frea_o: (Olivia Smiling)
[personal profile] frea_o
Title: Talking like Peter Lorre
For: [ profile] crazy4orcas
Rating: PG, warnings for circle of life stuff and animals eating other animals
Fandom: Avengers
Pairings: Clint Barton/Natasha Romanoff
Summary: Clint has a very important question for fellow zoologist, Dr. Natasha Romanoff.
Length: 1054 words

So today because it's Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve is awesome, I am going to try and do some "Fic and Dash" things for random people on my f-list. Muhahahahahahahahahaha. First up, [ profile] crazy4orcas! Happy Christmas!!!


“Barton.” Fury finds him in his bunk since it’s downtime and his shift doesn’t start for another four hours. “Change of plans. Get in your gear. Dr. Romanoff needs a buddy.”

“What?” Clint asks, and a second later, puts it together. “No can do. She’s mammals, I’m avian, our sort simply doesn’t mix.”

“I’m sorry, who was it that made the call that we needed an Orcinus orca expert to round out our research party? Yeah, I thought so. Get your ass in your long johns, Doctor, she wants to leave five minutes ago.”

The base commander strides off, muttering under his breath about impulsive Russians and the bird-brained bird scientists who insist upon fairness, and Clint knows enough about Dr. Natasha Romanoff that he scrambles into gear—she’ll definitely leave without him. She regards base rules as more like guidelines. Guidelines to be ignored, specifically. So he tugs on his gear as he runs through the Selvig/Hill Information, Experimentation, and Learning Division (any excuse, he thinks, to give a place a nickname like SHIELD) base, blowing past Banner’s crustacean lab, Tony’s engineering division, and the cafeteria, which is full of the night shift getting dinner before they collapse.

Night and day look pretty much the same in Antarctica. It throws the newbies off, but Clint’s four months into his stint, so he’s used to it.

He finds Dr. Natasha “Call me ‘Sweetheart’ again and I shall use you for chum, Dr. Barton” Romanoff down at the harbor, signing out a zodiac. She doesn’t seem particularly impressed with how fast he’s made it across base, though she should be, Clint thinks. He was really booking it. “You made it,” is all she says.

“Fury didn’t let me know until five minutes ago. Give me a break.” He signs the acquisition form, too, and notes their charted course. It makes him groan. He was hoping to get out of the zodiac and walk at some point, but it’s all water. “Really? Weren’t you there last week?”

She raises an eyebrow. Her parka is black, with a stripe of bright red down the front, but she’s wearing the same cold-weather gear he is, otherwise. His own parka is a lurid shade of purple. What? He likes purple. It’s easy to spot, not as easy as red or anything, and he likes it. Everything in the science world is orange or red.

“You’ve been paying attention to where I go, Barton?” she asks as she picks up the med-kit, leaving him the second, heavier bag of her surveying equipment, and the camera bag as well.

For a second, though, he falters. “I just happened to spot it while I was signing out some equipment last week,” he says, and it’s probably the lamest lie he’s ever told, but Natasha mercifully says nothing as they head down to the slip where their zodiac is located. From there, they check the comms, report their destination and ETA to dispatch, and head out, Clint at the rudder. He prefers piloting the boats.

He doesn’t prefer the cold, but he should have thought about that before he decided that penguins sounded pretty cool.

Natasha doesn’t speak as the zodiac cuts through the miles of brackish water. He watches her out of the corner of his eye—though she’s as covered up as he is and it’s kind of pointless. Miles pass in silence.

When she goes tense and grabs his arm, he eases back on the throttle. “What?” he asks.

“I spotted a fluke. Cut the engine a minute, will you.”

He shrugs and does so without pointing out that it’ll take them even longer to reach their destination. She’s smart. The two PhDs in zoology mean she can probably do math. He scans the water, looking for any signs of tail or fin. “Why orcas?” he asks, quite without meaning to.

She doesn’t look away from the water. “Why chinstraps?”

“Well, duh. They’re cool. Also, they don’t eat innocent penguins.”

Though he’s teasing (well, about some of it, chinstrap penguins are cool), Natasha finally looks away from the water. “You really believe in innocence in the wild, Barton?”

“Well, yeah, have you seen orcas’ faces? They look so evil.” He attempts to make a grimacing face, but the effect is probably ruined by that his face is covered by a balaclava.

“You’re an idiot,” Natasha says, but she sounds actually affectionate for once.

“Plus, every time I think about it, I can’t help but think if they had human voices, they’d all talk like Peter Lorre.”

“I do not understand your American pop culture, Barton.”

“So many cultural gaps, Romanoff. You, me, movie marathon in the cantina tonight. This can be fixed.”

She tells him something in Russian. Clint figures it’s probably not kind to him or his relatives, but at least she’s kind of smiling at him. For a minute, silence falls over the zodiac as they drift in the chop, waiting for a tailfin or a dorsal fin to make an appearance.

