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24 Days Of Ficmas 2019

Chapter Text

Kate and America were sat on the floor by their bed on the uppermost floor of the Young Avengers base wrapping Christmas presents when Cassie arrived back. A blanket hastily pulled from a nearby bed and thrown over the pile of beds quickly hid any gifts that the youngest member of the team was not meant to see. Cassie dumped a pile of shopping bags on her bed.

“I see you’ve been shopping,” Kate joked as she eyed up the size of the pile of bags.

“Yeah, me, Noh-Varr and Tommy decided to go do some Christmas shopping,” she explained.

Kate ignored America’s mutterings about how the chaos squad should not be allowed out together as she continued to talk to Cassie. “That’s a lot of stuff you’ve got there. You do know that we can’t get that stuff to your family at the Compound, they can’t know it’s you that’s back here.”

“I know that, but my they discontinued my favourite Bath and Body Works lotion a year before I came back here, and they had a sale on their winter scent and so I bought like twenty bottles of my favourite lotion.” Kate and America stared at her, dumbfounded. “What?”

“That’s a lot of lotion, Cassie,” Kate replied. She stood and walked over to Cassie’s bed. “How did you even manage to carry all of that?”

“Did you hear the part where they said it was my favourite and they discontinued it?” Cassie answered. “It’s gone when I come from and now I’ve got it and I don’t know how long I’ve got left to enjoy this.”

“Please, you can get Stark to throw money at the company and they’ll personally make you a lifetime supply,” America teased.

“That’s not what I meant,” Cassie said with a sigh as she started to put her bags, and the lotion, away in her cupboard. “This is my last Christmas here. Sometime next year, I get near enough killed and then I go back home and either they’ve advanced science enough for me to not die or I die and the whole timeline goes to shit. People die, people that I know and care about get killed because some assholes think they’re avenging me by killing all the mutants. Like, leave the avenging to the actual Avengers.”

“You’re going to be okay Cassie,” Kate reassured.

“No, I’m not,” Cassie replied. She felt the bed dip as Kate and America sat on either side of her. “I’m going to die in less than a year.”

“They’ve already started to change the timeline,” America added. “They found Erik earlier, more people got out of Genosha alive than in the original timeline, they can save you too. And they will, don’t give up hope yet.”

Cassie sniffled slightly and wiped a few tears away from her eyes. “Whether I die or not, when I go back, I’m gonna miss you.”

“You’re going ten years into the future, we’ll still be there,” Kate said.

“Exactly, ten years in the future, you two are going to be in your early thirties and I’m still going to be a teenager, you guys aren’t going to want to be friends with an actual child,” Cassie argued.

Kate wrapped one arm around Cassie’s side. “We’ll always be your friends Cass. And you’re going to be fine.”

“Will you guys find my family and let them know that I love them and I’m sorry that this happened?” Cassie asked.

“You can tell them yourself because you aren’t going to die,” America answered.

“If it makes you feel any better, then we’ll find your family and tell them how much you love them and go to your funeral and be the most overdramatic mourners you’ve ever seen,” Kate added. “But that won’t be what we’re doing. We’ll be waiting for a phone call from the Avengers to say that you’re home. And we, and the rest of the team, will be sat outside your hospital room waiting for you to wake up.”

“Promise?” Cassie asked.

“We promise,” Kate replied. She looked over at the pile of bags. “That is a lot of lotion.”

Cassie sighed as she considered the amount she had bought for what seemed to the first time. “Do you think I went overboard?”

“Yes!”

Chapter Text

“So, the rules of the competition are that each team has and hour to make and decorate a snowman. You can only decorate your snowman using items that you can find on the field or in the woods, expect for the carrots you brought with you,” Cassie listed off, Lila nodding in agreement.

“I can’t believe you guys talked me into this,” Lorna muttered to her sisters. “It’s freezing out here and we’re building snowmen.”

“Yeah, but Lila and Cassie want us to do this,” Anya replied. “Consider this payback from when you were seven and used to make me stay outside playing with you in the snow for hours on end despite how cold it was.”

Lorna sighed in defeat. “Fine, so long as no one starts singing Frozen.”

“Do you wanna build a snowman?” Wanda sand quietly, narrowly avoiding her younger sister’s attempt to shove her over in the snow to stop her from singing.

“Wait, does Lila like Frozen?” Anya asked as she suddenly came up with an idea.

Wanda gave her sister an incredulous look. “Does Lila like Frozen? What kind of stupid question is that? Lila loves Frozen. She loves Frozen more than she loves me.”

“And that’s saying something, that girl adores you,” Lorna added. She turned to look at Anya. “Why do you ask?”

“I have an idea,” Anya answered.

***

“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Ned said to MJ and Peter as they began to make their snowman. “We’re at the Avengers Compound, joining in with family activities.”

“Family activities?” Peter asked.

Ned shrugged. “The Avengers are like one big, weird and occasionally dysfunctional family, and these are activities, so therefore, family activities.”

“I don’t get why you’re still so confused,” MJ replied. “I mean, Peter’s been bringing us here for two years, we have half the Avengers phone numbers, this is old news.”

“I know, but still, it’s the Avengers!”

***

“I have a question,” Ying said.

“Shoot,” Nadia replied.

Ying seemed confused. “You want me to shoot you?”

“That just means you can ask the question,” Nadia explained. “Please don’t shoot me.”

“Got it. Also, what is a snowman?” Ying asked. Nadia let out a laugh. “Hey! Don’t laugh at me, I have been out of the Red Room less than a month, I don’t know these things.”

“Okay, okay,” Nadia said. “A snowman is just like a model of a person that you make out of snow. Wait, if you didn’t know what a snowman was, why did you agree to do this?”

“You just seemed so excited when you told me about it, I didn’t want to let you down,” Ying explained. “So, what do we do?”

***

“Ying seems to be having fun,” Janet commented to Hope as they set about working on their snowman.

Hope threw a glance over her shoulder at the young girls. “She’s settled in well, all things considered.”

The two girls were deep in concentration as they started making their snowman.

“They are going to be so competitive,” Hope said.

***

“What are you doing?” Erik demanded.

Clint paused. “I’m decorating, what else would I be doing?”

“What the hell are those?” Erik asked.

Clint looked down at the pine leaves he’d taken from the evergreen trees at the edge of the woodland. “They’re going to be his beard when you let me get on with it.”

“Why are you giving him a beard?”

“To help keep him warm in the winter,” Clint answered.

Erik seemed annoyed by the other man’s response. “He doesn’t need to stay warm, he’s a snowman.”

“Well, maybe he just likes the aesthetic,” Clint defended.

“You’re being ridiculous,” Erik exclaimed.

“And you’re the one that suggested we do this as a team to try and get along,” Clint countered. “C’mon, it’s been over a year now and we can still barely stand to be in the same room as each other. We need to at least try.” He threw a glance over at Wanda where she was laughing with her sisters. “For her sake more than anything.”

“Fine,” Erik agreed with a grumble.

“Good. Now, can we keep the beard?”

***

Lila and Cassie surveyed each of the snowmen that the five teams had made before huddling together and discussing the results. They turned back to the group who eagerly awaited their verdict.

“The winning team is Wanda, Anya and Lorna,” Lila announced. The three winning sisters cheered in delight.

Clint sighed and looked over at the girls’ snowman, a near perfect replica of Olaf from Frozen. “Of course they won.”

Chapter Text

Lila raced up to her older sister at the breakfast table. “Wanda, look at this!” she exclaimed as she excitedly handed Wanda a sheet of paper.

