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Forever & More

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So, the thing is, Yelena hates frat parties, but she discovered she loves dancing.

She can’t stand the sweaty boys gawking over her, the pretty girls glaring daggers at her, or even the people who give her preferential treatment just because her sister is an Avenger.

She can’t stand the drinks either—the shitty American beer (“What is a… Natural Light?” she asks herself, face contorted in disgust at the limited selection in the kitchen), or the New Amsterdam vodka (“Literal rubbing alcohol,” she breathes fire at the girl next to her after she downs her first shot of it. “Actually, rubbing alcohol tastes better.” The other partygoer grimaces and abandons her shot glass).

(She brings her own Beluga Gold now.)

Something Yelena can stand is the dancing part. She absolutely loves it, especially when she’s tipsy and can actually loosen up. This is really the only reason she goes to parties. Well, that and because her mother and sister keep pushing her to be more social. So what if she totally avoids that part while in attendance? What her family doesn’t know won’t hurt them.

Plus, her daddy says people should be begging to be her friend, not the other way around. Yelena agrees.

(This method has yet to prove success.)

After being freed of the chemical subjugation and taking down The Red Room, Yelena traveled to New York with Natasha in hopes of starting a new life. In this new life, Yelena wanted to go to Columbia University.

(“Why Columbia?” Natasha asks.

The blonde shrugs, popping gum into her mouth as they wait for their luggage to circle around at the baggage claim.

The older woman waves her hand out at her sister, encouraging a verbal answer.

“I don’t know, I saw it in the magazine on the plane. Looks cool,” Yelena states nonchalantly.

Natasha scrunches her features together in shock. “Looks cool?” she repeats aloud. “Jesus, Yelena, I’m definitely going to have to pull the Avenger card to make that happen.”

The shorter woman gapes at her sister, offended.)

(Yelena later learns Columbia University is not easy to get into and certainly not cheap. So, having a celebrity for a sister does have its advantages.)

Whatever, Yelena’s brand new dream comes true, and she’s living a new, totally normal life in New York City. And this normal life includes phone calls, texts, and pointed looks telling her to meet new people.

This is where the semi-frequent parties with her slightly-younger peers come into play. It’s fine, she’s actually enjoying it, despite the aforementioned annoyances.

The party Yelena’s currently at is for a sorority, so, technically, not as bad as frat parties, but still pretty bad. The only major difference is this house isn’t as disgusting as the frat houses. It’s the last one before summer break and Yelena plans to dance the night away.

She takes a final swig of the vodka she brought with her and bobs her head to the music as she tosses the red cup in the trash. The song changes to something a little bit slower, and the blonde sways her way through the crowd of students towards the middle of the living room where the rest of the dancers are. She lets her mind adjust to the beat, body following suit in the form of swinging hips and eyes fluttering shut.

She dances amongst the others, occasionally she will feel hands at her hips or shoulders, but as long as they don’t try to pull anything, she accepts the dance partners willingly.

At one point, more than a few songs in, Yelena looks up through hooded eyes and spots a young brunette staring at her. The girl’s eyes are traveling Yelena’s body like it’s a roadmap. Yelena’s tongue peeks out to run across her lips and the brunette’s eyes immediately dart to the action before meeting the blonde’s eyes.

Yelena can’t be one-hundred percent positive since the lighting is dim, but the other woman does appear to be blushing as she now flits her gaze around the room. Yelena smirks and notes how beautiful the woman is with rouge-tinted cheeks.

The song changes and her attention is brought back to the beat, hazel eyes shutting of their own volition.

The next time Yelena glances up, the brunette is gone.

 


 

“Да, я закончил все свои занятия, мама,” Yelena says into her cellphone as she makes her way to her favorite diner. It’s the first Monday of summer break and she wanted to start it off with a call to her mother and some French toast.

Это замечательно, любовь моя. Папа говорит, что тоже тобой гордится,” Melina responds softly. Yelena’s heart warms at her mother’s words.

The young woman is so happy to finally have her family back together, even if they are thousands of miles apart right now. She gets to see her sister weekly, talk to at least one of her parents every couple of days, and they all plan to get together for an All-American Thanksgiving this year. She couldn’t be more excited.

“Алексей, прекрати это,” she hears her mama call her daddy’s name in the distance. “нет, не ты. Свинья!”

A deep chuckle erupts from Yelena’s lips as she rounds the block on which the diner resides.

She hears her daddy’s deep “Ohhh” in the background and Yelena shakes her head, smiling at her parents’ antics.

“Mama, why would you name a pig after daddy?” she asks, still giggling as she switches to English.

Because they are both hairy but cute,” Melina states as if it’s the most obvious fact in the world.

Yelena’s face scrunches. “Gross.”

Her mama snickers through the line. She can hear her daddy mock-laughing nearby and it brings a fond smile to her lips.

“Anyway, Mama, I gotta go. I’m going to have breakfast,” she tells her as she waits idly by the diner entrance.

Ah, with Natasha?” Her mom asks, a slight twinge of hope in her tone. “Tell your sister to call, we haven’t heard from her in a few days. I know she is busy keeping world peace, but a mama always worries.

Yelena smiles regretfully, “I’m by myself, but I will tell her to call you.”

Melina makes a disapproving hum.

The blonde rolls her eyes, knowing what’s coming.

You need to make friends, Моя любовь,” her mother reminds her gently. “Америка это возможности и новые начинания.”

Yelena purses her lips, guilt settling in her chest. She says nothing to combat her mother’s argument. It’s true, after all.

Мы с папой хотим, чтобы ты прожил полную и счастливую жизнь, дорогая,” Melina continues, her naturally soft voice soothing any potential sting.

“Да, мама. Сейчас летние каникулы, у меня будет время завести друзей. Обещаю,” she vows, not sure if she will actually be able to hold it up. “Мне пора. Я люблю тебя.”

Я люблю тебя, дочь моя. Скоро поговорим,” her mother says before the line dies.

Yelena takes a deep breath and releases it upwards, blowing her stray hairs out of her face momentarily.

Why does she need friends when she has her family now? Natasha has Avenger friends and they all seem like drama. Yelena doesn’t want drama. She wants a degree, French toast, and a dog.

(In a little, very neatly tucked away, part of her brain, she thinks maybe one friend wouldn’t be so bad.)

“Hm,” she grunts to no one in particular. She quickly shakes off the guilt from her mama and heads inside.

The bells on the door jingle as it swings shut behind her. An elderly woman with short, curly, white hair greets her with a welcoming smile and tells her to grab a seat. Yelena nods before heading towards her favorite booth in the back.

(It has the best views to people-watch.)

Her brows pull together as she walks toward the booth, her booth. Someone is sitting there already. Her back is to Yelena, so as she approaches, she warns the other woman.

“That is my seat,” she informs, tone dripping with annoyance as she gets a good look at the intruder.

She keeps her features still even as she recognizes the girl as the one from the party a few nights ago.

(She’s cute in the daytime, too.)

The brunette’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise, nearly spilling the coffee she was raising to her lips. She immediately blushes as she stutters out an apology.

“Oh. I–I didn’t know… nobody said—,” the woman cuts herself off as Yelena continues to stare at her. “I’ll just… move.”

The girl begins gathering her silverware and coffee and struggles to get out of the booth.

Melina’s words ring her mind.

“You need to make friends…”

Yelena rolls her eyes for the umpteenth time and flashes her palm at the frazzled girl.

“Stop. Sit. It’s fine, I’ll sit on this side,” she says as though it’s a huge inconvenience to sit on the side she isn’t used to.

The girl, who paused in a semi-standing position, just stared at the blonde, seemingly not quite knowing what to do.

Yelena sighs, rubbing her forehead. “Just sit. It’s fine,” she repeats.

The other woman hesitantly sits back down and places her coffee back on the cardboard coaster and her napkin back in her lap. She eyes Yelena curiously.

“I didn’t mean to be rude,” Yelena explains quietly. “My family says I should try harder to make friends.”

The brunette cocks her head to the side. “You? You seemed to have plenty of friends the other night…” she trails off shyly.

Yelena smirks, looking into striking blue eyes. “Ah, so you do recognize me,” she remarks.

“I don’t know that I could ever forget a face like yours,” the woman splutters, cheeks still tinted pink. She brushes a lock of dark hair behind her ear and pulls her lips into her mouth to conceal a grin.

Yelena nods confidently, an unexpected warm feeling settling over her. “What is your name, Девочка?”

The girl blinks at the foreign word tacked on the end but answers anyway. “Kate. Kate Bishop.”

Yelena smiles genuinely and tests the name out on her tongue. “Kate Bishop… I like that. It suits you.”

Kate’s grin is too hard to hide now, so she lets it go. “If we’re going to be friends, you have to tell me your name, too,” she suggests, leaning slightly closer.

“Right! Yelena Belova, the pleasure is yours,” the blonde declares positively and offers a hand to Kate, who shakes it politely.

“Oh–okay, yeah, pleasure to meet you, Yelena,” Kate stutters, unsure of how to take the phrase.

When the waitress finally comes around, Yelena and Kate have already covered the basics about themselves and Yelena thinks that maybe the younger woman can be the one friend she promised she would make.


 
She hasn’t seen Kate since they shared breakfast at the diner.

She thinks about her though—more often than she’d like to admit. She wonders what the girl does when she’s not working with her mom, and what her favorite American movies are, and if she would’ve laughed at a joke Scott Lang made at the talking raccoon.

(Mostly, she wonders if Kate thinks of her too.)