Nothing happens. After a moment, Natasha lets out a soft sigh. “We’d best get on with it,” she says, her voice neutral, “if we’re going to make it back to base on time.”

Clint, however, is torn by the desire to wait just a few minutes longer, to see if any of the whales surface. For all of his joking, he does like orcas. He just doesn’t like the fact that they eat penguins, even though he understands it. So he reluctantly reaches to pull the choke—

And twenty feet away, a massive orca, probably the biggest he’s ever seen, explodes out of the water. He hears Natasha’s gasp as it porpoises beautifully, arcing up and out of the water so that he can clearly see the four black spots on its white belly. For one beautiful moment, frozen in time, the orca seems to hang gracefully in the air…and then they’re drenched with water so frigid it burns as it crashes back to the sea.

Clint swears a blue streak, but Natasha, Natasha is laughing like a lunatic.

“That,” she says, “right there is why orcas, Barton. Now let’s get a move on.”

Clint, however, reaches for a dry face-mask from his waterproof bag. “They still eat penguins,” he says, and that settles that.

Date: 2012-12-24 07:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So basically she likes orcas because they're trolls. Makes sense.

Date: 2012-12-24 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I knew you were going to get that!!

Date: 2012-12-24 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks!! I had a lot of fun researching Antarctica for this. Muahha.

Date: 2012-12-24 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! =D I'm grinning like an idiot right now! I got Clint/Natasha ORCA!fic for Christmas!! **SQUEE** This was awesome and just about the coolest thing EVER, YOU'RE awesome!

Peter Lorre! Purple parka! Natasha's comment about innocence in the wild! Penguins are cool!

I'm having a hard time picking out a favorite part, it's just so well put together, but this ranks right up there:

And twenty feet away, a massive orca, probably the biggest he’s ever seen, explodes out of the water. He hears Natasha’s gasp as it porpoises beautifully, arcing up and out of the water so that he can clearly see the four black spots on its white belly. For one beautiful moment, frozen in time, the orca seems to hang gracefully in the air…and then they’re drenched with water so frigid it burns as it crashes back to the sea. -- What a gorgeous description!

I know it's a "Fic and Dash", but if you were so inclined to continue . . .

I wish you the Merriest of Christmases!

Now, I've got to go restock my exclamation points, I thinks I've just about used them up.

Date: 2012-12-24 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're so welcome! I was going to set this in the San Juans, but I realized everything I know about them comes from you and I didn't want to get anything wrong. So I went with a neutral (and really fricking cold) location. It was actually supposed to be shorter, but it was such a neat idea that I couldn't seem to keep it contained. :) But I'm happy to hear you liked it!!!

In my headcanon, Natasha startles Clint by showing up for the movie night, and they watch Arsenic and Old Lace and have a competition to see who can catch more popcorn in their mouths (Clint wins because he never misses), and they start assisting each other on research trips more and more often to the point that the rest of the SHIELD base crew jokes that they're science dating (Tony and Banner, obviously, are science bros). When Clint gets tapped to work on conservation of the endangered Galapagos penguins, Natasha takes a sabbatical from her research program to go along and study local species (Clint does the same thing when she's offered a chance to spend a semester lecturing at a prestigious Russian university).

Hee, if you're looking for more exclamation points, better hurry before the Downton and Doctor Who fandoms use them all up tomorrow. Two Christmas Specials airing and it ought to be frightening.

Merry Christmas to you, too!! I hope it's phenomenal!

Date: 2012-12-24 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really liked the Antarctica setting and it gives more of an opportunity to have the others there, whether they be studying the animal life or the ice or how temperature affects things, etc. And there's also the cuddling for warmth angle too. I'm trying to figure out what Fury's research specialty would be, and how about Steve? I just had an image of Steve mushing a team of huskies, lol!

Orcas are found all over, so there's a lot of opportunity for Clint and Natasha to travel. New Zealand comes to mind for both penguins and orcas.

I bet there's going to be a lot of exclamation point usage for Secret Santa too, I may have to double my order. ;)

Looks like our Pern plotbunny has found a friend, you know, just for companionship, so they don't get lonely!


Date: 2012-12-28 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Steve is totally the captain of their expedition, right? ;) I think he's maybe down there doing some research on local currents and the effect of pollution on the region, or studying a very endangered type of whales. And Steve would totally have a team of huskies. Maybe he's their outdoors captain that the scientists who aren't skilled in cold weather analysis like Clint and Natasha (and everybody teases him about his crush on Dr. Peggy Carter, who's down there to study seals). He's a good man, doesn't seem to mind the cold as much though of course it leads to him almost getting frozen through one night. He's one of the few in the base that can make Natasha smile; they play cards and darts in the cantina after hours.

You're very welcome for this, and I fear that the plotbunnies will only multiply. Dragons and orcas hang out together all the time, right??

