So many movies to watch in May! (Okay, two so far, but I've seen both of them twice, which is like four!) I wasn't sure what I'd want to write about, so I planned to do supershorts for each movie -- sort of a 'this is what I wanted to see on screen' sort of thing. As usual, I'm not really sure how the plan manifested in the finished result.

Title: Reaction Time
Author: marcicat

Fandom: Avengers MCU, Iron Man 3
Rating: T

Word count: 550
Summary: Every workplace has a mailing list, right?



Two days, then three, then a week.  Two weeks.  A month.  The world churned inexorably on.

Pepper frowned at the screen. “JARVIS, what is this?"

The subject line read 'Fwd: Subcommittee meeting minutes.'

"Email forward from Miss Lewis," JARVIS replied.  "Internal mailing list, though not exclusively SHIELD members."

"The Foundation?" she asked.

"Indeed."

She tapped the message open.  Under the innocuous subject line, Darcy had written, 'Thought you might like this one.'  The forward said #fanfriday, with a picture of Pepper -- surrounded by an Extremis glow and protecting what looked like a phone booth full of the Avengers.  It was obviously hand drawn, and included an artist's name and link at the bottom.

She stared at it for a minute.  It was -- well, she wasn't sure exactly how she felt about it.  "Call Darcy," she said.

"Hi, this is Darcy," greeted her as soon as the line connected.

"I got your email," Pepper said.

"You don't sound mad," was Darcy's reply.

"What's fan Friday?"

Darcy didn't hesitate.  "Fan Fridays -- just what it sounds like.  The mailing list gets spammed with fanart.  Lots of drawings, photos of grafiti, some rocking knitting stuff.  It's all shared with permission, no worries."

That had definitely not been at the top of her worry list.  She eyed the picture again.  "Why?"

"Why do people make it, or why do we share it?"

Pepper tapped her fingers on the desk.  She could certainly speculate, but Darcy was the one who'd forwarded the thing in the first place.  "Both."

"Pretty sure you're not interested in hearing about societal archetypes and consensus building based on shared frames of reference, but the grant writing department has got that argument nailed down if you are," Darcy said.

"Give me the short version," Pepper told.her.

"I think people like to feel a connection.  Like, you can be flipping through a book of art, and thinking, 'hey, this artist is really talented,’ or whatever.  And then you turn the page and they've drawn a picture of Cookie Monster, and now, suddenly you're engaged, right?  You know Cookie Monster, they know Cookie Monster, boom -- connection."

Pepper was pretty sure there was a point in there, but she wasn't clear on whether it was her or Darcy that had missed it.  "So the Avengers are like the Muppets?"

"The Avengers are celebrity heroes," Darcy said.  "Flashy, recognizable, and most importantly, doing what they do for the public.  The Avengers act for us, and people will like it or not like it, but they've sure as heck got a stake in it.  And an opinion."

"It's a nice picture," Pepper conceded.

"Yeah, well, it gets a little stressful playing catch-up with all you flashy do-gooders, hence the mailing list.  You want me to add you? Different topic every weekday, weekends are off because we like to pretend we have a normal work week."

She eyed the screen again.  She thought about walking in on Tony video chatting with the kid from Tennessee, and Bruce making tea in the kitchen, and JARVIS' daily weather report.  All of them, always, reaching out.  Boom, she thought.  Connection.

"Sure, why not?"

"It's worth it," Darcy said.  "Just wait till you see takedown Tuesdays."

.

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