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tell me where you've been, love

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For her entire life, Natasha had been very orderly about everything. She'd always been very precise and specific about things. Like the way she made her bed, or the way she arranged her desk, or the time and amount she fed her cat, even the way she ran a blade across her hips and thighs some nights. 

So, she supposed that this day wouldn't be any different. There wasn't a devastating breakup, there wasn't a mental breakdown, nor was there even tears. 

Natasha woke up, she stared at her ceiling, and she decided today was the day. She got up, made her bed, and went on with her day. 

Humming softly as she made her way through her apartment, the redhead felt a sense of calm and tranquility settling over her. 

First, her clothes were pulled on, simple blue jeans and a light colored sweater, and then her hair was brushed, her makeup put on delicately.

Her movements weren't slow or mechanical, weren't held back by a sadness that most would have assumed. She felt normal. Better than normal.

Natasha gave her limber, black cat, Ebony, a scoop of food, scratched behind her ears, and left. 

As she drove, her thoughts wandered to the neatly written note in her bedstand drawer, and she noted that she'd have to take it out and put it somewhere visible, so he wouldn't have to go searching for it. 

Her best friend would be sad, she knew that. Of course he would, and so would his wife, his kids. They'd miss her. The woman wasn't dumb enough to believe she didn't have people that cared about her, it just wasn't enough to make her stay. 

She loved them, always had and always would. The redhead hummed suddenly, content that she'd see her niece one more time. After all, Natasha was her English teacher. 

She didn't eat breakfast or lunch, didn't see a reason to, and just taught her classes. The teacher made sure to keep notes on what she'd been teaching so whoever took her place would know where to start. 

The day only began to look up once she got to the last period of the day, her favorite class. She would never admit it of course, didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but her favorite students were in the last class. 

They were also in her homeroom at the end of the day, and she supposed that might be why they were her favorites. 

"Hi, Auntie Nat!" Lila Barton greeted happily as she entered the room, sliding into her desk nearest to Natasha's. 

"Hey Munchkin." The redhead replied, smiling lightly. 

A few others filtered in, greeting her, and then the classroom quickly filled, the bell ringing to signal the start of class. 

After explaining the material and telling everyone what their homework was, she  slinked her way back to her desk, jotting down exactly what she'd just covered, before sitting back and letting her eyes drift over the students. 

She wasn't as strict as most of the teachers in this school, and she assumed that was why she heard many of the teens whispering about her being their favorite teacher in the halls.

She issued that homework and if the kids did it or not was up to them, she'd let them know that. If they did it, they got the points. If not, they didn't. 

A lot of them used her class as a study hall, doing the homework she'd assigned another time. Like normal, though, Natasha's eyes landed on the kids who actually worked on it. 

There was Lila, of course, and there was the boy a few seats from her, Peter Stark. Peter was an extremely bright kid, and while it was pretty obvious he wasn't short on money, he didn't flaunt it for popularity or friends like a lot of the snobby kids here did. 

Peter had a certain air to him, something not exactly dark, but not light either. Natasha blinked, shaking her head a bit. She had always been curious about the brunet boy, but had never pried. It was none of her business. 

Next, her gaze landed on the boy beside him. Peter Stark always seemed to have Loki Odinson at his side. They weren't best friends, not like she'd noted that Peter and Ned Leeds were, but they gravitated toward each other as if on instinct. 

When she'd first met the boys, she was 100% sure they knew each other outside of school. She'd just yet to figure it out. 

"Miss Romanoff?" A voice caught her attention, and Natasha tore her gaze from the wall she'd began staring at. 

"Yes?" Standing in front of her desk was Michelle Jones-Fury, thrusting the paper in her hand forward. 

"I'm finished. Can I go down to the library?" Was the girl's (predicted) response. 

Looking to the clock, the redhead noted that class was almost over, and while MJ was in her homeroom, the girl often stayed in the library the whole time. 

Natasha nodded, taking the sheet from the teen and looking it over. "Bye, MJ." 

She made sure to say bye instead of 'see you' or something along the lines of that. She'd never been one to lie, and wouldn't begin then.

MJ watched her for a moment, almost as if peering right into her thoughts, before shoving her hands in her pockets. 

"Bye, Miss Romanoff." 

The teacher watched her go, and a few short minutes later, the bell was ringing. Most students grabbed their things and filed out noisily, but her kids remained. 

