Pairings/Characters chapter): Natasha/Pepper, Bruce Banner, Thor Odinson, Clint/Phil, Steve/Tony
Continuity: The Avengers (2012)
Genres: Fluff, Humor, A Touch Of Hurt/Comfort, Romance, Slice-Of-Life
Summary: The Avengers spend the day in town doing touristy things.
Date Of Completion: July 3, 2014
Date Of Posting: July 8, 2014
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel and Paramount do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1750
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: The entire series can be found here.
Just you and me,
We walked the shops
And ate cold pops
(And ice cream, too),
On a day by-the-sea
Just you and me.
Janice & Deana
Natasha smiled as she walked along the street of the seaside town, listening to the soft click-clack of the seashell necklace that Pepper was wearing. Pepper admired the tortoiseshell necklace as she said, “Baby, this is one of the prettiest gifts I’ve ever gotten.”
Natasha laughed. “It’s kitschy.”
“And I love it.”
The agent felt warmth spread through her as she regarded her lover. Pepper, like all of the Avengers, was wearing a disguise so that they could walk around the town freely. Subtle applications of make-up, different hairstyles or wigs, and casual clothes all helped.
Pepper’s eyes sparkled as she looked lovingly at Natasha. She didn’t need to say anything. It was all in her face.
They went into a shop that sold cheap, kitschy items, much like the one in which Natasha had purchased the necklace. There were more seashell necklaces in this shop but Pepper went over to the sunglasses and straw hats. She noticed a conical-shaped hat with a blue-and-yellow plastic flower on the band. Two trailing streamers of ice-blue caught Pepper’s eye. She picked up the hat and presented it to Natasha.
“Yours, my darling.”
Natasha laughed and took the hat, putting it on. “Perfect.”
“Very 1961, my dear.”
Pepper paid for the hat and Natasha tied the sash under her chin. They both chose new sunglasses, Pepper’s frames yellow and Natasha’s green. The plastic sunglasses were kitschy and cheap and they loved them.
The proprietor smiled at their enthusiasm. She asked, “You sure you wouldn’t want another seashell necklace, ladies?”
“A bracelet. That’s what I want,” Natasha said, picking up a bracelet consisting of fan-shaped shells.
“Yeah, that’s perfect.” Pepper picked up a set of matching earrings. “Might as well go all the way.”
“Might as well,” agreed the shopkeeper laconically as she poised her fingers over the old-fashioned register.
Natasha and Pepper laughed and walked freely down the street as they left the shop, clicking and clacking.
Bruce smiled as he took a big scoop of cherry ice cream from the cup with a plastic spoon. Thor was equally happy with mint chocolate chip. He loved all kinds of Midgardian food and drink.
“Let’s go take a seat on the beach,” Bruce suggested.
The small cove was deserted as people were more interested in the big beach in the northeast section of town. The rocks hid them from people walking higher up on the sidewalk.
The two friends ate in companionable silence. The waves lapped gently at the edge of the shore as they enjoyed their ice cream.
“How’s Jane?” asked Bruce.
Thor’s disguise was perfect. With his hair tied back into a ponytail and his sunglasses, he looked like he belonged on the beach.
All he needs is a surfboard. I look like a scruffy beachcomber. Bruce was amused by the thought. I’ve been worse.
“She is very busy right now, but I know she would enjoy the seaside. However, I am not disturbed by all the romantic couples around us. Sometimes good friends are enough.”
Bruce smiled. He missed Betty but found pleasure in friendship, just as Thor had said.
“You seem to have adapted well to Earth, my friend.”
“Yes, I have.” Thor smiled in satisfaction. “It is easy. There is so much to see and do!”
Bruce laughed. “I’ll admit that our diversity is pretty plentiful.”
“So many countries, languages, and customs. The Allspeak serves me well.”
“Glad to hear it.” Bruce enjoyed the sensation of the cold ice cream as it slid down his throat. “Our Tower of Babel confuses even us.”
Thor contentedly dipped his spoon into the cup. “I like the diversity. It keeps things interesting.”
“Well, we’ve got plenty of that.”
Thor gazed out at the ocean. “Loki and I enjoyed our time by the sea as children.” He looked hastily at Bruce. “Forgive me, I…”
Bruce leaned forward. “It’s all right to talk about Loki…before…though I would recommend it out of Clint and Phil’s earshot.”
Thor nodded sadly. “I am very sorry about what my brother did to Son of Coul.” He used his affectionate nickname for Phil.
“Go ahead, tell me about Loki and your vacations as children,” Bruce urged quietly.
“It was usually just the two of us, with Mother and sometimes Father.” Thor watched the waves sparkling under the sun. “Loki always liked it when it was just the two of us and no other children. We had fun together, playing in the waves and building sandcastles. Things I see children doing here. We played all manners of games, and ate Asgardian versions of ice cream.” He looked at Bruce. “Times like that are what I remember about my brother.”
Bruce nodded, slowly eating his ice cream as he listened to Thor talk.
