What I'd like to do today/over the next few days:
- Prettify my docket
- Write A Game for the Gods
- Sketch out One Good Storm, remixed
- Beta a fic for a close fandom friend
- Bookmark a bunch of 2009 fills on comment_fic
Hope y'all have an awesome weekend!
What I'd like to do today/over the next few days:
Hope y'all have an awesome weekend!
A/N: By popular demand, the next installment of Parker and Natasha.
"You're married!" Parker sat straight up in her chair and very nearly spilled her coffee. "I wasn't at the wedding."
Natasha smiled. "No. I didn't know you were free."
Parker frowned. "But you're married and pregnant, and we weren't supposed to be able to do that."
Natasha merely shrugged and sipped her not-coffee. In fact, it was ginger tea. "There's a baby shower if that would make you feel better."
Parker looked a little lost for a moment. "I don't know anything about babies."
That look was one Natasha had worn on her face and greeted in the mirror when she first discovered her supposed sterility was as false as any cover she'd worn. She understood that look, and she had to tamp down on a few unpleasant memories as she set down her tea and wrapped one of Parker's hands in her own.
"We don't know anything when we start," she said. "But we're designed to learn quickly."
It was true. Parker stared at her, then the faintest twinges of a smile appeared at the corners of her mouth.
Three days later, Hardison hacked the SHIELD database, cursed Stark firewalls loudly and profusely, but eventually managed to locate the phone number of one, Clint Barton, landline.
"This guy is living in yesteryear, man." Who still used a landline anymore?
"Just get him on the phone," Elliot growled.
A loud thunk echoed behind them, probably Parker tossing aside another useless baby book.
Hardison and Elliot exchanged looks. Hardison dialed.
On the third ring, a very sleepy, grumpy, confused voice picked up. "Barton?"
"Give me that." Elliot took the phone and said, "It's Spencer. What did your woman say to Parker?"
A long pause. "Huh? What?" Muffled noises. "No, it's Spencer. Give me a minute. What about Parker?"
"She's scaring Hardison," Elliot said, neatly ignoring anything about whether she was scaring him. "She's reading baby books and ordering him to make the craziest gadgets and taking me shopping at baby stores, and she's been asking about our medical histories."
A longer pause. Barton's low chuckle started almost inaudibly but just kept growing into outright laughter.
"Glad you find this amusing, Barton!" Elliot barked into the phone.
"No. Sorry, sorry." He managed to get his breathing back under control with some apparent effort. "Natasha invited her to the baby shower. Hang on a sec. Nat, what baby shower?"
"Stay with me, Barton. You're having a baby?"
Hardison dropped his head to his hands, already starting to moan and groan. Elliot waved at him to hush.
Muffled conversation on the other end. Barton groaned. "Yeah, we're having a baby, complete with shower apparently."
Great. Just great.
"I am not having a baby with Parker," Elliot stated emphatically, glaring at Hardison.
Barton sounded amused. "Congratulations?"
"Good night." Elliot hung up the phone.
Parker rejected twelve gifts before settling on a rocking chair. Three were things she'd stolen before remembering Natasha was trying to turn over a new leaf. Four were perfect—for a baby girl, and they didn't know the gender yet. The next were all suggestions from the guys and she ruled them out for various reasons, mostly, "Baby safe, Hardison."
If only she'd had Sophie to depend on.
In the meantime, she read books, went window shopping, grifted her way into a two-day daycare job, then stayed a week. At the end of it, she decided newborns were difficult to sleep with without a comfortable chair that was safe for parent and child.
Then she talked the guys into giving her a ride and dragged them in with her before they had a chance to escape.
Natasha had on her working face, which told Parker she needed backup. This was proved the minute she was engulfed in a hug by a strawberry blonde named…
"Pepper Potts. So good of you to come."
"Thank you," Parker replied automatically, then immediately went past, hand latched on tightly to Hardison's arm.
Elliot came behind, lugging the chair. "Where do I put this?"
Parker followed where Pepper pointed and Elliot followed Parker.
Natasha found them before he'd gotten the chair on the ground and gave Parker another hug. She stiffened but pasted a smile on her face.
"I'm so glad you came," Natasha said warmly. She shook hands with Elliot and Hardison. "So glad to meet you. Clint's told me a bit about you."
Elliot smiled and nodded that way he did when he wanted out of there as fast as he could.
"Of course, you're staying for the party?" Natasha shot him a pleasant, expectant smile and procured the strained, 'of course,' that was only polite.
