Title: White
Author: Serena

Summary: The life of Natasha Romanova in vignettes.

Ship: Black Widow/Hawkeye

Timeline: Set in the movie-verse, not many (if any) mentions of the comic-verse.

AN1: I love the character of Natasha, and I absolutely adore the BlackHawk pairing :) Anyway, my first Avengers fic.

AN2: I will try my best to do Natasha justice. Sometimes in fics people flatten out her character a lot, or over-simplify her personality. I personally believe that she is an incredibly complex person, who deals with incredibly complex issues. I will try my best to show that.

AN3: Natasha is about 8 in this chapter; the beginning segment she's around 3 or 4. All chapters will be chronological.

A voluptuous woman who looked like her, minus the flaming red mane, and a taciturn man who wore thick, round glasses. A fire. She didn't know how it started, or even what it meant at her tender age. She remembers the dancing red and orange, someone holding her from running towards the flames, one long scream of terror and pain, and then silence.

. . . . . . .

"But I don't want to study."

"But, Natalya, you must."

She screws up her nose and turns her head away. "No."

The tutor places a gentle hand on Natalya's shoulder. "You know how important this is to your country."

"No, it isn't," Natalya says, shrugging away the man's hand.

"It's not? Then why does your government want you to learn it?" Natalya pauses. This was a trap, and she feels so stupid for walking right into it. She clenches her fists together over the textbook. "The government knows best what you need. Do you believe this, Natalya?"

The red-haired Russian girl gritted her teeth. "Yes."

The tutor smiles indulgently. "Good. Then-"

"But why this? Science and history and geography is pointless... Why can't I just do my target practice? I like guns."

The tutor sighed. He seemed to be going in circles with this girl in this argument. "Of course you do, Natalya. You have an exceptional aptitude for marksmanship, and our leader greatly approves." Natalya allows herself a prideful smile. "But in order to use those skills, you need a target. And to accomplish your future missions, you have to know all about your target- where they come from, what they know, what they do. This knowledge will help ensure your safety as well."

Natalya looked up at the tutor, away from the infernal Soviet history book. "But I thought my safety was of no concern."

The tutor nods, seemingly pleased with her answer. "You raise a good point, Natalya. We would all gladly give our lives for our government, for our Soviet Union. But I'm sure you can see the benefits of completing a mission while staying alive."

Natalya frowns and folds her arms over her chest. She looks back down at the textbook, angry at being proven wrong. "I suppose so."

Her frown gradually becomes a neutral line, and her tutor leaned closer. "We would never want you to fail your country. Do you want to disappoint us?"

She whispers, "No, it's not that..."

"I know, Natalya. There are a great many things that we do that no one finds enjoyable, or would ever do by choice." The tutor chuckles, always kind and firm, "Teaching history is not my favorite way to spend my time."

Natalya looks at him questioningly, but doesn't say anything.

"But I do it because I know how important it is. And in time, Natalya, you'll learn to appreciate the necessity. Our government knows what is best for us, what the world needs. It's a great burden, borne for our sakes. We must do anything we can to help. We must never disappoint our country."

Natalya was quiet, but mouthed 'no', flipping through the pages of the textbook, the snit-snit-snit of the falling pages the only sound.

Most vignettes will be a bit longer, but if you want to see something particular, say so in a review. Please feel free to leave some critique. This is my first attempt at something outright drabble-y.