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a spiders web

Chapter Text

Natasha doesn’t remember that fateful day very well. Her memories are blurred together, lost to time. It was a few days before her eighth birthday, and she has begged her parents and baby sister; Petrina to take go to the bakery, even though a blizzard was due to arrive shortly. How she would regret it.

They were bundled up with coats, boots, and hand-knitted scarves to protect from the subzero weather until they could reach the nearby bakery before it closed.

Natasha remembers her parents asking her to sit down on a bench beneath a tree to provide some attempt at a shelter with Petya as she had so kindly nicknamed her sister, and to wait for them until they returned with the bakery sweets. It had gotten too cold to continue walking even for Natasha who got her young age tended to be quite patient with such weather and temperatures, so she complied easily.

Natasha held her sister as tight as they waited, whispering nursery rhymes she had overheard her mother sing just the night before, hoping to distract the baby from the frigid weather, harsh gales, and snowfall that threatened to blow them away like a feather.

The two siblings waited for what seemed like forever in Natasha’s mind before their parents finally returned, smiling as they held tight in their hands the bags of sweets.

It came without warning.

Two loud gunshots filled the air. Her sister began to cry from the shocking noise and Natasha watched with wide eyes and disbelieving tears, holding her sister as close as she could, shielding Petrina’s gaze.

She couldn’t avert her eyes from the spreading crimson stains on the fresh and crisp snow, bleeding steadily from her parents. They were both still smiling in joy.

She barely noticed the hands taking and whispering they would bring her and her sister away from there. Where she would be taught at an academy.

‘No.’

‘But...no why?’

Natasha questioned in denial, ignoring the hot tears that fell from her face, instead opting to soothe Petrina whilst dealing with her despair and shock.

They arrived at the academy.

It was from there she and her sister would spend the next several years of their lives training to become master assassins and spies in the infamous Red Room.

———

Natasha had been with the Red Room for just over a year now. She trained every day with the other girls in her unit, alongside typical school topics ballets and foreign languages. Time with her sister was limited but the Professor told her as a prized pupil she would have opportunities to help teach and interact with Petrina as they grew older.

Natasha wasn’t very pleased with these arrangements but agreed to comply with the Professor's wishes. After all the Red Room wanted what was best for her and Petrina.

Pale sunlight streamed in through the small windows of the vast attic where all the students of the Red Room slept. She could hear the doors clicking open and the steady clicking of heels enter the room, so she got up from the bed. She waited patiently for Madame to unlock her cuffs so she could dress and begin the day. Though she didn’t let it show on her face, she was quite excited. (One of the Red Room’s first lessons was the importance of never showing emotion. It was a weakness. They didn’t allow weakness.)

Today the youngest unit in the academy would join them in their ballet lessons to observe them. Petya would be in that group, and she couldn’t wait to show her baby sister what she had learned.

Madame B. reached her bed and wordlessly unlocked the cuffs. Once she had unlocked the last of her unit before the girls stood up and dressed in the uniform, matching braids, skirts, and sweaters. The hairstyles signifying their rank in the Red Room. They went through their day as usual.

It began with repetition. The would repeat the words of a cartoon. Simple enough.

Next, they learned typical but important school topics. Natasha breezed through easily.

After spending what Natasha assumed was an hour reciting phrases in the latest language they were learning, German, they changed into their ballet leggings and leotards.

Natasha enjoyed ballet, and couldn’t wait for Petrina to see her skills.

Natasha and her classmates went through the routine warm-ups as the younger students filed in. Petrina was in front of the group, she noticed with pride. The Academy had the top student lead the others in their unit, just as Natasha did with her unit.

A silent hello passed through the two sisters' eyes before the toddlers sat down.

Natasha followed the routine, pirouetting and dancing in silence at every right moment of the dance beside the hum of piano music coming from the back of the room. By the time the ballet had finished every toddler was watching in barely hidden awe, to which Natasha smirked at internally.

The lower unit left the room leaving the older girls alone for training.

The girls changed outfits once more and entered a dark room. Lining up in a circle they waited for their instructor.

They practiced the fighting stances and techniques for a while waiting for approval. Then the instructor stopped them.

They gazed over the girls with a cold and calculating stare, before gesturing for Natasha and a girl she briefly recognized as Sofia to step into the middle of the circle.

Natasha felt perplexed. What were they doing?

“It is time to begin the next step of your training.”

“The Red Room doesn’t allow weakness. In this world, the strong survive.”

Natasha felt the answer to her question dawn on her slowly. She wondered if her opponent had realized what was to come.

“Fight. Only one of you will come out of this battle.”

Natasha readied her stance as she had been taught, watching the other girl with a perceptive watch.

The other girl's eyes widened ever so slightly in shock. She moved into her stance hurriedly, waiting for the instructor’s signal.

She analyzed her adversity for weak spots.

‘She’s holding herself in a different stance then I am, focusing more on offense. If I disguise my actions as defensive and strike first I can get an edge on her.’ Natasha thought shifting her stance unnoticed to simply appear defensive while being able to strike with ease.

‘Her arms are held higher up in protection of her face. Hit the shin and she’ll lose balance and I’ll gain a brief upper hand and opportunity.’

‘Punch’s and using her arms are a strong suit. Eliminate that advantage.’

“Begin.” The instructor commanded.

Natasha darted forward kicking the girl's shins and backflipped long her without hesitation. Her opponent got back up and punched her in the gut before they began to exchange punches.

Natasha aimed a right hook whilst feigning another punch to throw Sofia off. As the punch hit her face she kicked her competitor throwing her across the floor.

The girl attempted to grab Natasha’s braids and pull her down but she had already placed her in a chokehold. Natasha looked to the instructor waiting for the signal to release the girl.

It never came. Instead, they narrowed their eyes. Natasha understood. Pushing down her guilt and remorse she finished the girl's life within seconds.

The girl lay on the floor limply the terror in her final moments forever etched onto her face.

The instructor decided that was enough and sent the girls back.

“Except,” Natasha paused from where she followed.

“Natasha.” The young girl turned around and faced the instructor.

The other students exited the room and the instructor gestured for Natasha to follow them.

“Madame B. wishes to speak with you.” They informed.

