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29 May 2012 @ 04:22 pm
Fic: The Child Takers  
Title: The Child Takers
Rating/Warnings: 15/R (to be safe, darker than my usual), highlight to view warnings, tell me if I’ve missed any or have been unclear: *child abuse, murder, violent murder, murder of children, things that explode out of people (aliens), implied rape, implied underage sex, implied sex as a means to get close and kill someone, vampires, possible desire to commit suicide, massacre*
Length: 1,820 words
Summary: They come in the night, the takers of children. A story about darkness and monsters. A story about the people that try to take Natasha away and the one person who finally does.
Fandoms: Highlight to view all: Avengers/*Sandman/Doctor Who/Angel characters being Natasha; Cain, Abel and Dream; Eleven; Darla and Drusilla*

The Child Takers


She is born after the Berlin Wall comes down and before the collapse of the USSR, when some believe that the world will carry on as it is whilst others see the fall rushing towards them and reach out desperately, both kinds snatching at anything they think may be of use.

They come in the night, the takers of children. They come for her.

They tell her about the monsters in the dark. She already knew about them; all children do. This is different though, because these are the monsters outside of the fairytales and this is naming them: child killers, rapists, human traffickers, capitalists, warmongers, horrors hiding behind masks of normality. This is different, because this is the monsters themselves doing the telling and it’s too late for her, she’s already been taken. All she can do is swear to herself that she will never be taken again.

That could be the monsters talking, she’s not sure, because they’ve taken her and they won’t give her back, don’t want to lose her, and they’re keeping her by making her hold to them. She can’t tell. They break her and reshape her over and over, into a puzzle box made of puzzle boxes and a lie within. They train her to kill and train her so that she cannot demonstrate to them, on them, just how well she has been taught, taunting her with their soft underbellies and bared necks.

She dreams in blood; tastes it in her mouth when she wakes.

There are two brothers in her dreams. The eldest is tall and thin. He delivers death like it’s a compulsion. The younger is short and fat. He dies over and over and never leaves.

She isn’t sure which one she has the most in common with.

“He bleeds for me,” the eldest tells her as he peels back the skin of his brother’s stomach, exposing the fat and muscle beneath.

It is the same every night, the first brother killing the second, and at first she just watches. Then she makes suggestions and watches more closely.

“If ever we could keep a dreamer,” the eldest tells her, his brother in pieces between them, “I would ask for you.”

She does the killing then, no fancy method, fast and brutal. For the first time the eldest brother dies. She will not be taken.

“That is not the way it goes,” says a man that she has not seen before, stepping out of the shadows, taller and thinner even than the eldest brother, with bone-white skin and the manner of one who expects to be obeyed.

She does not dream of the brothers again.

~888~


She travels across most of the country; leaving when ordered, returning when ordered. When they are confident that her leash is secure they send her abroad. She slides into character there as well, taking up and discarding languages and clothes, seamlessly blending into the local scenery. She can talk about films and art that she has never seen, books that she has never read, places where she has killed but never taken the time to truly look or explore. She is required to know and that is all.

A man on a train next to her leaves his book behind on the seat, a cheap paperback with dogged pages and coffee stains. ‘Heaven to read, and you’ll laugh like hell’ it says on the cover. She doesn’t pick it up.

Another man wanders up and down the train three times before she decides to follow him, because she’s bored and observing people is always allowed. He doesn’t fit in at all, in an obvious manner. The tweed coat and bowtie could be written off, but he is too loud, too present, he doesn’t blend.

“Hello,” he says what she corners him in the last carriage.

He smiles. He continues to smile whilst a thing explodes out of a person, whilst there is a lot of screaming and running, whilst he aims a gadget at things and she uses a gun, which is much more reliable, whilst she loses count of the number of times she could have killed him and didn’t, whilst somehow everything is sorted out. She has never met anyone who smiles so much and appears to mean it.

“I love trains, don’t get me wrong,” he says as they pull into the next station, “but I have a much better means of travel.”