Of course, not all of her students were in her last hour, so a few more trickled in as the minutes ticked by. 

The woman had what was classified as a small class, with only seven students, six without MJ. 

"Miss R, do you have candy?" Came an expected question from Abe, who lounged in a desk near the door, Cindy Moon across from him and also looking at her expectantly.

"Hm. I'm starting to think you guys are using me for candy." The young woman teased, pulling open her desk drawer to pull out seven pieces of candy. 

She tossed them to the kids one by one, them either catching them or failing drastically. 

When she got to Peter, she tossed two. "Give that one to MJ when you see her, okay?" The boy blinked in shock, but nodded. 

Natasha was confused for a moment at his reaction. He seemed hesitant to go near MJ. Why didn't he want to be near the girl? Did he have a crush on her or something? 

Beside Peter, both Ned and Loki snickered. From the way they looked at each other afterward, the redhead assumed it was for different reasons. 

"Auntie Nat, Dad wanted to know if you're coming for dinner on Sunday like you planned." Lila suddenly questioned, slouched in her seat as she propped her feet up on the one opposite to her.

"I don't think I'll make it, Sweetheart. You tell your parents I love them, though." Natasha responded softly, a small smile on her face. 

"What, why? You always come." She whined. 

"I'm sorry, Lila. Something's come up." The woman said, rubbing at her thigh for a moment. 

"Ugh, fine. Come over next week, then?" 

Nat smiled lightly, but didn't respond. She noted distantly that she was smiling a whole lot more today than she normally ever did.

The redhead realized that she'd probably spaced out when the bell rang and the kids quickly began to pack up their things. 

"Bye guys!" She said instead of her usual 'See you Monday!', and she stood.

"Bye, Auntie Nat." Lila responded, quickly hugging her before rushing out of the room with her books in hand. 

Peter skipped over to give her a quick hug too, something he didn't normally do. "See you Monday, Miss Romanoff." He said earnestly, looking her straight in the eyes, before he too left the room.

Most of the others said their goodbyes and before she knew it, the room was empty beside herself.

Natasha looked at her desk, saw everything was neat and organized, and she walked from the class. 

She didn't have any meetings to attend today, thankfully, so she went straight to her car. 

She just sat in the driver's seat for a moment, looking at the building that she would never see again. It was slightly surreal, knowing that her end was coming, and that she was the one who would be causing it. 

Shaking her head, the young woman put her car in drive and took off back home. When she finally got there, she walked in almost robotically. 

She put her purse on the coffee table and stalked to her room, dropping onto her bed. The first thing she did was open her bedside drawer, pulling out the goodbye note. 

It was short and simple, something Clint would understand. With a small hum, she flattened it out on the table and stood. Next, she ambled toward her bathroom, where everything she'd need would be. 

Mechanically, the woman opened the cabinet and pulled out a bottle of painkillers, the seal not even broken. Next, a small silver razor, which she placed on the ceramic counter next to the pills. 

And finally, a simple bottle of water. She'd need something to down the medicine, right? Closing the toilet lid, she sat on it and cracked the seal on the water, taking a sip. 

She pulled a face. She couldn't do this, not with just water. She'd need something stronger. Something a lot stronger.

Nat resealed the bottle and left her supplies on the counter. Without a second glance, she hopped up and walked back out to the dining room, fishing her wallet from her purse, and walking out the door. 

The teacher found her way to the bar easy enough, plopping herself into a stool right up at the counter and pulling out a hundred dollar bill. 

"A vodka please, and keep them coming." She requested kindly to the bartender, who raised his brow but complied.

"Rough night?" 

"Something like that, Edwin." Natasha answered, having been there enough times to find out his name. 

"Want to talk about it?" 

She flashed a smile. "In all the time you've known me, have I ever been the talking type?" 

He raised his hands in surrender as she brought the glass to her lips. "Was just being a gentleman, Miss R." 

"Oh please, you're not one of my highschoolers. It's Nat, you know that." 

"Of course, Nat." 

And with that, the redhead was left alone with her alcohol, drinking it slowly. 

That was, until a man slid into the stool next to her. "Highschoolers, huh? You a teacher, Nat?" 

She rolled her eyes at the way he stressed her name, and turned her head to look at him. "It's Natasha." 