Parker had forgotten how good the Widows could be at what they did. She settled for her less subtle you're-not-anywhere-buddy grip on Hardison's arm to convince him they were all in this together.
Natasha gently herded them toward the other guests.
Lots of people. Too many people, names, expectant smiles. It was easier to skate beneath notice and pocket wallets than meet Coulson, Hill, Carter, May, Morse, Fury, and an endless line of other agents intent on greeting this unknown friend of Natasha's. Natasha simply introduced her as Parker and moved her right along. No one really needed to know where the two met first.
But then it was mostly men on one side and women gathered around the gifts, and everything felt a little easier. They talked about babies instead of history.
"Do you know yet if it's going to be a girl or a boy?"
"Have you picked a name yet?"
"They're terrible when they're teething, but…"
They oohed and ahed over Parker's gift, they planned out dozens of ways to spoil the coming girl, and they shared all the joys and headaches that might be ahead of the new parents. Parker listened and let herself sink beneath notice as she watched Natasha be a normal woman with a real smile that lit up her entire face.
On the way back, she leaned forward and put an arm on the shoulder of each seat in front of her.
Elliot glanced back. Hardison kept his eyes on the road.
"I want a baby," Parker announced calmly.
Lucille screeched to a halt.
Parker just grinned. #
I have been a bad girl in general. I went off on a Yuletide kick and have posted literally nothing here on this blog because I don't usually clutter it up with my entire fanfiction ouvre. (There are reasons. I'm prolific. And chatty. And...)
So to play catch up in the least valuable fashion possible perhaps, here are the posts that went on my LiveJournal and were not crossposted here (minus a few of expired interest):
I apologize for how heavily this skews toward fandom. That is the reason I have not been crossposting.
Now, I shall attempt to stay up to date for the rest of the year.
Prompt: December 16. X-Men fic for lithiumlaughter
Author's Note: So it's not 300 words and it's not really ensemble, but I've got Rogue, Scott, and Remy on the docket in a few days, so I just went with the feels.
Kitty loved her friends and she loved the school. She even enjoyed all the smiles and laughter that went into Christmas decorating and the way Kurt teleported mistletoe into place and Jean hummed carols to herself while telekinetically putting up garlands.
But Kitty didn't celebrate Christmas and sticking around this year was making that more and more significant. She eventually shut herself in her room or went outside to the icy gazebo just to get away from it all.
When she finally trudged back inside, Rogue was issuing a breezy, "Hi, sugar," and Scott had opened his mouth to say something with that classically lifted finger when Kurt interrupted the entire greeting by grinning at Kitty and teleporting her to the living room in a cloud of sulpherous smoke.
"Seriously, Kurt?" she demanded.
"Look, look!" Kurt turned her around to the window.
Kitty stared at the menorah and the wrapped gifts in a pretty little pile of Hanukkah paper nearby.
"We counted up the presents and you get to open three each day," Jean told her while she was still processing everything. "We wanted you to light the candles, obviously."
She turned around and hugged every body that had crowded into the room behind her, tears stinging her eyes and smiling.
Leverage + MCU, Parker and Natasha wreak havoc together to pass the boredom of being off missions/jobs
They're not allowed to go on missions (cases) because, as amazing and strong and independent as both women were, they had to make some concession to masculine (over)protective hormones around pregnancy.
"And combat could cause a miscarriage," Natasha admitted with a sigh over her steaming cup of… hot chocolate. She mourned the lack of coffee not for the stimulants but for the taste, which she claimed rather emphatically that decaf could not touch.
Parker glared at her own cup of hot chocolate. "I could accomplish so much. No one suspects the pregnant woman."
Natasha stared at her. No one did. She raised an eyebrow. "What case are your boys working?"
"Wouldn't tell me." Parker scowled more furiously.
Natasha smiled. "I am a spy."
It was a different skillset, one a handful of thieves wouldn't be prepared for.
"Now you promise you'll be careful," Clint double-checked for the umpteenth time while Natasha gritted her teeth and bore it.
"I'm spying, not fighting," she reminded him. "No one suspects the pregnant woman."
"They'll recognize you." His brows furrowed in adorable concern.
She kissed his cheek and waved him off. "Give me some credit, Barton." By the time she was ready, she could have been Parker's sister and she certainly didn't look like the Black Widow in her thick glasses and messy blonde ponytail and bookish outfit.
Parker sighed in contentment hanging upside down from the harness outside of a window while Natasha handed her tools while watching Spencer's and Hardison's positions on her tracking unit.