He straightens his bowtie using his reflection in the glass of the door as a guide and she doesn’t tell him about the bits of fake skin from the exploded people still stuck in the back of his hair.

“I could show you the stars,” he tells her, but he’s surrounded in a miasma of lies parading as truths and she’s smarter than that. She won’t be taken.

“This is my stop,” she says and it is.

This is her destination: a family in a house, sleeping quietly, oblivious as she slips in through a skylight.

The youngest boy has stars on his ceiling that glow softly in the dark.

~888~


They make everything that she is into a weapon. Everything is a means to an end and nothing is her, nothing is hers.

She hears people talking about emotions and their power, but they don’t seem at all powerful to her, those feelings that cause people to stumble and fall. They’re just another weakness, a bait for a trap, and she watches how people are taken in.

Love is for children. Sex is a tool.

She’s strapping a knife back onto her thigh and pulling her skirt back down, hiding the streaks of blood between her legs, when two women saunter into the alley, like women rarely do in dark alleys at night.

One presses delicate fingers to the blood still pulsing from the mark’s neck and paints her lips with it, red, red, red.

“Can I have her?” the other says, with wide eyes and her smile a slash across her face.

“Would you like that?” says the first.

She can see their faces change and their teeth stretching into fangs as the first steps over the body, gently raises her chin with bloodied fingertips, and says, “I think you would.”

She slams a knife into the woman’s heart, the thing’s heart, slipping it between bones, and the creature laughs.

“We don’t die so easily, little girl.”

It kisses her goodbye, lips slick, and she already knew the taste of blood, but not like this.

“Maybe when you’re older.”

~888~


The Union falls, names change, things are lost, but she continues to serve her purpose. She is what she was made to be.

Sometimes she thinks that she is also ever so slightly something else as well, but she can’t tell. She’s always gentle with the children, letting them slide from sleep into deeper darkness, and she’s harsh with those that deserve it, but she can’t tell if that’s because she’s meant to be. She is regardless.

She’s fifteen when she finally, first, meets the one who will take her away, a child still to a world of marks and targets, underestimated, but never a child to herself, not anymore.

She’s at a party for rich young things, dressed for the occasion with a champagne glass in her hand, and either no one notices that she’s a few years shy of the average age or no one cares. Her mark is charmed, by the attention she gives him and not by her. He has gangly limbs that he will never grow into and pimples that he will never grow out of.

“Ask me to dance,” she tells him with a flutter of her eyelashes.

He blushes, tells her that he’s never danced with anyone before, and she knows that. She can at least give him a dance before she takes everything else away.

There is a feeling burrowing into her between her shoulder blades as they move around the floor and she knows what it means, even as she stumbles and stabs a high heel into her mark’s foot, even as he insists that it’s his fault and apologises for being a poor partner, even as she surreptitiously presses a needle into his skin.

It is night and she is ready, she is always ready for the child takers, but this is different. Something inside her settles and stills when she accepts the eyes and aim that have fallen on her. This is different, because this time someone has come to kill her, not a taking after all but a setting free.

Her mark collapses, on his way to fetch her another drink, and in the chaos that ensues she stands still, the perfect target, and allows herself to smile.

The shot doesn’t come, darkness doesn’t fall, and that is the shock, not that someone could be good enough to take her out, but they would chose to let her go.

She tracks him, follows him, stalks him, to a low concrete wall where he sits to eat breakfast bought from a small bistro as the sun rises. His expression doesn’t change when she choses to show herself, sitting next to him on the wall, cross-legged and too far away for him to reach out and touch. She takes the opportunity to observe him at close quarters: the calluses on his hands, the shape of his skull beneath his face, his scent.

“Why didn’t you kill me?” she asks eventually.

His lack of reply burns under her skin.

“I should kill you,” she says and she could, quite easily, this man who is so clearly a marksman and unused to close combat.

She doesn’t though. She has not been ordered to.

