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Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-13-2017

The Black Widow was hunting. Natalia wished that there was a better word for it, something that let her feel a little more like a superhero and a little less like a serial killer, but that was the plain truth of it. She'd been in the Hub for awhile now, and it had been an uncomfortably long time between missions, and with no Nick Fury to send her out, she'd gone on her own.

Everyone had agreed that Gotham was a hive of scum, with everything from low level muggers to true monsters, and that sounded good to her. So she'd headed to the portal that lead to Gotham, which was easy to find and stable, and stepped through it. She found herself in a park, but it didn't take long to find her way to what seemed to be an entertainment district.

So now, Elena Rush was walking along the street, dressed for a night out, appearing to me more than a little drunk, and more concerned with the texts that were coming in on her phone than she was whoever or whatever was lurking in dark alleys.

Natalia was, as she always did, sitting back, observing what was happening, and taking a quiet satisfaction in the fact that at the end of the night, there would be a few less dangerous people in Gotham, and that the ordinary citizens would be just a little bit safer.

And Black Widow, she was hunting.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-13-2017

He really disliked Gotham.

The only benefit was that he could accept the out of town gig and work with Luthor himself, part of the team headed by Mercy that took part in the Wayne Charity event Mr. Luthor helped to host.

Shockingly the auction had managed to avoid interaction with any of Gotham more colorful rouges.

The most eventful moment had been when a stunning red head had bumped into him, the fine powder of her makeup had left a glittery dust on his tuxedo jacket.

Beyond that Safi was now free to make his way to the park abusing the convenience of the portals to see if Tony wanted to spend the night-(an idea that was approaching obsessive levels. Damn he was getting hot under the collar…) and use their closet portal to still make it into work the next morning with out having to take the night train to Central.

Summer was hitting Gotham, his bow tie hung loosely around his neck, top buttons undone. This WAS Gotham though and not matter how preoccupied Safi was still on high guard.

He saw the predators before the prey.

Kids really. Dangerous yes but he could not yet justify pulling his weapon. Maybe it was hanging around Captain Perfect that caused him to grab the garbage lid-(really was Gotham the only city that still had metal trash cans?) Hurling it pretty Damn accurately if he said so himself.

The lid impacted just as the leader was about to bark out his own demands to the woman-

Safi’s fist connected body continuing on with the fight even as his brain screamed-”Rachel??” adrenaline spiked, blue eyes frantically searched for Sarah. Their divorce might not have been pretty but he didn't believe she would leave their daughter behind or in danger.

Party dress. Phone out. Why she was going out in Gotham of all places wasn't a question he needed answered at this second. Once he opened his eyes it was clear that she was most likely on the way to or more likely on the way back from a ‘date’.

His next hit held far more power, vicious in his redirected rage.

The knife slice to his ribs was taken to put the last guy down.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-13-2017

Black Widow had, of course, spotted the gang as soon as they started to follow her. She wasn't sure if the size of the group-there were six of them- was because they were young and uncertain, or because they feared being picked off by someone who was truly dangerous, or if they intended more than simple robbery. Still, they were young, young enough that she was willing to refrain from killing them. She'd leave them broken and bloody, and hopefully the recovery period would give them time to think about their actions.

It was a softer, and more sentimental response than she would have had a few years before, but her time with the Avengers and with SHIELD had changed the Black Widow, at least a little. She was pulling her baton out of her purse-under the guise of putting her phone in- when the leader was hit in the back of the head by a garbage can lid. This was unexpected, but far from unwelcome, especially when she saw the man who'd thrown it.

It wasn't Steve Rogers, or at least it wasn't her version of Steve Rogers. He was less powerfully built than the man she'd known-this man was fit and strong, but he was built on a more human scale. With the exception of the improvised trash can shield, his fighting style was different as well-he'd been trained in something other than basic US Army hand to hand and boxing, and had tactics that went beyond 'make sure you're in the right place to hit them really hard' that Steve Rogers had favored. Which, admittedly, had been a remarkably successful plan most of the time, even if she couldn't help but think it inelegant. The beard was different as well, but that was cosmetic.

What went beyond the surface was how good it felt to fight alongside this man, how her blood sang as the two of them made short work of the thugs, sending them to the ground bloody and beaten. After she'd taken down her last opponent, she turned to face her new compatriot, wiping away a bit of blood-not her's- that had landed on her cheek. "Thanks." she said, grinning at him.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-14-2017

Rachel was an architect, but like all Israeli women she had served her stint in the armed forces; against a Central city mugger he'd lay odds on his ex.

This how ever was Gotham a damn gang of kids.

The slice across his chest showed that even if you were good you could still get hit. Especially when trying not to kill.


Safi spun on his wife, anger setting his face in hard lines. “What are you doing in Gotham? Where is Sarah? Why didn't you tell me you were coming to the states?-” the rapid fire questions came out in Hebrew his hands going to her shoulders, roughly checking to see she was OK.

She had broken his heart.

He still loved her.

