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The 12 Days of Steve's Secret Santa

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On Monday, at exactly 7:30 a.m., a time that Tony immediately regretted programming as soon as his phone began to chirp, a text message from JARVIS went out to the Avengers and selected others Tony considered part of their core group. Some may say core family, but Tony Stark would never be one to admit that. This text message announced that JARVIS, with the assistance from Master Stark, was inviting the person to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange. The assignment of the Secret Santas would be done at random by JARVIS, and only JARVIS would know the Santas and Santees. Beginning the next day and running through Christmas Eve, a minimum of three gifts would be exchanged. Cost was unimportant; it was the thought that counted - this means you, Tony, was implied. A Christmas Party would occur on Christmas Eve at what was now Avengers Tower, with a meal following, where the Santas would be revealed. If the person was interested in participating, they were to reply 'yes' to the message. The message also noted that JARVIS would be available for assistance in delivering Santa gifts to a person's Santee.

Tony smiled, despite the early hour, and was glad that Pepper had suggested this. He quickly replied 'yes' to the message as he watched her walk back into the darkened bedroom, her head down with her eyes glued to her Stark phone, as her fingers were typing something. She paused and looked up at him, a smirk on her face as she nodded. So two people were in. He hoped the others would follow.


Natasha reached over and smacked Clint on the arm, shoving her phone in his face. He blinked rapidly, willing his eyes to focus. He read the message and looked around the phone at her. She quirked an eyebrow. He fumbled for his phone on the nightstand on his side of the bed, typed a reply of yes, as she did the same, and then, once the phones were put away, he pulled her back down into the bed. Pulling the covers back up, and bringing his arm around her so she was pressed close to him, he silently told her any sort of training exercise she was thinking of doing at that hour could wait until later.

-=-=-=-=-

Jane searched under the notebooks strewn on her workbench in her lab for the source of the buzzing sound. It continued to become more irritating, and she remembered asking Darcy to make her phone do that, as Jane had a bad habit of losing her phone and missing important calls. Or so Darcy said. She held her phone up triumphantly as she found it, pressing the button to make the buzzing stop, noticing she had a text message. She smiled as she read it, and replied yes. Upon further thought, she also replied yes for Thor, hoping JARVIS would recognize Thor was off-Earth at the moment, but would be back later that week. JARVIS instantly replied that he would make sure Thor would be included and brought up to date upon his return.

-=-=-=-=-

Bruce was still working in his lab when he heard his phone ring. At least that is what he thought it was doing. He picked it up absentmindedly and answered yes, not knowing his voice to text settings were on. When he didn't hear a voice saying anything, he pulled his phone from his ear, pressing a button to activate the home screen. Upon doing this, he realized what he'd done. Skimming the text message and his subsequent reply, he quietly cursed Tony. Then he cursed himself for sounding so Scrooge-like.

-=-=-=-=-

Darcy was blow-drying her hair when she thought she heard her phone buzz. If it was something important, she thought, the person would call back. She didn't just wake up with good hair - it needed taming. Shutting the blow-dryer off, she did a quick flip of her hair and walked into her bedroom to look at her phone. She saw the icon for a new text message and opened her messages folder. She looked at her last few messages from Steve, laughing at how he still didn't quite grasp how to switch between uppercase and lowercase easily. Ha, she thought, Cap writes in ALL CAPS. Then she thought, oh lord, that's something as cheesy as Coulson. Was she spending too much time around her boss at work? Shaking her head to rid her mind of that, she read the newest message. A smile slowly spread its way across her face as she typed her reply of yes. Being a Secret Santa would be fun. She quickly ranked the order of who she would want, from most desirable to least desirable, and then crossed her fingers for getting the person she really wanted as she hit send on the text. She hoped all the time she'd spent being nice to JARVIS when at the Tower would pay off.