She sees him again and again as she makes her way back, but he never acknowledges her. She’s not offended. She is nothing to be acknowledged after all, just another monster in the dark.

She sees him again when he destroys the place where she has been made, arrows through soft underbellies and bared necks. Arrows in hearts like a parody of broken love. Breathing ceases in his wake. He slaughters and lays waste with precision and she watches closely. It’s how she knows to run when the explosions start and fire cleanses what is left of the place where monsters hid.

She stands outside, feet bare, as it rains ash and water.

“You smiled,” he tells her, shrugging and putting his bow away, the only words he has spoken to her.

It isn’t what he says though, but the look that he gives her, as if he’s seeing more than she choses to show to the world and she wishes she could see what he sees, pull it out into the light and examine it, everything that she is underneath. If she is anything underneath.

When he walks away she follows him.

She says that she owes him a debt.
 
 
feeling: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
 
S: Fringe | Olivia/BWbeyondthepen on May 29th, 2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful! Great job, and thanks for sharing!
inkvoices: avengers:tasha & clintinkvoices on May 31st, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D
sarea okelanisarea_okelani on May 29th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Beautiful look into Natasha's origins. I especially liked: They make everything that she is into a weapon. because yes... yes, that is her terrible beauty, that she was made for killing and it was be good at it or die.

It's always interesting to ponder the circumstances of just how and when Clint caught up with Natasha that first time, and what about him or what happened that would make her turn. I like the idea that he lets her go and she tracks him down and the simplicity of "When he walks away she follows him." <3
inkvoices: avengers:natashainkvoices on May 31st, 2012 06:44 pm (UTC)
I think Black Widow was a perfect character for Joss Whedon to play with, because it speaks to his past themes of women who are broken down into weapons and then reclaim that. (Vid that shows it better than I can say it)

It's become my headcanon that Clint chose not to kill Natasha because he saw something in her that wasn't the Red Room, some capacity for choice or some small, fleeting glimpse of a girl inside. I like all the different ideas of what made her turn and what happened though, the possibilities are fun to play with *grins* so I have no headcanon on that. For this, I liked the idea of, once the Red Room was destroyed, Nat being this kind of wild thing or stray that follows Clint home :) Glad you liked it! :D
Meckerziege: gold stargelbes_gilatier on May 29th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
I think I felt a little like crying at the end. I don't even know why but there's something inherently sad about Natasha's story here, even though she follows Clint in the end. Your storytelling is truly amazing and this just shows it again. Thanks for sharing!
inkvoices: bubbles and heartsinkvoices on May 31st, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
I'd apologise, but that was partly what I was going for, with the fairytale style and the fact that the Red Room has Natasha so mixed up that even though she knows that they're the monsters, so won't leave with anyone else when the opportunities come up and she can't distinguish good opportunities from bad. *hands you tissues* Don't worry, Clint came along!

Wow, thank you! :D
a part of me apart from mechimeriques on May 29th, 2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
This. Is. Amazing. To be honest, I would read this if it was a novel with completely original characters. You didn't use their names once but I understood and it was such a good character study of Natasha, I think. Every time I would forget what exactly she is at this point in her life you would leave little bits like "‘Heaven to read, and you’ll laugh like hell’ it says on the cover. She doesn’t pick it up." and "Everything is a means to an end and nothing is her, nothing is hers."

Ugh that line especially got to me! This was so well done, I loooved it!
inkvoices: bubbles and heartsinkvoices on May 31st, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
Wow. *happy dance* Thank you! :D

The lack of names was deliberate, since Natasha probably doesn't know her real name and in the world that she inhibits names are unimportant. I'm glad you think that that worked! Easter egg: 'Heaven to read and you'll laugh like hell' is the blurb for Good Omens *grins*. I was a bit nervous about 'Everything is a means to an end and nothing is her, nothing is hers' because as a rule of thumb the lines that I like usually need cutting, but I liked that one too much to delete. So I'm pleased you liked it too!

