ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," and "Green Eggs and Hulk."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, JARVIS, Clint Barton, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanova, Bruce Banner.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: This story is mostly fluff, but it has some intense scenes in the middle. Highlight for details. These include dubious consent as Phil and JARVIS discuss what really happened when Agent Coulson hacked his way into Stark Tower, over which Phil has something between a flashback and a panic attack. They also discuss some of the bad things that have happened to Avengers in the past, including various flavors of abuse. If these are sensitive topics for you, please think carefully before deciding whether to read onward.
Summary: Uncle Phil needs to pick out pajamas for game night. He gets help from an unexpected direction.
Notes: Service. Shopping. Gifts. Artificial intelligence. Computers. Teamwork. Team as family. Friendship. Communication. Hope. Apologies. Forgiveness. Nonsexual ageplay. Nonsexual intimacy. Love. Tony Stark needs a hug. Bruce Banner needs a hug. #coulsonlives.

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27. Skip to Part 30.


"Hairpins" Part 28


"Well, I can just custom-order the pajamas, make a note to take care with the measurements, and not mention that to Steve," said Phil. His fingertips danced over the screen, taking color chips from Steve's clothes and furnishings.

Steve actually did like red, white, and blue. Phil didn't want to dress him as an icon when he was supposed to be relaxing, though. He moved those to the bottom of the page. There were a lot of earth tones: rich chocolate browns, warm tans and ivories, dusky blues, a whole swath of dull greens that must have reminded Steve comfortably of the Army. A smattering of brighter colors hinted at Steve's taste for art. He seemed to like the pure primaries. Phil moved those up the page.

"Steve enjoys art. Let's see what we can find in that area," Phil said. Several sets of pajamas appeared, including one eye-searing Warhol Chihuahua print. "Oh god no, less modern pop and more Norman Rockwell."

"More like this?" JARVIS asked. The offending image vanished, replaced by a t-shirt with children cuddling.

"Hmm. Steve doesn't mind wandering around the house in an undershirt," Phil said. "Add sleep shirts to the list of possibilities along with regular pajamas." The image floated to the top of the page. "Come to think of it, check other examples of Americana. Skip the stars-and-stripes stuff, but ..."

"Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet?" JARVIS said, a smile audible in his voice.

Phil laughed. "Yes, exactly. Images of nostalgia. Something to help Steve bridge the past and the present."

JARVIS offered samples of baseball footie pajamas and a deep blue t-shirt featuring a 1957 Chevy. "Closer?" he asked.

"Somewhat. You're drifting back to red, white, and blue though," Phil said.

"Statistically speaking, it's that or the earth tones, and Steve does not seem to share Bruce's desire to fade into the woodwork," JARVIS pointed out. "May we consider those colors if they are not in a flag-like configuration?"

"All right, that's a valid point," Phil said. It felt good to hear JARVIS come out of hiding a little more, showing his own personality beyond the scope of formal search protocols. One thing Phil could do for him was simple inclusion. "I like the Chevy t-shirt but that's a little after his time. Maybe look for characters or concepts familiar to Steve?"

"Searching," JARVIS said. The page flickered with fresh images, only some of which Phil recognized.

"Wait, I like this one," Phil said, grabbing a Mickey Mouse baseball uniform. "This has definite potential. I remember Steve following baseball, and Mickey Mouse is a good piece of cultural art."

"Found it," JARVIS said, his voice satisfied and a bit smug. There on the screen was Babe Ruth's 1938 Dodgers uniform. It would be no trouble at all to turn that design into a set of pajamas and add a pair of house shoes.

"That's it," Phil agreed. "That's perfect." He entered the order. Phil was coming to rely on JARVIS for his insightful judgment, even as JARVIS was trusting Phil enough to reveal more of his true nature.

There was no way to know if Steve would ever show interest in game night, or if he'd accept when Phil felt ready to invite him. Just in case, though, the pajamas would be waiting for him.

