AUTHOR'S NOTE: This little piece of toothsome fluff is based on an illustration by AstridV, whose brilliant fan art has given me pleasure (and, occasionally, the giggles) for some time now. In this case the illustration came first, and it is only fitting that she be given co-author credit. Alas, FFN does not allow for the inclusion of images, other than the little cover one. If you want to see it in its full glory, go to archiveofourown . works /1031899 (FFN doesn't allow links either, so delete the spaces).
Purists may find this story a bit more comics-verse than MCU; I own neither.
(based on an illustration by AstridV)
"Curse you, Victor von Doom!"
Clint Barton doesn't usually utter battle cries. To top it off, he's doing it while unclicking his seat belt. (Usually not a good idea when Natasha is driving - not because she's a bad driver, but because as someone who kills for a living, she likes to avoid the attention of law enforcement for silly things.)
"Huh?" she frowns at him, her concentration wavering a little at the sight of a horse cart that looks as if something has taken a bite out of the front part. The horse itself is nowhere to be seen.
"I always wanted to say that," Clint explains unapologetically as he nocks an arrow and worms his shoulders out of the rolled-down window for the shot. "And now seemed like a really good time. I mean, he has a solid fuck-you coming, wouldn't you agree?"
Natasha would. Anyone sufficiently unwise to retro-breed Komodo dragons with dinosaur DNA, after Spielberg effectively showed what a stupid idea that kind of thing was, deserves all the invective her partner can muster. Especially since von Doom's transgression against common sense means that the two mere humans among the Avengers are currently obliged to draw the attention of a live T Rex, just so Cap can take out the man and his minions without getting distracted or eaten.
"You got any of those explosive arrow heads left?"
She isn't optimistic, not after the Agincourt-like volley he'd had to lay down earlier to help decimate that herd (flock?) of velociraptors in Central Park, but it's worth asking. This … thing that's currently chasing them doesn't look like it would go without deployment of serious ordnance.
Where the hell is Thor when you need him? The God of Thunder always seems to miss the good ones; his technique for catching frostbeasts would have come in handy.
"Sorry," Clint huffs as he lets fly. "All gone."
The arrow hits its mark - right in the creature's beady eye, of course - but the T Rex just shakes its head and keeps right on going, the pavement trembling under its feet.
"Fuck. Need longer arrows," Clint grumbles. "They don't go all the way into the brain, looks like. Head's too big. Hey – whoa! Watch where you're going, lady!"
Clint manages to stop himself from falling out the window (courtesy of what was recently voted the finest abs in S.H.I.E.L.D. for the third year running, take that, Grant Ward!) as Natasha swerves around another one of those pterodactyl corpses Stark keeps causing to drop from the sky. Not enough they're being chased by a flesh-eating dinosaur, no - Fifth Avenue, however deserted, is now officially a slalom course.
A couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopters have turned up overhead, and are trying to get the beast's attention with the noise of their wings and narrowly targeted beams of light; maybe it's used to pterodactyls buzzing around its head though, because it seems to be paying zero attention. The lights are, however, useful for illuminating the target in the settling dusk.
"Can you hit it again?" she asks through clenched teeth.
Clint takes umbrage.
"Of course I can hit it again, even with you driving. The fucking thing is the size of the statue of Liberty, now complete with floodlights."
Natasha rolls her eyes. Of all the times to be obtuse …
"The arrow, you idiot, not the T … Hold on!"
This time the front wheel clips the tail of one of those pterodactyls, the car bounces and slides a little and … Oh. Eww. So that's where the horse went. Or parts of it, anyway. (Tonight's dinner will definitely be vegetarian, no matter how much her carnivorous partner will whine.)
"Drive the arrow deeper into the skull, with another one."
Clint doesn't say anything, which usually means that he agrees with something she's suggested but can't quite bring himself to admit it out loud. Or maybe he's just stunned into silence by her implicit confidence in his marksmanship. No matter; they are both momentarily distracted by the sight of the Hulk smashing together the skulls of two velociraptors, then shaking them until their spine breaks.
Good thing Banner is on their side.
"Got the angle …."
Clint lets fly just as Natasha hits another … whatever. Best not to ask; the shot is wasted regardless.
Another pterodactyl falls from the sky in front of them, narrowly missing the hood. Just how many of these things did von Doom breed? And how come no one noticed, until the zebras started disappearing from the zoo this morning?
"Growth serum," Stark declares over the comm, and Natasha realizes that she said that last bit out loud. "From DNA strand to … unff …. adulthood in under twelve hours. JARVIS has been downloading von Doom's files."
No wonder the guy is having containment issues.