Yelena’s pulled from her thoughts when she hears a clanking sound. Natasha’s making lunch for them both while the blonde sits on the countertop, making use of her supervisory skills. Her sister zips about the sterile-looking kitchen expertly, having just grabbed a sauté pan.

Natasha glances over from her temporary spot at the stove, “I talked to Melina the—”

“Mama,” Yelena corrects pointedly.

She’s the only mother they have and her sister is a pain in the ass about openly accepting it. Yelena knows in Natasha’s heart she accepts it, and maybe even loves Melina now, and she supposes that counts for something. That’s not going to stop her from poking at her though. That’s what sisters are for.

“Right,” the redhead sighs, but fails to hide the small smirk. “I talked to Mom the other day. She said you went to breakfast by yourself?”

Yelena rolls her eyes in response, a common occurrence when she senses a lecture coming on.

“I was just going to say you should’ve called me, I would’ve met you there,” her sister offers quietly, and something about her tone makes Yelena feel like she needs to defend herself. She’s not a sad little puppy-dog who needs anyone’s pity.

Her brows furrow in offense, “I was not by myself, if you must know. I… met a friend there, okay? Is that alright with you?”

She could feel her face betray her and start to heat up at her white lie.

Her sister shot her a surprised look, but quickly attempted to tone it down as she raises her hands, surrendering.

“A friend, huh?”

Yelena nods, not volunteering any other information.

“Does this friend have a name?”

Yelena eyes her defiantly for a long moment, Natasha holds the stare with ease and raises an eyebrow in question.

The younger woman yields.

“Kate Bishop,” she gushes, her accent coating the name affectionately. She can’t keep the grin from forming on her lips. She wants to say her name again.

So she does.

“Kate Bishop is a new friend. She is cool, and smart, and… kind of awkward? But it’s cute,” she shrugs, thinking of Kate’s awkwardness. “And she grew up here. She’s going to show me the city,” Yelena shares excitedly.

Natasha smiles like she knows something Yelena doesn’t.

The younger sister ignores it in favor of spilling more details about Kate. Who knew having a friend would be so thrilling?

(Yelena pretends like everyone hasn’t been telling her this all along.)

 



Yelena can’t help herself anymore. She’s laying in bed, almost a week after that morning at the diner, and her fingers find their way to Kate Bishop’s contact. She hits the text message icon with purpose.

Kate Bishop!

She has no idea what else to say, so just sends Kate her own name.

“Боже мой,” Yelena groans, rubbing her face in embarrassment.

Not a moment later, her phone rings. Seeing Kate’s name flash on her screen, she quickly answers it.

“Kate Bishop! Hi,” she singsongs.

Yelena, hey,” Kate breathes out smoothly. “I saw your text and thought I’d call instead. If—if that’s okay? If not, it’s totally—

Yelena laughs at the ramblings of the other girl, effectively cutting her off.

“No, no. Now is a good time,” she reassures, nodding her head as if Kate can see her.

Oh! Okay, cool, yeah. What’s up?

Yelena feels like she can hear the flustered blush on her new friend’s cheeks. For one reason or another, this helps Yelena feel more confident.

“I was just thinking about you,” she admits truthfully.

You, uh, you were thinking about me?” She questions, and Yelena can hear the doubt in her voice. She wants to change that.

“Yes, Kate Bishop, you must know what good company you are? Why else would I agree for you to show me around the city?”

Kate laughs, “I kinda just thought you were being nice.”

This, in turn, causes the blonde to release a loud chuckle, “Oh, Kate Bishop! That is hilarious. I am not a nice a person unless I like you.”

Kate is silent for a beat, but then quickly recovers. “Why do you insist on saying my full name?”

“I like your name,” Yelena assures through a smile.

It—it does sound pretty cool with your accent,” Kate admits shyly.

The older woman smirks. “Accent? I don’t have an accent.”

Uh, well, I mean… doesn’t everybody have an accent? Kinda?”

“Mm, I’m not so sure about that, Kate Bishop. I don’t have any accent. You, however…” she trails off. “You know, now that I think about it, you don’t sound like you’re from New York.”

Kate scoffs at the accusation. “Excuse me! Not everyone from New York sounds like they’re from Brooklyn.

Yelena hums again, adding playfully, “I don’t know, Kate Bishop, maybe I need a new tour guide?”

No! I’m showing you around and that’s final,” Kate’s assertiveness stirs something in Yelena. She can’t quite place it, but she knows likes the feeling.

“Pick me up tomorrow morning? We can walk to our diner first.”

(Yelena realizes it after she says it. Our diner.)

 


 

It’s their fifth time meeting and Kate is early picking up Yelena, so she buzzes her up and awaits the impending knock.

“Kate Bishop, welcome,” she greets as she opens the door. Kate steps in and wraps her arms around the shorter girl, giving a hearty squeeze. Yelena reciprocates, her hands placed gingerly on Kate’s back.

“Hi,” the brunette whispers as they release each other. Yelena smiles, feeling the familiar warmth in her chest at the sight of the other woman.

Kate looks around, seemingly dazzled by the high-end flat.

“Wow, beautiful place,” she commends. “My mom’s rich and she doesn’t even let me stay in an apartment this nice.”

Yelena chuckles, “Not mine, but thank you. Tony Stark owns the building. He is letting me stay here while I go to school.”

Kate’s mouth drops, “You know Tony Stark?”

Yelena shakes her head and motions for Kate to follow her. She continues the conversation as she makes her way back to her bedroom.

“Not really. I only met him a few times. It is more of a favor for my sister,” the blonde explains as she slips her foot into a platform boot. She begins lacing while Kate explores the pictures on her dresser.

“Holy shit, you met Black Widow, too?” She asks excitedly as she picks up a frame displaying a photo of Yelena, Natasha, and their parents.

It was taken at her mother’s farm a few days before they flew to New York. Alexei, the pig, can even be seen in the background near their feet. It was a little blurry and an awkward angle because Natasha could only find an overturned wheelbarrow to prop her phone on. Yelena loves the photo regardless.

She smiles in remembrance as she begins lacing her other boot.

“No, Natasha is my sister, and those are our parents,” she clarifies, glancing up at Kate, who, once again, is staring at her in shock.

“How do you not lead with that? You’d have all the friends you could ever ask for!” The taller woman exclaims, sitting at the foot of the bed beside Yelena.

A knot starts to form in the older woman’s stomach. It’s a disturbing feeling to Yelena. Kate’s never done this to her before.

Her face scrunches, and she lashes out quickly, “I don’t want friends just because my sister is famous. If that’s all you care about—”

Kate immediately backtracks, both hands on Yelena’s arm, stilling her movements. “Oh, God–no, Yelena, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it like that,” she shakes her head at herself. “I really like hanging out and getting to know you, I just thought it was cool you know the Avengers, that’s all.”

Yelena isn’t convinced, “Mm.” She finishes her laces and stands up before making her way to her en suite bathroom.

She hears Kate follow. “If it’s any consolation, your sister isn’t even my favorite Avenger. It’s Hawkeye,” she states proudly.

Hawkeye?” she repeats incredulously. 

Yelena doubles over in laughter at this information. Kate begins laughing too, though it sounds less genuine and more like she has no clue what’s going on.

“Oh, Kate Bishop! Clint Barton is the worst Avenger,” she squeaks out between giggles. “He just shoots his little arrows at people! He has a stupid haircut, and he doesn’t even wear a cool suit,” she argues.

Kate, while completely taken aback, still smiles at Yelena’s behavior. “He just… has branding issues,” she mumbles in defense.

The shorter woman struggles to catch her breath as she puts in her earrings and secures her silver choker.

She catches Kate’s eye in the mirror and smirks.

“You are something else, Kate Bishop. You are very lucky I like you.”

The brunette rolls her eyes good-naturedly and sighs in exasperation. She grabs Yelena’s hand and instinctively, the blonde intertlocks their fingers. A shy smile plays at Yelena’s lips, but thankfully Kate is leading the way out of the apartment and doesn’t catch it.

(Yelena wonders how Kate’s hand manages to fit so perfectly in her own.)


 
June flies by, and before Yelena knows it, it’s American Independence Day, or as Kate calls it: The Fourth of July.

Her new friend invites her to spend the evening on her mom’s penthouse rooftop to watch the fireworks. Yelena excitedly accepts, as it’s her first time celebrating the holiday. When she arrives at the building which houses the Bishop residence, she calls Kate to come down and get her from the doorman who won’t let her up. She has half a mind not to scale the building and let herself in through a window.

But that’s not what a normal person would do, so Yelena waits impatiently for her favorite (only) friend. When she spots the taller girl exiting the bright gold elevator, Yelena can’t help the way her own face lights up. She feels this strong tugging in her chest at the sight of the other woman as of late. Yelena knows what it means now, after discussing it with Natasha, but she pushes it aside for the time being as she’s enveloped in a warm, strong hug.

(She also deeply inhales the scent that is Kate, and maybe even lingers a little too long, but if this is case, the younger girl says nothing of it.)

“It’s been too long,” Kate gushes as they enter the elevator. She hits the highest button in the display: eighteen. The Bishops have floors eighteen and nineteen, the twentieth being the rooftop.

Yelena offers a crooked smile and pushes Kate gently. “It’s been, like, forty-eight hours, Kate Bishop. You are so needy,” she teases. “I have to see my family some of the time.”

Kate scoffs, feigning offense. “As if you didn’t miss me,” she retorts, throwing an arm around Yelena and pulling her close. Yelena’s hand comes to rest on the taller girl’s rib cage and she relents.

