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Painted masks

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Steve makes masks of everyone's faces, paints them in different ways, and they're the main exhibition at an art show.

He uses J to make a plastic cast of the faces, as he can scan and 3d print. Then either plaster of Paris or similar to fill mould.

Some of them he paints as faces, with eyes that don't match the original, or turning a smile sad. Others he paints landscapes onto. Make-up, seas, mountains, war, forests, fairies, animals, cities.

Watercolor, acrylic (layers after layer until you lose the creases of the eyes) felt tip, blue ink, powder paint applied to the mould so it dries into the plaster, collage, neon poster paint, actual make-up that cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars, nail polish, glitter glues. Anything he can think of.

Tony, Natasha, Clint, Bruce, Thor, Pepper, Sam, Darcy, Jane, Fury (complete with the eye patch) Maria Hill, Rhodey.

Every time he lets someone close to his life, they get masked and painted.

When the art gallery showcasing his masks first open, he has 57, plus the 9 originals "Just painted your face, nothing fancy" ones he gives to the model as thanks. By the end, after 6 months and hitting the news, he's made and sold more than 100 masks. Surprisingly, Tony's face with nature scenes, and Jane's face with fairy scenes are the most popular.

He doesn't let anyone know he's the artist, or who the various face models are. Or how he manages to get the expressions in the plaster. All the money goes to charity, and the buyer chooses the charity from a list of over a thousand, both local and international.


When Bucky breaks into the Tower, just the public entrance, (technically he didn't break in so much as enter and leave very quickly before he could be spotted), Steve finds out because Jarvis prints him the face he dreams about each night.

He prints and moulds Bucky's face 16 times that day.

He paints Bucky from the 30s.
From the war.
From the hellicarrier.
He paints Bucky as he used to dress, when they were alone, in rouge, and mascara and call me Jessie, his harsh lines softened.
He paints Bucky as a fairy, his skin patterned in yellows and greens, his eyes solid red and lips dark blue, the colour of bruises.
He paints Bucky with a clown's grin, and hollow eyes.
He paints Bucky with a lion's roar. His closed mouth screaming out silent agony.
He inks word after word into Bucky, line after line of Shakespeare's sonnets, until the red ink blurs.
His favourite by far is Bucky with scenes of the various enemy's of America he missed in his slumber. Russians, Chinese, Libyans, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Cubans, Iranians Syrians, Afghanis. Country and flag blending together.
He paints Bucky's face from the security footage, pained, and dirty.
He places careful patterns of powder into the mould, not knowing until the plaster is set how the wet liquid has distorted the colours.
He draws his old home, and school, and the flat they shared on the next mask.
He colours the next with felt tips, great swathes of colours knocking into one another as they crowd the plaster.
He collages this mask. Guns, and knives, and grenades.
He uses photos for this mask. 5mm × 5mm, photos and film strips. Him and Bucky in every image.
He leaves the last mask plain, with just the protective spray to stop the plaster crumbling.

Sam's concerned by Steve spending 3 days creating with Bucky's face, with minimal breaks and not enough food, but he doesn't call him out on it. Just brings him sandwiches and wraps and sits with his paperwork in the corner out the way.

"I'm done." Steve says suddenly. He's a mess, plaster setting in his hair and on his jeans, between his toes. Paint on his nose, wiped through his eyebrows, all over his clothes.
"You're done?"
"Yep. No more masks. I'm done?"
"So what? You ran out of ideas?"
"Nope. Just… done. Don't feel… itchy anymore. Do you want pizza?"
"Sure. Go shower and get dressed."
"Can we order in? I'm starving."
"Just texted the order through. Go shower, you stink."