fic: "Christmas Spirit?" @ 06:15 pm
Pairing: Billy/Teddy, some mild Eli/Kate and Cassie/Jonas
Warnings: Nothing much. Aimless, fluff storytelling.
Notes: There is the presence of Eli's grandparents, and a bunch of kids. I didn't have a set point in mind with this story so none came up :P
written for: benjaminrussell
Preferred Pairing/Character: Wiccan/Hulkling, Speed, Victor Mancha, other Young Avengers, other Runaways, Layla Miller.
Things you'd like: Slash, any rating, a happy ending.
Things you wouldn't like: M!Preg, death of main characters, X-23. Preferably not with Patriot as the focus.
Prompt: We could run all night, and dance upon the architecture. Come and take my hand, I'll do the very best I can. Boy, I still wanna be your man.
“You’re not fooling anyone, you realize?”
“Is my boyfriend seriously being a humbug today of all days?”
“Is my boyfriend seriously using the word humbug on me?”
“Billy, these are kids, and we’re bringing them toys. For Christmas. What part of this isn’t appealing to you?”
Billy Kaplan (also known as boy-with-the-wonderful-yet-clueless-to-t
“Bill, the presents aren’t for the school kids. We’re visiting a bunch of homeless kids later. The costumes are for the school kids,” Teddy explained. “Okay then,” Billy murmured shortly.
“Lighten up, Billy,” Teddy nudged him, willing him to smile for at least one second, but Billy’s scowl didn’t falter, and immediately, Teddy returned to the reason why Billy was so mad at him in the first place.
In his mind’s eye, he could see their fight from earlier in the day.
The Bomb Queen (he didn't know what was more horrible—the fact that the woman had nearly leveled the entire city or that she'd taken on the copyrighted title of a comicbook, which was, in Teddy and Billy's world, blasphemous) had emerged in the middle of a Christmas sale at one of the local malls and ranted about how commercialization had destroyed yet another tradition of the faithful—dehumanized it, made it a holiday for the avaricious and apathetic, or something along those lines.
It was Teddy, in full Hulkling persona, who jumped in the way when one of the few dozen bombs had gone off. He had saved a few dozen people in the process (way more than there were bombs, he thought absently), but his form took the next two minutes to right itself. Within that time, Wiccan had promptly gone berserk (with more subtlety, but enough to take down the Bomb Queen and her sixty-something henchmen with one magical blast [Patriot gave him a talking to later on about the recurrences]) and was in a foul mood for the rest of the afternoon. That definitely hadn’t been in Teddy’s plans. It was in no way a good thing that his boyfriend was going to be in a bad mood on Christmas Eve. He technically didn’t have any family (anymore) to spend it with, and although Cassie had invited him to hang around with her and Vison (Jonas—really, it was Jonas) with her ‘aunts and uncles’ in the Avengers, Teddy had politely declined.
Kate and Eli had planned something special (and possibly disastrous) for the occasion; early in the evening, Kate was dragging Eli along to one of those high class parties her father threw, to have someone to suffer with if nothing else. After her few hours of obligation to her father were through, she would escape with Eli to spend the rest of the night at his grandma’s place. That part of the night, at least, Teddy knew would go well.
That left Teddy and Tommy without anything to do for the holidays. Billy, being Jewish, didn’t really celebrate Christmas on schedule with the others, so he said he’d spend time with Teddy that day. Teddy almost felt guilty for what he’d planned for them. Almost.
“Why couldn’t you just transform into the jolly fat man, if it’s so important to the kids?” Billy asked later on as they transported a ton of gifts on a blue, magical disc of light over the city. “Dude, do you really want to see your own boyfriend as a pink, white-haired old man with a belly the size of a beer keg?” Tommy supplied helpfully as he ran through their enormous list carefully—though carefully by his standards and speed meant that he was done in a minute. “He has a point,” Teddy said with a half-smile. “Seriously?”
“Mostly, it’s ‘cause the kids want to see Hulkling more than Santa Claus. I’m not being narcissistic or anything, but the teachers said so,” Teddy explained. “Oh yeah, almost forgot—” Tommy said, stuffing his hand into the sack. “Here, wear this.” He handed Billy a set of green clothes and a hat with the pointy end. A bell tinkled on both the hat and the shoes that came with the costume. “Oh no…” “Come on, bro, I’m wearing the reindeer outfit. See?” Tommy presented himself in a cheery manner that had Billy doubting if he really was the sardonic, white-haired speedster that was his twin or a skrull imposter.