Date: 2012-12-30 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Steve studying the effect of pollution on the region, or measuring the ice melt -- of course, he's all about saving the planet, right? Dr. Carter is crushing on him too, but she also takes a genuine interest in his team of dogs, the Howling Commandos. And that night where he almost froze, the dogs saved him.

Thor's studying elephant seals and is one of those wackos who regularly goes swimming in the base harbor, in the nude. Visiting reseacher Dr. Jane Foster is plotting the stars in the southern sky and other astral phenomena. Everyone's shocked when Thor persuades her to join him for a swim, but not so shocked when she doesn't make it in past her toes.

Tony developes a new, improved, longer lasting tracking device complete with camera. So Natasha's research expands to include tracking some of the orcas in the area. Clint, of course, volunteers to help her tag the whales. She nearly scares him out of his mind when, while leaning over the side of the zodiac to tag "their" orca (the one from their first trip together), she falls overboard when another whale bumps the zodiac in curiosity. He hauls her back in and they have a frantic ride back to base while he tries to keep her from freezing to death.

Dragons and orcas totally hang out. They're both awesome, intelligent creatures and compare notes about being revered by humans.

Date: 2012-12-31 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Darcy's the expedition photographer and also runs their website. She keeps tossing in personal information hoping to make the expedition more interesting and it does get them more exposure and random donations. Fury has to curb her enthusiasm every so often and make her take down some of the more gossipy bits of information that make onto the website.

Date: 2012-12-28 12:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh wow, Clint studying penguins, my favorites :D And Nat is of course into orcas! And I really like your writing style, this was so much fun :D

Date: 2012-12-28 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hahaha, I adore penguins myself. The local zoo has the greatest penguin house where you can stand right by the tanks as they swim around, and I could probably spend hours there. I like how goofy they look as they hop about on dry land but how sleek and graceful they are under the water. About whether or not I have the Happy Feet soundtrack, I'm gonna keep mum on that subject. ;)

Thanks for the comment! I had a lot of fun writing it, so to hear others had fun reading it made my day.

Date: 2012-12-28 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They are soooooo cute and there's a great display at my local zoo as well :D I was there once with my then boyfriend, who I likened to a penguin all the time due to being long and lanky and kinda waddling when he was trying to accomodate my smaller steps. While we were at the display, one of the penguins seemed to have taken a liking to him and followed him around ;) It really felt as if we were the ones on display, not the birds :D Happy Feet, yeah, not gonna get started on that one ;)

It really was a pleasure to read and I for one would really love to read a sequel ;) Just putting that out there for you ;)

Date: 2012-12-28 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You'll have to team up with [ profile] crazy4orcas and give me a plotline if you want a sequel. ;) But, you know, her birthday is in a couple of days, so I might be persuaded.

It's that or Dragonriders of Pern. One of the two.

Did you ever see the movie The Pebble and the Penguin? I live in Missouri, and there's a song called Welcome to the Good Ship Misery in that film, so I always sing it when crossing between IL and MO (my family pronounces Missouri wrong for the fun of it). That has absolutely nothing to do with penguins themselves, but that film probably explains where my love of the birds came from.

I'm now imagining your then boyfriend dancing like Burt in Mary Poppins with his penguin friend, just so you know.

Date: 2012-12-28 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, that sounds like a plan! And mine is in a month, so... ;) Just sayin' :D

But Dragonriders sounds great as well!

I never saw that movie, but my love for the birds stems from a picture book I had as a kid, wherein a penguin follows his keeper around the zoo and the city for a day :)

Muahaha, that sounds quite alright :D He did dance a bit like a penguin, Burt definitely has more rhythm than he had ;) Maybe I should ask his wife if he's improved with time... And if you need a face to go with that, think of Edward Norton :D

Date: 2012-12-28 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And there's always Mr. Popper's Penguins. I deliberately did not go see the movie, as I loved the book too much to have it soiled by Jim Carrey.

I am now imagining Ed Norton dancing with penguins. Thank you for that.

(An upcoming birthday? Hmmmmmm)

Date: 2012-12-28 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Never read it (doesn't seem to be a popular book here in Germany), but the book sounds lovely. And I also abstained from going to see the movie as it featured Jim Carrey, who is not one of my must see actors...

Muahahah, mission accomplished *grins evilly*

(February 3rd, yesyes, nudgenudgewinkwink :D)

Date: 2012-12-29 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've liked Jim Carrey in precisely two things: Liar Liar and The Majestic, which I find to be one of the most moving movies of all time. But I totalllllly understand what you mean. The book is really cute, though, so I recommend checking it out if you get a chance. Granted, it's a kids' book so I have no idea if it's aged well or not.

And February 3rd, hmmmm. We'll see. :)

Date: 2012-12-29 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I totally agree with you on those two movies! The Majestic really is one of the most moving movies of all time. I'll see about checking that book, I love reading kid's books every once in a while and the synopsis sounds really, really cute. Plus it has penguins ;)

Date: 2012-12-30 07:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Comment jumping to say -- BIRTHDAY FIC -- AWESOME!

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