1) Devil Within

Darkness had covered the landscape, crawling over the stone jungle and ever growing maze of New York. Clouds obscured the silver moon, drowning the city in icy rain as well as the never-ending obscurity of the night. Few souls were awake, most used to the pounding rain and tenebrous clouds to care.

Lightning flashed across the sky.

Natasha watched the storm as it raged, unafraid and curious. She did not need to wonder about the sensation of the icy pellets; her thoughts did not wander to the imaginings of sensations under the dark of night. No, her mind was lost inside herself. Looking for the devil within herself, the thing that creeped and crawled around in the darkness of her soul, mind and heart.

2) Behind Blue Eyes

Rain fell from the sky, dropping icily on the few who dared stand in it. The frigid drops hit everywhere, leaving no blade of grass dry, no single hair untouched. Natasha stood in the downpour, thankful for the ice-like waves to numb her skin. It was one less thing her mind had to focus on.

Her eyes were glued to a single place, carefully watching a single stone. She read the letters over and over again, trying to make them make sense. She could not wrap her mind around those simple letters.












She would never admit that tears were mixing in with the cold rain. Another reason she was thankful. If anyone ever saw her cry, her reputation would be ruined. And she refused to do it. Clint would not make her cry, that stupid idiot would not get to chuckle wherever he had ended up at her tears. She could just picture him somewhere laughing his ass off at her right now. The little enigmatic hawk that had caught her eye and managed to break every rule Natasha had set for herself.

No one had ever gotten past her walls, managed to heal her heart. She had loved Clint and that was that. She had made the mistake of letting herself feel and now she was paying. No one would ever know what was going on behind her icy blue eyes.

3) 99 Problems

Hard thuds and loud echoing of curses floated down the halls. The Avengers minus two master assassins had gathered to listen to the noises. Curious glances passed between them all, mostly though it was Tony looking to everyone else.

"Will someone go get Legolas and tell him to go stop his girlfriend from destroying my gym? I've too many problems to deal with, that assassin isn't one of them, and my gym doesn't need to be either!" Tony half-growled and half-whined.

A sudden silence fell over the group, including the sounds from the hall.

"Stark, get Barton over here. He needs combat practice."

4) Highschool Never Ends

Music blasted in the Tower, ricocheting off of the glass walls and hardly muted by the seven bodies. Three were jumping around like kangaroos on something, while their partners sat back and filmed the event. Snickers were lost in the booming music and in the chorus of thundering laughs.

"What are we going to do with these?" Steve asked almost too quietly.

"What'd ya think, Cap? Tony and Clint are gonna learn once and for all NOT to take Thor up on a drinking challenge, and we're gonna make Clint's online accounts go wild with fangirls!" Natasha laughed, her body swaying after a little too much asgardian mead.

Steve let out an audible groan as he brought a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. His eyes closed as he tried to block out the music, unsuccessfully. Tomorrow was going to be one long day of putting out the fires, quite literally he feared.

5) Sound the Bugle

Wind brushed gently over the golden fields, weaving through the wheat strands with ease. Watchful blue eyes glided over the stalks, searching for danger as well as answers. The fields that she knew so well could hide no one from her, at least not anymore.

Years ago they had hidden an angel from her and destroyed the shadows that she loved so much. She had asked herself so many times how the simple stalks of wheat had taken apart her best weapon and turned her over to the hawk. Even months after S.H.I.E.L.D had brought her in she had come back to this simple field and asked again and again why she hadn't been able to hide. The answer had come, slowly and when she least wanted to hear it.

Now, she was back with harder questions for the field to answer. The field could not simply answer them in one word. She knew the fields would not hold the complex answers that she sought, but they were the only silent friend she had now. Her hawk was gone, flown away to be lost in the sky. He would never come back to pull her away from the fields, as he always had since the first time.

6) Tears of an Angel

"Tasha, don't do this." His voice splintered as a single drop formed at the corner of his eyes.

Wind whipped relentlessly at their backs, its icy chill creeping into his bones. His arms strained with the force he put into holding back the arrow his instincts were screaming to let loose. His eyes were trained on her lithe form, a body he knew so well. His brow was creased, and his mouth open in a pleading gape.

Her face was a mask of indifference hiding the pain that tore at her heart. Her hands shook as she forced herself to keep her finger off the trigger. She would not let this bullet fly, not towards him. Her heart was screaming at her, shouting to put down the gun and forget the mission. Her head was roaring to pull and run.