“What, they don’t want to see Wiccan and Speed more than an elf and a reindeer?”
“They’ll definitely see Wiccan and Speed. Just… in costume, for the holidays. Like they’ll see Hulkling in a Santa suit—for the holidays,” Teddy said as they neared their destination.
“This is dumb.”
“That’s my line,” said Tommy, “and the only reason I’m doing this is that I have nothing better to do. Plus, we’re heroes, aren’t we? Shouldn’t we like, make giving to the needy and entertaining the children our responsibility?”
“I don’t believe you two; you’re both ganging up on me,” Billy said exasperatedly.
Teddy had no time to respond as they descended, seeing a courtyard full of kids in winter uniform eagerly waiting among teachers who looked as repressed as Teddy had ever seen. This was going to be harder than he thought….
“I can’t believe those bozos. They should be strung up by their toes tonight, naked, in a snowstorm! What kind of idiots would attack on Christmas day!?”
Billy looked back at Tommy and Teddy, both of whom just stared at him with matching awestruck looks. “What?” “That was pretty damn cool, bro,” Tommy said, grinning.
Teddy smiled. “Yeah, Bill—you had those guys begging. The kids were practically worshipping you.” “Not to make you any angrier, but I was glad those guys attacked. Seriously, those stupid old biddies were ruining all the fun the kids were having. Oh how scandalous, too violent for children, don’t encourage them; they might try to fly! Good thing those kids get to go home in the afternoon. And I thought my school was bad,” Tommy said, his hands gesturing wildly. Neither Billy nor Teddy mentioned it, but Tommy seemed to really like the holidays.
“Come on. Let’s get this stuff to the homeless shelter. They’ll want to see us heroes too, especially you,” Teddy said, clasping his boyfriend’s shoulder affectionately. Billy rubbed his temples irritably. “This day is turning out the most stressful day I’ve had since… well… is it always like this?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” Teddy said, amused. “But it’s usually before Christmas it gets this hectic, not during.”
They arrived at the orphanage with more fanfare than with the kids in the school, and they could barely move through the veritable sea of kids outside in the snow that were there to welcome them. “Okay, everyone, calm down. We’ve got something for everyone!”
They arrived at the sort-of classroom, the largest room in the building. It barely fit all of them, but they made do. They had a short program; it was getting late and the kids were supposed to ‘wait up for Santa’ (get presents from the Bishop foundation that Kate picked out in apology for not being able to hang with her second family for the holidays).
The gift-giving, for Teddy, was the best part of the night. Billy had been backed into a corner in a storytelling session with about a dozen kids. It allowed for less crowding when they brought out the presents from the sack; some of the kids were actually so engrossed in Billy’s retelling of the Skrull-Kree battle that they waited until everyone else got presents before they did.
A few little skirmishes aside concerning gifts,—kids will be kids, and these words of wisdom coming from Tommy wasn’t as shocking as Teddy thought it would be—everything went great. They’d made a lot of kids happy, got to see a side of Tommy that was frankly amazing with kids, and Teddy saw Billy lighten up for the sake of the kids, despite his aforementioned stress.
At midnight, Tommy departed, saying he’d promised he’d meet with Quicksilver for a Christmas all the way in Mount Wundagore. Due to some unpleasant circumstances, Billy wasn’t allowed near the mountain. Good thing he had no intention of ever going back there.
They walked all the way to Eli’s place. Teddy suggested it, when Billy was about to summon his spent energies for a teleportation spell. He looked tired, too tired for spells, so they walked slowly down the snowy streets of New York. They were dressed warmly, arm in arm, and it was almost picturesque as they and a few other people who walked past caught snowflakes on their shoulders and in their hair.
Billy leaned into Teddy’s warmth while they took the subway. A caroler sang them one of those jazzy romantic Christmas songs while playing his guitar. The tune lulled Billy to sleep while Teddy generously handed the guy (shabbily dressed apart from the bright smile on his face) a twenty-dollar bill and carried Billy out on his back when they arrived at the Bronx. Some people stared as he walked down the gray streets, but even the area that Eli had deemed unsafe for people who didn’t frequent it seemed warmer with the strings of lights and plastic Santa Claus figures propped against the fences.
