athens north

historical women 16/?: Queen Christina, 1626-1689

Christina is remembered as one of the most educated women of the 1600s. She was fond of books, manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures. With her interest in religion, philosophy, mathematics and alchemy, she attracted many scientists to Stockholm, wanting the city to become the “Athens of the North”. She was intelligent, fickle and moody; she rejected what the sexual role of a woman was at the time. She caused a scandal when she decided not to marry and in 1654 when she abdicated her throne and converted to Roman Catholicism… At the age of 28, the “Minerva of the North” moved to Rome. The Pope described Christina as “a queen without a realm, a Christian without faith, and a woman without shame”.

History part 2: Greece and Rome

(Part 1)

Ok, this is a further effort to remember what S told me happened in history, before the fun is ruined by the various spoilers in popular culture, S enthusiastically trying to educate me, and the powerful combination of those two (S enthusiastically encouraging me to watch 300 with him and play Greek-history-based Civ IV scenarios). The rest of this post is history as I vaguely recall it from some conversations in recent weeks, now with added Civ IV and 300 so probably wrong.

I.

We left off sometime early in Greece’s history (let’s say 450BC), when the Persians were a large and successful military force to the East who had never lost a war. At this time Greece was pretty interesting. The people in Athens and around were a group called something like Iberians, and they had many especially clever people who did things like philosophy and political innovation, of a calibre that gets them remembered today. Greece was a democracy, which I think was unique. 

Sparta (near Athens, to the West) was populated by Spartans, who were terrifying warriors whose main interest in life was being terrifying warriors. Sparta was a very small city relative to others around—it had maybe a few thousand people while other big cities were hundreds of thousands. But everyone was scared of them because each Spartan was such a devastating military asset.

Persia decided to take over Greece, so they sent in a small army, figuring that would be plenty. The Athenians were worried about this, and went to ask the Spartans for help. 

The Spartans agreed that Persia coming to conquer everyone was troubling, and at any other time they would have helped, but they were having an important festival for like a month, so they couldn’t right now. In their defense, work-life balance is hard.

So the other Greeks went and fought off the Persian army themselves. And they won! I think because they had an excellent general or something. But this was pretty surprising to the never-before-defeated Persians. The battle was at Marathon, and when they won, a guy ran as fast as he could back to Athens to give them the good news. He dropped dead from exhaustion upon arrival, because he ran really fast, and Athens was however many miles away a modern marathon is long (26 maybe? —one of those numbers that is vastly bigger than it seems to be possible to run, empirically). For some reason this made people at the time think running that far was a good idea, and so they commemorated his feat by starting the athletic event, the marathon. 

The Persians were not permanently discouraged, and returned with a larger military force. Again it seems the Spartans were busy with the same festival, which was unfortunate since they really liked being great warriors so much, and totally would have thrashed the Persians in a moment if they weren’t already fully booked with all these festivities. 

This time 300 Spartans decided to fight though, and went up North to head off the Persian army, joined by another small army of ‘Thespians’ from a place called Thespius or something. This stand was sort of ridiculous seeming, because the Persian army was really, really big. Probably like tens of thousands of troops. However, as depicted in the movie 300, the Spartans were very manly, and very well trained warriors, and they had very cutting edge military technology—for instance the idea of standing close together with your shields so that your shield defends the people next to you. The Thespians (as a society) were very good actors, and inspiration for the modern word ‘thespian’. As far as I know they were not inspiration for fear in the hearts of their enemies, so while there were more of them than Spartans, they do not seem to have been a main factor in this military action. (Though note that Spartans and Thespians alike are now represented to us by actors, presumably because actors are more convincingly warrior-like than actual warriors, so maybe the Thespians were pretty scary, but everyone just assumed they were especially Spartan-seeming Spartans).

A key fact in the Greek side’s favor was that they were defending a narrow gap. So as long as they didn’t get too tired, it would always be however many people fit face to face in the gap, meeting face to face. Plus however many arrows or whatnot could be hurled over the top of the frontline. The Persians said that the number of arrows would be enough to blot out the sun, to which some Spartan, probably the king, who might have been called Peleponides II or something, famously responded that they would then fight in the shade. 

So, the Spartans did astonishingly well, and killed heaps of Persian soldiers, and were eventually defeated not by being worn down by the massive Persian army, but because a Greek traitor showed the Persians a route around that didn’t involve dealing with Spartans.

