BLACK WIDOW IS/ARE THE PROPERTY OF MARVEL INC. AND THEIR RESPECTIVE AFFILIATES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE STORY IS MY OWN, BUT BLACK WIDOW AND THE WINTER SOLDIER ARE NOT.
The following piece is rated M for Mature. It contains nudity, mild sexual references/scenes and mild language.
This story takes place after the events of Fear Itself 7.1: Captain America. Be advised, the series will contain violence, sex scenes (entirely consensual) and mild language.
Furthermore, the author Volpe recommends listening to this whilst reading Chapter 2. Nothing at All - Rob Dougan.
I love, therefore I am. Another faceless writer’s work I will never forget. Time passes, events and places take their hold, people change – but it is a constant reminder of life. There are times when I forget I am alive, where I feel as though I have been dead for the last forty years. Then there are times…
Times like this.
Natasha awoke, the cold metallic arm of her partner draped over the exposed skin of her shoulder. Her green eyes registering the odd light of early morning as she exhaled softly. Looking to the digital clock on the bedside table, it read the time of 4:21. There was an odd shade of light peering through the windows of the penthouse apartment she shared with her partner. The city of Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, was not like New York. It was not a city that ‘never slept’; these people were different. Buildings were illuminated, not by artificial light, but by the odd mixture of a descending moon and a rising sun.
Taking a breath, Natasha turned slowly, her red hair falling in thick strands over her eyes and nose, as she came face to face with her partner, her lover and her closest friend – James ‘Bucky’ Barnes. She pulled the white sheets of the bed upwards, covering her naked bosom and James’ torso. It was cooler this morning than the previous night.
Was he awake? Natasha could not tell. James was an enigma, a man that could never be classified as predictable. Lifting her right hand delicately, she brushed the side of his cheek. With her fingers she traced, her loving gaze watching him as he lay there peacefully. Their lives rarely had moments like these. Their lives rarely could be called peaceful.
“How’s your rib?” James muttered with closed eyes. He had not forgotten about the injury Natasha had suffered the previous night. He felt as though he was directly at fault for the injury. Being a perfectionist, James convinced himself that his lover had suffered due to his failure at preparation.
Natasha didn’t answer. In her mind, it was redundant. She had already expressed that the injury was not his fault, and the more he dwelled on it, the angrier he would become. Instead of an audible reply, Natasha scooted towards James. Her bandages brushed against the bed, causing slight friction and discomfort for the wound.
“You slept, then?” Natasha asked with their faces now in closer proximity. Natasha herself, unexpectedly tired from her previous espionage mission, had slept peacefully after their love-making.
“On and off. It’s … been weird. I know returning to the shadows was my decision, but I just didn’t think I would be missing that uniform – that honour."
“I’m not surprised. After all, not even court or being thrown in a gulag could separate you from it.”
James chuckled, his metallic arm moving beneath the sheets and resting on Natasha’s waist. “I can’t help but think if I’m making the wrong decision here or not. It changed me, Nat. I never told you about the Gulag and what I went through.”
“It was your decision to tell me or not, James.”
“They made me fight for my life.”
“That isn’t any different to every other day.”
“Not my life, but my actual life. My sanity, my dignity. They forced me into corners, expecting the Winter Soldier instincts to kick in. They got what they wanted. I did what I was trained to do … to kill.”
Natasha’s hand returned to James’ face, a look of understanding and reassurance in her eyes. “The Winter Soldier is a part of you, James – just like the KGB is a part of me. We can never change that, and we shouldn’t waste breath trying to. What we should do, is to ensure that it doesn’t take control of us. You and I … we were bred to lie, steal and kill. We didn’t choose this life, but we cannot change it. All we can do is use it for good, for redemption.
James smiled faintly, his metallic hand drawing back and gently grabbing the wrist of Natasha’s. Brushing his face against it, he kissed it tenderly. “How’s your rib feeling?”
“I’m not answering that.”
“I thought you might say that. Guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow night. How long does it usually take you to heal before you go for seconds?” James smirked after his taunt, which had its desired effect on Natasha. With a smirk of her own, she took her hand away from his grasp quickly.
With a grunt of physical stress, James heaved his legs, which were straightened and pressed together, off the ground. His hands pressing on two exercise benches, he held himself in position, the strain of it only mild, but it began to build slowly. Behind him, Natasha was balancing on a bar, her body gracefully curling as she rotated vertically from standing forward-flips to backwards-flips. Her agility and gymnastic background availing her great skill and grace.
“I don’t trust this plan, Natalia.” James was one of the only people left in her life that knew who real name and had earned the right to use it.
“Good. You aren’t supposed to.” Natasha replied in a back-handed manner as she held herself upside-down with her arms, straightening her legs in complete vertical synchronization towards the roof.
“How do you know your MI6 contact isn’t Nayam’s payroll?”
“I don’t – that is the entire point.”
“James, relax. You’re sounding like Clint.”
“Ballerina is in place, and both you and I will be alerted to when the system is accessed. In the meantime, it is imperative you and I get an idea of what lies before us. Our usual sources are obviously misinformed, so we must acquire new ones."
“I don’t trust the MI6.”
“I don’t trust the CIA, but that doesn’t stop me from using them.”
Finishing her rotation, Natasha sprung off the bar and landed in a gymnastic vertical pose, which pulled on her wound. Cringing, she slightly lost her balance. James, using the reflection of the wall-sized windows, caught the movement.
“I saw that.”
Natasha made no response, but grabbed a nearby towel and wiped her face and neck with it. James shook his head in both disagreement and disbelief. The two of them were the most stubborn couple on the planet in his eyes.
“I appreciate your concern, James. But what I appreciate more is your concentration. I need you focused. If all goes to hell, I’ll need your eyes on the scene.”
“And those shadow mercenaries? What about them?”
“I’m in the midst of preparing for them …” Natasha walked over to a weapons rack as her statement came to an unfinished coda. Pulling a sabre from the wall, she expertly swung the blade to and fro, as if it were as foreign to her as a pistol.