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To New Memories and Popcorn

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“I bought you a movie.” Natasha threw herself down onto the leather sofa in Steve’s living space, and she tossed a plastic bag to him.

“I have a list of things to watch.” Steve held the bag, not looking into it, not really interested in anything as he leaned against his kitchen counter.

“Well, we’re watching that one now. Make some popcorn, Bub, you’ve got company comin'.” Natasha had a habit of rolling right over any and all of Steve’s objections. He loved and hated her for it.

Steve opened the bag and felt his shoulders sag. “Natasha, I don’t-”

Still facing away from him she hit the power buttons and opened the blu ray player drawer. “You hate Christmas, you hate all of it’s trappings, you hate how commercial the second half of the twentieth century made it. You miss your family, you miss your friends. Do I need to go on?”

“No.” Steve popped a bag of popcorn into the microwave, and removed the plastic wrap from the disc case. “I don’t hate Christmas.”

“I know, but you don’t decorate at all.” She was suddenly beside him. “It’s sad, and not in a You were frozen for decades way, just … sad.” She took the disc from him and headed to the player.

“Sam made me watch It’s A Wonderful Life, isn’t that-”

“This is better.”

“Natasha?” Even to Steve’s inner ear it sounded like a whine.

“Clint is coming from Iowa just to watch this with you. He’s five minutes out. I texted Sam. Wanda’s coming too, she won’t get the references, but she’ll be here.”

“Because I’m sad?”

“Because you’re sooo sad.” She made a pouting voice as she said it then laughed.

“Did you drag in Vision and Rhodey, too.”

“I can if you want me to. They’re on watch, but I’ll drag them in, make them look at you be sad-” She stopped at Steve’s glare.

Steve threw in another bag of popcorn and sighed with defeat.


An hour later Steve found himself smiling. Clint was sitting on the floor, clutching his stomach, muttering tag lines, making himself laugh over and over again. Wanda was shaking her head at the absurdity of the movie, but smiling at the absurdity of her teammates. And every time the leg lamp was mentioned, Sam threw popcorn at Clint.

Steve had laughed. He’d laughed a lot. While he hadn’t lived Ralphie’s life, he knew that kid. He knew Scott Farkus. He knew the Old Man.

When the decoder ring came, Steve shook his head. He leaned over to Natasha and whispered “I remember that. I was really disappointed when-” She shooshed him and pointed at the screen. Steve laughed aloud at the decoded message. “That. Yeah, that.”

Clint laughed until tears came down his face about the dogs. Crying out “Bumpuses!”

Steve remembered sitting with soap in his mouth at his first swear word. He remembered double-dog daring Bucky, and being double-dog dared by Bucky. He remembered being so bundled up he could barely put his arms down. He remembered crashing underneath the Christmas tree, and the wonderful smell of turkey through the house.

“Can we watch this again?” Wanda asked when it was over. “I don’t understand why the mother didn’t break the lamp earlier.”

“We’ll run for pizza.” Clint jumped up and Sam started dialing. “You go get the good vodka I know you have stashed.” He leveled a look at Wanda and the three of them left the room a few minutes later.

Steve picked up Natasha’s hand from next to him on the couch. He brushed a light kiss over her knuckles. “You are an evil genius.”

She smiled and climbed into Steve’s lap. “I occasionally use my powers for good.”

“Am I less sad now?”

“Maybe. We’ll see how you look after they watch it drunk.” She smiled and leaned in.

“Are you-”

“Shut up and kiss me.”

Steve did.

When they broke apart, a while later and breathless, Natasha added. “You should take Wanda out shopping tomorrow.”

“For Christmas decorations?” Steve stroked at her neck and smiled.

“Yeah. They have leg lamp garland. It lights up.” She tilted her head with a smirk.

“And maybe I should take Sam out shopping for a big tree?”

“I wouldn’t have gone that far. Maybe let Wanda pick out an ornament. You can get a small fake tree. They have them with lights already on them.”

“Oh, the wonders of technology.”

“Just something little, something a little less sad.”

“Something with new memories. You are devious.”

“Eh, it works for me.” She leaned back in to kiss Steve again.

“OH GROSS! MOM AND DAD ARE MAKING OUT! EWWWWWW!” Hawkeye’s voice resonated with laughter as the smell of bread and cheese wafted into the room.

Natasha sighed and set herself on the couch next to Steve. “You’re grounded.”

Clint laughed and piled the pizzas on the coffee table. “Careful, man.” He told Steve. “She can shoot your eye out.”