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MCU-3: For Three Years I Had Roses
September 1st, 2017-One Shot
Marvel-MCU-3

47 Posts
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Katie

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#1
Natalia Romanova and the Black Widow were watching Irina Zlataryova take a shower and get ready for a night on the town. It was something that the Red Room had taught her-to keep a piece of herself detached, observing, ready to react when it was time to drop the cover and be the Black Widow, be the killer, be the spy. Not that she’d done it exactly the way that the Red Room had wanted. They had wanted there to be only two voices-the spy and the cover. She’d managed to keep a part that was just her as well, to retain a core of herself that was still Natalia Romanova. That hadn’t been part of the plan, hadn’t been part of the training, but it was one of the things that had kept her sane and alive in the years since she’d left the Red Room, so she hung on to that core of Natasha.

Even though there were times when doing so hurt. Like now, when her cover, a cheerful party girl named Irina was getting ready to go out on the town, and all Natalia could think of was how much she’d give to have one more night with Steve and Bucky. But that didn’t matter, because it was Irina who was getting dressed, Irina who was putting on her makeup, Irina who was making sure that her cleavage spilled out of the top of her dress. All Natasha had to do was watch, and listen as Black Widow went over the plan. Listen as Black Widow clucked in disapproval as she wiped coverup over Natasha’s tattoo. Oh, a single rose on a shoulder blade wasn’t terribly distinctive, but it was something that made her body less anonymous. So it had to be covered over.

Natalia didn’t object to covering up the tattoo, because she hadn’t gotten it for public consumption. She’d gotten it when Bucky had gone back into stasis, as a reminder of what she’d had, and as a promise to herself that she’d have it again. That one day Bucky would come out of stasis and the three of them would be together. That one day, she’d walk into their apartment, and there would be roses sitting on the table. Steve and Bucky liked to buy her roses. They’d been raised with the idea that buying flowers was something you did to show your best girl that she was your best girl. She’d needed reminding of that sometimes, when they’d first moved in together, when she was sometimes the odd one out, because Bucky and Steve had shared an apartment before, and had a lifetime of jokes and memories that they’d built up before Natasha had even been born. The roses had been one of those things, that they’d done to remind her that she was an equal part of the relationship. Later on, after the three of them had their own set of memories and habits and in jokes, picking up flowers had become a habit, so there were always roses in the apartment when they were together, and for awhile she’d believed that it would always be that way.

She’d been wrong, of course. Two months after she’d gotten the tattoo, made that promise to herself, Bucky had been dead and Steve had left her for Tony Stark. Natasha had wanted to cut it from her flesh, to try to stop feeling, to become the weapon she’d be trained to be. But she still owed her debts, still owed Clint and Bucky and yes, even Steve for making sure that she knew that she was a person, that she couldn’t forget that. So she’d kept the rose on her shoulder, even though she knew it was a weakness. Because James had shown her that sometimes, it was ok to be weak. Because she knew that she had her Red Room training to keep her weakness from interfering with the job.

The job itself was pretty simple. A Russian mobster named Ivan Aptekar had found out that there was a market for exotic looking Inhumans, either as muscle or for sex, and sometimes for both. The methods that he used to insure compliance were predictably vile and her directive, which was to free the Inhumans that he was holding captive and remove Ivan from the equation was something that she’d enjoy carrying out. Natasha knew that killing Aptekar wouldn’t fix the underlying problem, but it would make it better, at least for a little while. It was something she’d feel good about doing, and it was a job that would let her push Natasha to the background that focus on being her cover and on being Black Widow, and both of those were things that she needed right now. She owed Nick Fury for this, for listening when she’d walked into the office, eyes haunted by Bucky’s death and Steve’s betrayal and and asked, almost begged him to give her something to kill.

The killing would come later. First she was going to go to a club and get access to Aptekar’s compound. The intel said that the easiest way to do that would be to go to a club frequented by Ivan’s slimy son Yuri and make sure that he picked her up. Not something that she was worried about, since according to the file Yuri Ivanovich had a thing for red heads. And Irina Zlataryova was most certainly a red head.

When she got to the club, Yuri was standing at the bar, deep in conversation with another young man, who looked like he’d been cast from the same mould and then dressed in the same flashy suit. Irina ordered a shot, and soon she was talking to both of them, being introduced to Yuri’s friend Pavel, who was visiting and looking for a good time. Since Pavel was staying with Yuri, she’d decided to flirt with both of them indiscriminately at first, planning on focusing her attention on the one who’d seemed the most interested. But just before she’d zero’d in on Yuri, who did seem to be the most interested, by a small margin, Pavel had leaned forward and whispered a salacious invitation into her ear.

Irina had laughed and agreed, and Black Widow had given a feral grin, since agreeing to that sort of offer meant that she’d locked in entrance to the Aptekar compound. Natasha, well, she’d turned her head away, and tried to ignore the fact that Yuri was dark and Pavel was fair as they pulled her onto the dance floor, sandwiching her between them as the bass thumped and their bodies ground against her. Trying not to remember how it had felt when she’d gone dancing with Steve and Bucky.

They’d gone dancing surprisingly often, the three of them. It had been Steve’s idea, at first. Bucky had been nervous, anxious about going out and being around people, and Natasha, well, she’d tried to point out that maybe, possibly, the three of them going out in public wouldn’t be good for their public image. Especially Captain America’s public image.

