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Guilty Always Fill In The Blanks

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Clint scrubbed at his bruised eye and hoped his vision wouldn’t be affected for practice later. He’d been expecting the punch to his gut but Scott Summers threw a cheap shot at his eye. Clint pounded him good for it and was going to win their fight before teacher’s pet Maria Hill called Principal Fury.

Clint kicked his feet as he waited for his turn in the chair. Summers was giving his side of the story, most of it BS about Clint attacking him unprovoked. Yeah, Clint was the first to throw a fist but it was for good reasons. Summers was being an ass as usual. Worst than usual, he was making fun of the new transfer student because she had a really thick accent and didn’t speak English well. No shit she didn’t speak English well. Up until two weeks ago she’d been living in Russia. Did anyone here know Russian? (Well anyone aside from Phil Coulson who was giving him the stink eye. Office aids were such sellouts.) No – because they didn’t need to know Russian to live in America, just the same as Russians didn’t need to know English to live in Russia.

From what Clint and the class had been told by their English teacher was that Natasha could speak a rudimentary level of English but write better. The girl was always quiet, never said a thing to anyone else and stared straight ahead at the white board while the teacher was lecturing or had her nose stuck and a freakin’ huge book who’s title was in Cyrillic so Clint couldn’t read it. She wasn’t dumb and she wasn’t a pathetic foreigner like Summers seemed to think. Natasha was smart, best in the class even with her trouble translating. She was hot, too, and Clint thought that ‘ought to count for something.

Phil stopped scrutinizing Clint when Natasha walked through the front office doors and greeted her in Russian. Natasha returned to him in kind and Clint mouthed out the words soundlessly, desperate to lean them even if he didn’t think he ever would. Natasha looked at Clint then jerked a thumb at him as she spoke with Clint. Phil rolled his eyes as he answered the obvious question. Clint set his eyes away from the pair, angry that his tear duct was messed up and leaking. He scrubbed at it again.

“You are Barton, yes?” Natasha asked him, leaning down to his level. Her hair fell into her face and one of her elegant fingers pulled the veil back behind her ear. Clint’s feet clipped together.

“Baton, yeah. Clint Barton. We’re – we are in English together. Period three?”

Natasha nodded, “Period Three.” She spun a finger around his bruise. “What caused?”

“Errm. I was hit.” He slammed a fist into his open palm to illustrate.

“Why?”

Clint felt a blush snake its way up his neck. “Because Summers is a bastard.”

“Barton,” Phil warned. Cursing was not allowed within the front office. Clint squinted his eyes at him.

“Why?” Natasha persisted.

“I don’t know why Summers is the way he is! I think he must have been dropped on his head when he was a baby. He’s an all around asshole.”

“Barton!”

“It’s true and you know it, Phil!”

One of the office workers peered out of their room to stare at the high-schoolers. Both Phil and Clint straightened and put on their best, ‘I’m a good kid’ smiles. Phil’s was better. The sneak.

“Why?” Natasha said again, gesturing to his eye when the adult left. Clint slumped.

“I don’t like people being made fun of, alright? Not without reason because Summers totally dissevers to be hung up the flag pole by his underpants but – don’t look at me like that, Phil, I know you wanna do the same to Stark.”

Natasha looked over her shoulder at Phil for a translation. Phil answered in one sentence and when Natasha looked back she was angry. Clint scowled at Phil. Traitor. What’d he say to her? Something was lost in translation. She chuffed the back of his head and Phil just happened to not be paying attention.

“Ow! Nat, what’d you do that for?”

“Dumb shit,” she answered and Clint couldn’t help but laugh. She said a mouthful of things in Russian with a hand full of words in English. To be honest, she was so agitated Clint couldn’t understand her Russian. Phil was laughing into his shoulder.

“W-what? Phil, a little help?”

“Basically she’s saying you’re a moron and shouldn’t punch people because they made you angry. She also says she doesn’t need you to protect her.”

“What? No, you don’t need protection! Nat –“ He grabbed one of her hands then let it go when he realized what he was doing. “I know you don’t need that. I just got really mad that Summers was making fun of you when you weren’t even there to do anything about it. It was really cowardly and dumb and I just got mad.”

He looked back at Phil and he translated. Natasha still looked angry but sat down next to him. She riffled through her side bag for notebook paper as Clint watched through his good eye in startled apprehension. Her writing was very neat, almost computer script as she typed out a simple sentence.

“Next time let me handle it. I don’t like being in debt to someone. You are dumb as fuck. Thank you.’

Clint laughed and grinned at her. She’d said thank you. He stuck out his hand for her to shake and wasn’t surprised by how strong her grip was. Natasha’s hands were like ice, hard and cold. His heart fluttered a little.

Fury’s door opened and Scott walked out. He was supporting a bloody nose and two black eyes but still had enough vision to freeze when he spotted Natasha. She sniffed at him, eyes dangerous enough to give Clint chills when he wasn’t even looking at her. Scott’s reaction was enough.

She flicked her head, calling Scott forward. He followed the order with a frightened reluctance. Natasha wrote on a new page of notebook paper and Clint laughed as he watched.

‘If I learn you are laughing at Barton or Myself again will make sure everyone knows about you know what.”

Scott paled further and Clint blew him a kiss. He hiked his backpack over his shoulders and sprinted out of the office.

“What’s ‘you know what’?” Clint asked as Fury called his name. The pirate of Midtown High looked especially crusty today. Natasha shrugged and wrote more.

‘Lie. Don’t know. Guilty always fill in blank.’

Clint laughed again and entered the Principal’s office in high spirits for the first time. When he was allowed to leave Natasha was still there, sitting in the same seat and reading that big book again. Clint smiled at her and while she didn’t return the gesture he knew they’d be fast friends.