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A Little Too Late

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The Day Before

-

Nat hated the heat, it made her hair frizz and her freckles pop out on her nose. She would have gladly stayed in a frozen cell in the middle of the ocean with the others given the opportunity, but Rodgers had denied her the luxury when he asked her to stay by his side – she had to keep her promise of loyalty after all. Not that loyalty meant anything to anyone anymore, especially her.

The Avengers mini ‘civil war’ had ruined everything. People had ran into hiding, been arrested, escaped to safe houses around the world, nobody knew where anybody was anymore. That was a lie. Steve, being the rebel that he was, had decided to break his team out of prison. The Ant-Man had apparently taken a deal with the government so that he could stay with his family, not like Nat cared, she would’ve easily beaten him in hand to hand combat if he hadn’t pulled the tiny card. Clint had been put under house arrest, stuck out in the middle of nowhere on his farm with Laura and the kids, she wasn’t even allowed to visit him which sucked, Nat didn’t bother though, attachments almost always led to disaster.

By the time Steve had found her in the safehouse on the outskirts of Canada, Barnes had decided to go back into cryofreeze and was already out again and cured by the time their jet touched down just a fortnight later (the Wakandan princess was some kind of genius). All of the Wakandan’s were geniuses when Nat thought about it, when she arrived she found out that in the space of a week King T’Challa had been overthrown and then restored as well as harbouring the war criminal that was The Winter Soldier, all without the rest of the world even finding out. Of course, after the UN summit, it wasn’t as much of a surprise when it was revealed to Nat that Wakanda was one of the richest places that she had ever been to.

Nat hated the heat, sadly Wakanda was one of the warmest places on Earth.

It was lonely in Wakanda, Steve spent most of his days with a fresh-out-the-freezer Bucky Barnes. Apart from that, the only people around her day to day were strangers, she had taken to training the young Shuri in basic combat but that was the extent of her social interaction nowadays. Nat had developed a very strict schedule, consisting of mostly of waking up, working out and falling asleep again.

“What happened to the other Avengers?” Shuri asked once during a morning training session.

“Focus on your punches.” Was all Nat said, keeping her stance as the princess threw hit after hit, sweat dripping from her forehead.

“I know what happened to most of Captain Rodgers team because I listened in on one of those meetings you all have without me, but Challa won’t tell me what happened to the others – the ones on your team.” She said between laboured breaths.

“Have you ever thought that your brother won’t tell you because you don’t need to know?” Nat replied, signalling that the young girl could stop and have a break as she let go of the punching bag and took a drink of her water.

“Yes, well I want to know and I’ll find out some way or another so why don’t you just tell me?” Nat couldn’t help but smile at Shuri’s smirk – she was right of course, the amount of intelligence she possessed? It was a surprise she hadn’t found out already.

“Okay but you didn’t hear from me okay.”

“Okay.”

“Tony’s helping Rhodey recover from his injuries-“ She began.

“What kind of injuries”? Shuri interrupted, Nat could see the curiosity glimmer in her eyes.

“He was shot out of the sky. Paralysed from the waist down.” She said bluntly, the image of the war machine falling from the sky, Tony’s face as they both watched doctors rush around him trying to save his life, all flickering in her memories.

“You should have brought him here, he would’ve gained back full motion in his legs in a week.”

“Yeah well, I think Tony’s giving him robotic legs anyway.” She wasn’t sure, last time she saw Tony wasn’t pleasant.

“What about the Vision? Is he really sentient? We aren’t even close to creating an android that advanced.” Nat could tell that she got a thrill out of this, all the science shit Tony loved so much – they would’ve gotten along if they had ever met.

“Well he seems to have feelings, at least for Maximoff from what I can understand.”

“Is that the Scarlet Witch?”

“Is that what she’s called now?” Nat allowed herself another smile, the young girl did know how to cheer her up sometimes.

“After Lagos that’s what we called her here anyway.” 

“We’re going to do kicking now.” Nat said changing the subject, Lagos wasn’t the most comfortable thing to talk about – especially since it was Wakandan’s who were killed.

“How did she get her powers? Is it gene manipulation? Or just naturally enhanced abilities?” She said, swinging her left leg to hit the punching bag.

“I don’t know about any of this stuff Shuri honestly, but I don’t think she was born with it if that helps.” She sighed, holding the bag steady as the princess took another kick.

“Where is she now? I’d very much like to study her and the Vision some time.”

“They’re on the run, nobody knows their location. If they need us they know how to get in touch.” They were in Paris last Nat heard, she didn’t really keep track on them – they were the most powerful beings she knew nowadays – they could take care of themselves.

“Why don’t they just stay in Wakanda with you and Captain Rodgers?” God she was nosey, Nat didn’t mind though, it took her mind off the isolation she had to deal with most days.

“We’re going to have to leave at some point too, take the suspicion of your brother as a fugitive harbourer.”

“I wish you didn’t have to leave, you are the only person around here that actually spends time with me now Challa is king.” The girl’s bold brown eyes went suddenly sad, she didn’t show it though, she just kept kicking.

“Yeah well I know a thing or too about being lonely kid.”

She didn’t used to. She used to be perfectly fine being alone for months at a time on missions, but ever since Fury dragged her in to the Avengers, she had grown used to always having someone around. She hated it, relying on others, caring for others, all of it. First it was Clint, promising herself that she would stay loyal to him because he had spared her life, only for them to become friends and her becoming godmother to his children. Then it was Steve, she had to stay by his side no matter what because he trusted her when Shield fell, only for her to abandon him for Tony (something she’d never forgive herself for), she had to make it up to him now the Avengers was over. Bruce was there of course, she hated that she missed him, they still hadn’t found him since the fall of Sokovia but she wasn’t scared he was dead, the Hulk wouldn’t have let him die.

As she said to Loki all those years ago: “Love is for children.”

 

Day One

-

It was a shock for Nat to wake up with someone shaking her awake, instinctively she pulled the gun from under her pillow and aimed it right between his eyes before she realised it was the one and only Steve Rodgers, beard and all.

“What the fuck Nat.” He cursed, sitting back on the bed as she shot up like a rocket, gun still clasped in her hand.

“You can’t just wake people up like that Steve, I could’ve shot that idiot beard off your face.” Her tone was serious but her mouth couldn’t help itself from twisting into a grin, only for her smile to drop when she saw Steve was now standing with a stern look on his face.

“We have to go to Germany.” He said, arms crossed and for the first time Nat noticed that he had his uniform on.

“Are you sure? Do you not remember the last time we went to Germany?” She joked, already standing and grabbing her own Black Widow uniform.

“Wanda and the Vision need us, we got a distress signal four minutes ago.”

“Then why the fuck aren’t we on the jet yet?” She shouted after him as he left her to change.

The journey to a combat mission is always tense, it was tense on the little ops they went on to take down HYDRA – the ones they knew for certain they’d win – it was even more tense when you’re no longer part of a team and you don’t know what you’re going to be up against. Especially now there was only Nat, Steve and Sam to fight since Barnes didn’t feel ready for active combat and T’Challa had a country to protect.

She thanked God for the Wakandan jets, meaning that it took a mere half hour to go from Wakanda to Germany. Nat sat in the co-pilot seat, her leg bouncing up and down the way it did when she was nervous – she was an assassin, a spy, not a super soldier or an android or a ‘witch’, she didn’t have mechanical wings or a bulletproof catsuit or enhanced blood running through her veins, Nat Romanoff just had her skills and her intuition to go on every time she fought – which was proving less and less useful as the battles progressed from other spies to winter soldiers to gods and robot armies.

The Black Widow was far from religious, the things she’d seen led her to believe that God himself was a sham, but she prayed before every fight she could.

It seemed as though the very moment the jet touched down on German soil, all three fighters were already on the ground running. They could see what they assumed to be Maximoff, floating mid-air surrounded by a crimson energy bubble as the Vision hovered next to her and shot a golden beam to the ground. It was clear that they were at the end of the fight. They certainly didn’t look in distress, they looked like they had everything under control. Until a white light burst through the Scarlet Witch’s forcefield and the girl fell 50 feet to the grassy bank of the ground, summoning a small scarlet net to fall into before that faltered and she fell the rest of the 10 feet to the ground.

“You take Wanda! Me and Sam will help Vision!” Steve shouted to her as they began to sprint, she rolled her eyes of course – why should she be on nurse duty? She saw his point of course, she was the most likely to be injured unlike the ‘invincible’ Captain America and she couldn’t fly like Wilson or the android.

As she ran, she saw the Witch struggle to sit up only to fall back down again before attempting to use her magic to levitate herself into the air but only tiny wisps of red erupted from her fingers.

“Are you hurt?” Nat asked the rhetorical question, skidding to her knees in the dirt next to a pale looking Maximoff.

“I don’t understand…why won’t it work?” She replied, holding her hands in front of her and watching as pale red ribbons circled her hands – far from the powerful bursts Nat had seen from her before.

“You’re injured, I’m sure it’ll get better when you do but can you stand?” Nat asked, knowing the answer was no since the girl had basically fallen two houses worth onto the hard dirt, Nat was surprised she had even survived if she was honest.

“I think my ankles broken.” She said, surprisingly calm as she directed Nat’s gaze to her ankle which had not turned 180 degrees. The tone of her voice surprising Nat even more given she probably had a concussion and about four broken ribs as well as the ankle injury.

“Doesn’t it hurt?” she asked, helping Maximoff sit up.

“I’m tougher than I look you know.” She smirked through gritted teeth before looking out towards the field where Nat could see Vision flying at immense speed towards them, Steve and Sam running behind him.

“Wanda! Are you alright?” The android asked as he drifted down next to her, taking her hand in his and kissing her head – making Nat look away in an attempt not to throw up.

“What was that?” Nat asked, standing up to face her friends.

“It wasn’t anything, I mean it was something but it wasn’t-“ Sam started before shaking his head and finishing his sentence prematurely.

“It looked alien. Not the government by any means.” Steve finished for him, a grim look on his face.

“Why would it be targeting them?” She asked, looking at Maximoff and the android and cringing as they appeared to be muttering something to each other.

“They’re powerful, maybe they wanted to extract some of Wanda’s abilities – give it to their own kind.” Steve replied, Nat could tell he didn’t know what to do with his left arm without a shield to hold.

“We better come back to Wakanda with you.” The Vision said, scooping an exhausted looking Wanda into his arms, making Nat roll her eyes as she began to walk back to the jet.

Chapter Text

Day Two

-

Nat no longer needed an alarm to wake her, she naturally woke up at exactly 6:48am every single day without exception. The Wakandan sun rose at that time every morning and she often opened her eyes to the warm sun streaming in through her window after she had set the blinds to stay open all night – specifically so that she could look out onto the city as she fell asleep. The morning after the Vision and the Witch had returned with her to Wakanda was no different.

The group had a floor of the palace to themselves so as she walked out of her room into the living space to fix up a pot of coffee it wasn’t a surprise to see Steve reading a newspaper on the couch (T’Challa had a US one given to him every morning for some reason) while Bucky sat next to him doing the memory exercises Shuri had given him to work on. However, it was a surprise to see a certain humanoid making coffee at the kitchenette.

“Good morning Agent Romanoff, coffee?” He offered, holding out a mug to her.

“I usually make the coffee.” She muttered to herself, taking the cup and cursing to herself as she sipped and realised it was perfect – he must have kept her preference logged in his memory bank or something.

“How’s Maximoff?” She asked him, reluctantly making conversation as she remembered the way he shot her friend from the sky just months earlier.

“Wakandan medical technology is very advanced, all her broken bones have healed overnight and she will return from the hospital wing this afternoon.” She hated how formally he spoke, you would’ve thought that spending almost a year with Maximoff, especially as he was projecting his human form in an attempt to blend in, he would’ve learned how to talk like a real person, then again – he wasn’t a real person to begin with.

He was right though, when Nat returned from her solo morning workout she saw a surprisingly well looking Maximoff sitting on the sofa writing something in what looked like a journal of some kind.

“You’re back then.” She said, not really expecting a response as she walked straight past Maximoff without looking at her, desperate for no more social interaction for the day.

“Thank you.” Was all she replied, Nat could see her close the book and put it on the coffee table before standing up to talk to her.

“For what?” Nat said, rolling her eyes as she turned away from the safety of her bedroom door towards the petite brunette standing in the middle of the living room.

“I don’t know…being nice to me when I fell I guess.” Maximoff said, holding her arms close to her chest and avoiding eye contact as she spoke, only irritating Nat more.

“I’m not nice, just to be clear.” Turning again and beginning to walk down the corridor to her bedroom, not looking back at Maximoff.

Day Four

-

“Why can’t you just ask her to come to my lab? I was only able to learn so much from her lying in the hospital bed.” Shuri whined as she did yet another sit up.

“The doctors wouldn’t let you study her because she was healing Your Grace, and I don’t know her well enough to ask such a favour of her. Another twenty.”

“How many times have I told you to call me ‘Shuri’? you make me sound old Agent Romanoff.” The young girl laughed to herself, only for her smile to drop as Nat told her that after this she would have to do fifteen push-ups.

“My technology could advance huge amounts if I could harness some of the Scarlet Witch’s energy, are you sure you cannot ask her just for one meeting?”

“Why don’t you ask her, you are the princess, your brother is letting her stay here rent free…Your Grace.” Nat smirked as she held firmly onto Shuri’s feet as the young princess finally reached her thirtieth sit up.

“I can’t use my royal privileges for my own benefit Agent Romanoff.” She began her first push up, speaking through gritted teeth.

“What’s the point in being royalty if you can’t be selfish every once in a while?” Nat grinned, taking a drink of her water as she noticed someone enter the training room behind Shuri, making the princess stop her exercise.

“Maximoff what do you want?” She said bluntly, the other woman wasn’t dressed to work out, she wasn’t here to work on her core.

“I was wondering if you had seen Vis? I’ve looked everywhere.”

“Doesn’t he usually trail behind you like a puppy dog?” She shot back, clicking her fingers at Shuri to keep going with her push ups.