“Fine, yes,” she smiles, looking up at her friend. “I did miss you. But just a little,” she emphasizes by showing her thumb and index finger pulled close together, a hair’s width of space between them.

“Uh-huh, yeah, that’s what I thought,” Kate jibes and releases the shorter woman as the elevator dings and opens. “C’mon, I already set everything up. We’re going straight to the top!”

Kate grabs Yelena’s hand and intertwines their fingers as they trek down the hall to the front door of Kate’s childhood home. She feels that tug again as she looks down at their tangled hands. She rubs Kate’s thumb with her own, causing the brunette to pause unlocking the door and send a warm smile over her shoulder. Yelena’s lips immediately curve upward to match Kate’s beaming look.

(Maybe she missed her more than she let on.)

Once they make it to the roof, Yelena takes in the beauty that is New York City at night. The bright lights have always left her in awe. She spins around, absorbing the three-sixty views, subsequently bringing Kate with her since their hands were still conjoined.

Kate begins to giggle and Yelena spins them more purposefully. Soon enough they’re both dizzy and erupting with childlike laughter as they come to a stop and Yelena brings her free hand up to grasp at Kate’s other.

Both hands intertwined and their racing hearts pulled close, they catch their breath clumsily.

“Somehow, every time I see you, you always manage to surprise me,” Kate sighs fondly, resting her chin atop Yelena’s head. Their hands drop to their sides but stay clasped. Yelena shuffles closer.

“Mm, yes, but you enjoy the thrill,” Yelena mumbles against the brunette’s chest. “Your life would be boring without me.”

Kate hums, “I mean… you’re not wrong…”

They stay huddled together for another beat before Yelena announces she wants a drink.

The younger woman, of course, has Yelena’s favorite brand of vodka and quickly procures mixed drinks for both of them before they take a seat on the plush patio furniture. Yelena sinks down next to her friend and takes a sip. She hums in approval. Not too sweet, just the way she likes it.

(Yelena thinks Kate may already know her like the back of her hand.)

(It’s only been a month.)

They talk about their ideal courses for the fall semester, why Kate isn’t too keen on Jack yet (“He’s just… so… blegh,” she describes with a look of disdain), and how Kate’s friends, Franny and Greer, are throwing a party next weekend (“Of course I will be your date,” Yelena nods casually. Her heartbeat pounds in her ears at how forward vodka makes her. Kate’s blush eases her nerves, but only a little).

It’s just after nine o’clock when the first round of fireworks start in the east. Yelena jumps up off the couch in excitement and nears the retaining wall at the edge of the rooftop. She stands there, hands resting on the ledge, and admires the explosions of colors. The crackling sound that follows each one is her favorite part.

Kate catches up and stands next her, her posture nearly the same as the blonde’s. Yelena can feel a pair of bright blue eyes on her.

“Why don’t you take a Polaroid, so you can keep it?” Yelena quips smugly.

The cackle that erupts from her friend is infectious, but also makes Yelena self-conscious.

“What?” Yelena asks, pouting her bottom lip out.

She’s not accustomed to being laughed at. She does the laughing-at.

Kate quickly recovers, trying to hold back the chuckles trying to escape.

“Aw,” the taller girl coos, reaching out to cup Yelena’s cheeks. “Len, no, I just–it’s,” another laugh makes it’s way to the surface. “The phrase is ‘take a picture, it’ll last longer’, but I love yours so much better.”

Yelena shakes her head, affectionately staring at the woman in front of her. “So mean to me, Kate Bishop,” she grumbles through a smirk.

“I’m not a mean person unless I like you,” Kate regurgitates the shorter woman’s phrase from weeks ago, giving it her own spin.

Yelena brings her hands up to Kate’s waist as Kate crosses her extended arms behind Yelena’s neck. Out of context, it looks like they’re slow-dancing.

(Yelena vows to dance with Kate at the party next weekend.)

“You must like me a lot then,” Yelena notes quietly yet confidently.

Kate doesn’t smirk or downplay her words with a joke. Her eyes are crystal-clear and Yelena can see the fireworks reflecting off the heavenly-blue hue. Her chest grows warm again.

Kate simply promises, “I do.”

(Yelena replays the moment in her head several times before she falls asleep that night.)

 


 

She can’t stop thinking about it.

Yelena’s never kissed anyone before, but, God, does she want to kiss Kate. She gets such an overwhelming feeling low in her belly just thinking about it.

She wants to know what the other woman’s lips feel like, taste like… if Kate will smile into it, like Yelena knows she herself will. Kate makes Yelena smile more than anything, or anyone, else in the world, so she just knows for a fact she won’t be able to stop herself from grinning like an Идиот if she ever gets the chance to kiss her friend.

“Oh, Kate Bishop,” she sighs to herself longingly as she begins to apply eyeliner.

Suddenly, in her peripheral, she sees movement in her bathroom mirror, causing her to jump and get eyeliner on her temple.

“Сука,” she curses, glaring at Kate’s reflection.

The taller girl smiles proudly, leaning against the doorframe with her hands in the pockets of her black and purple flannel coat. She’s otherwise wearing all black and Yelena takes her time making her way back up to Kate’s eyes. She wants Kate to feel her stare.

When she does meet baby-blues, she sees an eyebrow raised as well.

“Like what you see?” Kate asks daringly.

Yelena averts her gaze and wipes at the excess eyeliner. “I’ve seen better,” she teases, holding back a smirk.

“Oh, okay,” Kate huffs. “Because I was pretty damn sure you said my name because you wanted to see me.”

At this, heat rises up Yelena’s cheeks. She didn’t know Kate let herself in, or else she would’ve kept the girl’s name clean out of her mouth. She’s been caught.

“That’s what I thought,” Kate whispers, leaning in to give Yelena a hug from behind. She rests her chin on the shorter woman’s shoulder. She didn’t have platforms on yet, so their height difference was immediately noticeable.

(Still, Yelena knows they look so good together.)

She rests her hands on Kate’s across her ribcage and leans back into the embrace. Yelena takes another look at their reflection. She sees Kate is doing the same.

Yelena wonders right now, right this second, what would happen if she kissed her—if she just turned around, grabbed Kate by the back of neck and gently pressed their lips together.

Would their eyes naturally close before their lips even met? Would Kate try to brush her tongue across Yelena’s eager mouth? Would she let her in? And if she did, would Kate moan at the feeling, at the warmth? Yelena thinks she would. She wants to know what Kate would sound like, all worked up.

Yelena’s eyes travel down Kate’s reflection to the exposed side of the brunette’s neck.

Would Kate let her give her a hickey? Would she be ticklish and shy away, or would she grasp at Yelena’s back, pulling her impossibly closer, silently begging for more? She could run her tongue along the smooth expanse of Kate’s beautiful, flawless skin, dragging her teeth in some areas to see if her girl will squirm beneath her. She would lick and place a gentle kiss at the spot to soothe the sting.

Would Kate like that? Would Kate allow her to make her way further down—allow Yelena to enjoy making her friend feel good?

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” Kate whispers, unmoving from their position.

Yelena’s eyes flick back up to Kate’s. “You,” she murmurs honestly, her voice thick with want. “Always you.”

She feels more than she hears her friend’s gasp. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Yelena loves that she can catch Kate off guard with her words. She loves the look in her eyes when she says something Kate likes. The sparkle, the endearment ever-present. It’s a sight to be seen.

(Yelena always wants Kate to look at her this way.)

“We’re going to be late,” Yelena reminds her gently. Kate nods absentmindedly, giving Yelena a meaningful squeeze before releasing her.

“I’ll go get your flask ready,” Kate mentions as she makes her way out of the blonde’s room.

Yelena releases a breath she didn’t know she was holding, and braces herself on the counter. She breathes in deeply and hopes she can get through this party without ripping her friend’s clothes off.

(A large part of her hopes she doesn’t make it through without ripping Kate’s clothes off.)

She’s gone twenty-seven years without ever even intentionally flirting with anyone, and now she wants to lie naked and spent in her plush white sheets with the only real friend she’s ever had.

“Говно,” she curses to herself.

Yelena adds finishing touches to her makeup and decides not to get too dressy since Franny said the party would be “low-key”.

(“Loki?” Yelena questions, confusion evident in her voice. “They are throwing a party for Loki? Good for him. I like him much better than his brother. Much better. He’s much more charming,” she adds with a convincing nod.

Kate quirks her head to the side. “God, I still forget sometimes you know all them,” she says mostly to herself.

Yelena shrugs, indifferent.

The brunette shakes herself from her thoughts. “Anyway, no, this isn’t for Loki. It’s low-key,” she makes a motion with her hand like she’s turning a lock.

The blonde stares blankly. “I don’t get it. Housewarming party?”

Kate purses her lips, thinking silently for a moment. She decides on a new explanation, “It means like… casual, chill, informal, etcetera.”

Yelena’s mouth drops into an O shape, and she silently nods in understanding. “Low-key… I will remember this. Thank you, Kate Bishop.”)

Kate’s just tucking the silver flask in her back pocket as Yelena approaches. She notices her friend giving her a once-over and Yelena gives her a dramatic three-sixty spin.

“You like?” She asks, feigning ignorance.

Kate clears her throat, her eyes dropping down to the blonde’s crop-top. “Yeah–yes, you look…”

“Edible?” Yelena suggests, thickening her accent, the word becoming nearly unintelligible.

The taller woman chokes out a full-fledged cough, skin flushed. “Excuse me?”

A-do-ra-ble,” Yelena emphasizes with a playful smirk. “It’s the accent I have, remember? What did you think I said?”