He wanted to hug her tightly; shake her, old instincts called to kiss her. “are you hurt?” his jacket was shucked draped around her shoulders.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-14-2017

Once the fight was over, Black Widow slid back into the background, and Natasha came to the fore.

Evidently there was a version of her in this world, and evidently this version of Steve had cared for that person, which was interesting, Natasha noted. Natalia couldn't help but react to his touch, to the familiar yet oddly different way he was checking to make sure that she was alright, and Natalia wasn't quite sure if now was the time to correct his mistake about her identity. But Natasha was in charge, and she was more sensible than Natalia, especially when it came to the men in her life. Or who had been in her life.

The double of one of those men was standing in front of her, and of all the unexpected things she'd encountered, Steve Rogers speaking Hebrew had to be high up on the list. Without thinking about it she responded in the same language. Her Hebrew was fluent, although she did have a trace of a Russian accent. That was common enough in Israel to be totally unremarkable, and so the Red Room hadn't invested the time it would have taken to make sure that she spoke Hebrew with a perfect Israeli accent.

"I'm not hurt." she replied "I'm in Gotham to deal with scum like that." she gestured to where the thugs were starting to stand and crawl away from the scene "I didn't tell you I was coming because I don't know you, and I don't know who Sarah is either."

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-14-2017

He wasn't an idiot. Far from it. Yet even knowing about Hub, having worried
about people coming through-(honestly he figured Gotham would deal with them herself ) he still didn't jump to that conclusion when confronted by a woman who didn't quite sound like his (ex)wife.

"Is oueasy daughter with my mother?” hearing what he THOUGHT she meant. “did they hit your head?” was she stunned? Safi’s fingers combed through her hair. “Let's get off the street. Gotham police or the Bat will take care of this mess.” Safi dropped an arm around her comfortingly “Do you have a hotel?”

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-14-2017

Natasha didn't protest as the man, the man who looked like Steve, checked her head for damage and put his arm around her. Getting out of here did seem like a good idea, she didn't want to tangle with the local authorities (such as they were) if she could help it. Who she was and what she was doing there was a very long story, and one best discussed off the streets. Or at least on their way off the streets.

"I don't have a daughter." she said, feeling a little pang as she said it. She never would have a child, the Red Room had taken care of that, and most of the time she didn't regret it. Of course, most of the time she didn't think about it. "I'm fine, no one hit my head. I don't have a hotel. I don't know who you think I am, but I'm not from around here."

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-14-2017

“Rachel.” Safi pulled back shaking his head. If he had met her in Hub he would have immediately assumed she was some other version of his wife.

As it was the idea was warring with the fact that this was the ‘real’ world. Not that strange fantastical place where a dozen different men with his face walked.

“Who are you than?”

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-14-2017

"My name is Natalia Romanova." she said, some impulse causing her to give him her real name instead of one of the many aliases she used. "Who is Rachel? And what is your name? I don't think that its Steve Rogers." she continued to speak in Hebrew, not knowing what other languages they might have in common.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-14-2017

“ah.” his hands left her shoulders, at the name Roger his face shut down into hard lines. “You are from one of his universes? Why come to my world. Go back. Stay in Hub. This is not your world.” he continued in English

Safi stepped away eyeing her warily.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-14-2017

Natasha hadn't expected him to stay close to her, to offer her comfort once he knew that she wasn't his Rachel, yet, when he stepped away she couldn't help but feel a little sting of rejection. Then he switched to English, and she felt another sting, aware that he was doing it as a way to distance himself. She wasn't going to push, not much anyway, but she was curious about this man, and didn't want him to put so much distance that she would be unable to talk to him. To find out who he was.

So when she spoke, she continued to speak Hebrew, which was clearly his first language, the language of home, and comfort, and took half a step towards him. He knew about the Hub, so she didn't need to explain that part at least "i'm from a universe that has a man named Steve Roger's living in it, yes." she said "Why would that make me your enemy? I know that it isn't my world, but I heard that Gotham was a place with a lot of dangerous people. People who need to be stopped. That is the work I do, and this seemed like a good place to do it."

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-14-2017

“Roger's isn't me.” he continued in English. He caught the faint accent his own training picking up on the possible exploit “Gotham has enough idiots running around in costumes pretending to be hero's. “ his Russian was actually decent, understandable anyway.

“pretty sure there is even a red head or two. Go home. This is not your world.” he didn't cross his arms, leaving the possibly to pull his weapon if needed.

He couldn't shoot her.

She looked like the woman he still bitterly loved.

No matter how often he'd had that thought in the immediate aftermath.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-14-2017

"I never said he was. For a start, you have better fashion sense." she answered, again in Hebrew. When he switched to Russian, she gave him a little nod, like a fencer acknowledging an opponent "I'm not an idiot, and this isn't a costume." she said, also in Russian "I didn't know that this world had a rule that there could only be one red haired vigilante in each city. If I come back, I'll dye my hair. I've been thinking of going blonde anyway."

