I went straight to the kitchen and pulled out an assortment of food and poured myself a drink. I'd done exactly what I told myself I wouldn't do, I'd allowed Pietro to get under my skin. The music could still be heard from floors above and I glared up at the ceiling imagining Emily dancing with him. Then I shook my head and reminded myself I didn't care.
I hopped onto the side and put my feet up on the bench opposite to stop myself sliding off. What did it all matter anyway, I was here to work that was the end of it. Also what right did I have to be any kind of jealous if I wasn't thinking of making a move on him...ever. If I couldn't work out if he was being serious or not I couldn't trust his feeling about me or anyone else besides his sister who he was clearly devoted to.
I saw someone's shadow move in the corner of my eye and looked over to the hallway. A moment later a tall man entered the kitchen and I was about to leave when I saw who it was.
"Are you following me?" I said in a harsh voice and he spun round
"Blake?" said Pietro squinting through the darkness and coming over to me "What are you doing in here I thought you were upstairs."
"Clearly I'm not." I said moving to get down. He grabbed my leg to stop me jumping down and I flinched at the contact of his hand on my bare skin. Feeling his fingers encircle my calf made heat rise in my chest and I had to resist the urge to wrap both my legs around his body.
"You sound upset." he said letting go and leaning opposite me crossing his arms
"What gave you that impression?" I said inclining my drink towards him. He gave me an ironic look and took the glass from me taking a swig from it himself. "Anyway." I said taking it back "Why aren't you at the party with the blond."
"Blond? Oh her, no I actually prefer brunettes." he said grinning over at me as I coughed into my drink "I didn't really want to go anyway."
"Then why did you."
He sighed and shifted on the balls of his feet "Look I don't have many friends here and I'd like to spend time with the only ones I do, that's you, and my sister- and maybe Barton, I haven't figured that out yet."
"I told you we're not-"
"Yes I know, but if you're going to be teaching me we need to at least get along." he said taking the glass back from me and emptying it
"Fine." I said sighing out loud. If I wasn't going to do anything else with him, which I wasn't, I might actually like to be friends. "Then you owe me a drink."
He laughed and pulled down another glass from the side and poured me a new drink along with his own.
"Why did you leave?" he asked helping me down from the side and coming to sit next to me on the sofa.
"I don't like crowds." I said simply not wanting to admit to anything else
"Neither does Wanda"
"Did you leave her by herself?"
"No she was with Romanoff and Vision when I left." he said looking up at the ceiling and scowling
"You don't like him?" I asked smiling at the discomfort on his face. He just looked back at me and shrugged. Then his eyes moved to my dress.
"You do look nice." he said smiling across at me
"Thanks, it's not mine." I said pulling my legs up onto the sofa "I don't usually, well this isn't really me." I indicated the outfit
"Not that it doesn't suit you but you look more comfortable in your other clothes." he observed and I smiled that he'd even noticed
"Yeah I know but Nat and Wanda they wanted me to. You clearly dressed for the occasion." I said gesturing to his normal running shoes and long sleeved t-shirt.
He chuckled and rolled back his sleeves to his elbows. "Any better." he asked and I had to stop myself from saying what I really thought as the light hit his exposed skin and curved round the tight muscles of his arm.
"I guess." I said indifferently propping my elbow on the back of the couch and resting my face on my hand
"You're different." he said after a moment of quiet giving me a curious look
"No, than when I met you. There is something more...I don't know." he said looking for the word
"Good or bad?" I asked amused
"Good." he said with a crooked smile "You and my sister are close, yes?" he added "She's not usually like that with people."
"I've noticed. I dunno, we've got a lot in common I think." I said watching his face
"Like we both have siblings who are a pain in the ass." I said and he raised his eyebrows
"Ouch. Is that so?" he asked and I nodded. He took my glass from me and held it at arm's length "For that you're not getting your drink back." he said smirking at me as I tried to reach for it
"I didn't say I thought you were a pain in the ass. Even though you are." I said under my breath but loud enough for him to hear me. He laughed and set the drink on the table.
"I might be a pain but you are a control freak." he said nudging my leg with his knee.
I opened my mouth in shock but then stopped "Actually, you're right there." I said nodding
"How am I supposed to be a pain when you take the fun out of things?" he asked
"Don't worry you'll have more shock factor when I've had less to drink." I said reaching for my glass. He held my hand and moved it away from the table.
"Maybe if I've stopped shocking you, that means you've had enough?"
I gave him a one handed salute and let go of his hand "Sure thing comrade."
We both turned as someone stumbled into the kitchen and flicked on the light.
"I wondered where you two had run off to." said Clint plonking down on the sofa between us. "Not up to anything crazy are you?"
"Nope." I said smirking at Pietro who was staring at Clint amused. Clint looked like he might have had one too many. His movements were too exaggerated and his words seemed to blur into the next without pause.