Natasha simply nodded. They turned a corner and reached Madame’s office.

The instructor turned the handle and Natasha entered the vast chamber. The door closed with a sharp click behind her. Madame B. was sitting in a chair facing a wall of towering windows. All of which reached to the top of the vaulted ceilings of the Academy. The sun appeared to be set outside and added to the dim light in the room from the lampposts.

“Natasha.”

Madame B. walked over to the desk and gestured for Natasha to sit down. Natasha complied feeling the pointed gaze of the older woman watching her.

“I’m quite pleased with your performance as of late. Top of your class, best in training. Efficient, Intelligent and Deadly. I haven’t seen talent like that in years.”

“That’s everything one looks for in the Academy. I believe that you could become one of the very best.”

“You have what is called my dear, a crimson touch.”

“Thank you Madame B.” Natasha replied easily.

“I have also noticed your sister. At such a young age, her instructors and I have seen promise in her. I believe that if you can continue to prove yourself to the Red Room, you could help your sister follow in your footsteps under your tutelage.”

“I will not let you down Madame B.” Natasha replied automatically.

“I know you won’t. You’re dismissed.” Madame turned back to the book she had been reading. Natasha left and returned to her room. The girls received a small amount of time before they went to bed which Natasha typically spent with Petrina, however her talk with Madame had spent her time.

And as Natasha fell asleep, she forgot of the girl whose body had laid limply on the floor mere hours before.

Chapter Text

Natasha quickly went above and beyond the expectations of the Red Room at a young age, having many considering placing her with the older girls, which had rarely happened in the many years since the academy began.

Natasha was calculating and ruthless, brutal and efficient. Resilient and intelligent, graceful and talented.

She was the very best the Red Room had to offer.

————-

Natasha traveled silently down the hallway towards the weapons room. She passed her first exam for physical combat a month ago and would now begin to learn how to use tools to aid her.

She passed Petrina’s classroom and watched her sister grab her opponent in a near perfect chokehold. Natasha sometimes overheard the instructors talking of her sister’s promise, always feeling a bit of pride for Petrina when it happened. She felt her lips tilt slightly upwards before quickly moving on. She had places to be.

She entered the weapons room to see the remaining six girls who remained from her old unit. The tweens nodded as they waited for Madame B. to arrive.

Natasha stood beside a brunette girl named Ivana and leaned against a stone pillar behind her.

An instructor Natasha hadn’t seen before entered the room. They were short and had a jagged scar running down the side of their face.

“Grab a knife from the cabinet to the far left and follow me.” They said shortly i’m a gruff voice.

All the girls quickly complied, hastily grabbing one of the weapons.

The instructor stood impatiently in front of a practice dummy, with different weak points.

“You’ll be learning how to properly use a knife and the different techniques and strategies. Pay attention I won’t allow slack in this class. By the end of the month we’ll start action fights to put your skills to work.”

“Watch and learn. Though I doubt any of you have to ability to truly harness a blade.” They muttered that last bit before swiftly slashing every important spot on the dummy so well you could almost see through the other side in certain parts.

Natasha watched through narrowed eyes. She couldn’t deny that the display wasn’t impressive, and quickly noted down certain things she noticed mentally to put to use.

‘You doubt me? We’ll have to change that.’ Natasha though to herself.

Gripping her knife tightly the eleven year old stepped forward. Recalling the sudden demonstrations she aimed at a test dummy beside the one the instructor used. With a nimble movement she cleanly sliced open the stiff fabric and stuffing the dummy was composed of. Her results were nearly an exact replica. The corner of her mouth quirked up in a miniature lopsided smirk.

“Not bad.” The instructor grunted reluctantly.

“Next.”

They repeated the routine for hours, experimenting with a variety of different blades, throughout which the teacher no longer challenged Natasha’s abilities, much to the satisfaction of the girl.

Once they were dismissed for the day Natasha hurried to their chambers. She had snuck an extra biscuit from breakfast this morning unnoticed and had saved some to share with Petrina.

She reached the attic and pushed the large mahogany doors open. She spotted Petrina sitting on her bed watching the sunset in the small window between her bed and another girls.

Most students still hadn’t been dismissed so Natasha was lucky enough to be able to slip unnoticed to her sisters bed.

“Hey Petya.” She whispered from behind, watching her sisters large brown eyes light up in joy. While. both siblings shared a signature red hair, though Petrina’s was more of an auburn with hints of dark chocolate brown color and had a light splattering of freckles on her cheeks. Her sister turned to face her.

“Hi Tasha.” She replied.

Natasha checked to see if anyone was watching them before slipping Petrina the stolen biscuit. She watched her sister's eyes widen ever so slightly in surprise before quickly gobbling down the treat before anyone could notice.

“Good job today Petya. I glimpsed you while I headed to my training.

“Do you really think so?” Petrina asked.

“I know so.” She looked down fondly at sister.

The last of the students had filed through the doors, so after giving her little sister a smile she started over to her own bed before Madame came in to lock their cuffs for the night.

She turned to look at her sister one last time for the night , and returned a small wave.

Madame B. came in then and Natasha lay down, her hand already extended in routine to be cuffed so she wouldn’t run away.

Natasha didn't understand why she would even think about leaving the academy, they had given her and Petrina a home after all, and the were the best in their respective classes.

She decided not to question it further. After all, the Red Room knew what was the best for her and Petrina.

Chapter Text

“One, two, three, four, five and pointe !” Natasha instructed as she observed Petrina rise up on her order with grace.

“Now, walk towards me...plié!” Natasha commanded suddenly, watching in satisfaction as her sister performed the move immediately in perfection.

“Good. Now back to first position and repeat.”

“Arabesque.” Natasha walked over when Petrina complete the move and adjusted her sister’s leg. “It needs to be higher up.”

Natasha spotted Madame B. head down the hallway.

“Arms up.”

“Fifth position and changement.”

“Pirouette and back to Arabesque.” Natasha nodded in approval. “Begin the barre routine while I speak with Madame B.” Petrina nodded and returned to the bar as Natasha left the dance room. Madame gestured for Natasha to walk with her to which the teen followed easily.

“I’ve seen wonderful results with you. I’ve never had a student enter the final regime of the academy so early. You are proving to be a fine teacher to young Petrina.”

