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Truth Is A Matter Of Circumstance

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Common area, New Avengers Facility, 25th July, 10:35 P.M.

 

Once again, Stark was throwing a party thanks to a successful HYDRA base raid. This had been one of the bigger, stronger, more fortified bases, in Tianjin, China. And no wonder it was so well-fortified - the Chinese seemed to be in no short supply of weapons and technology thanks to their copying of Japan's weapons and tech; Japan had long been the best at technology. Gaming, cars, guns - you name it, and the Japanese made it and made it good.

Everyone had been able to make it, which was good. Sam was there, dressed in a black polo and tan slacks, chatting to Rhodey, who was dressed in a crisp grey suit with a navy tie. Vision was taking to Wanda; the android was wearing what he perceived to be party clothes - a white button down and dark slacks - whilst the young Sokovian woman wore a maroon dress with a floaty black cardigan over the top. Stark, though retired, had been along to help them take down the base, and so was the one hosting the party, wearing a dark suit with a dark tie. Pietro, who had survived thanks to who-knows-what-kind of method, zipped from person to person, chatting amicably, dressed in a pale blue shirt and white pants that looked suspiciously like tracksuit pants - although nobody offered to ask. And Natasha was engaged in conversation with Wanda and Vision, wearing a tight black miniskirt that did nothing to hide how good her ass looked, and an aqua halterneck top that had a low back, and dipped just enough at the front to show off her cleavage.

Steve observed everything from the sidelines, holding a beer in hand. He wore a steel blue shirt that although didn't show off his abs, certainly accentuated his gorgeous baby blue eyes, and dark jeans to match. As he watched Natasha, he idly wondered if she'd worn what she did just for him, if the flirty winks and sultry smiles she'd been sending him all night had been anything to go by. And hot damn, he was certainly aroused by her, and every time she passed by, he could smell something that definitely wasn't perfume, and something he had never smelt before - the scent of an Alpha female. His Alpha instinct, so long suppressed and ignored as best he could, howled at the scent, and so Steve had made it his duty to simply stay away from Natasha - even though it was so hard because she was his closest friend and he was getting kinda lonely and missing trading quips with her - so as to not accidentally release his Alpha side.

He had been pretty content to just remain quietly so far, occasionally chatting with Wanda, Sam, or Vision if they approached him, and not-quite-subtly avoiding Natasha. He knew he wanted to find a mate - had done for some time. And since Natasha was an Alpha, and so alike, and they just had this... connection.... he knew she was the perfect mate for him. But. She did not believe in love, claiming that "love was for children" and so Steve kept his thoughts and feelings to himself, choosing to instead remain as Natasha's supportive best friend - moreso since Clint was no longer around to fill that role.

Wanda was pretty much unavailable, as unavailable as one could be when one was not actually currently dating. She quite often flirted with Vision and Sam... and besides, Steve thought Wanda as more of a little sister than a potential mate. Sure, the 10-odd year age gap wasn't really an issue, but Steve would have felt awkward dating someone he thought of as family.

Yes, he had thought of Natasha as family for some time also, but to be honest, ever since the two of them had stood at the edge of Sokovia, staring at the view, Steve couldn't help but embrace the feelings he had now that Natasha would be the ideal mate. He would love to have a family with her - he often dreamt of them raising their pups together, and loving each other as no two mates had ever loved before.

Sadly, having Natasha and loving her were two things that were not possible for Steve, so instead he loved her silently, and politely turned down the potential dates she suggested. He wasn't looking for a fling, or a one-night stand, and he most certainly did not want to date a normal human. There were still normal humans in the world; the werewolf race were dying out - the Avengers were just a handful of those who were left. Steve only wanted his true mate - Natasha - and since he could not have her, he closed himself off from the dating game, much to everyone's dismay, apart from Wanda and Vision, who understood. Wanda because she had read his thoughts, and Vision because he had read Steve's body language, and had seen all the tells when he had searched through the files of Steve and Natasha's partnered missions for SHIELD. Even Sam would occasionally push him to go date a nice chick that came along, although the man code-named 'Falcon' knew when to back off.

Sometimes, watching the others with their mates was hard. There was Stark, an Alpha, who had found his Omega mate, Pepper. They were happy together, and although it had gotten rough at times, they were stronger than they had been for some time. And of course, watching Sam, who was an Omega, and Wanda, who was a Beta, flirting, had some effect on him - although it was more Sam he was jealous of than Wanda. He had no need to be jealous of Vision - the dude wasn't even human, let alone not a werewolf, and therefore he did not have a mate to seek out, leaving virtually nothing to be jealous of.

Steve often distracted himself whenever the others looking happy together got too much. He'd hole up in his quarters, go for a run around the Facility, swim laps in the Olympic-sized swimming pool, or resume his hunt for Bucky, which so far didn't seem to be going very well. His last lead, a possible sighting in Toronto, Canada, had ended in, once again, a dead end. After that, all leads had simply faded and vanished completely; yet there was no way in hell he was giving up on his long-lost, once-thought-dead, best friend. No way.


 

Common area, New Avengers Facility, 26th July, 1:27 A.M.

 

Hours passed. Each team member slowly left - either for their respective quarters, or to homes in other cities. If they weren't too drunk, that is. Stark had passed out on one of the lounges, drunk out of his mind and snoring quietly. Rhodey had gone back to his home - thankfully he hadn't had much to drink all night. Sam had made it partway back to his quarters before passing out in the hallway near the training room - how he ended up there, nobody knew - snoring like a frat boy. Wanda, giggling and leaning on Vision, had made it back to her quarters, and so had Vision. Pietro had passed out on one of the lounge chairs; clearly he had drunk far too much that night.

The only ones left awake were - unfortunately for one of them - Steve and Natasha. The assassin, red hair free of its braid, a flush on her cheeks, and a slightly dopey grin on her red-painted lips, was only mildly tipsy, and the soldier was stone cold sober.

"Wow, being unable to get drunk must really suck, huh Rogers?" Natasha asked teasingly, peering up at the Captain from under long lashes, sitting on an armchair. Steve, who was standing beside the chair and glancing down at her, merely shrugged, making a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat. Sometimes being unable to get drunk was a complete and utter drag, and other times it was really rather beneficial. At the moment, however, it was the former. Being so close to Natasha was starting to get on his nerves, but he also kinda didn't want to leave Natasha whilst she polished off the last of a bowl of chips. Those Doritos were pretty tasty, and he was quite happily "helping" her eat the rest of them.

Steve rolled his eyes as she smirked at him, nudging his foot with hers. "Cat got your tongue?" she said, barely stifling a giggle behind her hand.

"Unfortunately, probably yes." was his simple answer.

"You know, Rogers...." For a moment here, Natasha seemed sober, and Steve glanced at her, curious. "You seem pretty lonely. You don't really seem to have friends outside the Avengers, you barely leave the Facility except to hunt for what's-his-face, and you always turn down everyone's dating suggestions. So, what's with you?"

The soldier bit back the urge to correct Natasha and say "his name's Bucky, not 'what's-his-face'; you should know that" and instead shook his head, glancing down at the floor as he smiled sadly. "I guess I just gotta find the right partner. I want to be with my true mate - not some fling or one-night stand. And with a regular human rather than a werewolf, no less." The redhead gave him a sympathetic smile, and, getting to her feet, patted his shoulder as she left the room on not-quite wobbly feet.

