Well, I'm back writing fanfictions again! I've been really busy with a family thing the past few months, but everything has gone smoothly with that particular issue and I can finally focus on my writing again! This is my second fanfiction on this site, and I really just got the idea for it and decided to go with it. Usually when I get an idea for something like this, I play it out as a movie in my head, and if I like the movie, then I write it down. That's how I got my idea for my first fic on this site, "A Couple of Master Assassins" (I will be updating that one as soon as I can for those of you who have read it). This fic takes place in the same universe as my first fic, but it's sort of like and alternate universe, you know? Like, the history from "A Couple of Master Assassins" still exists, but this is a different way to go with the story (Hope I'm not over explaining this…) Anyways, I hope you enjoy this! Leave comments please!

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing (except the plot).

Chapter 1: A Favor


Natasha walked through the busy streets of Manhattan. There was still damaged buildings and rubble in the streets from the Avengers' battle three years ago. She still had nightmares of that day.

It was Saturday, and Natasha had the day off from the law firm she worked at. Due to her previously obtained skills in getting the information she wanted, she was one of the best lawyers in New York, and that was something she loved about her job. However, she did enjoy her occasional days off and always tried to make the most of them.

Today, Natasha needed to run to the store and grab a few things, which was why she was out. It was a relatively short trip to the CVS from her two bedroom apartment, but she wasn't exactly passing through the nicest part of town.

She was a few blocks away from the store when she passed a dark, intimidating alley. Natasha paused for a moment. She knew the alley ended right in from of CVS, and it would take less than half the time, but there were always sketchy people that hung out down there. She knew she'd be able to take any of the lowlife's that came on to her, and she really did need to get home to Mara, who she had left with her neighbor.

Mara was Natasha's two year old daughter. She had found out she was pregnant with her five months after the Battle of Manhattan, and one month after S.H.I.E.L.D. had been dismembered. When she first found out about the baby, Natasha was terrified. She wasn't fit to be a mother. She was a goddamn assassin for heaven's sake! Natasha knew she could never raise a child, but after sitting in an abortion clinic for five minutes she found a reason to keep it. That didn't mean it was easy for her. Natasha had lost all contact with Mara's father, so she had to go through everything alone. But she had done it and it had all been worth it. Now it had been two years, and Natasha was happy with the way her life had turned out.

Just thinking about her baby made up Natasha's mind to take the shortcut through the alley to cut her trip short. She couldn't wait to see her, even though she'd only been gone twenty minutes. Turning sharply to her left, Natasha began walking at a swift pace towards the alley. It wasn't like she couldn't handle herself if there was a threat, but she had stopped taking unnecessary risks ever since Mara was born. If anything ever happened to Natasha she would have no one.

As she walked further down the alley, a strange feeling began to creep its way into Natasha's stomach. Something wasn't right. She quickened her pace as she neared the other side. The opening of the alley was so close. She was almost there when, out of nowhere, a man in an expensive suit and sunglasses stepped in front of her.

"Miss Romanova." He addressed her by her last name. Her real last name. Before she could even think of a way to take him out, someone had grabbed her from behind and pressed a cloth to her face, causing the world around her to go dark.

Natasha groggily opened her eyes. She was sitting upright in a creaky wooden chair in the middle of a dark room; a single light hanging down above her head. It took her a few moments to realize she was tied to said chair. She was immediately alert, despite having just woken from her drug induced sleep. Her assassin reflexes began to kick in and Natasha began assessing her situation. The tie on her right wrist was loose, and she might be able to slide her hand through it. Once her hand was free, she'd be able to untie her other hand and her ankles, then make a beeline for the door…

"Natalia Romanova, it's been too long." A voice interrupted her thoughts and Natasha noticed a man standing in the shadows. She froze. She recognized that voice. Her heart rate spiked causing blood to pound in her ears as the tall figure emerged from the darkness.

"Varkov." Natasha whispered when he came in to view; her eyes narrowing into slits. The man laughed.