“Thank you Madame B.” Natasha said.

“While you still have much to learn, I believe it’s time for you to fulfill your first mission for the Red Room.”

Natasha struggled to keep her mask steady at this statement. The Red Room trusted her enough to let her complete such an important task? Natasha never knew what missions were composed of, the older girls were never given permission to speak of them.

“You have a separate training session soon. Tell Petrina will return to her class until tomorrow for your individual session with her again.”

“You are dismissed.”

Natasha bowed her head in respect to the woman, before heading back to let Petrina know the change of plans.

As Natasha entered the dance room she noticed they were alone again. Petrina was on the floor in a split, stretching. She had taken her red hair out of the bun it had been earlier and was back into two braids. A small smile dawned on the child’s face as she hopped up and reached her sister.

“What did Madame speak with you about?” Petya asked, a hint of curiosity entering the toneless voice all students were expected to speak in. Emotions were looked down upon after all. They made you weak, and if it seemed you didn’t have them at all then you were already ahead of the game. Petrina and Natasha only let each other hear their true emotions when alone, but even then it was still a habit hard to break.

Natasha leaned down to whisper in Petrina’s ear.

“I’ve been chosen to complete a mission for the Academy.” She told her little sister. A little grin appeared on her face as she saw the brief astonished look in her sister's eyes.

“No way! That’s incredible Tasha!”

“Thank you Petya,” She said kindly. “You’ve got to head back with your unit now. Our session is over.”

“Alright.” Though it wasn’t evident, Natasha knew her sister well enough that she understood the girl was disappointed.

“I’m sorry. Tomorrow, why don’t you choose what we practice, okay?”

Petrina glanced to make sure no one was with them before hugging Natasha tightly. She darted back to where she had been seconds ago in a flash, as if the interaction hadn’t happened at all.

“See you later Natasha.” Her sister said as she headed out the doors of the dance room, leaving Natasha alone, trying not to show happiness from the gesture.

————-

Natasha entered the dimly lit room, her hair in a simple braid and wearing a black leggings and a grey short sleeve shirt.

She grabbed a gun from the table beside the entrance, and joined three girls waiting for the instructor. These days the instructors didn’t do much other then the spare occasion of improvement. Now they put their skills to work for hands on experience. Another girl joined them flipping her black braided hair behind her as the instructor walked inside. Pulling out the targets and outlines, they leaned against the doorway, and waited for one of the girls to step up. A girl with striking blue eyes. She aimed her gun, pointing at where if it were a real person the billets would be fatal. She shot several bullets in rapid succession, but her aim was just mediocre, and could be improved

Another girl stepped up, and had a good aim, but hesitated before she shot and was too paranoid about making sure the bullets went where she wanted.

“You hesitate. Why do you not give the best you have to the Academy, hmm?” The man had a heavy German accent when he spoke.

The man pulled out his own gun. And aimed it at the girls head.

“Again.”

The girl lifted her arm, and Natasha could she her shaking a little in fear. She shot again, quicker, and once more. She must’ve gotten to nervous however near the end and the bullet missed the area she had been aiming for.

The instructor clicked the trigger.

The girl clutched her shoulder, where the bullet had landed.

“Consider that a warning.” The man said coldly.

“Get out.”

The girl ran towards the door, blood dripping on the floor from the wound.

Natasha stepped up.

Holding the gun with one hand she pulled the trigger with nimble fingers, and left multiple clean shots through the human outline within seconds.

She headed towards the door.

Before she left she switched hands and aimed at the red target in the far back corner.

A perfect bullseye.

————-

Natasha entered the office, a blood red sunset was the only thing that illuminated the room.

“You wanted to see me.” She asked monotone.

“Yes. I have the briefing for your mission here.”

Natasha grabbed the file, quickly skimming through it. She would read through it before she went to bed.

“You leave tomorrow morning.”

“Understood.”

Natasha left the room, the teenager’s shadow a dark scarlet color.

Chapter Text

It was an undercover mission. A discreet and clean assasination was required, along with gathering government information without even a trace of Natasha’s existence ever once being there. They dropped her off in Ukraine at dawn, and then she was alone, out of the Red Room, no scratch that, out of the country for the first time she could remember since she joined them.

She located the apartment she would be staying at for the next three days in which she had to complete the mission. It was quaint but a had a bit of charm to it Natasha couldn't quite place her finger on. She had been issued a typical civilian wardrobe which were clothes Natasha rarely got a chance to wear. Bringing out the file she looked over the information she had once more.

Target: Boryslav Kolisnyk Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Location: Target will be be leaving government meeting to discuss Foreign treaties with other government officials on Wednesday evening.

Data Required: Information regarding relations and possible treaties with [REDACTED] and [REDACTED]. Delete all mentions Leviathan and the Red Room if any are found.

Natasha frowned. It wasn’t a lot of information to go off of, but she got the gist. It was a cloudy monday so she spend the day planning. If she could get the information by tomorrow and lure the target out to finish him off early the following morning, Natasha would be right on schedule.

The teenager decided to use the time to familiarize herself with the city however. Although the maps provided were sufficient, Natasha preferred to scope out the area where she worked. Changing into a pair of jeans and a grey sweater (Which if she had hidden a couple weapons on her person, then no one needed to know). She exited the apartment after properly hiding her files in a loose floorboard next to a closet in the bedroom.

She walked around the town for half an hour, examining every nook and cranny as discreetly as possible, mentally jotting own whatever caught her eye.

She entered a nearby cafe to ponder her thoughts and ideas. Ordering a black coffee she pulled out a laptop the Red Room had provided her and began to research. Darkening the screen so no one would be able to tell what she was doing unless there were sitting where she was currently, the teenager got to work.

“Here...we...go.” Natasha said under her breath as she completed hacking into some information regarding the security and layout of the building where she could find the information the Red Room needed her to download.

Two guards watched the front of the building at all times, and the guards switched roles every six hours. During that was a small sixty second chance for Natasha to open the doors and sneak into the ventilation system unnoticed.

She would head out at midnight tomorrow to retrieve the data.

Closing the laptop, she took the coffee from the waitress with a quick thank you.