Phil looked with amusement at the display of children’s beach toys in the store window.
“That sea serpent reminds me of Cecil,” said Phil.
“Who’s Cecil?” asked Clint.
“You never heard of Beanie and Cecil? Cecil was a seasick sea serpent and the star of one of the best animated shows ever.” At Clint’s fond look, Phil said, “It looks as if I must expand your education.”
Phil hid his smirk as he looked into the next store window.
“How about a snack?” Clint suggested.
Clint led the way to a small shack. While Phil sat at a picnic table, Clint gave their orders and returned with two lobster rolls and plastic cups of soda.
Phil appreciated the warm butter spread across the lobster. He ate it with relish as he sipped the soda.
“Nothing like Canada Dry ginger ale,” he said in satisfaction.
“It’s the best?”
“The absolute best.” Phil appreciatively sipped his drink. “Schweppes is Number 2.”
“Oh, like those old Avis car rent commercials?”
“And you say you’re ignorant of things before last Tuesday.”
“Youtube is our friend,” Clint intoned solemnly before they both broke up laughing.
They continued to eat in companionable silence, Phil grateful that his appetite was hearty today. He enjoyed food and his lack of appetite combined with a medication-affected stomach disturbed him. He knew that Clint worried that if he did not eat, he would hamper his recovery.
“You look positively chipper,” Clint said cheerfully as he savored his roll.
Phil smiled. “I feel chipper.” He ate a bite of lobster. “Must be all this fresh sea air.” He lightly thumped his chest. “Good for the health.”
Clint smiled. “This vacation was a good idea.”
“Colonel Fury knows his people.”
“He’s a damn good director.” Clint drank his ginger ale.
“Relaxation is the key to good health.”
“Then I must be extremely healthy.”
Phil had to agree that Clint looked very relaxed. He certainly needed it. They all had, after the Chitauri.
He leaned forward and said in a low voice, “Get some beer for tonight.”
Steve listened to the sounds of the seagulls squawking overhead. He remembered hearing them at Coney Island on the days that he and Bucky had managed to scrape up enough money for the train ride out and back and admission.
The thought of Bucky was always bittersweet. He gently pushed the memory of him away. He would think about him later and cry a little, or maybe a lot.
The quaint shops were located on a small jetty that jutted out into the harbor. There were New Age shops sprinkled in amongst the usual gift shops, clothing stores, T-shirt shops and antique places. A fish shack was close to the end of the jetty and Steve’s eyes lit up as they approached a chocolatier’s shop.
“My treat,” said Tony with a spring in his step.
Steve smiled. Tony loved to buy gifts for him and his friends. The man’s generous soul was one of the things that Steve loved best about him.
Tony eagerly entered the shop and looked over the offerings in the glass case. “Wow, you’ve got lemon creams and fudge and peanut brittle…ouch, my teeth!…and chocolate-within-chocolate…” He suddenly stopped his patter and pointed, “That’s for you!”
Steve’s eyes widened as he saw the giant dark chocolate peanut butter cup. His mouth watered and he did not protest as Tony told the middle-aged man behind the counter to wrap up the cup.
“In fact, wrap up four of ‘em.”
The shopkeeper obliged and Steve and Tony walked out into the bright sunshine with Tony carrying the bag. They found a picnic table and sat down, Tony pulling out one of the cups and handing it to Steve.
“Why four, Tony? There’s eight of us.”
“Sure, but with a peanut butter cup this big, each couple will have to share.”
Steve grinned. “Always thinking, aren’t you?”
Steve laughed. “You’re right about that.” He broke the chocolate in half. The smell of peanut butter was deliciously pungent. The cup was packed with creamy goodness. Steve took a bite.
“Mmm.” Steve’s eyes sparkled. “Rich…and creamy.”
“Sounds like me.”
Steve smirked. “Take a bite, Tony.”
Tony complied. “Oh, you are so right, Steve. Taking a bite is right up my alley.”
“You’re a sweetheart, Anthony.”
“As long as I’m your sweetheart, Steven.”
“Darling.” Steve’s obvious pleasure was punctuated by his sparkling eyes.
A fishing boat chugged by as revelers strolled down the street and enjoyed themselves in the warm summer sunshine. Steve looked down at the table.
“Tony, you‘ve helped me since my thaw.” He smiled briefly. “It’s been a bit of a rough time.”
Tony cleared his throat. “And I called you Capsicle while you were still fresh out of the ice.”
Steve could hear the guilt in his lover’s voice. He raised his head and met Tony’s eyes. “I admit, it hurt at first. I was kind of raw.” Tony winced. “But I happen to like that nickname now.”
“Oh?” Relief swept over Tony’s expressive face.
“Yeah.” Steve leaned forward and spoke in a low voice. “And I’ll show you how much I love it when we’re alone.”
Tony looked happy, and that was all that Steve wanted.
The Avengers met at the edge of town and piled into the van. The day had been perfect, or as close as one gets. And they still had vacation left.
Yes, a perfect day.