Wanda took the paper from Lila and read it over. The letter was from Santa and was telling the young girl that while she was on the nice list, she needed to tidy her room if she wanted to stay there. “That’s so cool!” Wanda replied.

“I know, right?” Lila said. “Show the others.”

Wanda handed the letter to Anya, who was in the middle of nagging Lorna about the amount of coffee she was drinking before school. “Lila got a letter from Santa.” The other two girls read over the letter.

“That’s really cool, Lila,” Lorna said.

“I like the bit about tidying your room,” Anya added. She looked at Lorna. “Didn’t you get a similar letter from Santa when you were Lila’s age.”

Lorna elbowed Anya in the side. “Shut up,” she muttered.

At that moment, Cassie and Cooper joined them in the kitchen.

“Lila, did you get a letter from Santa as well?” she asked.

Lila grabbed the letter back from Lorna. “I did, can I look?”

The two young girls swapped letters and read them over. Cassie giggled. “Hey, you got told to tidy your room as well?”

Lila frowned. “How does Santa know how clean our rooms are?”

“Because he’ ,” Laura answered as she walked out into the kitchen. “Now go grab your bags or you’re going to be late for school.”

As the kids ran back out of the room, Wanda looked over the letters from Santa. “Hey, Mom, why does Santa’s handwriting look like yours?” she asked, trying to keep an innocent look on her face.

“Don’t you dare tell them,” Laura warned just as Lila, Cassie and Cooper came running back into the room. “You guys ready to go?”

The group nodded and they began to make their way out of the Compound. Lila paused as she reached the turn in the hallway. “Wanda, please can you put mine and Cassie’s letters back in our rooms?”

“Will do,” Wanda replied. She watched as her sister left and waited for the sound of the door closing before she turned back to Lorna and Anya. “Letter to Santa; gotta admit, that’s a pretty good method for getting them to tidy their rooms.”

Chapter Text

“Okay class,” Mr Harrington said as he walked into homeroom. The class continued to talk loudly. “Everyone, I have an announcement to make.” Still, no one stopped talking and Mr Harrington seemed defeated.

“Guys, shut up,” MJ yelled, quickly getting the entire class to stop talking.

“Thank you Miss Jones,” Mr Harrington replied. “As you all know, it’s getting to that time of year again: Christmas! So I thought it would be fun for us as a group to do a Secret Santa.” He pulled out a small bowl with a load of small pieces of folded up paper. “I’ve already written down everyone’s names on some paper. Everyone take a name and then pass the bowl on.”

Cindy was the first person to get the bowl. She picked out a name, frowned at the sheet of paper and then put it back and took another name. “I picked out my name,” she explained as she passed the bowl on. The bowl made its way around the room until everyone had taken a name.

“Uh, sir, there aren’t enough names,” Sally called from the back of the room.

“Oh, who hasn’t got a name?” Mr Harrington asked.

“We all do, but Lorna isn’t here yet and there isn’t a name left over,” Sally explained.

“Who has Lorna anyway?” Mr Harrington asked. Nobody in the class asked. “Nobody has her? Did I forget an entire student?”

“Sir, I don’t think she’ll mind,” Ned said as he realised that his teacher was beginning to panic. “She’s mentioned before that she didn’t like doing Secret Santa at her old school.”

“Yeah, she’s Jewish and she doesn’t celebrate Christmas,” MJ added. “She only joins in with the stuff at the Compound because the people she lives with celebrate Christmas. And even then that’s mainly just because she wants food.”

“You’re sure that she won’t mind?” Mr Harrington asked. Ned, Peter, MJ and Cindy all nodded and Mr Harrington let out a sigh of relief. “Thank god for that, I didn’t mess that up.”

The class went back to talking and few moments later Lorna came barrelling into the room. “Sorry I’m late,” she said as she sat at her desk next to Cindy. “Did I miss anything?”

“Mr Harrington sorted out Secret Santa, but he forgot about you,” Flash answered.

“Oh, that’s fine, I’m not a fan of Secret Santa anyway,” Lorna replied. “Like, my homeroom teacher at my last school was such a dick, he could not seem to understand that I’m Jewish and that I don’t celebrate Christmas.”

“Told you so,” Ned said.

“Miss Dane, we’ve talked about appropriate language for school before,” Mr Harrington reminded. At that moment, the bell rang, and everyone stood to leave for their class. “Don’t forget to sort out those Secret Santa presents.”

As they were walking to their next class, Cindy slipped a sheet of paper into Lorna’s hand. Lorna opened it to see it was just her name written down. “What’s this?” she asked.

“Mr Harrington didn’t forget you; I picked your name out, said I’d taken my own name, pretended to put yours back as I took out another one and kept hold of your name so you wouldn’t have to take part,” Cindy explained.

Lorna looked at her friend in awe. “Cindy, I fucking love you.”

Chapter Text

“I think I burned my tongue on this hot chocolate,” David complained.

“Want me to kiss it better?” Tommy teased.

David rolled his eyes at his boyfriend. “Don’t even think about, I have a cold and I am not giving you my germs,” David insisted, coughing lightly as he finished speaking.

“Well, the offer is always there,” Tommy said. “Besides, I’m a speedster. Likelihood is that I’ll fight off the infection in a couple of hours.”

“That’s what you said about all that vodka you drank the other week, and you had a hangover for three days,” David reminded.

“Yes, but this time, I’ll be right,” Tommy replied.

***

“I’ve gotta go out for a bit,” Tommy said.

“Need me to come with you?” David asked.

“Nah, I need both hands free to carry everything back and you complain when I run carrying you,” Tommy answered.

“How far are you going?”

“Seoul,” Tommy replied. “I was going to order something from Korea for Kate and then I saw the shipping cost and decided to just go there and buy in person.”

“Have fun,” David said.

“See you later.” Before he left, Tommy raced over to where his boyfriend was sat on the sofa and pressed a quick kiss to his lips.

“Bastard!” David yelled, but he was too late, Tommy had already gone. “His fault if he gets sick.”

***

By the time he got back from Seoul, Tommy was coughing and sneezing frequently. He glared at David as he walked back through the door. “You gave me your germs, asshole.”

“I warned you that if you kissed me, you’d get sick, but you didn’t listen,” David defended.

“Yeah, but you know what this means?” Tommy asked. David shook his head. “If I’m already sick, then your germs can’t make me sicker. Which means I can do-” He broke off mid-sentence and dashed over to David, cupping his boyfriend’s face in his hands as he kissed him deeply. “-this.”

Chapter Text

“This is officially the best Christmas present anyone has ever gotten me,” Tony said softly.

Pepper rolled her eyes from where she was sat in her hospital bed as she watched her husband cradle their new-born daughter. “It’s not even Christmas yet.”

“Don’t even care, she’s perfect,” Tony replied. “Am I crying? I feel like I’m crying.”

“You’ve been crying for about five minutes now,” Pepper answered. “We still haven’t given her a name yet.” She paused for a moment. “I like the name you suggested.”

“Morgan Stark,” Tony said. “It sounds good. Scratch that, it sounds amazing.”

A knock sounded at the door before it opened and Rhodey wheeled himself into the room. “Hey you two, well, you three.” He moved closer to Tony and Morgan. “What name did you go with?”

“Morgan,” Pepper answered. She and Tony shared a look. “Would you like to hold your goddaughter?”

Rhodey was shocked. “Really?”

“Yes, you can hold if you want,” Tony replied, earning him a glare from both Pepper and Rhodey.

“Yes, we want you to be the godfather,” Pepper answered.