The Athenians meanwhile had emptied Athens onto a small nearby island, figuring that they couldn’t beat the Persian army, but they might be able to defeat the Persian navy, given that they had a pretty good navy themselves. So they were going to let the Persians take the mainland, but defend this island, and then maybe work their way back again from there. The Persian army did come down into Athens, though weakened by the 300 Spartans, and then by the whole Spartan military when it was done with the festival. But the Athenian navy won the seas, leaving the Persians in Athens without the water-based supply lines that they relied on, back to most of Persia. So having come so far, Persia had to retreat home, and Athens went back to Athens, and all was more or less ok modulo lots of deaths, and Greece remembered ‘that time we beat the Persians’ with fondness for a long time. 

II.

Greece was happy and successful for about a hundred years, roughly between 450-350BC. 

There were lots of famous philosophers, including what we would now think of as scientists. For instance, Democritus invented atoms. Someone, maybe also Democritus, came up with the notion that at a tiny scale something must be random, which also seems impressive (unless its just that someone believed every random thing possible in the ancient past, and we primarily remember the winners). 

One guy (probably called Herodotus) discovered recording history, and he spent a lot of time carefully talking to various people about what had happened in the past and writing it down. Apparently the distinction between true statements and made up statements implicit in this agenda was novel, and some of his interviewees do not seem to have grasped it well. Some of these histories are very interesting, especially if interpreted as non-fiction.

He wrote about Xerxes trying to cross a narrow sea way up North where it was necessary to let the Persian army across. First Xerxes made a bridge out of boats, and everyone was happily jumping boat to boat, but then the wind moved the boats and out of bridge-alignment, so Xerxes whipped the sea into submission and then they continued. 

He wrote about Darius’ ascent to leader via horse neighing contest, described previously.

He wrote about some other things I forget. Oh, one was probably the fate of King Croesus. This story took place earlier, before Persia attacked Greece. Croesus was extremely rich. I think he was the son of King Midas, who at much personal cost had discovered how to turn all kinds of things into gold. Or possibly Croesus had a good economy for some other reason. Anyway, he was worried about the Persians, who were getting to be a big empire to his East, and he had a bunch of money, so like a good rationalist he set out to determine whether any of the oracles around were really oracular. To do this, he did the weirdest thing he could think of —some series of wrapping disgusting things in other things and boiling them in things and eating it. Let’s say he took the heart of a lamb and wrapped it in pig skin and then boiled it and sliced it and wrapped the slices in leaves and then ate the pieces. And then he went to the oracles in turn, and gave them some money, and said “guess what I just did?” Most of them got it wrong, but the Oracle of Delphi was like “you took the heart of a lamb, and wrapped it in pig skin…”, so he gave her money and asked what would happen if he went to war with the Persians. She said that if he went to war, he would destroy a great empire. He hadn’t heard about cryptic prophesies with double meanings yet, because he was in possibly the first story about them, so he went to war, and this destroyed his great empire. The end.

Socrates was another still-famous philosopher from that time in Greece. His fame was more for his style of clarifying questions than any particular discovery, so he was more like a modern philosopher than a scientist. His student Plato famously wrote a lot about Socrates, making him very much like a modern philosopher. He also wrote about what an ideal republic would be like, in a book that is still well known, though I think mostly famous for being a very early work of political philosophy, rather than for not embodying terrible ideas for how to run a country. His student Aristotle was famous for all sorts of philosophy and science. 

Toward the end of Greece’s golden age, Macedonia (to the North of Athens and Sparta) controlled a lot of Greece, under the reign of Philip. Philip hired Aristotle to teach his son, Alexander. When Alexander became leader, he decided to take over Persia in revenge for the earlier attacks. Persia was still doing well enough that this was an insane plan. But in an astonishing turn of events ascribed sometimes to Alexander’s training in science and philosophy and reason, and sometimes to his biological father being a major god who his extremely creepy mother had an affair with one time, he succeeded in conquering everything as far as India in about a decade. India was probably unappealing because it had elephants and such in it, and he had had about enough anyway. He went back to somewhere near Egypt, and had some other plans (maybe to have a thriving society of reason and peace?) but died of malaria within a decade.

