2019-12-26 - Something Different


A late Christmas celebration for some SHIELD people

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Dec 26 00:00:00 2019
Location: New York

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Theme Song



Jemma had had to work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and the day after that. Something came in that needed her immediate attention in the lab - one of the agents had bought in a sample that was growing.

Such is the life of a SHIELD agent. Or, in this case, a SHIELD scientist.

Which means she's due at least a day off. And if she doesn't take it, she imagines a certain hacker soldier will be enforcing it.

The table in her apartment has been set for lunch though and there's several wrapped gifts at the end of it. The biochem is wearing the dress that was bought for her - that *had* been her plan when she'd seen it.

Hopefully her lunch guest will be here soon and bringing his drones with him.

He has ways of enforcing it too. He could lock her lab. He could make all of her instruments play the Star Spangled Banner every time she opens one up. Or he could just shut down her eye and arm until she agrees that she's going to take the day off. Fortunately, that had not been necessary.

There's a knock at the door. A certain hacker is there. Dressed, thankfully, in regular clothes and not the black tactical gear he wears when he's at work. Or the welding leathers which look bulky and are very, very… smelly.

"Afternoon Jemma." The drones are behind him. Waiting. Patiently. Lest he scold them.

The smells of roast of turkey and vegetables waft from the apartment and Jeriah can see how nicely the table is set. Platters in the centre with small dishes for sauces. There's no way Jemma cooked this all herself.

"Jeriah. Come in. I have to thank you, I suppose, for not forcing me out of the lab the other night." She steps, gesturing to let the man in. "I have beer, eggnog with rum, white wine or something softer. What would you like?"

As the drones file in behind Jeriah, Jemma pats their metal heads and Spot can be seen lounging on the counter between the kitchen and the living area.

Jeriah shakes his head at the drones but focuses his attention away from them. So long as they're not destroying things he is happy. "Eggnog sounds good." He says, shutting the door behind him and holding up a small box about four or five inches to a side. "This is for you, by the way."

It's got a decent amount of heft to it for it's size. A couple of pounds from the feel of it. What could it be?

"I figured you probably weren't going to have anything like family over?" Jemma's family lives in the UK, that he's pretty sure of. And she doesn't seem much inclined to visit them that often.

"Family? No. It's just me here. When I transferred, it was my friend and I." Jemma offers, taking the gift and giving Jeriah a very strange look. "You … already gave me something …" there's a degree of confusion and embarrassment in the statement "…. thank you…." she remembers to add.

Sliding the pile of packages on the table to Jeriah, the biochem flushes "There's one each for your drones and two for you. Open this one first … after you open the ones for the drones. But let me get you that drink, first."

It doesn't take her long to return with two mugs of eggnog, which smells heavenly. Had she bought it or made it herself?

"Go ahead, now …"

The packages for the drones would be about 12" long and 5" wide. There's not a lot of weight to them at all.

"Something you look very nice in, I might add. But that's nothing huge, no need to feel awkward about it." Jeriah looks at the pile of packages and looks at the robo-dogs. He feels just for a moment the urge to clarify that they're weapons, but doesn't. He doesn't want to make the biochem feel bad and after all it was a nice thing for her to do. He does look at the packages though. Are they.. bones?

Only one way to find out. He takes a sip of the eggnog, which is quite good, and then starts to open.

"Home made, that?" He asks idly as he rips paper to see what's inside.

"I know they're drones, but they're like dogs to me…" Jemma responds to the unspoken statement. "And it's not bones…." Indeed it isn't. It's a dog coat - emblazoned with the Captain America Shield. Jeriah can hear Jemma chuckling in his head as he opens it. There's one each for his drones - the shield, Mjolnir and Iron Mans mask.

"No, of course not. When have I had time?" The biochem flushes again. "There's a deli down the road that was doing orders to cater to those 'yuppies' amongst us. Can I put them on them?"

"Now they're avengers, I suppose?" Jeriah snorts. Yeah. He's going to put these coats on them and then let them wander around one of the upper levels of shield. That will turn some heads and cause some scratching he has no doubt.

Well. Onto the next ones he does.

