A Very Special Consultant
: A Very Special ConsultantAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupRating
: The words are mine; the worlds are not.Summary
: Clint's seen that look on surveillance footage; it's the look Summers gives assholes with wandering hands right before she dislocates their thumbs
. 1200 words.Spoilers
: Post-series for Buffy, no comics; post-Avengers for the Marvel Movie UniverseNotes
: For day fifteen of the August Ficathon. Skipping ahead in the timeline a bit, just because. =)
They're about to head out in the Quinjet-- to Ohio this time, and what kind of villain sets up in Cleveland?-- when Hill calls to tell the Avengers they're not to leave until they've collected a 'special consultant'. Clint eyes Natasha speculatively, meeting her gaze from pilot's seat to copilot's, wondering at the faint wry note marring Hill's professional tone. Natasha raises an eyebrow back: no comment, but she's obviously thinking the same thing.
Clint's hearing isn't as sharp as his vision, but even so, he recognizes the stride before their guest even comes within visual range, proving him right. Firm heelstrikes, lightweight but placed with determined grace, the footfalls of a woman with the proprioceptive reflexes of a cat: one who always knows exactly where she is and where she's going. It's pretty distinctive, and a strange talent for someone who's supposed to be a personal assistant... unless that person happens to be Natalia Romanova.
Buffy Summers isn't the Black Widow, but she's something
, that's for sure. Clint knows that Fury's the one who'd passed her résumé to Stark's girlfriend, and that she has a nonstandard relationship with the agency, but what exactly that relationship is
has never been explained to Clint's satisfaction. Fury's asked him to report regularly on any encounters with the woman but never has told him why, supposedly on the theory that it might prejudice his observations. Regardless, Clint recognizes a veteran when he sees one.
Summers moves like a seasoned warrior-- one used to fighting with hand to hand weapons, who values speed and strength over stealth. She never reaches for a missing holster on those few occasions someone manages to sneak up on her; instead, she settles into a martial arts stance, hand sometimes curled as though around the hilt of a knife. He's sparred with her a few times, and so has Natasha, and when she forgets and enjoys herself she has a punch like a mule kick. Not to mention, she has a thousand yard stare to rival any of the Avengers, a pretty fucked up bunch if Clint says so himself.
She may camouflage herself in bland-toned professional wear and mangle the English language worse than Stark on a caffeine rush when she's excited, but he has no doubt that Summers is just as deadly as Natasha in the dark.
There are a few other
things he'd like to explore with her in the dark, too, but he barely knows the woman, and Natasha's eyebrows are eloquent enough as it is about the way his eyes tend to follow her when they're in the same room. Like now: she's dressed in a black outfit a lot like one of Natasha's Black Widow suits with a logo on the front of a red and silver axe, outlining firm, slender curves that he'd love to put his hands on. She's shorter today than usual without the extra four inches' worth of designer heels, but she makes up for that with the fire in her green eyes and the command presence radiating from her diminutive frame. She's no one's assistant in that getup. Too bad Stark isn't there; Clint would love to see the expression on his face.
"Ms. Summers," Rogers is the first to greet her, looking surprised.
"Captain." She smiles back. "Fury brief you guys?"
"Not a word," Clint calls back to her as he keys the sequence to get them moving. "Guess he wants you to fill us in. I take it we're going to be on your turf on this one?"
She smiles at him: a sharp, feral expression he's only seen on her in person once before, that time she caught him and Stark messing around with the paint arrows and demonstrated a frankly amazing throwing arm. He's seen it on surveillance footage too, though; it's the look she gives assholes with wandering hands right before she dislocates their thumbs.
"Are you ever," she says, taking a seat and buckling in as Clint turns his full attention on the controls and prepares them for takeoff. "I don't suppose any of you have heard of a Hellmouth?"
Clint hasn't, but when he throws a sidewise glance at Natasha he catches an expression of intense interest on her face, and Banner nods behind her.
"When I was in Tibet I met a young man who talked about them-- some kind of upswell of radiation capable of disrupting the behavior of an entire town?"
"Something like that... hey, I don't suppose his name was Oz?" Summers asks, curiously.
"If your Oz is a short guy with experimental hair..."
"...and too Zen to be real? Yeah, that's him," she sighs. "Wow. God, I miss him sometimes. But I don't blame him for getting out while the getting was good. Things got a lot worse before we lost Sunnydale-- I don't want to see Cleveland go the same way."
"You're from Sunnydale?" Natasha interrupts, her voice gone flat and controlled.
"Yeah. I take it you've heard of it?" Summers says.
Natasha purses her lips and gives a slight nod, not volunteering anything else.
When she clams up like that, Clint knows not to press, and apparently so does Summers after months of trailing after Stark and the occasional all girl's lunch with Ms. Potts. "Well, at least you're not all
going into this blind, then," she says. "Stark, you on comms?"
"Five by five, Queen Bee," Iron Man inexplicably replies.
"Oh, you are so
not calling me that at SI," she fires back, "and I'm kicking Faith's ass next time I see her. She was just supposed to go over what she knows about that law firm Hammer had on retainer."
"Don't worry; I'll behave," Stark says, glibly. "But c'mon. It's not every day a guy gets to hunt vampires
in a flying suit of armor alongside a real life Wonder Woman."
"Thor's friend Sif fits that description better than I do," Summers scoffs. "Want I should have Clint turn this jet around and fetch her?"
Clint, is he? He smirks at the thought.
"Ah, no; that's all right, Ms. Summers. You were saying?" Stark replies.
She rolls her eyes, then settles down and starts filling in the gaps. Demons, portals, and Old Ones-- things Clint would never have believed before Thor, Loki, and the Tesseract. Things he can hardly believe a little thing like her could take care of. Except when he watches her move; when he sees the look in her eyes; when he hears the flatness in her voice, too much like Natasha's.
"Slayer, though? Seriously?
" is all he says, when she finally finishes.
"Slayer, Comma, The," she replies, owning it with a wry smile. "Got a problem with that?"
Him? The one who brought the Black Widow to SHIELD? Clint lets his return eyebrow say.
Actually, he kind of wants to see if she can draw his bow, now; he's pretty sure that would be the hottest thing he's ever seen. But getting to know her better will have to wait, unfortunately; saving the world from bloodthirsty demons sort of takes precedence.
"Ma'am, no ma'am," he denies over the sound of Stark's laughter, and starts making plans for later.