1964-03-15 - Wooden Nickels
Summary: Natasha approaches Clint with a proposition.
Related: Meanest Town on Earth
Theme Song: None
clint natasha 

The partially underground facilities that ACT-F has appropriated from the Baxter Building certainly provide the needed support for the nascent organization. As the agency has grown they've sprawled out further, under the watchful eye of the higher ups. For most of the people as they come onto duty they're shown a room, given a brief tour, then set off running towards whatever tasks they are aimed at. For some it's been compared to like trying to ski down an avalanche and drink from a fire hose at the same time. Pretty hectic.

Luckily, for what sort of passes as an old hand in the agency, Clint Barton is past that phase. Or, at the least, he's pretty good at faking it as he makes it. His own training cadre has their routine set, he's providing support and helping people hone their skills, and in being one of the few departments that feels they have a strong handle on what they're supposed to be doing… they've been able to translate that confidence into seizing what facilities they feel they need.

Like today, in what passes for the break room in the sub-basement, Clint is standing there against the wall while the coffee percolates with his arms folded over his chest. Nobody else is there, but he looks around, brow furrowing as he looks out at his 'domain' and crinkles his nose slightly. Then, to himself, he murmurs. "I need a window in my office."


There's an oddity to wearing the people's skin that most people struggle to complete. But the ability to blend with others means finding a way to get into even some of the most secure places. Wilson Fisk's personal assistant, dressed in her finest office clothes — a pencil skirt, white button-up blouse, and a strand of pearls at her neck — the clap of heels along the floor sees a sleek red-head peering through the door of the break room.

A single wry eyebrow arches, "You need to not have an office." her ankles cross as she takes a step forward and leans against the frame of the door. It's a wonder how she got in the building, but then Nat always has her ways. Her lips quirk into a small smile. "And here I thought you were more hands on." She shrugs.


Now ACT-F is a place that has its fair share of people from around the world. Particularly the large contingent from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Hawkeye has had words with a good chunk of them, including a few super powered Russkies who were doing their bit for czar and country in their capacity here. But that red-head, those eyes, that quirk, they were perhaps the last set of features he had expected to see here, away from his old job and what past might haunt around.

When his blue eyes slide to her, his hand still resting at the side of the coffee machine, he does a good job of keeping any expression from his features. She could almost read the caption in his thoughts, 'Oh, old partner. Hnh. Neat.' Except one small micro-gesture gives him away, the slightest lift of the outside of his left eyebrow, and the faintest crinkle at the corners of his eyes.

"Every fella needs a place to hang their hat." He offers in rejoinder, giving her a look over, marking tell-tale signs of stance and armament. All part of the dance first embarked ages ago in Munich perhaps. "You might be a bit lost, miss. The secretary pool's upstairs."


A few sliding steps bring the redhead into the break room and her hands clasp lightly behind her back. Her gait, her general movement, and the ways in which she sashays give clues to trained eyes. She's carrying. A handheld weapon strapped to her thighs. A set of metal knives clings to the outside of her hips. She treads to the coffee pot, green eyes honed in on the coffee machine. "It's a wonder you types can make your own coffee," her voice has a husky quality. "Especially with the secretary pool all the way upstairs."

She lifts her eyebrows and then twists to face the machine. Her fingers, adept as they are, nimbly work at the pot, spying the amount of grounds for a single pot. Deftly she works at readjusting the amounts. "I take it you need sludge to operate around here." Clearly.


"You'd be amazed what skills I've picked over the years, brewin' coffee is just onea them." His lip twitches as he pushes up and away from the counter, letting the coffee continue to burble quietly though it's rather near completion. But there's a moment where he glances towards the door, perhaps checks the clock on the wall, and with little ceremony he strolls over and shoulders the door closed, blocking them off from casual eavesdropping. Then again chances are they're being monitored seven ways to Sunday no matter where they are in the building.

Yet he turns back towards her, with at least the mild comfort of more privacy and addresses her, "Been a dog's age." No names of course, so rarely do they offer names. "Talked to an acquaintance." Of hers, of his? "Made some noises." About you.

He pulls out one of the chairs from the break table and twists it around, sliding it towards her in offering if she wants to make use of it. But then he tilts his head to the side. "Curious what strings have been pulled for this and here." Her being here, what she wants most likely.


With the door closed, Natasha slides into the offered chair. She straightens in the chair and crosses her ankles beneath the seat. Discerningly, her green eyes follow him as he moves, a silent assessment that follows. She manages a soft, demure, and altogether polite smile as her hands fold lightly on her lap. "It's always a dog's age." Her chin lifts slightly.

Her green eyes hone on him at the mention of an acquaintance. "Which one?" Because there are so many acquaintances in their line of work. "Useful?"

Her eyes follow the lines of the room, attempting to spy any devices to indicate other ears paying attention to their conversation. She hums as her smile eases, warming easily with the last. "Oh, well, just work," anyone listening would find that casual enough. "My boss has an interest in what you people do here." She reaches into the purse she'd had tucked under her arm and draws out a pack of cigarettes. She slides it towards him, a silent offering.


