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tell me where you've been, love

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It had only been a few days since Natasha had moved in completely, but she didn't feel out of place. 

She felt like she belonged there. She made breakfast in the morning and dinner at night. She even made lunch on weekends. After all, Peter had to have edible food sometimes, right? 

And as much as Tony wanted her to remain at the penthouse forever, she did have to go back to work. 

Her job was important to her. Before she met Tony and Peter, it was her life. She loved doing what she did, and she loved the kids. 

Speaking of the kids, there was one knocking at their door very, very loudly. "We'll be out in a minute, Pete." Tony groaned, and the knocking ceased. 

"Come on! We've gotta leave for school soon!" The boy whined, before his receding footsteps could be heard. 

"We?" Tony mumbled confusedly, turning his head slightly to lock eyes with the woman sprawled across his chest.

"Yes, we, Tony. I'm going back to work today, and you are driving Peter and I. We discussed this three days ago." Natasha reminded him, shifting so her head was resting on his shoulder. 

His face soured. "Happy will have to be your bodyguard when he's not watching Peter." 

The redhead barked out a small laugh, climbing out if bed. Tony pouted at the loss of warmth. "Happy does have a life, you know? If you insist on me having a bodyguard, it can't be Happy." 

"Ugh, fine. Wanda, then?" The millionaire suggested, watching her change into jeans and a light pink blouse. 

Thinking of how snarky and bossy the other woman was, Nat smirked, nodding. "Sure. We can teach each other our ways."

The brunet groaned yet again, knowing that wouldn't turn out well. "On second thought, I should just have Rhodey guard you." 

She threw her head back in laughter as he stood up. "You're joking, right? The stories I could get out of him. . . Be my guest." 

Tony squinted at his girlfriend suspiciously. "On third thought, Shield can have you." 

As she skipped out of the room snickering, He smiled. Her laughter, her smiles, they made his day. The man glanced at his dresser for a moment, then shook his head. He had to wait.

Natasha was pulling Eggos from the freezer when she heard Tony finally coming out, now dressed in one of his black suits.

"What happened to Chef Romanoff?" He teased, wrapping his arms around her. He seemed to have a thing about holding her all the time. 

"What happened is we're going to be late if I try to make something. Eggos is fine, right Peter?" 

Said boy who sat at the counter nodded enthusiastically. "Have you even had Eggos before, or are you trying to please Natasha?" 

Peter squinted. "Uh, yes." 

"That's not an ans- Oh, whatever." 

Nat wandered over to the toaster, popping in two of the Eggos. Just enough for Peter. For some reason, she didn't want to eat. She was hungry, sure, but the thought of eating just kind of made her sick. 

"Want some?" She asked, watching as the toaster warmed up. 

"Nah. Rhodey and I are going for breakfast. No idea where, though." The man finally pulled away after pressing a quick kiss under her ear. 

The look on Peter's face when he took his first bite lit up her whole day. 

"I'll be here as soon as school is over, okay? Both of you come right out here." Tony said, his face completely serious.

"Yeah, I know, Dad." Peter replied, rolling his eyes. 

"We're not going to get kidnapped at a school, okay? They're not that stupid." Natasha teased, poking him in the chest. 

He caught her wrist with a small smile, eying the almost healed bruise circling it. "Just be careful, okay? I'll see you later." 

Peter groaned at their affection, climbing out of the car, and Nat followed with a laugh. 

"Bye, Kiddo! Bye, Sweetheart!" With that, he drove off and Natasha and Peter made their way inside. 

"I'll see you in class, okay?" The teacher murmured to Peter, her hand on his shoulder. 

"Kay! See you, Nat." With a quick hug, the boy pranced off to class. 

"Miss Romanoff!" 

Natasha plastered on a smile, spinning around. "Mr. Morita, it's great to see you." She said pleasantly. 

"You too! I was so sorry to hear about your car accident. I'm glad you're better now, the kids have missed you." The man smiled. 

She almost faltered. "Right, my car accident. Well, as great as it is to see you, class will be starting soon." 

And with that, she was off to her classroom, noting that it was exactly as she left it. When the day finally began, each and every class made at least a few comments about being glad she was back, and she heard a few mumbles about how the substitute, Mr. Ross was an ass. 

She could agree. Thaddeus was one of the worst people she knew, and she knew members of mobs. That was saying something. 

Eventually, though, it was her lunch break, and she sat at her desk quietly, answering Tony's endless texts with short, sarcastic replies. 