Task complete, Phil set aside his Starkpad. Then he changed into workout clothes and headed for the gym. An hour's exercise would give him a good excuse to take the shower he already wanted.

* * *

Notes:

Andy Warhol was a pop artist famous for vivid color contrasts. See the Chihuahua pajamas.

Norman Rockwell specialized in nostalgic art. See the t-shirt with children cuddling.

Sleep shirts are an alternative to pajama sets or onesies, usually worn with pajama bottoms. You can mix-and-match sleepwear separates, or add pretty much any loose comfy tee to a pair of sleep pants.

Americana is the cultural material of the United States, and something categorically precious to Steve. "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet" is the tagline of a classic Chevrolet commercial. It plays on common motifs to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Phil is starting to realize that it takes a little extra effort to coax JARVIS from computer mode into something more social. There are tips for including people with disabilities or from disadvantaged groups. Similarly interfacing human and AI people requires some forethought to accommodate their differences.

Shyness can be a personality trait or a contextual feeling. Both are okay, but sometimes people feel limited by their own shyness or don't want to see it hindering a friend. There are ways to make places more welcoming for shy people and to talk with them comfortably. Know how to teach children about social interactions. You can overcome shyness and learn to participate more in groups. While JARVIS is snarky and voluble with Tony, he is far more unobtrusive and diffident around other people, unless either coaxed or provoked.

See the baseball onesie pajamas, Chevy shirt, and Mickey Mouse baseball pajamas.

Babe Ruth was a famous baseball player. This site has some information about his later career, along with a picture of the Dodgers uniform from his coaching season. It combines Steve's home timeframe, his favorite team, a famous player ... and then the house slippers are modern.

Washing eases guilt. Humans seem to have an instinctive desire for water when they feel spiritually or morally dirty, and they want to wash their hands or bathe. Phil is working through the guilt from what he did to JARVIS, but he still really really wants that shower. He just doesn't want to be as conspicuous as bolting for the bathroom for no other obvious reason.


[To be continued in Part 29 ...]

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-23 01:43 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
Hm. Wasn't Steve canonically supposed to have been an art student about when abstractions in art were picking up momentum? And the 1920s/30s had a lot of bright printed material. I actually think he might really go for abstractions and brighter colors - but that doesn't mean that's what Phil thinks, after all.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-23 04:11 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: little girls are made of everything kick_ss (sweetness and angles)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
And sometimes I'm shocked by pieces, because I've only seen them in black and white. Phil probably got a bit more art education in school, but there wouldn't have been more color printing.

Norman Rockwell is also a city boy, about a generation older than Steve. There is one piece that was popular as a puzzle, a soldier returned to his tenement's back being greeted by a surprised matronly woman out to hang the wash.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2014-04-24 01:32 am (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Pre-Serum Steve Rogers, shirt and suspenders (Sad Steve)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Last time I saw one I tried to find a publishing date. No dice. Was one of the major brands, as you'd expect for the licensing needed.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-24 03:04 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
I know the one you're talking about, it's from around the end of the war.

I actually can see Steve being really interested in Rockwell on a personal level - he would've grown up with Leyendecker, then Rockwell being prominent illustrators, and my impression is that what the general public "knew" about those guys at the time was very sanitized. Someone who suddenly skipped ahead in time from 1945 to 1980-2000ish would learn about Rockwell's human side too, which includes;

  • being a scrawny kid who put a huge amount of effort into joining the Navy because It Was the Right Thing to Do
  • serving as the front man for what "the American common man" was supposed to think
  • splitting up with an employer over willingness to tackle social inequality rather than simply present the same official face
  • somehow, still retaining a batch of basically populist and optimistic views

This sounds exactly like a superhero we know.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-04-24 03:37 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
Thanks for the links! Shahn especially is someone I've um, avoided because it's so kinda expected out of me, but he's really cool. Y'know who else comes to mind as a possible Steve Rogers favorite, is Joan Miro. Admittedly I say this because of the guy's run-in with fascism and I love his weird scribbly stuff.

