"The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think."
- Horace Walpole


Tony Stark does not think in words. Words are far too limiting to the way his mind works, not nearly fast enough or expressive enough. He thinks in abstract concepts, ideas and diagrams and how things could be better. He thinks in computer code and shorthand and the languages he's made up. He thinks in all of these things, and none of them, because one of them would be so limiting, and he thinks in more dimensions that he can shake a stick at, which is another thing he has to work on. He's pretty sure if anyone with telepathy tried to attack, he would be able to overpower them with the madness of his mind alone, all science and magic and mystery wrapped up in languages even Allspeak couldn't help Thor comprehend.


Clint Barton thinks in signs. It's not that he's been deaf that long, but now that he is, and he was forced to learn sign language by SHIELD, specifically Coulson, because it was a handy skill, (he still wasn't sure if that was an intentional pun or not, because Coulson didn't even crack a smile, which meant nothing) it sort of sticks. He never really thought about how he thought before, but now that he does, he realizes it was never in words. It was never logical, A to B sort of thinking. He was never a linear sort of person. He was parallel, A to X because M, capable of seeing things that others didn't, or maybe just didn't want to, because he looked at them differently, not in sentences, not like people wrote (he blamed it for why his mission reports were such a mess, the grammar differences) or spoke, but in ideas and concepts wrapped up in facial expressions and nuances. And if he was hidden away at a distance, they would never even try to hide it.


Natasha thinks in weakness, in weak spots, abilities and escape plans of every room she enters.

She looks at people and doesn't see features, she sees strengths and weaknesses and pressure points, things she can use if something happens, places to exert stress on if she needs to escape.

She knows it's not normal to see things this way, it's not right, but she can't remember a time before she was taught to think this way, and she's not sure she can learn how to now.

It serves her well in her job, even if it keeps her from forming attachments to other people, fearing they will do the same to her, find the points to press and poke to take her down.

(She knows Clint's, and Clint knows hers, and somehow it balances out.)


Bruce thinks in words. Hulk doesn't. Hulk thinks in threats and danger and SMASH. Bruce often thinks it's why they have such a hard time communicating, because Bruce uses too many words for Hulk to understand, and because Bruce can't understand what Hulk is trying to tell him, being inherently linguistic at heart.


Steve Rogers, ever the artist, thinks in pictures. In images, in diagrams, in battle plans. His shield always comes back to him, and it's no lucky throw. He has to be able to see the angles, plan the bounces, all to have it end back in his arm, where it belongs. And he does, so it does.

But the hard thing about pictures is that they fade with time. Details grow blurry, edges become fuzzy, sometimes pictures can be forgotten altogether, the only hint that it was ever there being an empty spot where it used to sit.

Steve may be old, but he's not ready to lose pictures, to lose memories, yet. So he keeps his mind sharp, battle plans and sketches of his fellow Avengers, anything to keep the pictures from fading, because sometimes they're all he has left.


Thor... well, no one is very sure how Thor thinks, or what he thinks in, since they've tried asking him, and they don't understand his response. They assume it's in ALL CAPS and shouting and VERILY and all sorts of words that he uses and don't quite fit into modern conversation.

Thor doesn't tell them how he thinks because they couldn't understand. They don't have Allspeak, and the concept of how he thinks would destroy them, or at least a lot of what Tony understands about physics, and Thor knows how delicate Tony is when it comes to the laws of physics.

So he doesn't tell them. Instead he booms for more pop-tarts and smiles at them, and they all move happily forward in their own little worlds.


And it works. Unmatching, but somehow all fitting, ways of thinking. After all, they are a team.