“Thank you,” Rhodey said as Tony transferred Morgan into his arms. He smiled as he looked down at the little girl. “She’s absolutely adorable guys. Hey, Tony, the kid’s out in the waiting room.”

“Go bring him here,” Pepper said.

Tony nodded and left the room, throwing one last look at Morgan as he left. He walked down the short stretch of corridor towards the waiting room. When he got there, he saw Peter sat in the corner. He was holding a bunch of flowers, large Iron Man teddy bear and the string for large silver helium balloon with something scrawled on in sharpie.

“What the hell have you got written on there?” Tony asked as he looked up at the balloon.

Peter re-read what he’d written and laughed lightly. “I was with MJ when I bought the balloon and she pointed out that having the ‘It’s A Girl’ balloons all being pink was forcing gender stereotypes on colours and was completely unnecessary, so we got a plain silver one and wrote ‘It’s A Child’ on it instead.”

Tony laughed. “Well, she has got a point, I’ll give her that. You want to come meet Morgan.”

Peter grinned and nodded excitedly. He followed Tony back to Pepper’s room. “Hey Pepper, how are you doing?”

“How come you always remember to call her Pepper, but two years later, I still get called Mr Stark sometimes?” Tony asked.

“Ignore my husband, and I’m doing great, thanks,” Pepper answered. She looked up at the balloon. “I’m guessing that MJ had a hand in choosing the balloon.”

“Yeah, she didn’t think it was a good idea to force gender roles on someone less than a day old,” Peter replied. “And I kinda agree with her. May said she’ll be here after her shift.”

“And that was what the two of you came up with?” Rhodey asked.

“We had limited options,” Peter defended. “Everything else was aggressively gendered.”

“I like it,” Pepper added. “Do you want to hold Morgan?”

Peter nodded and went to sit in the chair next to Pepper’s bed. Rhodey wheeled himself over to where Peter was sat and carefully handed the baby on over to him. Tony smiled at the sight in front of him, four of the most important people in his life. He quickly took a photo on his phone before going over to be with his family.

Chapter Text

Bobbi was woken at five in the morning by her husband getting out of bed. “What are you doing?” she asked as she watched him dress in thick winter clothing.

“The old people at number seventy-four need the snow shovelling from their driveway,” he answered.

“Babe, they’ve never leave their house before eleven, go back to sleep,” Bobbi said.

“I get that, but if we don’t go shovel the snow from their driveway now, then Justin from seventy-nine will do it, and we have to be the ultimate neighbour,” Hunter replied.

“What do you mean we?” Bobbi asked. “There is no way in hell I am going outside at this time the morning to shovel snow from someone else’s driveway just so you can feel better than the neighbours.”

“I wasn’t expecting you to!”

“Then who?”

A knock sounded at Bobbi and Hunter’s bedroom door. “Hunter, you ready to go?” Coulson asked through the door.

“You got Coulson involved?” Bobbi asked.

“Actually, it was Coulson’s idea,” Hunter replied with a smug look on his face.

Bobbi sighed. “Just go.”

Hunter grabbed his hat from the back of the door and marched out of the room to join Coulson. “Grab your snow boots and shovel, we will be better neighbours that Justin from seventy-nine.”

The door was left open, so Bobbi could see May appear at her and Coulson’s bedroom door. “What are they doing?” she asked Bobbi.

Bobbi stood from her bed and beckoned May over to the window in Bobbi and Hunter’s room. The two women watched as the men walked over to the driveway at number seventy-four. “They’re determined to beat Justin from seventy-nine to getting rid of the snow at number seventy-four.”

“Well then, this should be interesting,” May said as she noticed Justin leave number seventy-nine, along with his teenage son, Matt. The two groups reached the driveway at the same time and seemed to be in some sort of standoff over who would be shovelling the snow. Carla, Justin’s wife, was also watching from her bedroom window. She, Bobbi and May spotted each other and waved before Carla turned away from the window.

“I think Carla’s gone back to bed,” Bobbi pointed out.

“She’s got the right idea,” May replied. “I’ll see you at a more reasonable hour.”

“See you then.”

Chapter Text

“I’m cold,” Kate complained to her girlfriend where they were sat on the sofa.

“It is pretty cold in here,” America agreed. “What’s up with the heating?”

“Broken, someone’s coming to fix it tomorrow,” Kate answered. “But I’m still cold, cuddle with me.”

“If you’re cold, I’ll go buy you hot chocolate,” America offered.

“I love you, but we’re cuddling when you get back.”

***

When America got back, the only part of her girlfriend she could see was her head sticking out from under a pile of blankets and quilts on the sofa. “Babe, I’m back. What’s going on here?”

“We were cold, so we made a blanket fort on the sofa,” Kate explained.

“We?”

A second head appeared from underneath the blankets; it was Cassie. “I was also cold. Care to join us?”

America rolled her eyes, handed the drink to Kate, removed her boots and pulled back the covers, snuggling up close to her girlfriend.

***

Billy and Teddy were next to arrive back.

“I thought that maybe it would be warmer inside than outside, but it appears that I was wrong,” Billy complained.

“Why is it so cold in here?” Teddy asked.

“Heating’s bust and it isn’t getting fixed until tomorrow,” Kate explained. She lifted the edge of the mound of blankets. “It’s warm under here.”

The two boys were quick to join their friends where it was warmer. The five of them just about managed to squish together on the sofa, still all buried underneath the covers.

***

An hour later, Tommy, Noh-Varr and Loki arrived back at the base and were all quick to join in complaining about the cold.

“I thought you were a frost giant,” Tommy pointed out to Loki. “Shouldn’t you be used to the cold?”

“Just because I’m used to it, doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it,” Loki defended.

 The three were quick to accept the offer of joining the others underneath the pile of blankets. However, the added people made space on the sofa very limited. After some shifting about, they all managed to fit on. Billy and Kate ended up sat on their respective partner’s laps at either end of the sofa. Cassie had her head resting against America’s shoulder, with her legs stretched along Loki Tommy’s laps.

***

David was the last person to arrive. He looked over at the group on the sofa with a confused look on his face. “What the hell are you guys up to?” he asked.

“The heating’s broken so we’re huddling for warmth,” Kate explained.

David gave them a weird look before heading through the door to the basement. He’d only been gone for less than a minute before the team heard the sound of the boiler kicking in and hot water being sent to the radiators. David reappeared in the doorway. “The heating isn’t broken; the boiler was just turned off.”

The group on the sofa all looked embarrassed.

“In our defence,” Loki started. “Kate told us the heating was broken.”

“And you’re the ones that took her word for it,” David countered. “The heating’s on now but it’s going to take a while to warm up in here. Mind if I join?”

“Sure,” America replied.

“Is that a good idea?” Cassie asked. “It’s already started creaking, is adding another person really going to be a good idea?”

“It’ll be fine,” Kate replied, brushing off Cassie’s worries.

David joined the group on the sofa and managed to squeeze himself under the covers alongside his friends. The sofa gave an almighty groan underneath the group before collapsing entirely. The group let out a scream as they crashed to the ground and spilled across the floor.

“Told you so,” Cassie mumbled from where she was lying on the floor, her face pressed into the carpet.

Tommy laughed. “Well, the heating isn’t broken, but the sofa definitely is.”

Chapter Text

“What’s the password?”

“Lila,” Laura scolded. “It’s late, you have school tomorrow and it’s freezing out here. Get out of the snow fort and get inside.”

“I’m not going inside yet,” Lila replied.

“Don’t make me come in there, young lady,” Laura warned.

“You can’t get in without the password. What’s the password?”