"You should exercise as close to the due date as possible," Natasha agreed. "This was an excellent decision."
They both looked around for a moment, taking in the breeze, the view over so many unsuspecting heads, the delightful feeling of momentary weightlessness instead of aching feet and back and, seriously, they could not wait to give birth and get back their usual centers of gravity.
Parker righted herself thoughtfully and handed back the glass cutter, which Natasha tucked back into her belt. "Did your Clint think we would be grifting inside the building?"
Feet flat on the ground acting normal? Natasha snorted. "If he did, he forgot who he married."
Parker nodded. "He knows."
Natasha agreed readily. "Yes. Do your boys know about the Red Room?"
"Most days, I don't." Parker shrugged it off with a slight blankness to her face that suggested disassociation and long familiarity with leaving well enough alone. "Shall we?"
"Hardison!" Eliot's voice was hard over the comm. "There's no package!"
"What do you mean there's no package? Of course there's a package. Do you think I didn't lovingly resear—"
Parker's distinctive giggle interrupted them and both men clutched their earpieces in surprise. "Got it! Meet you back at the house later. I've got a playdate first."
"We left you the cleanup," a clipped alto interjected before both women left the line.
The two reconvened at the Tower, giggling and sharing hot chocolate while they put their feet up. Clint came by and smiled, glad they had both found another friend.
Avengers fic for lithiumlaughter
"SHIELD is gone. It's the end of an era." Tony looked appropriately sorrowful. Briefly. Very briefly. "Time to move in then!" He rubbed his hands together gleefully like a little boy.
"Don't hold back, why don't you, Stark," Clint deadpanned over the videophone.
Natasha just shot Clint that raised-eyebrow look that meant 'You thought he would?'
"No, no. Verbal speech is required for this conversation," Tony admonished.
"What do you think?" Natasha asked in Czech.
Clint replied in Farsi, "I think he's crazy and an international target and we'd be crazy to move in, but…" He shrugged. "Might as well."
"Cute," Tony said. "Very cute, kids."
Natasha flicked an eyebrow back at Clint in a Romanovian version of a shrug. "We'll move in."
Steve crashed in the party room in the Avengers Tower penthouse, looking like HYDRA had run him ragged. "Not HYDRA," he corrected. "Bucky."
"Ah. Chasing the ghost." Clint was sprawled out on the couch with the best view of the TV and barely even glanced Steve's way. Dog Cops was on and that took priority.
Bruce brought Steve a glass of water.
"Thank you." Steve nodded.
He shook his head. "He's moving on quickly whenever he stops anywhere."
"You going to do the same, Cap?" Natasha's voice asked.
Steve looked around. He started when he realized she was perched on the back of the chair he was sitting on.
She arched an eyebrow, as if to say, 'Well?'
"Are you going to move into your suite here?" Clint finished for her. "Say yes. Tony's annoying when he's whiny and he's been whining since we said you were off the grid."
"I do not whine," Tony stated quite seriously.
Natasha slid off Steve's chair and patted Tony's shoulder. "You do."
Bruce cleared his throat gently.
Steve looked at him, clearly hoping for rescue.
"We'd be glad to have you."
It was really Jane's fault that they got Thor. She moved in and her boyfriend tagged along for the ride.
"Don’t say I never did anything for you," she joked with Tony over equations at the table in the party room.
Natasha agreed. "Finally, a bit of peace."
MCU + Leverage, Parker was red room for Anonymous
A little dose of crazy and a little failure of memory behind a ridiculously high skillset might indicate something else under the hood.
"Why'm I getting the feeling our thief isn't normal?" Barton asked, shoving the paperwork down the conference table toward his partner.
Romanoff shook her head with a, "Don't be sill— Oh." Recognition flickered in her eyes at the picture on top. "Parker."
Leverage Consulting & Associates was aboveboard on paper, but their activities didn't exactly line up with law-abiding citizens. Natasha brooded over this for approximately two hours until Coulson brought down word that SHIELD wasn't interested in the company, only retrieving their lost gadget.
"We don't normally hire thieves to get back our assets, but it was taken up with several other owners' materials in a mass raid on the storage facility," Coulson informed them. "This crew retrieved all of the stolen goods."
"We'll think about using them in the future," Hill offered.
Visible tension went out of Natasha's shoulders. Clint just groaned. That's all he needed, another crazy ex-Red Room operative to develop a soft spot for.
This Parker was clearly well taken care of. Clint did a double take when he saw the profile pictures of the rest of Leverage's associates.