The man, a brunet with dark eyes and a goatee, placed his hand on his heart with a smile. "Ouch. You like the bartender more than me?" 

"He gives me alcohol." She reasoned. 

The man licked his lips, grinning. "Fair. Hey Jarvis, whiskey on the rocks, pretty please." 

"You got it, Sir."

Natasha raised her brows, downing the glass. "Sir? You his boss or something?" 

"Or something." The man said cheekily, picking up the glass that was slid to him and taking a drink.

Once he'd out it down, he gave her a once over. "I'm Tony."

"Nice to meet you, Tony." Nat stated flatly, eying him.

"You sure ain't giving off that vibe, Natasha." The man, Tony acknowledged. 

"You know, people don't tend to go to bars to chat." 

"Well, that's no fun." The brunet pouted, his eyes sparkling with mischief. 

"Sorry to burst your bubble." 

Tony barked out a laugh, and Natasha knew he was getting a kick out of her. "I like you." He decided, his voice playful as he leaned closer to her. 

Normally, the woman would have made him back off, would've told him to kiss his own ass, but not tonight. 

Looking him over, she knew most women would be dying to be hit on by him. He was attractive, seemed to be fit, and if the suit he was wearing and the watch on his wrist were any indication, he wasn't exactly poor. 

"That's nice." She responded finally, swirling her drink around. 

"How about you and I go back to my place, Sweetheart?" 

She almost snorted at the nickname, and saw amusement in Edwin's eyes. He must've thought Natasha would tell him to shove off soon. 

"My place and you've got a deal." She bargained, locking eyes with him. 

His face lit up. "You've got a deal."

It wasn't long before the pair were stumbling into her apartment, their lips locked and bodies flush together. Natasha's hands were wrapped around his back and tangled in his hair as she walked backwards, leading him to her room. 

The man's lips trailed to her neck as her hand turned the knob behind them, pushing the door open. The redhead gasped slightly, arching toward him. 

He chuckled, a deep sound, vibrating through his throat and chest. She would've snarked at him, but decided against it when they fell into her bed, him on top of her. 

They both were tugging at their clothes in seconds, pulling them off like they were being burned. "You sure, Sweetheart?" 

"Call me Sweetheart again and I won't be." Nat panted, pulling her shirt over her head. 

Tony laughed, throwing his had back, and discarded his own shirt on the ground along side hers. 

Immediately, she saw the scars on his chest and back. There weren't many, but there were just enough that it was clear he probably got hurt a lot. 

Natasha kicked her jeans off just as his suit pants pooled on the ground. 

His eyes traveled to her thighs. "You gonna ask about my scars?" She challenged. 

"You gonna ask about mine?" He shot back. With a grin, the teacher realized she liked this guys, and pulled his head down to hers, her eyes slipping closed. 

She arched upward so Tony could reach under her, unclasping her bra and throwing it aside like trash. Nat didn't mind. 

His lips once again traveled to her neck, then down farther, making her shudder in anticipation, shimmying out of her underwear as quick as she could. 

The brunet smirked at her when he looked up, and slipped out of his boxers. Natasha huffed as she eyed him, and watched him practically devour her with his eyes. 

Anybody could guess what occured next. 

Natasha woke with a soft groan, her face mushed against her pillow. A frown adorned her lips, and she shifted.

Her skin was cool, seeing as there wasn't a blanket over her like normal. Neither was she wearing clothes. 

The past night came to her in seconds, and she frowned harder, her head aching. There was nobody beside her, so Tony had likely taken off. 

She cursed herself silently for falling asleep, but knew her plan would work just as fine during daylight. 

Finally, the redhead peeled open her eyes, moving into a sitting position and rubbing at her forehead. 

Hopefully the painkillers would help. Nat snorted at the thought, and stood, wobbling over to her closet to pull on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt.

Before she could walk into her bathroom, she spotted something that made her pause. 

Her note to Clint was moved, upside down even. Her brows raised as she wandered over to it.

There was writing on it, presumably Tony's. Her eyes flicked over it in seconds. 

Hey, Sweetheart. Caught sight of this while I was leaving. Don't know who this Clint guys is, but I'm sure he'd be upset to see you go. So would I. Call me. -Tony Stark

Beneath the note, his number was scrawled, and Natasha bit her lip, frowning once again. 

She felt something then, something she hadn't felt in a while, uncertainty.