Natasha couldn't help but think back to the Red Room as she watched Darcy and a mostly recovered Bucky smiling and laughing where they sat across the room on the couch. She remembered herself and Bucky back when they had been Natalia and Yasha. Remembered how she'd thought they could take on the world and win, remember how Yasha (no his name is Bucky now) had promised the world on a rare day when they were happier than usual and entertaining thoughts of how their lives could go. She thought that day was probably the day she started to seriously consider leaving Red Room, even if it was only subconsciously.
They lay in an exhausted, sweaty heap together on the small cot of the room they were staying in for their current mission. They had a bit of down time while they waited for their next orders and so they had decided to take the chance to spar a bit in the cramped because it was a good way to improve themselves. They'd been sparing for perhaps ten minutes and she knew he was going easy so she'd laughed and said
"Come now, Yasha! Stop going easy on me and make me feel alive!" She remembered Yasha's slightly sad smile as he said
"We are only tools Natalia, we are not supposed to feel alive." She remembered being somewhat startled by the words and though she knew it was true that they were only tools she had still said
"What point is there in living if you don't feel alive?" He hadn't answered, instead he'd come forward and kissed her hard and then they were falling on the cot and losing clothes.
Darcy laughed then, loud and full of joy and Natasha was abruptly brought back to the present. Her eyes were once more drawn to Darcy and Bucky and she remembered being taught espionage tactics and combat skills alongside a group of girls in the Red Room before her combat training was taken over by Bucky. Remembered learning when to kiss someone and when to kill someone. She remembered thinking, not long after they'd become lovers, that if she and Bucky couldn't have it all than neither should anyone else. She'd kept these thoughts to herself and never spoken of them, not even to him but she suspected that that was the day the idea of leaving Red Room solidified even more.
She remembered how one day, not long after Bucky had told her that he'd taught her all that he could, he was just gone. Then she remembered when she'd finally gone rogue and escaped Red Room. She remembered how afraid she'd been when she first met Clint and how sure she was that he'd take the shot and end her, and then to her shock he hadn't. It had taken them a few years but finally they'd destroyed Red Room and she left Natalia Alianova Romanova in the ashes of the Red Room and instead became Natasha Romanov, S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Mostly though, she remembered how safe she'd felt in Clint's arms and also how scared she'd been when they first started their relationship, remembered how ready she'd been to be with him while at the same time, not ready at all. She couldn't help but wonder now, though she'd never actually ask him, if had Clint felt the same? Couldn't help but wonder if Bucky felt that way now with Darcy? As she watched them, she thought he probably did.
Maybe they couldn't have the world but that was okay, because they had something better than the world, they had love. Her with Clint and him with Darcy and that was more than enough and maybe even, it was more than they deserved. She'd ask Bucky his opinion on it but she was actually afraid of what his response might be. Would he agree or would he disagree? She thought he would probably agree with her as she watched him laugh at something Darcy'd said. She'd ask him someday in the future but it could wait.
She felt the couch dip just a little as Clint sat down next to her and wrapped his arm around her, and she rather happily leaned into him as a very small, nearly unnoticeable smile formed on her lips.
"You happy Tasha? Here in this tower, as part of this team?" And her smile widened just a bit as nodded her head but didn't say anything. She didn't need to after all, because he always understood her. She shifted so she was laying a bit more on Clint and closed her eyes and just listened to the happy laughter across the room and the warm feeling of contentment filled her.