Kate’s blush deepens and she pushes Yelena toward the door. “Shut up,” Yelena hears as Kate pulls the front door shut. The brunette takes out her key to lock it and grumbles to herself. “You just think you’re so hilarious...”

Yelena pays the comment no mind, as she’s too busy swooning over Kate locking her door for her.

(Maybe one day it could be their door.)

(Yelena wants that very much.)

Once they’re outside, Yelena slips her hand into Kate’s, reveling in the warmth, despite the summer weather.

“Are we going to walk?” She asks curiously, absentmindedly bringing their clasped hands up to rub at the back of Kate’s with her free one. She’s never met Kate’s other friends, so she’s not sure where they live during the school breaks.

(She’s also, maybe, just a little nervous and could use some more time.)

Kate glances at her phone, presumably checking the time. She looks as if she’s debating her answer.

“Yeah, we can walk. It’ll take, like, twenty-ish minutes, but it’s fine. We don’t want to be the first ones there, anyway,” the brunette responds as she tugs at Yelena to start their journey.

Yelena looks over at Kate, nodding as if she agrees.

“Mm-hm, you just want to hold my hand,” she flirts shamelessly.

The younger girl scoffs, letting go of Yelena to make a point.

“I’ll be just fine without it,” Kate boasts, making a show of swinging her arms back and forth and she walks.

“Gimme that back, you brat,” the blonde demands half-heartedly through a chuckle, grabbing Kate’s hand again.

Her heart swells when she sees her friend’s grin.

As they continue their walk to Franny’s, it’s filled with Yelena flipping off cat-callers and shouting in Russian, Kate attempting to start a “purple objects only” game of I Spy, and Yelena immediately guessing correctly each time. They’re on their ninth round when they reach Franny’s house.

Kate punches in the code she received with the invite and the front gate unlocks, allowing the women to enter the porch of the narrow, three-story row-house.

The music is detectable, but muffled as they make their way inside, Kate tugging Yelena along by their still-joined hands. Yelena takes the opportunity to take a look around, it must be Franny’s family’s house. There are photos hung all around of people the blonde has never met, but she does recognize that Franny is in almost all of them.

“Where is everybody?” Yelena asks as they make their way from the empty living room to the empty kitchen.

They stop in front of a plain door under the stairwell adjacent to the kitchen. Kate smiles at her sweetly.

“Basement,” she offers, simple as that.

Yelena opens the door out of curiosity and the music becomes louder and more crisp. She nods her head in approval and waves her hand for Kate to go first. For the first time in over twenty minutes, they separate from each other as Kate heads downstairs in front of Yelena.

Yelena follows, excited for the night to finally start. She just hopes people are dancing already. While she enjoys losing herself in the moment, she doesn’t actually want everyone staring at her out there all alone. She’s definitely too sober for that.

(Maybe if Kate was the sole audience member, her thoughts on that would be different.)

The basement is, in fact, packed with people around Kate’s age, and while Yelena is used to being around students younger than her, she feels nervous—like she’s not sure she will fit in. She really wants to make a good impression.

(Yelena has never cared to fit in anywhere before now.)

Once she makes it to floor-level, Kate’s hand is steady on her lower back and her free hand is offering up her flask. Yelena accepts and takes a larger-than-normal swig from it.

The brunette’s eyes go wide.

“Thirsty?” She asks sarcastically.

Yelena flashes a toothy grin as she screws the cap back on with one hand. She passes the flask back to her friend who pockets it. She quickly surveys the room again and notices Kate’s two friends heading their way. She takes a deep breath and plasters on a smile.

The taller woman makes note of this and turned her attention toward who Yelena’s waving at.

Greer and Franny excitedly scream their greetings at them, pulling Kate in for a hug and then seemingly (impatiently) waiting for a formal introduction. Kate picks up the hint.

“Uh, guys, this is Yelena,” she gestures between the group. “Yelena, this is Greer and Franny,” she points at each woman as she speaks their name.

Both of them spare no time enveloping Yelena in a group hug. She is reluctant to reciprocate at first, eyeing Kate for support. She nods encouragingly. This relaxes the blonde enough to squeeze back.

Greer speaks first as they break away.

“Yelena, we have literally heard so much about you,” she gushes.

Yelena’s brows shoot up in surprise. She barely knows anything of the two, other than what Kate has shown her from Instagram.

Oh,” she drawls out, interest piqued. “Do tell.”

“Oh, oh–no, my God,” Kate throws her arm out at her two friends, effectively backing them up. “Let’s not and say we did, alright?”

“Kate Bishop,” the shorter woman coos, reaching to caress Kate’s face. “Are you blushing?”

“What—” she attempts to defend her rosy cheeks, but Franny cuts her off with a bellowing laugh.

“God, Katherine, you got it bad,” she cackles evilly, Greer joining in shortly after. “Rightfully so, she’s hot.”

Their subject matter turns impossibly more red, rolls her eyes and huffs as she stalks away. “I’m going to get a drink.”

Yelena looks after her with concerned eyes. She hopes they didn’t go to far with the jabs. She doesn’t actually want to upset Kate. It was all in good fun.

Greer brings Yelena from her thoughts with a hand on her forearm. “She’s fine, she knew we were going to tease her. It’s what friends are for.”

Yelena excuses herself through a tight-lipped smile, “I’m just going to catch up with her. It was good to finally meet you!”

(So much for fitting in.)

She makes a beeline for her friend who’s taking a shot at the makeshift bar.

Yelena cradles Kate’s back as she sidles up next to her. “You okay?”

The taller woman side-eyes her and sighs, tipping back another shot. She flicks the mini plastic shot glass from her hand and it hits the wall across from the bar and bounces into the trashcan.

“Wow, nice party trick,” Yelena elbows her friend’s side, thoroughly impressed.

The brunette relaxes instantly. “Oh, thank God,” she exclaims, turning to face Yelena completely. “I had to redeem myself from the lameness that happened three minutes ago.”

Yelena smirks knowingly and shakes her head. Kate hands over her flask and she tips back a mouthful.

After handing it back, she keeps her open palm extended.

“Come,” she commands. “Dance with me.”

Kate’s face tints pink but she nods, overly enthusiastic to accept Yelena’s outstretched hand.

The beat is thumping, pulsating through every inch of Yelena’s skin. She leads Kate to an open area off to the side of the designated dance floor. There are quite a few couples dancing closely together and Yelena doesn’t hesitate to add herself and Kate to the mix.

She pulls her friend close and promptly spins around, her back to Kate’s front. They fall in sync almost immediately, Kate’s hands finding their way to Yelena’s hips. Her fingertips graze the bare skin of the blonde’s toned stomach, dizzying up Yelena’s already mushy mind.

She presses further into her dance partner, and her eyes naturally fall shut. She enjoys the feeling of her best friend’s body moving sensually against her own, strong hands guiding her. Kate’s face hugs close to her own. An excited chill runs through her when she feels warm, full lips brushing against the shell of her ear.

As the songs continue to change, so do their dancing styles, but to Yelena’s delight, their hands never leave each other; hands in hands, spinning and dipping and grasping; hands on waists, guiding and swaying and grazing. Yelena can’t get enough. Dancing is so much better when she’s doing it with her favorite person.

(Everything is so much better with her favorite person.)

The next song that plays takes the room down to a slower rhythm. Doting hazel eyes connect with hesitant blues. Yelena takes it upon herself to lace her fingers together behind Kate’s neck. She brushes through the small hairs at the nape. She’s been looking forward to this all night, she’s not going to let Kate escape her now.

Kate clears her throat through a nervous smile.

The small blonde purses her lips to one side, trying to figure out the mystery standing before her. When Kate gives her nothing to work with, she speaks up.

“Why are you nervous, Kate Bishop?” she whispers, wanting to keep the conversation from nearby parties. She looks up through curled lashes, and notices Kate was already staring.

She shakes her head dismissively, “I just—you. You make me nervous.”

Kate chuckles weakly and smooths her hands fully around Yelena, fingers splayed on the exposed skin of her lower back. The move pulls the older woman closer and she can’t keep her lips from upturning. She wants to be as close to Kate as possible and it seems like Kate wants that, too.

The feeling burns in the best way Yelena has ever known. She swallows thickly.

God, she wants to kiss her. Right here, right now. In front of the whole room.

(Maybe even in front of the whole world.)

There’s a jittery lightness in her chest. It makes her feel like she’s floating and she hasn’t even kissed her yet. Yelena can only imagine the reaction she will get when it actually happens—when they finally connect.

She doesn’t know how much longer she can go without telling Kate how she feels. She’s tired of dancing around the subject. As much as she loves the flirting, the lingering hugs, and the stolen glances, she craves more. She craves to claim the other woman as her own.

Feeling overwhelmed by her thoughts, she rests her head on the taller girl’s chest and inhales deeply. She feels Kate pushing her back gently.

“Everything okay?” She asks, trying to make eye contact.

Yelena figured it may as well be a life or death situation (and she’s been in plenty of those), she just has to tell her. She has to. She may die if she doesn’t.

She grabs her friend’s hand. “Can we go somewhere quiet?”

Kate nods frantically, “Oh! Yeah—yes, of course.”

She takes Yelena upstairs back to the kitchen and notices a few people milling about, snacking and chatting, and various in-betweens. The brunette glances back at Yelena for approval, but she shakes her head.

“We can just go upstairs. There shouldn’t be anyone in Franny’s old room.”

The head up a second flight of stairs and make a beeline for a closed door on the left side of the hallway. Kate knocks gently before peeking her head inside. She opens the door fully and allows the blonde to walk in first before closing the door and locking it.