"Well, goodnight, Steve. Perhaps sometime if you need a little company... just feel free to find me. You'll know where I'll be." she told him over his shoulder as she left for her quarters. Steve barely managed a mumbled "goodnight", his brain already working over time on what she said, and what her words truly meant. She was a master spy and assassin for a reason - even off the field she had so many masks up that it was hard to tell just what she meant sometimes.

His mind replayed her words: Perhaps sometime if you need a little company...

Was that a double entendre somehow?

"No, not with Natasha. She usually means what she says." Steve said aloud, shaking his head before going off to his own quarters. Well, he could sleep on it. That would help, hopefully.

Chapter Text

Artwork, yay!: Part I Part II


 

Outside Natasha's quarters, New Avengers Facility, 10:35 P.M.

 

So far, Steve had done a very poor job at sleeping. His mind was tormented by Natasha - the things she said to him, how she affected him both physically and mentally, why she did the things she did and said the things she did, the mysteries of her past and how she became who she was today... those thoughts swirled around and around in his head, and so, restless and giving up on sleep, he decided to give Natasha a visit and ask her about what she had said to him the other night.

Perhaps sometime if you need a little company...

Those eight words had haunted him constantly ever since they'd parted the night prior, and finally Steve got his shit together and went to ask. He knocked on the door frame and stood waiting, hoping that Natasha was there. The door swung open revealing Natasha with hair slightly disheveled and still in last night's clothes, which were rumpled as though she'd slept in them. Perhaps she had; he figured she had gotten a minor hangover from all that she drank last night. Steve chewed on his lower lip thoughtfully, suddenly wondering if this was all a mistake.

"Hey, Rogers. Somethin' on your mind?" Natasha's voice, soft and smooth as silk, floated into his brain and dispersed his second thoughts. He shook his head slightly to clear it, and gave the redhead a small smile, trying not to drool as she put her hand on her hip. Her scent called out to him once more, stronger than last night, and his Alpha side howled, his desire to make the sexy redhead his and his alone increasing exponentially.

"You could say that," was his reply, and Natasha stepped aside to let him in, closing the door behind him. He stood there feeling slightly awkward, and Natasha gave him a reassuring smile as if she could read his mind - she shall be perfect for you; all you have to do is give in to your desire and let your Alpha side out - grasping his bicep before moving away to perch on the end of her bed. "I suppose you want to talk about what I said last night, hm?" she questioned, her green gaze piercing as she scanned him over, subtly biting her lip.

How on earth did she - nevermind, she was a spy, it was her job to know what her target was thinking. But hot damn, she was scoping him out, and that lip-biting thing is totally a turn-on because her lips are plump and so juicy and kissable and he could kiss her senseless and then strip her of her clothes and -

NO! Don't think of Natasha like that; she's a friend. One of your best friends, in fact. How can you think such things about her?

He merely nodded meekly, keeping a tight lid of the dirty thoughts running through his mind. "Yeah, it's... kinda been hard to sleep ever since you said "perhaps sometime if you need a little company"," he admitted, looking sheepish, "I-I guess... I wasn't really sure what you meant. It's gotta mean something, right?" He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling awkward once more.

Natasha's perfect lips curved up into a lascivious grin, and her green eyes twinkled with mischief and perhaps a touch of lust. "Well, Rogers, I left it up to you to figure out, and you're here now, aren't you?" Her voice had turned sultry, and she rose from the bed, smoothly walking towards the blonde and tracing a line down his chest. "The words can mean whatever you want them to mean. Why do you think I left the meaning open like that, hmm?"

His Alpha side growled with desire, rattling the bars of the proverbial cage within his mind, trying to break free. Her touch was like magic, a burning sensation; but one that was pleasant. Her voice was like music to his ears, and he could see, in her eyes, that she wanted him.

For a few moments it was a battle of wills between Steve and his Alpha side. He gave Natasha a tentative smile, but didn't back up a step like he wanted to; instead he took a step closer as his Alpha side surged within him, steadily breaking free. "Nat, I do believe that you have given me an offer very subtly, and it's one that I'm willing to accept... for a price," His voice had deepened slightly, tinged with desire, and his blue orbs blazed with fire. "Do you think you'd be willing to negotiate?"

The redhead ran her hand down his chest again, this time more firmly so as to be able to feel his muscles. "Rogers, are you being a dirty little boy and suggesting we have sex?" she all but purred, stretching up so that she could speak in his ear. Her breath was warm against the shell of his ear; velvet and laced with suggestiveness. 

The blonde uttered a growl, and - his Alpha side had broken free; was taking over and so he gave in to his desire because when would he ever get the chance to do something like this ever again? - yanked Natasha against his chest, kissing her hungrily. "Romanoff, you drive me crazy, you know that?" he hissed - though not a hiss of anger but one of lust - lapping at her lower lip and gently biting it. Natasha moaned into the kiss, her lips willingly parting, and her eyelids fluttering closed, gripping fistfuls of the material of his t-shirt. "You drive me just as crazy, Rogers," she breathed, and Steve's tongue entered her mouth; tasting her, lapping at her tongue, drinking her in.

The two had to part to catch their mutual breaths, and when Natasha's eyes opened again, he could see that they were dark pools of desire, just as his was. "Are you ready for this, Natalia?" Steve rumbled, and a tingle ran down Nat's spine at his tone of voice and use of her proper name. Who knew that Steve addressing her by her Russian name could be such a turn-on for her? Natasha's response was to yank him down by the collar for another kiss, walking backwards until the backs of her thighs hit the bed, and then she flopped backwards with a short intake of breath when Steve pushed her down.

"You are mine tonight, Natalia, yes?" he growled, hovering over her; his eyes dark, so dark with desire, and it was all for her. She is yours for the taking. Do not submit to her; wait for her to submit to you. Then claim her and mark her as yours as you revel in the feel of her body interconnecting with yours in an intimate way his Alpha side hissed to him, and for once, he was ready to listen to what his Alpha side had to say.

Natasha squeaked as his hand slid under her top, calloused fingers caressing her skin, not expecting to be made so hungry for him just by his touch alone. "Yes, Steve, I am yours tonight. All yours. Whatever you want to do to me, I will let you, and I will not stop you." she answered, feeling the overwhelming urge to submit to him even though they were on equal grounds - even then, an Alpha male could make an Alpha female submit.

Steve hummed in response, kissing her again and yanking his shirt off, throwing it aside. When he broke the kiss, he made a noise of pleasured delight as Natasha quite literally "felt him up" - squeezing his biceps and pressing hard on his toned abdomen. He gave her a tiny, borderline seductive smirk, and took her shirt off, and then her jeans, leaving her in just a bra and panties. He then sat against the pillows, and let her sit on his lap, groaning when she rolled her hips against his, his erection springing to life in response. He growled as her hand slid down his shirt, before pressing against the bugle in his jeans, causing him to squirm slightly.

"Aren't you just one big hungry fella, hmm?" Natasha crooned, kissing a trail up his abs to his neck, and when she reached his neck, she gave him a slight nip. Deciding to give him even more reason to become hard, she reached around behind her back and unclasped her bra, pushing him down into supine position, and when she leaned down to kiss him again, her exposed breasts brushed his chest.

When her full, lush breasts bounced free of her bra, Steve couldn't help but moan at the sight, feeling more and more aroused. He couldn't resist brushing his thumbs over her nipples, causing her to gasp. However, it seemed that Natasha wasn't done with him yet, because she first took off her damp panties, exposing her completely, and then unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans, throwing them over her shoulder. She purred with delight as she took sight of the tent that his boxers were doing a terrible job at hiding, and pressed her hand there firmly, smirking wickedly at the expression on the blonde's face.