There were some endearing stories about Alexander the Great, during his life. One time a philosopher studying astronomy told him that there were other worlds out in the stars, and he sat down and cried. When asked why, he said that there were so many worlds out there and he hadn’t even conquered one.

He met another philosopher called Diogenes the cynic, who was an early thinker on social status, and had decided to live without any. Appreciating the breadth of status’ infiltration into life, Diogenes forwent all sorts of things that are marks of status, such as sobriety and hygiene. Alexander approached him in the gutter one day with great respect, said he really liked his work, and if he wasn’t busy with being Alexander the Great, he would like to do what Diogenes was doing. Diogenes said no he wouldn’t, or he would do it now. Alexander was like ‘yeah, good point’. 

(Incidentally, to the modern eye this looks like Diogenes had discovered countersignaling. Our best understanding probably agrees with Diogenes: not being a drunkard covered in your own urine is often for status. However, if a person is sufficiently high status that they are unlikely to be considered low status even when pissed on and pissed—for instance because they are also a renowned philosopher—then they can actually mark themselves as higher status by conspicuously setting out to look low status and failing. 

After Alexander the Great died, his empire was divided between four generals, but none of them were especially great, so they didn’t prosper that much. One of them was called Ptolmy, and he was a forebear of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt later. 

III.

That was around 350 BC. Around that time, before about 200BC, the Roman Empire was getting to be a big thing, centered around Rome in Italy. There is a myth about how Rome was founded that involve Romulus and Remus setting out to start a new great city, then having a fight about what to call it, and then Romulus killing Remus, and that is why we have Rome rather than Reme. This was before humanity had discovered ‘picking your battles’. 

Rome was a democracy early on. I’m not sure how this related to Athens being a democracy. There were a bunch of wars, probably just with everyone around the edges. At some point young general Julius Caesar and another more experienced general who had made his money from the first fire department, and another rich guy teamed up to do some military conquest, going off in different directions with a bunch of Roman military. Caesar took Gaul—roughly the region of modern France—which proved him more impressive than expected. He also took lots of other things, like the British Isles, which belonged to the Angles and the Saxons. The rich guy died. I can’t remember what the other general did, except after a while worried that Julius Caesar might take over Rome. Generals weren’t allowed to bring their armies into Rome for this reason. Caesar did, and took it over. 

The other Roman Senators promptly murdered Caesar, including his friend Brutus (depending on how you want to assign blame for stabbing people who are already thoroughly stabbed). This prompted Caesar to say ‘et tu Brutus?’, which is for some reason really famous.

In spite of Caesar’s murder, the democracy was over for a bit, because it was unclear whether it should go back to the democracy or to the next in line after Caesar, and the latter won. There were some other Caesars, such as Augustus Caesar. There some other Emperors, such as Nero (who was bad and somehow caused Rome to burn) and Caligula (who went crazy and married a horse) and Claudius (who was a nerd and one of the few people in this part of the story not intent on killing everyone around).

At some point Rome had some war with the Carthaginians, who lived across the sea in much of Northern Africa. The Carthaginians were descended from the Phoenicians, who had lived somewhere near Lebanon a thousand years or so earlier, and invented the first alphabet. Usually the war happened across the sea, but a Carthaginian general called Hannibal took a whole lot of Elephants all the way around through Spain and Europe to attack from the North. I remember that this caused surprise, but I forget whether it had further geopolitical implications.

In around 400AD, the climate was cooler and many smaller groups of people living in the Northern parts of Europe tried to move South-Westish to improve their situation. These people spoke strange languages, so their speech was summarized as ‘bar bar’, which was the Roman equivalent of ‘bla bla bla’. So they were called ‘barbarians’. If we had been there, we might have called them ‘blablarians’. 

Gotland is a lovely island in Sweden, that was the original home of the Goths, one successful group of barbarians. They moved to the South and took a chunk of central Europe—roughly Germany. They separated into the Ostrogoths (East Goths) and the Vizigoths (West Goths) and took more things in their respective directions. 

Some other barbarians were the Vandals, who modern vandalism is named after. There were also the Gauls, and the Angles and the Saxons, though I’m not sure how they fared after Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and Britain. And possibly the Celts were considered barbarians. 