Sipping the hot beverage, Natasha wondered what would be the best method to head about the assassination.

‘It would be best to do it late at night. Something silent, so no guns.’

‘But, it doesn’t have to be complex either.’

Natasha continued this train of thought for a few minutes before reaching a few plans she believed would be best.

The teenager frowned. It was only nine am.

What was she supposed to do until then?

The reality of her newfound freedom hit her. She’d be able to do anything? It was unfathomable to Natasha.

Placing the laptop back in the dark purple backpack she had been given, she left the cafe.

Maybe she could bring something back as a memory. It would have to be inexpensive and unnoticeable so she could slip it back into the red room. Natasha took out the money and counted it, reaching thirty five total in cash.

If she only ate from the vendor food and cafe coffee she would be fine for the next few days and have some extra to get a gift for her little sister, which was perfectly fine with her.

As she walked the streets toward a local market, Natasha was hit with a sense of normality and nostalgia she hadn’t felt since joining the Red Room. She pushed those feelings down, deciding now wasn’t the time to decipher their meaning.

She strolled casually through the busy alley glancing briefly at each stall, too busy wondering what she could possibly get her little sister.

The vendors offered a large variety of items. Typical tourist items cluttered the front of the market along with items like fresh produce and baked goods which made Natasha’s mouth water involuntarily as their delicious scents drifted throughout the plaza.

Once you ventured further down though, Natasha saw emptier stalls, filled with unique and crafty handmade products standing proudly on their tables such as jewelry, clothing, ceramic vases and dolls.

Jewelry was impractical and clothing was too noticeable. Plus it’s not like they would be able to wear anything other then the uniforms the Red Room provided. And what use would her sister have for a vase? The dolls were cute but Natasha didn’t feel like it was what she was looking for.

Natasha grimaced, although those without a trained eye would never see. Most of these were too large and noticeable to slip past or simply didn’t catch her eye.

She wandered the mart some more, pausing briefly to look at some form of embroidered patterns on various items.

“Привіт дорогий, ти зацікавився цим старим жіночим текстилем?” ( "Hi dear, are you interested in this old woman's textile?") The elderly woman who owned the stall looked up from the book she had been reading to welcome Natasha.

Natasha quickly put on a child-like smile.

“Я шукаю подарунок, щоб принести свою маленьку сестру.” ("I'm looking for a gift to bring my little sister.")

The woman gave Natasha a kind smile.

“Як мило з вас.” (“How sweet of you.”) She remarked, before looking over to a stall a little bit further from her.

“Сумніваюся, моя вишивка зацікавить маленьку дівчинку. У дочок мого друга є магазин, в якому є красиві пофарбовані коробки для прикрас. Чому ти не перевіриш там?” (“I doubt my embroidery will interest a little girl. My friend's daughters have a shop that has beautiful painted jewelry boxes. Why don't you check there?”)

Natasha felt confusion wash over her. Wouldn’t the old woman prefer Natasha to buy from her stall? What could possibly cause this act of kindness from her?

But as she looked into the woman’s grey eyes she found nothing but genuine interest in helping her.

Feeling a strange rush of emotion that felt foreign to Natasha she turned back to woman.

“Дякую.” (“Thank you.”)

“Було б добре, якби я спершу щось тут купив?” ( "Would it be alright if I bought something here first?") She asked.

“Для мене.” (“For me”.) She quickly added.

The woman grinned genuinely at her before handing Natasha an embroidered pin. It was of a single red rose against a black background. A spiders web was held against the stem and leaf of the plant.

“Без оплати.” ("No charge.") She said, cupping her hand over Natasha’s.

The girls eyes widened.

“Я не можу дозволити твоїй доброті залишитися неоплаченою!” ("I cannot let your kindness go unpaid!") She argued, reaching into her pocket to dig out some money to give her.

The woman shook her head, before firmly nudging Natasha in the direction of the stand she mentioned earlier. Natasha looked at the woman guiltily, as the woman reassured her it was fine.

Natasha thanked her again, which caused the woman to shake her head once more.

The teen eventually began to walk over to the stand, and the old woman returned, wobbling slightly even with the wooden cane she carried.

Natasha slipped some money into her pocket unnoticed.

Natasha felt a little bit of happiness fill her up, though she felt confused why.

‘This trip has been very strange.’ She thought, as she reached the stand.

The elderly woman hadn’t been lying. Wooden chests and boxes of all sizes lay scattered across the table, painted with beautiful images of dancing couples, sunrises, animals, cities and so much more.

Natasha examined them with amazement.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a small wooden jewelry box. It seemed about the size of her hand, and had beautiful roses, yellow daisies and lush leaves. The short haired woman manning the stall must have noticed her because she asked.

“Вам це подобається?” ("You like it?")

Natasha nodded.

“Скільки це коштує?” (How much does it cost?) She pulled out the money from her pocket.

“Дев'ять.” (Nine) The woman replied, pulling out a small paper bag and filling it with tissue paper, placing the jewelry box inside. Natasha paid the woman, taking the bag, letting herself smile as she thanked the woman and went on her way.

Chapter Text

Natasha watched from a rooftop, the night dark and chilly. The moon was a sliver in the sky, and the wind rustled the leaves of trees. She was hidden in the shadows, carefully waiting.

The two guards in front of the building yawned drowsily. It was near midnight now.

The two men waved goodbye to each other and left the post.

Natasha lept to another rooftop swiftly before reaching to her belt where a grappling gun was. In a precise movement she aimed it at the window and stood precarious on the windowsill of the building. Opening the widow, she stepped inside, and closed it. She spotted the two replacement guards arriving. Perfect.

Climbing stealthily into the ventilation system, the teenage girl navigating simply through memorized plans.

After traveling for a short while, she opened one of the grates to her side, dropping down into the room. One man was looking at files of a computer, so before he noticed her Natasha grabbed her retractable staff and bashed the man around the back of his head ruthlessly, effectively knocking him out.

Sitting down on the computer she quickly began decrypting the files. She plugged in a flashdrive, tapping her fingers impatiently as the transferred them into the device. She wiped the computer of all information before searching on anything regarding the Red Room. She found a single file. While Natasha would have preferred to read it over, she could hear footsteps approaching from down the hallway, mostly likely coming to speak with the man she had knocked unconscious. Unplugging the drive and looping the security cameras to hide any evidence of her entering, she repositioned the man to make it appear as if he had fallen asleep before clambering through the vents.

