclusively – to those in Asgard who are possessed of in-born magic. Others," he hastened to add, "are permitted the learning of it, it is only that it does them not so much benefit."
"But it's not gonna…" Bruce asked, "…blow up the building?"
"Nay," Thor chuckled, "It's merely a series of bodily positions, which," he gestured with his hands, compartmentalizing as he spoke, "coupled with the breathing, better connects the body to the mind and," he laced his fingers, "binds both with the magic born within the blood. Our mother taught him. Often, in his youth they would train together…" He drifted, and, returning to himself with a little jerk, Thor shook his head, "It is an impressive discipline."
"Did you ever, try it?" Bruce asked. He had his eyes fixed on Thor and had tipped his head a little on one side.
Natasha smiled. She knew that he and Tony had been trying to figure out Loki's magic for years. Thus far, they'd only gotten riddles out of the brothers. She couldn't help suspecting that was largely due to Thor's obvious amusement with the endeavor, and Loki's disdain for it. Either way, she doubted Bruce and Stark would ever get the answers they sought from either of them.
"I?" Thor laughed, "It is too…passive…an art, for me."
"But you're telling us," Bruce asked resting on his elbows, "That magic like – like Loki has – can be…trained?"
"Yes. As any art, it must first be a discipline."
"What is…Is it like anything we have here, on…on Earth?"
"It sounds to me," Steve said, tongue-in-cheek, "that it's an awful lot like yoga."
"I'm," Thor frowned, "not familiar with this term."
"Basically it's what you described." Natasha told him.
"But that's…This isn't a new development?" Bruce looked to herself and Steve for support, "Isn't yoga supposed to make you more…?"
"Relaxed?" Steve supplied.
Bruce glanced at him, "Yeah…"
"Believe me," Thor answered them, "in his youth he was not as you know him," he trailed, looking at his hand on the table, "both for good and for ill."
Silence fell between them.
"Well," Natasha put both her hands on the tabletop. "If you'll excuse me, fellas, I think I'm gonna get properly dressed."
"Properly dressed?" Steve looked her up and down.
"You look fine," Bruce stammered, "You look…great, in fact."
"Bruce," she said, "these are sweats."
Smiling softly she traced her fingertips across his shoulders as she made for the door.
When she came back down, she found that the team had moved to the wider sitting room adjacent to the kitchen. The sun had risen, dispelling the shadows that had haunted it, and Steve had asked Friday to raise all the blinds to let it in. Thor was sitting with his elbows on the bar, holding a fresh cup of coffee that steamed in his hand, taking animatedly to Bruce, while Steve stood nearby, half interacting, and half watching the newsfeed from a screen discreetly set up in the corner, between the bar and the window.
Loki was sitting on a couch in the far back corner of the room, with a book in his hand, and a vacant look on his face that left Natasha uncertain whether he was reading, or only trying to look like he was reading. Dismissing it as unimportant, she chose a place with equal surveillance of the surroundings and took the stool beside Bruce, facing out into the room with her elbows propped on the bar behind her.
Loki looked at her from across the room, without lifting his chin, in a way that made her think he hoped she wouldn't notice. She smirked back.
Scowling, he dropped his eyes to the page.
"So," she said demurely, "Clint's a while in coming."
"So's Stark," Steve glanced at her. "You're not off yet. Unless you want to back out."
Steve noticed something behind her, and she turned.
"Speak of the devil," Bruce murmured.
It was Clint. Bleary-eyed and sock-footed, he made a bee-line for the counter where Thor had left the mostly-full pot of coffee, picked the entire pot up off the counter, and took a drink.
Then he turned to survey the room.
"Morning Everyone," he croaked.
"Good morning, Barton," Thor said.
"I didn't say it was good," Clint told him, "I only said it was morning."
"Barely," Bruce answered, giving his watch a quick look. Then he nodded at Clint's coffee pot. "Nice mug."
Clint raised it to eye level. "Thanks," he decided.
"Morning, Clint," Natasha smiled.
Setting the pot back onto the bar, Clint sagged against it. He rubbed his eyes. "I don't know how you guys do it," he gave a wry chuckle.
Steve smirked, "Can't get drunk."
Clint lowered his hand, "Was I that bad?"
"You made fast friends with the lamp," Loki's voice drew their attention. He barely looked up from his book, "If memory serves, you named it 'Monica.'"
