Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "And You Became Like Coffee"

This is today's freebie, prompted by [personal profile] mylittleangel. It also fills the "Family Support Makes a Difference" square in my 9-1-20 card for the I Want Fries With That! Bingo fest.


"And You Became Like Coffee"


Steve was dishing out oatmeal
so hot that it still bubbled in the bowls.

"Let that cool first," he warned
as Loki reached for one.

It had become a habit,
because Bruce had
advised Loki to avoid
foods that were too hot.

Part of that came from
knowing his Jotunn heritage
and part from noticing that
Loki tended to let his food
cool down to lukewarm
before starting to eat.

Loki didn't take Bruce
very seriously, though,
because Thor teased Loki
about his 'silly table habits'
and Loki was sensitive about it.

"Do you want cream or yogurt
on that?" Phil said diplomatically.

Loki looked at him through dark lashes.
"What was Tony using on the fruit?"

"Crème fraîche," said JARVIS.
"It is in the refrigerator." The door
popped open and a tiny spotlight
pointed to a glass container
with a local dairy label.

"Thank you, JARVIS, I'll
get it," Phil said, because
Steve had just sat down
and needed to eat.

Phil passed the tub
to Loki with a spoon.

Loki scooped out
a generous portion
of crème fraîche and
stirred it into his oatmeal.

Steve passed him the bowl
of sliced strawberries without
even needing to be asked.

Phil had gone with granola
himself, but he had noticed
Loki's fondness for anything
with grains or fresh fruit.

Indeed, Loki was devouring
breakfast at a rapid rate.

Bucky sat down and
took the bowl that Steve
had already fixed for him.

Loki's head came up.
"What is that?" he said.
"It smells divine."

"Coffee," said Bucky,
setting down the cup
held in his metal hand.
"Tony buys the good kind."

"I want some," Loki said.

"Try a sip first," Bucky said.
"I drink mine black, and
this is pretty strong stuff."

"Let it cool first," Phil said,
since Bruce wasn't there.

Loki ignored him, liberating
Bucky's coffee to take a sip.

His eyebrows went up.
"Oh, that really is divine."

Then he chugged the whole cup.

No sooner had he finished than
Loki doubled over in pain,
clutching his stomach.

"What's wrong?" Phil said,
reaching out to him.

"Hurts," Loki hissed
through his teeth.

"JARVIS --" Bucky said.

"Calling Dr. Banner,"
JARVIS said instantly.

"Let's get Loki onto
the couch," Phil said.

"I've got him." Bucky
scooped Loki into his arms
and headed to the living room.

They were settling Loki on
the couch when Clint trotted in,
looking distinctly worried.

"I thought something might
be up," Clint said, perching
on the coffee table. "Now what?"

"Hot coffee," Bucky explained,
jerking a thumb at Loki.

"Oh, that's -- that's
not good," Clint said.

Loki snapped something
that wasn't in English, but
Clint was undeterred.

The relationship between
the two of them was tangled
at best, and not helped by
the exchange of memories.

Fortunately Dr. Banner came in
then, with his greater expertise.

"JARVIS told me that Loki had
a problem with coffee," he said.

Loki just gave him a tight nod.

"Tell me what you're feeling, Loki,
nausea or real pain?" Dr. Banner said.

"Real pain," Loki admitted. "It feels
like a burn -- but Bucky was drinking it!"

Dr. Banner shook his head. "Don't use
Bucky or Steve as role models when it
comes to temperature," he said.
"They're a bit ... skewed."

Which was to say they'd
both bathe in water that was
a few degrees short of scalding
and eat things right out of the oven.

"Do your mouth and throat
hurt too?" Dr. Banner said.

"Yesss," Loki hissed.

Dr. Banner poked gently
at Loki's stomach, looked
at a tablet computer, and
gave a thoughtful hum.

"You probably scalded
yourself a bit," he said. "I've
got an idea for something that
might help. Don't mind the noise."

Dr. Banner went into the kitchen.
A couple minutes later, there was
a low growl rising to a shriek.

Loki and Bucky covered
their ears, wincing.

Soon Dr. Banner
came back with
a glass of something.

He took a sip, then offered it
to Loki. "Here. It's aloe juice
with a lot of ice plus lemon
and mint to make it drinkable."