Her blue eyes lifted to meet his. For a second she let the pain show. She knew he saw. His hand twitched. His face scrunched up in that painfully familiar expression of confusion.

"Priorities." She whispered, her voice being caught by the wind.

His ears heard her, or was it his mind putting a voice to the lips he knew so well. His eyes tore away from her. For a second her wasn't paying attention. When he looked back, she was gone.

7) Say Something

"Come on, Tasha. I'm waiting here, the agents are saying you're not coming home." His voice was raspy, raw, as if he had been shouting or crying. "They're not the only ones, anymore ."

He swallowed hard.

"I need to know you're okay, Tash. I'm not saying goodbye, not yet. I need you to say something. I'm sorry I wasn't there to get you out Tash." His voice dropped to a hoarse, broken almost, whisper. "It was my fault. I'm still learning here. I should have followed you. I would have too, if it was anywhere else."

His breath quivered and shook before falling from his lips. "I need you to say something, I'm starting to wonder."

His voice caught in his throat, stuck.

"I need you to come home, Nat. I'm slipping. You're the only thing that kept me here. You always were here, from the start back in Budapest to New York. I've never had a partner like you. Don't think I ever will again."

His breath left his lungs, forced out by the force of his words.

"I'm so sorry, Tasha. I tried not to give up on you. But you never answered." His tears fell, for the first time. "You never gave up on me and I never wanted to give up on you."

He lips tightened before his words pushed through them, "Goodbye, Natasha."

8) Counting Stars

Adrenaline pounded in his ears, making everything else drown in its sound. His lips quirked upwards as he watched her twist and grapple with her foes. There was something about watching Natalia Romanov do her work that was so much. The way that she wound herself around their bodies, before slitting their throats or breaking their necks.

He was supposed to take her out, to stop her, but he could not make himself take down this girl. That vibrant head of red hair and that false-sweet smile that entranced men… What was it about this killer that made her different from him? No one had bothered to give her a chance…

She was just doing what she was shown, she had no hope of anything better. Clint thought that maybe she could learn that doing the wrong thing for the right reasons could be better than doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. Hope was a river that was impossible to cross if no one showed you the way.

S.H.I.E.L.D. had shown Clint, and now he'd return the favor.

"Coulson, don't shoot me for this. I'm bringing home a recruit."

"Don't get killed Barton, that's mountains more paperwork for me to fill out."

9) This House No Longer Feels Like Home

The floor creaked eerily in their little old house as Clint walked. His feet made no sound on the wood, though he cared not to make the wood do the same. Little Serafima startled so easily when Clint did that. His heart throbbed as the thought of her little red curls twisting in the air, just like her mothers… He shook his head hard as his hand shot out to the wall. It was flat against the surface, trying to support him but it hardly held.

His knees buckled and Clint was on the floor, one hand on the wall and the other on the wood in front of him. His eyes were tightly shut, trying to keep the tears inside. He could not fall apart, Serafima and Ilari needed him to be strong. They needed one of their parents to count on. He could not let them down.

"Papa." A soft voice chirped at him.

Clint's head snapped up, a smile fleetingly on his lips. His eyes fell on Serafima, and with a sadness he had hoped to never know he beckoned her to him. Unquestioningly, the child went to her father and wrapped her arms around his neck. His arms in turn wrapped around her small form. Like pythons, his grip was strong and there was no escape, not that she wanted to. She was happy to have her papa and mama home. Her head tilted to the side at the thought.

"Papa, where's mama?"

10) Open Your Eyes

"Come on, open your eyes!"

He shouted so loud I think even Tony's ears hurt, and his eardrums are shot. He couldn't care then though, all he could think about was her. She wasn't moving and there was so much blood. He needed her to open her eyes. She wasn't allowed to die first, that would always be his job. She promised me that he would be the first to go so he wouldn't loose another person.

"You promised Tash. You said that you were gonna see me off." Tears burned to fall, but he squinted them away as he sat back. "Should've figured. We lie for a living, so why wouldn't you lie in the end?"

Clint's hand was still gripping her hand, despite the gun in it. He could feel the steel, feel her hand getting colder. He didn't want to let go, they'd managed to hold onto each other for years… He wouldn't let her go yet.