All I Want For Christmas: Cue the Organist
December 25, 2016
Vision sat at the island in Thor and Jane Foster’s residence and watched the Asgardian mix pancake batter. Thor moved efficiently, as if he had done the task many times before, and hummed while he stirred. It was not the same tune that was playing on the stereo in the sunken living room, but was something Vision suspected was from Thor’s own world. Jane Foster was still sleeping, after a late night of Christmas Eve celebrations with the few other residents at the facility that had stayed through the holidays. Vision’s eyes glanced at the closed bedroom door, wondering if he should have ordered additional soundproofing insulation for the structure if Thor frequently made so much noise while his…and Vision stumbled mentally there. Darcy called Thor Dr. Foster’s boyfriend, Mr. Stark used varied and mildly insulting other terms, and Thor called the small woman his ‘lady’ which seemed both infinitely more polite as well as less descriptive. Vision’s upper abdomen twisted uncomfortably at the conclusion that he would likely never have the experience necessary to understand such distinctions.
He forcefully turned his mind from that line of thought.
“Thank you again for inviting me to share in this day with you, Thor. I know that you plan on leaving soon, and that as such would no doubt prefer to spend time with your…Jane Foster.”
Thor grinned, his beard shiny and sticky in one corner from taste testing a new kind of syrup. “No, my friend! This is a day of celebration on Midgard! It should be spent among comrades and loved ones. Were the Colonel Rhodey in residence, Jane and I would have invited him to breakfast as well. Although,” he frowned slightly, leaning against the counter and gazing at Vision in all seriousness, “Darcy and Jane sometimes refer to this meal as brunch. Or brekinner. I am not certain of the rules, but it seems that this meal of fried cakes is special regardless of the time of day at which it is eaten. So it must be appropriate for this festival day as well, yes?” He was waiting for a response, but Vision wasn’t certain he had one.
“Not having a well developed sense of taste, I am afraid I am not the best individual to question in this matter.”
“Ah, it is a trifling issue.” Thor grinned again and poured out the first round of pancakes. “Would you please slice the green melons? Although Jane would not mind, Darcy insists that meals should include either a fruit or vegetable – for nutritional purposes.” Thor appeared determined to ignore the serious situation looming before them, both the concerns he and Vision had discussed regarding the Infinity Stones, and his impending departure which would keep him away from Jane Foster for an unknown length of time. As his guest, Vision could only do his utmost to follow Thor’s lead.
Vision pulled three honeydew melons toward him along with a cutting board and knife. He identified the fruit easily enough but had never personally eaten any. They had been on the list of new foods that he was gradually trying with W-
“Does Jane Foster celebrate this holiday in the neo-Christian manner or in the athestic-commercial sense?” He focused on carefully splitting fruit and removing seeds to keep his mind from wandering.
“Hm. Your second term is unfamiliar to me, but my Jane, like the Lady Darcy, is descended from the people of the land of Israel. She does insist that such heritage does not preclude her from also worshiping an imaginary jovial man in a red suit. I am still not certain that I understand the new gods of this realm.” Savory smells wafted out of the oven as Thor opened it to check on the bacon. “Darcy had packages delivered to us last week, with instructions that they could not be opened until today. On penalty of a most ominous and unspoken consequence. She also advised me on appropriate items for filling Jane’s sock.”
Vision frowned. “I hope my gift is appropriate, I did not know that I would need anything for a sock.” He glanced at the bottle of wine for Jane Foster – purchased with advice from Friday – and the case of mixed craft beers he had painstakingly researched and put together for Thor after the man invited Vision to Christmas at his home.
“My understanding is that the socks are filled by parents for children, or by a loved one for another adult. But this, like the confounding rules on consuming pancakes, is still somewhat unclear to me.”
The first stack of pancakes were set on the counter, looking golden and fluffy and interesting. Vision had eaten pancakes before. They were one of the first foods on his list. Wanda had liked them so much he had purchased a mix and several different kinds of syrup for them to try together – but he had not had the opportunity to show her before –
Vision shook his head to clear it. He pushed the thin wedges of melon away and set down the knife, breathing slowly as Mr. Stark often tried to do when he was overwhelmed.
“We have a festival on Asgard not unlike this Yule of Midgard,” Thor said easily, flipping fried cakes with flourish. “My mother, the Queen Frigga, always insisted that it was a time for reminding those close to us of our care for them, and for mending bonds that had been broken or strained. This is similar to Yule, is it not? The giving of presents to illustrate what is in our hearts?”
“I suppose it is,” Vision replied carefully, aware that Thor had been very close to his mother, and only spoke of her with great love and respect.
“Perhaps, then, it is a lesson that can be extended beyond only this season. To reach out across frayed ties and seek, with an open heart and mind, that which has been lost.” Vision nodded, thinking not about the sleek silver tree in the living room and the small pile of wrapped gifts beneath it. Nor about the lumpy socks displayed by the wood burning stove or the peppermint candies hooked over the stair railing. He was not even considering the warmth of his invitation from Thor, and the welcome that Jane Foster had expressed to him in joining them both.
He thought instead of sharing fried cakes, and lessons in American fashion, and happy laughter and bright smiles and the smell of cherry blossoms drifting from soft hair pressed against his shoulder.
The bedroom door opened and Jane Foster stepped out fully awake, although still wearing her pajamas. Vision blinked. The pants and matching button-up shirt were covered in small white felines holding what appeared to be weapons which improbably shot lasers. She handed Vision a lumpy sock of his own, announcing that Mr. Stark had sent it for him, before smacking a wet kiss on Thor’s bicep and proceeding to pour coffee into a cup and stirring it with a peppermint stick.
Christmas is a strange observance.