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Eyes Wide Shut

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One minute she was begging Clint to let her go, and the next, she was kicking off the side of the cliff, falling backwards to the rocky ground below. The impact slammed through her in a way that nothing else had, and pain burst behind her eyelids, making the world go black as she felt her head split open and the bones in her body break. It was just pain pain pain pain, and then...

She was lying down in something cool. It was gently lapping at her fingers and toes. There was no more pain. No more agony. Her eyes slid back open, and a gasp was wrenched from her throat. The sky glowed softly orange and pink. There was something almost like clouds in the air above her, but there were too amorphous to make out shapes. It looked more like high hanging fog. She sat up in the strangely shallow water, and the salt spray from the water clung to her skin and eyelashes. Oddly enough, it did not burn her or feel irritable. 

She glanced down at herself, blinking in confusion at the smooth bare skin of her arms. She was dressed in her old Bolshoi ballerina dress, with its fluffy white skirt and fitted pale blue top, buttoned up to her collarbone. Her feet were wrapped in the satiny material of her ballerina shoes. Her whole body seemed.. smaller than usual. She reached back to touch her hair. She could feel it reaching past her shoulders, the entire length of it as red as the roots were and unbound. She could have sworn that she had braided it back before going out with Clint. 

The girl pushed herself to her feet, observing the horizon, which appeared to be upside down. Despite the fact that she had been lying in water, it did not make her skin feel wrinkly or weird. Her skin was perfectly dry as she began to glance around. The only thing she could see in her range of vision was a large temple like structure, just standing in the middle of the gently moving waves. There was a small girl there. Her dark crimson hair was to her waist with the top sections done back in high buns. Her skin was a deep emerald color. 

She started to make her way over to the temple where the other girl was. The green skinned girl continued to stare straight ahead at something on the wall of the temple, seeming engrossed. It wasn't until Natasha had nearly reached her side when the other girl turned around. Her eyes were dark and seemed to go on forever. Her form was alien, but the look in her eyes even more so. Her green lips tilted up in a soft smile, her endless gaze brightening. The green skinned girl held out her hand to her, and Natasha did not quite know why she took it but she did. 

It felt... right. 

"Hello," the green skinned girl said. 

"Hi," Natasha replied. She blinked and mentally shook herself. "Am I dead?" 

"Yes, Natalia. You are," the girl told her. 

"I'm... Natasha now," Natasha said. 

"Oh. Natasha. How nice to meet you," the girl murmured. Her smile became a bit sad and wistful. "I was alone for so very long before you came." 

"Sorry," Natasha said. She actually felt really bad for this girl. 

"It is not your fault. You did not make me this way." The girl squeezed her hand lightly. "I am Gamora," she told her. 

"Really? You're Gamora?" Natasha asked. She was a bit surprised, but she supposed that made sense. 

"Those who use the stones or are used to gain the stones like us end up here," Gamora explained, her voice soft. "It is a very rare thing, I'm afraid." 

"What about everyone else? Do you know about what your father did?" Natasha asked. 

"Yes. I do know," Gamora said. She sounded sad for a moment. "I saw it. I see many things." 

"What do you mean by that?" Natasha asked her. "Do you know why we look so young?" 

"It is the state of innocence. Your soul, no matter how much you wrong you may have done or inflicted in your life, it has reverted to a state that is without scars. You were accepted by the Stone," Gamora explained. 

"I..." Natasha trailed off. She frowned. There was a beat of silence. 

"You can check up on your friend if you want. The one you love," the girl, Gamora, told her, smiling gently.

"But I'm dead," Natasha said. Her frown deepened. 

"So?" Gamora asked. "You do not have to be living to See."

"But I told him to let me go," Natasha said. 

"You will not be speaking with him, and he will never see you again." That made her chest ache. "But you can still check on him if you would like to," Gamora replied. 

"I don't know," Natasha said. She wanted to, but at the same time, wouldn't that make it worse? 

"Take as much time as you want. You don't have to make a decision any time soon. We have all the time we could ever need," Gamora told her.

She pulled on her hand, and Natasha found herself following the other girl away from the temple. They walked into the shallow waves together. She wasn't usually the type of person that held hands, but she did not mind this at all for some reason. They walked in silence for a long while, the gentle cadence of the waves the only noise for many softly splashing footsteps. 

"Is this all real?" Natasha asked. The green skinned girl turned her head to look at her. 

"Of course it is. It is as real as you and I," Gamora replied. "Or at least, as real as we will ever get again. Reality is rather subjective, isn't it?" 

"I guess," Natasha said. That was a strange way to put it, but she supposed it made sense in a weird way. She had never imagined a Heaven like this before, but then again, she had never expected to get into Heaven since she was a little girl. 

"I am glad you are here," Gamora told her. Natasha found herself smiling back at the girl. 

"I guess it's not so bad."