Yelena’s nerves are on edge as she wrings her fingers together.

“Kate, I—”

“Hey—”

They both chuckle awkwardly. Yelena meets Kate’s gaze and takes a deep breath. She doesn’t know why she’s nervous. She’s wanted to tell her for awhile now.

“Kate, sit. Please,” she asks gently. Kate simply obliges, sitting on the edge of the bed. She reaches for Yelena’s hand and tugs until the older woman stands between her legs.

“Look, we’re almost the same height now,” she jokes and Yelena rolls her eyes with a smirk.

She pushes her friend’s shoulder, who easily falls back on the bed, little giggles escaping her lips. Yelena has never met someone who laughs at their own jokes as much as Kate does. She’s pretty sure with anyone else it would be annoying, but with Kate, it’s endearing.

(How is it that she has such a hold over Yelena after such a short amount of time?)

“You’re just so… tiny,” the brunette breathes through another bout of laughter.

“Shut up, Kate Bishop,” Yelena smacks Kate’s thigh before climbing up to straddle her friend’s hips. The younger girl’s laughter subsides and her hands automatically reach for Yelena’s waist, toying with the edge of her jeans. She then surpasses the denim in favor of ghosting over the skin exposed by Yelena’s crop-top.

Yelena knows she gasps—she can’t help herself. Kate looks at her through hooded eyes, but doesn’t halt her wandering hands.

Strong, calloused fingers trace lines all over her back, not shy about slipping beneath her shirt. She swallows thickly. Her eyes close on their own accord, basking in the sensation pooling at her core.

Kate’s hands still, holding her waist firm as Yelena feels her sit up. She opens her eyes and they’re nearly eye-level, Yelena elevated by Kate’s lap.

The blonde notices Kate’s shallow breathing and raises a palm to cup her cheek. Kate’s hot to the touch, a flush creeping up her pale skin. She searches deep into her favorite baby-blues. She searches for everything she longs for, Kate’s attention, her compassion, her understanding. She searches for Kate’s affection. She thinks she sees it.

“Katie,” she tests, the nickname rolling off her tongue fondly.

She sees Kate nod, inching impossibly closer. She watches as the brunette’s tongue pokes out to moisten her lips. Slowly and with purpose, they close the gap.

Yelena nearly combusts when their lips finally meet in the middle. The kiss is so soft, so gentle, but Yelena wants more.

(Always more of Kate.)

She adds more pressure and Kate expertly responds, grabbing hold of Yelena’s bottom lip with a light nip. Her hands are massaging the older woman’s sides, sliding up towards the clasp of her bra and pausing. A whimper escapes Yelena’s throat, just as Kate slides her tongue into her mouth.

She gasps again, welcoming the warmth and gently teasing the intruder with her own tongue. Her chest feels so full, she feels like she may burst like the fireworks they watched on American Independence Day.

(“Fourth of July,” Kate would likely correct.)

She knows her colors would be bright blues and various shades of purples. Her friend is so engrained in her, everything she spills out would just be Kate, Kate, Kate. Only and always.

Yelena runs her fingers through brunette locks, loving the little whimpers Kate makes when she tugs a little too hard. The younger girl breaks away first, chest heaving from the shared intensity. Yelena peers down at her, also catching her breath. Her lips curve upward at the sight of her friend’s flushed lips. So pink and perfect. She instinctively drops another kiss onto them. Kate hums in appreciation, her eyes still closed as Yelena pulls back.

She kisses the brunette’s cheek slowly, lovingly. She then peppers light kisses over the expanse of her jawline. Kate leans into the touch. Her kisses get more wet and intimate as she makes her way down her neck.

Yelena presses one long kiss to the jugular, scraping her teeth as she pulls away.

The moan that emits from Kate send a shock straight to her core, and, God, why haven’t they been doing this all along?

A banging on the door startles them both, Kate grasping at Yelena’s hips for leverage. They both turn their attention towards the offense.

“Yo, I gotta go really bad. Hurry the fuck up,” a man’s voice filters through the wooden door.

“This isn’t the bathroom, dumbass!” Kate yells, and, honestly, the frustration evident on her face and in her voice makes Yelena want to jump her again.

“Fuck you! My bad!” Kate rolls her eyes and falls back on the bed with an exasperated sigh.

“So… is now a bad time to say I like you, Kate Bishop?”

(It’s not.)

 


 

“No, Daddy, she hasn’t met Captain America,” Yelena gripes, glaring at her father through her phone screen. “Why would I do that? She hasn’t even met Natasha yet!“

He smiles triumphantly, “Good! I want to meet her first.”

“Well, Natasha will meet her first,” she reminds him. She props her feet up on her coffee table and leans back into the sofa.

“Yeah, but, you know, first after Natasha,” he insists, rubbing the scruff on his chin.

"So… second then?" She asks, an eyebrow raised in question.

“You sound like your mama,” Alexei tells her. “All these technicalities. Can I not just be excited to meet my daughter’s first girlfriend?”

Before Yelena can even respond to the absurdity that is her father, Alexei’s face is replaced by her mother’s.

“Girlfriend? That’s fast, Моя любовь. Are you being safe?” Melina’s voice is dripping with concern, complete disregard for Yelena’s blatant discomfort. “You know we never got to have the talk with you girls.”

At this, the blonde groans. “Боже мой, Мама. One, she isn’t even my girlfriend yet, and, two, I do know about the birds and the—the butterflies.”

“Ah,” her mother drawls out. “See, I knew you didn’t know. It’s birds and bees, Mоя любовь. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not your fault—”

“I am twenty-seven years old! У меня нет этого разговора,” Yelena tells them both as her dad’s face pops into the side of the frame next to her mom’s. “She will be here soon. Люблю тебя, bye!”

(Birds and butterflies makes way more sense. Kate Bishop is beautiful, colorful, and carefree like a bird, and she most certainly gives Yelena the most wonderful butterflies.)

 


 

It’s the tail-end of July, and Yelena’s waiting outside her building for Kate. The brunette had told her last night to wear something nice (“Not that you don’t always look nice,” she backtracked. “Just… something… fancier?”) and that they were going to a restaurant “in style”. Yelena still isn’t too sure what that means, but Kate sounded exceptionally excited to share this information, so she went with it.

Despite being just after seven in the evening, it’s still warm out and Yelena is thankful for the short dress she has on. She wills Kate to show up before she melts into a puddle just standing here in the sun. She pulls her phone out of her clutch and punches out a few texts.

Kate Bishop

Is there no American rule for making a date wait in the streets?

It seems there should be a rule for this.

Her phone vibrates with Kate’s response.

Sorry baby, rounding the corner!  

And just like that, Yelena’s annoyance at the heat ironically melts away. She’s warm for an entirely different reason now, and the smile that graces her lips is unmistakable. It’s one only Kate can procure. It’s special, and real, and makes Yelena’s cheeks hurt.

Kate has only recently started calling her baby, and it makes her heart flutter every time.

(“Hey, baby,” Kate greets affectionately, planting a loving kiss on Yelena’s waiting lips.

She feels the tips of her ears going pink but does nothing to hide the blush or still the stutter of her heart. She didn’t know such a simple four-letter word could make her feel so giddy. Yelena releases an excited giggle.

Kate grins at her as she slides in the booth across from the small blonde. “What?” She asks, cocking her to the side with a sly smile.

“I think you know exactly what, Kate Bishop…”)

Before Yelena has the chance to reply, a black stretch limousine pulls up in front of her. Kate pops out of the sunroof in an all-black suit, arms outstretched to show off the ride.

Yelena’s jaw drops. She’s only ever seen limos in movies before and she certainly didn’t think she’d ever ride in one.

“Surprise!” She shouts and quickly ducks back in to open the door for Yelena.

The older woman squeals, hands over her mouth to muffle it. She reaches for Kate as soon as she exits the elongated town car and pulls her in for a hug. When she leans back, Kate takes a good look at her before meeting her eyes.

“You look so beautiful,” she coos and Yelena wraps her up in a intimate kiss, Kate reciprocating without hesitation.

When they part, Yelena runs her hands upward along the lapels of Kate’s jacket. “You look… very handsome, Kate Bishop.”

Kate leans in and kisses her again, quickly but with meaning. “Thank you, baby,” she whispers.

The shorter woman nods with a shy smile, the sickeningly sweet feeling in her chest growing with each passing moment in the other woman’s presence.

“Shall we?”

They climb into the limousine and Yelena marvels at the neon lights and soft music playing. Despite having several seating options, she and Kate cuddle together near the back. Kate rests her hand on Yelena’s exposed thigh, and Yelena thinks her life couldn’t get any better at this point.

“Care for a drink, darling?” Kate asks her, feigning a British accent as she points to the champagne on ice.

The blonde chuckles, replying in her own British accent, “You need to work on that. But, yes, I would love a sip of bubbly.”

“Oh, my god,” the brunette gasps. “How do you literally just say words and become infinitely hotter?”

A boisterous laugh erupts from Yelena. “Oh, Kate Bishop,” she leans in to whisper in Kate’s ear, “You have heard nothing yet.” She presses her lips softly to the spot behind the younger woman’s ear.

The delight she gets from watching her shudder is unmatched. To watch the myriad of Kate Bishop’s emotions is a beautiful privilege—one Yelena hopes she never loses. The blush, the playful smirk, the dilation of her pupils—they set the blonde on fire.

Kate hands her a flute of champagne and she takes a sip, watching over the glass as Kate does the same.

“How did you manage to get one of these?” Yelena asks as she looks around in wonder. “I’ve only seen them in the movies.”