"Yes go ahead. You should open yours at some point as well. Also, what's for dinner if I may ask?" He saw the sauces and did figure that she ordered from somewhere but… he hasn't seen the main dish quite yet.

"They always were." Jemma answers, the smile in response to Jeriah's snort lighting up her face. She's tickled with the overall reaction. "This one first, not that one…" She slides the next one along, this one labelled with his name. It's rectangular in shape and incredibly light … unwrapping it reveals …

An Avengers Lunchbox.

Jeriah can hear Jemma giggle in his mind.

"A traditional english meal, I believe. Well, mostly. Turkey breast, roast potatoes, sweet potato and carrots, peas - no they aren't mushy" she adds the last quickly enough. "stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Oh and yorkshire pudding. I … made that myself."

The last gift for Jeriah is smaller than the first but heavier. When Jemma pushes it over to him, she looks … worried.

"Open yours and then I'll open mine, promise."

Jeriah gives Jemma a look that says 'cute'. It's a vintage lunchbox too. Who uses lunchboxes anymore? Well, he can put this somewhere and display it. So many avengers things. He's wondering why, really. He isn't an avenger and other than Cap hasn't really interacted with any of them. At any rate he starts to open it.

"That does sound delicious. Family recipe for the pudding?" What could be in this last box?

Because they're a novelty and when Jemma saw them she couldn't resist. Actually, she saw the dog coats first and though the lunchbox for Jeriah would be hilarious.

"I hope so. I haven't had something so traditional in a few years now. Family recipe for yorkshire pudding? No. It's just not really that difficult … and nowhere here does it."

In the next package is a flat box, like the sort jewellery comes in. Inside is a … bracelet. But there's a 'leatherman' label on it. "I … " Jemma doesn't finish the statement, letting Jeriah look it over as she busies herself opening the package that he gave her. Slowly, methodically, carefully.

Jeriah chuckles when he sees what it is. Practical. Useful. He looks over at one of the dogs. "I'm going to open you up with this later." The drone does not look impressed by the threat. It's very likely not really aware what has been said to it.

Inside the box that Jemma was given is a snow globe with the word 'Science!' inside in large ceramic letters. The base is a music box and the tune is 'Scarborough Fair'.

While Jeriah doesn't look nervous the way Jemma did he odes pay attention as she opens it to see what she thinks of it.

"Do you like it?" Jemma presses a little. The chuckle is good, isn't it? It's difficult to buy for someone who you mostly work with. Well, she's seen some of his thoughts but buying gifts on those wouldn't be approrpriate. "And I didn't get it so you could do that. Leave Shep alone, she's my friend."

As Jemma reveals the snowglobe, the biochems smile lights up her face. "It's beautiful! I love it, Jeriah." She can feel his attention, she doesn't know how - but she does. It takes a moment to wind the music box before she sets it on the table.

Before Jeriah knows it, she's hugging him. "Thank you."

"I do like it yes. Thank you Jemma." Jeriah leans over and gives the biochemist a hug which may well make her freeze and reboot. Which in truth is part of the- oh wait. No. She beat him to the punch and that has him laughing.

"You're quite welcome." He says quietly. "Now. Shall we eat?" At least they don't have to feed the fake-cat and the fake-dogs.

Which isn't to say that the dogs might not try to steal. Damn things.

It makes Jemma blush and cough when she realises what she's done. "I'm glad and yes we can eat. I wouldn't want you to fade away from starvation …" Perhaps a little cheekily, she pokes Jeriah in the side as she disappears into the kitchen to bring out the platter of meat, vegetables and yorkshire pudding.

"At least this way, there's not much cleaning up to do. I remember at home on Christmas Day …" Jemma talks as she serves the food. Big helpings for Jeriah, smaller ones for her. "… Mum would cook all morning, we'd eat and then she and I would spend a lot of the afternoon cleaning up."

"It's tough, isn't it? Doing what we do? You a soldier and me working for a spy agency."