Then, because this was the game they were playing, she switched to Arabic "I don't have a home. I'm not trying to make this world mine, just trying to improve it a little. Just like you did, when you took on a gang that was about to rob a innocent, helpless woman. Where is home for you? Not Gotham, is it?"

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-14-2017

While his Russian was only decent, slightly below even his English; Safi’s Arabic was flawless. “they have a blonde one too.”

This Natalia rubbed him oddly, so many conflicting feelings involving his ex and than his training pinging that she was more than dangerous.

“This is my Universe. And Gotham is home to people I know.” well when Belle was there anyway. Safi ignored the prang when she said she didn't have a home. This wasn't Rachel. And even If it was. She was the one who had driven him from his.

“You can get my wife into trouble here. This world is full of men who would hunt her for wearing your face.”

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-15-2017

Even as Natasha was speaking to Safi, Black Widow was taking note of the languages he spoke with interest, trying to figure out who he was, and who had trained him. His Arabic was flawless, and Palestinian, which, along with the Hebrew certainly argued for him being Israeli, odd as that sounded. Perhaps that was why meeting Captain America had been so off putting to him. English was a common third language, but his Russian, although not fluent, was rather good, which argued for him being IDF or Mossad. Which would explain his distress and annoyance at finding his 'wife' in Gotham. Especially if he was on a mission.

Which was a real possibility, Natasha realized with a wince. She'd run into situations where she'd been blown because someone from a previous op had recognized her, and it sucked. It would suck even more if it happened because of someone coming in from another universe. Someone who could endanger your wife and child, even worse. It was the mention of the wife and child that decided things for Natalia. If there was a universe where some version of her was happily married to some version of Steve, she wasn't going to allow that to be ruined. Natasha agreed, even though she wanted to get a few questions answered, largely out of curiosity about who and what this person was. Which was something that Black Widow and Natalia agreed with. Even if Black Widow thought that asking to see a photo of the child was foolish and sentimental-what did it matter what the product of a relationship between two people from another universe looked like?

"I didn't come here to put anyone in danger." she replied, continuing to speak Arabic. Conversation was easier when the language was one that both people spoke fluently, after all. "If you'll escort me to the portal, I'll be glad to head back to the Hub, and I won't come back. Will you answer a few questions, though? I'm curious what your connection is to the Hub. And what an Israeli operative is doing in Gotham, for that matter."

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-24-2017

“Didn’t you come through it? I’m surprised you don’t remember.” Disbelief was liberally laced through his tone; yet Safi still moved to lead her back to the park.

“I know it.” His answer about his connection to hub was brief, even if she had been his ex Safi wasn’t going to easily just spill exactly what kept bringing him back.

“I am not an operative. I was IDF but I am retired.” Which he knew was exactly what he would have said if he WAS a agent. But in this case was the truth.

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-24-2017

"I remember perfectly." Natasha replied "But if you didn't see me go through the portal, would you really believe that I had left this world?" that wasn't something that she'd take on faith, not if it involved something as important as protecting her wife and child, and somehow she doubted that this man was the trusting sort.

As he demonstrated a moment later, by his brief non-answer about the Hub. When he admitted to being former IDF, and denied being an operative, she couldn't help but glance over at him, an eyebrow raised in mild disbelief, not so much because she thought he was lying, but because that was exactly the sort of answer that anyone who had every worked in intelligence had been trained to give-confirm the harmless part of the truth, which in this case was that he was, like most adult Israelis, ex-IDF, and deny the rest, with no additional explanation. Granted, he didn't know her, but to be on the receiving end of an explanation designed for a dumb civilian was almost insulting. "Yes, of course." she said dryly "I'm just a mild mannered structural engineer, working for Stark Industries" that had been one of her more recent covers "Its nice to meet you."

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-24-2017

His noncommittal grunt answered her plainly; no he wouldn’t have taken it on faith.

Safi didn’t miss a step when she mentioned Stark industries, but it did make him curious. “My Rachel is an architect so that would be amusingly similar.”

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Natalia Romanova - 12-24-2017

Natasha snorted a laugh "Amusingly similar, if it was true. Which it isn't, although I do know how to read a blueprint, and how buildings go together" because it was useful for getting in and out of places and when you had to blow something up. Interesting that the version of her in this universe was an architect, although who knew what she'd have been, in a universe where the Red Room didn't exist. In a universe where she had a husband and a child. "I'm not your enemy, and I'm not going to hurt your family, you don't need to be so hostile."

RE: Explorations and Unexpected Meetings. - Robert Wasem - 12-24-2017

Safi chuckled dryly. “This isn’t hostile. What I did to those guys? That was hostile. This is just wry.”

Safi glanced over at her as they walked, “so. Are you a Rachel?” He wondered aloud. So far everyone that looked like people he knew who also came from Tony’s world had back stories that could almost be similar while being distinct. Along with completely different names.

The wail of sirens announced the arrival at last of the Gotham PD. Honestly he was surprised not just that anyone had called but that they had shown.

Walking casually Safi shifted, attempting to hide his bloodied shirt.