Kate’s brows rise in surprise. “Really? You didn’t go to prom in a limo?”

Yelena’s head naturally tilts in confusion. “What’s a prom?”

“Uh, it’s, like,” she takes a moment to think of her reply. “It’s, like, a formal dance in high school. But usually only upperclassmen can attend. You ask your date in, like, a flashy, or fun, or cute way—sometimes in front of a crowd. It’s cute.”

Yelena knows she’s never been to prom, or a school dance in general. She’s never even been to an actual school, aside from when she was in America as a little girl. She just hasn’t exactly told Kate about her past yet, and tonight isn’t the night she’s going to, either. She pushes it to the back of her mind and focuses on the present.

She settles on the truth. “They have something like that in Russia, but it is more of a… celebration of school ending. But, either way, I did not go. And, obviously, I have not been to prom,” she concludes and downs the rest of her drink.

Yelena,” Kate whines sympathetically. “I wish I’d met you sooner. I totally would’ve asked you to prom.”

The older woman smiles gratefully. Kate cares for her in ways no one else ever has, aside from her family, but even then, it’s different.

(It’s always been different with Kate.)

“Katie,” she murmurs, grabbing hold of the other woman’s free hand. “I would have been way too old to go with you. I think that is illegal in this country…” Yelena makes her best grimace as she pretends to let Kate down.

The brunette guffaws, “God, I hate you so much.”

Chuckling, Yelena shakes her head in denial. “No, you don’t, Kate Bishop. You could never. I am too wonderful.”

“And clearly very modest, too,” Kate quips, biting on her bottom lip.

“Oh,” the blonde nods along. “Yes, of course. And hot, according to you, as well.”

“Mm, yeah,” she agrees. “Super hot. Hands down, hottest woman on Earth—“

Yelena playfully slaps Kate’s shoulder, letting out a giggle in the process.

“Stop it, Kate Bishop! You are too much,” she bites back a smile. “You just want me to kiss you.”

“Uh, yeah, obviously.”

Yelena doesn’t have to be told twice.

(She doesn’t have to be told at all.)

Before they know it, the car door is being opened for them and the two women pull apart in a snap. Kate quickly fixes her hair, combing it out with her fingers as Yelena wipes the lipstick off Kate’s neck. She knew she should’ve just worn a gloss.

They give each other a quick once-over, and after determining they both look presentable, they step out of the limousine. Kate speaks with the driver and Yelena glances up at the building before them and takes note of the restaurant they’re supposed to be dining in. The windows are blacked out and there’s a line halfway down the block.

When Kate approaches her, she laces their fingers together and bypasses the line as she leads them inside.

“Reservation for Bishop, party of two,” she expertly tells the host. Yelena admires the view of an assertive Kate. It’s one of her favorite versions of the woman.

(She has so many favorites.)

“Ah, yes, Mrs. and Mrs. Bishop, right this way.”

Yelena side-eyes her friend, unsure of what’s unfolding before her.

Kate just smiles and says, “C’mon, wifey.”

The host presents their table to them and Yelena sees a bottle of chilled champagne, red rose petals scattered across the glass tabletop, and through the window behind the table is the most picturesque view of the river she’s ever seen.

Her throat tightens and the butterflies are at maximum capacity. This is the most romantic setting she has ever witnessed and it’s all because of Kate.

The host is quick to pull out their chairs for them before wishing them well.

“Happiest anniversary to you both,” he says as he makes his exit.

Her head spins and she doesn’t know what to say first, so she says her two favorite words instead.

Kate Bishop,” she stands up and leans across the table to pull her favorite person into a sweet kiss. “You are going to make my heart explode.”

Kate grins warmly. “I just wanted a special night out with my girlfriend, so I told them it’s our wedding anniversary.”

Her ears perk up at the “G” word and her heart begins to palpitate. They haven’t discussed titles yet, but Yelena couldn’t be more excited that tonight’s the night. She has sort of assumed they already were, but just hadn’t explicitly said it. After hearing the term and the goosebumps that cover her forearms, she wishes they had said it sooner.

Kate seems to misinterpret the blonde’s stunned silence and begins to panic, “I—I’m sorry, I should’ve probably asked how you felt about even defining our relationship…”

The young woman’s apology quick-starts Yelena’s brain again. She reaches her hand across the table to gently caress Kate’s. “Oh, no, I was just surprised. Happy-surprised. You know I would love to call you mine, Kate Bishop.”

“Good… because I am. I always have been.”

Throughout the evening, they share stories and jokes—they speak fondly of their separate experiences at Columbia; of their families and (in Kate’s case) friends. They laugh at each other and with each other, high off the conversation and the company. Yelena thinks this is her favorite date so far.

Their second course is long since gone and the champagne bottle is empty. Kate had requested another some time ago, but their server was nowhere to be found in the last fifteen minutes. Yelena sees the annoyance in the brunette’s blue eyes as she glances around the dining room. The woman raises her hand to flag someone down.

A tall blonde server makes their way over hastily. “Yes, Miss, how may I assist?”

Kate smiles politely, “We haven’t seen our waiter in awhile and we asked for another bottle before or next course comes out.” She points to the empty glass for emphasis. “If you could have someone bring one, that’d be great.”

Yelena sits back and enjoys the show. Being rich and fancy is obviously Kate’s thing, and she is completely okay with letting her take the reins. It’s cute when she’s in her element.

“Absolutely. I do apologize about the wait, Miss. I will have a replacement brought out right now.”

The brunette smiles and nods gratefully, “Thank you so much.”

As the server heads to the kitchen, Kate looks back to Yelena and tucks a lock of straightened hair behind her ear. She looks adorable (re: edible) in her suit, which fits her like a glove.

(Yelena can only think of what she wants to do with that tie later.)

 


 

Yelena lays stretched out atop her bed, sheets rumpled from sleep earlier that morning. It was a hot August evening and Yelena invited Kate to come over after she finished up at Bishop Security for the day. Kate works four days a week alongside her mother, learning the odds and ends of being a CEO for one of the largest security companies on the East Coast.

As much as Yelena loves seeing her girlfriend off to work in the mornings with a coffee and a homemade Russian lunch after a sleepover, she loves even more when they can sleep in together and enjoy the weekend, and this weekend, Yelena wants to introduce Kate to not only Natasha, but Clint Barton as well.

(She hopes Kate understands just how much she likes her by inviting the bane of her existence.)

(Clint Barton. Blegh.)

She made arrangements with Natasha for the two women to get picked up and taken to the Avengers Compound for the day. She’s nervous on Kate’s behalf. She wonders just how deep her love runs for the so-called heroes of the world. As far as Yelena’s concerned, she only thinks about half of them are actual heroes. Even the ones who have joined the Avengers in recent months for various missions, Yelena has formed an opinion about.

Natasha is obviously the best hero in the universe. Tony Stark is okay, but she still doesn’t know him very well. He’s kind of arrogant on the surface, but must have a big heart if he’s married to the Saint that is Pepper Potts and gives favors to Natasha. Yelena does like Carol Danvers, but she's not around much. And, technically, Loki isn’t a hero, but she is quite fond of him. Scott Lang is definitely a hero, and, from what Yelena can see, a great dad. It always softens her up seeing loving relationships between parents and their children.

If she thinks hard enough, she comes to the conclusion she doesn’t really care for the big, angry green bean (“Stop calling him that. His name is Bruce,” Natasha chides), but only because of the hot and cold game he plays with her sister. She deserves better than that.

Steve Rogers is cool, but she would never say that aloud for fear of her daddy somehow finding out.

(Red Guardian forever.)

The Starlord (“Star-dork,” she whispers to Natasha, who in turn smacks her in the back of the head. “Ouch,” she groans, glaring in astonishment) and his posse of freaky aliens are also not heroes in the eyes of the blonde. She doesn’t mind them, but she doesn’t necessarily like them either. The raccoon is kind of funny though. She likes when he picks on their leader and embarrasses him in front of everyone.

The Scarlet Witch and The Vision ("It's just Vision," Natasha reminds her. "Or Vis."), who sometimes hang around with Clint and Natasha, are pretty cool. The Vision seems to know the answer to all of Yelena’s questions about America, and she loves watching Wanda fulfill Yelena’s silly magical requests.

(“Get that book to smack Clint Barton in the head,” she grins evilly, rubbing her hands together for the full visual.

Wanda gives her a look which Yelena can only interpret to mean Seriously?

She relents with a sigh, “Fine. Gently smack him in the head.”

At that, Wanda smirks and waves her finger at the book, dragging it through the air behind their target. She flicks her index in a swift motion and it promptly hits the back of his head before falling to the floor with a thump.

They both giggle as he turns around from his conversation with Steve and sees nothing behind him. Clint eyes the room warily before spotting the two women, who quickly avert their gaze and begin a cover-up conversation.

“I didn’t think the soft smack would be as good as a hard one, but it was,” Yelena chuckles secretively, huddle closely with the redhead. “It really was.”

“It was kind of hilarious,” Wanda agrees, almost bashfully.)

There are a lot more Avengers now than there was almost a year ago when Yelena arrived in the States. She hasn’t met them all, but she’s sure she will eventually. Kate will be so excited to start making their acquaintances, and even though Yelena has her likes and dislikes of the self-proclaimed saviors of the world, she still feels a thrill bubble in her chest to be the one to introduce the beautiful brunette to her heroes.

Yelena hears the shower turn off and lifts her head to catch a glimpse of Kate wrapping a towel around herself. She’s quietly humming to herself as she goes through her nightly routine. She borrows Yelena’s this, and Yelena’s that here and there to fill in the gaps.