An opposite one is commandeered, but he slides it around with its back to his chest as he straddles it and leans forward with his arms upon the tabletop. A quirked eyebrow heralds his words as he murmurs to her in response, "One of the faces here, very prominent. Blonde." His lip twitches as if that was enough to sum her up, which the way she probably knows him might very well do so. Darkstar? Probably.

But he spreads his hands slightly, "As for useful, dunno." But he allows the line of conversation to shift as he tilts his head her way, "Which boss is this?" He asks as the packet skids across the tabletop to him. He snares a smoke, snaps open a lighter and flares the flame to life to get a good ember going on the tip before he sets the pack back down along with the lighter and slides it back towards her.


Lithe fingers draw a single cigarette from the pack, and she lights it with the offered lighter. She takes a long puff on the cigarette, and then releases her breath slowly in a puff of smoke. She manages another flicker of a smile at the mention of a blonde. "Mmmm," she hums around the cigarette now pressed between her lips. "Wilson Fisk," she answers lightly. "I'm his personal assistant," her eyes glimmer with some unspoken mischief. "I'm Natalie Rushman. Came this way to deliver some files." It might be some proximity of truth, but it's hard to know for certain.

The song and dance in its familiarity earns further thought. "And you? As I said, I didn't think offices were in your future." The words drip with easy honey. Natalie has her own agendas. "I could try to find you something at Fisk Industries," she could use a marksman. "Interesting choice here though."


The first smile is there, given at the small concession he's allowed to make now to use that name, "Nat. Hnh." His smile curls around the cigarette as he takes a drag and then leaves it in the corner of his mouth as if forgotten for now. Blue eyes drift back to her and he gives a small nod.

"Fisk. Not exactly my bailiwick, but what I've heard doesn't exactly make him a gold ring ta grab. Unless yer branching out in other directions."

He leans to the side and pushes a hand through that unkempt mop of hair that's on the top of his head. "But m'sure you got yer reasons." He lets that part of the conversation droop as he instead takes up the challenge of her latter words. "Oh I'm doin' fine alright here. Not to say you couldn't twist my arm inta moonlighting for ya." Of course the last time she did she left it broken in two places.

But he cocks an eyebrow, "Things here are decent. Good, clear sort of angles, straight paths. Not too much gettin' in the way of a good shot. A lil simple…" He lets his eyes wander a bit, lifting upwards as if to consider the entirety of the building and ACT-F, but then he meets her gazea gain. "But if you got somethin'… make yer pitch."


"It's a job," Natalie shrugs her shoulders. It's moments like these that the differences she unearths with each persona come to light. Natalie's mannerisms were so very different than her own. Expression didn't need to be shielded. The pollyanna routine worked easily in such times. "And the Fisk's are good to their employees. They're not bad, anyways," as far as marks are concerned. She takes another puff of her cigarette.

Her hand instinctively reaches downward to squeeze Clint's. "And her I thought you liked angles," her lips hitch up on one side into a too-easy crooked grin, complete with a flash of white teeth. Those green eyes cast down towards the table. "If I recall, you had a way with curves," her cheeks flush. Natalie Rushman would never make such an allusion without blushing. It wouldn't be in her character.

"My pitch?" her head turns and her chin drops. "This would be a personal favour. I hire many contracts through Fisk's assets," she shrugs. "I'm devising a new angle. Of course, it wouldn't be anything as straight as what you do here."


The wide-eyed act doesn't phase him, though she's known this from the past. Then again the fact she's throwing it out there brings up other questions. He gives her a nod and pats her hand gently on his own, then causes his chair to creak a bit as he pushes it back to gain his feet. "Alright then, Nat." He ashes his cigarette into the plastic red plastic ash tray on the table, stifling the life out of it and then stepping to the side. "But favors only go so far."

That said he moves toward the door, reaching for his jacket on one of those hooks next to the exit. "C'mon, we'll grab some brats and you can tell me why I'm about to lose all sense of good judgement and agree to this." With that said he starts through the door, waiting in the hallway for her to come along with.


A musical laugh follows the notion of Clint losing good sense. "That's assuming you ever had, darling," Natalie's voice takes on a sing-song lilt, emitting that same musical quality. She slides up to her feet and tugs on her skirt, drawing out all of the wrinkles created by the position in the first place. Her hands clasp lightly in front of her and the pair are out onto the street in mere minutes.

Natalie twists around, scanning the horizon and immediate area around them. Her lips turn upwards and she leans towards him to link arms with him — it's part of Natalie's schtick, and she wears it easily. "So, how about this? I pitch you, annnnd I buy you a brat?" She flashes him a smile. Her cheeks flush slightly, "Seems like a win for you regardless." She shrugs.


"What sort of types must you associate with that you think I'd agree so easily," Clint's smirk is one of wry amusement as they're now walking down the street amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. His hands are dug into the pockets of his leather jacket and his gaze is on her own sidelong while she walks along with her arm slipped through his.

Yet out here, in motion and transition is always one of the best ways to avoid eavesdroppers, even some of the more technologically inclined ones. So his manner shifts a touch. Not quite as cagey, perhaps not quite as wary… at least specifically of her, his gaze does drift now and then to check their surroundings for followers… curiousities.