Steve had just gotten back from his morning run when he noticed a beep and a light flashing from his cell phone. He had grudgingly started using one, although he still preferred his land line, after the attack on Manhattan. He had to admit he appreciated the convenience, but he didn't care for what he perceived as a lack of conversation among the younger generation, as he noticed people pulled out their phones everywhere, especially at restaurants. Two people could be face-to-face, but rather than talk to each other, their faces would be buried in their phones.

It had taken him a while to get used to the sensitivity and type of touch needed for the sleek phones, but once he got the hang of it, he'd had no problem figuring out some of the 'apps.' He enjoyed his tablet more, especially the painting apps, because the screen was bigger, and it was easier for him to type on. He didn't like the small keyboard on the cell phone. His fingers felt clumsy on it, and Darcy was always teasing him about getting text messages in all upper or lower case from him. He smiled at that thought as he opened the new message. He wasn't familiar with how a Secret Santa situation worked, but from what he could tell, it sounded like it could be fun. He wasn't sure if the secret part would stay secret - the team did have spies on it after all - but he thought it would be a fun way for him to enjoy his first 21st century Christmas.

Which reminded him, he'd have to talk to Darcy later about going to Rockefeller Center and seeing the tree. He wanted to see if it was like he remembered, and he knew she'd be up for joining him, as she'd been a great friend and guide to modern things to him once she and Jane had gotten to New York. She was patient with him when he had questions about pop culture, and would often join him in watching movies people suggested he watch. She also suggested movies, and he had to admit, he sometimes enjoyed those more than ones other people, usually Tony or Clint, would suggest. He also was learning she was a great listener, and on days when he was feeling down and lost in this new time, she wouldn't mind sitting and listening to some old jazz standards or watching an older movie with him. Or sometimes, he'd sit and sketch things from his past, and she'd quietly read a book, not asking about what he was drawing. He'd catch her looking, but not asking. It seemed she just knew what he needed. And he really appreciated it. He really appreciated her. Plus he thought she was quite funny. Her sense of humor was much more bawdy than he had grown up expecting from ladies, but he knew times had changed while he had been in the ice. She had a great laugh and a great smile. And a great figure, all curves.

He shook his head, walking into his bedroom. Darcy was his friend, nothing more. Right? He threw himself face first onto his bed. He knew he was clueless with beautiful women. Why couldn't more of Bucky's ease with dames have rubbed off on him?


Phil Coulson was technically only supposed to be working half-time. He was still recovering from a near-death experience. Well, two near-death experiences. Thankfully the second time, he had been outfitted in Kevlar, so it hadn't been quite so painful. Recovery this time was helped by having an assistant, although sometimes her sarcastic nature was trying. However, she was also good at cutting through the BS that was SHIELD, so when he needed things done now, it was 'on like Donkey Kong,' as she liked to say. Her background in 'scientist wrangling' came in handy when dealing with the Avengers, too. All-in-all, he thought, it could be worse. One of those near-death experiences could've stuck.

She bounded in to his office this morning without giving regard to the closed door. He both hated and admired that she did that. Both he and she knew if he didn't want her to barge in, the door would be locked.

"Hey Boss. Would you included on that early wake-up text? Because if so, and if you happen to get assigned to the person who thinks your first name is Agent, well, I may have some awesome ideas." She started to grin, and heard a snort coming from one of the chairs in front of Coulson's desk. Seeing who it was, her grin turned wicked. "Oh, boss, any collaborations here could have dangerous results, I mean, if you would allow it in that circumstance."

Phil smiled, or at least as much as he allowed himself. He had a reputation to maintain. Turning towards the man in the chair, he apologized. "Sergeant, I apologize for Miss Lewis." Darcy began to protest, but he continued. "In that the innuendo from her statement could be taken the wrong way. She was speaking of a Secret Santa gift exchange." He paused. "And Miss Lewis, if I should be assigned that person, your input would be valuable. However, I should hope that the AI would know better than that."

She grinned. "So you're in. Awesome."