"Eliot Spencer, you old dog."
"You know him?" Natasha cast him a baleful eye under her red bangs.
Clint didn't really like the new look, but it wasn't worth complaining about. It'd be gone in another half dozen missions guaranteed. "Retrieval expert. Did good work in armed forces before we both went freelance."
And that was as good as a welcome mat.
She took out her burner phone, dialed Leverage's phone number, and handed it to Clint.
"Thanks, partner," he snapped. "May I?"
It was worth it to see her tiny smile.
They didn't mention Parker. If either member of Strike Team Delta knew anything about the Red Room, they knew reminders of it were more than unwelcome.
They walked in with smiles on their faces as the rightful owners of an inocuous looking, expensive vase and shook hands with Alec Hardison before Parker breezed out, got one look at Natasha, and hit the roof—literally. She was up and out of Natasha's typical combat range faster than a spider could scurry.
Natasha just stared at her from across the room for a long moment. She picked up the package and said softly, slowly, "I work for SHIELD now. Perhaps we could be friends." She shrugged slightly.
Clint could see the tension back in her shoulders, see that this actually meant something to her.
Parker bit out in that same flat tone Natasha used to use when he first recruited her, "Prove it."
Natasha tilted her head, pursed her lips, and finally pulled out a USB drive. "Don't get caught with this."
Parker watched as Natasha set it in Hardison's open palm. This clearly was over the hacker's head.
Finally, Natasha tugged Clint's arm and they left. Before they reached the door, she wound her fingers through his.
Three weeks later, a text message appeared on Natasha's nobody-has-this-number-nor-can-hack-it phone at three o'clock in the morning, waking Clint and starting a blue streak. Natasha rolled over and flipped it open. She showed it to him.
Nothing blew up. Coffee at 700 across from SHIELD.
He stared at her. "Friends, huh?"
Natasha shrugged and set the phone back on the nightstand, but a tiny smile played about the edges of her mouth.
No holiday requests for today (feel free to ask for more!), so I thought I'd talk a little bit about the stuff I've been thinking about, largely because I noticed I tend to write a couple commentfic every day regardless of whether I write anything else.
En brief: writing some small prompted thing without an expectation of perfection or any amount of length helps keep my ideas flowing and me writing. I can usually manage it regardless of what else is working well or not.
It made it obvious to me how much I like writing AUs of my AUs and tons of different premises or ships with the same characters and how much it irks me in original fiction when I'm stuck with one solid canon. Did you know I apparently ship all of the following:
It's almost scary. To say nothing of my heaps of headcanons that conflict and different much beloved backstories I make up for these people, among many others in many other fandoms. No wonder I have difficulty sometimes nailing down my original worlds. I like to open things up, not nail them down.
On a different note, I still love gifting fic. I can write for myself and do, but there's something wonderful about giving that kicks in with prompts that makes it so much easier and also that puts on more constraints to what I'll produce because I want the recipient to like it, even if they only care that I like it.
There's a prompter at the comm who doesn't care if the fills tickle their fancy, only that I'm happy with the fic, but I'm only happy if they like it and it suits them, which is hard at times because they like rarepair (how I picked up a couple actually) and don't like Clint/Natasha.
So rambly thinky thoughts.
Happy ficcing to all of you doing Yuletide or Secret Santa (don't get me started :growls: ) or anything else!
deaf Clint for lithiumlaughter
Clint lost most of his hearing before he was six years old. Clint thought it was his own fault; Barney said it was Dad's.
Barney took his own fists to any kid who pushed Clint around in the orphanage and used his own crude homesign to translate for his younger brother. When they left for the circus, it was Barney that showed off Clint's almost preternatural aim and made it clear that being deaf left less room for distractions. It made Clint an asset, not a liability.
So when Clint discovered the Deaf community, it didn't take long for him to join it.
Agent Phil Coulson had been tasked with recruiting Hawkeye, but he ran into his first major obstacle when he found himself face to face with someone who barely bothered with English. A sniper could get away with choosing to engage in sign language or via written English only. A spy didn't share the luxury. It didn't help that Barton's handwriting left much to be desired.
Coulson rubbed his temple then shoved aside his notepad to dig out a copy of SHIELD's benefit package.
Hawkeye eyed it suspiciously for a moment, then took it and flipped through a few pages. He shrugged but kept it.
Coulson started to give him a phone number, then crossed that out and wrote an email address instead.
Two weeks later, he got an email back.
'You really want a Deaf ex-carnie?'