Laura let out a sigh. “Unicorn?”

“Incorrect.”

Before Laura looked over to the window and spotted Clint watching the pair. “I’ll have a go,” he mouthed. Laura relented and went back inside.

***

“Lila, sweetie, you need to come inside now. It’s time for bed,” Clint said gently as he sat in front of the entrance to the snow fort Lila and Cassie had built earlier in the day.

“I don’t want to,” Lila replied.

“Please, it’s getting late and you don’t want to be tired at school tomorrow,” Clint added.

“What’s the password?” Lila asked.

“Huh?”

“If you can tell me the password to get into my snow fort, I’ll come inside,” Lila explained.

“Lucky?” Clint guessed.

“Incorrect.”

Clint groaned in frustration. From behind him, he heard the sound of footsteps crunching in the snow. He turned around to see Wanda stood behind him.

Go inside she said inside his head. I’ll try and get her in.

Fine, but try not to use mind control on her.

Wanda took Clint’s place in front of Lila’s snow fort. “You planning on coming in yet?”

“No,” Lila replied. “It’s way more fun out here. Everything’s made of snow!”

“Do you remember what happened a few years ago when I stayed out in the snow for too long?” Wanda asked. “When I got sick? You don’t want to get sick, do you?”

“I’ll be fine, I have a better immune system than you do,” Lila replied.

“What if I can guess the password?”

“What’s the password?”

“Black Widow.”

“Incorrect.”

***

“So, we’ve tried her favourite Avenger, her favourite pet she’s had and her favourite animal,” Wanda listed. “What haven’t we tried yet?”

“I can’t think of anything else,” Clint replied. “Have we tried asking Cassie?”

“She’s already asleep, so that’s not an option,” Laura answered.

The external door opened again, and Lila walked in. “I’m going to go get ready for bed,” she announced as she walked past.

“How…” Laura said, trailing off at the end.

“I got her in,” Cooper explained.

“How did you do that?” Wanda asked.

“Easy, I knew the password.”

Chapter Text

“To the left a bit.”

America looked over at where Noh-Varr was helping Cassie hang decorations from the walkway above. Cassie was lying flat on her stomach and tying decorations to the railings as Noh-Varr directed her from below.

“How long before she drops one on his head?” America asked her girlfriend.

Kate looked over from where she was on the other side of the kitchen. She watched the ornament that Cassie was holding, more specifically, the cord it was on. “I give it ten seconds at the most.”

America followed Kate’s gaze just in time to see the cord snap and the ornament come crashing down on Noh-Varr’s head. Both girls winced at the loud thud that sounded as the ornament made contact with his skull.

“Shit, are you okay?” Cassie yelled down from the floor above.

“I’m fine,” Noh-Varr replied. “Just don’t do that again.”

America and Kate turned their attention back to the Christmas cookies they were trying to bake.

“Where are the others?” America asked.

“Tommy and Billy couldn’t find the Hanukkah decorations where we’d left them with the Christmas ones, so they went to look around the basement for them,” Kate explained. “Teddy, David and Luna are helping them.”

“And Loki?”

“Gone to visit Thor where he’s setting up New Asgard, won’t be back for a few days,” Kate answered.

Teddy, Billy, Tommy, David and a very sheepish looking Luna reappeared from the basement below, each carrying a box of decorations.

“We found the decorations,” Tommy announced.

“Not to state the obvious,” America muttered to Kate.

“And you’ll never guess why they’d been moved,” Tommy continued. He turned to look at his cousin. “Luna, care to explain?”

“Not particularly,” she replied.

“It’s because someone decided to move them around while she was looking for things downstairs,” Tommy explained, pointing to Luna whenever he mentioned ‘someone’.

“In my defence, someone-”. Luna pointed to Tommy. “Shouldn’t have put my stuff away when he put the decorations away. Then I wouldn’t have had to go looking for them.”

“You could’ve at least put everything back where it was before.”

Luna grabbed the ornament that Cassie had dropped on Noh-Varr earlier and threw it at her cousin’s head. Tommy, being a speedster, was able to race out of the way in time, meaning that it hit Billy instead.

“That’s the second concussion that thing has probably caused today,” America joked.

Kate laughed lightly at her girlfriend as the two stayed safely in the kitchen, away from where the Minimoffs were about to start world war three.  

Chapter Text

“Barton!” Natasha snapped as she stormed into the shooting range. Clint lowered his bow and turned to face his friend. “I’m going to kill your dog.”

“Natasha, you are my friend, you have been for years and I love you, but if you hurt my dog I will use this on you,” he joked as indicated to his bow. “What has he done now?”

“I’ll show you when we can find him,” Natasha answered.

Clint bit back a laugh. “You’re telling me that the Black Widow, world-renowned assassin and secret agent can’t track a one-eyed rescue dog?”

“I can track him, but he doesn’t trust me when I’m angry with him and I am very angry right now,” Natasha explained. “He trusts you and if you’re there, he won’t rip my stuff.”

Clint gave his friend a weird look as he put his bow away. “So, you’re doing this because my dog has stolen your things?”

“Maybe you should’ve trained not to steal people’s shoes,” Natasha snapped back. “Then we wouldn’t be doing this right now.” She opened the door to the shooting range and the pair walked off in search of the dog.

***

“Nat, I thought you said he had your shoes,” Clint said. He and Natasha were stood staring at Lucky, who was sat in his bed with a pair of Rudolph slippers in front of him.

“I wear them on my feet, therefore, shoes,” Natasha argued.

“You dragged me halfway across the Compound to retrieve your novelty Christmas slippers from my Labrador retriever,” Clint teased.

“That has to be one of the worst dad jokes I’ve ever heard from you, and that is saying something,” Natasha replied. “Now, can you please get the slippers back from him.”

“I still don’t get why you can’t,” Clint said.

“Because, every time I try, he does this,” Natasha explained as she took a step towards the dog. He growled lightly at her and picked the slippers up in his mouth. “Please?”

“Only because you asked so nicely,” Clint replied as he took the slippers from Lucky with ease. “Now, I’m going back to the shooting range, where I was before I was interrupted because you got in an argument with my dog.”

Natasha waited until he’d left the room before she glared at the dog and she could have sworn that he glared back.

Chapter Text

“Lorna, no,” Anya yelled as she crossed the field towards her sisters.

Lorna sighed. “If I had a dollar for every time I heard Dad or Anya say that, I’d be richer than Tony Stark,” she said to Wanda.

Anya reached her two younger sisters. “What are you two doing?”

Lorna held up the ice skates she was about to put on. “I’ll give you one guess.”

“This isn’t safe,” Anya replied. She looked over at the frozen lake that her sisters were planning on skating on.

“It’s completely fine,” Wanda argued. “It froze over the first winter I was here. All of us went skating and no one got hurt.”

“The ice is way too thin,” Anya said. “No one got hurt before, but knowing your luck, one of you two will.”

“Then stay there and watch us to make sure that nothing happens,” Lorna said. She finished putting her boots on and grabbed Wanda hand and pulled her sister onto the icy lake. She laughed as they glided gracefully over the ice. She let go of Wanda’s hand and skated further out on the ice.

“Wanda, be careful,” Anya yelled.