“You can’t click at the princess of Wakanda.” Shuri muttered to herself, obeying nonetheless.

“He does this sometimes, just phases away and doesn’t come back for hours.” She was clearly agitated.

“What’s the problem. The Vision isn’t the only one round here who could help you know.” She said, clicking again at Shuri to stop – they were done for the day.

“I think there’s something wrong with my abilities, they aren’t as strong as they used to be.”

Nat was well aware of Shuri’s eyes on her, practically begging her non-verbally to let her study the Witch now without Maximoff even knowing what she was doing.

“The princess is good with genetics, she can help you.” The agent said reluctantly, leading to Shuri doing a little fist pump when Maximoff wasn’t looking.

-

“Okay now one more time, form an energy sphere.” Shuri said gently, tapping at her screen and watching as the Witch held out her hands and strained only to create a faint pink ball that failed after only a second.

“It’s no use.” Maximoff muttered, shaking her hands in frustration as she got up from the chair Shuri had set out for her and started pacing around the lab.

“Your Grace, what do you think it is?” Nat said, looking over the princess’ shoulders at the screen filled with information she wouldn’t be able to decipherer even if her life depended on it.

“I’m not sure, the blast must have altered her genetic code in a way that has affected her powers significantly, but to fix it I’d have to know what the energy beam that hit her was made out of.” She furrowed her brows, zooming in on what Nat assumed was Maximoff’s DNA, except the bars in the middle shone scarlet instead of grey.

“Well if they were aliens then the beam could have been anything.” Maximoff said, biting on her nails as her eyes frantically scanned Shuri’s face for any sign of hope.

“Yes, but if I run more tests I could try and find a cure.” Her face was grim, making Maximoff deflate a little as she turned away and looked out the window to the cave surrounding the lab.

“Don’t sweat it Maximoff, if anyone can find a cure it’s Shuri.” Nat said, reluctantly placing a supportive hand on the other woman’s shoulder for a quick second before pulling it away again.

Chapter Text

Day Seven

-

Just three days after her initial tests, Shuri called Maximoff and Romanoff back into her lab. The Vision was still nowhere to be seen, though Maximoff assured everyone that he did it quite often and there was nothing to worry about. Still, he was one of the most powerful beings on the planet and had suddenly disappeared – there was some concern.

“I think I have found a way to restore your abilities.” Shuri beamed the way she always did when she had discovered the answer to a problem.

“Are you sure? I don’t want to get my hopes up if you can’t fix me.” She was biting her nails again, Nat had learned that it was one of her many anxious traits.

“The princess is a genius Maximoff, I wouldn’t sweat it.” Nat muttered, winking at the brunette – making her olive eyes roll in annoyance.

“I figured out that if you bind your DNA with something else, perhaps another person’s genetics, it could strengthen yours therefore enhancing your abilities again, maybe making them even stronger than before.” She chuckled to herself, gently inserting a needle into the Witches forearm, god even Maximoff’s blood was a vivid scarlet.

“That sounds too easy.” Maximoff doubted, standing up from the examination table and looking over Shuri’s shoulder at the young girls every move.

“If only it was, it has to be the DNA of someone that’s compatible to you and given that there’s over 7 billion people on this Earth, that might be difficult.” Shuri sighed, inputting Maximoff’s blood into her computer.

“Oh god, I’m screwed.” Maximoff held her head in her hands and ran her fingers through her hair in frustration.

“Not necessarily, using my technology I can try and narrow down the possibilities.”

“That means there’s a chance Maximoff.” Nat said softer than she usually did, patting Maximoff’s back awkwardly.

-

Nat was used to sleepless nights. Visions of the red room and all the horrors she had endured flooding her mind as she slept, forcing her to wake up in a cold sweat in the witching hours, unable to calm her heartbeat enough to fall back into slumber. The night after Maximoff’s blood tests was no different. It must have been seeing her that triggered the memories of the Witches mind manipulation, the feeling that her mind was no longer her own, the images of her training flashing in front of her eyes. Nat had wanted to get revenge on Maximoff for so long after her invasion into her deepest fears, she wanted to slit her throat while she slept or poison her dinner so she never saw her coming – just like Nat never saw her coming all those years ago. She outgrew her bloodlust of course, once she saw the way Maximoff fought in Berlin, the way she was loyal to Clint like Nat herself was. After that Nat had developed a certain level of respect for the Witch, even if seeing her led to remembering things she never wanted to think of again.

Seeing her in the gardens during her midnight walk was still a shock though, until she remembered how often Maximoff had nightmares herself during nights in the Avengers facility.

The gentle nights breeze made her brown hair swirl slightly around her face, the very face that was painted with a surprised expression when she saw the assassin that despised her walk towards her.

“You’re up late.” Nat said bluntly, standing next to Maximoff on the path.

“Bad dreams, what about you?” She said quietly, wrapping her hands around her in an attempt to keep warm.

“Couldn’t sleep.” That was a lie, she was sleeping perfectly fine until it felt as though her handler’s hands were gripping her throat.

They stood in silence for a moment, the bright lights of the city had all but disappeared it was so late and the only thing lighting the space around them was the faint glow around Maximoff.

“Your abilities aren’t getting any stronger then?” Nat inquired, pointing the pink light surrounding them and implying it should be the bright scarlet she was named for.

“No…it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if they didn’t come back though…” She hesitated, trying to work out of the Black Widow was a friend or foe before she spoke.

“You wouldn’t be an Avenger anymore if you lost them.” Nat said, asking herself the exact same question – was Maximoff a friend or foe?

“Would that be so terrible? Becoming an Avenger killed my brother…if I wasn’t part of the team then nobody would’ve died in Lagos…” She hung her head, fiddling with a loose thread of her cardigan.

“Steve would have. You saved him from that bomb Maximoff.” She interjected, jerking her head to the side and beginning to walk, she signalling that the other girl should follow her.

“I never wanted this, these powers…I just wanted justice for my parents.” She sighed, walking beside Nat, kicking rouge stones with her slippers.

“Tony’s not a bad guy, he’s just done bad things.” Stark was one of her closest friends it was true, but his history in the weapons industry wasn’t anything to be praised.

“I know that now, he was so kind to me after Sokovia…and I repaid him by abandoning him.”

“You had to do what you thought was right, you followed Clint and Steve because you trusted them and you thought the accords were bullshit – I’m sure he forgives you, Tony forgives people.”

“Do regret following him?” She asked, looking across to the redhead whose brows furrowed for a moment as she thought of an answer.

“I met Stark first, I was sent to evaluate whether he was fit for the Avengers initiative years ago and he is always there for me, always. Anybody would be lucky to have someone like Tony Stark as their friend…but Steve? I promised him my loyalty. I promised him that he could trust me with his life and I have to live up to that…I didn’t do what I promised.” She looked regretfully at the ground, knowing fine well that the woman to her right was watching her.

“I don’t regret following Tony, but I regret not keeping my promise.” Nat finished, locking eyes with Maximoff and smiling an empty smile.

“But you could’ve stayed with Stark, been exempt from any government persecution, you wouldn’t have become a fugitive.” Maximoff said, keeping her eyes fixed on Nat’s face as they began to circle back towards the palace.

“I owe Steve Rodger’s everything, I have to stay by his side this time.” She smiled again, a real smile this time as she thought of all the nights in crappy hotels when Steve would joke that she’d be gone the next morning and all the mornings he would act shocked she was still there.

“Are you and him-?” Maximoff raised an eyebrow, making Nat’s smile turn into a laugh.

“Oh God no! No.”

“I’m sorry! You guys just seem so…close I guess.” She stumbled over her words, almost as if she was scared the other woman would murder her for even assuming anything.

“It’s fine, I used to get asked all the time about me and Clint but…me and Steve? This is a first.” She opened the door of the palace and allowed the Maximoff girl to walk through before closing it and following her back along the corridor to the kitchen area.

“Would you like a drink? I can make tea.” Maximoff asked, gesturing to the kettle.

“You know what-“ Nat paused a moment, she had sworn to herself she wouldn’t make any more friends, not when things were so delicate in the team nowadays, she shook her head.

“Another time Maximoff.” Regretfully she swung round on the balls of her feet and began to walk along to her bedroom.

“You can call me Wanda if you want you know?” The Witch called quietly after her.

“Not there yet Maximoff.”

Chapter Text

Day Ten

-

Life in Wakanda was uneventful to say the least. Every once in a while, Steve would talk to her about where they were going next or tell her anything the government had said about their little band of vigilantes but apart from those minute-long interactions, she barely saw anyone apart from Shuri. The young princess had tremendous combat potential and, mixed with her dazzling intellect, Nat couldn’t help but admire her and focus all of her effort on bettering her fighting style – she couldn’t improve her mental ability, she hadn’t gone to any sort of high school, but she could teach the kid how to throw a punch.

Romanoff had always dreamed of a life without having to fight, but now that she was living it, she missed the action.

She couldn’t help but think of what Maximoff had said to her just days before, “you could’ve stayed with Stark, been exempt from any government persecution”. The witch was right of course, if she had remained at Tony’s side she could have easily kept some fragments of the life she had lived before the mess that was Berlin. She could have visited Clint on his farm or done missions with government permission. God, even a basic recon would satisfy her at this point.

Still, despite her underlying contempt for her, Nat couldn’t help but let her mind drift to Maximoff. The assassin would be lying if she said she wasn’t worried for her. The poor girl had lost everything, her entire family gone within a few years, and now she had lost the one thing that made her ‘special’. There was no doubt, Maximoff didn’t want her powers anymore, she no longer needed vengeance for her parents or her brother and Nat knew how much she despised her glowing hands from watching her after a battle. The way she would stare at her palms as though she wished they would just drop off and leave her powerless. Nat was lucky that she didn’t have to deal with the burden of enhanced abilities, but she was still stuck with the memories of the things that she had done and the people that she had hurt in the process, she knew what it was like to wish your hands would disappear, she had killed enough with her own.

Maximoff was like a puzzle to her, a puzzle she couldn’t solve. Nat would watch the way she lit up when she was around the Vision, the way the android would hold and kiss her hands – the one thing she hated – and the way she would smile at him in return. How a human could fall in love with a robot Nat could never understand, then again, she fell in love with a big green beast so she couldn’t talk. Bruce was more than the Hulk though, he was kind and gentle and everything she knew she couldn’t have in life. Maybe that’s what the Vision was to Maximoff, the steady rock to keep her grounded, the thing that made her feel normal and worthy of love.

The Vision had returned of course, the day after their late-night talk in the gardens. He didn’t tell anyone where he had gone or what he had learned, he just appeared that morning offering Nat coffee and apologizing for not being available. Nat was sure he told Maximoff, he told Maximoff everything. It was almost as if they were in some sort of secret club nobody else could get into, it made Nat’s blood boil, they were part of the team. They should at least act like it.

She saw them walking one afternoon from her window, they were holding hands and talking and despite her lack of interest in the daily life of Wanda Maximoff, Nat Romanoff couldn’t help but watch them. The way the android would say something to make the girl laugh, throwing her head back so that the sunlight hit her pale cheeks. The way Maximoff’s hair seemed to have a life of its own as it hung in a ponytail with strands falling around her face. Nat had never seen Maximoff smile so much and she had lived in the same building as her for a year and a half. The sight almost sparked a mixture of jealously and anger within her, what did this computer have that the rest of the team didn’t?

 

Day Thirteen

The sun set in Wakanda was one of the most beautiful things Nat Romanoff had ever seen. The reds and oranges painting the once blue sky with the golden sun lighting up the city, it put all other views to shame. That night however, she didn’t care about the sunset or the colours, she cared about the bottle of wine she was nursing as she watched out the window, not focusing on the city actually miles away, remembering the view of the horizon from Sokovia once it had reached its peak height. The thinness of the air and the almost certainty of her incoming demise but still, the sense of calm she felt had overwhelmed her then just as it overwhelmed her as she sat on the sofa almost three years later.

Nat wasn’t a drinker, she couldn’t drink every night without consequences and she certainly wasn’t one to drink alone without reason. For some reason though, the bitter taste ran down her throat smoother than she was used to and it didn’t make her cringe as it hit her tongue anymore. She wondered if it was that her tolerance for the taste of alcohol had gotten better since she last drank or whether it was just the wine in Wakanda that was so good. Probably the latter she thought as she took another sip from her glass (she poured it from the bottle to the glass, she wasn’t an animal).

Why the memory of Sokovia was haunting her that night she didn’t know. All she knew was that she could almost feel the breeze on her cheeks as she sat there.

“You gonna drink that all yourself?” Came a voice from behind her, making Nat jump a little in her seat and almost reach for the revolver she had stashed in the couch cushion before she turned to see that it was only Maximoff asking.

“Get a glass and I’ll pour you some.” She mumbled, ignoring the voice in her head telling her not to make more friends, one drink wasn’t going to make them inseparable.

Grabbing a glass from a cupboard in the kitchenette, Maximoff came back over and waited for Nat to move her legs so that she could sit on the sofa next to her.

“What are you doing all alone? Doesn’t Vision follow you everywhere?” Nat grinned as she poured the withes glass about halfway with the deep red liquid.

“He’s trying to figure out how to turn off his transponder…so Tony can’t track him.” She took a sip, looking at the redhead over the rim of her glass.

“Wait…Tony’s been tracking him the whole time?” Nat sat up a little, looking back at Maximoff.

“Yeah but don’t worry, Stark promised he wouldn’t tell Ross where we were as long as Vis went back to him every few weeks to update.”

“Update him on what? Our location?” suddenly Nat’s once mellow mood turned into a paranoid one, partly because of the wine and partly because she knew Vision had no allegiance to anyone but Maximoff and would rat their location in a second.

“On his progress Nat. Tony just wants to watch him turn into a fully sentient being.” Maximoff chuckled at Nat’s apprehensive expression, only for the Black Widow to deflate in relief.

“Then why is he trying to turn off his tracker?” Nat sighed, taking a larger sip than her usual amount.

“Well…we’re trying to make it just us you know? So that we can go wherever we want without Tony Stark knowing where we are.” Nat could see the faint blush in Maximoff’s cheeks and noticed as the Witch avoided her eyes.

