“What is this ‘Thanksgiving’?”
Tony jumped, spinning around to face the speaker, holding a pencil like you would a weapon–and realized it was just Loki. Sighing heavily, Tony put down the pencil and went back to what he had been doing.
“Thanksgiving is an annual holiday to commemorate a meal the first settlers in America had with the native Indians. We all eat a lot of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing and go around being thankful for what we have.”
“…I do not believe I shall enjoy this holiday.”
“No, you probably won’t.”
Loki had been sentenced to live in Stark Tower without his powers after he tried to take over the world. His punishment was not as severe as everyone was hoping it would be at all. Really, it was just as much a punishment for Tony as it was Loki, since Tony was the demigod’s main caretaker.
There were several minutes of silence before Loki spoke again, startling Tony, who had thought he was alone now. “What shall you be doing for this Thanksgiving?”
Pausing, Tony thought about it for a moment before honestly replying, “I haven’t really thought about it. Usually I ignore the holiday, but Pepper will probably want dinner.”
“Do you not take her to dinner several times each week?”
“Thanksgiving dinner is special. You can’t just go out to a restaurant.”
“Then how are you going to receive food?”
“…Dang. I’m gonna have to cook it.”
The smell of smoke was the first sign that something was wrong. Very wrong. Loki didn’t know how the tower even could catch on fire, if it had survived an alien invasion, but he was definitely smelling smoke.
He didn’t need to do any more than follow the faint string of curses to locate the source of the smoke–the kitchen.
Walking in, Loki saw the source of the smoke. “Oh dear. It must be that Thanksgiving,” Loki said as he wrinkled his nose. Tony didn’t deign to answer him as he ran to grab some water to douse the fire he’d started.
Right as Tony dumped the water on the flame, he felt Loki yank on his forearms, throwing him backward as the grease fire burst into a ball of flames when the water hit it.
Because of Loki’s superhuman strength, he had been able to pull both Tony and himself out of harm’s way.
“Truly?! Even I know that you do not put out grease fires with water!” the demigod yelled, rushing over to the miraculously still-intact counter that had the lid to the burning dish of stuffing sitting on top of it. Loki covered the flaming pan with the lid and smothered the fire.
“I-I-The turkey!” Tony cried, staring at the burnt oven in horror. “Now I don’t have anything for dinner!”
As if on cue, JARVIS suddenly announced, “Ms. Potts has entered the building.” All of the color drained from Tony’s face. He jumped up and ran out of the kitchen, wiping the various food splatters off his clothes as he headed toward the elevator. It opened just as Tony reached it and Pepper walked out, a smile on her face.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Tony!”
“Uh… Happy Thanksgiving, Pep.”
“I came back early so I would have some time to make dinner,” she said happily. Relief washed over him. He could just forget he’d ever tried to make dinner… Except he’d destroyed the kitchen.
“No! No! I mean, uh… You don’t need to make dinner! ‘Cause, uh, I…”
“Anthony is attempting to tell you he has made you dinner. He is simply nervous you will not like it,” Loki lied smoothly, walking up to the couple.
“Really?” Pepper asked in surprise, turning to Tony.
His eyes were wide, but Tony stuttered something that resembled ‘yes’, and Pepper smiled.
“That’s so thoughtful of you! Loki, will you be joining us?”
Now it was Loki’s turn to gawk. “I-I was going to spend my evening reading, actually. Surely you would appreciate some time alone.”
“Oh, we won’t mind!”
“Uh, we means both of us.” At Pepper’s glare, Tony quickly corrected, “I meant, we’d love to have you join us, Loki!”
Pepper’s smile grew, ever so slightly, at Tony’s response. “Well, come on! Is it in the kitchen?”
“No!” both Tony and Loki exclaimed together. “We mean,” Loki quickly added, “Tony has gone to great effort to set the dining room for you, and the food is already there.”
