Prompt: Loki + any, My childhood spat back out the monster that you see by tigriswolf for Comment-Fic Livejournal Community

The Monster You See

"You know what my father asked me?" Loki broke the silence suddenly. "My father. Why are you such a monster?" Loki narrowed those somewhat hungry, slightly manic eyes at his drinking companion.

Natasha Romanova, whom he had called things unforgivable, had taken to driving to his apartment/cell/holding house each weekend, laying one knife on the table beside her, and drinking vodka while he brooded. Thor would say it was amazing the god let her play metaphorical Russian roulette in her own, very Russian way, but there was no luck to it. She owed him a debt. Not one he would wish her to repay.

She merely quirked a brow at him, lifted her glass, and sipped the amber fluid.

"My childhood spat back out the monster that you see." Loki had reasons for his weaknesses, of that she was certain. But she was also certain that they were weaknesses.

Her eyebrow smoothed out again. Natasha shrugged. She mentally noted the constant tick of red digits flying past in her mental ledger.

Loki laughed at her. "You think my reasons unworthy." His laughter turned to a dark, angry scowl. "You are just like them." His family.

Natasha set down her vodka and met him with a cold gaze. "My childhood spat back out the monster that you see." She picked up her vodka and downed the last of it, then stood and waited for one moment, for two.

He stared at her, startled and furious, and she waited for his magic powers to reach out and strike her, but then he leaned back and said, "Didn't you like my present?"

Clint. He was talking about Clint.

She had received such presents before.

The Black Widow tilted her head at him and considered yet again an appropriate sentence for his crimes, and yet came up against Thor yet again and the older brother's urgent need to redeem Loki. There was one answer that balanced both, perfectly, but it was very Russian and the one solution she found distasteful to implement.

She mentally noted the constant tick of red flying past the back of her vision. Red Room. Red blood. Red. How many times had they written her in red?

Natasha answered, "I will return an appropriate thank you soon."

She stepped out into the cool New York afternoon and tucked her knife back into its hidden sheath. Soon.