Thank you *twirls you* :D
a part of me apart from mechimeriques on May 31st, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Hahaha wowwww so definitely just reread my comment and it is completely incoherent hahaha! I was so excited that I forgot words! But what I meant is that the way you use those lines to remind the reader what exactly Natasha is at that time is PERF!! And I meant to say that even though you don't use names you still understand who Natasha is talking about etc.

I seriously hope you continute this :)
inkvoices: bubbles and heartsinkvoices on May 31st, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
Heehee, brilliant :D It got a bit confusing in the vampire section when I had three lots of 'she' - had to rewrite that part a lot lol.

I don't know, I think I'd like to, but I'm not sure how it would go. (Apart from that Coulson is going to be exasperated when Clint shows up at the jet with this kid trailing behind him that he then says is the Black Widow, heh.)
sugar_fey: avengers: black widow concernedsugar_fey on May 29th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
Oh. Oh wow. This is so much wow I can't even speak properly.

Your Natasha is terrifying and still oh so sympathetic.

Love is for children. Sex is a tool.

*shudders* Chilling and perfect.

Natasha being only fifteen when she meets Clint is interesting, and something I'd like to see more of in terms of how things develop to the point we see in the movie.

She sees him again when he destroys the place where she has been made, arrows through soft underbellies and bared necks. Arrows in hearts like a parody of broken love. Breathing ceases in his wake. He slaughters and lays waste with precision and she watches closely. It’s how she knows to run when the explosions start and fire cleanses what is left of the place where monsters hid.

Ow, my heart. Fantastic. Of course he would help her destroy the Red Room.

In short, I loved it and found it awesome. :)
inkvoices: avengers:love is for childreninkvoices on May 31st, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D *twirls you*

I find the idea of young children warped into assassins to be terrifying and sympathetic, yes, exactly! Like the three children in your 'Walk On Part In The War'. When you read their ages and realise what's happened to them, and that Svetlana is 'unrefined', just the thought of that, these children needing to be refined...

It has become my headcanon that Clint is 10-13 years older than Natasha, that he refuses to kill her and she defects when she's somewhere between 12-19, and that she's only mid to late twenties in the film. It's like Natasha is an old soul in a young body, not because she's lived for ages like in the the comics so much as because she's constantly being remade and starting over, always at the beginning. I think it's interesting to play with her being young age-wise as well.

I like lots of the origin ideas and backstories that are coming out, but with this Natasha who thinks that Clint killing her would be a setting free...I wandered what would happen if she were set free in the sense of the Red Room being gone, so not defecting so much as following Clint like a stray. (I think SHIELD would have killed her if she didn't follow him, too dangerous to be running around lose.) And don't we all wonder what that debt is that Natasha owes him? What bigger debt than destroying the Red Room when she, with all her programming, couldn't? Getting rid of the monsters :)

Thanking you :D
enigmaticblues: clint/natashaenigmaticblues on May 30th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
This really was a gorgeous look at Natasha's origins. So very well done.
inkvoices: avengers:compromised (clint)inkvoices on May 31st, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it :D
workerbee73 on May 30th, 2012 11:20 am (UTC)
Oh, I like this very much. The tone is dark and cautious and .. lovely somehow. And he never says a word. (Of course you didn't, Clint, you never needed to anyway.) And she stalks him after that. Love that. Love the slow build of this and the fact she follows him home. I love all the strange details you've woven in here, the vampires, the brothers in the dream, all of it.

Oh and the re-claiming theme you've woven throughout. My very favorite thing of all. :)
inkvoices: bubbles and heartsinkvoices on May 31st, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D Warning: comment dicussion ahead *grins*.

I have to say, the idea of the brothers, the Doctor, and the vampires is the rule of three from fairytales. I wanted this to have a kind of fairytale theme, where Natasha gets three chances to walk away. To constrast childhood and monsters with what Natasha has. And how broken Natasha is that she can't walk away (and she doesn't know whether that's because she's been made not to or because she's already owned by monsters and is afraid of what other monsters there can be) and that she can't tell which opportunities to walk away would lead to something better (like the Doctor) or worse (like the vampires). That was what I wanted to be scary, that she can't tell.