“So…you really love him? Bit weird.” She murmured, raising her eyebrows as she began to refill her glass.

“I know…I know, Pietro would have teased me about it so much, would’ve called Vis a microwave or something.” She laughed to herself, her eyes misty with the memories of her brother.

“Well I mean I wouldn’t blame him, you’re dating a toaster Maximoff.” Nat returned the smile.

“How many times do I have to say that you can call me Wanda? We’ve known each other for years now.” She said, holding out her glass

“You remind me of Shuri. Always asks me not to call her ‘Your Grace’, I only say it to annoy her now.”  

“What if I started calling you ‘Romanoff’? Would that annoy you?” There was a slightly flirtatious tone to her voice, then again, Nat was pretty tipsy – she was probably just imagining it.

Chapter Text

Day Fourteen

-

She awoke to a throbbing headache – just what was to be expected after drinking a whole bottle of wine to yourself.

Nat had stumbled through to her bed in the wee hours of the morning, followed by a giggling Maximoff before they loudly whispered ‘goodnight’ before falling through their own bedroom doors and out of each other’s sight. She had been too drunk to change so it didn’t surprise her to look down and see that she was still dressed in the previous day’s clothes, thanking God it was only a simple t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms.

Blinking a few times to try and rid her vision of blurriness, she tried to swallow (I say tried, her throat was as dry as sandpaper so she ended up in a coughing fit), making up her mind that she needed water she dragged herself through to her bathroom and put her head under the running tap, lapping up the water to cool her burning throat. Nat Romanoff wasn’t a lightweight, she had trained herself to hold her drink, but she had gravely underestimated how powerful Wakandan wine actually was. Luckily, she wasn’t a puker either, not even the strongest wine in the world could lead her to vomit the next day, so she wiped her face with the hand towel to her left and looked up from the sink to the mirror cabinet above.

The mascara around her eyes was smudged and there was a faint smear where her lipstick had moved down her chin as she moved in the night, but other than that and the faint pallor of her skin Nat didn’t look too bad for a girl with a hangover. She washed it quickly, getting rid of any physical evidence that she was in fact – a mess.

Coffee. I need coffee.

As she changed into a fresh pair of tracksuit pants and a t-shirt without a deep red wine stain on it, she was forced to pause a few times in an attempt to make the room stop spinning, making it a slow and painful job to say the least. Finally, after a long ten minutes of standing and pausing to sit again, she made it to her door.

“Rough night Romanoff?” Sam joked, he must’ve gotten back from his scouting mission last night she thought.

“When the fuck did you get back?” She mumbled, making a slow shuffle towards the coffee maker.

“Last night? About eleven?” His tone was questioning and his brows furrowed in confusion.

“Why are you looking at me like that? I’m not psychic.” She pulled out a mug from the cupboard and placed a scoop of coffee beans into the vibraniam machine.

“Nat we had a whole conversation! Are you really that hungover?” He laughed, a little too loud for Nat’s aching head, making her grit her teeth in pain.

“Do you mind not shouting? I’m fragile this morning.” She whispered in reply, waiting patiently for the beep to tell her she finally had a drink to take her aspirin with.

“Natasha Romanoff? Fragile? That’s a first.” Came a voice from behind her, not Sam’s though, a woman’s.

“Nobody calls me Natasha.” She muttered under her breath, not bothering to turn to see ho was speaking to her, she could already tell.

“You’re looking a bit worse for wear yourself Maximoff! I remember you were with Ms Fragility last night too.” Sam said in his usual loud voice and Nat could tell that he had pulled the witch into a hug without even looking. She was lucky he never tried to do that with her anymore, good thing he’d learned his lesson after his slightly bruised ribs.

“Yeah well I didn’t drink as much because I was smart.” Nat could hear the smile in her voice as well as the joking tone that annoyed her just a tad more than usual.

“Yes, because Wanda Maximoff is oh so sensible.” Nat said, a little louder than she had meant too, a little more aggressive as well.

“Chill Nat she was only joking.” Sam chimed in.

“Yeah Romanoff don’t rain on the parade.” The witch laughed, making Nat’s patience run thin as was finally able to pour her drink.

“Shut it Maximoff.” She said, finally turning to face them and seeing Maximoff’s smile falter a little after her comment.

“Okay Romanoff.” Her smile returned as she teased the other woman, Nat restricted herself to only rolling her eyes in response.

 

Day Sixteen

It was a few days before Nat saw Maximoff again, probably because she had decided that between their mistake of a drunken evening and their spontaneous midnight rendezvous in the gardens, they had spent far too much time together anyway. She couldn’t let herself become attached to anyone again – no more attachments, not after Bruce.

Nat missed Banner, she’d be lying if she said she didn’t. She missed the way his eyes lit up when he talked about science things and they way he fumbled over words when he talked to her. She may miss him, but she had realised that she didn’t love him and she never really had. Nat ‘adored’ him, at least that what she told him the last time she saw Banner and not Hulk. She adored him and his funny quirks and jokes and his passion for helping others, but she was never in love with him. She had realised the day after she had arrived in Wakanda that she had attached herself to him because she felt most connected to him out off all the Avengers, they were the most alike in her eyes. Both only wanting to help but both of them being killers on the inside. Nat was sure that if he was here he’d keep her company, make her laugh and walk with her when she was lonely, but flirting with him was only a pastime for her – not something she wanted to finish.

Then again, Bruce Banner hadn’t been seen in years. Not since his jet disappeared over the Atlantic after Sokovia. In her heart she knew he was probably alive, hiding out in Guam or something, the Hulk wouldn’t have let him die anyway, but she couldn’t help but wake in a cold sweat at the thought of his dead body. Such a soft, kind-hearted human being floating at the bottom of the ocean, never to be found.

Not that she could tell anyone on the team about it. Nobody really knew about her and Banner, Steve had suspected that maybe there was something going on but other than that she was alone, and she didn’t really want to talk to Rodgers about her past love life. Clint would know what to do, he’d tell her it would all be fine and she was just getting in her head about I all, he’d tell her that it was okay to be Maximoff’s ally and that Bruce was alive and that after a while they’d be able to go home and everything would be back to normal.

“You okay?” She heard Maximoff say as she sat on the garden bench next to Nat that evening, a brownie of some sorts in her hand.

“It’s Bruce’s birthday today.” She replied bluntly, no emotion in her voice as she looked out over the bright colours of the garden.

“Still no sign of him?” Maximoff said quietly, slowly taking a bite of her brownie as she tried not to break the mood.

“If he was here…he would be talking my ear off telling me all about these plants.” She allowed herself a soft chuckle.

“I don’t know shit about biology, I don’t care about it if I’m honest…but he loved it…he made it sound interesting.” Her eyes were sad, she missed her friend.

“I didn’t know him very well, I don’t think he really liked me all that much but he sounds like Pietro when he would tell me all about his comics. I didn’t give a shit about any superhero’s but he…he really loved them and he would tell me about them for hours and I would hate it.” Wanda turned her head to look at Nat, the redhead keeping her eyes fixed on the horizon.

“I know what you mean I’d give anything for Pietro to tell me about his comics again.” She finished, placing a supportive hand on Nat’s knee, making the assassin flinch, but she didn’t move away.

“It’s ironic. That Pietro loved superheroes, and he became one for a while.” Nat replied, glancing quickly over to Maximoff, who was taking the final bite out of her brownie.

“He used to joke we were going to get our own comic book, he would say it every night through the vent between our cells before we went to sleep.” She smiled, something Nat didn’t expect when she talked about her brother.

“You aren’t too bad Wanda you know that.” Nat shot the girl a quick smile before looking out into the flowers again.

“You called me Wanda!” She cried, laughing as she playfully pushed Romanoff, making the redhead smile at her again.

“Don’t tell anyone I’m going soft on you or I’ll kill you in your sleep.” Quickly shooting Wanda a jokingly scary look.

“Hand on my heart Romanoff. Hand on my heart.” The brunette took the hand that once held her brownie and placed it over her chest, her other hand still placed firmly on Nat’s knee.

 

Chapter Text

Day Eighteen

“The computer’s still running diagnostics, should only be a day or two now.” Shuri panted, slamming her fist into the punching bag.

“That’s been over ten days now Your Grace, I thought the technology in Wakanda was supposed to be advanced.” Nat replied, holding firmly onto the bag, counting the young girls punches in her mind.

“Nobody’s ever had to find something so specific before, the computer has to work out how to do it before it can search for Wanda’s blood match.” Her voice sounded more defensive than usual.

“Are you hiding something from me Shuri?” Nat said, signalling for her to stop, which she did as she kept her eyes to the floor.

“You called me Shuri.” She muttered to herself.

“Yeah well…I’ve been getting soft these past few days – but that’s not important. What’s important is that my friend needs your help and for some reason you aren’t giving it her!” Nat knew a liar when she saw one, she was an expert herself.

“Just give me a few more days Miss Romanoff please!” The young girl snapped, looking Nat fiercely in the eye, refusing to back down and refusing to say anything more.

“We’re done for today.” Nat said bluntly, returning the girls cold stare, not even blinking as she saw the girls face crumple a little before becoming as hard as a statue once more.

“But-“

“No. No more training until you fix Maximoff.”

She stood there, arms crossed and stance unmoving, waiting until Shuri aggressively pulled off her hand wraps and threw them to the floor before storming out of the gym. Nat sighed to herself, she knew she shouldn’t have let herself build bridges with anyone here, her ‘friendship’ with Maximoff had cost her Shuri’s friendship and her mother-like connection to Shuri had led her to the pain she felt when the princess walked out the door. She shook off the feeling of guilt, the feelings of hurt and anger and returned to the emotionless person she had trained herself to be all those years ago in the Red Room.

Silently she began to clean up, she heard the door open again behind her as she put away the punching bag, quickly turning with the hope that the young girl had returned to apologize she was more than slightly disappointed to see that it was only Maximoff standing in the middle of the gym and not Shuri.

“Can I help you?” She asked with a bit more sting than she had planned.

“Nope. I was just bored I guess, thought I’d see what you were doing. Wanted to talk to you.” She leant back on the balls of her feet and swung her arms by her sides, her hands tucked up into her cardigan the way they always were. Why she wore a cardigan in this weather kept Nat up at night, she had deduced that it was for the very reason that she could hide her hands in the sleeves and pockets, she hated her hands after all.

“Well I’m just cleaning up here.”

“Do you need any help?”

“No, it’s okay, it’s done now the bags away anyway.” Nat turned, tucking some of her hair behind her ear at the precise moment Maximoff did the same with a strand that had escaped her ponytail.

“Oh okay…I’ll go then.” Maximoff shot her a smile and turned to walk towards the door.

“Wait, Wanda.” Nat said, making the brunette turn almost immediately after she uttered the first syllable.

“Yes?”

“Did you need to talk to me about something?”

“No, it’s okay.” She smiled again and quietly slid out the door, softly closing it behind her as if everything was a secret.

 

Day Nineteen

It wasn’t until the next day that Nat heard from Shuri again, this time to call her down to her lab. She passed Maximoff on her way, both women shooting small smiles at each other as their arms brushed against each other in the doorway. Maximoff wasn’t wearing her usual cardigan today, Nat noticed as their bare skin touched, sending a slight shiver down Nat’s spine, the redhead dismissed it of course, a shiver meant nothing.

“You better have good news for me Your Grace.” She said demandingly, standing behind Shuri in her usual arms-crossed pose.

“I have found someone who had compatible blood with the Scarlet Witch.” Shuri began, only she didn’t have the usual ‘I solved the problem’ grin Nat was used to seeing when she was in her lab.

“Well, who do we have to find?” Nat was already planning her route to the hanger in her mind.

“Nobody, out of the seven billion people on this Earth, the person most compatible with Miss Maximoff is you.”

There was a pause. Shuri’s breath caught in the back of her throat as she waited for Romanoff to do something, because for at least a minute she simply stood there, her eyes staring out the window and fixed on the cave outside.

“So get this blood out of me and fix her goddammit.” She said eventually, quiet but sure.

-

“I don’t understand, whose genetics is this?” Maximoff said impatiently as she sat on the examination table, the tube with Nat’s blood already in her veins.

“Just a random woman’s, don’t need to worry about it.” Nat said, sharing a glance with Shuri before placing a comforting hand on Maximoff’s shoulder, making the shiver in her spine return.

“If you say so, I trust you Romanoff.” She looked up at the redhead, making Nat’s heart plummet to the bottom of her stomach.

The thing was, they could have told Wanda that it was Nat’s blood that was most compatible with her, the Nat’s was saving her powers and could even be saving her life, but it was better for Wanda to believe it was a stranger. They could’ve lied and said it was the Vision’s but he was an android, he had no blood or genetics to give, oh god Nat wanted so badly for it to be Wanda’s soulmate, but instead it was just her.

 

Day Twenty

“Okay, try an energy ball.” Shuri said, watching Maximoff’s hands closely.

Nat stood in the corner watching as Wanda’s hands slowly began to glow the deep red she was used to and as it developed into a sphere she let out a sigh of relief – it had worked, Wanda was fine.

-

“Thank you.” Wanda said as they left the lab that afternoon.

“For what? I didn’t do anything.” Nat dismissed, turning her head to look at Wanda as they walked down the corridor, only for Wanda to stop suddenly and smile at her.

“For being there idiot. Staying with me this whole time.”

“Yeah well, we’re friends.” Nat was blunt, avoiding eye contact with the brunette before she felt something wrap themselves around her.

Instantly her heart began to beat faster and her brain activated her fight or flight response, only for the smell of Wanda’s perfume to hit her just a second after. She was hugging her. Her arms wrapped around Nat’s neck, holding her close and steady. Reluctantly, Nat returned the embrace by slowly putting her hands around Wanda’s waist and squeezing her slightly, even closing her eyes for a moment to allow herself to feel safe just for a moment before she pulled away and Wanda’s arms melted away from her, leaving her feeling strangely cold.