Lorna turned around in time to see her sister slip over and crash down onto the ice. Anya carefully made her way over to where her sister had landed on the ice and helped her back to her feet. Lorna started to head towards her sisters when she heard the sound of the ice beneath cracking. Before she could react, the ice beneath her gave way and she plunged into the icy water below. She let out a scream as she fell, causing the cold water to flood into her mouth. From below the water, she distantly heard the sounds of her sisters yelling her name and a set of footsteps rushing across the ice. The water around her began to glow a vibrant red. She felt herself be lifted from the water. Anya was lying across the surface of the ice near the hole Lorna had fallen through, spreading her weight as to not fall in also. Wanda was stood a few feet away, focusing her powers on rescuing Lorna. Anya reached out and pulled Lorna from the water. Wanda dropped her powers and carefully reached over to help Anya pull Lorna back to the side of the lake.

“Lorna, are you okay?” Anya asked.

Lorna struggled to give her sister a thumbs up before coughing up the water she’d swallowed and passing out.

***

Lorna woke up in the medical wing. Wanda was sat in a chair in the corner of the room, sleeping quietly. Anya was sat in a chair next to Lorna and immediately looked up when Lorna moved.

“Don’t say it,” Lorna begged.

Anya smirked at her younger sister. “Told you so.”

Chapter Text

Ned looked around the classroom. “Where’s Lorna?” he asked as he turned to Peter.

“Why would I know?” Peter asked.

“You, know.” Ned lowered his voice. “Because you’re both on the Avengers.”

“That doesn’t change anything. I haven’t been to the Compound in a few days, I haven’t seen her this morning,” Peter replied. “I don’t know where she is.”

“She’s probably just late again,” MJ suggested. “She gets caught in traffic a lot.”

Cindy leant back in her chair to speak to the group. “Are you guys talking about Lorna?”

“Yeah,” MJ answered. “Why? Do you know where she is?”

“She just texted me, she’s off sick,” Cindy explained. “She should be back by Monday though.”

***

Lorna was buried under half a dozen blankets and was still shivering from the cold.

Wanda walked over to the pile of blankets that contained her sister, hot chocolate in hand. “You okay under there?”

Lorna glared at her. “Just give me the hot chocolate.” Wanda passed her the hot chocolate before leaving again.

Anya came and sat next to her younger sister. Lorna leant her head against Anya’s shoulder. “You feeling any better yet?”

“No,” the younger girl complained. She froze. “Wait, you have healing powers?”

“I’m aware.”

“And you haven’t used them on me because?”

“Are you dying? No,” Anya answered.

“You’re not using them because you want an ‘I told you so’ moment to use against me,” Lorna accused.

“I already have dozens, possibly hundreds, of ‘I told you so’ moments from when you were little,” Anya replied. She paused for a moment. “Although it nice to have another one.”

Lorna looked offended. Erik walked into the room at that moment. “Dad,” she whined. “Anya’s picking on me.”

“I won’t use my powers on her to stop her from feeling ill,” Anya explained.

“If you didn’t want to feel ill, then you shouldn’t have gone skating on ice that you knew was too thin,” Erik replied.

“I hate both of you.”

Chapter Text

“This isn’t going to end well,” Amadeus whispered to Viv, earning a snort from his teammate.

The Champions and the girls from Nadia’s lab were at the Young Avengers base. The two teams of heroes were up against each other in a gingerbread decorating contest.

“The rules are simple; each hero has to decorate their gingerbread man to look like them. The team with the most accurate gingerbread men win,” Ying explained. “You guys have an hour to decorate. And you may begin… now!”

The two groups rushed over to the two tables they’d had set up for the competition. At the Young Avengers table, Tommy and Noh-Varr reached for the green frosting at the same time.

“I need it first,” Tommy said. “My suit is green; I need to get that done first before I can do anything else.”

“I only have a little bit of green on my suit, I’ll be two minutes,” Noh-Varr argued. “Let me use some before you take all of it.”

Before either could continue the argument, Teddy silently placed a second tub of green frosting down on the table between the boys and wordlessly went back to decorating his own, very green, gingerbread man. Tommy and Noh-Varr made eye contact for a moment, before they each grabbed a tub of frosting and went back to decorating their gingerbread men.

***

“Nadia, you’ve spent twenty minutes doing the detailing on one wing,” Viv pointed out.

“And? It needs to look accurate,” Nadia defended.

“Yeah, and you’re gonna run out of time,” Amadeus argued.

“I’ll be two more minutes,” Nadia said.

“And then you’ll still have another wing to do and the rest of your body,” Miles reminded.

“Nobody on the other team is spending this much time on one little bit of decoration,” Kamala teased.

***

Billy had spent almost all of his time doing the galaxy pattern on one arm of his suit.

“You’re going to want to hurry up,” Kate said.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because we have five minutes left and you don’t have a face yet,” Kate answered. She handed him a tube of edible glitter. “Use this for the rest of the galaxy pattern.”

“Nobody on the other team is spending this much time on one little bit of decoration,” Loki teased.

***

“And the winning team is… drum roll please,” Ying said. Everyone began to drum their hands against their legs. “The Young Avengers.”

The Young Avengers let out loud cheers, while the Champions seemed annoyed.

“Listen, both teams did very good, even if they weren’t all very consistent in terms of detail,” Shay defended, throwing a glance at Billy and Nadia’s gingerbread men. “But Viv, what happened?”

Viv looked down at her gingerbread man, it’s bright pink skin and vibrant green hair contrasting drastically with her own dark hair and skin. “I don’t see what’s wrong with it.”

“Viv, did you forget you’re human?” Tommy asked.

Viv blushed. “Oops.”

Chapter Text

A swirling ball of blue light began to form on the girls’ floor of the Young Avengers’ base.

“Guys, we have a problem,” Kate yelled, getting the attention of everyone else in the building. The light began to solidify in the shape of a person. The light faded, leaving behind a woman in her forties who was wearing a lot of red, a bag at her feet. “Who are you?”

The woman looked past Kate. “Billy.”

Kate looked over and saw Billy stood at the top of the stairs. “Mom?” He rushed past his friends and threw his arms around the woman, almost knocking them both to the floor.

“Mom? Are you Wanda Maximoff from the future?” Kate asked.

Wanda smiled at the younger woman. “Hey, Kate, nice to see you again.”

The door downstairs opened as someone else entered the base. Billy, as if knowing by some twin instinct that his brother had just gotten back, yelled for Tommy to come upstairs. He appeared at the top of the stairs seconds later and seemed frozen in shock at the sight of his mother. Wanda closed the gap between them and wrapped her arms around her son. Tommy seemed to realise what was going on and returned the hug. Kate slipped away, giving the family time to themselves. Wanda sat down on an empty bed, with Tommy and Billy on either side of her.

“What are you doing here?” Billy asked. “Not that I’m not happy to see you, it’s just that no one has ever come back to visit before.”

“Is it that we can come back home?” Tommy asked.

“Not yet, you need to stay here and get that girl home safely before you can come back,” Wanda answered. “But you only have a few months left, then you can come home.”

“I miss you,” Billy said. Wanda looped an arm around him and pressed a kiss to his head as he leant his head against Wanda’s shoulder. Tommy did the same on her other side.

“I miss you too, both of you,” she replied. A new blue light appeared in front of the family. Wanda sighed. “That’s for me. I have to go, if I stay too long, changes in the timeline can set and we don’t know what that could do to the changes you’re trying to make.” She stood and hugged her sons closely. “I’ll see you again soon. I love you, both of you and I am so proud of you both.” She started to leave when Billy stopped her.

“You forgot your bag,” he said.

She smiled and shook her head. “That’s for you. And you better share with your sisters and cousins.” She disappeared into the light as she returned to the future.

Billy and Tommy opened the bag to find a box full of homemade cookies.

“Maybe, we don’t tell TJ and Viv about the cookies,” Tommy suggested.