Steve was so damn hard now that it was painful not being inside her, made especially worse by the scent of Natasha's own arousal, and he could barely move his hips for lack of trying he was just that heavy. Growling, he flipped them over, and after pushing his boxers down his legs and tossing them aside, pressed a kiss to her lips, his arousal pressing against his thigh. Even though he was still a virgin, his body seemed to know what he was doing as he slipped inside Natasha; both of them moaning at the sensation. Natasha grunted slightly, wanting to move, but waiting for herself to adjust to his size. Once she did, she ground against him, moaning again as she really felt just how much he filled her up and stretched her out. The two of them moved in sync, as they did upon the battlefield, and their pace was a steady, even rhythm that gradually grew faster and faster. Eventually the rhythm became sloppy and uneven, and Natasha came quickly, her wailing his name pulling Steve over the edge after her, causing Nat to hiss in pleasure at the feel of his seeds spilling into her, her walls sucking up every last drop.

Steve pulled out, and Natasha whined at how empty she felt without him inside her. However, her whine quickly broke off into a squeal as Steve re-positioned himself and threw her legs over his shoulders, his breath hitting her core and driving her crazy. It seemed that the blonde was acting on pure instinct as first he ran a finger over her nether lips, before placing a kiss at the apex of her thighs. He licked a wet stripe along her entrance, growling at the taste of her and wishing she was his true soulmate and on heat so that he could give her his pups. He then lapped at her core, and Natasha cried out as he tongued her throbbing organ. His teeth scraped her folds, causing her to moan and tremble in delight. Once she came all over his face and he finished eating her out, he gave her a dark smirk, his eyes glinting.

"H-How on earth did you know how to do that, Rogers?" Natasha questioned in disbelief, breathless, lips parted and cheeks flushed.

"Let's just say I followed my instinct," the blonde answered, laying down beside the redhead and putting an arm over her. "That was fun, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was," Natasha tucked herself against him ever so slightly, closing her eyes, "Goodnight, Rogers."

"'Night, Romanoff."

Chapter Text

Two redheads stared at each other from across the room. One was chained to a chair; the other paced freely, staring down the first. Two pairs of green eyes were locked on the other.

The taller, leggier redhead put a hand on her hip, smirking darkly at her captive. "Well well, Black Widow. You have certainly done good job on making Captain friend. He has shown potential as mate. And I am due to go into heat soon. Then Captain will give me pups." She spoke with a thick Russian accent, although it was tinged with a hint of American accent. She let a chuckle fall past her dark red-painted lips as the smaller but no less strong or fierce redhead glowered at her.

"How dare you take advantage of Steve like that?" she hissed, feeling anger bubbling in her gut, threatening to boil over. "He would never love a bitch like you, and he would certainly never give someone like you his pups! Steve's a good man." Her voice had no traces of Russian accent at all; instead, she sounded completely American - although she came from Russia, she had been in America long enough to lose her Russian accent.

"My heat is due soon. Captain will not be able to resist my charms, nor be able to resist helping innocent woman in distress. Once he has mated me; filled me up with pups... I will become his one and only, forever. Did you forget, Natalia, that I am better Black Widow than you? Captain will be my mate; then he will be destroyed. We already sleep together previous night. He is not as good a person as you think. He has dark side that he does not let show; I take advantage of that. He falls for me quickly; he will be mine alone." the Russian replied, smirking once more, and looking unfazed as the other redhead - Natalia - tried to break free of her bonds. "You forget that you can't break free from Vibranium cuffs. You are not super assassin. You are normal, scared little girl who does not deserve mantle of Black Widow. I will be better Black Widow than you once Captain is my mate. He will fall for me; I do good job of impersonating you. He will never know difference until he is caught in my web."

Natalia growled, surging forward as she tried once more to break free of her bonds. "And did you forget, Yelena, that I was once a normal ordinary werewolf - but since that accident when I needed a blood transfusion and Cap- Steve was the only one available... long story short, I have the super serum in my blood. And these aren't Vibranium-laced cuffs; they're cheap knockoffs. I know Vibranium when I hear it." 

Yelena chuckled again, watching Natalia straining at the bonds. "Was mistake. Cuffs are not Vibranium; they are Adamantium. Much stronger metal than metal used to make useless frisbee." Now of course, when she said "useless frisbee", she meant Cap's shield, and of course, Natalia glowered even more darkly than before, understanding the sentiment and feeling her hatred of Yelena increase; Steve had protected him and her both with that shield, and although he was much more than the shield, it was a very handy tool to have around. "Besides, it does not matter if you escape. You will never make your way out of facility; death will come to you before you will be free. Captain will be mine before you can get out of this place."

The Russian turned and walked out of the room, but not before throwing one last insult over her shoulder,

"For your benefit, Captain makes good fuck. He has stamina."

And then the steel door slammed shut, the bolt locking into place.


Natalia had grown weak in her efforts to break free of the Adamantium cuffs, and so she remained limply in her chair, head lolled to one side, eyes closed. So many thoughts flashed through her mind, and she was finding it very difficult just to compartmentalize and channel the Black Widow so that she could escape and warn Steve before he got hurt. She couldn't bear the thought of Steve being hurt by a woman like Yelena; not only would that scar him deeply, but perhaps it would also cause him to lose his faith in her, since both she and Yelena were cut from the same cloth.

"Oh Steve... try and find your way out of this mess before it's too late..." she said softly, speaking to herself. And then she passed out.

Chapter Text

Cabin in the woods, New Avengers Facility property, 28th July, 9:42 A.M.

 

Steve had gone out to the woods on the far borders of the property, where he'd had a cabin built just for him, whenever he needed to have "quiet time". Stark had allowed him to get it built - all Steve had to do was hand Stark some blueprints, and just a couple of weeks later, there sat his cabin, hidden in the woods the perfect distance from the Facility itself. He had wondered once or twice as to why the billionaire-genius had let him have the cabin built, and when he approached the man about it, he had simply said that he knew the Captain could get... "testy", sometimes - completely Iron Man's words, and Steve supposed that the dark-haired man couldn't find anything better to say - and it was best to give him some space.

Pretty nice, if he thought about it hard enough.

He was just chopping wood to put in the fireplace, when he heard two sets of footsteps trudging through the grass towards his cabin. He put the axe down and glanced across the field, quickly spotting the two redheads walking towards him. Wait a minute - two redheads?! Something was wrong here... both of these redheads looked exactly like Natasha! He frowned and turned to face the pair, folding his arms across his chest. "Why are there two of you?"Steve demanded, his blue eyes flashing with anger, his lips peeling back in a snarl. He could feel his Alpha side growling, begging to be let out so that he could sort out this stupid mess without having to use words. But he kept it caged, and instead stood his ground in front of the two red-haired women, both looking exactly like Natasha Romanoff - the woman he was so desperately in love with. “Which one of you is my Natasha?”

“I am,” both women answered in sync, and then they proceeded to glare at each other, green eyes dark. “You don’t know which one of us is your Natasha? Perhaps you have not memorized our scent enough.”

A crease formed between Steve’s sandy brows as his scowl darkened. “Enough!” he snapped, fighting to suppress his Alpha side. This was insane! Why were there two Natasha Romanoffs all of a sudden, and which one was the one that he was in love with, and had slept with? Was he in love with one, and he had slept with the doppelganger that he did not know nor love? “Why are there two Black Widows?”