The Western part of the Roman Empire including Rome was taken over by barbarians in the 400s and 500s. Constantine was was the last Rome-based Roman emperor. He moved the capital to the Eastern city of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. Constantinople stood at the point where two land masses nearly touch, dividing two seas (The Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea). So every journey by land or water was funneled through this one point. It was a naturally powerful city. The Empire came to be known as the Byzantine Empire, or as the Eastern Roman Empire, and lasted for another thousand years or so, centered in Constantinople. 

5

Sygrou Park, North Athens

“Κάθε λουλούδι έχει τη θέση του στον ήλιο,
κάθε άνθρωπος έχει ένα όνειρο.
Κάθε άνθρωπος
έχει έναν ουρανό πάνου από την πληγή του,
κι ένα μικρό παράνομο σημείωμα της άνοιξης μέσα στην τσέπη του.”
Γιάννης Ρίτσος 

Why are so many young Greeks turning to farming?

Lesbos, Greece - Odysseas Elytis, the Greek Nobel laureate and poet, once wrote: “If you disintegrate Greece, in the end you’ll see that what you have left is an olive tree, a vineyard, and a ship. Which means: with these you can rebuild it."  Having endured eight years of a deepening economic crisis, thousands of young Greeks are taking heed of Elytis’ words by leaving the cities to work on the land.  One of them is 35-year-old Alexandros Kleitsas­, who until four years ago had spent his entire life in Athens, the capital of Greece, working for a private company that certified organic products. After spending two years being unemployed, Alexandros decided he had no other option but to leave everything behind and move to his grandparents’ village in Kalabaka, four hours’ drive north of Athens. There he started a farm with his brother and three friends. "Someone has to start producing again in this country,” Alexandros says. “We can’t all be in the service sector and so I left the city. I started from zero, without any land or experience.” Alexandros isn’t alone in his thinking. For the first time in 20 years, employment in the agricultural sector has been rising, from 11 percent in 2008, a 35-year low, to 12.9 percent in 2015, according to the latest available report by the Greek Statistical Service. Almost half of all new farmers come from the cities. Unemployment is a major factor in the rise in people working on the land. The unemployment rate for people under the age of 25 is 48 percent and sits at 30 for those aged between 25 and 34. With many university-educated Greeks unable to find jobs in the public or private sector, thousands of 20- and 30-somethings like Alexandros are turning to agriculture. According to figures provided by the Association of Young Farmers, there has been a 15 percent increase in farmers between the ages of 18 and 40 since the start of the economic crisis in 2009. Despite the country’s mild climate and fertile land, for decades most Greeks opted for better-paying, comfortable, jobs in the city. EU and government agricultural policies that hurt mostly small farm owners, the majority of Greek farmers, resulted in the speeding up of urbanisation with half of the country’s population living in the two biggest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki. Land was either left uncultivated or tended to by poorly-paid migrant labourers. Today, Alexandros cultivates organic olive oil and St. John’s wort, a herb with anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties. He combines the two to produce a variety of skincare products called Dimitra which are sold throughout Greece and also exported to Germany, Belgium, Florida, and Bahrain. ALSO READ: Greek punk bands raise money for refugee squats

Obstacles for first-time farmers

Greek farmers face obstacles like any other business owner or entrepreneur in the country. Constantly changing tax laws and the lack of available bank loans, especially for farmers, are some of the main challenges. Due to the economic crisis, banks have mostly stopped lending money, even to healthy businesses, while the government sold the formerly public Agricultural Bank of Greece to a private bank in order to raise money and repay its creditors. Since the start of the crisis, the number of first-time farmers applying for EU subsidies has doubled. On April 25, the Ministry of Rural Development and Food reported that more than 15,000 people applied this year for the 12,000 EU subsidies available for first-time farmers in Greece, an increase from the 11,400 applicants in 2014 and the 8,600 in 2009. “The [EU] subsidies are helpful," said Yannis Tsironis, the alternate minister of rural development at a press conference in late April. "Agriculture and farming are Greece’s future. There are regions in the country that are solely based on the primary sector.” Even so, the government this year raised farmers’ income tax from 13 to 22 percent, and to 45 percent on those whose annual income exceeds $43,600 (40,000 euros). “We need small funds so we can invest, either from EU subsidies or from an agricultural bank,” says 35-year-old Thodoris Vasilopoulos, the president of the Association of Young Farmers and a third generation farmer. “But most young farmers don’t have access to EU and Greek subsidies because of an anachronistic Greek law from the 1990s,” he adds, explaining that because of this law, farmers who were active in that decade still receive funding while younger people cannot access them. Many of the subsidy recipients are now in their 80s, he says. Greek bureaucracy is also a hurdle. “We farmers have to be out in the fields,” Thodoris says. “Things that can be done electronically should be done online and not have someone at the tax office tell you ‘I’m swamped, come tomorrow’. We’re not beggars. We don’t want money or political favours. We just want things to run smoothly.” IN PICTURES - Lesbos: The refugee crisis in 2015; the island today