Loki gave him a suspicious look,
but cautiously sampled the stuff.

"That is ... surprisingly not bad,"
Loki said. "Thank you." He
drank it carefully but steadily.

When he set down the empty cup,
Dr. Banner said, "Feel any better?"

"Yes, I think the ice helped," Loki said.

"I hoped it would," Dr. Banner said.
"That and your healing factor mean
you should be fine. Just try to be
more careful about hot things, okay?
We don't want you to get hurt."

"I will take more care," Loki said.
Then he sighed. "It just tasted
so good. It seems that I am ever
drawn to things which are bad for me."

"I know that feel, bro," Clint said,
patting Loki on the shoulder.

"What is that supposed
to mean?" Loki said.

"You took me," Clint said,
"and you became like coffee,
in the deliciousness, and
the bitterness, and the addiction."

"Oh," Loki said. He licked his lips.
"I suppose ... you are not wrong."

Definitely a complicated relationship,
and there wasn't much Phil could
do to make it any easier on them.

"There are other things made
from coffee beans," Phil said,
hoping to lighten the mood some.
"I'm sure Tony has Kahlúa."

"Indeed," said JARVIS. "There
is a bottle in the kitchen cabinet
intended for culinary purposes."

"Maybe later," Loki said. He
looked as tired as he sounded.

"I know just the thing," Clint said,
bounding into a chair. "JARVIS,
pull up Ice Age for us, please."

"Shall I notify the other Avengers,
or is this a private viewing only?"
JARVIS asked as the screen lit.

"Sure, pass the word," Clint said.

A moment later, JARVIS said,
"Betty and Natasha are out shopping,
but the others will join us shortly."

Steve came out of the kitchen,
drying his hands on a towel.

He and Bucky made a nest of
pillows and blankets on the floor.

Tony scampered in just as
the movie started, worming
his way between them.

"Good idea, Clint,"
Phil said with a smile.

The antics of the characters
went a long way toward
lifting everyone's mood.

The credits were rolling
when Natasha strolled in
and handed Loki a cup.

His eyes narrowed.
"What is this?" he said.

"This is mocha frappuccino,"
Natasha said. "It contains
coffee that is mostly frozen.
It should be safe for you."

Loki sampled it, then curled
his hands around the cup.
"This is splendid," he said.
"Thank you most kindly."

Tony, however, was
staring at them in horror.

"You have brought evil
into my house!" he roared.

Loki looked up, startled.

Natasha rolled her eyes.
"Oh, not this again.
Grow up, Tony."

"EVIL!" Tony said
as he pointed at
the Starbucks cup.
"Eeeeevillllll."

Phil just chuckled.
Such was life in
Avengers Tower.

* * *

Notes:

And you became like coffee,
in the deliciousness,
and the bitterness,
and the addiction.
-- Mahmoud Darwish

Crème fraîche is a cultured cream product that is sweeter than sour cream.

EDIT 9/2/20 -- [personal profile] technoshaman adds:
Tony's reaction to the Evil Mermaid of Corporate Coffee tells me EXACTLY where he gets his coffee. Devoción, from the shop in the Flatiron district, 3 stops south on N/Q from the Tower. TEN DAYS from origin to roast. Fresher'n a whole FIELD of dasies; probably so damn gassy he has to let it age for a week or so so it doesn't overflow the brewer. (It also doesn't hurt that some of the growers were former customers of Tony's; when Tony decided blowing up the world wasn't for him anymore, he convinced these guys to quit doing so too, and make him coffee (Srsly, read the description. Former guerrillas, making coffee.)

Bruce, however, prefers Gimme! Coffee, which he gets shipped in from Ithica; he's helping them do genome analysis on the arabica bean to give it the disease resistance of robusta without the harsh taste... (yes, they're actually doing that this side of the Tef.) Bruce probably uses a pour-over into a borosilicate (lab-grade) double-walled glass mug, handle-less so the Green Guy won't have issues.

Aloe vera juice provides a variety of benefits, among which is soothing the stomach. It can be made into refreshing slushies with a blender or ice cream maker.

Kahlúa is a coffee liqueur.

Ice Age is an animate movie about prehistoric characters.

Frappuccino is a blended coffee drink that can be dressed up with various additions. Enjoy a recipe for mocha frappuccino.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, food, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing
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