“Cookies?” Clint asked, staring at the kitchen. There were various baking ingredients scattered around the kitchen island, flour over every surface, and Thor in an apron, so he hoped it was cookies. He didn’t really want to think about the alternatives.
“Indeed!” Thor confirmed. “The ladies Jane and Darcy told me that baking cookies is one of the most acceptable Midgardian holiday activities!” He held up a wooden spoon and a large mixing bowl. “Would you like a taste?”
“Hell yeah,” Clint said, moving to taste the dough. “Not bad,” he said thoughtfully, “but it could use some more cinnamon.”
The walkie-talkie on the counter crackled. “Would you like to help him?” Darcy asked. “Telling someone how to make cookies over a walkie-talkie is kind of hard. Doubly hard when you’re trying to keep an eye on things down here so no weird tinsel-spitting nightmares are created.”
Clint stared at the walkie-talkie. “Do I get to eat some?”
“Yes,” Darcy and Thor said at the same time.
“Then yes.” Clint said. “I am so in.” Grabbing the apron Thor was holding out, he slipped it over his head. “Where’s the recipe?” he asked.
“Ask Thor,” Darcy’s voice was fuzzy with static. “He wrote it down.” She tried to say something else, but the static drowned it out.
“Cool,” Clint said. “So, where’s the recipe?” he asked Thor. The demigod handed him a slip of paper. Clint stared at it for a moment. “Did you seriously write this down in Nordic?”
“Aye,” Thor answered, still stirring the cookie dough.
Holding up the recipe, Clint asked, “Jarvis, can you translate this?”
“Mr. Stark has not programmed me to be able to translate any runic languages.” Jarvis answered. “Would you like an English to Nordic dictionary?” the AI continued smoothly.
Clint stuck his tongue out at the ceiling, before turning to Thor. “Can you write this down in English?” he asked.
“Certainly,” Thor nodded. “Do you have a writing instrument?”
“There should be one around here somewhere,” Clint said, looking around. The kitchen looked like the site of a snowstorm with everything covered in a layer of white. “Jarvis?”
“The pen drawer is to your left and down, sir.”
Opening it, Clint was rewarded with more flour to the face. “Okay, this might be harder than I thought.”
“What’s going on in there?” Peter asked.
Bruce shrugged, “It’s best not to question it.”
“Ever.” Natasha looked at Peter over the blanket forming in her lap.
Peter nodded. Natasha was tied at the top of his ‘deadliest women ever’ list, next to Gamora, and he was under no assumptions that she couldn’t kill him with one knitting needle and a hand tied behind her back.
“Did I do this right?” Bruce asked, holding up his own knitting for Natasha’s inspection.
“What are you trying to make?” she wondered, smoothing it out in her lap.
“A scarf,” Bruce answered. Picking up his ever-present cup of green tea, he caught Peter’s eye. “Don’t worry about it,” he said as another yell came from the kitchen, this one accompanied by a massive crash.
“Okay,” Peter settled back into the couch. Sparing one more look at the kitchen, he put his headphones on.
“I think there was too much flour in that last batch.” Clint observed, tapping a cookie on the counter. “Overcorrection.” He shook his head.
There was a ringing noise, and Jarvis interrupted, “Call for you, from Miss Lewis.”
“Accepted,” Clint said, still contemplating the cookie he held and whether it could be used as an airborne target.
“What are you doing?” Darcy asked, her voice filling the kitchen.
“Making cookies!” Thor said, carefully putting down the carton of eggs he was holding. “They will be a triumph for the senses!”
“Okay, I’m coming to help,” Darcy’s tone brooked no argument. There was a click as she disconnected the call and Clint sighed.
“Well, there goes my idea of target practice.” Scraping the tray of cookies into the trash, he contemplated the mess of ingredients spread across the island. “I think we should add more chocolate chips to the next batch.”
“The recipe does not call for them,” Thor pointed out.
“It never does,” Clint grabbed the bag, pouring them into the mixer. “It’s an unfortunate oversight.”