“Oh, all right,” she said, turning to her right and walking toward the dining room. Loki and Tony hesitantly followed at a distance.
“Please tell me you used your magic to get us some food.”
“You’ve got loose lips when you’re drunk. Kept talking all about how you’d found a way around your magic restraints, but you figured you’d be in better shape if you just stayed here like you were supposed to,” Tony replied.
Loki stared at him in horror. “I am never drinking an alcoholic beverage again!” he whisper yelled. Tony smirked.
Right then they both heard Pepper’s gasp, and stiffened before she burst, “This is amazing Tony!” Their shoulders sagged in relief as they entered the room.
She was right; it looked incredible. The silverware was all done very properly. Loki knew well what order the knives and forks were placed in, being a prince and all. The dishes were crystal and very expensive looking. The food, however, was the best part.
There was a large plate of stuffing, mashed potatoes, what looked like a green bean casserole, buttered rolls, an enormous, glorious turkey… and a very out of place dish of Pop Tarts.
Tony turned to stare at Loki with a shocked expression when he saw the Pop Tarts. “You didn’t,” he mouthed. Loki ignored him and replied to Pepper’s confused expression instead, as she too caught sight of the Pop Tarts. “I do not believe Anthony would have been able to survive a meal without junk food.” She appeared to accept that answer, and sat down in one of the chairs. Tony reluctantly sat down in the chair next to Pepper, and Loki in the chair across from Tony.
“Tony? Will you pray for us?” Pepper asked.
“I’m not really the ‘prays at the family meal’ type, Pep.” At her scathing look, he swiftly amended, “But we all make exceptions at Thanksgiving!”
Loki looked extremely uncomfortable with the entire situation, but sat quietly through Tony’s prayer. As soon as Tony finished, the food was served. Everyone put a liberal amount of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, and green beans on their plates. Tony almost choked on his food when he ate his first bite, it was so good. Everything was flavored to perfection. The turkey was even moist.
“This is amazing, Tony!” Pepper gushed.
“Yeah, it really is! I need to cook more!” Tony replied, sounding equally amazed. Loki glared at him when Tony made this remark. Loki was noticeably pale from the strain of using magic through the restraints, and was not planning on teleporting more meals any time soon.
The trio had nearly made it to desert when catastrophe struck.
Tony and Pepper had been doing most of their conversing, but to their surprise, Loki was actually talking every now and then as well. A random comment about how he’d once seen a woman drag her husband away from a tavern by his ear while Pepper was berating Tony about his drinking habits, or a ‘That creature sounds eerily like a bilgesnipe.’ when Tony was telling Pepper about a monster that had been in a horror movie he had watched over Halloween. It was a vast improvement from his never speaking to them, with the exception of an occasional insult.
Because of Loki’s ravenous appetite–using magic always made him hungry–, the turkey was all but gone, there was a large dent in the stuffing, half of the green bean casserole had been eaten, a large number of rolls had been devoured, and the potato dish had a sizable crater in its center. The only plate of food left untouched was that which held the Pop Tarts.
“I need to go to the restroom,” Pepper said toward the end of the meal, causing both Loki and Tony to stiffen mid-bite. She stood up and began to walk toward the bathroom–which was located a few doors past the charred kitchen.
“Please–please please please–tell me that you can put an illusion over that door.”
“I-Maybe before I teleported all of this food. Now, however…”
“Maybe she won’t notice?”
Both Tony and Loki sat chewing in tense silence as they waited to see what would happen. Their fears were confirmed when they heard a very angry “TONY!” echo from the hallway. Tony glanced at Loki in terror, but Loki kept his gaze fixed on the wall behind Tony, murmuring, “You are courting her, not I.”
Reluctantly, Tony stood and followed Pepper. “Look, Pep, it isn’t what you think–”
“Have I been eating a Thanksgiving meal purchased from a store?! That is an abomination!” she yelled.