“You see, Steve… there actually is two Black Widows - Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova. I, Natasha, have actually succeeded in gaining the mantle of Black Widow, whereas Yelena Belova has been trying to take my place for years.” the redhead on the right explained, who seemed slightly shorter and less muscular than the redhead on the left, and anyone who was paying proper attention would have noticed after a good few minutes of study - however, Steve was far too irritated to be paying proper attention, and could not tell the redheads apart.

Hurt quickly replaced most of the anger, and although Steve still stood tall, he felt a lot smaller than he really was. “Why can’t you just tell me the truth?” he asked, sounding wounded, “Why break my trust by not telling me which of you is the real Natasha?”

“It’s a game, Rogers.” the redhead on the left stated, a half-smirk forming on her lips, where as the other redhead’s expression remained neutral.

"What, so you think this is all some kind of sick game? Does any of this mean anything to you?" Steve asked angrily, sounding so wounded. He stared at the two more closely, desperately trying to figure out just which one was his Natasha, and which one was the impostor. "Yes," "No," both redheads answered, and the blonde had no clue which woman had said what.

Steve just shook his head, picking up his axe, ready to continue chopping firewood. "Don't bother talking to me until you've sorted this shit out yourselves. I don't want to see either of you until then. Is that clear?" he stated, a warning growl to his tone. His eyes flashed blood red momentarily, before going back to normal.

Both redheads glanced at each other, before smirking and going their separate ways.

Steve sighed and raked a hand through his hair, pausing in his work once again. I know you're trying to find me, Natasha. I know that your doppelganger is keeping you from me. I can hear your soul calling out to mine, begging me to save you. Hear my call; I will come for you, my Russian princess. I swear to you, I will.


The two redheads faced off once again, however, the circumstances were different this time. One crept into the other's room whilst she slept, and chained her up before knocking her out with chloroform, so that her adversary would not wake and try to escape for some time. 

"He is mine. You will never have him. He will never love you, you traitorous bitch." she hissed, backing out of the room on silent feet. "He will love me, and you will watch, and be filled with a burning, envious rage because you can never have him. He is mine, mine, mine!"


That night, a large black wolf with blood red eyes howled at the full moon, which shone like a diamond in the navy night sky. Thunder rumbled ominously, and it seemed that the eerie howl was a warning... but to whom?

Chapter Text

Cabin in the woods, New Avengers Facility property, 28th July, 11:27 P.M.

 

He could feel it. His Alpha side surged, thrumming in his veins, and his blue eyes flashed red, held for five seconds, and changed to blue again. Steve grasped the granite countertop of the bathroom sink, head down and chest heaving as he gasped for air, trying to control the beast within.

You cannot fight me. I am you. Besides, you know that you need to let me out so that you can claim Natasha as your mate, don't you? his dark side sneered, and Steve's muscles jerked as his Alpha side surged again.

No, I don't! I don't need you to claim her as mine, I can do that on my own he argued, You'll never see the light of day again. I'll make sure of that. I don't need you to be who I am. You're just the part of me I chose to tamp down on so that nobody else shares my pain.

Oh, but it's too late for that. Don't you realize that once Natasha sees your dark side, she'll never be your mate! And what about the impostor, Yelena? She's out for blood... Natasha's blood... and she's going to use you to get to her.

I'll kill that bitch before she lays a single hand on me.

It's already too late for that.

NO!

With a horrid-sounding howl of pain mixed with rage, Steve fell to the ground in a heap, convulsing wildly for a good five minutes. Then he was as still as suddenly as he had started moving, and he shifted first into a pure white wolf with blue eyes, and then into a larger, more dangerous-looking black wolf with blood red eyes and scars on his muzzle, over his left eye, and along his right flank.

His jaws curved into a sinister wolf grin, and with the urge to kill rising stronger and stronger within him, he went out of the cabin and left the Facility's property, heading for the closest national park. Since it was so late, it was dark out, and his black coat melded and became one with the shadows perfectly as he slipped in and out of them, running fast and knowing he would not tire due to his exceeding strength. It was more than just the Serum that gave him strength now. It was beyond that. His Alpha side had always been strong, and ever since the Serum, that power had increased drastically, making him powerful beyond measure.

And that was exactly why he never let his Alpha side out: for fear of anyone close to him getting hurt.

He ran through the streets until he reached a national park - something that was far larger than the mere woods at the Facility's property, and far more likely to have wild animals - and began to kill left and right until his need to kill was sated.

He paused on the way back, one paw raised, and gazed up at the full moon, his blood red eyes glowing eerily. It was time; he could feel it. He nearly fell as he staggered forwards, and shifted into his final form - as an Alpha, yes, but he looked completely human.

Oh, save for the fact that he was now as tall and perhaps more muscular than Thor, his eyes were still blood red, and his canines were so long that if anyone saw him, they were sure to say he was cosplaying as a vampire. But he wasn't. This was simply his proper form - the one he had kept suppressed for so long that it now physically hurt when he let go and transformed.

A sinister, human grin curved his lips up, and his blood red eyes flashed in the darkness as he made his way home. Now was the time to claim Natasha as his mate.


New Avengers Facility, 29th July, 1:12 A.M.

 

On silent feet Steve walked into the building, sniffing the air and looking around for any sign of Natasha. He knew she would be around; he remembered her mentioning a day or so ago that she was due to go into heat soon, and she never left for missions when it was close. 

He had returned back to his regular self, except for the fact that his Alpha side was well and truly loose and in control of his actions, thoughts, and inhibitions. The good, kind-hearted, loving, gentle, protective Steve Rogers was gone, and a monster with a pure black heart took his place. Steve had always found it damn-near impossible to control his Alpha side, and once he transformed, it would take hours - even days - for him to return to his regular self.

Steve opened the door to Natasha's quarters a crack, and found, much to his relief, that she had been there recently. He listened for a few moments, and when he heard the sound of running water, he judged she was in the shower. Perfect.

He sat on the edge of the bed, waiting, a wicked smirk playing around the edges of his mouth. Natasha would be his, once and for all. Nothing would ever get in his way again. Not his morals, or his sense of respect for a woman. Not his ongoing search for Bucky, nor threats from Sharon Carter and Bruce Banner. Nothing would take her away from him. She would be putty in his hands, and he would claim her as his, and they could raise their pups together - have the lives that they always wanted.

After about fifteen minutes of waiting, his prize emerged from the bathroom looking like a dream. Red hair curled just about her shoulders, her green eyes gleamed, and on her body, instead of normal clothes, were what looked to be some form of her catsuit. The pants were just that - black pants made out of what looked to be Kevlar and leather - but the top was some kind of long-sleeved, turtle-neck crop thing that stopped barely just beneath her breasts, showing off a decent amount of toned midriff. And to top that all off, the top had a zip that started from the neck, and ended where the material ended, meaning that if he wanted to, he could easily unzip her and reveal her luscious breasts.

Oh boy.

"Well, what do we have on here? Hmm?" Steve rose to his full height, looking down at her with dark blue eyes, a smirk dancing at the corner of his lips once more. "That certainly looks good on you. Makes me want to devour you; make you all mine."

Natasha smirked back at him, her eyes dancing with mischief, and turned a slow circle to show off the suit. "I'm trying out one of the new catsuits-in-progress. I guess you like it, hunh?"

Steve raised his eyebrows, his lips now curving into a salacious grin. "Indeed I do, Natalia. But you know that if you wear it into combat you'll just make me jealous of all the other dirty men staring at you. And you know you are fully mine. Nobody can have you but me." He circled her as a predator circled its prey, hungry and waiting for the right moment to make the kill. As he did so, he gradually walked forwards, and she walked backwards in response, soon bumping into the bed behind her.