One older teen who was taking out the trash asked Teddy if he needed any help. Teddy said no, but thanks for offering, as he turned the next street. It was the little things… no wonder at all that Teddy was fit to bursting from all the Christmas spirit as he arrived at the Bradley family’s front porch.
He was surprised when Cassie opened the door. “Oh, hey Teddy! Guys, Teddy and Billy are here!” she called.
Billy stirred ever so slightly just to see the living room filled with the rest of the YA and with Eli’s grandparents sitting at one side with warm, knowing smiles. “So glad you boys decided to join us,” Faith said. Eli’s grandfather slowly gestured for Teddy to sit down.
Billy rubbed the sleep from his eyes as they both found themselves on the couch right next to Jonas and Cassie. Cassie seemed excited, and it took Billy all of ten seconds to realize what was going on when a present was thrust into his hands.
“Oh, no. No way. I didn’t get you guys anything,” Billy said, eyes wide open. “We aren’t demanding anything, Billy. It’s okay,” Cassie said cheerfully. “Come on, open it. I want to see you open my gift before anyone else’s.” At that moment, another pair of hands took the package from Billy’s. “Oh, no, Cass. You know the rules. Billy’s gotta pick out the gifts,” Kate scolded. Cassie brooded for a good two seconds before she found that a bunch of presents were laid out for her under the tree, along with presents for Jonas, Eli, Kate, Billy, Teddy, and even Tommy.
“It’s okay, Kate. I’ll check out Cassie’s gift first,” Billy said, reaching for the box again.
“It’s really a big honor, sir,” Teddy said, greeting Eli’s grandfather with the amount of respect and care of any who knew of his legacy. The old man simply smiled, attempting to form words and coming up with a slow ‘thank you’ that had Teddy grinning widely. From where Billy sat, the mage could see how much this meant to his boyfriend. Sitting in Eli’s living room, a mug of the most delicious hot chocolate Billy had ever tasted at his side while he carefully removed the wrapping from his gift. Cassie bade him to just rip the packaging, but it seemed like such a waste. It was so nicely wrapped.
“Did Jonas wrap this?”
“How’d you guess?”
Ah, of course.
Billy did this with all the presents. They’d fallen into orderly chaos, drinking cocoa here, opening presents there, talking about things from the earlier attack to Kate’s inability to bake a proper fruitcake. About an hour in, a gust of cold was all that alerted them to Tommy’s arrival. The sprig of mistletoe he held in his hand obviously meant trouble, but it had been picked from Wundagore itself and Tommy had taken the greatest of care bringing it over, so they let it go.
A little while later, after the laughable mess caused by Tommy’s attempts at kissing Kate and multiple mistaken mistletoe placements that ended up with Teddy kissing Cassie, Kate kissing Jonas and Billy and Billy kissing Eli, all in good humor that had them on the floor rolling from amusement and humiliation by the time it was done. Faith was preparing something in the kitchen while the others had gathered around Isaiah’s feet like the kids from the orphanage and listened while Eli recounted stories about his grandfather’s exploits.
Jonas had him on recording, something that everyone would appreciate later, since 1) Eli seemed so happy, in contrast to his usual huffish self and 2) Isaiah’s adventures reminded each one of them what it was to be a hero.
At around two in the morning, they were gathered at the table for a late, late dinner. Faith seemed so happy to see them all together like a real family, and Jonas’ statement that they were a real family sealed the night for all of them.
Billy pondered as most of them fell asleep in the living room, on the couches and in provided sleeping bags, what it must be like to have ‘Christmas spirit’ and wondered if everything that had happened in that day was in order to instill some in him.
He knew two things, though: Teddy was happy, and in lieu of all the perfect things that had followed every disaster, so was Billy.
Maybe that was all it was.
He turned in his sleeping bag and slung a hand over Teddy, who was already sound asleep, with a goofy smile on his face.
Billy closed his eyes and eventually fell asleep himself, knowing that the first thing he’d do in the morning was get everyone gifts like they did him. One day late wouldn’t hurt.
a/n: I don’t know how I came up with this, but in the little span of time I had to make a fic, this is what came out. I sorta like it. It doesn’t have any proper train of thought, but I tried to make it fuzzy. Haven’t had a single free day in the last three weeks, you understand o_o. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all!