“I’m glad that we’re friends.” Wanda said, a slight blush rising in her cheeks as she spoke.

“Tell anyone we hugged and I’ll kill you.”

“You say that every time we talk.” Wanda laughed, making Nat’s heart glow just a little.

“Yeah well, can’t let people know I have feelings.”

Chapter Text

Day Twenty-Two

It wasn’t long after Maximoff got her powers back that her and the Vision decided to leave Wakanda again. They left in the dead of night of course, couldn’t bring suspicion to T’Challa and his country, though they were lucky enough to have one of the king’s best pilots fly the jet to take them to wherever they were going.

“You didn’t have to say goodbye at the jet, you could’ve just said goodbye before you went to bed.” Maximoff smiled as an insistent Nat walked with her across the tarmac.

“Couldn’t let my fellow teammate fly off to Australia without saying goodbye.” She returned the smile, though it came from a place of sadness – over the past three weeks she had certainly grown to enjoy Wanda’s company, she knew she would miss her.

“Still, it’s the middle of the night Romanoff, not even Steve could be bothered to send us off.”

Nat could see Vision in the distance, he was so fucking red he could glow in the dark. What Wanda saw in that walking toaster Nat would never know, but it made her happy and she did deserve to be happy after all. About ten steps away from the jet itself, Nat felt the warmth of Wanda’s hand grab the upper part of her arm and stop her in her tracks.

“Romanoff can I be honest with you for a minute?” She spoke quickly, her voice shaking and wavering just a bit, not enough for Nat to notice it.

“Always.”

“I really…I really value you as a friend and I know…I know you hated me because of what happened with Ultron and I don’t blame you, I don’t blame you at all and I’ll never stop apologizing about it because-“

“Wanda. Take a goddamn breath.” Nat chucked to herself, her eyes watching the other woman’s face as she rambled, it made her heart skip slightly to see her so excited about something.

“Okay…I just wanted to tell you that-“

“Wanda! We have to leave!” Vision called from the jet as the engines started up.

“I’m sorry! I have to go!”

“Wait, Maximoff what did you want to tell me?” Nat called after her as she watched the brunette jog towards the jet, the wind blowing her hair and making it curl and wave in a way Nat hadn’t quite seen before.

“It can wait!” She shouted back before Nat saw her disappear through the door.

She didn’t leave. She stood there and watched as the jet hovered into the air before speeding off and turning invisible in the nights sky.

 

The Four Months Following

Day Three

It was raining. It was the first time Nat had seen it rain in Wakanda since she had arrived the month before. Maybe it was just the weather, maybe it was pathetic fallacy, symbolising how Nat felt nowadays. Even since Maximoff had run off in the night with her kettle of a boyfriend she had just felt…Down? Lonely? She wasn’t quite sure. She didn’t care for Maximoff in any way other than respecting who she was as a person, maybe one day that might develop into a friendship (it certainly was already for Maximoff anyway) maybe it was already. Nat was sad when she wasn’t around, she would be sad if she died, maybe that’s what a friendship was. That’s what it was like with Clint, she missed him and the thought of him dying made her heart break in her chest – but it was different with Maximoff Wanda. Unlike with Clint, she wanted to be around her as much as she could, when Wanda’s skin brushed against hers it sent shivers down her spine and the hair stood up on the back of her neck, Nat was sure she could still feel the touch of her fingers on her arm from the other night.

“We need to talk.”

“When don’t we.”

The rain was splattering against the balcony window as Nat stood and watched from the living area, she didn’t hear Steve come up behind her but she didn’t flinch, she didn’t even reach for her gun.

“We’ve been dark for too long, need to show up somewhere to avoid suspicion.” His voice was as stern as his face, maybe it was just the beard but he always seemed so harsh now, even when he was with Barnes and he would crack the occasional smile.

“Maximoff and Vision are out there, isn’t that enough?”

“It’s been a month Nat, we just need to be out there for a few months and then we’ll come back for another month – you know the drill.”

“And you plan to do this for how long?”

“As long as it takes.” He turned to look at her, only for her to ignore him and keep watching the trees sway in the wind.

“Tony call you yet?” She said cautiously, knowing what a soft spot this was in Steve’s heart.

“No. He’ll call when he’s ready.”

“Is Barnes coming?”

“He’s not stable yet, Shuri needs to keep him under observation.” His eyes flickered to her again, except this time she looked back.

“I’m sorry. About everything. I don’t think I’ve ever apologised for leaving you.” She could feel the tears in the back of her eyes so she quickly blinked them away – she would not cry over something like this.

“You don’t have to apologise because you didn’t leave me Nat, you just followed what you believed in, that’s a good thing, it’s admirable.” The corner of his mouth turned up as his eyes misted over with memories of the 40s and the Captain America that toured the US selling bonds and talking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“I knew you weren’t going to sign, I didn’t know it would end up like this though, all of us split up.” She knew herself that Captain America was dead, he had died in Serbia.

“You didn’t even try and convince me, not even in London.”

“I didn’t go to London to try and change your mind Steve. I went to London because Peggy Carter died and you needed a friend. I am not that heartless.” She held her arms firmly by her sides, fists clenched as she assured herself of her own humanity.

“I know you’re not, you wouldn’t be here if you were.”

Slowly, he moved his arm around Nat’s shoulder and pulled her in so that her head rested on his shoulder. Both of them standing in silence as the rain grew heavier and heavier outside. It was then that Nat Romanoff admitted to herself that she had more friends than just Clint.

 

Day Eight

­-

Rio wasn’t that bad. It was almost as warm as Wakanda which Nat hated but it was crowded which was good for them at least. Steve, Sam and her walked through the streets in typical tourist wear during the day, seeing the sights and eating at markets, all the while watching the world through tinted lenses and under baseball caps. When they had to, they came up with cover stories, explaining that Nat and Sam were married and Steve was Nat’s brother was the most common rendition – not that Wilson complained. He would often go the extra mile and place a kiss on Nat’s cheek to piss her off, forcing her to hold his hand when they went out only for him to laugh at her about it later when she threatened to cut his throat in his sleep.

Not that she would, he was a good teammate, a good friend.

If she had to pick only one thing she missed most about Wakanda, it would be her bed. The hostel they were staying in had mattresses with more lumps than not and the pillows were as flat as pancakes. She missed the smooth silk of her sheets and the crisp feeling of the pillow when her head finally rested on it at night. She missed waking up to the golden Wakandan sun beaming in through her window onto her face and the warmth of it on her cheek.

The moment they reached Rio, Nat went to the store. Just an hour after arriving at their hostel and her hair was a platinum blonde. Personally, she despised the thought of getting rid of her beautiful red locks, but she knew that it made her far too recognisable, she needed to get rid of Natasha Romanoff and replace her with ‘Natalie Rushman’. Her alias was purely sentimental of course, it was one of the only things she allowed herself that held any sort of place in her heart. It was the name she first met Tony Stark under, the name Shield had given her to go undercover to determine whether he was fit to join the Avengers Initiative. She missed him dearly.

“Cheer up sweetheart!” Sam joked one night they spent at the bar down the street, the three of them crowded around a tiny table, Wilson with his arm around her shoulders as he took a swig of his beer.

“Call me sweetheart one more time and I’m filing for divorce.”

“You both need to cheer up! C’mon guys we’re in a bar in Rio and you both look like someone took your favourite toy.” He looked from Nat to Steve and back to Nat.

“Sorry Sam, I just miss Buck…and I’m tired of running.” Steve sighed into his bottle before taking a drink.

“Why are you even drinking Rodgers? You can’t get drunk.” Nat grinned slightly into the rim of her own bottle, the distinct scent of beer making her miss wine even more.

“I dunno, want to fit in I guess.”

“If I had known you two were going to be such debbie-downers I would’ve never left Wakanda.” Sam took one last sip of his drink before setting the bottle on the table and signalling the bartender for another round.

“Sam. Shut up. Don’t be so loud.” Nat glared at him.

“Sorry, sorry…If I had known you two were going to be so fucking miserable I would’ve never married into this family.” He rolled his eyes as a waitress brought over another tray of beers he paid her and winked at her as she walked away.

“You can’t wink at hot waitresses Wilson, we’re married remember.”

“It’s an unhappy marriage.”

“God I should’ve just let Ross arrest me.”

Chapter Text

Day 12

It was certainly a risky move – going back to the States. Steve had been so strongly against it he almost left Nat and Sam in Mexico City to fend for themselves (bold of him to assume that they couldn’t survive without him) but after a few days, he agreed it was for the best, they needed to go home for a while.

It was also a risky move to stay with Clint on his farm. He was lucky enough that Ross had let him stay there after Berlin, now he was going to be harbouring some of the highest-ranking fugitives in the entire world in his backyard. They weren’t even sure that he’d let them through the front gates, Nat maybe, but the fate of the other two was questionable at best.

The truck Steve had ‘borrowed’ just outside Illinois pulled into the Barton family driveway and Nat could feel the tears prick up behind her eyes as she sat in the passenger seat. This was her second home, her only home now that the Avengers Facility was out of bounds, her family was here and she had missed them more than she would have expected.

Stepping out the truck onto the grass below she let the fresh air hit her lungs, it felt like the first breath she had taken since Wakanda because now…now she knew she was safe.

“Auntie Nat!”

Without warning her body was hit with the force of Cooper and Lila forcing her into an embrace. She let out a sigh and a tear out of her eye before she fell to her knees and pulled the two children into one of her famous hugs that only they received, they smelled like toast, they must have just breakfast and then came out to play in the garden.

“I missed you guys.” She muttered into their ears before kissing their cheeks and squeezing them before pulling away and looking at them for the first time in years.

“You’ve gotten so big.” She laughed, Lila must be almost ten now, Copper reaching twelve, their faces had changed so much since she had last saw them, you don’t notice these things when you see a child every day but Lila’s cheeks had lost some weight and Cooper’s face was longer than before.

“Your hair is different.” Lila said, taking a strand of Nat’s blonde hair in her hand and instinctively beginning to braid it.

“Yeah well, I fancied a change, do you approve?” She smiled widely, raising an eyebrow at the young girl.

“I approve.” She giggled.

“Are you here to see dad?” Cooper asked, looking over her shoulder to see a rough looking Steve and a tired Sam coming out of the truck themselves.

“Maybe…where is he Coop?” She asked, placing a hand on the boy’s cheek while Lila continued to braid Nat’s hair, shorter since she had decided to cut it back into a bob somewhere back in Peru.

“Use your eyes and find out.”

Looking up from the children’s faces, she saw none other than Clint Francis Barton standing behind them in his old flannel shirt and jeans covered in the paint from the time he painted the decking. He had his hands tucked into his pockets and didn’t exactly look happy to see her. She stood up, Lila’s half-finished braid handing on the side of her head as the children ran away from her back into the house, presumably to tell their mother that she was outside with a bunch of criminals.

“I’m sorry, we just didn’t know where else to-“

“You can’t just show up her Natasha.” He said bluntly, making Nat look to the ground for comfort. He was the only one allowed to call her Natasha, and when he did it meant trouble.

“I know. We can go if you really want us to.”

She looked up at him again, ready for him to yell and make them leave but he didn’t. Instead, he broke into one of the widest smiles she had ever seen and quickly moved forward to scoop her up into a hug. She automatically crumpled and listed her arms to put around his neck as she felt herself be lifted off the ground by a now laughing Barton before he gently put her back on the dirt, he didn’t let go though, he kept clinging onto her as if she was something extremely precious.

“You’re making me look like a sap Clint.” She whispered jokingly into his ear once her feet were safely back on the ground.

“I haven’t seen you in almost a year Nat, let me have this.” He whispered back, a little less jokingly than her.

After what seemed like an eternity, Clint let go of her, only to look up and see an awkward looking Wilson and Rodgers standing just a few feet away from them. He proceeded to pull Steve into a hug (quicker than Nat’s thank god) and enthusiastically shake Sam’s hand as he said ‘haven’t seen you since the Raft buddy how’re you doing?’, grinning all the while.

“If the cheesy reunion is over?” Nat said, standing with her arms crossed watching the men.

-

“You’re sure it’s okay for us to be here?” Steve asked as he spooned some hot soup into his mouth, careful not to let any touch his beard.

“Rodgers why do you always have to be such a stick in the mud? Yes of course it’s okay for you guys to stay here. There’s a secret basement underneath the barn I keep for stuff like this.” Clint laughed, standing by the kitchen bunker holding his cup of coffee, the still-rising sun streaming in through the windows behind him.

“How often do they check up on you?” Sam asked, already scooping the last of his own soup and taking a drink of his water, grateful for his first hot meal in over a week.

“Every Wednesday usually, sometimes early Thursday. You don’t need to worry though, they usually make a very noisy arrival that can tell you when you have to skedaddle.”

“We won’t stay long, two weeks at most.” Steve said, looking over to Nat who was sitting on the living room floor with Lila as they coloured in a picture of a flower together.

“Then what?” Clint asked, pouring the remains of his drink down the drain.

“Then we leave again, maybe be seen in Denmark or somewhere like it, then in a month or two we’ll head back to Wakanda for another month.” Steve scraped the bottom of the bowl to gather up the last of his soup – it was lentil, just like his mother used to make back in Brooklyn.

“And you just plan to do that forever?”

“If we have to.”

-

Day 14

-

Laura had been at her mothers for the weekend, so it was quite a shock when she stumbled into the living room to see none other than Captain fucking America spread out on her couch in front of her TV. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that she had almost dropped Nathanial on the floor.

It was awkward. The three of them sitting on the sofa as they could hear Laura scream at her husband through the door, the couple out on the porch arguing about the three fugitives that had been camping out in the space underneath their barn. After a solid twenty minutes, they watched as a furious looking Laura Barton stormed back into the house and straight upstairs to her bedroom.

“Sorry you guys, I really should’ve cleared it with the missus before I said you guys could stay here.” Clint put his hand on the back of his neck and gritted his teeth, making a hissing sound before clapping his hands together and standing awkwardly in silence.

“We can go. We can stay in a motel up the street if you need us out the barn.” Sam said, breaking the silence.