Sure enough, a lamp that stood behind an armchair across the room was wearing the same hat Clint had worn the night before at a rather jaunty angle.
"Alright you," Clint pointed at Loki, "can just shut up," he sagged against the counter.
Steve was laughing at him.
"You too. All of you," Clint groaned. "I'm not some god-like being. I'm just a human! And we humans, have limits." Blearily, he looked at Natasha, "I know better than to ask you?"
"I know better than to drink so much," she smiled.
Clint stuck out his tongue at her. Then swiveled his head, "Banner, help me out,"
Bruce shrugged, "I don't drink," he said.
"You did too!" Clint protested, pushing himself to his feet. "I saw you!"
"He only had one, Clint," Natasha patted his arm, "and only after I coerced him."
Bruce looked at her, half-smiling, "Yeah," he drawled, "you really twisted my arm."
"Tasha," Clint squinted at her, "whose side are you on?"
"In all fairness," she allowed, "I ought to be on yours, since you," she glanced at Steve, "just won me a bet."
"Woah now," Steve raised both hands, "Hold up a second. I think you're calling it a little early."
"He speaks truth," Thor put in, "You have forgotten our host."
"Have I?" she asked. Giving a little smile, she looked them all over, got off her stool, and made for the door.
"Where…?" Bruce trailed.
"Tasha," Clint groaned. Then he swore. "Wait up."
Just for fun, Natasha took the stairs, all the way to the ground floor.
Bruce caught up with her in the lobby, where she'd chosen to wait, and to listen to the five of them as they jostled down the staircase behind her.
"So you, uh," he rubbed the back of his neck, "You don't think he's in his room, I gather."
Steve appeared next, followed by Clint and his pot of coffee. Then Loki, and Thor.
"What's all this about?" Steve asked.
Natasha didn't answer. She looked at Loki and raised one eyebrow. "You took the stairs?"
"Thor threatened to drag him." Clint said.
Looking back and forth between the brothers, Natasha believed it.
"Tony's," Bruce turned to look over the lobby, "not here, Natasha."
Without saying anything, Natasha made for the door.
"Nat," Clint groaned. She heard him set his coffee pot down on the desk by the door, "The mystery thing is over. Can't we just..."
"If you don't wanna come out in your pajamas," she smirked over her shoulder, "then don't."
She heard Clint sigh. "Wait up," he said again.
Ignoring them, Natasha led the way out of the Tower into the morning sunlight. A slight, icy wind blew. She regretted not grabbing a coat. The road was less busy than she'd expected. She led the others across the street before she turned and put one hand up to shield her eyes, directing them to the top of Avengers Tower.
"There." She pointed.
"Where?" Bruce draped a coat around her shoulders.
Bringing a startled hand up to catch and hold it closed at the neck, she smiled at him.
He didn't notice, so, after a minute, she followed his gaze back to the top of Avengers Tower.
Clint hugged himself, looking up at the Tower. Natasha thought his Angry Birds pajama pants were probably a little thin.
"And what to my wondering eyes," Bruce said.
"Son of a gun."
"Woah, Cap," Clint said, "You sure the situation merits that kind of language?"
"You know what, Barton?"
Natasha smirked at Steve, "You should never have doubted me."
"Whatever he's been doing," Bruce said, "I think he's finished."
The tiny figure, glinting red and gold in the sun, had flown back a number of yards, as though to survey whatever it was that it had done.
Steve turned to her, "Did you see him out the window?"
"I did." Loki interrupted.
Natasha looked at him.
"We've seen him," he scowled. "Now let's go back inside."
Thor looked at him and frowned, "What is the hurry? Are you cold?"
"No I'm not cold."
Thor raised his arm.
"And don't touch me."
Loki stalked six paces further from him, and Thor lowered his arm back to his side.
"Seriously," Steve turned back to face her, "How did you know?"
"I did work for him for a while," she said.
"It would appear he's noticed you." Loki said dryly.
The tiny figure above them, waved. Expansively, it gestured with both arms toward the Tower.
"Yes…" Thor muttered, "We see the Tower…"
"Oh for the love of –" Loki rolled his eyes, "He wants you to see what he'd done to it."
"I know that." Thor levelled a disapproving look at him, then slowly raised his face back to the Tower, "But even my eyes cannot see so far unaided. Barton –"
"Negative." Clint told him, "It's a nic-name."
