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Second chance at a family

By Anne Ashes

Children

Why is there a child in the interrogation room?


Natasha Romanoff gazed down at the sleeping infant in her arms. She bent her head down and brushed her lips over the baby's soft forehead. "Goodbye," Natasha said softly, and, holding her head high, handed the little girl to Clint Barton. Exchanging a quick glance with Natasha, he tucked the pink blanket around the baby a little tighter. Didn't want her to get cold, after all.

They averted their eyes as an agent took the infant from Clint's arms and left the room.


Laughing, Kristina ran down the road as fast as her nine year-old legs could carry her. Her dark blonde hair swished around in the wind. Though she slipped as she turned a sharp corner-her old trainers did not have the best grip-it did not slow her down. She slowed down by a bridge and tied her hair up into a neat-ish ponytail. Sparing a glance behind her, she grinned to herself, before walking into her current foster home.

Once upstairs, she emptied her bag onto her bed. Kristina slipped into a casual outfit, tossed her school uniform in the laundry pile, and placed her homework and school books onto her desk neatly. It is a daily routine of hers. Moments later, she shoved her homework, a box and her purse into her bag, and, sliding on a hoodie, made her way back downstairs to a woman folding laundry in the living room. The woman looked up at her, her face lighting up.

"So, Kristy, how was school?" her foster mother asked. This one was named Ruby.

"It was fine. Can I go down to the library?" Kristina asked with a smile. Hopefully the request didn't seem too strange for a Friday. "I have a lot of homework."

Ruby smiled softly, "You really are dedicated." She commented. "Would you like a lift?"

Kristina shook her head. "No thank you, I'm meeting some friends at the end of the road."

"I better not keep you waiting then," Ruby decided. "Be back by six for dinner, okay?"

"Thank you!" Kristina replied with a smile before leaving the house and making her way down the path. She set out on a jog, hoping Ruby didn't see that she wasn't heading in the direction of the library, but came to a sudden halt when a man steps in front of her. Immediately, her heart begins to race.

"Kristina Smith?" the man questioned.

Hesitantly, Kristina looked up at the man. Despite all attempts to hide her fear, her eyes widened when she sees him, and noticed that he wore a long black coat. "I'm not allowed to talk to strangers," she blurted as she took a small step backwards. Maybe if she bolted right then...

"We have become aware of what you've been trying to do," he informed her, "that you've been attempting to track your parents."

Kristina's palms began to sweat. "Wh-what do you mean?"

"There was a private investigator you hired," he explained. "This investigator led us right to about here."

"Us?" Kristina stammered, not bothering to even conceal her fear or ask how he knew about the private investigator. "Who are you?!" Her eyes darted over to his, or at least the one not concealed by the eyepatch, and she took off running before he could finish introducing himself as "Director Fury."

Kristina didn't think that her feet could move as fast as they were, she didn't dare look behind her. She momentarily wondered if they were going to tell her off for stealing the money she used for the private investigator. The door crashed opened in her haste and she ran straight over to Ruby. 

"Kristy, is everything okay?" she asked, her tone filled with worry.

"This guy is going to take me," she said, stumbling over her words. "H-he knew my name a-and my real mom and dad-"

Instantly, Ruby took Kristina's hand. "My God, Kristy, I'm so glad you're safe. Now," she slid her mobile out of her jeans' pocket, "I'm going to call the police."

There was a knock on the door, and Ruby gestured Kristina to go upstairs as she held onto her phone tighter. Kristina instantly complied, but kept her ear by the crack under the bedroom door. For a few moments she listened to their muffled voices before moving her attention to the window.

She glanced through the curtain, her heart stopping when she saw three people in suits standing by two black cars.

"They're here for me," she whispered, but before she even considers running, the door opened. Kristina swung around fearfully but relaxed when she saw Ruby; her face was pale, and she held open her arms. Kristina collapsed into them; though she had not known Ruby for very long, she had been the best foster mother she'd had in awhile. Ruby backed away from the embrace first, sniffling a little.