Slipping through a window in an empty room she stalked across the roof, and jumped. The clouds covered the moon, leaving the area only lit by the dim streetlights a few blocks away.

Natasha entered her apartment from the window, changing from her uniform into a pair of sweatpants and a tank top.

She didn’t sleep that night, it felt unusual sleeping without the handcuffs. But it was alright, The Red Room had already prepared them for sleepless weeks. She spent the time seeing a small poker for the pin and jewelry box in the side of her jacket, which she would use to sneak the trinkets back to Petrina.

She woke up early the next morning, dressing in a sweater under her pinafore dress. After pulling her hair into two perfectly done dutch braids, she left for the safe cafe as yesterday.

She returned to the building some time later, gathering the weapons she had chosen and hiding them away in her attire. And yes, maybe she had placed two guns underneath her dress which she wasn’t planning on using, but it was better safe than sorry.

She packed up the apartment, and decided to put the last few hours of rest to reading a novel she had found in one of the bookshelves in the apartment.

The girl felt at ease, almost forgetting about the final task she had left. It wasn’t like it was hard, and honestly one of the more boring things she had to do.

As the sunset in the sky, she ventured out into the town. Families were heading home, and market vendors were packing up. Couples, tourists and single men and women took towards some of the few bars and clubs, and the streets were practically empty as the moon rose into the starry sky. She made her way over to just a couple of blocks away from the building where officials began to exit.

She knew the target would be one of the last out, which was perfect for her. So she waited until she spotted him. Charcoal colored hair and beard, blue-grey eyes, with a worn and weathered looking face. He carried a leather briefcase and walked away tiredly. The final straggler exited the building and the lights shut off. Putting on an acting face, she made her way towards a street just ahead of her target.

“Хтось допоможе! Будь-хто, будь ласка, допоможіть мені!” (“Someone help! Anyone please help me!”) She shouted in a panicked mode. She raced into the man seemingly not having seen him.

“Що не так?” (“What is wrong?”) He asked. “Де твої батьки?” (Where are your parents?”)

“Будь ласка, пане, мій брат втік, коли ми йшли додому і отримав поранення!” (“Please sir, my brother ran away when we went home and was injured!”)

“Добре, візьми мене до нього дорогий.” (“Alright, take me to him dear.”)

Natasha nodded leading him away in a frantic rush. Leading him into a dark alleyway she let him step ahead of her. The lights in this part of the street she had broken last night for convenience, and most occupants were asleep by now, all elderly who where exhausted at this time.

“Де твій брат?” (“Where is your brother?”)

Pulling out the rope from the pocket sewn into the front of her dress she whipped out a rope. Leaping forward she knocked the man down, wrapping the rope tightly around his neck.

He let out harsh wheezing breaths, as his oxygen supply was cut off from the strangulation. He dropped the briefcase as has hands reached desperately to remove the rope from his neck.

Two minutes later, Natasha left the alley rope in hand.

————-

“You have done well Natasha.” Madame said.

“I knew you would be able to complete this mission for us.”

Natasha gave her thanks to the compliment.

“We will speak again soon.”

Natasha recognized her dismissal and left. As she changed into the uniform she slipped the gift for Petrina and her own pin up the sleeve.

Natasha navigated her way through the room until she reached her bed. She had returned just before the students would be dismissed for the day, so she waited with hidden excitement. A couple minutes later she saw her little sister enter the room. Petya’s eyes lit up with joy and Natasha had to suppress a fond smile. Petrina may be able to fool anyone else, but Natasha was her older sister.

The young girl made her way over to Natasha.

“I missed you.” She breathed, careful not to be overheard.

“So did I. But I got you something.” Petrina’s face twitched, the only suggestion of surprise evident.

She pulled out the painted jewelry box and slipped it into Petrina’s pocket.

“Madame will be coming soon.” Petrina frowned a bit at the statement.

“Tell me everything tomorrow.”

Natasha nodded.

“Thank you Tasha.” Her sister squeezed Natasha’s hand before heading to her own bed.

Natasha watched as she admired the box for a split second before hiding it once more.

She allowed herself to smile for just one moment.

Chapter Text

Petrina shot the bullet at the gagged man, watching with a guarded expression as her crumpled to the floor.

The instructor let her go and the girl walked out of the room. Earlier this morning, Natasha had told her to meet her outside Madame B.’s office, which had Petrina more intrigued then she would admit.

She wandered throughout the halls with purpose before spotting her older sister, who was waiting beside the large, intimidating doors that opened to Madame’s office. The two Romanov’s entered the room.

“Sit.” The older woman commanded. She passed a file towards them, before addressing them.

“I’m impressed by the both of your performances. Natasha, as the top student in preparation for the final exam to become a Black Widow, it is your duty to help instill that same skill into Petrina.”

“She will be joining you on this next mission. You leave tonight.”

“Yes Madame B.” The siblings replied in unison. They left the room, walking in silence before they reached an empty training room, where they practiced their ballet together.

Putting on their black tights, pointe shoes, leotards and sheer wraps skirts, they began to warm up.

“Tasha,” Petrina asked as she went down in a split. “What do you think we’re going to do on the mission?”

Natasha paused from where she had been practicing her positions to reach for the bar to stretch.

“It depends. Sometimes we gather information or assassinate. Sometimes we go undercover and other times discrepancy isn’t a problem. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.” The elder sister replied.

They both finished stretching and had begun to practice the routine the instructor had given all the students.

They danced in silence for a little while before Petrina finally gave in to the question that was nagging her.

“Natasha?” Petrina asked, not letting the hesitance she felt show.

“Yes, Petya?” They both began to pirouette.

The two of them stopped with their arms reached out in grace.

“Why do you always seem a little...different after each mission.”

The room went dead silent. Petrina realized her sister didn’t want to answer the question do to the ignorance she was presenting, so she didn’t press further.

“Because it reminds me of our place in the world.”