Hazel eyes flit around the opening scene of Late Night with Kate Bishop. The brunette tenderly applies moisturizer to her face, using a separate brand for the rest of her body. As she removes her towel to do so, Yelena thanks her lucky stars she doesn’t have to pay for this special channel (apparently that’s a thing here in America, she accidentally found out).

(Or not-so-accidentally.)

The profile of the soft curve of Kate’s breast and backside are prominently on display for all eyes to see. Yelena nearly drools at the sight, and before she knows it, she’s standing behind her girlfriend. Her arms envelope the taller woman around her middle and she presses a soft kiss to her shoulder.

She may be shorter, but even barefoot, she can see over Kate’s shoulder at their reflection. Her girlfriend’s eyes are closed as she absorbs the soft touch of Yelena’s wandering hands. They travel upward, affectionately rounding up at Kate’s breasts. She makes sure to massage them equally before playing with the hardened nipples.

Kate moans and tips her head back. Yelena kisses her cheek and makes her way down the woman’s neck. There are still water droplets on her pale skin, and Yelena laps at them eagerly before latching on, making quick work for a love bite.

One hand leaves Kate’s breast with an expert pinch before making her way down the plane of her girlfriend’s toned stomach. She lightly brushes her fingertips across the velvet skin of her mound.

Yelena leans up, bushing her lips across Kate’s ear. “Tell me what you want,” she urges.

Kate’s breathing quickens with a gasp. “You,” she rushes out with a whine. “Please, baby.”

“Please what? Tell me,” the blonde encourages. Tracing the her middle finger through slick, wet heat, barely grazing the woman’s clit. She loves how Kate gets wet so quickly. Yelena can feel her own pooling between her legs.

“Mmm,” the brunette places her hand on Yelena’s attempting to guide it further. Yelena stills her movements expertly. Kate lets out a whimper. “Inside, baby, please,” she begs meeting Yelena’s sultry gaze in the mirror.

The older woman heeds the request, slipping through warm folds and inserting two fingers. The sound that vibrates though Kate’s chest just fuels Yelena to entice more. She slowly pumps in and out, her thumb rubbing down to play with Kate’s clit.

While this isn’t the first time Yelena has been inside her girlfriend, it is the first time she gets to watch herself do it. She watches Kate’s eyes flutter as she quickens her pace and Yelena begins trailing kisses along Kate’s neck and shoulder.

She pulls out, fingers coated slick, and rubs at her girlfriends clit with her two fingers.

Baby,” Kate moans, her own hands coming up to cup her breasts. Her hips are sensually gyrating of their own accord and Yelena’s eyes watch on as she slips back into Kate’s heat.

She sucks on the exposed skin at her lips and strengthens the speed of her work in Kate’s pussy. She can tell her girlfriend is close and she loves having the view of bringing her to her climax.

“Come for me, Katie,” she demands with a bite.

Kate gasps, her body tensing, clenching and pulsating around Yelena’s fingers, and God, she’s gorgeous.

“That’s my girl,” she whispers lovingly. Kate whimpers as Yelena removes her slick fingers, but she rewards Kate by pressing them to the taller woman’s lips. Wasting no time, the brunette licks them clean, hunger evident in her blue eyes as they meet hazel in the reflection.

Despite the plans they have tomorrow morning, they spend the night satiating that hunger.

(Now that she has her fully, Yelena will never get enough of Kate.)

 


 

"Holy shit. Holy shit—holy shit," her girlfriend chants excitedly as they disembark the helicopter. "I can't believe they're letting you show me around the compound even though no one's here. Shouldn't that be, like, a security concern?"

Yelena tuts, "Only you would worry about that at a time like this, Kate Bishop."

She laces her fingers with Kate's and leads her from the landing pad to the entrance of the compound. The older woman enjoys the look of pure awe as she takes in her surroundings—the well-manicures lawns, the bright flowers and trees, the storage facilities and labs, and lastly, the main building. The brunette's jaw drops and her eyes travel the expanse of the larger-than-life structure. 

"It's so beautiful," she whispers as if the building may blow over if she speaks too loudly. Yelena smiles proudly. She did this. She is making Kate's wildest fantasies come true.

(And when those blue eyes filled with admiration are directed at her, she thinks maybe her own wildest fantasies have come true too.)

"Can we take a selfie?" Kate asks enthusiastically, pulling out her phone as she tugs Yelena to a halt. 

The blonde's eyebrow raises in question. "A whatie?"

She almost blushes at the look Kate bestows upon her. It makes her feel like a precious metal or gem being discovered for the first time. A smile creeps onto her girlfriend's face. 

"A selfie," she repeats. "You know when we take pictures together? Those are selfies. It's, like, slang for "photo of yourself". Yourself...ie."

"Ha!" Yelena chortles. "I like that. That is clever, Kate Bishop. Sure, take us a selfie." 

Kate grins and brings her phone up to angle her camera at their faces. Yelena automatically smiles at the reflection. She loves the way they look together—the perfect pair, in her eyes. Kate tilts her phone so that the Avengers logo on the building is visible behind them. 

"Ready?" The younger woman asks. Yelena hums and leans in to kiss Kate's cheek. She hears the shutter sound off and presses a second chaste kiss before pulling away. They review the photo, and, as always, it's absolutely perfect. 

(Kate is never anything but.)

"You are gorgeous, Kate Bishop," she gushes and squeezes her girlfriend's hand for emphasis. Kate hums shyly and brushes her lips against blonde hair. 

"Will you lovebirds hurry up?" Yelena feels Kate freeze at the sound of Natasha's voice ringing out behind them. She slowly turns Kate around.

The taller woman is still frozen, except for her eyes bouncing between hazel and green.

"Are you serious?" she whispers. "You want me to meet your sister?"

Yelena knows she picked a good one when she hears Kate refer to Natasha as her most important title—her sister. It's not The Natasha Romanov, or even The Black Widow. Kate just sees the redhead as her big sister, and Yelena couldn't be more thrilled. 

She sighs affectionately and nods up at the brunette. "Let's go. I have one more surprise..."

They make it just inside the front door before Yelena formally introduces them. "Kate Bishop, this is my super-old, but cool, sister. You can call her Natasha," she shares confidently. 

"Nat is totally fine," the redhead tells her, folding her arms across her chest. Kate nods more times than necessary. 

"Natasha, this is my cute, but unnecessarily tall girlfriend, Kate Bishop," she throws her hands out proudly at Kate as if showing off her most-prized possession. Kate and Natasha smile knowingly at each other. 

The brunette nods again, "Kate's... Kate'll do. You don't have to say the whole thing."

Yelena rolls her eyes fondly. "Natasha, hug my girlfriend. She is a guest, you are being rude," she stage-whispers to her sister. The woman stares at her, mouth agape, appalled at the accusation. 

"I'm not—" the redhead cuts herself off with a grunt, shaking her head before leaning in and giving Kate a quick hug. 

Yelena can't help the face-splitting grin that breaks out on her face. Two of her most important people are finally meeting. She waves her hands in the air excitedly and Kate chuckles at her. 

"It's so nice to finally meet you, Kate," Natasha tells the younger girl as they break apart. 

Kate grins and tucks a lock of hair behind her ear nervously, looking between the two sisters. "And you as well... Nat—Natasha."

The older woman tosses a look over, "Seriously, Nat's fine. Now, come on, I'll be your tour guide for the morning."

Natasha shows them the ins and outs of the compound, even stopping in some of the labs long enough to explain and demonstrate some of the technology for Kate, whose attention is laser-focused. There are Stark and Pym gadgets everywhere, as well as several Wakandan prototypes and unfinished projects. They see The Winter Soldier's arm in a display case, and a teeny-tiny van Yelena has no clue about. While Yelena does think this place is pretty cool, she thinks the look on Kate's face as she absorbs every word out of Natasha's mouth is what really sparks her heart. 

"This is honestly the coolest date I've ever been on," Kate raves when Natasha excuses herself to take a call. They sit down on nearby barstools. "I don't know how this could ever be topped—by either of us."

Yelena's features lift up mischievously, "Get ready to be topped, Kate Bishop." 

When Kate's cheeks singe, the blonde tilts her head curiously. "Baby, your sister's right outside the room..." she explains, glancing around nervously.  

“Что?” Yelena questions, but before her girlfriend can clarify, Natasha walks back in, and this time, she has a guest. 

Kate gasps, hand rushing to grab Yelena's forearm, "No."

The blonde nods encouragingly, "Yes, моя любовь. It is time to meet your hero."

She nods toward the two Avengers, silently telling Kate to join them. Yelena watches as Kate rises hesitantly and makes her way over to Natasha and Clint, who are both smiling at the girl. Yelena follows suit a moment later. 

"Hi Kate, it's nice to meet you," Clint Barton offers a hand to the brunette. Yelena wills herself not to gag dramatically. This is Kate's moment, and she cares too much about her to ruin it.

(She really hopes Kate knows how much she means to her.)

 


 

Classes start back up mid-August, and while Yelena manages perfect scores in each of her biology courses, she and Kate still manage to see each other multiple times a week. They make study dates at the library a weekly occurrence, and sleepovers whenever feasible. They meet at the café between classes, fueling up on coffee and carbs to get through the day.

One night, Yelena sets up a dinner date with her sister and asks if Tony Stark would be willing to join them. Thankfully, he’s available and allows Kate to excitedly pick his brain about some of his tech.

Yelena sees nearly everyday just how hard the brunette works to double-major in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, and she figures any wise words from the head of Stark Industries would prove to benefit Kate.

