Wanda: Single rooms? For everybody? Is that serious??
Wanda asked when she received the key to the hotel room where she and the others would stay, she saw Steve handing each one a key.
Sam: Are you complaining?
Wanda: Of course not, I am more than satisfied. A decent hotel with a single room... what more could I ask for??
Wanda looked at Steve.
Wanda: Why are you so generous this time, Steve?
Steve: I never had the intention of not being generoues when we don't have facilities like these to stay.
Steve replied dryly.
Wanda: I know...
Wanda was a little uncomfortable.
Wanda: It was just a way of saying... because we are always in the worst places for lack of funds and also for not being so evident.
Steve: Yes, but it turns out that here we will have zero cost to stay and it is okay to be seen around.
Wanda frowned, confused. Sam was also curious.
Natasha watched Steve.
Natasha: The sultan owes you something.
Natasha deduced. Steve nodded.
Steve: Not that I ever charged him.
Natasha: I know you would never do that.
Steve: I met him as soon as I arrived here in Brunei, I was very well received, he said he was aware that I am wanted, in fact he knows that we all are wanted, but he guaranteed that we are free and safe here. There is no extradition policy with America and I helped him once, at an economy conference. I saved his daughter from a kidnapping, she was only three years old at the time, he was very grateful, he wanted to pay me, but I didn't accept it, so now it's the way he found to pay me for what I did.
Sam: This is great!
Wanda: Yah, it really is and I need to start creating debts like this with people, because... you know... I want favors like that.
Wanda joked and laughed.
Sam: Good luck, I've been trying since I joined the Avenger branch.
Wanda: Guys! This conversation is great, but!!! It's late I need a shower and my bed, so good night.
Steve: Let's all go.
Steve suggested and everyone went to the elevator and then boarded it.
Wanda: Are we going out to dinner?
Wanda commented inside the elevator.
Sam: Don't get me wrong, but I didn't sleep on the plane at all. I will not keep you company.
Wanda: I think I'll stay at the hotel too, I can ask for something in my single room, I don't even know why I asked about going out if I don't intend to get out of bed for a long time.
Wanda looked at Steve and Natasha, who were facing each other, each with their backs against each side of the elevator.
Wanda: What about you?
Steve and Natasha were still looking at each other in a strange way.
Natasha looked at Wanda.
Natasha: I think... I will just eat in the hotel too.
Steve looked at Natasha.
Steve: So it looks like no one is going to enjoy Brunei's night today.
Natasha: There is always tomorrow.
Natasha raised an eyebrow and gave a small smile.
The elevator announced with a bell, the arrival on the floor that everyone is staying.
Steve gestured with his hand for Natasha and Wanda to land first, he was going to let Sam down in front too, but Sam made sure to get down last.
Wanda: Good night, guys.
Sam: Good night.
Natasha and Steve responded to Sam and Wanda's good night, just nodding, they stood in the hall, holding their bags, while Wanda and Sam walked down the hall in search of their rooms.
Natasha and Steve still waited for Sam and Wanda to get into their rooms to do absolutely nothing, as they stood there, in front of the elevator, waiting for something they don't even know what it is, but there is a feeling that they should say something, or that they should be together, but it’s just the feeling, talking about it would be weird.
Natasha took a deep breath and looked at the hall doors, looking for and identifying her room.
Steve: How are you?
Steve decided to break the silence.
Natasha looked at Steve.
Natasha: Fine... you?
Natasha nodded and sighed next, she scratched the back of her neck and looked at her bedroom door.
Natasha: Well, then... I Guess I'll see you tomorrow...
Natasha looked back at Steve and he nodded, again going back to that same situation in the hotel room in Corsica, in which he did not want her to leave and she feared that he would insist, as he would stay if he did.
Natasha: Good night.
Natasha lowered her head slightly and walked towards her room.
Steve: Good night.
Steve replied, standing in the hall and watching her walk away.
Natasha walked slowly to her room, really slowly, there was something wrong about going to the room alone now, there was something wrong with them barely talking to each other when they met again and there was something wrong with him giving up on her one more time.
Despite being what she wished... not having him insisting on anything, Ntaasha started to crave even more that Steve would insist for her to stay with him, she craved that he would ruin this friendship soon, because it was certain that if both allowed themselves to feel love for each other, the friendship would die, it would never be the same again and their friendship is extremely important for both, they don't want to lose it.
Natasha arrived in front of the bedroom door and read the numbers on the door, she took a deep breath and took a few seconds to fit the key card inside the compartment so she could open the door.