“It’s fine, I’ll go talk to her.” Nat spoke before Clint could and got up from the sofa, making it to the top of the staircase before any of the men could say another word.

The top landing was covered in toys, only the toys had evolved from the trucks and dolls from the last time she had been here into ‘my first makeup’ kits and old videogame consoles. She almost tripped over a robot dog she remembered Cooper had gotten from one of his real Aunts the last birthday party she had been to of his.

Opening the bedroom door, she saw Laura sitting on the edge of her bed, holding tightly onto the toddler on her lap. She turned her head to see Nat in the doorway and immediately turned away.

“Go away Nat. I don’t want to talk to you right now.”

“Laura, c’mon…you can’t hate me for this…we’re practically sisters.” Nat said, sitting at the very edge of the bed, placing a hand out onto the duvet as she reached out the Laura, only for the other woman to flinch away.

“But we aren’t Nat. We are not sisters, you are not family. You are to Clint but not to me, not anymore.” She sighed, her eyes fixed on the babbling baby’s face.

“Look I’m sorry, I’m sorry I brought Rodgers and Wilson unannounced like this.”

“No. It’s not about them and you know it. You used to be able to turn up in the middle of the night and I’d let you in with open arms and nowadays I feel that way towards Sam and Steve.” She still kept her eyes away from Nat’s.

“But not with me anymore?” Nat was hurt if she was honest and her voice reflected that.

“No Nat. not anymore. You chose Stark. You abandoned Clint and then, when you lost, you came running back with your tail between your legs like a scared little girl.” Laura snapped, carefully placing Nathaniel on the floor to play with his blocks before turning to Nat.

“I did what I thought was right Laura! You can’t blame me for that! Once I realised things weren’t going right I came right back to Steve!” Her voice was raising in volume by the second.

“Oh…so you went back for Steve? What about Clint? Nat does loyalty really mean nothing to you?” Laura was standing now, pointing at the door towards an invisible Clint.

“Don’t you dare talk about what loyalty means to me. I have always been loyal to Clint, always. Even when we were fighting each other on that airport runway we were loyal to one another.” Nat on the other hand wasn’t shouting or screaming, her voice was dangerously steady.

“You can’t honestly expect me to harbour some of the worlds most dangerous criminals in my barn Nat.” Laura held her arms close to her chest, her voice slightly softer now but still carrying the tone that could cut through Nat like a knife.

“We won’t be long. Out within the fortnight I promise.”

“You better be.”

Chapter Text

Day 20

“Why is mommy mad at you?” Lila asked as she gently tapped the shade named ‘midnight blue’ onto Nat’s lids.

“You noticed?” Nat asked, she had been sitting on the young girl’s floor for the past half hour and Lila didn’t show any sign of finishing within the next ten minutes. Nat had accepted it though, there wasn’t much to do on the farm and at least this way Lila would be happy.

“Is it because you got daddy in trouble?” She re-dipped the brush onto the eyeshadow pallet and put it back onto Nat’s lids, leaving a trail of blue pigment across her Aunt’s cheeks.

“That’s all grown up stuff darling, you don’t need to worry about any of it.”

“She’s cross with you I can tell.” At long last she had decided to put down the eyeshadow brush and pick up the blush brush.

“Well, just between you and me, your mommy is right. I’ve did some really bad things before, and that doesn’t mean it’s right, and she has every right to be angry at me. You don’t have to pick sides.” She could feel the bright pink powder tap onto her cheeks and smiled, she sure was going to be the prettiest girl in the world.

-

Day 22

-

Nathanial had grown quite significantly since Nat had last seen him. He was crawling now, almost walking when he tried his hardest. He was a happy child, always smiling even when his mother would try and force carrot sticks down his throat. Nat didn’t hold him, not like she wanted to, she was scared that Laura would swoop in and scoop him up away from her forever.

She had always hated the fact that she liked kids, the fact that she wanted her own but most of all she hated that she could never had any. Growing up in the red room she had never expected to ever have a family, but once that right was taken away from her, she couldn’t help but yearn for one whenever she stayed at the farm. Not that she’d make a good mother, Madam B had told her that enough.

He was playing with his cars on the floor early one morning, Laura and the other kids weren’t up yet and Clint had brought him down to give him breakfast. Nat had come in from the barn as he was ‘airplane’ feeding his son some banana. They didn’t speak, not until Barton had seen the way Nat was watching Nathaniel crash his tiny sports car into the leg of the coffee table.

“You can go play with him you know?” He said, pouring her and him a coffee each.

“I’m fine right here.” She replied, taking a bite out of her toast without taking her eyes of the young boy on the floor.

“Laura will come around Nat, she always does.”

“It’s been over a week and she still watches me like a hawk whenever I even sit near any of the kids. You should have seen the look she gave me when she caught me a Lila making daisy chains a few days ago.” Her coffee tasted slightly burnt, Clint had left it brewing for a bit too long like he always did.

“Well you don’t exactly strike people as a kid’s person.” He raised his eyebrows over the rim of his mug.

“I am so! I’ve been training the Wakandan princess for the past few months and she thinks I’m great.” She smirked tiredly, taking another sip of her coffee and watching as Clint tried to pull his toast out of the toaster without burning the tips of his fingers.

“Okay but how old is she really Nat?”

“Sixteen…but that’s still a kid Clint you can’t deny it.” She pointed at him in an overexaggerated fashion.

“So that’s who you’ve been hanging out with now the teams over? A sixteen-year-old nerd?”

“I have other friends that aren’t you Barton.” She finished her toast and spoke as she chewed, desperate to prove him wrong.

“Okay so you’ve got Rodgers, but from what I’ve heard he’s spent all of his summer days wandering through African gardens with a 100-year-old super assassin. Then there’s Wilson, but the way you act around each other doesn’t exactly scream best friends.” He shrugged his shoulders and smiled at her – God she’d missed him, not that she’d ever admit that.

“I’ve been spending a bit of time with Maximoff.” She admitted, her eyes unable to hold his gaze as they flickered down to the countertop.

“By ‘a bit of time’ do you mean that you made small talk once? Cause I love you Nat but that doesn’t count.”

“We’ve actually talked quite a lot for your information Barton. I’ve actually realised that she’d not as bad as I used to think.” She could feel the warmth rush to her cheeks and she suddenly wished she was back at that grimy bar in Rio.

“Is that a blush I see? does the infamous Natasha Romanoff have a crush?” He teased, making her hit his arm with a nearby newspaper.

“I take that as a yes then.” He laughed, quickly looked over her shoulder to check that Nathanial hadn’t swallowed a truck.

“The Black Widow doesn’t have crushes.” She muttered, taking a large gulp of coffee.

“But you aren’t ‘the Black Widow’ anymore, you are Nat Romanoff and you are allowed to have feelings, so don’t be so dramatic.”

“Fine then, Natasha Romanoff doesn’t have crushes either.”

-

Day 24

-

She didn’t want to leave. She liked it out in the middle of nowhere where nobody could bother her, where she could forget about all the people she had killed and let down, where she could find herself again. Then again, this wasn’t her home anymore, Laura had made sure of that, Nat was surprised that she hadn’t ratted them out when Clint’s parole officer turned up and they had to hide underneath the barn.  

They left at midnight as to avoid being spotted. Nat had snuck upstairs to place kisses of Lila and Cooper’s foreheads before she had to step out into the cold nigh air. She had always loved the nights here, you would see every single star in the sky and the world seemed to stop. Of course, the world didn’t stop, it kept on turning and people kept on dying, the government was still looking for them and Bruce was still missing even when she sat on the porch with her glass of wine at night and felt the world stop.

“So Wakanda eh? Maybe I should come too, need to top up on my tan.” Clint said as he walked her down the front path towards the truck in the driveway.

“You know that if you step one centimetre past the end of your lawn then the FBI will be on your ass before you even knew what was happening.” She smiled, her eyes were tired, she couldn’t wait to nap on the way to the pick-up spot.

“I could’ve come with you, snuck around the globe with Cap and become a vigilante. Had to stay for the kids.” He sighed, stopping just a few feet from the truck.

“You’re getting too old Barton, you need to be young and spritely to run from every government on Earth.” She stopped too, turning to look at him, not that she could see him very well with only the moon to light the world.

“Tell Wanda I say hi will you? Haven’t seen that little witch in a year.” He smirked at her, making her roll her eyes in response.

“I know you’re only asking me because you think I have some kind of infatuation with her, which I don’t just to clarify.”

“Sure you don’t, I’m sure you won’t feel anything when you see her again.”

“I hate you.” She said, lifting her arms around his neck and pulling him into an embrace. Despite the cold in the air, he was always beautifully warm, she would miss him of course, but she knew she’d see him again soon enough.

“I hate you too.” He kissed the side of her head and let go, leaving her to get into the passenger seat and watching as Steve sped the truck away and into the night.

 

Chapter Text

Day’s back with Maximoff

Day 1

-

She didn’t sleep in the car, for some reason her eyes wouldn’t close and her mind wouldn’t turn itself off. The daze you get into when you haven’t slept for a full 24 hours hit her almost immediately after she had pulled on her seatbelt and lasted with her until someone had thrown their arms around her neck as she stepped off the jet.

“Romanoff! Long time no see!” She giggled as a stunned Nat slowly put her arms around her waist and pulled her close.

“Didn’t know you were back already.” She mumbled, instinctively burying her face into Wanda’s neck and inhaling her scent of her coconut shampoo.

“Yeah well there’s only so many times you can be amazed by a kangaroo.” Nat could hear the smile in the other woman’s voice and her knees became weak with exhaustion and she basically fell even further into Wanda’s arms.

“Mm, I missed you.” Nat said without even thinking about it as she closed her eyes and heard Wanda say softly:

“Let’s get you to bed, you look exhausted

So Nat walked inside the palace with her, leaning on Wanda’s shoulder as the Witch held onto her waist. Stumbling through the corridor, their hands travelled from positions of support and without either of the them even noticing, their fingers hand become intertwined.

“Did you really miss me?” Wanda said, smiling gently as she pulled Nat’s sheet over the blonde’s body.

“Shut up. Can’t let people know I’m going soft.” Nat smiled back in return, eyes closed as she felt out in the darkness for Wanda’s hand.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell.” Wanda was sitting at the edge of the bed as Nat ley next to her, smiling as the sleep-deprived woman lay grinning tiredly, the woman she had once feared so much lay vulnerable and exhausted beside her and in Wanda’s eyes, the Black Widow didn’t seem so scary any more.

“Will you stay with me?” She whispered, holding on tightly to the hand she had finally found.

“Only if you want me to.” Wanda replied, squeezing Nat’s hand back.

“I want you to…but don’t tell Clint…otherwise he’d know he was right.” Nat muttered as she felt the bed move, Wanda sliding in next to her, keeping her distance just enough.

“Right about what?” Wanda whispered just behind Nat’s ear.

There was no reply. Nat had fallen asleep.

Day 2

-

Nat awoke to the familiar feeling of the Wakandan sunlight streaming through the window onto her face and she let out a sigh, she was back, she was safe she was…not alone in her bed?

Turning slowly and reaching for the handgun she kept in the bedside drawer, she prepared herself for a shootout. Only to see the sleeping face of Wanda Maximoff in her bed next to her. The brunettes face so close to hers that she could count the faint freckles on her nose and see the way her mascara had smudged in her sleep. It made her heart beat in a way it never had before and she couldn’t help but whisper:

“Fucking Clint.”

Because he was right. He’d been right this whole time and she had denied herself the luxury of having feelings in fear of putting herself in danger of being hurt again. The truth was, she did have feelings for Wanda Maximoff, she hated herself for them, but they were there nonetheless.

If she was honest with herself then she could have stayed there for hours just watching as the woman’s chest rose and fall in steady breaths, but on second thoughts she admitted to herself that if Wanda woke up to see that she was being stared at in her sleep then some questions may be asked, so she reluctantly and quietly slipped out of the sheets and stood on the cold wooden floor with her bare feet, pulling on a robe to cover her arms as the air conditioning was chilling her to the bone. She moved as quietly as she normally would on a stealth mission in an attempt not to wake up the sleeping girl in her bed and closed the bathroom door as silently as possible before looking in the mirror at herself and taking a deep breath.

Feelings had never been her strong suit and now? Now her heart had decided to fall for Wanda fucking Maximoff. It was typical of it to choose someone dangerous, someone who could kill Nat with a snap of the fingers. Even more typical that Wanda was already in love with someone else. It was the same with Banner, he could’ve killed her in a second and had already denied himself the right to love. Then again, this felt different, she had pursued Bruce because she was lonely and he was vulnerable, she didn’t want to want Wanda. She hadn’t picked her out of a crowd and chosen to have feelings for her. In all honesty Nat hated Wanda, hated her for making her realise that she was human and not just an emotionless robot and hated her for making Nat love her.

Looking up from the sink into the mirror above she saw herself, the bags under her eyes and the paleness of her skin, she looked tired but she didn’t feel it, for once in her life she felt alive. How could she let this happen? She questioned herself, noticing as her reflection had frustrated tears in her eyes she angrily wiped them away on her own face. She need to clean, needed to rid herself of these feelings so she started up the shower and sat in there for longer than usual before forcing herself to stand up and turn off the flow of water.

Wrapping herself in a towel and shaking her dripping hair she realised she didn’t have any clothes to change into – she’d have to go back out and try and sneak some without waking Maximoff. However, to her surprise, her bed was made and Wanda was nowhere to be found.

-

Day Three

-

She didn’t see Wanda again until the next afternoon, it seemed as though the brunette had been avoiding her completely because she had searched all the usual spots without any luck. Nat assumed that she had been hiding out in her and the Visions room away from Romanoff. Not that she was bothered, crushes meant nothing to her anyway.

It wasn’t actually until she had decided to go for a late afternoon run that she actually found Wanda sitting in the grass on a small bank watching as the sun was setting in front of her. At first, Nat contemplated just ignoring her and continuing her route around the palace before the voice in her head told her to get over herself and she sat down next to her in the earth.

