1965-10-08 - Of Elves and Whatnot
Summary: Soups on at the Avenger's manor.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
bucky kai 


It isn't unusual for Kai to leave a basket of sandwiches at the top landing, where stealthy Bucklings can snatch them up. Sometimes Kai makes things more substantial. Kai has been learning how to cook, and the manor tends to enjoy the benefit of his experimentation. Tonight, he's got a pot of soup on, with the savory scent of roasted chicken and herbs, and fresh rolls rising in the oven. He won't be putting this in a basket, but the pot is big enough he won't be eating it all by himself either.

The pack is out for a little, roaming in the park. It makes Dad nervous when they do, but there's also a relief in not being in range of the link for a little. He's the only one who grew up without it, so a bit of privacy is welcome. "That smells great, Kai," he says, coming in from the hall. "I'm glad you like to cook, so it's not just me and Scarlett trying to shovel food into the kids." The kids who look the same age as their dad, but since when has Bucky cared?

"There's a lot of mouths to shovel into," Kai says as he putters. "And I've only got Loki to cook for at home. He doesn't want the food I make for him, but he wants the food I don't make for him, so it's a careful balancing act." He adds some chopped celery greens into the soup. Waste not, want not. "Do we have enough bowls? I think so. I'm just waiting for the rolls to finish baking. It's just good soup weather, you know, man?"

Bucky rolls his eyes. "He's a princess as well as a prince, eh?" His tone's only amused, though, rather than particularly nasty. "We've got enough. More than enough. I got tired of them squabbling like wolf cubs over not enough dishes." Tired, indeed. It's hard being an assassin dad.

Kai flashes Bucky a wicked grin. "I didn't say the words," he replies. Of course Loki's contrariness brings out the warmth in the Elf. "My hope is that one of these days, one of the boys will talk to me again. I'll feed them regardless. I'm not buying their attention with food. I just want to see them grow, you know? Not be in the attic their whole lives."

"No, it's good," he says, settling down heavily at the kitchen table. "They're like abused animals, still. Your being generous….it matters. That they have people they can learn to trust. Mr. Stark helping us take them camping was really useful. But….I can't leave New York and just go live in the Catskills with them all winter…" Tempting as it might be. "They'll have to learn to live with other people."

"It's no big deal to cook for them," Kai says. "It's good practice for me. Imagine having to cook all this food then just throw it away." He snorts when Bucky mentions Tony Stark and camping in the same sentence. "Anyway, I feel better knowing they're getting fed real food. Poor dears probably didn't have any luxuries in Russia."

Bucky shakes his head. "I still can't imagine it, what it must've been like for them. Made, not born. Magic and science and villains for parents…." There's that lost look in his eyes, the haunted echo of the bewildered, dangerous, wounded assassin Kai picked up off the streets. "I'm amazed they can function at all. They are resilient, though."

"They're made from you," Kai says. "Of course they're resilient. And if compassion is genetic, they'll learn that, too. They just have to be shown what it is, first." He peeks at the rolls, hrms, then takes them out of the oven to set for awhile. They're golden brown, split at the top like little loaves. "I like filling the house with delicious smells so they know dinner's coming," he admits.

"Always worked for me, didn't it?" Buck says, with that rueful fondness. "That's how you tamed me, more or less. Feeding me and not hitting me when I snapped and growled."

Kai grins. "Food is the great equalizer," he says. "We all need it. It brings us together. You know how the Asgardians love their feasting, and we Elves are fans, too." He waves a hand. "There was no good reason to hit you. It's better this way. It'll be better this way for the boys, too. Even if all they get out of it is full bellies."

Bucky looks over his shoulder at the elf. "Thanks for helping me visit Asgard. It was amazing. I never had a vacation as an adult until that trip. Nice to be somewhere where no one gives a damn I was the Winter Soldier."

"It's a nice place to see at least once," Kai says. He takes some butter from the fridge and sets the dish on the still warm stove to soften it a bit. "It was nice to see you in Alfheim, too. I know it's not as glorious as Asgard, but I liked showing my friends where I'm from. Asgard is great for the feasting. Alfheim is a nice place to settle down. Pity I never intend to."