For a man that showed so much malice and violence to his enemies, he was basically a witty teddy bear with her and Peter. 

So many people she knew that had completely different sides to them. . . Natasha's mind traveled to Clint then, a heavy sigh escaping her lips. 

She'd been avoiding thinking about him since the hospital, hadn't pondered on it much more at all. Now, though, as she let her mind wander, her brows furrowed. 

Before she found out about his job, about what he did, Clint was her best friend. He was the one person she could always go to, the one she could always trust. 

Hell, he had been the only person she cared enough about to leave a suicide note for. If she hadn't known him, she probably would've gone without a note. 

Nat dug her nails into her thighs, but the effect was ruined as her jeans protected the skin from being broken. She looked to the clock, saw that she still had time, and she stood. Grabbing a small item from her purse, the redhead stalked from the room and to the closest restroom. 

Seeing as it was lunch time, it was empty, and she was free to do whatever without fear of being caught. So after locking herself in a stall and tugging her jeans down, she looked down at her thighs. 

There were a ton of old white scars, but what caught her eye the most were the small, recently healed crescent shaped ones. 

Natasha knew this was wrong, knew she was falling right back into her old habits, but she didn't care. She didn't care at all. If anything, she liked it. 

So without a second thought, she dragged the item she'd grabbed from her purse, her blade, across her thigh, welcoming the sting and watching the blood well up.

By the time her last class of the day came around, Natasha had almost managed to get her relapse out of her mind, and wasn't dwelling on it anymore. 

The second Lila walked in, though, she jolted, her leg smacking against her desk. "Auntie Nat!" Lila cried, bounding over. 

"Lila." She said apprehensively. She couldn't be sure if Clint told her anything or not. 

"Mom said you were in a car crash but Dad said I couldn't see you or call you anymore! What the heck happened?" The girl exclaimed, sliding into her seat. 

Natasha opened her mouth to answer, when she saw MJ walk in. And it suddenly hit her. The day the class found out she was dating Tony, MJ had acted strange and pulled out her phone. 

Her face flooded with realization. The teen had outed her to her dad. A small scoff escaped her, before she looked back to Lila. "I'm alright now. But your dad was right. We. . . We can't talk anymore." 

It hurt her just to say it, but she knew it was true. If she continued to hang around Lila, it wouldn't be long before Tony got the correlation with their last name. 

"W-What? Why?" Her niece was blinking back tears. 

The bell chose that moment to ring. "Class is starting, Lila. Pay attention." And she stood up, wandering to the front of the class, knowing they'd have questions. 

"Miss R!" Ned cried, his hand in the air. 

"Yes, Mr. Leeds?" 

"Is it true you were in a car crash? That's what Mr. Morita said!" 

Natasha's roaming eyes caught on MJ for a moment, noticing the girl wouldn't meet her eyes. "Yes, it is true. I was in a car accident, but I wasn't seriously hurt and I'm back for good now."

They continued to chatter on for a little while, but eventually they quieted down and the teacher was able to begin her lesson and wander back to her desk. 

She almost expected that MJ wasn't going to ask to go to the library this time, but sure enough, when there were only a few minutes of class remaining, the dark skinned girl wandered over. 

"Can I go to the library?" 

She watched her for a moment, her eyes flicking to Peter, who watched them with slightly wide eyes. "Not right now, Michelle." 

The teen's dark eyes flashed to hers for a moment, before she nodded and went back to her seat. 

The second the bell rang, Nat stood and beckoned for MJ to follow her out to the hall. 

"Look, Miss Romano-"

"Cut the crap, Michelle. I know you told your father about me." The redhead sighed, crossing her arms over her chest. 

"What was I supposed to do, huh? He would've found out eventually." Despite the bite in her words, Natasha could sense the smallest amount of guilt in her voice. 

She sighed for what seemed to be the hundredth time that day. "Listen, I don't hate you, okay? I understand the loyalty to your family, I do." Her tone took a sharp edge, "But if you try to do the same thing for Peter, I won't be so understanding, got it?" 

MJ swallowed. "Yeah. Got it." 

The redhead nodded decidedly. "Go to the library if you still want to." 

The kid didn't need to be told twice, scurrying off the second she was dismissed. It was a shame, really. If things had been different, they probably would have gotten along. 

Of course, when Nat stepped back into the room, the first thing she heard was, "Miss R, do you have candy?" 

It seemed some things never changed.