"Yes, Alpha, I am all yours." she purred, and she yanked his collar down so that their lips met in a fiery, passionate kiss. There wouldn't be much foreplay tonight; the both of them could tell. The sexual tension in the air was so thick one could cut it with a knife. They'd already used foreplay to drive each other wild the last time they were here; this time it was all about Steve claiming Natasha as his, well and truly, once and for all.

He pushed her backwards onto the bed, climbing over her, and already he could feel how aroused he was. "My my, you are looking quite delicious tonight." he hummed, slowly undoing the zipper and watching with eager eyes as the material parted to reveal the fact that she wasn't even wearing a bra underneath her combat top. "And look at that. You left yourself all bare under this top - just for me."

Like he was about to eat something that was really quite delicious, Steve bent his head down and lapped at her breasts - gently at first, before gradually becoming just a little rougher and nipping the skin here and there. He let Natasha shrug out of her combat top, and he pushed her back down again so that he could get to work driving them both wild.

Natasha whined with pleasure when he placed his lips around one of her lips and began to suckle, whilst he kneaded her neglected breast with his other hand, and squirmed when he switched sides.

"Feels good, doesn't it?" he said, voice a low rumble, and the vibrations made Natasha squirm and whine again, starting to really feel the wet heat between her legs. "I can tell. Look at you. So beautiful - and all for me."

Natasha's only response was to moan softly as he nipped her breasts once more before all but yanking her pants and underwear off, humming in appreciation as he was hit by the smell of her heat. "Mm-mm-mm. Are you ready for me, my dear? You certainly smell like it."

"Yes, Alpha, take me as yours. Fill me up with your pups." the redhead mewled, her lips parted as she panted with soft breaths. "Make me all yours. Give me your pups and let us be together. Let our bodies be united as one."

Steve slowly divested himself of his clothes, and he leaned down to give her a soft yet passionate kiss before sliding down, their bodies uniting as one once more. Natasha looked up at him with lust-filled eyes, and when she began grinding against him, his response was to growl and thrust into her so hard she let out a short scream. Both of them moved in sync, as in unison in the bedroom as they were on the battlefield.

Natasha climaxed quickly, crying out as she came, her walls clenching around him so hard it caused Steve to topple over the edge after her, moaning as he emptied his seed into her. Both were panting as they parted, and Natasha grinned at him dopily.

It was only then that Steve realized he'd made a mistake. But it was too late.

He'd slept with - and claimed - the impostor Yelena Belova as his mate, giving her his pups.

Steve roared with rage, his claws coming out and slashing at the impostor, but she just laughed and rolled out of the way, picking up her clothes and leaving the room before he could even do so much as move after her. He then remained kneeling on the bed, fully naked, sobbing into his hands, feeling more lost and broken than ever before.

What have I done?


New Avengers Facility, 29th July, 11:15 A.M.

 

The next time he saw Natasha - the real Natasha; he could tell right away - he had packed his stuff and was ready to leave. But. He had to confront her first. He grabbed her wrist, pushed her roughly against a nearby wall, and growled, "Why didn't you tell me which one of you was real and which was the impostor?"

"Steve... for the past couple of months, I've been infiltrating the... Red Room. Yelena knows, and she's been devising a plan to get revenge on me for a long time. She promised me she wouldn't tell the Red Room superiors that I was there if I ... allowed her to pose as myself. Here." Natasha swallowed heavily, looking very, very afraid. Her eyes darted all about the place, barely looking at him.

"Why couldn't you at least bring me aside and tell me how to tell the difference between you two?" Steve snarled, "I've been hurt because of you. I just gave Yelena fucking Belova my pups! I've had sex with her oh... twice now. And it's all your fault!"

Natasha shook her head and backed away from him, tears streaming down her face. "It's because I love you." she whispered brokenly.

Steve stared at her in disbelieving silence, before turning and leaving the Facility, knowing that he would never come back, and never want to see Natasha ever again. 

She loves you, you idiot. Go to her. You love her too, don't you?

No! She ruined me. I can't-!

She did it to protect you. You need to go back to her and tell her you're sorry... that you love her too. Otherwise you will be alone forever. You don't want that, do you?

I'm so sorry Natalia. I love you.

Chapter Text

I wanna run away
Anywhere out this place
I wanna run away
Just U and I, I, I, I, I

 

Steve knew that he had to go back, because as soon as he'd gone not even five miles from the Facility, he felt like he couldn't breathe. He pulled the truck over to the side of the road, gasping and feeling like he was on fire. He was in agony.

He had to go back.

Natasha was his soulmate, and whenever soulmates got too far from one another for too long in one's time of need, they felt an immense pain until they were together again. And although he could handle some pain, this kind of pain was different. And plus, he couldn't bear the thought of Natasha being in pain, as much as he wanted to be away from her. He couldn't do that to her. Deep down, he still loved her, even though he was seriously hurting emotionally right now.

So he steeled himself, turned the truck around, and headed back to the Facility, slipping in without anyone noticing. Thankfully. He didn't want to be assaulted by questions. Not now. He didn't have the answers anyway.

He went to Natasha's quarters and grabbed her wrist - gently - looking at her with wild, frantic eyes. "Come with me. I-I ... I wanna run away. There's too many memories, and I just .... I need time to think. But I can't go without you because I guess we're soulmates and even though I kinda hate you right now, I can't do that to you. So let's run away. Get away from this place. Just us. Nobody has to know. Please."

The redhead looked like she wanted to say something, but instead she pursed her lips and nodded, a thoughtful glint in her beautiful jade green eyes. She gave him a tentative smile, gently squeezing his bicep, and set about organizing her things. He didn't react to her gesture of comfort; instead merely blinking his assent, surprised that she wanted to be near him.


KGB Red Room, Russia, 2001

 

Even the slightest bit of movement caused her to whimper in pain. Even though the Red Room had brutally beaten the emotions out of her, she was still miserable and on the verge of tears as she lay curled up on her bed in her dorm, biting her lip to keep quiet.

They had taken away the last of her humanity, and she could feel the hope that she would one day escape this hell fading away. And that hurt worse than her stitches did. Fucking dammit. Why couldn't anything in her life go right?

Natalia shuddered at the thought of what lay ahead of her now, and she squeezed her eyes shut tight, trying to block out emotions.

Although she couldn't see, she certainly felt when a tall shadow passed over her face, and she heard the door softly click shut. "Кто там?" she demanded, without bothering to open her eyes; she was afraid to see one of her handlers, or worse, Madame B. She feared that woman, and she had every right to.

"В самом деле, Я думал что вы знаете мои шаги к настоящему времени. Вы проскальзывают в вашей профессиональной подготовки, Наталья." the man seemed to be scolding her, and yet, at the same time, he sounded ... amused? That was strange. Natalia had always thought that the Zimniy Soldat felt absolutely nothing.

"Я устал," Natalia snapped in response, opening her eyes to glare at her trainer. "И вы не знаете сколько боли Я нахожусь в. Почему ты здесь? Я от тренировки в течение по крайней мере две недели."

The Soldat tilted his head, blue eyes twinkling with amusement, and was that a smirk twisting his lips upward? Who was this man? "I'm going to get you out of here." He had switched to English, which thankfully she understood, although many of her superiors didn't. 

Ah. He didn't want anyone to hear them. What kind of plan did he have up his sleeve?

