For Labor Day Prompts! MPU Natasha, seeing red (86).
The first time Natasha sees Pepper’s neighbor grab his wife too hard, she’s stepping off the elevator before joining Pepper for dinner. They stare at each other for a moment, the man swaying and his wife wide-eyed. There’s a livid red mark on her pretty, pale face.
Natasha raises an eyebrow. “Everything all right?”
“Fine,” the man grumbles, and drags his wife through their apartment door.
The second time she sees him grab his wife too hard, he’s in the foyer of the building, his mailbox standing open as he balls his fist in his wife’s blouse. Even from five or ten feet away, Natasha can see the bruises on the woman’s arm.
Pepper stills at Natasha’s side, her fingers curling around Natasha’s elbow, but Natasha simply stares the man down.
“The fuck you looking at?” he demands, and when she finally glances away, he spits out a slur that sets her whole body on edge.
“Don’t,” Pepper warns her in the elevator, and Natasha grinds her teeth. “Call the police, call in a favor, whatever you need to do. But don’t get involved. Don’t put yourself at risk.”
“He’s hurting her,” Natasha sneers.
“And you can help her without hurting yourself,” Pepper says, the refrain of an old, ugly argument.
The third time Natasha sees him grab his wife too hard— Well.
“He tripped into the fire hydrant,” Natasha says calmly, and Officer Cassidy raises an eyebrow. In the back of the ambulance, the fat, drunken man rants and raves about the angry bitch who kneed him in the balls and threw him into the fire hydrant. There’s blood on his forehead, and his hand shakes when he points at her.
“Just like that?” Cassidy asks flatly.
“Just like that,” Natasha replies, and smiles.