"But at the risk of weakenin' my bargaining posture, ya picked a good time. I've been a bit…" He looks away from her, again scanning the crowd but not looking like he's actually scanning the crowd. "At odd ends with m'self. Feels like I got a good chunk of free time. Not much ta take it up."


Like a mask, Natalie seems to fall away, ever-so-slightly. Her voice quiets, bearing the much more serious lower register Clint is familiar with. "You're bored," she observes blandly. "I could tell from your eyes. They lack their ordinary — " her lips purse. " — sharpness." Her eyebrows lift and she shrugs. "Anyways, I'm undercover at Fisk Industries."

She leans closer towards him and drops her voice to a murmur as she says with a rather flirtatious smile (should anyone see the pair together), "I think the Fisk's are involved in some kind of conspiracy." Her lips twist tot he side.


"Yeah," Clint isn't one to dissemble often, and when Nat's right she's right. But that doesn't stop him from commenting along the way, "Well, if yer done looking longingly inta my eyes, then mebbe you can gimme some more on what you're hoping to do about it."

That wry smirk is almost ever-present upon his features for most people, but she knows it for the conversational tool it is for him that he uses to knock people off stride one way or the other. He does, however, keep up the semblance of the act of a besotted couple by resting his hand over hers and giving a gentle squeeze as he offers a small mou of lips that symbolizes a kiss and is accompanied by a 'mwah.'

He looks away and then pauses to turn her to the side slightly near an awning over a department store's walkway. He points casually at what one of the mannequins are wearing as if commenting on it. "Criminal conspiracies seem to be sorta low-rent for your likings, Nat. What do your people care about who the Fisks swindle?"


Natasha hums quietly. "They care about the government," she offers as she inspects the mannequin. Her head shakes lightly, granting silent disapproval to whatever said mannequin is wearing before she points towards a hat in the window. "It's pure infiltration. Conspiracy, perhaps." Her eyebrows lift.

"This powered police force — I think he's manuevering it for something bigger." Her eyes narrow. "Hard to get a handle on the issue, really." Her lips curve upwards again. "Of course, there's always bigger fish," her smile turns lopsided, one of her few tells that seems to suggest that whatever case she's on is far more complicated than the one she's pitching.

"I could use another set of eyes. Potentially."


"You know me," Clint replies as he shakes his head at that hat, as if not liking it at all. But then they're stepping away from the window and moving back down the sidewalk, footsteps steady and even. "Dangle the bait in fronta me and I'll jump." His lip twists again and he gives her hand a small squeeze, this time counterpoint to his words as opposed to the veneer they're presenting to the world.

It's then that they round the corner, the row of food vendors on the side street are in place and doing a brisk business for this time of day, a myriad of office workers already in line and waiting their turn. Once they round the corner, however, he slips out of view into a side alley, drawing her with him so that finally they're out of view of most of the world and most likely would have lost anyone that might have been following them. It's then that his blue eyes meet hers fully and his gaze is firm. "You need me right now? Or you got time to set up an identity and an intro?"


Natasha is easily drawn into the alley. She attempts to catch his gaze, "Give me a few days. I can pull it together quickly." The answer is easily given. "I have a talent for these things." Her green eyes narrow. "But it's bad. I know it seems small in comparison, but it's of interest. Believe me." Her teeth play at her bottom lip. "Bit surprised to find you in the Baxter Building though," she teases.

"I promise it'll be something good. You can even provide me with a background if you want to." She smiles wickedly, "Or I'll get creative. Whichever."


"Ehn," His brow knits as he looks over her shoulder, beyond her just in case someone should enter the mouth of the alley. But then his eyes meet hers again. "I trust your creativity more than mine, and you got a better idea what might be of use." He rests his hands on her shoulders for a moment as if about to impart some sort of stern warning or series of words, but then he seems to think better of it and just lowers his hands back to his sides.

"Just so long as it's something I can pull off. Still have nightmares about that whole trapeze artist thing MI-6 threw at me that one time." He shakes his head.


The hands at her shoulders bring about a glint of mischief in Nat's eyes. Her smile becomes lopsided. A mark of curiosity follows each of the small nuances in her expression, but when his hands return to his sides, her chin drops ever-so-slightly into a vague nod. Understanding seems to creep through the silence.

Instead, Natasha muses. "Who'd have thought you could be even a little intimidated by heights? But, I believe the case files demonstrated that the colours suited you." Her smile grows, complete with a warm flash of teeth, "I'd like to think I'm more creative than MI-6. I'll give you some kind of sordid past that you ca really sink your teeth into."


"Yeah, like I take candy from babies or cut in front of people at the lines in the supermarket, something really evil." Clint's deadpan delivery is a comfortable habit he slips into without thinking, and with her it's easier than normal. But he smirks and takes a step back, "I'll get my ducks in a row back with my other bosses, you let me know when you need me to make the run."

That said he gives her hand one final squeeze before letting his fingers slip from her grasp and turn away. He starts to walk down the alley, waving a hand over his shoulder, "Don't take any wooden nickels, Nat."

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