(Later that night, Yelena receives a very special thanks from her girlfriend.)

 


 

Before she knows it, a three-day weekend approaches in September and the girls are excited to have a Monday off from classes. Yelena still isn’t clear on what exactly Labor Day is about, but she welcomes holiday with open arms. The extended weekend doesn’t keep hers or Kate’s noses out of textbooks, however, but it does allow them time to come together and laze about Yelena’s apartment throughout their breaks.

It's early Sunday morning when the blonde notices that not only has Kate filled Yelena’s heart and mind, she has also filled Yelena’s apartment. Most of her dresser drawers, and nearly half her closet, are filled with Kate’s clothes. Kate’s hairbrush is next to Yelena’s in the bathroom. Her toothbrush in the stand, purple sloppily crossing over Yelena’s green. Her favorite pieces of jewelry in Yelena’s artsy dish on the counter, two (somehow) different pairs of black Doc Martens sticking out from under her (their) bed. Yelena’s pretty sure even the sheets on the bed came from Kate’s apartment.

If she walks into the kitchen, she sees Kate’s keys resting in the bowl on the entryway console, her violet backpack near the dining table, and her favorite snacks littered throughout the pantry and refrigerator. A grey Bishop Security sweatshirt is thrown over the back of the couch like that’s its natural home, and her black overcoat is hung up in the coat closet (this actually is a home for a coat, not the couch).

Yelena shakes her head in disbelief. Kate pretty much lives here now. She can’t remember the last time she went to bed alone, ate dinner alone, or got ready for a party alone.

(She certainly doesn’t miss it.)

“Baby,” Kate’s voices rings out from down the hall, bringing Yelena from her thoughts.

“Что?” She shouts back as she resumes pouring their coffees, something she was doing before she started thinking over their domesticated life. Thankfully the coffee was still steaming. Yelena likes it hot.

(Just how she likes her women, apparently.)

“Have you seen my purple hoodie?”

“Kate, almost all your clothes are purple. How am I to know which one you are talking about?” She counters before looking down at her attire and smirks—oversized purple hooded sweatshirt, underwear, and possibly Kate’s socks, as well.

(She may being wearing the garment Kate is asking for.)

Yelena adds half a sugar packet to her mug, three to Kate’s and douses in the creamer. She reaches what any sane person would deem “acceptable” and surpasses it for “unnecessary”, just the way her girlfriend drinks it. Her coffee is nearly white. It may as well be coffee flavored creamer at this point.

(“Coffee is meant to taste good, Len,” Kate explains as she reaches for another sugar packet from the booth behind them.

Yelena shakes her head. “It’s meant to be a slap in the face and wake you up,” she argues.

“A sugar-slap is still a slap,” the brunette contests.

Yelena’s well aware her girlfriend is American and, by default, absurd, but for some reason she is charmed by it. Her lips upturn as she watches Kate take a sip.

“You are going to crash later,” she states matter-of-factly.

Kate grins as if she won the argument. “Good thing your couch is comfy.”)

By this time, the younger girl emerges from Yelena’s (their) bedroom, laptop under her arm. Her hair is in a messy bun and she’s wearing the Hawkeye t-shirt Yelena despises. She stops at the counter next to Yelena and kisses the side of her head.

“Didn’t know what hoodie I was talking about, huh?” She quips with a crooked smirk, sneaking her hands underneath the top to circle around the shorter woman’s waist.

Yelena flashes a toothy grin at her girlfriend, “It’s comfy and it smells like you.”

She leans up for a kiss and the younger woman eagerly complies. Yelena swipes her tongue across Kate’s bottom lip before pulling apart with a pop.

“Your cream is ready—I mean coffee,” she jests to a dazed Kate and escapes her entrapment between the brunette and the counter.

 


  

By mid-October, this nagging feeling in Yelena's mind tells her it's time to talk to Kate. They have been regularly cohabiting, studying on the couch, crashing Greek parties, teaching each other how to cook (Kate's favorite meals from childhood, and when Yelena lies about traditional Russian meals being from her childhood, the pit in her stomach never stops growing). She doesn't like lying to Kate, and she deserves to know her girlfriend could kill anyone at the drop of a pin... and that she can't have babies, or remember almost fifteen years of her life—and what she can remember is more than any normal person could probably bare to experience. 

It's a lot to take in, and she worries over how Kate will respond. 

(She's never been more nervous to talk about her past.)

She takes Kate to their diner, relief flooding over her when their back corner is empty. She can't stop fiddling with her many rings after they place their orders and Kate picks up on it. Yelena bites her lip as her girlfriend voices her concerns. 

"Baby," the brunette starts.

(Ugh, always with the butterflies.)

"What's going on?" Kate reaches across to still Yelena's fingertips and takes hold of her hands instead. "You're never nervous."

Yelena frowns. She knows this. She just didn't think it would be so hard. "We need to talk."

Kate's brows shoot up to her hairline. "Jesus Christ, are you—are you breaking up with me?" The panicked look in her eyes washes Yelena over with guilt. Maybe she could've worded that a little differently. 

She shakes her head, "No, no. I'm sorry, I just need to talk to you about me."

The brunette's features soften, but she's still painted with worry. 

(Yelena wants to carefully wipe the look away with her thumbs, but she's afraid she about to make it worse.)

"It's about my past... Natasha isn't the only Black Widow," she begins quietly. "There are thousands of us—all over the world."

Her girlfriend's eyes shift, "Us?"

Yelena nods in solemn confirmation. "When I was just a girl, I was sold to the institution—The Red Room. They were a secret organization who took girls from their families and homes, and they trained us to be spies and assassins, which is where the name Black Widow comes from. Natasha was just a baby when her mama sold her, and I was young too. She is not my biological sister, but she is in every other sense of the word. We were sent on a mission for three years in America. I was in Ohio from age three to six before Natasha and I were taken back to resume training. Our parents, also not actually our parents, were on the wrong side back then, but they have done a lot to try to change since we took down the Red Room almost two years ago."

Kate has been silent, but given Yelena her full attention. She squeezes the blonde's hand comfortingly. "I am so sorry, Yelena. You—nobody deserves to have their childhood stolen from them like that. You are so strong, and beautiful, and smart, and—and funny. I honestly never would have guessed..."

Yelena shrugs. "I am very good at hiding—both physically and emotionally. I was trained to do so. After Natasha was saved by Clint Barton, I, along with thousands of others, were chemically subjugated—mind controlled," she clarifies. "I graduated from the Academy, given a hysterectomy as consolation, and then put under mind control so I would kill without a conscience getting in the way."

The older woman reaches forward to wipe away at a stray tear that falls from baby-blue eyes. "I—I'm sorry. I shouldn't be crying. This is your story. I just—I'm so honored you're sharing this piece of your life with me, and I promise—promise I will never take advantage or ask you to do anything you don't want to do."

Yelena smiles weakly. her own eyes tearing up. "I know, Katie," she affirms gently. "I know."

She spends the next half hour dishing out more details and answering any questions Kate can come up with. It feels good to finally be honest. The knot that formed in her stomach previously get smaller and smaller with each passing moment.

(She's not sure how she got so lucky, but she would live her same life a thousands times over if it still brought her back to the incredibly caring woman sitting before her.)

 


 

Yelena and Kate are parked on the couch on a chilly November morning, just after breakfast. Yelena sitting up, elbow propped up on the arm rest with a book she’s required to read for her Russian Lit class. Kate’s head is in her lap and she absentmindedly plays with her hair while the younger girl watches an archery competition on the television.

“Did you know I’m a two-time National Archery Champion?” Kate asks, breaking the silence. Yelena puts her book down and smiles curiously at her.

“I did not, but I think I could’ve guessed, given the amount of awards in your childhood bedroom,” she notes smugly.

Kate nods, “Yeah, I told my mom she could take it all down, change it up in there, but she refuses.”

Yelena’s brows furrow. “As she should. Her baby’s hard work resonates with all those awards. She is proud of you, and you should be too,” she reminds her gently, tracing the girl’s temple with her fingertip.

The brunette hums. “I guess so,” she mumbles distractedly. “That feels good.”

Her eyes flutter shut as Yelena continues her movements. Kate’s quiet for several beats and the older woman is sure she’s fallen back asleep as her breathing evens out. Her own eyes start to droop as well, the low volume of the archery competition filling the silence.

“I love you,” she hears her girlfriend murmur sleepily.

Yelena’s suddenly much more alert, heart pounding so loud she fears it may disturb the girl in her lap.

Kate loves her.

She certainly wasn’t expecting Kate’s love-profession so soon into their relationship, but the more Yelena thinks about it, the more she starts to understand.

Sure, they’ve only been officially dating for just over three months, but they’ve known each other for five. After spending nearly every day with the other woman for the last few months, Yelena can’t deny that she’s been falling ever since. She’s almost surprised she didn’t beat Kate to the confession at this point.

Yelena’s never been in love before, but she knows what it is, and what she has shared with Kate thus far is more than she could’ve ever asked for. It’s real, and it’s something she carries in her heart with every thought and every action. Kate has shown her immeasurable kindness and care, genuine companionship and tenderness—something Yelena has never before experienced, not even from her family—not to this extent.

God, she is in love with Kate.

Yelena brushes flyaways behind Kate’s ear delicately, careful not to disturb her.

“I love you, too, Kate Bishop.”

(She feels like that hairy green troll from that American Christmas movie Natasha made her watch last year—the one whose heart grows three sizes right in his chest.)

(She’s not sure it has much more room to grow at this rate. Her heart and her mind are filled with Kate, Kate, Kate.)