“You’ve been avoiding me.” She said after a moments silence, strategically placing her hand on the grass, near enough to Wanda’s bare leg to make her heart beat a little faster but not close enough that they were touching.

“Didn’t think you’d want to see me.” Wanda admitted, her legs crossed as she continued to pick tiny flowers and braid them like daisy chains.

“Why wouldn’t I want to see you?” Nat grinned, lying down slightly, resting her body on her elbow and facing Wanda.

“I didn’t want you to think things were awkward between us now.” Wanda was avoiding her gaze, the sunlight hitting her face in such a way it almost made her glow.

“They aren’t awkward. I asked you to stay and you stayed. It’s not a big deal.” Except it was, at least to her.

“I’m thinking of dyeing my hair, what do you think?” Wanda changed the subject, completing her chain.

“I like your hair.”

“You dyed yours.”

“I had to, the red was too noticeable.” Nat moved to lie on her back, her arms underneath her head as she felt the grass underneath her skin.

“I liked your hair.”

Wanda finally turned to Nat, squinting slightly from the powerful Wakandan sunset as she looked down onto the blonde whose eyes were closed completely, not even knowing Wanda was looking at her at all. Maximoff turned away the minute she opened them again.

Chapter Text

Day Five

-

“Are you sure I cannot meet the Vision, I could learn so much from him.” Shuri said, lifting up the weight and grunting a little under the strain.

“Shuri you said the same thing about Maximoff, people aren’t your lab rats.” She smiled doing her own stretches readying her body for the run she had planned after the princess’ training.

“He’s not a person though he’s a robot so it doesn’t count.”

“He’s a sentient robot and you’ve probably not met him yet because he’s avoiding you and your tests.” Nat didn’t smile, she hated having to stand up for the microwave.

“I can’t help that I’m curious.” Shuri rolled her eyes, dropping the weight to the ground and grabbing a towel to wipe the sweat from her forehead.

“Without you Wakanda would fall to wrack and ruin.” Came a voice from behind them, it was T’Challa in the doorway, Nat gave him a nod instead of a bow, he wasn’t as formal as his father.

“For once my brother is right.” Shuri giggled before reaching her hand out towards T’Challa and forcing him into what Nat had gathered was ‘their’ handshake.

“While I am delighted with the fact my little sister finally accepts that I’m right-“ The king began, making Shuri scowl and playfully push his chest.

“I need to speak to Miss Romanoff.” He finished on a more serious note, gesturing to Nat to follow him out the gym. She smiled at Shuri to say goodbye and quickly ran to keep up with him.

They walked in silence, things hadn’t exactly been awkward when they spent time together, especially since Nat had betrayed him in Berlin, but they didn’t exactly have a slot in common to talk about. As they passed through the door at the end of one corridor and entered straight into another, Nat decided to break the silence:

“So, what’s this about?”

“There’s a problem.”

Nothing more was said until they entered the common room Nat had been sharing with Rodgers, Barnes, Wilson, The Vision and Wanda, all of them standing around nervously and as she walked they all turned dramatically to watch her face as she raised her arms slightly in confusion.

“So is someone going to tell me what the fuck is happening?”

“We think Tony may have told Ross that we’re in Wakanda.” Steve said solemnly, looking straight at her as her eyes shot to the android who was sitting on the couch with a scared looking Wanda curled into him – it made Nat sick to her stomach.

“Tony wouldn’t do that. He’s not a traitor.” Was all she said in reply, crossing her arms to her chest as she tried desperately not to look at Maximoff.

“We’ve had several U.S agents at the border asking to look around Wakanda.” T’Challa said, his own arms crossed as he held one hand to his mouth and raised his eyebrows.

“That doesn’t mean Tony told them, and even if it does, it was Vision who didn’t turn his tracker off before he decided to run around the globe with one of the most dangerous people alive!” She could see Maximoff’s face fall in the corner of her eye and she instantly regretted her words, but she had to defend her friend.

“His transponder is off now that’s what matters.” Maximoff said, holding tightly onto his hand as she stared at Nat, the blonde not meeting her eyes.

“It shouldn’t have been on after Berlin. That’s a fact Maximoff.” Nat’s eyes suddenly snapped to the Witch’s, only to find her olive eyes glowing not with anger but with sadness despite the stern look on her face.

“What does this mean then? We go on the run again?” Sam chimed in, cutting through the rooms tension as everyone turned to him.

“I guess so. We’ll split how we did before, Nat and Sam with me. Wanda, you and Vision go to Edinburgh, they won’t look for you there.” Steve said, and before long Maximoff had pushed past Nat towards her room to pack.

“Where will we go?” Nat asked, her heart ached but she cleared her throat and stood up straight, focusing on the ‘mission’ as she should have been this whole time, not childish crushes.

“London. We’ll stay close to Wanda and the Vision in case one group needs help. After a week we’ll move again, somewhere in Asia maybe. We can’t come back here for a while without suspicion falling on T’Challa.” Steve sighed, Nat could tell he was tired by the way his arms fell lifeless to his sides when he spoke.

“When it’s safe again you will be welcome back here Captain.” T’Challa held his hand out for a handshake and Steve tiredly took it in his own and firmly shook before the King left to arrange them a jet.

“What about me? Am I staying here again.” Barnes spoke for the first time since Nat had arrived, he sounded just as tired as Steve, then again, they were both 100 years old, senior citizens shouldn’t be standing this long.

“It’s what’s safest Buck, we’ll be back soon enough.” Steve replied, reaching out a hand to pat Barnes’ shoulder.

-

She was carrying her backpack full of stuff towards the jet when she saw her running up to her with eyes full of tears, she didn’t even get a word in before she was being dragged behind a truck on the airstrip out of view.

“Maximoff what the fuck?” She asked, the girl across from her dangerously close, so close she could feel her breath on her face.

“I didn’t tell you remember? I was going to tell you something before I left for Sydney.” She spoke quicker than Nat even knew was possible as tears ran freely from her eyes.

“Wanda you’re not making any sense? Are you okay?” Nat said, a little more aggressively than she intended as she reached up to wipe away some of the wetness from the other woman’s cheek.

“I couldn’t leave without saying anything this time I mean, last time it just ate me up inside because I didn’t say anything and I had to act like everything was normal with Vis and then we came back and then you came back but then we slept in the same bed and it really confused me and I just-“

“Wanda you’re rambling.” Nat chucked, keeping her hand on Wanda’s face as the Witch let out a shallow laugh, and touched her own hand to the one Nat had on her cheek.

There faces were so close now. So close Nat could swear that their lips were lightly grazing each other, god it took everything in her not to take the leap and press them together fully.

“What I wanted to tell you months ago was…” Wanda let her own words trail off without finishing her sentence.

“Darling you’re really keeping me on my-“

Without warning Wanda’s body seemed to reboot itself and she quickly moved her hands onto Nat’s face and pulled it forward so that finally their lips were touching, meaning Nat couldn’t finish her sentence. Instead she let out a small groan in the back of her throat because of the feeling of Wanda’s incredibly soft lips on her own slightly chapped ones. In one smooth movement, Nat moved and turned Wanda so that her back was pressed against the trucks metal before moving her hands down her body towards the bottom of Wanda’s skirt and grazing her bare thigh with her fingers making Wanda let out a sigh, hoisting the smaller girl up so that her legs were wrapped around her waist she thanked god she had the amount of strength in her arms to do this because it felt so damn good. Lightly scratching the side of Wanda’s leg, she let her mouth roam roughly free on the girls smooth and beautiful neck as the Witch moaned as quietly as she could.

“Won’t…your…android boyfriend…wonder where…you are?” Nat said in-between kisses, careful not to leave any bruising.

“Fuck him.” Wanda let out a laugh as she pulled Nat’s face back up to meet her own.

“What the fuck is going on?”

“Wilson!” Nat gasped as she dropped Wanda’s legs and moved her hand to wipe her lips, Wanda fixing her hair the best she could as both women stood panting in front of Sam.

“Don’t tell Vis!” Wanda said, straightening up her skirt and looking at Sam with pleading eyes.

“Wilson please.” Nat begged, watching as the man let out a laugh and put his hand on her shoulder only for her to shrug it off immediately.

“I won’t say shit, but you have to sit in the back of the car from now on Romanoff, if I don’t sit in the passenger seat I get travel sick.”

By this point Wanda had whispered a quick goodbye and had ran off towards her and Visions jet, Nat’s heart breaking as she stood looking out after her, desperate to just say goodbye properly.

“So, you and Maximoff huh? I guess all that hostility was just sexual tension after all.”

“You breathe a word of this to anyone and I will kill you myself.”

“Okay lovergirl.”

Chapter Text

Day’s Without Wanda: Day One

-

London wasn’t as extravagant and exciting as tourists painted it out to be, then again, Nat knew that already from crashing Peggy Carter’s funeral. Still, she had went straight from the helicopter to the church and then straight to Vienna so she didn’t exactly get to ‘see the sights’. They were staying in a Travelodge in Soho, so it wasn’t the fanciest of hotels but they made do, even able to afford two separate rooms so that for once Nat could breathe without the overbearing stench of Sam’s cologne invading her nose.

It isn’t until you’re alone for the first time in a while that you realise how much you’re relied on the company on others however, and when Nat stepped out of the shower and saw that she had the whole room all to herself she actually felt rather sad. Sam wasn’t there to tease her about the birthmark on the top of her left thigh that in a certain light looked like a…well an inappropriate part of a man’s body.  She particularly missed the way Steve would slap Sam over the head about it.

As she lay down in her fresh bed that night though, all she could think about was Wanda fucking Maximoff. She hated it. Every single second she spent thinking about her was time she could be using to do other, more important things. Then again, she couldn’t seem to get rid of the feeling and taste of Wanda’s lips on her own, or forget the feeling of their bodies pressed so damn close together, it was almost as if during that kiss they had become one entity. Nat had never had a kiss like that before, so raw and full of passion it had almost stopped her from breathing entirely, it stopped her lungs from working even as she lay in bed thinking about it hours later. Then again, Wanda had been overwhelmed with emotion at the time, she was crying for heavens sake! She probably regretted the whole thing and never wanted see Nat again, she was probably never going to go back to Wakanda and would probably spend her days running around with her walking blender.

Nat wished that she had never lay eyes on her.

-

Day Two

-

“You know, from TV you’d think Big Ben was bigger.” Sam said as they attempted to blend in with the tourist crowds of Great George street.

“Yeah well, I’m sure you have a lot of problems with height Wilson.” Nat sniggered as Sam purposely kicked the back of her ankle with his foot.

“God it’s like I’m babysitting two kids.” Steve grumbled, pushing the both of them as they walked in front of him.

“We all know you’d rather be sitting in the African sun with your super soldier boyfriend Steve but you’re stuck with us instead.” Sam joked as they began their way down the stairs into the underground, the faint smell of sweat surrounding them the deeper they went.

“I would disagree but you’re completely right.” Steve said, pulling his baseball cap down further over his eyes at the same time as the other two as they passed a security camera to their right.

They rode to the end of the line, sitting as they watched people come and go from stop to stop, they had nothing to do until the next Wednesday when they had booked a train through the Eurotunnel to Calais, so they were quite content to sit for an hour or two and make up stories about the grumpy businessmen and tired mothers who came through those sliding doors.

Later that night they sat in a bar down the street from their hotel, nursing their beers in silence due to nothing else but exhaustion, they hadn’t done much that day exactly but being in the constant mindset that a SWAT team was going to bust you at any moment can tire a person out. Sam had begun to tell them a story they’d heard a thousand times when they were saved by a faint beeping coming from the watch on Steve’s wrist, they sat up straight, that beep meant either Maximoff or Vision was in trouble.

-

“I’ll come in from the back, you from the front and Sam from the sky, we’ll catch them off guard.” Steve said, fastening the sides of his leather gloves as Sam began to land the jet in the street outside Waverly Station.

“Steve that’s just impractical, why stand on the other side of the room when you can come in with me and we can hit them at the same time – isn’t that more practical.” Nat said, sliding her batons into their holders on her back.

“Nat. Can you just let me do something cool for once.”

They smiled at each other, it felt like DC again. Them fighting side by side, cracking jokes as Sam told them to concentrate and stay on mission. Their grins fading as they saw something fall from the sky and through the glass ceiling, Nat’s heart dropping as she saw the glow of scarlet magic surrounding the bundle.  

All three of them sprang into action, running in different directions as Nat tried her best not to run straight to Maximoff who she saw next to an injured looking Vision against a railing. It would be pointless though; the surprise attack was always far more successful anyway. She watched from afar as what she assumed were the two attackers crashed trough the roof and land with ease – alien by any counts, she was itching to run in there, stab them both through the heart and slide next to Maximoff, pushing her panini press lover to the side.

Next thing she knew, a train was passing through the station and a silhouette appeared on the other side of the track. As he stepped out of the shadows and caught the spear one of the aliens had sent his way, Nat couldn’t help but roll her eyes. She had never met anyone as dramatic as Steven Grant Rodgers.

That’s when everything started to kick off. Without warning, she saw as Sam flew through the sky and kicked one of the attackers through a coffee shop, sending smashed glass everywhere. Knowing this was her queue, she took a deep breath and began sprinting towards the other, raising her hand to grab the surprisingly heavy spear that Steve had thrown to her from across the station before sliding and slicing through the back of the creature’s legs. He was a lot taller than her, seven feet maybe, but fighting him was almost as easy as fighting any other weak man and was quickly able to turn him into a living kabab as she pushed the spear through his middle. Kicking him to the ground without even breaking a sweat, she felt the spear pull out of her hand into those of the other creature who proceeded to attempt to try and attack Nat herself before Rodgers appeared out of nowhere and blocked it from reaching her. This being, who seemed more female than the other, was a far better fighter than her counterpart and was actually a challenge for both Rodgers and Romanoff to take on together, it didn’t last long though before Sam came to their rescue once more and kicked her to the ground next to her injured partner before he drew two guns on them.

“Get up!” One of them hissed at the other.