I didn't have Clint say anything for the same reason I didn't use names in this - Natasha probably doesn't know her own name and in the world she inhibits names are meaningless, and really so are words, right? So Clint saying anything wouldn't be useful. (Plus I don't think Clint would know what to say. He'd be younger and just, 'right, destroy the Red Room, that's helpful'. Then as she grows up they get some verbal rapport going developing this code that let's them keep things to themselves but still talk, because normal people talk.)

I think a Natasha that learns from observing and imitation, slipping into the skin of others, would definitely stalk someone who knew what she was and didn't kill her. And the Natasha in this is a Natasha that thinks that being killed would be being set free, so working from that I figured that once she was cut lose from the Red Room by Clint she'd be like this wild stray that would follow him home. (I just like that idea, of Natasha just following Clint onto a jet and Coulson being all 'why is there a kid following you?' and Clint says that she's the Black Widow, this child, and Coulson has paperwork headaches because 'the Black Widow that you didn't kill four missions ago?')

It's my headcanon that Clint doesn't kill Natasha because he sees something in her that isn't from the Red Room, some capacity for choice or glimpse of individuality, something that can be reclaimed. You got me thinking on reclaiming *grins* and take a look at this vid about women in some of Joss Whedon's other works who are broken down into weapons and then reclaim themselves. I think Black Widow was a good character for Joss Whedon to get to play with.
workerbee73 on June 3rd, 2012 01:33 pm (UTC)
Ahhh! The rule of threes! **smacks forehead** Should have picked up on that.

I was talking to sugar_fey the other day about the theme of re-making, reclamation of women (by their own hand) in Joss's work. It's a beautiful feminist commentary in that way.
inkvoices: avengers:clint & tashainkvoices on June 3rd, 2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
I like rule of three. I like it in long sentences as well. It has rhythm I guess.

YES. LOVE. :D He does seem to use it as a theme a lot, but it is a powerful theme.
RosaLui: Doctor Whorosalui on June 11th, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
This was gorgeous and beautiful and was that the Eleventh Doctor?

*had not read the description above*

:'D
inkvoices: dr who:new tardisinkvoices on June 12th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Haha, yes, it was. Glad he was recognisable without having it pointed out! And glad you enjoyed it :D
Rayrayruz on June 21st, 2012 10:46 am (UTC)
Is it sad that the strongest feeling I've come away from this with is a sense of mourning for the possibility of "what if" for her encounter with Eleven?
inkvoices: dr who:soon fix thatinkvoices on June 21st, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
Not at all. That was one of the points, that Natasha has opportunities to leave, both good and bad, and yet she can't take them, either because she's afraid of leaving the monsters that she knows or because those monsters have made it so that she can't, and it's sad that she can't even tell. I wanted to add Eleven because he's definitely a good opportunity, someone who would show her the stars, treat her like a person, tell her that she's wonderful, and give her a childhood. It's great that in the end she walks away following Clint, but it's following another assassin into a life of SHIELD, an adult and painful life. Shame, isn't it?
I'm not weird, I'm limited edition: red thread red hairanuna_81 on January 22nd, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
After all of our conversations, messages, chats and your incredibly generous comments on things that I've done and written, here I am, with my own debt. Because I owe you a debt, and it's not just comments, so let me tell you a story. They say I'm kind of good at that.

I don't remember any more what was the first Avengers fic that I've read. I do remember that this one was among the firsts, probably among first five. I was in search for Natasha, you see. I wanted to know her better because I wanted to write about her, and I landed here after I read your meta post about her; and this is where I met my Natasha. Kobayashi Natasha comes from here. Red Thread Natasha probably does too. The way you've written her, the way you explained her here is something thats tuck with me; that woman, well girl, who stalked after the man who was sent to kill her but didn't. Because he was something she couldn't control. And she was always, always in control.