"Come downstairs," Ruby began as she offered a small smile. "I'd like to introduce you to Nick Fury. He... he knows a few things you may be interested in."


Natasha looked at the girl through a one-way glass mirror, her expression completely hidden and guarded, per usual. The silence was broken by Tony Stark, also per usual.

"Somebody needs to explain to me. Why, exactly, were we all called here? As far as I know, Reindeer Games hasn't made an appearance lately." He glanced around at the other Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. members. "I mean, there is no threat, right?"

Opening the door to the room, Coulson spoke. "We need to put a stop to Hydra, we all need to pull together and end things. Their leader has been killed, but it won't take long for the head to regrow. I understand that the world is not currently at stake. However, this is serious and we need to contain it to ensure that we have a world to protect."

He is greeted by a few shocked faces before Coulson obviously remembered that everybody believes he's dead. "I'm alive," he added. "I know, it's a miracle."

Tony had a hard time speaking. "He's alive. Of course he's alive. Why wouldn't he be?"

Steve cleared his throat. "I will sign those cards now, if you want," he offered.

Coulson smiled. "Thank you," he responded genuinely to Steve before turning to the rest of the team. "This is a freewill mission; you can say no and leave now, or stay and we'll go over the plan."

"Two questions," Banner began, stepping forward. "Do any of these plans involve the... the other guy? And why is there a child in the interrogation room?"

"Our plans don't involve the Hulk," Coulson replied before glancing at the one way mirror. "The girl is a different matter."

Clint paced over to one of the controls on the wall and flips the switch to darken the one-way mirror. The visual of the girl was replaced by black. Natasha instantly glared at him, but Clint didn't flinch; he's used to Natasha's glares.

Coulson cleared his throat, "Last chance to leave." Everyone shifted awkwardly in the silence for a moment, and Coulson continued. "Great. Let's get started."


They hadn't talked to her for nearly an hour. In that time, Kristina had pushed the table over and thrown the chairs at the mirror, but all it did was make a loud noise that reverberated around the tiny room. Eventually, she crouched in the corner, her bag still on her back. She glared at the floor, her arms crossed and a pout firmly on her lips. Taken from another nice family, again. Maybe the next one would have a pet. She thought hopefully. 

Unbeknownst to her, Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff were watching her an arms length away.

Kristina's eyes snapped up when the door opened. Coulson walked in with a friendly smile on his face and a tray of food and drink in one of his hands. He glanced at the table before walking over to her and holding out the tray. "You must be hungry," he started.

Kristina accepted the tray and placed it down next to her gently, making no move to actually eat the food or thank him. She didn't know him, he was a stranger. 

"I'm Agent Phil Coulson," he introduced as he knelt down to her level.

"Obviously you know my name," she retorted, holding her arms around herself more tightly; she didn't want to talk to him and wanted him to leave her alone. 

Coulson notices her tensing up and his smile wavered, "Do you know why you are here?"

Kristina raised an eyebrow. "Because life sucks and I'm being moved again," she huffed. It's the kind of language Ruby would chastise her for using, but Coulson didn't even flinch.

"You are here because of your interest and persistence in finding your parents," Coulson informed her. "You have put yourself into a very dangerous position: going places alone, sneaking out in the middle of the night, starting fights at school, attempting to hack into your personal records-"

"They are my records, I should be allowed to read them!" Kristina shot back.

Coulson sighed. "I need you to understand how dangerous this is."

Kristina groaned in frustration, nobody ever listened to her, to what she wanted. "Why should I listen to you?" she yelled. "I don't know you. You basically kidnapped me and locked me in a room! Leave me alone!"

Coulson stared at her silently, calmly for a few moments. "Kristina, what will it take for you to stop looking for your parents?" he finally asked.

"For me to find them" she replied instantly, no hesitation in her voice. "There's no need to look for something when you already have it."


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