"So you do remember me." Varkov began circling her chair with his hands behind his back. Natasha never took her eyes off him.

"How could I forget," she spoke in a steady tone, "you only forced me to do all your dirty work."

"If I recall correctly, you volunteered." The Russian stopped right in front of her. "You used to love the jobs I had to offer you, and you definitely loved the pay. That is until you defected from Russia to work for the Americans." He sneered. Natasha's face remained emotionless.

"Is this about revenge?" She asked, recalling a mission she had taken with Clint to exploit his organization. Varkov laughed.

"Do you really think I'd be so petty? Trust me, your little stunt with that archer of yours has been long forgotten." He began to circle her again.

"Then what do you want?"

"Oh, just a favor." Right. This guy obviously hated her guts, and now he was asking her for a favor? Something wasn't right.

"First of all," Natasha began, "why do you need me for this 'favor'? I'm not the only assassin out there, and I'm not exactly taking jobs anymore. Second of all, I don't think I'll be doing you any favors any time soon." She had been confident in what she said, and Varkov had realized that she had made up her mind. A twisted smile crept on to the man's face, making the hair on the back of her neck stand up.

"Oh, you may change your mind once you hear my offer." When Natasha didn't respond, Varkov continued with his proposal. "You know very well the things my company does. But believe me when I tell you that the knowledge you possess about my organization is only scratching the surface." This caused her to shudder. Natasha did know about the things that went down at Varkov's facilities. She and Clint had seen it firsthand. To think that there was more than that was almost too much for her to think about. "Well," Varkov continued, "very recently, a few of my lead scientists decided they didn't want to work for me anymore. They didn't like hurting people, so they left."

"What the hell does this have to do with me?" Natasha was getting irritated. She needed to get out of here. She needed to get home to Mara.

"I'm glad you're so eager to hear about your assignment." Varkov stopped in front of her again and smiled. She glared at him, getting more and more pissed as the seconds ticked by. "These men, they know far too much. They run the risk of leaking the information they posses about my company to the rest of the world. The thing is, the world isn't ready to understand what I am trying to achieve. All I want you to do is track them all down and eliminate them. If you succeed, I will give you double what I used to pay you." He looked at her expectantly as he finished his sentence. Much to his surprise, Natasha began to laugh. She couldn't help herself. This man expected her to just overlook all the horrible things he'd done and do as he asked for 500 grand? This was a joke.

"You can't be serious?" She said once she'd calmed down. "I hate to tell you this, again, but I don't do that kind of work anymore. Find someone else." Now it was Varkov's turn to be pissed.

"You are the best at what you do—"

"-Did." Natasha corrected him. He rolled his eyes.

"and I'm sure you'll reconsider once you hear the rest of my terms."

Great, this should be good. Natasha thought as she nodded for him to continue. "I'm listening."

"How much do you love your daughter?" She stiffened, and Varkov acknowledged that by giving her a sick smile. "That's what I thought." He nodded to the door and Natasha's head whipped around to see another man walk in holding a baby in his arms. Except it wasn't just a baby. It was her baby. It was Mara.

"NO!" She shrieked. "No, please! This has nothing to do with her, leave her out of this, PLEASE!" Natasha begged as she held back a sob. This couldn't be happening. She looked at Mara, scanning the baby girl for any obvious injuries, but from what Natasha could see she was completely unharmed. "I swear to God if you hurt her…" She was cut off by Varkov's laughter.

"I do not wish to hurt her, and I won't. As long as you hold up your end of the deal." He walked over to Mara and stroked the baby's cheek. Natasha inhaled sharply, wishing she could break his hand. "My my, she looks so much like you, Natalia." He whispered before turning back around to look at her. "But even more so like her father."

"Don't touch her." Natasha growled, disregarding Varkov's last comment. Mara's father wasn't important right now. He was trying to wear her down, to scare her. She couldn't let that happen.