Billy opened the box and took one cookie for himself and handed one to his twin. “Maybe not.”

Chapter Text

Kamala was writing fanfiction in her room when she heard the sound of a stone bouncing off her window. She let out a small yelp in surprise at the sound.

“Kamala is something wrong?” her mother yelled from downstairs.

“I’m fine, I had my music on and leant on the volume up button by mistake,” Kamala yelled back, thankful that she’d made that exact mistake so many times that it would seem believable. She left her laptop and walked over to the window. She pushed it open and looked down at the ground to try and see who was throwing stones at her window.

“Over here,” a voice softly called out from the tree across from her window. Kamala looked over to see Miles stood in the branches of the tree opposite her window.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“I was just wondering if you wanted to go on patrol,” Miles replied. “Do you?”

Kamala rolled her eyes. “Just give me a minute to change.” She pulled the curtains closed and quickly changed into her superhero costume before sliding quietly out of the window to join Miles in the tree. “And what’s wrong with patrolling in Brooklyn?”

“Maybe I was curious to see what crime in New Jersey looked like,” Miles teased.

“And I am very proud of you for not saying that New Jersey’s existence in general is a crime,” Kamala replied. “Now, let’s go stop some crime.”

***

The pair ended up sitting on top of a roof a few streets away after spending a few hours fighting crime.

“Why did you actually come here?” Kamala asked. “And don’t try and say that you just wanted to see what crime in New Jersey looked like, we both know that you hate New Jersey.”

“It has been exactly one year today since that moderately disastrous Champions dinner,” Miles explained.

“And one year since our first kiss,” Kamala finished. She leant her head against Miles’ shoulder. “Happy anniversary Miles.”

“Happy anniversary Kamala.”

Chapter Text

Mr Harrington had set up a small Christmas tree in the corner of the classroom. Everyone was adding their presents underneath the tree as they came into the room. As soon as the last student arrived and was sat down, Mr Harrington clapped loudly to get everyone’s attention.

“Okay, everyone, today we are opening our presents from our Secret Santa,” he announced. “Lorna, once again, thank you for not being mad at me for forgetting you.”

“And thank you for forgetting me,” Lorna replied, sharing a look with Cindy.

“I’m going to start passing presents out, can everyone make sure they get to the right people,” Mr Harrington said. He picked up the first present and started passing them around the room.

MJ was the first person out of their group to get her present. She carefully unwrapped the gift, a book on conspiracy theories. “Oh, nice. Thanks, Cindy.”

Cindy gaped at her. “How did you know that it was from me?” she asked.

“I managed to figure out who everyone got,” MJ replied. She pulled out a sheet of paper and read over her notes. As a present was placed in front of Ned, she scanned over the list. “That’s from Sally.”

Ned opened the present to reveal a set of Star Wars Lego minifigures. “Neat, remind me to thank Sally later.”

“I had Flash, Peter had Brad, Ned had Cindy,” MJ listed. A present was placed in front of Peter. “And that is from Flash.”

Peter laughed as he opened his gift. He turned it around to show the others. “And he got me Spider-Man merch.”

Chapter Text

“It is bloody freezing out here,” Kate complained as she and America walked through the park, arms looped together. “Why did you make me come out here?”

“Because you said everyone else at the base was annoying you and that we hadn’t been out together in forever,” America answered. “So I suggested that we go out for coffee and you, princess, were the one that insisted on walking.”

“Yeah, walking two blocks, not half a mile,” Kate teased. She looked around at where they were. “Isn’t this where we had that snowball fight last year?”

“If by that you mean isn’t this where you fell out a tree last year, then yes it is,” America answered.

Kate unthreaded her arm from America’s and grabbed her girlfriend by her hand and dragged across the field. She came to a stop in front of one tree in particular. “It was this one,” she said. “Thanks for catching me.”

“Anytime. Y’know, I kinda had a realisation as we were lying there in the snow after I caught you. I actually feel kinda stupid for taking a year to act on it. I realised… ah shit.”

Kate turned around to see her girlfriend kneeling down on the ground, digging around through the snow. “What’s wrong?”

“I was going to propose but I dropped the ring in the snow,” America grumbled. Kate let out a shocked gasp. America looked up to face her girlfriend. “That wasn’t meant to go like that. I had a whole speech to prepare, I-”

“Yes,” Kate answered, cutting America off.

“What?”

“Yes,” Kate repeated. “Yes, I will marry you.”

America’s face split into a grin as Kate launched herself at her fiancée, sending the two of them crashing into the snow. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” Kate replied. “What was your realisation? The one you had a year ago.”

“That I was madly in love with this idiot woman and there was no one else on Earth that I could imagine spending the rest of my life with but her,” America answered.

As Kate went to move her hand to bring it closer to America’s, it brushed against something small and round in the snow. Her hand closed around the ring and she held it in front of America’s face. “Is this the ring?”

America plucked the ring from Kate’s hand and stood up. She offered her a hand up. Once Kate was stood up, America went back down on one knee. “Katherine Elizabeth Bishop, will you marry me?”

Kate rolled her eyes. “Yes, I will marry you.”

America slipped the ring onto Kate’s finger and stood up to kiss her fiancée.

“Your hair is completely covered in snow,” Kate teased.

“Like you’re doing any better princess.”

Chapter Text

Anya, Lorna and Erik were sat at the kitchen table, already eating breakfast as everyone else began to leave their rooms.

“They’re all wearing those ridiculous Christmas jumpers again,” Anya pointed out.

“Oh, it gets worse,” Wanda said as she joined the others. “They’ve got matching couple’s Christmas jumpers.”

Steve and Bucky were the first couple to appear. Steve’s jumper read “I’m the nice one” whilst Bucky’s said “I’m the naughty one.” Both were maroon in colour with green and white decorations.

“They’re not too bad,” Lorna said.

“Those are ridiculous,” Erik said at the same time.

“Like you don’t have a collection of stupid Hanukkah jumpers,” Anya teased. She threw a glance at Wanda, who was wearing a light blue jumper with a menorah and small LED lights at the top of each candle on the front. “And you’re not the only one.”

“Did Laura and Clint get matching jumpers?” Lorna asked.

“They’ve all got ones that make them look like elves,” Wanda answered.

Erik laughed slightly. “Even Nate?”

“Even Nate,” Wanda replied. “They knew I wouldn’t want a Christmas jumper but didn’t want me to feel left out, so they got me this Hanukkah one instead.”

“Looks like Bruce and Natasha had the same idea as Steve and Bucky,” Lorna pointed out. The rest of the group looked over at the couple. Both were wearing all black jumpers with white detailing. Bruce’s said “I’ve been nice” whilst Natasha’s said “I’ve been naughty”.

“I don’t get Pepper’s,” Erik said.

Pepper, who had just walked into the room, was also wearing a black jumper. It had a picture of Santa in white with words “where my ho’s at?” written next to the face. Tony walked in a few moments later, holding Morgan. His jumper was just like Pepper’s, only instead of the picture of Santa and writing Pepper had on hers, his simply said “ho”.

“That is beautiful,” Lorna said. She pretended to wipe away a tear from her eye. “I am in awe at that jumper.”

“I feel kinda left out right now,” Anya said. “Everyone else is wearing ridiculous jumpers and we’re sat here in our normal outfits.”

“Wanda, what do you have planned?” Lorna asked. Anya and Erik looked over at the younger two.

Wanda had a mischievous look on her face. “You’ll see.”

***

“What are you wearing?” Peter asked.

Lorna looked down at her jumper. It was a deep blue and had a llama and yellow writing that read “happy llamakkah” on the front. “This is a look. Deal with it.”

