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“You don’t know what I am,” she said to the assassin. He opened his mouth and she shook her head. “You think I’m a scared little girl. A trained girl, a dangerous one, I know you know about that. But you’re wrong.”

“No, I know about you,” he said, so calm and so certain, and she wanted to prove him wrong, to bare her fangs and throw herself at him before he could even she her move.

Wanted to, but somehow didn’t. She wished she didn’t know why, didn’t have the exhaustion at the blood on her hands weighing her down. Instead she tried to explain further, knowing it was pointless. “You don’t. You don’t know what they made me.”

“I think I have some idea,” he said, and he bared sharp teeth, and his eyes flashed not blue but gold, and she stared, almost stepped back, her rage and frustration stopped utterly. “Haven’t you met anyone like me before?” he asked.

“No,” she said. It was truer than she knew then.

*

Most vampires knew what Clint was immediately, but Natasha wasn’t most vampires. When she said they’d made her, she didn’t mean a bite.

“An injection? Are you sure?”

She gave him a dry look. “No. It was decades ago, and—” her eyes flickered “—I might remember it wrong. But that’s how they turned all the other girls.”

“How many decades?”

“Five.”

She said it as if she expected him not to believe her. Clint thought about it. Fifty years ago would be at the beginning of the Cold War, and about twenty years before the rumours started. So probably about right, then.

Fifty years was a long damn time for Russia to have been creating artificial vampires with no one noticing. SHIELD’s research department was going to find her fascinating. Clint started trying to figure out how to stop them from just keeping her in an observation room for the next decade.