"Hey Maximoff I wanted to show you something." he said reaching into his pocket. He pulled out his phone and I looked at it curiously
"Clint do I really wanna be seeing this?" I asked warily, maybe it was a guy thing
"No no you should see." he said pulling me back onto the couch as I got up to leave. He flicked on the phone and after a moment of jabbing the screen found the video he'd been looking for.
"Say hi to Aunty Nat." said a female voice on the video I didn't recognise. The baby on the screen giggled madly and reached up to the camera. With a jolt I noticed the names on the babies clothing.
Nathaniel Pietro Barton
I looked up at Pietro in shock. He was staring at the phone stunned, clearly he'd seen what I had. Clint was grinning over at him expectantly.
"You..named him after me?" asked Pietro in a quiet voice
"You didn't see that coming." Laughed Clint clapping him on the arm. "It's because of you I got to meet my son." The video ended and he slipped his phone back into his jeans "I'll never forget that kid."
If he'd wanted a response out of Pietro he didn't get one. He just smiled awkwardly back at Clint as he got to his feet. "You'll have to meet him. You and your sister should come visit, Laura would love that." said Clint before tottering off out of the kitchen towards his room.
Pietro let out a breath as he watched him go, like he'd been holding it in since he'd seen the video.
"You ok?" I asked placing my hand on his arm. I was sure for the first time I was seeing Pietro's raw emotions, no joking or charming facade there to hide the truth. He jumped and looked over at me.
"Yes, I just...why would he? I don't understand." he asked me confused
"Pietro you saved his life." I said giving him a sad smile "I think that's his way of saying thank you, remember he thought..we all thought you'd died doing it. That baby has a father because of you, it's not something you just shrug off." I finished squeezing his hand
"Thank you." he said smiling at me. After a moment though I saw the old Pietro coming back. "If I'd known all I had to do was die to get some attention around here-"
I let go of his hand like I'd received a shock and stiffened.
"Please don't." I said running my hands through my dark hair. I didn't want to think about that day ever again, especially now I'd gotten to know him more.
"Blake what is it?" he asked concerned seeing my obvious distress
"I'm sorry, I can't..." I got to my feet and started to leave
"Wait." he said and darted in front of me "What did I do?"
I pushed my fingers to my temples fighting back the images I never wanted to see again. I needed to get out of there but he was blocking my exit.
"You can't just joke about something like that." I said loudly hearing my voice echo around the deserted kitchen "Do you know the hell we went through after you died?"
"Hey I didn't-"
"No you didn't think. You should have seen your sister." I said hearing my voice growing louder "One more week and she'd have lost it."
"So I should have not done it? Left him to die is that what you're saying?" he said through gritted teeth
"That's not what I meant." I said pushing past him
"No go on, you clearly have something to say to me." he growled stepping in my way again. His accent made everything sound more dangerous.
"Yeah I do." I said crossing my arms "Next time you're going to say something like that, think first about who is in the room. And if they really want to listen to your bullshit."
Jeez I was being a real bitch tonight, maybe it was because of the alcohol. I knew I shouldn't have said it but he'd really struck a nerve, how dare he joke about something that haunted me day and night. Something that had hurt my friend so deeply.
His nostrils flared and I readied myself for a fight as an angry tear slid down my cheek. All of a sudden the fire ebbed out of his eyes. I narrowed my own confused as he relaxed his stance, why did he back down? There was quiet as the tension between us died down.
"You know, you're the first person to call me up on it."
I dropped my arms and stared at him. "What?"
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that." he said looking down at me and stepping aside to let me pass "You can leave, I don't blame you."
"I..." I tried and stared up at him "I'm sorry, I just don't understand..after what you went through, how can you-"
"It's how I keep it out." he said agitatedly "You think it doesn't bother me?" I kept silent feeling guilt wash over me "I know what happened I'm not an idiot, but I'd do it again even if that meant..." he trailed off and sat down on the sofa behind me.
I wrapped my arms around myself and looked back at him. Even if I couldn't tell if he was serious when he was flirting I knew now this was real. It ate away at me as I watched him put his head in his hands and fall silent.
"Pietro." I said coming over and perching next to him "I am so, so sorry."
He lifted his head and looked at me, with a twinge I saw his eyes were very bright. "I didn't mean- look what you did was maybe the bravest thing I've ever seen and no body, including me, should make you feel like you did something wrong." I saw his eyes register polite shock and smiled. In that moment I had hope we could one day be friends, if I could just stop the attraction I had towards him I'd be able to move on.
"Something tells me you don't admit to being wrong very often." he said the grin returning to his face
"I don't, so you should be honoured." I said standing up and looking down at him. I laughed internally as I noticed how small I actually was next to him, even when he was sitting down. "I should get to bed. I've got a student to teach in a few hours." I said holding out my hand. He took it and got to his feet. I savoured the few seconds our fingers met and then dropped his hand.
"Me too, I've got training later and my teachers a real-" he didn't finish because I pinched him on the arm as I walked past "Delight." he said winching and rubbing his arm
"You got that right." I said smiling back at him from the door "Don't be late."
His only response was to wink at me and zoom out of the room.