The redhead stared at him in disbelief, barely managing to sit up and draw her knees to her chest so that she could see him properly. "I can scarcely move, let alone walk. So what makes you think that I escape with you?" She shook her head, angry that he could think such things. Their superiors would catch them, and beat them mercilessly. Probably make her go without food for a week. "You are fool."

The Soldat scoffed, grabbing her arm none-too-gently and lifting her up, causing her to cry out in pain. He dropped her again and stepped back with a frown. "What did they do to you?"

"Took last piece of my humanity," Natalia answered in a small voice, burrowing her face into her knees so that she didn't have to face him any longer. "I am nothing more than weapon. Everything of my body now belong to KGB - Red Room."

"You're just a kid. Geez. You don't deserve that." To her surprise, the Soldat sat on her bed and wrapped an arm around her. Even more surprising, was that she didn't feel the need to flinch away from the contact; she leaned into him instead, uttering a sigh that shook her whole body, letting her eyes slip closed.


Steve's apartment, Brooklyn, New York, 30th July, 5:45 A.M.

 

Natasha awoke with a slight jerk, and a soft sigh escaped parted lips when she realized that it was not one metal arm and one flesh arm around her, but two muscular flesh-and-blood arms, and the chest she was using as a pillow did not belong to a dark-haired, dead-eyed assassin, but instead belonged to Steve Rogers, her - .... best friend.

And then she realized that she was no longer in the Red Room, in Russia, but she was in Steve's apartment in Brooklyn, New York. She was safe.

She sighed and couldn't help but kiss his forehead and nuzzle her face into his chest again, closing her eyes and allowing herself to relax.

So what if they weren't together, and their friendship was on the rocks? She didn't give a fuck, and she honestly doubted that Steve minded that she was doing this. After all, he desperately needed the comfort. Especially after all he had been through. If she could be the one thing he could cling to... the only person to talk to... the only friend to comfort him... then she would.

Because she loved him.

Eventually she drifted back into the land of sleep, and this time, her sleep was dreamless.


Steve's apartment, Brooklyn, New York, 30th July, 7:02 A.M.

 

Steve cracked open his eyes the next morning, and he started when he saw a redhead in his arms. However, he relaxed when he realized it was Natasha. And even though she was snuggled up to him, he found that he didn't mind. She was so small, and in his arms, he felt like he could shield her from whatever dangers came his way.

Boy, did he want to.

He could've gotten up, but Natasha was sleeping so peacefully, and so he chose to lay there, not wanting to disturb her. She looked so peaceful... youthful... as she slept. More beautiful than ever. 

He wished that he could be hers, and she his.

But he needed to gather the courage to talk to her - without his Alpha side getting in the way, and without letting his emotions get the better of him. A heart-to-heart between the soldier and the spy was long due, but for now, he just wanted to relax with her presence so close to him. He pressed his lips to her forehead and left them there, closing his eyes. His heart whispered what his voice could not:

I love you so much, Natalia.

Chapter Text

A lone, canine figure wandered through the streets, moonlight glinting off bright brown eyes. It stopped every now and then, one paw raised, to get its bearings and sniff the air, before continuing on its way. It was a fairly large wolf - a werewolf, though nobody knew that just from a glance - muscular and powerful-looking. Most people would run in fear, bar the brave ones who would find that this wolf looked rather friendly.

Once the wolf reached the outskirts of the New Avengers Facility property, it stopped in a band of trees, and a man was what walked out from between those trees. Tall, with brown hair that sat about broad shoulders, and haunted blue eyes that stood out the most in a handsome face, it was clear that this man had been through a lot - perhaps he was a soldier of some kind.

He crossed the grass, passing a cabin and ignoring it completely because it wasn't his destination, and since there were no lights on, he did not detour. Instead he headed for the Facility itself, only stopping when a shadowy figure slipped out of the building.

The man leapt into action, racing on silent feet to grab the figure around the waist, tackling it from behind. "Who are you?" he demanded, voice low and rasping, sounding as though he hadn't spoken for a very long time.

The other person was in fact a woman, of fair height and with an athletic build. The man recognized her instantly, and shook her shoulders. "Belova. You should not be here. Come, I am here to take you back." he commanded, the lie slipping smoothly off his tongue as water slips off a duck's back. He helped her off the ground, and frowned at her. "Your superiors will be unimpressed. You had a window. Time's up."

Belova nodded, a spark of fear flashing in her eyes, before she regained her composure. "Zimniy Soldat. I did not expect you here. And my mission is complete."

"As I said, I was deployed to take you back, Comrade. Success or no, you took far too long. Kurchecknow will be displeased." The man informed her bluntly, maintaining his firm grip on her arm as he lead her off the property and towards a road, stopping only once to hijack a vehicle - a large pick-up truck - before vanishing into the darkness.

He was silent for a long while, until, he spoke up. "You said you were successful. Clarify."

"I seduced Captain. He gave me pups." Belova stated coolly, looking ever-so-composed, and without a single hair out of place even though she had just taken off a wig. "However, I did not kill Black Widow. She escaped."

The man growled, throwing his companion an angry look. "Then you have not completed your mission, Comrade. You know that Kurchecknow will punish you for taking so long to not complete a mission. He should have disposed of you long ago."

The woman hung her head in shame. "There was complication," she admitted, sounding guilty. "It was not what I expected."

"What kind of complication." Unbeknownst to Belova, the man was in fact lying to her. He wasn't going to take her to Kurchecknow, her handler. He was going to take her to where he was staying, and keep her prisoner until the baby was born. Then, he would give the baby to Steve - it was the right thing to do, he knew that, and even though Steve might not even want the baby, he'd damn well try, anyway - and kill Belova. Simple. The woman was a fool; easy to trick because she was desperate to please her handler, and it was easy enough to bait her, hook, line, and sinker.

This man, in fact, was James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, the former Winter Soldier, and - he hoped - Steve Rogers' best friend. He had broken free of HYDRA's brainwashing and programming ever since D.C. the year prior, and ever since had been trying to find his true self, and do the right thing. So far, he had been moderately successful in his endeavors, and so, when he discovered that there was an offshoot of the Red Room trying to build itself back up to its former glory, he took it down, killing and/or capturing everyone he found, including the man who was Belova's handler - Kurchecknow. The man was a chickenshit and spilled everything, so now James knew that Yelena Belova, the woman sitting beside him, was a wannabe Black Widow, former KGB agent, and would-be mistress of sorts to Steve Rogers. His best friend.

And now he was determined to make sure that Belova never got to raise her baby - otherwise there would be another Widow protégé, and Natasha would be in grave danger since he knew that Yelena was eager to kill the redhead and claim her place as the Black Widow.

"Captain was difficult to seduce, and Black Widow got in way. If I made attempt to kill her, Rogers would have noticed." Belova stated, and when she looked at him next, she was clearly frightened.

Although Yelena was an Alpha wolf like himself, she was awfully submissive - her constant beatings and brainwashing was evident. It was good news; much easier for him to keep the blonde subdued, that way.

James growled low in his throat as a warning, and stopped the truck. "Unacceptable." he said sharply, tearing a piece of cloth off his shirt sleeve and tying it around Belova's eyes as a way to block out her surroundings. "Expect further punishment when we touch base. Understood, Comrade?"

"I understand," Yelena said meekly, and then fell silent.

Now that James had the wannabe Black Widow in his possession, it would be much easier for his plan to unfold. All he had to do was wait. And perhaps, at some point, talk to Steve. After all, his best friend needed to know that he was alive and well, and what James was up to.