"I'm pretty sure we'll all know in a minute," Bruce said.
It started at the top, and they barely noticed it at first.
"Did he…?" Steve squinted.
Then the entire Tower flickered once, and lit up. Every balcony, every window and ledge, was strung with ropes of green or red lights. The Avengers logo flashed on and off, then slowly caught and rose and gleamed a ruddy gold.
Two cars screeched on their breaks, then righted themselves and went on their way. A man half-climbed out of the back window of one of the cars to take a picture of the Tower with his phone.
"Ah-ha!" Thor clapped his hands, "That must be it!" he beamed.
Loki stood very still with his arms folded and was very quiet. He closed his eyes.
Natasha wanted to laugh at him. But she bit her tongue. Working with Tony Stark, and having been friends first with Clint, and then later with Thor, she empathized utterly with the expression on his face. And she knew one or two others who also might.
She surprised herself by thinking that Loki and Pepper might actually get along.
"Well, there it is," Steve said.
"Wow," Bruce recovered, "that's…festive?"
Pedestrians murmured and pointed. Several stopped to take pictures with their phones. One of them was pretending to take a picture of the Tower while he was, in fact, furtively filming the six of them.
"He's landing," Thor informed them.
"Well, let's go meet him," Natasha said.
Tony met them as they came in, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, wiping grease off his hands with a rag.
"Look who's been busy," Natasha said. Bruce helped her off with the coat and hung it for her. "Thanks," she smiled at him.
The others came in behind the two of them, rubbing their arms to get warm, marveling at the cold.
Stark smirked, "Went outside to enjoy the view? How's that for a 'big ugly building in New York'?"
"Yeah…" Bruce answered.
Steve hung his head, "You're never gonna forgive me that one."
"Depends what you say next. You like it?"
"It's nice, Tony," Steve smiled.
"Yeah, real nice," Bruce agreed. "I just wish you woulda warned us. I would've brought sunglasses."
"Yeah, well. As a great general once told me, overkill is underrated." Tony went behind the desk and brought out a cup. He poured coffee from Clint's pot into it. "You liked that," he took a swig. Natasha thought to stop him, but didn't. "Wait until you see what's coming inside."
Clint hopped up onto the desk beside Tony and reclaimed his coffee pot.
Bruce chuckled wryly as he looked at the ceiling. "Why do I have this sudden sick feeling?" he asked.
"And how are you awake?" Clint lowered the pot onto his lap.
"Because your green guy is secretly the Grinch." Tony deadpanned. Then he turned to Clint. "And that's easy. Didn't go to sleep. So it's kinda more like, 'how aren't you, up so late?'" He raised his mug, noticed Clint's, thought about that for a moment, shrugged, and drank from his mug.
"Does he really count as being up last, if he never went to bed?" Steve asked her.
Natasha looked up at him, "Just give me the win, Rogers. It's not like we bet anything."
Laughing, Steve conceded. "Next time, Romanoff…"
"I was up long before all you lazy bones," Tony continued. "And I ordered some greenery – and not your kind," he eyed Bruce, "to spruce the place up before the others arrive. You guys hungry? I'm hungry. Good night's work will do that to you. You're all…good," he looked them over, "good. Barton, dress." He snapped him fingers. "We're going for breakfast."
Natasha stealing other people's clothing is because the striped hoody she wears in Winter Soldier is the same one that Tony's wearing (I think) in Iron Man 2 (I may be mistaken. I watched them all at once and only penciled in 'steals clothes' as a note).
The arrow necklace is one she wears in Age of Ultron. Marvel legend goes that it was Scarlet Johansen's idea, to signify Natasha's friendship with Clint.
Threkaefing is something I made up on the insistence that Loki do Yoga. I based the word on…Icelandic? Or Norwegian. I don't remember. I used Google/translate and made something up, because the word 'yoga' doesn't translate.
And the general Tony mentions is Hannibal from The A Team. I saw it twice over the summer, and loved it so much more than I expected to. It's my headcanon that Hannibal sometimes does jobs under the table for Fury. Possibly he and Stark have met. Stark handled Stain at the end of Iron Man, but maybe The A Team got rid of the terrorists.
Or, alternatively, maybe Tony saw the movie and has accepted the headcanon himself.
Merry Christmas to all if I don't post again before!