Peter was interrupted from looking through the Avenger’s music collection by the slamming of a door. “What was that?” he asked, taking off his headphones.
Natasha listened carefully for a moment. “Darcy,” she said.
“She’s nice,” Bruce said. “A little crazy, but nice.” He kept passing yarn over and under his knitting needles. “She tased Thor once.”
Peter stared at him. “She tased Thor?” he repeated.
“Yep.” Bruce passed his knitting to Natasha again.
“Well, it’s halfway there,” she said. “You need to add an extra stitch on the end of the row to even things out.”
The elevator opened with a ding and a short, dark-haired woman walked out. “Where are they?” she asked without prelude.
Bruce and Natasha pointed at the kitchen doors. “In there,” they answered in unison.
“Thanks,” the woman nodded. Noticing Peter, she smiled and waved. “Hi, I’m Darcy, scientist wrangler extrordinare and part-time superhero.”
“Peter Quill, two-time galaxy saver,” Peter said.
There was a muffled thump and a string of curse words from the kitchen, and Darcy sighed. “Well, nice to meet you, Peter Quill, but it looks like my skills are needed elsewhere.”
“Is she a superhero?” Peter asked, watching the door swing shut behind her.
“What do you think?” Bruce asked, looking at Peter over the top of his glasses as he passed his scarf back to Natasha.
Darcy stopped in the doorway to the kitchen, looking around with more amazement than Clint thought was warranted. “What did you do in here?”
“Technically, he started this,” Clint pointed to Thor. “I joined in afterwards.”
“No, I know about the cookie baking,” Darcy said. “I want to know what this is,” she pointed to the flood of chocolate and nuts that covered most of the table. “And that,” she gestured to the mixture of cocoa, baking powder, and spices that covered Thor’s apron. "And why the smell of burnt flour is permeating the R&D floor."
“Fudge, the mixer needs recalibration, and you do not want to know.” Clint answered. “But we did manage to make some cookies.” He pointed to the one counter that was mostly untouched where several cooling racks stood.
“Oh Lord,” sighed Darcy. “First things first,” she said, grabbing her own apron. “Fudge sounds awesome, and I’m sure Tony has more than one mixer.”
“Beside the stove,” Jarvis answered promptly, before she could ask.
“Thanks Jarvis,” she said, snapping off a salute to the ceiling. Grabbing a roll of paper towel, she threw it and hit Clint square in the chest. “Start cleaning the table.”
“Yes ma’am,” Clint rolled his eyes.
“What should I do, Lady Darcy?” Thor asked.
Digging through the cupboard, Darcy’s voice was muffled. “How much more dough do you have?”
“At least three batches,” Thor answered.
“Great,” Darcy straightened up, holding the mixer. “You can help me learn to use a mixer.” She set it down, crinkling her nose. "Right after we sweep the floor."
“Okay,” Bruce said. “I think it’s safe now.”
Peter looked up. There hadn’t been any crashing or yelling from the kitchen for almost an hour, and he wondered if it was over. Before he could say anything, the door burst open.
“Who wants to try one?” Clint asked. He was wearing an apron that had started out white, and was holding a tray of cookies.
Bruce, Natasha, and Peter stared for a minute, before Natasha sighed. “I will,” she said with what Peter thought was a smile. Picking one, she took a cautious bite.
“They aren’t that bad,” Clint huffed.
“You’re right,” Natasha said with some surprise. “They’re good.”
Standing up, Peter grabbed one. “Okay, my turn.” Biting into it, he chewed carefully. Natasha hadn’t been lying, it was good. Chocolate and cinnamon flavour exploded in his mouth, with a faint undercurrent of something fruity. It wasn't a combination he'd ever tasted before, but it was delicious.
“Merry Christmas!” Thor boomed from behind Clint, Darcy at his side.
“You’re early,” Bruce said, smiling, taking his own cookie. “Merry Christmas, Thor.”