————-

It was early dawn when they landed in their destination of Osaka, Japan. They had already gone over the files given, and now the had been left alone. Petrina followed Natasha who walked through the crowds with purpose, but she noticed her sister glancing back behind to make sure she didn't lose her. The thought filled Petrina with a warm emotion, which she usually only felt with Tasha. Her big sister had told her it was called happiness. Of course they instructors always talked about how emotions were a show of weakness.

Was she weak for enjoying such an emotion? She hid yes, but what if they found out? Was she worthless to the Academy? If she wasn't any good to the Red Room, then what good was she? Her only use in the world was there.

Cutting off her thoughts so they would spiral off any more than the already had, the younger girl sped up her pace to match Natasha’s. They reached the building where they would be staying during the mission. It was a quaint place, with a large window overlooking the blossoming sakura trees that grew along the street. They dropped the bags of uniforms and undercover clothing into the room they would be sharing, changing into something a typical citizen would wear.

They walked into the living room, sitting down onto the couch. Natasha propped her feet up onto the table, while Petrina stood there waiting for instructions, feeling a bit awkward. Natasha looked at her questioning for a few seconds before grimacing.

“Petrina you can sit down. We’re just going to go over the mission and discuss tactics.”

Blushing slightly, Petrina complied.

“It’s different Petrina. When we’re here...not working on the mission, we can just be a civilian. Enjoy it. And…” Natasha paused, looking like she was having a huge internal battle. She sighed.

“Just give me a hug. I want to hug my baby sis.” Petrina’s eyes widened. They had not hugged since Petrina was just a pathetic little child, if not younger. The Red Room didn't approve of affection. Yet...why did she yearn so badly for a hug from her sister as well?

It was nice, they both found. Despite their awkward positions due to years of ignoring such acts of affection, it felt right.

“What I'm trying to say Petrina...is its okay to show some emotions around me.It’s just the two of us. We’re sisters, we have each other's backs, right?”

“Right.”

Sadly they departed from the hug but Petrina understood what Natasha was trying to tell her. Sitting down next to her big sister, she pointed at the files, giving her a pointed eyebrow. Natasha chuckled, grasping the files and opening them onto the desk so they could both see.

They scanned through it coming to the same conclusions.

“Assassinations?”

“Yep.”

“We’re still going to have to edit the security cameras at the same time as the assassinations, unless we find an area without any people or cameras.” Petrina flipped through the files again.

Petrina nodded, and they spend the next few minutes formulating plans and tactics. Eventually they packed up they files, hid them away and left the apartment.

Walking through the streets they reached a small corner store. Natasha grabbed a basket as Petrina plucked items of their shelves. Eventually they reached the cashier, from where Natasha dropped two sweets into the basket. Raising a teasing eyebrow at the older girl, she raised one back at her, causing Petrina to stifle a laugh. She knew it was okay to show emotions, but she felt like it was something to be reserved for her sister only.

They left the shop, and Natasha reached around the bag to grab the two treats she bought earlier.

“The owner told me their a good snack, so I thought we should try it while we’re here.”

Petrina smiled briefly before replying.

“We should sit down first. I saw a small park on the way here, let's go there.”

Natasha nodded, and the two siblings walked in comfortable silence. They sat own on one of the park benches, next to a drooping sakura tree. The branches with filled it green leaves and beautiful pink blossoms. She handed her one of the boxes, which was labeled Pocky.

“Not bad.” Natasha commented.

————-

“You good?” Natasha yelled to her. Petrina gritted her teeth, slashing the through of her attacker and shooting a bullet at the man behind her trying to bash her skull in.

 

“Perfect.”

Natasha nodded, shooting her gun repeatedly at the remaining members of her group, watching as they collapsed to the ground, bleeding out. She kicked one down with enough force that his skull bashed into the ground. Throwing of the blades from her belt towards the final target other before turning to help her sister. Petrina just slashed her knife through her remaining two targets They were surrounded by the bloodied bodies.

“Finished?” Natasha asked Petrina, who nodded in reply. Opening the sewer grate, they jumped down, escaping the crime scene.

They walked through the sewers, which were actually not as filthy as expected, even spotting a small fish swimming by every now and then. They didn’t speak or make any noise, other the the soft tap from when the step, which was drowned out by the soft noise of water. Cleaning the blood from the blades, they reached the sewer grate that opened at a dark alley near their apartment. Thankful that they were only on the second floor, they climbed through the open window, closing it once both of them were in. Not a sliver of any of their involvement could be traced.

Changing into some sweats, they sat down on the couch, letting some animated show play in the background.

“Natasha?”

“Yeah?”

Petrina bit her lip clearly wondering whether to ask the question.

“You know you can tell me anything, right?”

“Right...I was just going to ask,”

“Why does the Red Room have us do what we do?”

Natasha pulled her little sister into a hug.

“I don’t know Petrina.” She replied, stroking the auburn curls of the younger girls hair.

“We have to. They gave us a home. We don’t have anywhere else to go. Maybe in a different time, it could have been different but...our loyalty is to the Academy. They know what’s best.”

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

Overtime, Natasha and Petrina slowly grew distant once more. The Red Room had them both working harder than ever, Petrina with moving through the ranks of the Academy and Natasha with preparing for her final exams.

With their last attachment to humanity kept away, they both hardened, Natasha especially. So when she was sent on the final mission before the exam, she only briefly thought of her little sister, two busy with the rigorous review and practice she was doing in preparation for the exam.

And though the girl didn’t realize it, dangerous and talented as she was, she was slowly being turned back into the perfect weapon for the Red Room to use.

Aim the gun.

Throw that blade.

Use your charm.

Kick and punch.

Strike and kill.

Forget yourself.

————-

Natasha arrived in the city of São Paulo, a busy and bright city. Tall gleaming skyscrapers reached into the sky, and the noise of cars and people mixed together. She was staying on the outskirts of the city, away from the action.

As she neared the final exam, the Red Room had been sending her on missions far harder than before each with less time, higher profile targets and areas.

She completed each with more grace and dignity than the last. For this assignment she was to get rid of a high ranking ambassador's daughter.

Dropping off her stuff at the hotel room she was staying at, she carefully formulated her plan, hacking into databases and listening to news broadcasts.

It was just twilight the next evening when she set out on her assignment, the fifteen year old donning her uniform and weapons before leaping out the window onto the building rooftops.