Farmers’ initiatives

Thodoris and other young Greek farmers have turned to organic farming as well as processing, bottling, and exporting their products themselves. For years, Greek farmers didn’t brand or bottle their olive oil. Instead, they’d sell it to Italy and Spain in bulk. There, it was bottled and sold as Italian or Spanish olive oil around the world. With the crisis, many Greek farmers decided to stop selling their olive oil in bulk and to instead bottle their own product, create a brand and market it around the world on their own. “A surplus value is added to our agricultural products when we process and bottle them, so we can make a bigger profit,” Thodoris explains. “This keeps us alive.” In the meantime, a movement called “Without Middlemen” has sprung up. Since 2012, on sporadic Sundays, producers across Greece bring their products to the cities and sell them directly to consumers, maximising their profits and lowering costs for buyers who have been hit by the crisis. Many farmers have also created websites to sell their products online. Thodoris sells his on his website and at small stores which promote local products and take less of his profit margin than big supermarkets. Some have turned to new products like so-called “superfoods,” such as certain nuts, berries, and whole grains. “Both in Greece and abroad, quality wins over price,” Thodoris says. Distribution has also changed. “Door-to-door and skipping the merchant are also ways for us to increase our profit,” he says. “Everything changes from below, from the people. We go to exhibitions together to showcase our products. We advise each other.” ALSO READ - On Dimitris Christoulas: 'He is a part of history now’

Moving to the family farm

For many young Greeks who have the option, returning to their family farms once they’ve completed their studies, has become their most viable chance for employment. “Growing up, I always thought that farming would be an extra income like it has been for my parents,” says Maria Kalaboka, 27, who this month earns her master’s degree in law in Thessaloniki. “But seeing the unemployment that exists in the city, I decided to make our family business my full-time job. If you’re unemployed in the city, you don’t have any options,” Maria says. She moved home this month to start working full-time on her family’s olive grove. Speaking in her family’s olive mill near the village of Plomari in Lesbos, Maria paints a bleak picture of how life in Thessaloniki means homelessness, unemployment, and depression: “Here, you won’t go hungry. At least you’ll be able to grow your own food.” The Kalabokas produce extra virgin organic olive oil, which they bottle and in 2012 started exporting to countries such as Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Japan. Eirini Olive Oil, named after Maria’s grandmother, often sells out a few months after bottling. The family says they produce more than 12 tonnes of olive oil per year. Maria is poised to take over the running of the family business. Her 18-year-old sister Irini, a senior in high school, hopes to study chemistry or agriculture to later support their work. The family’s choice of product seems a natural one on an island which, with more than 11 million olive trees, is the third-most important olive oil-producing region in Greece. After Spain and Italy, Greece is the third-largest producer of olive oil in the world. The family cultivates 20,000 olive trees - some theirs, others they rent - on the Aegean Sea. The horses they keep in the grove are the best weed cutters and provide manure to fertilise the trees, explains Maria’s mother Myrta. There’s no stigma around farming, the sisters explain, although Irini says it can sometimes prevent them from going out with their friends on a Saturday night.  “But most of our friends’ families have a few olive trees themselves, just enough for the family’s olive oil, so they know how it is,” she adds. ALSO READ: Inside the world of human smuggling