But a far more immediate problem is the fact that Clint is almost out of arrows, the T Rex behind them is showing no sign of slowing down, and Hulk is now disappearing in the rearview, busily chasing a group of things headed for … Harlem, of all places.
"Aren't dinosaurs supposed to have another brain in their butt?" Clint wants to know. He has to shout to make himself heard as Natasha picks up speed and the wind tears the words out of his mouth. "Maybe if we could get behind him, get him to go after the choppers – that tail is sticking straight up when it attacks …"
Stark crackles back on over the comm.
"Sounds deliciously kinky, Legolas, but JARVIS says that theory was debunked decades ago. The only butt brain around here is von Doom."
Natasha is flooring the pedal at this point, trying to gain on the T Rex so she can stop and give Clint the shot he needs.
"Can you give us a hand, Stark?" she asks as she hangs a sharp right into Terrace Drive. This seems like a good time for repulsor energy.
"Still busy up here," Ironman hisses. "This moron must have watched The Birds a few too many times. But … unff …at least I'll get the prize for most kills of the day."
Fine. Time to make a stand then.
"You ready for a full frontal?" Natasha asks Clint. Eighty meters should do it.
"No time like the now," he presses out around the spare arrow he's stuck in his mouth. "Go."
Natasha slams on the brakes, hard, turning the car a hundred and eighty degrees on a dime and coming to a full stop. Clint lines up the shot as the T Rex charges towards them. (Next time she'll take a red car from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fleet, not one that looks like dinosaur food).
The arrow hisses from the string, followed by the one from between his teeth. (His last – of course.) The first drives into the shaft of the arrow still sticking out of the creature's right eye; the second drives both its predecessors in more deeply.
The T Rex stumbles and falls forward with a roar, emitting a hot gust of the most incredibly foul breath Natasha has encountered since that time she'd been captured by the Albanian mafia. She gags, which isn't exactly helpful, and almost loses her breakfast altogether. (They'd had to skip lunch when the first reports came in about strange creatures pouring into the park, from the basement of the American Museum of Natural History where no one had apparently noticed von Doom's activities.)
The T Rex has clearly lost control over its massive hind legs, but the head is still very much whipping around, snapping jaws lined with teeth that are as long and as thick as Natasha's arms.
"Boost?" she shouts and - thank goodness for a circus-trained partner - Clint doesn't even blink. He just drops his bow, nods and laces his fingers together for max stability.
Natasha takes a run at him, leaps in the air and barely feels his touch on her feet as he twists out of her way, lifting her up high and pushing her forward in the same motion. She flips end over end, past those teeth and a brief (quickly suppressed) vision of what it would be like if she landed inside the creature's jaw, and jamming her feet together, drives the last arrow shaft into its skull as deep as it will go.
There is a squelching sound, followed by a banshee-like shriek and she finds herself clinging to a surprisingly warm, thick-skinned neck. (Pachyderm?) The T Rex' head pitches forward and it lies still, a grey mountain streaked by the lights coming from those hovering choppers.
Natasha holds on for a minute or so more, just to be sure.
"No pulse," she says with no small degree of satisfaction, just as Rogers' voice comes over the comm.
"Got all the minions," he says. "And I think Banner is done with the raptors. Calling in S.H.I.E.L.D for cleanup."
Well, that's that, then.
"Wonder what T Rex tastes like?" Clint looks at the huge body as he helps Natasha climb off the neck in an utterly unnecessary, but appreciated moment of regression to the Age of Chivalry. "One of those suckers would keep all the food banks in New York State in meat for, like, months. If you can find a big enough freezer."
Natasha shakes her head at her partner just on principle. She is just leaning in for a semi-chaste celebratory kiss when Stark's voice crackles into their ears, with a heavy overlay of Metallica.
"Aaaaaand … most confirmed kills of the night goes to Anthony Edward Stark, with a nice and even thirty-eight. Well, almost even. Who feels like chicken tonight?"
"Do you guys always think about food?" Natasha asks.
"Not always. Most of the time we think about sex. Can I borrow your smartphone?"
She is instantly suspicious.
"You're not calling for take-out now, Clint Barton."
"Who said anything about take-out? The T in Rex is for Taxidermy. Do you want to spend the rest of the year listening to Stark crow about his skills as a bird shot? Quality over quantity, I say."
Natasha stares at the brute, grateful it is no longer capable of emitting its WMD breath. (You could bottle that stink and sell it on the black market – lesser things have kept dictators in power the world over.) No way will she be able to sleep, with the head of that thing on a wall in the living room.
"You want a trophy," she says slowly, "For a bragging contest with Stark? Here's what you can have, Hawkeye: A tooth. A whole tooth, and nothing but a tooth. And without plaque."