Through the use of her grappling gun and her own strength, she swiftly reached her destination, a tall abandoned building. She hid in the slowly growing shadows, waiting for the ambassador and his daughter to exit the building. She prepared her gun with trained movements, patiently waiting for her target to appear.

Bang!

The gunshot rang out, and you could hear the sound vibrate throughout the city as the cries and panicked screams began to fill the air.

Bang!

Bang!

Natasha pulled the trigger twice more before she leapt away from the position just as quickly before anyway could look up from the bleeding girl to see who had done the deed.

As she raced back to the hotel, the wails of police cars and ambulances drilled into her ears, the flashing lights reflecting in the glass. Natasha wasn’t worried however. She was the Red Rooms best students. She covered her tracks well, and the police would be stumped by who the identity of the attacker was.

————-

‘As it turned out, the girl was more resilient then Natasha had originally assumed. After extensive surgery at the nearby hospital, they were currently being nursed back to health.

‘Pathetic.’ Natasha though before shaking her head. Now wasn’t the time to dwell on her failure. She could fix this. There was still time before she left tomorrow morning.

So once the midnight had passed and even the usual city noise had dulled down during the late hour, she leader towards the São Paulo hospital.

She had already done her calculations, and after knocking out a nurse and stealing her outfit, she went unnoticed. The hospital was quiet, and only a few doctors and nurses were still working.

She reached the eastern wing of the hospital, before changing back into her catsuit. Slinking back into the inky black shadows, the two men guarding the girl were dead on the floor in seconds.

Sadly, the thuds they both made were loud, echoing throughout the room. The doctors would both be here in minutes to check out the disturbance. No evidence could be left behind.

So the assassin opened the canteen of gasoline strapped to her leg and threw into onto the floor, watching the liquid spill across the floor.

She could hear the footsteps echoing down the hall.

She lit the match as she crouches beside the open window. Threw it down. And watched the flames devour the room. And as she crouched down in the open window, readying her grapple to make a quick escape, it began.

The terror-stricken screams created by the children as the watched the raging inferno burned away the surroundings. The smoky air made it hard to breathe and see, but even through it Natasha could see the fear in those children’s eyes.

And as she flew threw the air, the grip on her grapple tight, only one thing echoed through her mind.

‘You’re a monster.’

Natasha watched the hospital burn down as emergency services desperately tried to save everything they could.

In the end casualties still surpassed twenty, with many more severely injured.

The Red Room retrieved her.

Life moved on.

Yet...Natasha knew this would haunt her for years to come.

Chapter Text

It was time.

Atleast, that was what Madame B. said. They walked throughout the academy speaking about the redheaded teen’s accomplishments during her training at the Red Room. Natasha kept her traitorous thoughts to herself throughout the conversation.

She wanted this...didn’t she?

The Red Room knew what was best. She told herself, the lie burning through her mind like the flames burned the hospital.

And even if they didn’t...well it wasn’t like Natasha seemed to have a choice.

The two were currently observing a ballet class perform, their movements eerily beautiful. Natasha spotted Petrina as one of the younger girls performing.

“Again.” She could hear the Instructor's sharp voice pierced through the air, ordering the girls as they dutifully complied and started the routine from the top. Small children watched from the wall opposite, emotionless and observant.

“You'll break them.” Natasha told the older woman, turning to face her as she spoke.

“Only the breakable ones. You are made of marble. We'll celebrate after the graduation ceremony.” Madame B. replied, a hint of a smirk in her chilling voice.

“What if I fail?” Natasha asked with persistence.

“You never fail.”

————-

Natasha darted around the dimly lit room, swiftly taking out her opponents. Throwing one into the fireplace and slamming a mans head into her knee and watching him fall down unconscious before flipping another on her back she felt someone place her in a tight chokehold.

She tried to pull the arms away from her throat before giving up, tapping his arm to signal surrender. She hoped it was believable enough, she had fought many rounds of opponents at this point though she doubted it internally.

“Sloppy.” Madame B. said with cold disappointment rom where she was overseeing her exam.

“Pretending to fail. The ceremony is necessary for you to take your place in the world.” She continued.

“I have no place in the world.” Natasha breathed out, feeling some unbridled emotion she could not place full her up.

She felt Madame’s hand grasp her face forcing her down onto a hospital cart as the white noise filled her senses, the squeaking wheels of the cart only momentarily breaking her out of the trancelike state she was in.

It felt as if she had been submerged in frigid water, unable to reach the surface to gasp for air. slowly sinking into the depths of the darkness. Natasha knew struggling was pointless, and logically realized that she had already been drugged, probably once the exam began earlier that afternoon.

She felt the faces of children watch her pass by, the pale light of the windows burn her eyes.
Her eyes searched around for anything that might help her but the drug must’ve been strong enough to knock her off her senses as she felt like everything was moving too fast to process. It was blinding and silent, yet still she heard the voices louder and hazier than ever.

Natasha strained against her restraints but her movements felt slow and not her own. Fighting against the darkness inching across her vision as she felt the cart stop.

The white noise seemed to filter out now. Panic and desperation melted away, leaving just the bitter and painful acceptance behind, and she heard the door click as it locked and watched with fading vision and operation tools were picked up, in preparation for the final segment of the ceremony.

Natasha awoke in a separate room late at night. A note in russian lay on a bedside table, while a dark stained wood cabinet was opened up to reveal a black catsuit which the only occurrence of another color was a crimson red hourglass like shape on the belt, and multiple weapons.

She picked up the note to see what was written on it.

‘Congratulations Natasha Romanov. You have successfully completed your training and exams. The graduation ceremony went smoothly, and the KGB welcomes you, Black Widow.’

Sadness rolled over the girl like a crashing wave, but Natasha pushed it down, before settling down to go back to sleep.

A single tear rolled down her face as she slept.

Chapter Text

Walking with purpose as she exited the elevator, Natasha entered the airy office room, still clutching the files in her other hand as she greeted the director.

“Good morning sir.”
The man looked up from where he had been typing, startled by her quiet entry. He flashed a brief smile but Natasha saw the way he minutely scrutinized her. He must have found nothing out of the ordinary, as Natasha had planned, and turned back to reply.