Focusing on the family business

Plomari, with a population of 3,000, is also known for its ouzo distillation. In the 19th century, it became an important trading centre because of its tanneries and soap and proximity to the Turkish shore. “In summer, it’s really crowded here,” Maria says. “There are tourists visiting us. We take them to the olive grove, we show them the mill, then cook for them and they do some olive oil tasting. We explain to them how our olive oil is like medicine. They’re always impressed by how young we are.” Her parents, both teachers at local schools, slowly set the foundations for the family business. Before the crisis, turning olive oil production into their main source of income wasn’t on their minds. But after their public sector salaries were cut and their taxes increased, they saw how hard it would be for their children to find jobs, and decided it would be prudent to focus on their business. All four Kalaboka children have grown up working in the grove - many Greeks have family farms where children help during the harvest - but Maria says that until recently, she never thought it would be her career. “We’re working here in order to have a job for all of us, especially due to the crisis in Greece,” she says. “It’s a difficult job,” Maria says. “But I really enjoy it. What the ancient Greeks called 'ef zin’ - a good quality of life - I have it here, in this beautiful environment, through this job, which I already know well, so why should I not want it? It makes me happy. I’m always happy here and that’s the most important thing. I can’t imagine myself locked in four walls, doing the same thing every day."  Her parents say they never pressured their children to work in the family business. "We told them to study whatever would make them happy and afterwards feel free to do whatever job they wanted,” Nikos, the father, says.

Economic hope

Since the crisis started, Greece’s GDP has shrunk by 25 percent, while household spending is down by 40 percent. For years, EU funds were mismanaged and in some regions of the country, instead of being invested in the primary sector, they were turned into expensive cars and luxury houses. Speaking last December to a crowd of farmers in Crete, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: “It’s the country’s ethical and political obligation to support farmers. Because we have a vision, to boost the country’s economy, not only depend on tourism. A country can’t depend only on tourism, especially one like Greece that has the ability to produce such great quality products.” Today, the agricultural sector’s contribution to the economy has risen by one billion euros from 3.1 percent in 2008 and the beginning of the crisis, to 4.2 percent. Agriculture’s contribution to the Greek economy is twice that of any other country in the EU, according to the Agricultural University of Athens. “We, the young people in the primary sector, have the key to recovering from this economic crisis,” Thodoris says. “We can do it, as long as we work together, and work hard.”

Do you remember the book I told you that I’m reading about six queens? Yesterday I finished the part about Christina of Sweden and holy shit! She was so smart, transgressive  and one of the most learned women of her era (1600). She is remembered for her interest in arts, philosophy, mathematics, alchemy and wanted to create the ‘Athens of the North’, a lot of scientists, philosophers and artists visited her on Stockholm, even Descartes. And she spoke eight languages, what was really weird in her era.She even abdicated her throne and converted to Roman Catholicism.

She refused to marry and she had many lovers, both men and women. She had many scandals and was different for her sloppy appearance, plus when she was a little girl she was taught fencing, horse riding and other 'boy sports’ and she loved all these things. I think she was an interesting woman to learn about.

The leopard and the Avenger

Warning: swearing (I cuss a lot just so you know)

Pairing: ? x reader, haven’t decided on who yet

Y/n: your name, Y/l/n: your last name, y/e/c: your eye color

This is the beginning of a new series, Feed back is greatly appreciated

PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4 PART 5 PART 6 PART 7

A/N: I googled the gif. I DO NOT OWN IT

               It was three in the morning. THREE. No one was awake and Fury, well Fury had issues he had to deal with. So here you were in the gym in the Avengers tower, hammering away at one of the punching bags with your long gold hair pulled back in a high ponytail. Fury had told no one that today was going to be your first day being part of the team but he had told them that they were getting a new team member. From what he told you that he told them that you had abilities that would complement everyone on the team.

               ‘Luckily that they don’t know about me being here just yet and of my abilities.’

After about an hour and a powerful punch to the bag later the bag flew across the gym with sand pouring out of a couple tears.

“Fuck!” You walked over to the bag and groaned. “Shit. I’m not even here two hours and I’m already breaking shit. Fury’s gonna be pissed.” You walked over to grab another sandbag when you realized that the hook for the bag was about a foot over your head. Being only 5’2 sucked massively. You looked around for a step latter to hook up the sandbag. “Fucking tall ass people. How can any normal size, well short person reach anything in here with everything up so damn fucking high.” You spot a step latter on the other side of the gym and made your way over to it. The click of your knee high Harley boots was the only sound other than your slight heavy breathing in the empty gym. Grabbing the latter, you made your way back to your original spot and hung up the new sandbag.

After another hour and just before the new bag broke again, you decided to call it quits. You look at your knuckles and smile knowing that you never have to wrap your hands before going to town on the bags.

The time was now about five maybe five thirty and from Fury told you about the team was that Captain Rogers always got up early, which everyone else would say an ungodly time to wake up. You can hear the elevator and you knew that he must be going out for a morning run. You decided that you were going to go the kitchen and make everyone breakfast since everyone was still asleep or out for a run.