He also needed to warn Steve of the price on his head.

Chapter Text

"What's wrong?" The soft, gentle voice was like music to his ears, snapping him out of his stupor as he realized that Natasha was standing in front of him, and had asked him a question. Steve lifted his head to meet her gaze, and released a heavy sigh.

"You can't help me, Natasha. I'm not worth it." he said brokenly, feeling oddly detached from... everything. Sure, last night, when Natasha had cuddled up to him in her sleep... that was good, but when he awoke the second time, he had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach and a twist in his gut, and he knew, he just knew, that it was the fallout.

She couldn't help him with that. He was far too damaged - she didn't need to see his dark side more than she already had. He didn't want to ruin the remains of their strained friendship. He couldn't do that to her.

The spy shook her head, glancing down as though trying to gather courage before looking at him again. "Don't be stupid, Steve. Stop trying to cut your own path; it's not gonna work." She hesitantly moved closer to him, and reached up to place her hands on his broad shoulders. "Don't think so low of yourself."

"You think I'm trying to think low of myself? You think I wan-" Steve abruptly stopped talking when Natasha placed her index finger on his lips, a gesture that he found both oddly tantalizing, and strangely soothing.

"Don't you dare think any less of yourself just because bad things keep happening to you for the amount of good you do for this world. It's not your fault. It happens to so many different people. You're not the only one. You'll get your happy ending someday - I'll help you find it." Natasha spoke passionately, and Steve found himself taken aback by her words. Since when did she have the conviction to back up her words? She had a dark past herself... where did she find the courage to speak the way she did?

"How can you say that? You, after all you've been through? Where did you find the courage to find that?" Steve questioned, his blue eyes searching hers. "I didn't know you had that kind of courage in you."

Slowly, a sweet smile curved Natasha's lips upwards, which he found odd, because in all the years he'd known her, he'd never once seen her smile. Always a smirk, or a half-smirk which was just a quirking of the corners of her mouth. But a smile? Never. Something was amiss.

The redhead moved her hands from his shoulders to his biceps, and her eyes glittered as she smiled. "From you..." she answered, voice soft and almost sultry, and then she stretched up on her tiptoes, pulling him closer so that their lips met-


Steve's apartment, Brooklyn, New York, 30th July, 9:47 A.M.

 

Steve awoke in a cold sweat, gasping for air, with tears streaking down his chiselled features. It had all been just a dream. None of it was real. Natasha wasn't about to kiss him, and she wasn't smiling for no reason at him. None of it was real.

He wished that some of it was real, though. He would absolutely love to see Natasha's real smile. And he ached to be able to hold her in his arms, look into her eyes adoringly, give her that tender smile of his, and then kiss her like she was the one who anchored him to this world. But it was all just a dream - a wild fantasy cooked up by his overactive imagination.

"Pipe dream," he muttered bitterly, pushing himself into an upright position and using a tissue to wipe the tears off his face. He glanced to his right and saw that Natasha, who was once curled up and sleeping peacefully beside him, was now as wide awake as he was, looking at him with big, questioning green eyes.

"What's a pipe dream, Steve?" she questioned softly, propping herself up on one elbow to be able to get a better view.

Steve shook his head and dragged his hands down his face before running them through his hair, sighing. "Nothing," he lied easily, and he met her gaze so that she couldn't tell. But she wasn't called one of the best spies for nothing, and she read him like a book.

One corner of her mouth perked up in a smirk, and she said knowingly, "Now now, how many times must I tell you that you are really, well and truly, a terrible liar? Tsk tsk, I thought you would have known better than to try lying to me by now. Clearly you need to be taught a thing or two."

The blonde couldn't help the smile that crept across his face at the familiar - and soothing - teasing tone, and he found himself relenting. He had to tell her sooner or later, right? So why not now. "It's... well... you know that thing where you find "the one" and there's so many things standing in your way - the most difficult barrier being yourself?"

"I know, but then I also don't know, I suppose," Natasha mused, pursing her lips slightly as she thought. "I know who my soulmate is - I mean it's kinda obvious, since he's lying in front of me, talking to me - but ... I don't know about finding "the one", as such. And I also do know about finding "the one", since the internet and Tony Stark's big mouth are a help."

Steve let out a chuckle that died off more quickly than usual, and he took a gulp of water from the bottle on his nightstand before picking up the conversation again. "So uh, the thing is... I... I've got... Oh fuck I can't... I can't say this to you..."

Natasha gently grasped his hand and gave it a gentle, reassuring squeeze. "I'm here, Steve. I'll listen."

"But... but why? Why would you help me?" Steve blurted out. "I mean, I've got... I'm not... I'm-I'm-I'm damaged."

His companion gave him an almost-smile, and said rather softly, "When I first met you, I didn't know how alone you were in the world. And when I found out..." She shook her head and glanced down, clearly embarrassed, "I didn't want you to be alone. I'm your friend. I'm here. Just let it out, Steve. Let go..."

And so Steve found himself blurting out everything he'd ever wanted to say to the beautiful redhead before him.

"For the longest time... for as long as I can remember, I s'pose... well... I've always wanted to find the right partner. Y'see, my Ma always told me that one day I'd find the one, and when I do, I'd heal and be healed by her. I'll love and be loved by her. And for so long now I've looked. Back then I had no clue who my soulmate was. I thought for awhile that it was Peggy. But... After the kiss we shared right before I boarded the Valkyrie, I knew she wasn't "the one". Wasn't my soulmate. Know how I knew? Because my Ma told me that when you share the perfect kiss, for the right reasons, you'll just know... you'll get this feeling in your chest; your heart... and you'll know that she's the one. Your true soulmate. Peggy wasn't it. When I came out of the ice, I was lost and alone and scared and most of all, angry. Angry at myself, at the world... and I just... I never had the heart to live. But when the Avengers Initiative... when the Battle of New York occurred, I started to find my way again. Why? Because I met you. Then Fury partnered us, and we became one of the best teams of SHIELD agents in existence. Formidable. The perfect pairing. And I had no clue about anything until that kiss on the escalator. That was when I realized that my crush on you started to turn into more of "I'm falling head-over-heels in love with you, and falling fast". At the graveyard, when you kissed my cheek... That was it. That was the moment that I knew you were "the one". My true soulmate. I didn't wanna lose you. Yet when I came back... when Tony gathered us all back at the Tower, and I was the last one there, and I saw how close you were with Banner, my heart broke. I thought... I thought you were finding someone. But then I noticed you weren't really that close, and that you were only talking to him so that you could get to know him to get the Lullaby to work better. And that was how I knew that you knew I was "the one" for you. And ever since then, I have loved you. With everything that I was, am, and ever could be. However, with everything that's happened lately... with Yelena and me making so many fucking mistakes... I wasn't sure if I was worthy of your love. Worthy of being by your side, forever."

By the time he'd finished talking, tears were pooling in his beautiful baby blue eyes, and he was staring at the sheets instead of at Natasha, who was looking at him with nothing but kindness all over her face.

"Steve," she said gently, and his head snapped up to look at her, now fearful he'd made yet another mistake. "Come here." As soon as he moved closer, she welcomed him into her embrace, holding him as tight as she could and rubbing slow circles on his back. "Don't think you're not worthy. I'm just as dark and damaged as you are. Maybe not now... but maybe someday... I'll learn to love, too. But for now, it's my job to make sure you start to heal. Okay?"

Steve nodded, trying not to start crying all over her - crying in relief. "Okay," he echoed, voice sounding hoarse and really not like his own, "Okay."