Getting Through

Date: 2014-04-23 05:45 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Phil is coping, putting things in perspective, still. It'll take a while, and it's clear he still has guilty twinges during game night.

Jarvis is testing a little more, too, which helps.

Steve loves art, clearly. One way to begin bridging the gap from his youth to the present might be to begin before his birth year, with Art Nouveau, and let him get a look at some of the fully realized, best pieces across the media of oils/watercolors, lithographs, glass, furniture, sculptures, architecture... just let him SOAK in it, and then let him follow a particular medium forward.

There's a legitimate need to get him caught up on TECH, but that's not his favorite part of the world. Heck, his mother probably did her laundry by hand in the bathtub and had a line hanging above the tub, or a shared line on the roof of a larger building--(not because of the scarcity of washing machines, but because it was expensive and time-consuming to haul clothing to and from a laundromat). Think about how much tech THAT involves now, but most of it is "behind the curtain". I'd still not want to go from "wash (with maybe a few time markers), rinse, spin" on the dial to a common household model made after 2010

Basically, Steve needs something to act as a /framework/ to interconnect technology, history, social changes, fashion changes, language drift and slang, music...

Re: Getting Through

Date: 2014-04-23 07:50 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Pre-Serum Steve Rogers, shirt and suspenders (Sad Steve)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
In terms of a modern load, Steve and Bucky didn't have that many clothes and linens together, likely as not. I'm not sure when the Chinese laundry switches over to machine and coin-op. Basin, with a wash board. I'd think any tub would have been a communal floor, saying their building had such a thing. Not all buildings had hot water.

Re: Getting Through

Date: 2014-04-23 08:01 pm (UTC)
thnidu: 50 stripes, alternate red and white, radiating from a central point, and 13 blue stars in a circle. By me. (Glory Variation #2)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Coin-op: 1947, it seems … and the first one in the States only a few miles from here, and still in business!

Re: Getting Through

Date: 2014-04-23 08:20 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: very British officer in sweater (Brigader gets the job done)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Makes sense, the factories would have been ready to make something other than munitions.

Re: Getting Through

Date: 2014-04-25 01:57 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: very British officer in sweater (Brigader gets the job done)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
The post-war takes a lot of dammed up desire, matches it up with modern production, and gets going. But along with that you get the advertising machine and the planned obsolete. At first, that was a means of diffusion. The old car might be a fine starter car, but with the suburbs what was a 'nice way to get into the country' becomes more and more a requirement. (Ford had sped that himself because he hated beer gardens. Those anchored the ends of trolley lines and also served as 'family rooms' for people living in close quarters.)

Re: Getting Through

From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart - Date: 2014-04-26 11:47 am (UTC) - Expand

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Re: Getting Through

Date: 2014-04-23 10:31 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
OH, thank you, thnidu! I was going to make the same point, but you've got better typing-fu or google-fu than I do today.

Also, a detail- mechanical "washing machines" and mechanical wringers, were well established, and combined into one right around the turn of the twentieth century. Access to said machines, though, was about as spotty as any other developing tech as it worked its way across a country of largely dirt roads and occasional train tracks.

Re: Getting Through

Date: 2014-04-24 03:46 am (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Ray gotta eat him up with a big spoon (Ray with marshmellow creme)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
And much more likely to appear on a farmstead where there were many clothes to be soiled and not labor enough to get through the day.

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(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-23 07:51 pm (UTC)
thnidu: edited from img383.imageshack.us/img383/3066/ss35450qf7.jpg (smiley)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
These ¶¶. Perfect, forsooth, and warming.

"Found it," JARVIS said, his voice satisfied and a bit smug. There on the screen was Babe Ruth's 1938 Dodgers uniform. It would be no trouble at all to turn that design into a set of pajamas and add a pair of house shoes.

"That's it," Phil agreed. "That's perfect." He entered the order. Phil was coming to rely on JARVIS for his insightful judgment, even as JARVIS was trusting Phil enough to reveal more of his true nature.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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