With no one to show you where the kitchen was you got lost for a while. When you finally made it to the kitchen, you were extremely happy. You looked through the cabinets in search for things to make pancakes. Once everything was collected you started cooking. You found bacon and decided to cook that up as well seeing as your team consisted of two assassins, a demigod, a speedster, a telekinetic, a super solder, a scientist that can hulk out, three somewhat normal people, and now you. You were almost done cooking breakfast when you heard someone walking down the hall to the kitchen. You look up to see who it was and you see a tall man with shoulder length brown hair, piercing blue eyes but really caught your eye was his left arm, his metal left arm. ‘Fuck, he’s on the team. His eyes seem different though.’

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“I’m (Y/n) (y/l/n) and I’m supposed to be the newest member to the team that Fury had told everyone about.” You look him and smile sweetly. “I would offer to shake your hand but I’m in the middle of cooking.” ‘I hope to god he doesn’t remember me.’

Without another word he walked off, probably off towards the gym. Once everything was cooked, you set the table. The table had plates for everyone, butter, syrup, fruit that you found in the fridge, along with whipped cream and the fresh pancakes and bacon.

“Holy shit! Moon, you’re the new member?!” You turned around and saw your favorite archer standing in the doorway to the dining room.

“Robin Hood, it’s been like forever since I saw you!” You ran over to him, instantly wrapping your arms around his neck as his arms wrap around your waist. “How have you been, Big Red still the same kick ass lady that I love?”

“Yup, she should be getting up in a minute. Did you make breakfast for everyone?” He looked at the table all set up. “When did you get here?”

“Yup, Fury dropped me off really early. It was about three when I got here.”

“THREE! Damn, what the hell did you do since then?”

               You placed a kiss on his cheek before letting him go. “I was in the gym and accidentally broke a punching bag about an hour after getting here. I didn’t realize that I maybe the shortest person this team. Is everyone 5’10 or taller because damn shit is set way to damn high for me.” All Clint could do was laugh, he always thought it was cute when you had to try to reach something that was way out of arms reach. “Really Clint, it’s not funny. It sucks sometimes being this short. You would think the shit that HYDRA injected me with would make me grow but no, all the shit did was enhance what I already have.”

               “Is that my favorite kitten I hear?” Nat walks into the dining room. “You even made pancakes, Moon. You’re the best!” She walks over to you and gives you a big hug. “Hey FRIDAY, can you let everyone know that breakfast is ready.” She lets go of you and walks into the kitchen to make coffee for everyone. “Really Moon, you make food and forget to make coffee. How can you forget to make coffee?”

               “Sorry Red, you know that when I’m cooking I tend to forget things. I met one of the members and I recognize him from when I was held by HYDRA. He didn’t recognize me but I know I’ve seen him before.” Nat returns to the dining room with a cup of coffee. She can see the worry in your eyes. “I don’t remember if I ever interacted with him but I do remember them saying I was supposed to be a better version of him just without the metal arm and the ability to change into a leopard along with run faster than the original super soldier.”

               Just then everyone started filtering into the dining room and looked at the table almost questioning who cooked. Captain Rogers was the last person to walk in just after the brown haired man you knew as the Winter Soldier.

               “Who made breakfast?” A man with silver hair, electric blue eyes and what sounded like a Sokovian accent. He was cute but he didn’t look like he could be your type. He looked over at you and he instantly smirked when he noticed that you were looking at him. In a flash he was standing next to you holding your hand. “Who may I ask are you, krasivaya?” Everyone turned to look at you except the Winter Solder.

               Luckily for you Clint walked over to you, gave the silver haired man a look and wrapped his arm “This is (Y/n), this is the new member Fury told everyone about. She was nice enough to make everyone breakfast.”

               Rogers was the first one to come up to you. “I’m Steve Rogers, it’s nice to meet you.” He then sat down at the table as everyone introduced themselves. Well everyone but the soldier you knew from HYDRA. Everyone sat around the table and started eating.

               “This is absolutely amazing (Y/n).” The man with what looked like an arc reactor in his chest also known as Tony said and you couldn’t help but blush. You didn’t really get compliments on your cooking when you worked with Fury over the past couple years since being rescued from HYDRA.