"Well most people don't do what either of us do so I'd say yes." Not many people CAN do what Jeriah does. He is an elite soldier with expertise in the art of war and killing that runs far beyond, well… anyone who doesn't regularly run with the likes of SHIELD. And even then…

"Why do you bring it up though?" The Hacker helps Jemma get the dishes settled and dished up, then he starts to dig in. It's all good of course and yes… this way there's much less washing up.

"No, they don't. And those that do, don't make … the sorts of connections that make the sort of story I just told possible." Jemma muses, trying to put to words what she's thinking. It's easier, way easier, for Jeriah to pick it out of her head - and that's a danger, in a way, for the two of them.

"Oh, just thinking about Mum and Dad, makes a bit nostalgic. As I said, I haven't done a dinner like this in years. Mostly because I haven't had anyone to spend it with. It's not like I could go home to Mum and Dads, is it? And not just because they're in England."

Letting out a sigh, Jemma glances at Jeriah "I believe you said you keep contact with your family minimal as well. For exactly that reason."

"It's hard to make connections when you're always travelling and constantly in danger of dying." Which is a blunt way of putting it but quite true. The Hacker takes a few more bites. "It would be a bit difficult under the circumstances yes…"

"No need to put my family in danger. It's one thing that I'm being hunted by AIM and Genosha. No one needs to put the notion in their head that I can be leveraged by hurting them." For one thing it wouldn't work. For another it would get very messy. "But yes. I understand your reasons and yes… it's… what's the best word? Unfortunte."

"That's not it, Jeriah. It's part of the reason, yes." Jemma counters, frowning a little. In the background, Scarborough Fair is still playing. "But it's not all the reason. It's that … because you won't risk putting them in danger because of what you do. For me, it's similar. My patents don't know what I do for SHIELD and I don't want them to. Keeping my distance seems to be the best way to do that."

"Not unfortunate. It just is. But it gets lonely, doesn't it? Or perhaps with your three dogs, not so lonely."

"I don't use them for conversation as I'm sure you've noticed." Jeriah says giving Jemma a wry look. "But in any case, that's just family. It doesn't explain why you didn't establish connections with your colleagues. I have an excuse. Most of mine are dead and I'm the one who killed them. But you…"

SHIELD is a big place and it's not like there aren't other scientists or even other biochemists. So it's not just a case of not wanting to put people in danger. After all they're in the same fix, so to speak.

"Is it just that no one can keep up with you mentally?" Or does she feel 'alienated' since the operation?

"I … didn't …. " Jemma looks away hating that she reminded Jeriah of that. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to remind of you that." It's quiet and entirely remorseful.

Such a great conversationalist she is.

"I've made connections with my colleagues. They're just not … family, are they? And no, that would be rather egotistical of me to think they couldn't up with me mentally."

Jemma does have *some* social skills after all.

"It's more like I get to the end of the day and look up and they're all out doing something. Whereas I'm more interested in the latest culture on my bench or the fact that someone is making reverbium laced biophages. It's worse since my accident too. It's just easier to work than try and deal with …"

With the pity or the questions. Sometimes now, Jemma can forget she's a cyborg. Others are constantly reminded of it.

It's interesting that Jemma can forget when she's constantly mentally connected to Jeriah who is also a cyborg. A much more subtle kind of cyborg but a cyborg none the less. "Don't worry about it." He says with a shake of his head. It's something that he has to live with. But he's grown used to that. Living with deaths on his hands. A lifetime spent at war will do that. And Jeriah is very much a child of war.

"No one, though? No one who is as interested in science as you? Not one person that you'd consider having over for dinner? Or going over to spend Christmas with them?" No one for whom she is 'Aunt Jemma' or something similar?

Maybe it's because Jeriah doesn't think of himself like a cyborg and his thoughts aren't … intrusive. Or maybe it's because Jeriah makes Jemma feel like a human. It's not often he connects to her systems uninvited and it's then she remembers the most.

"I'll worry about, Jeriah. Compassion, it's part of being human." The biochem says, putting her fork down and covering his hand with hers.

"Oh, I have friends, I told you. Hank for one. There are others as well. It's just … " Now she's blushing again, the colour creeping down her arms to her wrists. "… when I'm with you. You make me … feel … more than just a scientist." Maybe she should change the subject - Jeriah can 'see' her struggling to find a topic to switch the conversation to.