Chapter Text

Wanda was sat in her room overlooking the long driveway when she saw the cars enter through the gates. “Mom, your parents are here,” she yelled. Not waiting for a response, she started to head towards the garage to meet the group that had just arrived.

“Wanda, it’s good to see you,” Lucinda said as the girl walked out of the lift and towards the car. She hugged her granddaughter close to her.

“Save some hugs for your granddad,” Victor teased. Wanda separated from her grandmother and went to hug Victor instead.

“And me,” Darcy argued. She hugged Wanda tight and whispered in her ear. “I’m so sorry about what’s about to happen.”

Before Wanda could ask what Darcy was talking about, the doors to the other car opened. A family of three, mother, father and son in his late teens. Wanda put on a smile as she went over to greet them. “Hi, I’m Wanda,” she greeted. “Ross, Monica and Jason, right?” She held her hand out to shake but none of them took it.

The father, Ross, turned to face his parents. “This is the girl Laura adopted?”

“Yes, this is Wanda, your niece,” Lucinda replied. “I know some of the things we may have said about her in the past may not have been particularly nice, but she is a lovely young woman and a great member of this family.”

Ross rolled his eyes but went to get his and his family’s bags from the boot of their car without saying else.

Darcy looped her arm through Wanda’s and walked with the girl back towards the lift. The group travelled upstairs in a tense silence. As they left the lift, Lucinda and Victor took the lead towards the living areas, chatting with Ross and his family as they went. Darcy and Wanda hung back slightly.

“I’m sorry that my brother was being a bit of a dick,” Darcy apologised. “I wish I could say the others were any better, but honestly Monica is just awful, and they raised Jason to be just like them.”

“Sounds like we’re going to have a fun couple of days,” Wanda joked.

“At least we’re only here for the party,” Darcy reassured. “Won’t be long before we’re out of your hair. Besides, it was this time last year that you and Laura managed to finally get Mom and Dad to get along with you and Clint, maybe we can replicate that success this year.”

***

Laura was helping Darcy unpack in her room. “Is everything okay with you and Ian?” she asked.

“Everything’s fine, why do you ask?” Darcy replied.

“It’s just that he hasn’t come with you this year,” Laura said. “I was just making sure that everything was okay with you two. Where is he?”

“He’s back in London at the moment,” Darcy explained. “I’m joining him there after the party. And I’m staying there afterwards. He’s actually sorting everything out at the house we’re moving into. We’ve spent the last few years travelling around a lot, either on Asgard or around the states, we both just wanted to settle down and stay in one place for a while. Somewhere nice for the two of us… and the baby.”

Laura dropped the t-shirt she was holding and spun around to look at her sister. “You’re pregnant?” Darcy nodded. Laura squealed and ran over to hug her sister. “I’m so happy for you. Have you told Mom and Dad yet?”

“Not yet, and Ross and Monica don’t know yet either,” Darcy replied.

“Speaking of, how did it go with them and Wanda?” Laura asked.

Darcy sighed. “They didn’t even acknowledge her, just talked to Mom and Dad like she wasn’t there.”

“Do you think there’s any chance that they’ll get along with her?” Laura asked. Both sisters stared at each other for a few moments before bursting out in laughter. “Never mind, that is never going to happen. I think the next couple of days is going to be us keeping them away from everyone else.”

“Oh, it definitely is.”

Chapter Text

“Why are there Hanukkah decorations? I thought this was a Christmas party,” Ross said.

Laura sighed slightly. “It’s a holiday party, not just Christmas. Wanda, Erik, Anya and Lorna are Jewish and celebrate Hanukkah, so we have decorations up for them as well,” she explained.

“But it’s Christmas,” he tried to argue.

“Not for another four days,” Laura countered. “And Hanukkah starts tomorrow so the Hanukkah decorations are actually more fitting.”

Wanda walked up to the siblings. “Is everything okay?”

“Nice decorations,” Ross grumbled and stalked away.

Wanda looked at Laura. She put on a fake smile and held her hands up to her heart. “He actually acknowledged my existence. Maybe by the end of the party, he’ll be able to say something to me without immediately having to walk away in disgust.”

***

“I feel like we’re being watched,” Marcos said.

Lorna followed his gaze to where he was looking. Wanda and Anya were sat a few tables away. When they realised that Lorna and Marcos were looking, they quickly turned away and pretended to be talking. She glanced around the room. “They’re not the only ones. Dad’s watching me as well, and he seems to have befriended Darcy. They’re over by the bar. Clint and Wanda are over by the kids’ tale and pretending not to be looking over here every few seconds. They’ve even managed to get Laura’s parents involved, they’re over by the buffet table.”

“They got them involved last year,” Sonya added. Marcos and Lorna gaped at her. “When you two disappeared, they were part of the search party.” She looked around the table. “Speaking of disappeared, have you guys seen John and Clarice?”

***

“You came!” Nadia squealed. She bounced over to where the girls from the lab were gathered, Ying walking right behind her.

“Of course we came,” Priya said as Nadia reached her, the two hugging briefly. “A party at the Avengers’ Compound, we wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

Nadia started rambling about something at the buffet table and dragging the group over. Shay was about to follow them when she felt someone grab her arm. She looked back to see Ying. The other girl released her grip and smiled awkwardly.

“Hi,” Shay said.

Ying smiled at her. “Hi. Look, I know this might sound weird, but I was wondering if you maybe wanted to dance with me. I mean, you managed to get a bomb out of my neck, I think I owe you a dance.”

Shay blushed and took Ying’s hand. “I would love to dance with you.”

***

Kate was dragging America through the crowd towards Clint and Laura.

“Hey Kate-Katie-Hawkeye,” Clint greeted brightly, earning him an eye-roll from the young woman. “What are you after?”

Kate grinned and held out her hand to show Clint and Laura her engagement ring. Laura squealed in excitement. She reached over and hugged the younger girl, pulling a reluctant America into the hug as well.

“When did this happen?” Clint asked.

“The other day,” Kate answered. “We were walking through the park and America dropped the ring in the snow halfway through her proposal.”

“We’re really happy for you two,” Laura said. “Just don’t forget to invite us to the wedding.”

“Don’t worry, you’ll definitely be there.”

***

“Well, that went well,” Pepper said as the last of the party guests left.

“My brother, sister-in-law and nephew didn’t start a fight with anyone, so that’s always a bonus,” Laura said.

“They’d have to interact with people other than our parents to start a fight,” Darcy pointed out. Laura merely shrugged in response.

“For an Avengers party, this was surprisingly uneventful,” Steve commented. “I mean, nobody got too drunk or left for a secret mission to an island that doesn’t officially exist, and no teenagers have snuck off with their boyfriend.”

At that moment, Lorna, Marcos and Sonya came running up to the group of adults. “We have a problem; we haven’t seen Clarice and John in a few hours, and we can’t find them anywhere.”

 Steve let out a sigh. “And I stand corrected.”

Chapter Text

“We’re not watching Nightmare Before Christmas,” Cooper said.

“Why not?” Lila whined.

“Because it’s not a Christmas movie, it’s a Halloween movie,” Cooper argued.

“No, it’s a Christmas movie, not a Halloween movie. It literally has Christmas in the title,” Lila pointed out.

“The main character is a skeleton, which makes it a Halloween movie,” Cooper replied.

“Skeletons can be festive,” Lila argued. “Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas movie and we’re watching it.”

“We’re not because it’s a Halloween movie,” Cooper replied.