               “Thank you Tony, I can’t wait to make dinner later.”

               “You don’t have to cook dinner tonight, we could always order in and have a movie night or something.” You couldn’t believe what you were hearing. You thought to yourself ‘Did they do this often or every once in a while?’ “Besides, you’re knew here and you don’t need to feel like you have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

               “Again, thank you Tony but before coming here I would cook every night for the other agents that I worked with. From what I remember from my childhood was my momma saying nothings better than a home cooked meal after a long day. Plus I love to cook.” Clint got a big smile on his face as well as Nat. “Yes, Clint that means you get to have my half pound hamburgers that I know you love.” Nat giggled and you could tell that Steve was intrigued with the idea of a half-pound hamburger.

               “How do you know Clint, (Y/n)?” Sam sat next to Steve on his right.

               “Well, Clint and Natasha were sent on a mission to clear out a small HYDRA base in Greece that was a few hours north of Athens. I was in a cryo-chember waiting to be unfrozen for my next mission. Clint was the one who found me, he unfroze me and convinced Fury not to kill me. Ever since then he became an older brother to me and well Nat became like a sister to me once she warmed up to me. That all happened before the Battle of New York and Fury made me stay where I was since he knows how protective I am of these two.” You placed an arm around Clint and Nat’s neck. “I guess you can say it’s almost “animal instinct” to be protective.” You three were the only ones who laughed but you were the only ones who knew why.

               Bruce looked really confused along with everyone. “What are you three laughing about?”

               “Well you see, Bruce, you are not the only one who can change forms. I am what you would call a werecat. I can change into a leopard whenever and I don’t look like the normal leopard, my fur looks like pure gold and my eyes are the ones you see now.” Bruce couldn’t help but be intrigued with me and from the looks of it, he had other questions. “What other questions do you have Bruce, I know you have them. It’s all over your face.”

               “Were your eyes always silver or was that HYDRA’s doing?”

               “HYDRA. When I was kidnapped by them, my eyes were (y/e/c). They injected me with something that enhanced everything and changed my eye color to silver. So pretty much I can run faster than Steve on his best day and I can hear something fall from across the tower with all the doors closed and people walking around but that’s if I actually try to listen to something like that.” Everyone’s mouths hung open slightly. “If you want to look at my blood you most certainly can Bruce, I don’t mind. Just as long as you don’t let Tony get any ideas from what you find.” Tony gasped and feigned a hurt expression.

               “Damn, she hasn’t been here for less than a day and she already knows Tony.” Pietro commented before Tony could say anything.

               After everyone was done eating, you helped Clint clean off the table and do the dishes. Everyone seemed to warm up to you pretty easy but one. You dried off the dishes as Clint washed them, he could tell something was on your mind.

               “What’s wrong Moon? I can tell when something is bothering you.”

               “Tell me why you call me Moon again, I haven’t been called that since you guys joined here and that was what felt like years ago.”

               “You really don’t remember? One, your eyes are almost as bright as a full moon and two, you tend to stare at the moon whenever it’s full. Nat thought it was cute and it pretty much stuck.”

               “Of course Nat would think of something like that for me. I just hope that the others, mainly Tony, don’t start calling us Tom and Jerry if it’s just the two of us because if he does, he won’t like what I could do to his pretty shinny suits.” You start putting away most of the dishes that you were able to reach. “Fucking hell, why is everything so damn high up? Really, is like everything supposed to piss off the vertically challenged because it’s fucking working.”

               “Moon, calm down. Your spots are showing. We don’t need a leopard running around the tower scaring people half to death. Even though it would be funny but we don’t need Steve yelling at us.”

               “Fuck you Clint.” Before you can say anything else Steve walks into the kitchen. You turn to look at him but instead of saying something, you walk out of the kitchen before you changed into your leopard form. You were walking back towards the gym when Tony found you.

               “Your room is set up and ready for you, (Y/n). It’s up a couple floors and it will be the first door you come to once you get off the elevator.”

               “Thanks Tony. I’ll head up now.” You walked past him and you can feel him staring at you. You were a curvy woman and it wasn’t abnormal for men to stare at you. “Stop staring at my ass Tony.” You just kept walking without looking back.

               You made it to your room and you laid down on the bed. The bed was the softest thing you ever felt. You decided to strip down before getting to comfortable and shift into your leopard form. You curled up on the bed and passed out.