"Can I do something to help?" Only belatedly remembering his manners. "No, Alfheim was….comfortable," he says, brow furrowing. Like he's not sure the elf won't take it as an insult. "In a good way. It reminded me of…" A pause, and he says, "Like some of the towns we saw in the mountains of Germany, only times a million. Prosperous and neat and homey…"

"Yeah, I see what you're saying," Kai says. No, he doesn't take offense. He knows Alfheim isn't the life of the party. It's why he's in New York. "The food is to die for. The desserts! I gave my friend Stephen a caramel cheesecake that's locked in a magic crystal orb. You use magic to unlock it and voila, cheesecake. It's easily the best cheesecake you'll ever have. It's like being suspended in time makes it taste even better." He gestures to the cupboards. "Could you get me some bowls? Big ones, for these boys, I imagine."

"I understand that …that it doesn't appeal to you, after all you've seen and done and you're still young, by your people's standards. But I liked it a whole lot." He's heaving himself up to get said bowls, but he turns to peer at Kai. "Wait. HE has to unlock it with magic?" Brow acquiring that familiar indent again.

Kai admits, "It's not so bad. I like visiting, even though my grandmother is an atrocious troll of a woman." Lady Lastriel was of course nothing but elegant and polite to Bucky. She just had a horrible habit of making Kai behave himself like a gentleman instead of a wild animal. He takes the softened butter and starts to whip it so it's nice and spreadable. Looking up, he says, "Oh, it's okay. My friend can do magic. I don't have the spell, but he does."

"Tall guy, gray temples," He motions at them, like Kai wouldn't know what he meant, "Fancy magic cape? That Stephen the magician?" Looking at Kai in earnest. How many magicians named Stephen can there be in New York?

Kai perks up. "Oh, you know him? Yeah, that's the guy. I forget, you've met." The whipped butter is scooped into a bowl with a proper butter knife set beside it. "Yeah, I brought him back a bunch of stuff since he couldn't take the time off for a vacation. It must be dreary having a job you can't take a break from."

Bucky laughs one of those incredulous little laughs. "Oh, yeah, we met. I was crazy, outta my mind, after I got framed for the bombings. He came and found me, I tried to kill his sweetheart. It's only 'cause he's a merciful guy that I'm still here. He's a terror when he's mad." Then, of course, Kai is being his usual sympathetic self. "I guess it is. I guess being wizard head honcho of earth doesn't come with guaranteed time off."

"I really cheesed him off while we were away," Kai says in a low, conspiring tone. "I paid some guys to tape saran wrap at face level to his door, then run. Next time he opened his door, he walked smack into it." Kai's shoulders shake with laughter. "He Gated to Alfheim while you and Scarlett were in town. He was so mad." Which spells mirth for the Elf. He sighs. "That was a good prank. Here, help me ladle this soup into bowls."

The laugh goes to that absurd, near-silent wheeze. The laugh you only get in war time, in hostile territory, that Bucky hasn't every learned to shed. "You seriously played a joke on the king wizard? And he came right into Alfheim to …wow." Then he's saying, "Let's wait until the kids actually get back. They don't have a set amount of play time….I'm glad to let 'em run, really."

Kai smiles broadly, dimples and all. "I thought he was going to turn me into a newt. It was great." He gives the soup a stir. "Okay, it can wait, but I'm hungry. Are you hungry? These rolls are fresh, too." He tears off two, then puts the rest in the oven to stay warm. "I could live a thousand years and never forget the look on his face."

"Oh, you and I can eat," Buck hastens to assure him, as he suits the action to the word. "I mean, let's not serve the kids until they're coming in the door, is all." He snags a roll in his metal hand, reaches for the butter. "And that's hilarious. You've got way more guts than I would, when it comes to Stephen the Wizard. He's a Doctor, too, did you know that?"

"Oh yes, he is," Kai says. "A Doctor, a scholar, and a gentleman." He dishes up two bowls of the hearty soup and brings them to the table. "He's got a good soul, and somewhere deep down a sense of humor. I think he needs a little levity once in awhile. Everything he's charged with is so deadly serious. It seems cruel to rob a man who does so much good of the gift of laughter."

Bucky grins at that….and it's utterly puckish. "I agree. I bet you did him some good. Yeah. I asked him…he's got a real medical degree. Not just a witch doctor, which is what I thought at first." And then, for some reason, it's caught his funnybone, and he dissolves into wheezing giggles. "Witch doctor medical school. Can you imagine?"

Kai laughs. "I can just see him showing up for the first day of class looking so serious." He nudges Bucky's bowl toward him. "Poor Stephen. He deserves so much more respect than he gets. Ah, well. It's good for him. He saved my life not too long ago. We were dealing with a human who fancied himself a dread warlock. His followers had me tied up a bit, but it was nothing we couldn't handle together."

The Soldier finally gets his composure back together enough to take a spoonful of his soup….but there're still spates of giggles. They fade as Kai recites that story, though, the frost-blue eyes going serious. "What?" he says, laying the spoon down. "A warlock? What'd Strange do with him?"