“Why hello! You must be the new assistant, yes?”

“Yes sir, Juliet Anderson.”

The real Juliet Anderson was currently drugged and unconscious in her bedroom closet however, the secretary didn’t know that. For all he knew, Natasha was truly the recently appointed assistant.

Natasha sat down in the chair situated in the right corner. It was blocked by the heap of files that she began sorting through. Though it was a menial task, she needed to establish a sense of triviality with the man, leading to the perfect opportunity to strike once the time came.

Natasha fulfilled her role as a personal assistant with ease, scheduling appointments and organizing stray documents.

“Juliet, would you be a dear and get me a coffee?”

“Yes, sir.” Natasha replied with a smile.

As she prepared the coffee in the break room, she studied at the situation. It was only a couple of hours until closing time, but this could be the best chance she’ll get today. She wouldn’t be able to keep up the persona for very long once the real Juliet Anderson woke up from her drug-induced slumber.

Deciding her mind firmly, though her movements and expression showed no trace of any thoughts or decisions passing through her mind. She slipped the powder in as she poured some sugar and milk into the cup of coffee.

'That’ll give me two or three hours which is more than enough.'

Stirring the cup as she walked back into the office with silent footsteps, the only thing that caused notice of her entered was the audible click caused by the door as it shut behind her.
Handing the mug to the man, she walked back to her corner. Imperceptibly, she took out the small device, which disabled at electronic devices within a meager range. Knowing that any cameras would now become ineffective, she waited. Watching as the man struggled to fix the computer before the sleep agent began to kick in, becoming pale and dizzy as he futility tried to steady himself.

He slumped over on his desk, scattering a few of the trinkets previously on the table as he collapsed on top of them. Swiftly grabbing him under the arms, Natasha lifted him back into the chair, she briefly checked his eyes and pulse to make sure the sedative had worked before dumping the remaining coffee into a potted plant.

Feining a struggle she hauled the secretary out of the office. Workers immediately started panicking and frantically running about uselessly, as Natasha restrained herself from rolling her eyes in disdain.

"I had just gone up to ask for some clarification on a file, and then he just fell over unconscious!" She stammered, giving the impression of bewilderment.

“I’m going to take him to a doctor.” She said as the woman she had been speaking to nodded, helping her out of the building. Natasha felt her gaze watch as she called for a taxi, placing the man in the back.

“Where ya going, kid.” The driver said tiredly.

“Talbott Boulevard.”

————-

A dull pain erupted from his head as she woke up, confusedly looking around the warehouse. The man attempted to walk around, but he only ended up on the concrete floor.

“What the—what happened? Where am I?” The man struggled against the restraints being used to tie him down to the chair. Realizing the effort was pointless, he attempted to yell for help. A hand gripped face whilst a cold, dead voice spoke from behind him.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Secretary.”

Natasha stepped out from the shadows. She had donned her suit, and her eyes no longer held the impression of an innocent assistant trying her best. The beautiful, vivid, jade-green eyes were impassive yet managed to chill him to the bone, pinning him down like cornered prey.

Natasha removed her hand, before leaning down in front of him. She radiated a venomous aura, the room stifling despite the cold November. Up close the man realized she appeared much younger then the twenty-five years the application had listed. The teen smiled mockingly.

“Wondering why I look so much older?”

Hesitantly the man nodded, still wary of the girl.

“It’s prototype tech,” she pulled out a sort of mesh, to show. “Changes your appearance ever so slightly. Perfect for adding a couple of years onto my age along with a pair of heels.”

“Now where were we?” In a single fluid movement, she twirled a knife in her hand before slicing open a gash in his cheek, blood instantly dripping from the gash. She had pulled out a file and was looking uninterestedly through it back to a flat tone of voice, blatantly ignoring the loud groan of pain.

“Issac Wesley. Secretary of State for Defense. Age Forty-six, Blood Type A positive, been in office for two years.” She snapped it shut and threw it to the side.

“Let’s begin shall we?” Natasha started to say.

“Wait what! Who are you?” The man retorted. Natasha rolled her eyes.

“You are going to answer my questions. As for my name, you can call me the Black Widow.” She stated. The man scoffed.

“Why should I?” He sneered. Natasha narrowed her eyes, making up her mind pulled out a phone and scrolled through the saved contacts.

“Hmm, whose this? Claire, Brian, Hannah, Lily, David, Liam...you sure do know people. It would be a shame, don’t you think, if they were to get caught up in this.”

“Y-You wouldn’t!”

“I’ve lost my patience,” Natasha said. “Start talking. I’ll know when you lie, just you know the consequences.” She pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. His face blanched instantly at the sight of the weapon.

“What's happening in Budapest next month.”

“H-how did you know about Budapest!”

“Rumors have been going around.” She said simply. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“It’s just a convention! Ministers and Secretary’s from across most of Europe will be meeting! It’s just a formal get together to discuss possibilities!” He stammered.

Natasha just stared at him unreadably, before replying, her honeyed voice oozing with venom.

“I thought I told you I’d know when you lie, Mr. Secretary.” She switched the gun out for a dagger jabbing him in the thigh, the wound staining his pants with blood, the air filling with the sickly copper scent and his cry of pain. She watched as he nervously watched her before she dragged the back of the chair outside. A river was beside it, rapid and unforgiving. She pushed the chair over the edge, the only thing keeping him from falling into the water below was the casual grip she had on his tie.

“I’ll ask again, and think carefully. What is happening in Budapest?”

The secretary’s eyes were glazed with fear. He stumbled over his words in his haste to answer.

“Their transferring confidential information! The convention is a ploy to distract while they work!”

“Very good. What is the information.” Natasha ordered, pulling the chair back onto more solid ground, though still close enough to instill fear of falling into the water below.

“Nuclear codes, important documents, um, possible weaponry plans, I don’t know all that much, please!” He replied.

Natasha nodded stiffly.

“Thank you for your cooperation, Secretary Wesley.” The man let out a shaky breath feeling relieved.

Then she pushed him into the river, canceling out the terror-stricken scream echoing behind her, stopping abruptly with a large splash. Gathering her things and clearing away the evidence, the teenager left the scene, not a soul realizing what had occurred.