“I can’t.” The other replied, his breathing was shallow – he wouldn’t last long.

“We don’t want to kill you, but we will.” Nat said, cocking her head to the side as she looked at them, they almost appeared pathetic to her.

“You’ll never get the chance again.” The female one said, voice steady as she summoned some sort of beam to bring her and the other one to whatever ship they had come from. Nat liked her, she was a fierce competitor.

Watching as the two attackers were lifted into what Nat thought was a giant doughnut floating above them in the sky, the spear Steve was holding flew out of his hand and followed them. Sensing that the fight was over, they let out a breath and began to walk over to those they had saved. She saw Wanda hunched over the Vision and noticed she had dyed her hair after all, a strangely familiar colour as well…

“Can you stand?” Sam asked, reaching a hand out for the Vision to take, helping him to his feet before the android began to lean on both Wilson and Maximoff, Nat turned away, she didn’t want to look Wanda in the eyes just yet.

“Thank you, Captain.” The robot said, Nat could feel Steve’s shoulders drop just a tiny bit beside her – Captain America was dead.

“Let’s get you on the jet.” Was all Rodgers said in return.

They didn’t speak again until the jet was high above the city and Edinburgh castle was fading into the distance. Nat watched it disappear as the runway door closed in front of her, her heart calming itself the way it did after a fight, only for it to heat up with anger again.

“I thought…we had a deal?” She started, turning her back on the door and finally shooting a look towards Maximoff who was holding her fridge close to her, holding its hand.

“Stay close, check in, don’t take any chances.” The two lovers were supposed to be in Cardiff by now, everyone in that jet knew it.

“We just wanted time.” Maximoff muttered, trying desperately to catch Nat’s eye, only for the blonde to avoid her attempts and sit behind Sam’s pilots’ seat.

“Where to Cap?” Wilson asked, turning the jet to the left slightly and then back to the right.

“Home.”

“Yeah where is that exactly? Sam asked.

“The Avengers facility in New York. It’s time to see Tony again.” Steve replied, looking down towards the table with his big sad eyes that made Nat tut her tongue in boredom.

“Haven’t you heard?” Maximoff chimed in, giving Nat no choice but to look at her.

“Heard what?” The blonde asked, the two women finally making eye contact, only for Wanda to blush slightly and look away again before saying.

“Tony’s missing. Did you not hear about the attack on New York?” she began to fiddle with the rings on her hands, making Nat watch her hands and yearn to kiss her delicate fingers.

“You mean the one from six years ago? Yeah I fought in it sweetheart.” Nat shot back, shaking the thought out of her head.

“No, the one from today? You seriously haven’t heard? It’s been all over the news. A ship just like the one from tonight went to Manhattan and now Tony’s missing, they think he might have followed the attackers into space.”

Wanda’s words were like a blow to Nat’s chest. Tony was gone. He was probably dead or stuck on another planet. She would probably never see him again and she couldn’t help but replay her last words to him in her head as her heart filled with guilt:

I’m not the one that needs to watch their back.

Cruel words to say to a person whose friend just broke their back.

“We still going to New York?” Sam called back from the pilot’s chair, breaking the sad feel of the rest of the jet.

“Yes Sam, we need to go back.”

Chapter Text

The Final Day: Part One

-

The journey over the Atlantic felt longer than it was. Wilson was focused on flying the jet, Steve moved between sitting next to him and next to Nat, who was sat in one of the seats across from where Maximoff and the Vision were huddled together, murmuring comforting things to each other while Nat looked on.

“You okay?” Steve said after a few moments silence after he sat down next to her.

“Always. Why?” She replied, continuing to wipe down her batons for no reason but to give her hands something to do.

“Well I know you and Tony are close-“

“You don’t have to do this Rodgers, the supportive father act is lost on me completely.” She interrupted.

“You’re my friend Nat, I’m going to check up on you when someone you care about is lost in space.” He sighed, leaning his elbows on his knees and clasping his own hands.

“He’s your friend too.”

“Was. I messed it all up. If I hadn’t then he’d probably still be on Earth. He’d still be alive.”

“Don’t talk like that. Tony’s smart, he can survive anything, space won’t be a challenge for him.” She smiled to herself, Stark had always wanted to reach the stars. Her smile faltering when she reminded herself that he was just a man in an iron suit with no way of getting home.

“Can I sit?”

Both Nat and Steve looked up to see Maximoff standing awkwardly across from them, Nat’s eyes quickly flickering away from hers to look back down to her batons. Steve muttered a ‘I was just getting up’ and stood to walk over next to Sam, leaving the two women alone.

“Hi.” Wanda said, sitting down at the edge of the seat, knees turned towards Nat.

“Your toaster oven finally let you leave?” Nat smirked to herself, looking across to see an apparently sleeping Vision on the other side of the jet.

“He’s put himself in stasis so he can heal before we reach New York.”

“So, he’s in hibernation? Is he rebooting like a laptop? Do we need to stop by at the Apple store?” She chuckled, turning to see Wanda’s disapproving face looking back at her, her eyes were smiling slightly however and Nat could tell that she was secretly amused, making her heart brim with pride a little before she tried to ignore it.

“You really need to stop this grudge you have against him, Nat.”

“I don’t have a grudge.” She said, raising her eyebrows at a grinning Maximoff, who only rolled her eyes in return.

“Why on Earth would I have anything against the Vision, Wanda? He seems perfectly nice…for a fro-yo machine.”

“Okay the comparisons are getting a bit out of hand Nat I-“

“You can’t think I have a grudge because of you, do you? Why would I have something against a guy when he’s the victim?” Nat lowered her voice, moving herself closer to Wanda’s ear inch by inch until the other woman’s cheek was just centimetres from her lips.

“And how is Vis the victim?” Wanda asked, her breath catching in her throat as she spoke, the feeling of Nat’s warm breath on her face and neck proving too much for her.

“Because I can only imagine how hard it is when someone else kisses your girlfriend the way I kissed you.” She whispered, she could feel the heat radiate from Wanda’s cheek as she grew closer.

“Do you remember Maximoff? Do you remember how I kissed you? How I grabbed your thighs and picked you up? How you moaned as I ran my tongue along your collarbone? Or how my hands felt against your-“

“Nat we aren’t alone.” Wanda interrupted, quickly running her fingers through the hair on the said of her head closest to Nat so that the blonde had no choice to move her face away.

“Are you mad at me?” Nat said, taking a strand of the woman’s newly coloured hair in between two of her fingers and twirling it for a moment before Wanda turned to face her, moving the hair out of reach.

“I’m not mad…I’m far from mad. I just don’t think it’s appropriate to talk like that to me when there’s nothing we can do about it.” Her eyes screamed want, she was even daring enough to place one of her ring-adorned hands onto Nat’s, sending a shiver through both women’s bodies as they touched.

“You’re a tease.” Nat said, putting her other hand on top of the one Wanda had already put on her own, running her thumb up and down the smooth skin underneath.

“Once this is all over and we can be alone again I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

“Tease.”

-

The Final Day: Part Two

-

“Wow…you guys… really look like crap. Must’ve been a rough couple of years.” Rhodey joked after giving Nat a firm hug. He looked better than she remembered and just like she has suspected, tony had indeed given him ‘robotic legs’.

“Yeah well, the hotels weren’t exactly five star.” Sam replied, Nat smiled at him before she heard another voice and her smile dropped.

“I think you look great.”

Nat turned her head so fast it felt as though it was about to come straight off her neck. There he was, sweater paws and all. An awkward smile on his face as he shuffled towards them chuckling to himself. She could tell he was purposely trying not to look at her.

“Yeah I’m back.” He said, glancing up at her for a second before returning them back to the floor.

“Hi Bruce.” Her words stuck in her throat and she could feel the tears welling up behind her eyes. He was there, he was right in front of her in the flesh, living, alive as she had always wished he was.

“Nat.” He nodded at her, a faint smile on his lips as he did.

She was sure that Sam said something behind her but she couldn’t hear him because Bruce Banner was alive. In that moment she couldn’t help it, allowing herself a second of emotion and vulnerability she darted over to the man and threw her arms around his neck. It took a second before he responded, slowly wrapping his own arms around her waist as he buried his face in her neck and they both let out a sigh.

“I missed you, you big green idiot.” She muttered.

“Yeah well they don’t exactly have signal in space.” He joked, waiting a moment before pulling away, both of them dropping their arms as Nat resumed her usual no-nonsense approach to life.

“Space? You were in space?”

“Yeah with…Thor.” His eyes were sad as he looked at her and in her heart she already knew something was wrong.

“Thanks for calling Banner.” Steve said, interrupting their conversation to reach out a hand for Bruce to shake.

“You called? When?” She asked, looking from one man to another.

“After Tony disappeared. You do know about that don’t you? I didn’t want to tell you over the phone Cap.”

“Wanda told us.”

Nat had forgotten about Wanda. Looking across the lab to see the other woman holding tightly onto the Vision, she caught her eye, she looked away almost instantly. Nat realised she probably shouldn’t have thrown herself at her old flame when her current one was standing right next to them.

-

The Final Day: Part Three

-

“Thanos has the biggest army in the universe and he is not going to stop until he gets Vision’s stone!” Bruce exclaimed, he was so worked up that Nat was surprised he hadn’t gone a shade of green yet.

“Well then we have to protect it.” She stepped in reluctantly, there was nothing more she’d like than to watch the macbook shut down, but Wanda cared for him and she cared for Wanda. She looked over the Witch who was standing to her right, her hand against her lips the way she did when she was stressed. Nat wanted nothing more than to comfort her, but when Wanda didn’t return her look she had no choice but to turn away again.

“No, we have to destroy it.” The Vision finally spoke up, making everyone turn their heads to face him in sheer shock.

“I’ve been giving a good deal of thought to this entity in my head. About its nature…but also, it’s composition. I think if it were exposed to a sufficiently powerful energy source, something very similar to its own signature, perhaps…it’s molecular integrity could fail.” As the android spoke he moved ever closer to Wanda who only looked on, her eyes growing wider with every word, horror painted on her face by his suggestion.

“Yeah, and you with it…we aren’t having this conversation.”

“Eliminating the stone is the only way to be certain that Thanos can’t get it.” He gently placed his hands on the sides of her face and Nat could see her deflate a little at his touch, she loved him and Nat knew it.

“That’s too high a price.”

“Only you have to power to pay it.”

Nat hated to admit that Vision was right. Destroying the stone as soon as possible was the only option if they wanted to be sure that this ‘Thanos’ couldn’t get it, to be sure that half the universe wouldn’t disappear at the snap of a finger. Her heart still broke for Wanda of course, the poor girl had lost too much already and now the man she loves was going to die, by her hand if things were to go his way.

Before long, Bruce was formulating some sort of plan to separate Vision and the stone, Nat had always loved him the most when he started to talk about science, it was the way his gestures became wilder and his eyes became wider, but this time was different, he seemed empty.

“You’re saying Vision isn’t just the stone?” Wanda said, Nat watching as her eyes began to fill with hope again.

“I’m saying that if we take out the stone, there’s still a whole lot of Vision left, perhaps the best parts.”

“Can we do that?” Nat asked, quickly flickering her eyes towards Wanda, who was too focused on every word that came out of Banner’s mouth to notice.

“Not me. Not here.” Bruce admitted, hanging his head.

“Well you better find someone and somewhere fast. Ross isn’t just gonna let you guys have your old rooms back.” Rhodey added.

“I know somewhere.” Steve said, looking straight at Nat, his friend instantly knowing what he meant.

Chapter Text

The Final Day: Part Four

-

It was cramped in the jet. Two extra passengers may not seem like a lot but with all the gear and fighting equipment added on top, it was hardly roomy. Nat stood towards the back of the aircraft on her own, watching the others contently, Sam was piloting of course, Steve and Rhodey making small talk behind him, occasionally one of them would ask him something so that he was included or Steve would make sure that they were going in the right direction. Am had never flown into Wakanda before and it was crucial that they hit the right spot in the forcefield or the group would be dead before Thanos and his army even arrived. Her eyes kept travelling over to her left though, where Wanda was sat holding Visions hands in her own with her head leaning on the android’s shoulder. The girl looked tired, Nat thought to herself, exhausted in fact, it was barely midday and she was already on her way to a third continent, the impending fight must be playing on her mind already because Nat could see the faint scarlet magic dancing between her fingers in anticipation and anxiety.

She made her way over to Bruce, who was sitting directly opposite the couple in the seat Nat had used on the way over. He was jittery, his left leg bouncing furiously up and down as she sat down next to him. He probably wouldn’t have even noticed her there if she hadn’t placed her hand on the one he was keeping on the moving leg.

“Nat, hi.” His knee slowed itself as his eyes moved up to look at her.

“You okay? Big guy trying to make an appearance?” She asked, taking his hand in hers and squeezing it slightly, her eyes quickly flickering over to Wanda only to see that she wasn’t looking back.

“I don’t think he wants to. Back in New York before Tony disappeared Hulk just…wouldn’t come out.” He sighed, shaking his head as he leant back, giving her hand a quick press in return.

“So, he’s just gone? How did that happen?”

“After Ultron, I was Hulk for…a very long time and then when I became Banner again it just felt different? Like if I became Hulk again I’d never come back. But then I had to fight Thor’s sister and-“

“Wait, Thor has a sister?” She asked, a puzzled look on her face.

“Yeah, she’s kind of the goddess of death.”

“I thought he only had Loki.” She shrugged, memories of that trickster’s devious smile crossing her mind.

“Loki’s dead now too. Neck snapped like a damn twig.” Bruce looked sad, something Nat couldn’t have imagined after New York, she guessed he must have changed in some way to make Bruce trust him.

“Poor Thor.”

“I think he’s dead too. I saw the ship blow up as I fell back to Earth.” Now his face was even sadder than before, Nat had no idea what happened up there, but whatever it was must’ve been something special enough for Bruce to morn Thor’s death like this.

“You meet many aliens up there in the stars?” She joked in an attempt to lighten the mood, it worked a bit, she could tell because of the faint smile on Banner’s face.