I think I have picked up several Doctor Who references? And caught a glimpse of Doctor himself and that bit is just brilliant.

This bit gives me chills:

She’s always gentle with the children, letting them slide from sleep into deeper darkness, and she’s harsh with those that deserve it, but she can’t tell if that’s because she’s meant to be. She is regardless.

She’s fifteen when she finally, first, meets the one who will take her away, a child still to a world of marks and targets, underestimated, but never a child to herself, not anymore.


The bit about children? And harshness? And the fact that she herself is still a child, but never was child to herself. DEAR MERCIFUL GOD. I could write essays about just that bit right there. She might be only fifteen but she feels older than universe here, with all that darkness, and then when Clint shows up, darkness equal to her own, one who spared her instead of killing her (and dying would be freedom, wouldn't it?) how can she let him walk away?

This is my favorite part:

She sees him again when he destroys the place where she has been made, arrows through soft underbellies and bared necks. Arrows in hearts like a parody of broken love. Breathing ceases in his wake. He slaughters and lays waste with precision and she watches closely. It’s how she knows to run when the explosions start and fire cleanses what is left of the place where monsters hid.

Because it goes back to all those things that have been done to her, sort of reversed knight in shiny armor thing, only he is far cry from a knight (except a dark one) and she is no damsel. Love is for children and he sends arrows through hearts of the beasts. Parody of broken love, yes, but it also feels like justice, and Clint feels like an avenging angel.

And this? It isn’t what he says though, but the look that he gives her, as if he’s seeing more than she choses to show to the world and she wishes she could see what he sees, pull it out into the light and examine it, everything that she is underneath. If she is anything underneath.

Reminds me of red thread so much. Mind you, I didn't have this precise line in mind when I started writing it, but I suppose it's the similar characterization thing, and it makes me so happy, that you wrote this in May, and I started working on RT much later, and yet there's that same echo of Natasha who wants to learn and see who she is, what she is in both stories.

*hugs this fic and hugs you*
inkvoices: avengers:woman I love youinkvoices on January 25th, 2013 12:05 am (UTC)
1/2 (because I went for it, whoop!)
I am...in shock and filled with excitement and flailing like a crazy woman that something that I wrote had this much of an impact on anyone! The fact that I in any way helped the ideas that then grew into the wonderfulness that is your fic? SQUEEEE AND FLAIL!!!

And, oh wow, huge comment of thinky thoughts! I GOT A HUGE COMMENT OF THINKY THOUGHTS *twirls you* Excuse me whilst I make grabby hands at this chance to talk meta about my own fic with someone *grins*.

There's two big things I wanted to put forward with this fic and they're tied together: children and fairytales. I remember I said in my Natasha meta a few things about making children into weapons, that taking a child that age and turning them into weapon couldn't be anything by remaking, and Natasha constantly reclaiming/remaking herself being the film version of comics voodoo, making her forever young kind of thing.

Well, there's a potentiality with children, that they can go in any direction, become anything, and with teenagers there's a certain transgressive nature to their existence, they can't be categorised (by marital status or career for example) and they're both capable of being menacing (those hoodies who could beat you up on a street corner) and being menaced (because if hoodie's family moves house, he/she has to move to). Natasha fills that transgressive role here not just because of her age, but because she is a child and yet her life has been such that she also isn't. She's also in a in-between place in other ways - she's trained to be a killer, but she can't kill the people she wants to (the ones that took her), she's not old enough to be at that party but no one looks twice, she knows things but she doesn't have experience of them, and so on. It's an echo of that first line, being between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the USSR.

Then we have fairytales. Everyone knows that they're stories for children. They're also stories that originally weren't intended for children. They have/had rape, murder, child stealers, all of the horrible things. And these tales and the rules by which children make sense of the world. So, Natasha is told about 'real world' things such as human traffickers and she applies the logic to them that they are more monsters in the dark. Which, when you have capitalists being monsters, that's one kind of story, and child killers are already in fairytales, so really the logic works.