The two siblings stared at each other for a few seconds before they both yelled for Laura at the same time. Laura walked into the room along with her mother. “What’s going on?”

“She wants to watch Nightmare Before Christmas, but I don’t want to because it isn’t a Christmas movie,” Cooper explained.

“It is a Christmas movie,” Lila argued. “It’s literally called the Nightmare before Christmas.”

“It’s a Halloween movie,” Cooper yelled.

“It’s a Christmas movie and a Halloween movie,” Laura said, ending the argument.

Lila looked triumphant. “Told you so, we’re watching Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“But,” Laura continued. “It is Cooper’s turn to choose the movie.”

Lila slumped in defeat whilst Cooper cheered. He went off to select a different movie, Lila following him, begging him to put on Nightmare Before Christmas.

“Does this happen often?” Lucinda asked.

“Every single year.”

Chapter Text

Nadia was sat in the living room, bundled up in her warm winter wear. She’d already been sat there a few minutes when Janet and Hope walked into the room, similarly dressed.

“I’m ready to go when you guys are,” Nadia said, jumping up as she spoke. “Side note: where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise,” Hope replied as the group walked to the car park. “It’s been one year since you arrived at the Compound and I thought to commemorate the occasion we could do something, just the three of us.”

“Sounds fun,” Nadia said. The lift doors opened at the car park level. “I call shotgun.” She raced over to Hope’s car and tried to open the passenger side front door, but the door was looked.

“Sorry kid, baby goes in the back,” Hope laughed. “And you are the baby of this family.”

***

Hope parked the car in a car park just outside a small town half an hour away from the Compound. Nadia was the first person out of the car. “Where are we?” she asked.

“You’ll see in a minute,” Hope replied. Janet and Hope joined Nadia and started walking towards the town.

Nadia spotted where they were heading. “Is that some kind of market?”

Janet nodded. “I used to take Hope to a Christmas carnival market our house every year, we thought that we could do the same with you. That is if you want to.”

“Of course I want to, but can we get food first?”

***

The three were walking down the street eating turkey and stuffing sandwiches as they looked around the market stalls. Out of the corner of her eye, Nadia spotted a long queue of parents and children leading towards a small building that was overloaded with Christmas decorations.

“What’s going on over there?” she asked.

“Looks like Santa’s Grotto,” Hope answered. Her younger sister still seemed confused. “They’re queuing up to meet Santa, get their photo taken and tell him what they want for Christmas.”

“I thought Santa wasn’t real, just a fictional character used by parents to make their children behave in December,” Nadia said. “Unless I have missed something, I am still kinda new to American culture.”

“He definitely isn’t real, it’s just an actor, so the kids can think they met Santa,” Janet added. A mischievous smile spread across her face. “I have some great photos of Hope meeting Santa when she was little. I think I need photos of both of my girls with Santa.”

“No,” Nadia said. “I’m not doing that. You guys said that it’s for little kids. I am not a little kid.”

“And we don’t have any photos of you when you were a little kid,” Janet countered. “We’ve had you for one year and we are doing all the things that we would have done together as a family if you hadn’t been in the Red Room.”

“And if you hadn’t been in the Quantum realm,” Nadia added. “But I am still not doing that.” Hope looped her arm through Nadia’s and Janet did the same on Nadia’s other side. “I’m doing this, aren’t I?”

“Yes,” Hope and Janet answered at the same time.

***

“Did you three have a nice day out?” Scott asked as Hope got into bed with him that night.

Hope smirked and showed him photos of Nadia with Santa, the young girl scowling at the camera. “Great day, although I think it might take a while for Nadia to forgive us.”

“You’re going to print those off and put them everywhere, aren’t you?”

“I would be a terrible big sister if I didn’t.”

Chapter Text

“How’s Oksana?” Bruce asked as Natasha walked into the living room, joining him, Steve, Tony and Clint.

“She’s sleeping,” she answered as she sunk down into the sofa next to Bruce. She leant her head against Bruce’s shoulder and sighed. “Any sign of him yet?”

“None yet,” Clint answered. “Cannot believe this. ‘I’ll be home for Christmas,’ he said. We are, what?” He looked over at the clock. “Seven minutes to twelve and he’s still not back.”

“That’s six minutes and fifty-nine seconds for him to show up and not be late,” Steve defended. “Give him a chance.”

“Headlights,” Tony interjected. “I can see headlights coming up the driveway.” The small group stood and moved to look out the window. They watched as the car made its way down the driveway and disappeared down the ramp into the car park underneath the Compound.

“Any moment now,” Bruce said, turning to look at the lift. The lift doors opened, and Thor walked out. He smiled widely when he saw the group waiting for him.

“Friends,” he beamed. “You waited up for me!”

Natasha was the first one to reach him. She wrapped her arms around her friend in a tight hug. “Of course we waited up for you.”

“Yeah, you promised you’d be home for Christmas,” Clint said. “And you did it, made it back in time with less than five minutes to spare.”

“Sorry for the delay,” Thor apologised as the group made their way back to the sofas. “I would’ve been here an hour ago, but Loki wanted dropping off at the Young Avengers’ base first.”

“Why are you driving a car?” Tony asked. “Doesn’t seem very Asgardian. I was expecting the blinding lights of the Bifrost to wake up my daughter.”

“Whilst travelling on just the one planet, Heimdall has decided that it would be best if I travelled using Midgardian technology,” Thor explained. “He has done so much for Asgard and our people recently, I didn’t feel like pressing the issue.”

“Thor, the world’s most socially awkward king,” Tony teased.

Steve shot Tony a confused look. “You have met T’Challa, haven’t you?”

Tony laughed. “He can’t even talk to his girlfriend without getting all flustered.”

“It doesn’t help that every time he gets introduced to a crowd Shuri loudly declares him a nerd,” Clint added. The group laughed for a moment before going quiet again. Clint looked around at the group. “It feels weird sometimes when it’s just the four of us. The team has grown so much in the last four and a half years, it feels weird to think that once upon a time it was just the six of us.”

“We’ve come a long way since shawarma,” Tony joked. “I mean, look at us compared to where we were seven and a half years ago. Me and Pepper have Morgan. Steve found Bucky. Bruce and Nat have a kid now. Clint, well he was already married and two kids, but you’ve got two more now and you actually feel like sharing that information with your friends. And Thor, Thor is now the king of the Asgardians. Unfortunately for him, he’s still single, what with Jane dumping him-”

“I dumped her as well,” Thor defended. “It was a mutual dumping.”

“Sure it was buddy,” Bruce reassured in a sarcastic tone, earning a small snicker from Natasha.

“Well, whichever way you look at it, Thor is still single, but other than that, everything’s going pretty good for him,” Tony finished.

“My parents have both died since we met and Asgard was destroyed by my evil warmongering sister,” Thor pointed out.

“Okay, Asgard was destroyed, that’s pretty bad,” Clint admitted. “But everyone else here is an orphan, now you’re just more like the rest of us.”

“As much as I am enjoying this original bonding team session, it is late and in the morning it’s Christmas and we are living with a large group of young children,” Natasha said as she stood up. “So, I’m going to bed to try and get some sleep before someone’s daughter wakes us all up at a way too early hour.”

“One day, I hope that Oksana will enjoy waking you up just as early on Christmas Day,” Clint replied. “Believe me, she’ll learn from Lila what a great idea that is.”

Natasha laughed. “I’ll see you in the morning.” She held out her hand to Bruce, who accepted the offer and stood to follow her. The others were quick to leave and head to bed after Bruce and Natasha left, leaving the Compound quiet as they all waited for Christmas morning.