“Well I met a creature made entirely out of rocks? His name was Krag or Korg or something? He was pretty cool I guess. And there was a girl I met when I was Hulk, I think she might have trained me or something but I can’t really remember…” His voice trailed off and his eyes became sad again.

“What is it?”

“I don’t know if they’re alive or not.”

There was a moments silence, neither one knowing quite what to say in such a situation, then again neither one had ever dreamed they would be in anything like this to begin with.

“Bruce I never said sorry, for forcing you into the Hulk in Sokovia.” She said, so quietly she could barely hear herself say it so it was a miracle that Bruce did.

“You don’t have to apologise, you did it for the greater good.”

“Yeah but if I hadn’t you wouldn’t have ended up in fucking space fighting the goddess of death and meeting men made of rocks. You could’ve been here during everything that happened with Steve and Tony and-“ She began, the guilty of her actions that had been eating her alive for the past two years finally spilling from her lips.

“Nat, it’s fine. Honestly I’m glad I spent the past few years on an alien planet rather than stuck here having to pick between my friends.” He chuckled, gently patting Nat’s knee as he spoke.

“So we’re friends?” She asked, finally allowing a real smile to break out on her face.

“Always have, always will be.”

“Stop being soppy on me Banner.”

-

The Final Day: Part Five

-

“So how big of an assault should we expect?” King T’Challa asked almost the moment they stepped out of the jet, Nat guessed that Steve must have sent him a message ahead, either that or he saw the group and assumed that Earth was in some deep shit.

“Uh, Sir I think you should expect quite a big assault.” Bruce called forward over Nat’s shoulder.

“How we lookin’.” Nat asked the king, noticing her favourite brainwashed soldier walk over in the corner of her eye.

“You will have my Kingsguard, the Border Tribe, the Dora Milaje and…” The king pointed the Barnes, who was grinning from ear to ear as he made a joke about being ancient before being pulled into a hug by a smiling Rodgers, making Nat roll her eyes. It might be cute to a casual onlooker, but she’d had to put up with them for over two years.

“How’ve you been Buck?” Steve asked as he pulled away, they were never keen on public affection anyway.

“Not bad. For the end of the world.” Bucky smiled in return before following T’Challa and the others into the palace.

-

The Final Day: Part Six

They walked through the corridors until they reached the lab Shuri kept in the main body of the palace, it was considerably smaller than the one she worked out of in the mountain so it was surprising to Nat that they were going there in the first place.

“Agent Romanoff!” She heard before she felt the young Princess’s arms fly around her neck for a split second before pulling away again.

“Your Grace.” She grinned, reluctantly holding up a fist in response to Shuri’s eager attempt to fist bump, she obliged of course, she couldn’t deny royalty.

“You didn’t even come and say goodbye! I woke up and everyone was gone!” She looked around the group, her expression becoming confused as she noticed Wanda’s hair and the two extra members that she had never met before.

“Wakanda was being suspected, we had to leave right away. Sorry I should’ve come to say goodbye.” Nat replied, watching as Shuri walked over to Bruce, a look of awe painted on her face.

“You’re Bruce Banner aren’t you.”

“Erm, well yes but I-“

“Shuri Udaku, I’m a big fan of your work.” Shuri said, eagerly grabbing Bruce’s hand and shaking it in her own, Banner’s face becoming flustered the way it did when someone recognised him for his work as a scientist and not as a big green rage monster.

“Shuri, let the man breathe for god’s sake.” Nat laughed, she wasn’t to be heard though as everyone began to continue into the lab, she was about to follow them when she felt someone grab her wrist and begin pulling her behind a nearby door.

“Wanda you have to stop surprising me like that, you forget I’m a trained assassin.” She said once she realised who it was, her trigger finger relaxing slightly.

“I just needed to see you. We haven’t had much time alone.” She exhaled, her body closer to Nat’s than it needed to be

“We’re too busy trying to save Vision’s life. No time for fun things.” Nat murmured, trying her hardest to keep her arms plastered to her sides.

“Nat-“

“You dyed your hair. When did that happen? I thought red was my thing.” She smirked, making Wanda blush under her gaze.

“I thought you’d like it.” She replied sheepishly, moving her hand and slowly touching her fingers against Nat’s, lightly brushing them but not quite intertwining them together.

“It’s sexy. You should keep it like that.” In a bold move, Nat slowly edged her face closer and closer to Wanda’s, their lips so close yet really the girls were not touching each other at all. Nat was just about to make the final closure before Wanda pulled herself away and shook her head.

“We should go back, see if Vis can be saved.” She said quickly, leaving Nat to crumple a little against the wall and sigh – this girl was going to be the death of her.

Chapter Text

The Final Day: Part Seven

-

It was as if the Earth itself shook as the first blast hit the forcefield. Nat could feel it in her gut just after the leader of the Dora Milaje, Okoye, informed them that something that something had entered the atmosphere.

“We need to destroy the stone.” Vision pleaded as he made an attempt to stand.

“Vision get your ass back on the table.” Nat demanded, shooting a quick glance over to Wanda, who didn’t look at her but at Vision instead. Nat brushed it off, Wanda loved him, not her, she just needed to accept that.

“Wanda, the minute that stone’s out of his head…you blow it to hell.” Steve ordered, giving her a nod.

“I will.”

Suddenly, they were readying for battle. Steve and the others already making there way down to the open field to meet the opponent, almost as if this was just a big football game, not an impending bloodbath.

“Shuri, if someone gets up here you remember what I taught you okay? Aim low. Hit hard. Run. Understand?” Nat said, watching the princess as she was already beginning her attempt to extract the stone from Vision’s forehead.

“I will be fine Miss Romanoff. I was taught by the best after all.” Shuri smirked, Nat patting her back before turning to go out of the lab before she felt the familiar touch of Wanda’s hand against hers.

“Nat I need to talk to you.” The girl said, pulling Nat gently to just outside the doorway.

“Wanda there really isn’t time, I need to go.” Nat said, sighing as she tried her best to pull her hand out of Maximoff’s, only for the Witch to hold on tightly.

“I don’t think there will be enough time. I think I’m going to have to kill him, Nat.” Nat looked at her to see her olive eyes frantically scanning her face, her lips slightly parted, her breath panting. She couldn’t help herself and Nat gently pressed her own lips to Wanda’s, it was only a second, a passing moment, and Wanda made no effort to deepen the kiss, but it seemed as though it was just what the Witch needed.

“You will be fine. Vision will be fine. We will all make it out of this alive. I promise.” Nat said, giving the other woman’s hand a squeeze before pulling away and making her way out of the palace.

-

The Last Day: Part Eight

-

They were fucked. Everything was fucked. Yes, Thor’s surprise arrival had saved them a little, but they were losing and Nat knew it. Every fucking thing that came at her was a bitch to kill and they just seemed to be infinite. She was getting tired, her muscles were aching from the strain of fighting beings three times her height and weight non-stop, they were losing.

Then those things came rolling onto the field. Those huge wheels that came speeding towards her at god knows how many miles an hour. That’s when she realised that this was it, the day and the moment that she finally died. She made quickly braced herself for the impact, for the darkness to crash into her mind.

Only death never came.

Instead she saw the vivid scarlet glow and the powerful woman that followed. Watching as Wanda came to her aid, stopping the death-wheels in their tracks, suspending them in mid-air for just a moment before sending them hurtling behind her, causing the earth to uproot itself and be sent flying everywhere.

She looked beautiful standing there. The sunlight reflecting off her auburn hair as she looked back towards Nat, and Nat couldn’t help the look of love on her face in that moment, it took everything in her not to run to the Witch…but they had a fight to win so she simply nodded her gratitude and continued to run off into the battle.

It wasn’t until she saw the female from the Edinburgh train station whack Wanda over the head that Nat abandoned the aliens again. Something awoke in her as she watched the way the female looked down at Wanda’s injured self, it made her angry, not a normal kind of angry though. She felt as though somebody had poured scalding lave into her bloodstream and she wanted to hurt the female, she had never wanted to hurt anybody like this before.

“He’ll die alone. As will you.” She heard the bitch say as she stood over Wanda.

“She’s not alone.”

The being turned, looking from Nat to the Dora Milaje General behind her, Nat nodded to Okoye to thank her for joining her before the creature let out a cry and began the fight.

She towered over Nat, blade so close to the blonde’s throat Nat could almost feel the cold metal against her skin as she fought her hardest to keep it from drawing blood. Okoye was down, it was just Romanoff V Bitch now. Just as Nat prepared to give up, the familiar red magic, brighter than usual, surrounded the being and lifted her into the air, straight into one of the death-wheels from before. Causing her to burst at impact, her bright blue blood squirting right onto Nat’s face.

Once again, Wanda had saved Nat’s ass. Nat sat up to see Wanda sit back onto the ground with a strained look painted onto her face.

“That was really gross.” Nat joked, only to see Wanda roll her eyes at her.

“You need to stop almost dying, it’s becoming a habit.” Wanda said, pushing herself back to her feet before walking towards Nat and reaching out a hand to help her up.

“It’s the only time I get to see you, plus…you look hot right now. All powerful.” Nat said, taking her hand and pulling herself to stand, holding the Witches hand for a second longer than would be considered normal.

“I need to get to Vis.” Wanda said, pulling her hand away.

“I’ll see you after.” Nat called, watching as Maximoff launched herself into the air towards the forest.

-

The Final Day: Part Nine

-

The air was thick. She couldn’t explain why or how, maybe it was the dust or maybe it was the blood or maybe it was just the lack of air that she could get into her lungs but it was as if all the oxygen in the world had just…disappeared. She felt like the was going to be sick. She felt as though she was going to just die right there and then. The fear in her heart wasn’t that she would be next to die, but that Wanda was gone and she couldn’t even say goodbye.

The rocks that had held her to the ground had finally given way and allowed her to crawl through the dirt out of the prison Thanos had bound her in. her relief didn’t last long though as she watched Wilson turn to dust through the grass as Rhodey called his name just meters away.

Attempting to push herself to her feet, she felt her legs turn to jelly underneath her and she fell back into the earth, her face hitting the dirt and she stayed there for a moment, questioning if she was next to die. Closing her eyes, she waited, expecting to open them again and see the other side, except when she did she was still lying on the forest floor. She pulled herself to the spot Sam was when he had disappeared and ran her fingers through the leaves, there was no remains, it was almost as if he had never existed at all. Nat could feel the tears of panic in the backs of her eyes and her heart jumped to the back of her throat.

Sam Wilson is dead.

She let out a quiet sob and hung her head. Her hands holding tightly onto piles of ground as she began to tremble. Her mind was blank, the only thought being the words ‘Sam Wilson is dead’ bouncing around the inside of her skull like a never-ending alarm.

The distressed voice of Okoye began to reach her ears and brought her back to reality, she could instantly tell that the King was dead too, no one else’s death could upset the General like that. Her heart began to pound in her chest, what about Steve?

Wanda.

Where was Wanda?

It was suddenly easier to pull herself to her feet this time, now that she knew she had to find Wanda, and Steve…she had to find Steve.

Okoye just wouldn’t stop crying, she wouldn’t shut up. It irritated Nat greatly as she began her search through the trees, she thought she might find her first and kill her just to make her be quiet. She couldn’t concentrate, the world was strangely blurry, she must have hit her head as she fell underneath the rocks. Everything appeared, slightly squint? Like when you walk into a room and you can tell somethings been moved but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

That’s when she saw him. Steve. Sitting over something grey and dead looking. At first, Nat thought it was a rock or a weapon, it wasn’t until she ran closer did she realise it was Vision.

“What is this? What’s happening?” Someone asked. Maybe Rhodey? Nat didn’t register it.

“Oh God.” Steve said, falling backwards slightly, further into the dirt.

Nat couldn’t take her eyes off of the Vision. It didn’t make sense? Wanda should be here? She would’ve never left his side. It wasn’t until she blinked again did Nat realise that she had died too.

“Steve move.” She said quietly, her fists clenching themselves as her eyes remained fixed on the spot Steve was sitting in.

“Nat…I can’t…Buck…” His voice was quiet and his eyes clouded, it was almost as if he didn’t hear her at all.

“Steve you have to move! You can’t there! That’s where Wanda is!” Nat cried out, moving forward and falling to her knees, the anger and pain rising in her chest as she pushed Steve aside using all the strength in her body. Hitting him until he finally stirred and crawled away from the spot.

“She was right here! I know it! She wouldn’t have left him.” She started at a yell, but by the end of her outburst her voice had resigned to a whisper as she reached the end of her sentence.

“Nat you don’t know-“ Rhodey began, taking a step towards her only to be stopped in his tracks by Steve, who held a hand out as a signal to back away from her.

“She’s dead too.” Nat stated, her voice breaking slightly as the tears welled in her eyes defiantly despite her desperate attempts to hold in her emotion. But this was too much, Wanda was gone, she didn’t get to say goodbye, she didn’t get to see her again.

I’ll see you after.

That’s what she had said to her. Her last words to her. She had probably died alone, holding onto Vision’s body. When Nat first tried to picture it, she thought about how afraid Wanda must have been, how she must have used all her power and strength in an attempt to fight her own demise. On second thought, she knew that Wanda would have gladly welcomed death, especially after having to watch Vision die in front of her. Nat didn’t know how the android had died, but she knew it must have left Wanda distraught.

Nat knew this because she knew what it was to love. Wanda loved Vision. She always had and now she always would. Nat and her would always be the infatuation that never really happened, the love that could have been but wasn’t. To Wanda anyway, to Nat it was her one regret. Not that it happened, not that she had ever fallen for Wanda in the first place. Instead Nat would always regret not kissing her sooner, not touching her more and not telling her how she felt before it was too late. Wanda died and they had only shared three kisses together, Wanda had died loving someone else and thinking Nat thought nothing of their fling.

Nat longed to hear her voice again, to pass her in the halls and say barely anything to each other. Just like the beginning, at least she was alive then.

“Maximoff.” She would say.

“Romanoff.” Wanda would reply.

And their lives would continue.

If you could, would you go back and say everything before it was too late?