"Relax, my dear, I won't lay a finger on her." He said, waving the man holding Mara away. Natasha fought against her restraints, trying to get to her. Varkov placed a forceful hand on her shoulder and held her back. He leaned into her until he was mere inches from her face. "You have seven days to dispose of all twenty men. If you fail, then you may want to think about adoption." Natasha spat in his face and he jumped back in shock.

"Go to hell." She snapped. Varkov recovered quickly, wiping his face on his sleeve.

"I'm good on my word," he snarled, "and for the sake of your daughter, I hope you go through with this 'mission'." He pulled a bottle full of a clear liquid and a white cloth from his pocket and began squeezing the liquid on to the cloth. After he had put the bottle back in his pocket, he approached Natasha again. She stared him directly in the eye, the full force of her hatred burning through him. "Good luck, Natalia. I'll see you in seven days." And with that, he shoved the cloth he had been holding over Natasha's face, forcing her to, once more, sink in to an unavoidable sleep.

Natasha woke with a start. She was lying on the floor of her apartment's living room. Sudden memories of Varkov and Mara came flooding back to her. She picked herself up off the ground and turned around to find her neighbor, Amy, passed out in an armchair. Natasha could tell that she had been drugged as well. She gently nudged the girl, whose eyes blinked open at the sudden movement.

"Oh, Natasha. You're back." Amy yawned and stood up. "Sorry, I guess I fell asleep. I put Mara down about two hours ago. She's probably still sleeping." Natasha sighed a breath of relief. Whatever had gone down here when Mara was taken, Amy obviously didn't remember. That was one less thing she had to worry about now. "I guess I should get back upstairs." The younger girl walked over to the door.

"Thanks again, Amy." Natasha smiled as convincingly as she could and gave a small wave. Once Amy had left, she could no longer stand. Natasha's legs gave out and she collapsed onto the floor as her body was overcome with sobs.

After about five minutes of crying, she finally pulled herself together. Natasha had to do something. It had been years since she'd done anything even remotely related to her previous job at S.H.I.E.L.D. How could she successfully track down and kill twenty men, who were probably scattered all over the world by now, in only seven days? Natasha began to pace back and forth, trying to figure out what she should do when she noticed an envelope on her coffee table with her name written on it. She picked it up and tore it open to find a list of the names of twenty men. Natasha stared at the list for a few minutes before ripping the paper to shreds in a fit of rage. She wasn't going to give Varkov the satisfaction of doing his dirty work again. She wasn't going to let him win.

Somehow, Natasha would get Mara back. She had seven days to figure out what to do, and she wasn't going to even remotely consider Varkov's 'favor' as a way to save her daughter. Natasha would find her and save her herself. But how? Since S.H.I.E.L.D. had shut down, she no longer had the resources for this kind of work, and even if she did, she would need a team of experienced agents to help her with the actual retrieval. Where and how was she going to find both?

Natasha was still pacing when a sudden thought caused her to stop in her tracks. She looked out her window and could see the unique outline of the Stark Tower looming over the city. Without a second thought, she grabbed her bag and sweater and rushed out the door. The clock was ticking, and Natasha had been wasting precious time.

Well, what did you guys think? Reviews, comments, suggestions? I'll take anything! Thanks for reading! I plan to do a back and forth kind of thing where I update this fic, then my other fic, and just switch off. I should be done with the fourth chapter of my first one soon, so I might be able to have the next chapter of this story up by next week. I do have a paper for school to write, so it may take a little longer than that. Bad time to start a new story, I know. I'll do my best though! Stay tuned...

Preview for next chapter: Natasha's daughter is being held captive, and she'll do anything to save her... even if that means aquiring the help a certain genius billionaire playboy philanthropist... (Tony, Bruce, and Pepper will be introduced! Steve, Thor, and Clint coming soon after. More on who Varkov is and what he does will come a little bit later, so if you're confused about this guy, be patient. All will be revealed...)