"He put a geas on him so he couldn't hurt anyone else," Kai says. "It was more than fair. His followers didn't know what they were doing anyway, so he just told them to basically stop being idiots. In the end, no one was hurt. I mean I got cut up a bit, but you know me." He shrugs. "I was all better in no time."

Buck's face is….not incredulous. Wondering, impressed. Even after all he's seen, the battles in Russia, Strange still amazes him. "Wow. I….yeah, he's merciful. I'd'a killed the guy, but maybe that's why I'm not Lord High Wizard Executioner."

"He's wise," Kai says. "I suppose he has to be. At least this way, the guy gets a chance to make right what he's done wrong. I think it would've been worse if he'd been bleeding humans instead of me. I can take it." Of course Kai's not bothered by the experience. He's come back from death. What's a little cut from a warlock to him? "Anyway, I was impressed with how he handled it."

Bucky gives the elf a look. "I'll bet. Hell, you and I have been through a lot of stuff, haven't we? Hard to believe it's only been a couple years. Two years ago, the Russians still had me…."

"It's been an eventful two years," Kai says with an unironic sense of understatement. "I haven't exactly broken it to my mum or gran everything that's happened. Mum would go spare, and gran would just cite it as another reason to come home and learn how to run a vineyard. They don't understand like we do, Bucky. Life's rough sometimes."

He gazes at Kai, the fondness plain in his face. When he's not Winter…..and Winter's been so long banished…he's transparent. "I understand," he says. Then, suddenly, he looks down at his bowl….and there are tears in his eyes. "I wish my parents were still alive. I'm glad they never had to see what happened t me, but…."

Kai's smiling features crumple when Bucky's eyes go tearful. The Elf rises from his chair and comes around to hug Bucky around the shoulders from behind. Sad human must be comforted. "I'm sorry," he says gently. "I wish they were, too. They'd be so proud of you now. How you've come through it all." He's not a big guy, but he's got strength in him, and when he hugs, he means business.

It's a testament to his ease with the elf that he doesn't jerk away, or try and hide what's happening. Big cyborg is very sad. Silent sobs - not many. It's only a little before he regains control, straightens a little, and reaches for a napkin to wipe at his face. "Thanks," he says. "You're a good guy, Kai."

Kai just hugs it out, letting Bucky work through it. "Hey, anything for my friend, Bucky," he says gently. "I know I don't say it, but I missed my mum and da every day, and I'm lucky to have them. You can be part of my family any time." He comes back around to claim his seat, and he offers Bucky a guileless smile. "You'll never be alone, you know?"

His answering smile is watery, but there's a hint of that old sunshine behind it. "Don't tell your grandmother, she'll have a conniption," he warns Kai.

Kai grins. "Oh, gran likes you just fine. I think Lambert bedding her serving girls made everyone else seem a lot more respectable by comparison." He tears off a bit of his roll and dips it in his soup broth. "Mark my words, there's going to be little Elf babies with horns."

Bucky is back to wheezing with laughter. "Are elves fertile with creatures of earth?" he asks. "For real? Little Lamberts?" He doesn't seem dismayed. "I guess Lambert can't marry 'em all."

Kai's grin broadens. "I guess we'll find out. I don't think my gran will let him marry any of them. That would mean losing a serving girl or gaining a satyr-kin." He waves a hand then and says, "They'd be well-provided for, though. We don't have the same hangups they do on Earth."

"He could have a harem," Buck muses, looking thoughtful. "I guess. Do elves do harems?" He looks to Kai. Inquiring assassins want to know.

"Not in the traditional sense," Kai says. "It also depends on the Elf. The Pleasure Elves have their own thing going on, if you know what I mean. My da's part Pleasure Elf. I think on his mum's side. He's not triple-jointed, though. Neither am I. Anyway, Moon Elves are more traditional."

"What're Moon Elves like?" asks Buck, curious. Still spooning soup into his mouth - trying to take his time. But it's hard - it's such good food, and instinct says to wolf down what he can while he can.

Kai spreads his arms and says "You're looking at it. We mostly live in the Valley of the Moon Elves and brew Firefly wine, which makes people glow. I can glow all by myself. I have some Elf magic, but I'm not a sorceress like my gran. We like a quiet life and simple pleasures. There's Pleasure Elves, and there are Spice Elves who cultivate some of the rarest spices in the Nine Realms. There are Ice Elves who live in the frozen places. There's even Elves who live in amazing air ships."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License