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How I Kept My Cover

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“Have you seen Agent Hill?” Natasha asks.

The stopped junior agent takes a step back from the piercing glare of the Black Widow. Natasha takes the frozen agent by the arm and guides her away from foot traffic in the busy hallways after the de-briefing.

“Agent Hill?” Natasha presses. “She was in this room with you.”

“Y-Yes Agent Romanoff, she was the first to leave. I don’t know where she went after,” the quivering agent gulps. She breathes a sigh of relief at Natasha’s nod and hurries far away.

After a few more mini-interrogations down the Triskelion, Natasha finally gets her answer. Maria is in her quarters. Natasha hurries her steps without portraying her escalating dread over Maria. It’s rare for Maria to retreat to her room here, she would always take a cursory round at headquarters, purposely bumping into Natasha to give each other a okay about their health. Maria’s avoidance is troubling.

She knocks on Maria’s door. It would be childs play for Natasha to simply pick the lock but that’s not the issue. As she waits for Maria to answer, she runs through Maria’s undercover operation in New York, nothing would indicate contact with hostiles. In fact it is one of the most boring operations Natasha has seen, but that is completely fine as long as Maria is safe. She’s heard enough complaints about the life of a normal civilian, unless something changed.

Finally, the door beeps unlocked and Natasha walks in, she pauses when the door closes. Maria’s wearing a hat. She hates hats.

“Why are you wearing a hat?” Natasha assesses Maria’s health, seeing no visible wounds or bruises.

Maria backs away and busies herself at the fridge, taking out two beers for them. “What’s wrong with a hat?”

“You hate them.”

“I don’t hate them.”

Natasha quirks an eyebrow, unamused. “You never wear a hat.”

Fidgeting with the label of the bottle, Maria chews the inside of her cheek. All tells.

“Okay fine,” Maria finally says. “But you promise not to laugh?”

“I can’t promise that,” Natasha replies, the truth. “But I will try my hardest to contain myself.”

That’s as good of an answer Natasha could ever give.

“So, there’s a new style going on in New York, and I thought what the heck I should try to blend in,” Maria fidgets with the hem of her hat. “The stylist took highlights to a different level.”

“You did not,” Natasha’s eyes are gleaming in mirth.

Maria pulls away her hat to reveal blonde highlights contrasting deeply with her naturally dark brown hair. She smooths it down and avoids looking straight at Natasha’s twitching mouth.

“Go on, say it,” Maria rolls her eyes.

Clearing her throat, Natasha presses her body against Maria’s and toys with her hair. “The 90s called, they want their stripes back.”

“That’s it?” Maria bends back a bit away from Natasha’s touch, but there’s a hint of a smile.

“You look like a tiger Maria. But a cute one.”

Natasha goes on her toes to kiss Maria, her hands go through Maria’s hair as she deepens it and winds her arms around Maria’s waist.  

“This is why you ran back here? Didn’t want the newbies to see big bad Agent Hill with Tigger hair?”

“I’d never live this down if Phil got ahold of it.”

“Better not let Clint know either then,” Natasha takes a few of Maria’s hair to inspect. “How long are you going to keep this?”

“It’s going back tomorrow, booked another stylist.”

“Then we should make the most of it.” Natasha lifts Maria’s butt up the kitchen counter and pulls her down by the nape of her neck to press her lips against Maria’s.

“Seriously?” Maria says, a breath away from Natasha.

“Totally hot.”

“Looking like a 90s pop star is hot?”

“As I recall, you are a 90s pop star Ms. Sparkles.”

Maria’s glare is sharp enough to make a butcher proud, but all Natasha does is cheekily grin and kiss her on the nose. “You are so going to pay for that.”

“I count on it.”