Then I hit it with crossovers, and yes, that's the Eleventh Doctor in there *grins*. Also Cain, Abel, and Dream from Neil Gaiman's Sandman, and Darla and Drusilla from Angel/Buffy. There are three sets of people who could be from fairytales themselves, imaginary and fictional, except that as fans we accept they exist in the same sense that Natasha does, so again there's a blurred line, or no line, between the real and fairytale. And she gets three opportunities to leave the life she has. That fairytale rule of three.

But she doesn't go. Because however much she doesn't know what is her and what she's been made to me, that doesn't matter. Existentialism doesn't usually bother children. What matters is that fairytale logic - she's been stolen once, she refuses to be stolen again. Again, the nature of that in-between place: as a child you can be taken, when you grow up you can refuse to be taken, but Natasha still meets these people and sees them as real, still gets these opportunities, because she is and isn't a child.
inkvoices: avengers:woman I love youinkvoices on January 25th, 2013 12:05 am (UTC)
2/2 (because I went for it, whoop!)

What happens with Clint is the fairytale conclusion - the one who doesn't try to take her away she voluntarily follows. It's also children's/teenage logic really, not doing what you're told, not conforming to expectations. There's the fascination, that of all of them Clint actually came close to giving her what she suddenly realised that she wanted...and then didn't. Then, out of all of them, he is the one most like her. But then he goes further, because he's able to kill the people who took her when she couldn't.

It's kind of sad really, that Natasha has all those opportunities to leave and can't take them, because she's afraid of leaving the monsters she knows or because those monsters have made it so she can't, and she can't tell which, and in the end she walks away with Clint, another assassin, to SHIELD, to an adult and painful life. But then would an ambiguous life in the Dreaming, or running wild with the Doctor, or being a vampire/vampire's toy worked out better considering the person that she is?

There's a bit of an arc about growing up thrown in as well, from losing the capacity to dream, to taking business over adventure and knowing rather than experiencing, to sexuality, to no longer feeling like a child even when amongst people older, to realising what it is you want...to not getting it and chasing something else, finally walking away with the new. And some other stuff, but children and fairytales were the things this was built with :)

Now you've pointed out your thinking, I guess the Natashas of red thread and Kobyoshi (can never spell that lol) are trying to use the potential that this Natasha shows herself to have, to chase that thing Clint sees, that small sense of self, and to build from it? And Natasha and fairytales, Natasha and myth...Natasha and stories. (And, seriously, you need to read Deathless!) In On Names I played with a bit - the Black Widow, the myth, the legend, because she is a story, isn't she? In and of herself.

Oddly enough, that bit you picked up on at the end, and this fic, whilst looking for Natasha gave me my Clint :) It is absolutely my headcanon that he 'made a different call' because he saw a capacity within Natasha for self, for something different, for what she becomes. And the theme of him really, truly seeing Natasha is a thing for me. So much so that that's why Clint sees the nature of things in The Nature Of Dust!

So yeah, I'm really, really, really pleased that you liked this fic, and incredibly flaily that it actually influenced your own thinky thoughts, and huge thanks for letting me spew meta at you :D Hopefully it all made sense, heh, because I just got to kick back and enjoy there and it was great. *hugs you* <3
Crazy4Orcascrazy4orcas on January 25th, 2013 05:23 am (UTC)
Beautifully done, just gorgeous!

I especially liked this bit:

It isn’t what he says though, but the look that he gives her, as if he’s seeing more than she choses to show to the world and she wishes she could see what he sees, pull it out into the light and examine it, everything that she is underneath. If she is anything underneath.

inkvoices: avengers:natasha romanoff is black widowinkvoices on January 25th, 2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thanking you! Glad you enjoyed it :D

And I have a thing about Clint seeing Natasha. Absolutely my headcanon that that's why he makes a different call - that he says in her some capacity for self, something different than others have.