Jeriah takes another couple of bites in silence rather than talk and add to her furious blush and even more furious attempt to find another topic. He can track it as she searches and knows that it's hard when she's as flustered and distracted as she is.

"So no one else gets to try your mum's yorkshire pudding recipe mmm? I'll take that as a compliment." Another bite. The food is quite good but then they knew it would be.

"What are you doing for New Years?"

It's a change of topic though it might not help much.

"Maybe one other…" Jemma is still blushing but it's fading slowly. She's not sure what's worse, Jeriah's silence to her embarrassing statement or the fact she said at all. "… I don't cook much, as you probably gathered. And it was meant as a compliment."

The subject of New Years comes up as a conversation changer and Jemma sighs. "What do you think I'm going to do? If I'm not working, I'll probably come home, put a movie on and go to bed. I'll probably have to work though, right?"

"What about you? Have a hot date?"

"Oh for crying out loud. You live in New York, Jemma. Are you telling me you're not going to the Times Square New Years celebration?" It is something of a city tradition and yes it will be cold and there will be a crowd but she hasn't done that once yet? He checks. No. No she hasn't done that once.

"I think you're going to put in for some time off New Years day." Jeriah says, eying the biochemist. He seems determined to make her have a life. Whether she likes it or not. And to be honest… if he's there she's going to like it right?

"Well … no." Jemma opens her mouth and closes it again, trying to sound a little indignant and not guilty. "I generally have to work and if I'm not working that night, I've been working up to it…" And crowds aren't what she really enjoys.

"I am?" That gets Jeriah a blink "And why's that, Jeriah?" She probably will enjoy it if she's with him. "I don't know why you're so determined I get out more… "

She'd been just fine before he came along. Sort of.

"Because apparently you decided to just work and sleep before I came and that's just not right. Come on, Jemma. It'll be cold but it'll be worth it. Promise." And apparently Jeriah is uniquely good at getting her to come out with him. Possibly because he doesn't ask her science questions all the time.

"How long have you been working up to it, mmm? Three years? Four?" He's probably got her there…

"If you want to 'work up to it' we can go for a drive later and look at leftover Christmas lights."

"That's not what I meant, Jeriah. Normally I'm working New Years Eve and the days prior…" But he's right, Jemma has pretty much just worked. Sometimes she slept. "If I say no, you'll just do something till I say yes. I can see it in your mind, so don't say you wouldn't."

"I'll have to get a warmer jacket then. I can do that tomorrow. I don't see what's so great about being in the cold with such a crowd. I'd much rather sit on a hill top and star gaze." She's grumbling a bit, but she'll go.

"Are you serious about the drive, though? I I'd like that."

"Of course I'm serious. Christmas lights are the best." And he enjoys driving when there isn't too much traffic which, as it gets past evening and the lights come on and the daylight dies, there won't be. "You don't need an especially warm jacket for that, at any rate. And yes. I would do something. Like call into work on your behalf." And probably imply something highly embarrassing as well. He can be persistent.

Or just have two of the big metal dogs kidnap her. That'd probably work and he can see SHIELD security being too confused to really know what to do about it as they herded her out, protesting and sputtering.

"You wouldn't!" Oh yes, Jemma can see what Jeriah would plan and it would be highly embarrassing. Of course, there's a chance that no one would believe him if he used *that* excuse - because it's Jemma.

"No, I know I don't need a jacket for a drive. If I remember correctly, your car has heated seats…" beat "I'd like that, Jeriah. I have dessert - maybe you'd like to save that for when we return?"

Yeah. She's asking him to stay late, at least.

And maybe he'll get her to Times Square. And maybe nothing will go wrong.

Nothing went wrong when they went to catch a movie. Just a little firefight. Everything was fiiiiine…

The hacker smirks. "Try me." Would he? He might. But she won't have to find out if she doesn't try to work that night. And everyone will be happy and nicely unembarrassed. "Sure. I'd like that. We can have dessert when we get back. So… shall we?"

He does have heated seats. And massage seats. He has a rather nice car, in truth.

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