Chapter Text

Steve's apartment, Brooklyn, New York, 30th July, 2:54 P.M.

 

After revealing his feelings for the beautiful spy, Steve had cried nonstop for about fifteen minutes, and remained in an embrace with Natasha for fifteen minutes after that. It felt nice, being able to be held by the woman of his dreams for so long. His very soul was beginning to feel like it was at peace, which was something that he was glad of.

But now, it seemed that Natasha had something up her sleeve - and Steve didn't want to know what it was. He had a feeling that he wasn't going to like what she was thinking, and so as soon as she got this look on her face that read we need to talk, he immediately hopped off the bed, standing up.

"Let me see," Natasha implored out of the blue, her green eyes searching his, "Let me see your Alpha side. I want.... You need to show me."

Steve frowned and backed away from her, shaking his head. "I'm not gonna do that, Natasha. I'm- He's... dangerous. He could kill you in a heartbeat and I wake up with blood on my hands and your lifeless body in front of me... I don't want that."

Come on, Rogers. The lady asked, so you gotta show her. Isn't that what you've always wanted? To let the beast out and claim Natasha as your own? She's yours, remember? All yours. She doesn't belong to anyone but you.

No! She's her own woman, first, last, and always. She doesn't need me - need us. She's not as dark and damaged as I am - as we are. She's pure compared to us.

That isn't the point. She's asking you - come on, when does Natasha Romanoff ever ask for anything? It's just not like her. Just show her your Alpha side. Just this once. Since when did your Ma ever teach you to turn down a lady's request?

Now it was Natasha's turn to frown, her green eyes searching his again. "Just how many times have you thought of that for it to become so... vivid?" she asked, her lips downturned slightly.

"Enough," Steve sighed, and that was a decent answer for Natasha, who shook her head sadly, and stood up so that she was closer to him, splaying one hand on his chest over his heart, looking at him imploringly now. "Come on; please show me," she insisted, "I want to see, Steve. Show me who you are in here."

Steve backed up a step and sighed again, closing his eyes. He dropped to his knees, riding out the waves of pain as he shifted into his Alpha human form, who was as tall as Thor, and nearly as muscled as Thor, with much deeper, more menacing blue eyes. And there was a decent amount of scruff along his jawline, too.

Alpha gazed down at the beautiful redhead before him, fighting so many urges, and a yowl escaped its lips before the eyes returned to their regular shade of blue, stating that Steve was now in control - but barely. One wrong move, and boom, Natasha was dead.

"There you are..." Natasha whispered, stepping closer and cupping the unshaven cheeks in her hands, her jade green eyes soft, so soft and filled with kindness and curiosity. "Look at you, hm? Still so handsome... and you don't look dangerous to me. Looks can be deceiving, yes, but you don't scare me like this, Steve. I've been scared before. And I'm not now."

She swept her thumbs across his cheekbones in a soft, calming motion, and another sigh fluttered past Steve's lips; this time a sigh of calm. He closed his eyes and leaned into the touch, feeling his Alpha side gradually fading back into the cage in his mind.

"That's it... there's nothing to fear. Nothing's gonna happen. You don't have to fight. Just rest..." And Natasha's soft, soothing voice was the last thing he heard as Steve faded from consciousness into a much-needed sleep, feeling her arms supporting him as he sank to the floor.


Steve's apartment, Brooklyn, New York, 31st July, 8:35 A.M.

 

The blonde supersoldier sighed softly, absently stirring his mug of coffee as he stared out the window, blank and for once, thankfully numb. He felt the gaze of the redhead across from him, and he looked over at her. Natasha tilted her head slightly, her lips curving upwards into a smirk. "Cat got your tongue, Rogers?" she teased softly, "Or have you got the glass eyes of a stuffed pigeon?"

"Wha-? No, no, I'm just thinking, is all. I just...." Steve sighed again, shaking his head, "I have the feeling that something's off." He tapped a rhythm on the table with his fingers, before taking a swallow of his coffee, which was already room temperature. Ugh, gross. "I don't know what it is, but I just... I gotta go. And you can't come with me."

The spy opened her mouth to protest, but Steve held up a hand to cut her off, which thankfully, effectively silenced her from what she had to say.

"Don't, Natasha. I gotta do this, please. You know what it's like to have the urge to fight... take out some of your anger and bad feelings upon your enemies when you're in the middle of healing emotionally. And you know that it's better to do it alone than to take someone with you, no matter how much the other person insists they need to come... no matter how much you want them to come with you. But I need to do this alone. Please, stay. Wait for me to come home." Steve pleaded with her to see reason, and to his relief, she nodded slowly, although her eyes showed that she was unhappy about this.

"Go, Steve. I won't stop you." she replied, taking his hand and giving it a squeeze. "But please, stay safe... and please, please come back to me."

Steve nodded, kissing her cheek as a sign - a promise - that he would return to her. "Stay out of sight, and don't contact the others. I love you."

Natasha smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes, and it was more of a grimacing smirk than a smile in the end. "I know. Now go."


New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, 5th October, 3:21 A.M.

 

Three months. Steve had been in the hospital for three months As soon as Natasha had gotten word from an inside source - yes, okay, she had asked Wanda and Pietro to trail Steve, and it was Pietro who had zipped to a Starbucks downtown to deliver the news to her. She'd then raced to the hospital, and remained at his bedside ever since - only leaving his side to get food, take a shower, and sleep in a proper bed.

She hadn't contacted any of the other Avengers outside of the twins, simply because she didn't want anyone else knowing why and to where she ran off with Steve. Wanda somehow always knew what was going on - she didn't even have to use her powers - and she was trying to befriend Pietro by including him.

Gradually, time dragged on, and Natasha had finally come to accept that Steve was in a coma that wasn't induced, and would therefore wake up who-knows-when. At first, she couldn't believe that Steve wasn't just gonna wake up from his surgery and be able to come back home. It just didn't sit right.

By the fifth day of the third month, she had begun to give up hope that Steve would return to her.

The doctors had told her that that was possible - that he wouldn't see the light of day again.

And yet she'd never believed them - always stubbornly insisting that he would wake up because he was a fighter, and he had to come back to her because he'd promised her, and Steven Grant Rogers never broke his promises.

Steve had made the sacrifice play - he'd laid his life on the line to save the civilians and get rid of the bad guys, and so he'd paid the price. All the civilians were safe, the bad guys were all either locked up or dead... and thankfully, Steve was still alive.

Hopefully he'd actually wake up so that he could fully keep his promise.

Natasha heaved a sigh and dragged the chair closer to the bed again, resting her chin on the bar, watching Steve as he slept. "Oh Rogers, when will you learn how to stop being so self-sacrificing? There are other people around who need you, you know? Like Bucky, who you've still gotta find. The Avengers, who you need to lead. And me."

She shook her head and ignored the tears threatening to spill out over her cheeks, and she grasped Steve's hand in hers, noting that although he didn't really look any less injured than when he'd first come in - when he moved around and ate, his metabolism kicked in and sped up the healing process, but whilst he lay in the hospital bed, unmoving, he didn't heal anywhere near as fast as normal - he certainly looked more peaceful.

If he wasn't in as much pain as he was when he was first sent into the hospital, that was a good sign.

Just as she started to drift off to sleep, it happened. The monitors picked up the heightening of vital signs, the hand holding hers twitched and then grasped her hand firmly. His eyelids fluttered open, a furrow between sandy brows appeared, and then his lips parted to speak,

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"...Tasha?"