For the better part of a week, Thor had been obsessing over a website full of pithy images and anonymous sob stories. All in all, Loki was not impressed. Finding out he was required to submit a secret for the Avengers very own private round of postsecrecy did little to improve his attitude.
For the life of him, he couldn’t think of a single thing that he wanted to admit to the rest of his reluctant teammates. Loki knew that Thor wanted them all to get along, and he knew the sharing activity was likely intended to foster the development of a closer relationship between the heroes and their former enemy turned reluctant ally. But that didn't mean he like it.
Focusing on the table in front of him, Loki snapped his fingers and waited for the image to solidify. he poked at a few things, sliding text back and forth, changing color saturation, trying a sepia wash before wiping it away. Finally, he completed his card, and even if he wasn’t completely happy with it, he was at least resigned to letting himself be seen a little more than before.
Things had been good. Hectic, but mostly good and she felt guilty for what she was about to write. Ostensibly, the cards were supposed to be secret, but it wasn’t like it would be hard to tell at the big reveal.
Crossing her fingers, she slipped the flimsy cardstock through the slot and walked away, praying that she was doing the right thing.
Steve had paint to his elbows, flecks and smears of color that clung to his skin. Wiping his hands carefully on the rag at his side, Steve lifted the card, blowing gently at the still damp paint. He thought it was perfect, reflecting his admission without giving itself away as his.
Standing, he tucked it on the shelf above his desk to dry while he tidied up and scrubbed off in his bathroom. Once it was completely dry, he’d drop it in the box and wait for their meeting.
This time, just like he had anytime his art was going to be seen, Steve’s stomach gave a small lurch and he sucked in a deep breath, reminding himself that he whole point of this exercise was to pull them more tightly together and no one on his team would judge him for his admission.
Nevertheless, his stomach continued to squirm.
Phil flipped through his albums, looking for the photograph he wanted to use. He couldn’t remember which book it was in, but he was pretty sure it was this one. The photographs were all from his time in New Mexico and he flipped the page, letting the images remind him of what he’d been doing before each one was taken.
When he finally found the right one, he placed it in the scanner, copying it onto matte photo paper and putting the original back. Once that was done, he took the copy to his desk and pulled out a silver sharpie, scrawling his sentiments in the corner of the picture in his precise handwriting. All that was left was waiting for the ink to dry, but that was fine, Phil was good at waiting.
Thor discovered Postsecret on Tuesday. By Friday, Natasha wanted to find whoever was responsible and show them what color their pituitary gland was. She was tempted to blame Tony as it was generally Tony’s fault, but the man had an alibi in the form of a European conference and she was forced to look elsewhere to find the guilty party.
The training dummy was currently receiving the bulk of her wrath and its torso leaked sand from places that the steel reinforced shaft of her boot heel had penetrated. The crunch of the grit beneath her soles was unpleasant and she stopped, looking for a broom to sweep the mess away.
She hummed as she worked, contemplating the orders that had her in such a mood, wondering if Fury would hold to his threat if she failed to comply. Training new hires without breaking them. Gah, she’d rather pretend to be that awful Armenian ambassador's mistress again.
Now, she just needed to decide what to submit. Waking her tablet, she searched through tumblr, clicking links that caught her eye until she found what she wanted. The artist’s style called to her, especially the simple lines and stark colors of the one on her monitor. This one would work perfectly. Cropping the image and resizing it, she typed her message, taking care to keep it short and to the point. Once she was happy with the image, she hit print and waited. Once it was finished, she trimmed the edges and slipped it in the narrow slot by the door.
The picture he chose was culled from one of Tony’s many travel magazines and Thor had been drawn to the classical look of the picture. The image was a little blurry, but for whatever reason, Thor knew that this was the right one. Carefully, he spread glue over the back of the picture before pressing it onto the heavier cardstock.
Once the glue had dried, Thor trimmed the edges even and picked up the printed tape Natasha had shown him how to make. He hadn’t let her see the actual words he planned to use, but she knew that he was making his card instead of putting it together on the computer.
When everything was where it was supposed to be, Thor stood and admired the look of the card before he bounded down the empty corridor to drop off his contribution.
Bruce was on his sixth card, all the others reduced to ash when he couldn’t get the words to flow and the pictures to mesh. Finally he gave up, pulling up tumblr and roaming through the pages, letting the ebb and flow of online opinion sooth the green from his skin. He stuck to the arts and design pages, and it was one of these that gave him the perfect image for the words that were clambering to get out of him.
Quickly, he copy pasted and pulled up a couple of text boxes, obscuring the face with his words. When the words were applied, he sat back, staring at the picture. As he sat, he couldn’t help feeling like it was missing something. He quickly adjusted the text, sliding it to the side and changing the colors.His fingers worked largely without his brain’s consent, but when he saw what he had done, he left it, finally satisfied with his secret.
Clint wasn’t going to angst over the assignment. He knew what he wanted to say and he even knew where to find the right picture. Easy peasy and he was off to the range wondering about the things the others were likely to choose.
Tony hadn’t had the greatest week and coming home to find an assignment waiting for him wasn’t the greatest thing. The European conference had been a complete bust, just a week of lackluster accommodations bracketed by long meetings with people who didn’t care what he had to say and probably wouldn’t have followed his recommendations anyway.
Flinging his suit off as he stalked to his lab, Tony read through Fury’s memo and smirked. Fine. He’d give them something to mull over. The whir of dumm-e and U was comforting and he could feel his back unknot, calling for glue and a sharpie as he pulled up images for his secret.