AN: Hello fellow fans of Marvel's Avengers! I honestly have no idea why I'm doing this; I've read so many great fics on this exact event and they're all amazing and I'm slightly terrified at trying to get into such an enormous franchise with both the movies and the comic books. I honestly don't know much more about the characters than I've seen in the movies, so this origins story has been written largely using my lovely little Creative Licence; please don't send me hate for it, and if I've got something hugely and unforgivably wrong, tell me nicely and I'll try my hardest to fix it. I'll now stop babbling, state that I own nothing in this story (except my rather controversial attempt at a new version of this story) and hope that you enjoy!

Clint Barton had always liked rooftops. The view was always astounding, and he liked knowing what was going on around him at all times. Not to mention that they were excellent points for surveillance.

He also liked air vents, but that was a spot for later.

He'd been staking out the infamous Black Widow's apartment in Russia for the better part of a week. She was certainly an interesting woman to watch; the collection of fancy dresses he'd seen her in, or with, in the previous five days probably cost more than the safe house he'd invested in with his first S.H.I.E.L.D. pay cheque.

More than that, she'd received three assignments and completed them in the same amount of time. Either there were a lot people with enemies who knew of her reputation, or someone held a lot of rather intense grudges.

He was more inclined towards the former; her methods were certainly... unpredictable. The seduction part was generally a constant in all of her kills, but the methods of killing were varied to say the least. Poison, bullets, stabbing. If her file was to be believed she'd even broken a few necks in her time. It was beginning to get increasingly hard to believe that she wasn't even twenty years old.

Clint shook his head, mentally scolding himself for his thoughts. Stop being impressed, he told himself, you have your orders.

Then again, there was nothing wrong with being impressed; if she wasn't special, S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't be interested in her.

In all honesty, he'd expected his mission to be harder. She was a master assassin with hundreds of kills under her belt; she was known to move around constantly, had been spotted all over the world and never seemed to stay in the same place for longer than four days. Yet here was her apartment, where she'd been living for weeks. Maybe she was planning something big. Maybe all of her work was in the same area.

Maybe she just couldn't be bothered with the travelling any more.

The truth was that no one knew anything about Natasha Romanoff expect the woman herself. And that, perhaps, was what impressed Clint Barton the most.

*. . .*

The evening rapidly approached, the temperature dropping by the second. His plain black, S.H.I.E.L.D.-issue jacket should have kept him comfortably warm; in reality, not even the smart-fabric the coat was made of could content with the freezing November temperatures in Russia.

He glanced down at the watch on his wrist and checked that both of his guns, his back-up guns, and the knives strapped to his legs, were where they should be and in full working order.

Smirking slightly, he slipped away from the rooftop, making his way towards Romanoff's building.


Natasha Romanoff was not typically one to get comfortable in a single place. Having grown up in the depths of Russia, she had travelled to many places across Europe and Asia, was fluent in ten languages and was particularly good at fitting in to whatever society or situation she found herself in. She'd managed to travel to America (dangerous territory for her; she'd killed countless people on the presidential council) enough times to pick up the accent. Always, of course, without being noticed.

She had allies all over the world, many of whom were used to finding her in their homes when they returned home in the evening, only for her to have left early the next day. Natasha Romanoff didn't do settling down.

Until, it seemed, she returned to Russia after years of travelling. She had been living in her Russian apartment for what was nearing three months, and apparently she hadn't realised quite how settled she'd become.

However, she certainly hadn't forgotten her old habits, picked up from her years on the run. The second she stepped into her apartment, having spent the day collecting supplies (read: buying a new dress) for her next assignment, she knew something was off.

She laid the dress carefully over the back of the couch, letting her bag slip from her shoulder and fall to her feet. She was glad she'd taken the precautions she had that day; she'd had a feeling that someone was watching her all week. She'd pushed it off as the paranoia following three assignments in close succession when her original scout had revealed nothing suspicious.

She couldn't put her finger on it, but something was just off.

She glanced around the room, rubbing her arm, apparently absentmindedly, but really checking that her pistol was still strapped just below her elbow. Bending down to unzip her boots, simultaneously checking the knives tucked up both legs of her jeans, she heard something behind her creak, almost silently.

Only now did she realise just how settled she'd become; she'd let her guard down. She was tempted to put it down to the fact that she'd never really lived in a place; she'd only ever really occupied a room before leaving it and never looking back. This apartment had actually become a home, somewhere she felt safe.

As tempted as she was, however, she had been so ridiculously stupid. How on earth had she managed to forget to check the air vents?!

It seemed like such an obvious hiding place now as she heard the unmistakable click of a gun being readied to shoot behind her. Without waiting another moment, she ripped a knife from the safety of her right leg, spinning round so fast that Clint had to remind himself that she'd been in a different position a second ago.

He smirked slightly as she faced him off, noting the anger and steely determination in her eyes as he held his gun steady and aimed at her head.

"I suppose the question is," he said quietly, "What will travel faster: my bullet, or your knife?"

Her eyes flickered towards his gun for a moment, before looking up to meet his eyes again.

"I'd say that's a good question."

This is just the start, I hope; I'd love to continue this more and I probably will. But, should you deem it worthy/bad enough, I'd love some feedback! Reviews are rays of sunshine on a rainy day and I love them very much, so should you offer my humble little story one I shall love you forever! Thanks for reading! :)