“Yes, I know things have changed, Steve” she’d said, carefully patient. “But they haven’t changed that much. Now, being in a relationship like ours it’s, well, it’s-”

“Like being with another guy was, back in the ‘40s?” Steve had asked with calm assurance “You’re right, it is. But things changed because people weren’t afraid, because they went out and lived their lives in public. I didn’t do that back then for a lot of reasons but now-” he’d gotten that earnest look on his face, the one that should have made her roll her eyes and think of overwrought Soviet propoganda posters, but instead made her feel like she should be, no, that she was a better person “Now it doesn’t really matter, we’re not going to lose our jobs over this or get locked in an insane asylum or something. We’ve got the freedom to live how we want, and maybe we can change public opinon a little. Besides, I don’t like lying. I want everyone to know that I’m with you and Bucky.”

There wasn’t much she could say to that, except for ‘yes’, because the truth was that, as she thought about it, she liked the idea, and it wasn’t like sleeping with two guys was something that would hurt Black Widow’s reputation. Not to mention that she agreed with Steve that it would be good for Bucky to get out and blow off some steam. So once or twice a month they’d gone out to dinner, and gone dancing, or to a movie and it had been perfect. Normal and sweet and safe and perfect.

Of course, if they’d hadn’t been willing to do things like go to the Stark Industries New Year’s Gala, maybe Tony Stark would have clung to the idea that Steve was virginal and repressed and wouldn’t have made a move. Maybe. But that was water under the bridge, and there was no need to think about it, except that it made her ok with the idea of unprovoked violence on every level. None of this internal conflict showed on her face, of course. She was too well trained for that.

On the surface, all that showed was that Irina was enjoying being pressed between two hot guys, and when Yuri suggested going back to his place, well, she agreed, sounding eager and horny and ready to try something vaguely kinky.

That eager enthusiasm was unabated as the three of them stumbled to the car. Irina was impressed by the fact that they had a driver. Black Widow was happy that she didn’t have to worry about failing to carry out the mission because a drunken idiot wrapped them around a tree. Natasha was thinking about other times, with other cars and other men, even as her body was grinding and groping and licking and kissing.

The driver got them safely to their destination, and the Black Widow was safely inside the compound, hidden inside of Irina, who soon found herself being half lead, half carried up the stairs and into Yuri’s bedroom. From there, it was a short step to the bed, and then she was kneeling behind Pavel, with Yuri next to him. “You two should kiss.” Irina said, giggling. “Just one kiss. It really gets me going.”
Pavel seemed to hesitate, but once Yuri moved in, well, he returned the kiss with gusto.

Natasha had known that would happen. It had been like that the first couple of times that she had been in bed with Bucky and Steve at the same time. They’d both wanted her-there was no question about that, but her presence had also been permission for them to be naked and in bed with each other. Had been a reason for hands to wander and lips to stray, acting on desires that they’d been too shy to speak of aloud. Finally, she’d told them, with fond exasperation to just kiss already, and they’d blushed and done it and the rest of that night had, well it had gone better than this night would go for Pavel and Yuri.

Because while Irina was enjoying the view, the Black Widow was taking advantage of the momentary distraction to snap Pavel’s neck. A moment later and a palm strike finished off Yuri, and Irina fell away like a discarded coat as Black Widow got up from the bed to finish the job, Natasha curled up inside of her, remembering the last time she’d seen a dark haired man laying dead.

James had looked like he had in statis, like the way Steve had looked in the ice, and for a wild moment she’d hoped that he was still alive. But he’d been dead, and he’d stayed dead when they put him in the ground and she and Steve had gone home to an empty apartment and the smell of dead roses. They’d tried to hold each other, tried to give each other comfort, but Steve had been too wracked with guilt, convinced that if he hadn’t let Tony kiss him, hadn’t kissed Tony back that, maybe, just maybe Bucky would have been able to withstand it when the Hydra Agent had recited a code that they hadn’t known about.

Natasha had tried to argue with him, but without Bucky to back her up-well, Steve had packed a bag and ridden out on his bike, and when he came back he’d gone to the Avenger’s mansion and sometime after that he’d ended up in bed with Tony Stark.

Black Widow wasn’t bothered by the loss of a lover, now or at the time it happened. Hadn’t she been taught that the mission was all that mattered? If Natasha wanted to be a fool, well, that wasn’t something that the Black Widow would let get in the way of a mission. Right now, the mission involved going upstairs, and slitting the throat of Ivan Aptekar, who was peacefully asleep next to a pink haired teenager who probably was as young as she looked. The girl had grabbed the knife and stabbed Apetekar a couple of times herself, something that Natasha was glad to see, because it argued for there being something there for the girl to rebuild her self with later, and that Black Widow approved of because some sloppy stab wounds would make this look less like a professional hit.

Once it was done, Black Widow had taken the girl by the hand, and the two of them had gone down into the basement, where the other two dozen Inhumans were being kept. From there, things were simplicity itself. She was wearing a small comm, something that would send out a short burst, which would tell Strange to open up a portal and get everyone out of there. Black Widow waited until everyone, including the pink-haired girl were through, and if there was a flash of green just before she stepped into the portal, well, she didn’t know enough about magic to know what had just happened.

That something had happened was fairly obvious, since she stepped not into SHIELD HQ but onto the street in front of, well, it looked like the Avenger’s Tower. Which was impossible but its very impossibility made it worth checking out. If nothing else, Natasha thought as she headed there, Black Widow sliding into the background for a moment, she could probably get clean clothes and a shower there.
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