He typed back, 'Can you learn to read lips?'
Coulson muttered to himself. Hawkeye clearly saw the benefit of playing into stereotypes. Understand without being understood. It was the smart thing to do, but it bothered Coulson that he'd bought in too.
Reading lips didn't mean that Hawkeye talked much at all. What few words he did say were when he ws frustrated enough to want to shoot the offending party rather than talk to them. He signed, he read lips, and he gave Coulson looks that shouldn't be repeated aloud but that Coulson had to translate anyway. Anyone who thought deafness was a liability were referred to Hawkeye's mission success rate and his range scores.
Unlike the rest of SHIELD, Coulson was thrilled when Barton brought home Natasha. Finally someone else could repeat those faces out loud.
"I'll be the spy, and you be the sniper," Natasha told him.
'Talk I can,' Clint pointed out.
She raised an eyebrow, as good as saying he didn't like to.
Coulson watched the exchange with interest. Clint would make an excellent spy and did occasionally when they had cause to insert a Deaf person.
Clint merely shrugged.
Natasha nodded. "That's settled."
Fury kept on his sign languages, even if he swore like a sailor while trying to master Russian Sign Language. "I can't have my agents knowing languages I don't," he pointed out.
Mostly Coulson assumed that Fury wanted to know what Strike Team Delta was gossiping about at the back of the meetings.
Loki didn't know sign language. Allspeak was based on speech and even though his words were translated into English and he understood Clint's thoughts when he tried, he didn't realize that Clint couldn't lipread Aesir and didn't understand a word Loki was saying.
Little wonder then he ended up forced to serve a purpose he hated but still managed to have an embarrassingly lousy shot.
Steve asked if he could fly the jet and Clint exchanged glances with Natasha to read her. He accepted the job.
'Okay?' Natasha asks him at last, signing into his hand under the table as they ate shawarma.
Instead of answering, he tangled his fingers into hers.
Request: December 1. Clint has no idea how Natasha found out it was Barney's birthday (or why that should even matter to him) for alphaflyer
Natasha didn't often surprise him anymore, they knew each other so well, but there were times when she still managed to startle him. Clint had almost forgotten the significance of the day when he stumbled out of the bedroom, half asleep and grasping for coffee, to find her sipping a mugful and holding the pot hostage.
"It's your brother's birthday today."
He stared at her for a long moment. How did she find that out? It didn't even matter. His brother was dead.
Natasha held his gaze long enough to make him suspicious of why she was telling him this. "There's somewhere I need to take you." She handed him the pot. "Get dressed."
It said a great deal for their relationship that he did indeed drink his coffee, get dressed, and let her drive him somewhere on Barney's birthday.
"So you hacked my file," Clint seethed into the silence in the car between them.
"Not exactly," which was as good as a you're so far off the mark your name shouldn't even be Hawkeye. But she wasn't giving up her secrets. She wouldn't really be Natasha if she did.
She drove them to an area of New York he hadn't had cause to be in for a long time then parked near a tall apartment building. He followed her up to a small unit and followed her in after she knocked and the door opened.
He stopped cold.
Barney was dead, dead, not standing here in front of him, looking awkward and hanging his head that Barton way when he realized his little brother was staring at him. Barney didn't have an apartment and, and pictures scattered over furniture of a family and an FBI badge on the kitchen table and a bow hanging on the wall.
Clint opened his mouth to curse, to demand, but Natasha broke the silence first.
"They told him you were on a vendetta you shot him." She looked at him a long moment, then turned to Barney and smiled slightly. They had talked before. It was obvious. "Happy birthday." Then she turned and made her way past Clint and out of the apartment, leaving the brothers alone.
Clint stepped forward to lean both arms on the kitchen table. "You're alive."
"Three weeks in ICU." Barney shrugged. "I got better."
After being shot by Clint's arrow in a gang bust. After he'd tried to kill Clint. Brother against brother because they'd played for opposite sides.
"I never even looked," Clint admitted.
"Well, I did try to kill you, even if it was due to bad intel." Barney gestured at the apartment. "I cleaned up, joined the FBI."
Words stalled out. Neither paid attention to who moved first but they wrapped arms around each other and held on for long enough to be brothers again.
They talked, caught up, and Natasha stood watch outside the door, pleased at the length of time without the sounds of angry voices. It hadn't taken her long to put together the pieces after she ran across Barney at the FBI, not knowing everything she knew about Clint. How many Bartons played with a bow and arrow on a job?
It was Barney's birthday, but it was her gift to Clint.