“It is stolen, actually,” Loki called from the dining room.
There was an eerie silence for a few moments before Pepper slowly stalked back into the dining room, a wide-eyed Tony silently following her.
“Do you mean to tell me that I have been eating stolen turkey?”
“I can’t eat stolen turkey!”
“It is better than the burnt crisp Tony was going to feed us!”
“Hey!” Tony exclaimed, dramatically hitting his chest. Both Loki and Pepper glared at him, and he quickly shut up.
“You-You ruiner of Thanksgiving!”
“Ruiner is not even a word! I would think that an educated mortal such as you proclaim to be would know such a thing!” Loki yelled, losing his temper.
“How dare you–” Pepper began, but Tony cut him off.
“Okay, that was not good, Loki. Seriously not good.”
“Oh? And what are you going to do about it?” Loki challenged him.
“Well, I could fix your magic restraints so that they actually work–”
“WAIT.” Both men stiffened, realizing the information they had just divulged. “Do you mean to tell me that the psychopathic murderer I’ve been allowing to stay on account that he is supposed to be harmless is able to use his magic?!”
“…Only a small amount, Lady Pepper.”
“ONLY A SMALL–”
“OR!” Tony interjected, returning to what he had been saying, “I could make you tell me all of the things you’re thankful for.”
“Yes, I believe that’s a great idea Tony,” Pepper stated.
“So! Two against one. Speak,” Tony commanded, fighting a grin at Loki’s alarmed expression.
“I…” He did not want to risk Tony being able to find a way to build magic restraints that he couldn’t undo.
Loki took a deep breath, and thought about what exactly he was thankful for, Pepper and Tony watching him in anticipation.
“I suppose I am thankful that I am alive. And, I suppose, as miserable as this wretched Realm is, it is far more pleasant than the dungeon I would otherwise be held in.”
He looked at Tony and Pepper to see if they had accepted his answers.
“What about Thor? Are you even slightly thankful he’s your brother?” Tony suggested, grinning at the unfortunate demigod.
“I suppose… he could be worse.”
“Loki,” Pepper scolded, “You’re pointing out silver linings. Come on, tell us something you’re actually thankful for. We’re not going to turn around and tell Thor.”
Tony cocked an eyebrow at her. “We’re not?”
“No, Tony,” she replied, glaring at her boyfriend, “We’re not.”
Glancing down at his “magic restraints,” Loki sighed in defeat.
“I suppose I am truly and honestly thankful…” His face took on a pained expression when he said the word ‘honestly’. “…that I have you, Anthony and Lady Pepper, to prevent Thor from striking me with Mjolnir when he realizes that it is I who stole his Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Y’know, that’s good enough for me,” Tony declared. “So, Loki; did you steal your brother’s pies too? ‘Cause I want some homemade pie.”
“I can’t believe,” Darcy Lewis moaned, “That we labored all day making that meal, just for it to disappear through an Einstein-Rosy Bridge and become your newest obsession.”
“Einstein-Rosen Bridge, Darcy, and I’m pretty sure I spent all day cooking while you played Mario Kart with Thor,” Jane replied, not even glancing up from the screen of the machine she was using to scan the tabletop their meal had previously been sitting on.
The table had been dragged outside earlier that afternoon so that there would be more room for Thor, Jane, and Darcy to sit. Now, the once “spacious” dining area was littered with Jane’s machinery as she attempted to find the cause of the food-eating wormhole.
Suddenly, one of the machines started loudly beeping, startling Darcy and Thor. Jane jumped up and ran over to look at the screen. “There’s–It’s–It’s opening again!” she exclaimed. As she rushed to reach a small handheld device a few yards away that would measure the conditions of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, said bridge opened and closed.
“Dang it!” Jane exclaimed as she turned around. The anomaly had already passed. Much to her surprise, however, something had come through the wormhole and was now sitting in the center of the table.
A very familiar plate of Pop Tarts.