The red light on the lock turned green, indicating that the door was unlocked, Natasha held the handle and prepared to lower it to enter the room.
Natasha looked abruptly at Steve, she forgot that he was there in the hall, she thought she was alone with her thoughts and that he had let her go again, but he is still there... in the same place and that made Natasha relieved, she even took a deep breath again.
Steve: Do you... do you want to have dinner? With me?
Steve asked a little awkwardly, it looked like he was talking to someone unknown, it looked like he was talking to some beautiful and unknown woman who crossed the street for the first time with him so as not to miss the chance to get to know her better and said anything for not knowing what to say or how to act with a woman.
Steve: If you're not tired, of course. I'm going to eat down there and I thought maybe you want to keep me company...
Natasha gave a small smile and nodded.
Natasha: I would love to.
Steve smiled and looked relieved, he looked like a teenager who just asked someone to go to the ball.
Steve: Do you want to go now??
Natasha opened her mouth to answer, she looked at the bedroom door and then at Steve.
Natasha: I... I thought about taking a shower before...
Steve ducked his head and shook his head feeling stupid, it was obvious that she needs a shower and so did he.
Natasha: It's just because... I've been traveling all day.
Steve: Sure, sure. Of course.
Steve nodded several times and was unable to look her in the eye because he was embarrassed.
Natasha: Are you really that hungry? Go ahead, I'll meet you later...
Steve frowned and shook his head.
Steve: Easy... I'm going to take a shower too and I need to put my things in the room.
Natasha: I imagined that...
Natasha smiled to make him less uncomfortable.
Natasha: I promise not to be long.
Steve: Take your time.
Natasha: I call your room...
Steve: Right... I'm at 704.
Natasha: I know.
Steve looked at Natasha and raised his eyebrows in surprise, but not so much, of course she recorded everyone's rooms, even though she didn't go to the counter to check into the hotel.
Natasha gave a small smile and finally entered the room. Steve stayed a few more seconds standing in the hall, then he went to his room to shower.
Steve got ready quickly, and inside the room, he sat on the bed and rested his forearms on his thighs, and kept looking at the phone in the room, wondering what time it would ring.
Meanwhile, Natasha got out of the bath, wrapped in the towel, undecided on what to wear. She know it's just a dinner, that was not a date request, or was it? If it was, she should dress up and try hard to look attractive, but if it wasn't, she has to wear what she would wear if she was going to dinner with friends who are intimate, she wouldn't even need makeup.
Natasha put a dress on the bed, a set of jeans and tank top and another one that was a sweatshirt and a long blouse, basically her sleepwear, she spent a long time analyzing what could happen if she wore each option, or better saying, she was analyzing what Steve was going to interpret from it.
When Natasha checked the time, she saw that it had been more than an hour since she said goodbye to Steve in the hall, that she is late and the poor guy must be hungry.
Natasha considered that the dress was too sensual, and the sweatshirt too loose, she does not want to produce too much, but also does not want to produce too little for him.
Natasha grabbed the Jeans set and tank top abruptly.
What stupidity! Behaving like a teenager, you idiot! Natasha told herself mentally, she put on her bra and tank top, even put a foot inside her pants, but removed it, leaving it on the floor.
It's too hot. Natasha thought and looked in the suitcase for a short jeans, it was not so short, but it was not so long, she dressed it and checked her look in the mirror, Natasha tied her hair in a ponytail and then let it go, thinking that hair stuck indicates very much that she is disinterested.
Finally, Natasha put on a tennis shoe and called Steve's room.
It didn't ring even once and he answered the call.
Steve: Aren't you going anymore?
Steve interrupted Natasha, who made negative with her head, even though he couldn't see her.
Natasha: No, I... I just... I lost track of time.
Steve: Oh, so are you ready?
Natasha: Yes, I will meet you in the elevator.
Natasha hung up the phone and then left the room, but not before checking in the mirror again.
In the hallway, Natasha met Steve and thanked God that he was also wearing something very casual, she realized that he looked at her legs and looked away very quickly and she believes it is more because he is not used to seeing her wearing shorts , than by sexual desire for her body.
Steve: For a moment I thought you had fallen asleep.
Natasha made negative with her head and pressed the button to call the elevator.
Natasha: No, I...
Natasha frowned, rethinking the answer. Why lie or tell the truth?
Natasha: I didn't see the hour go by.
Steve nodded and then gestured for Natasha to board the elevator that had just arrived.
Natasha boarded and then Steve joined her. The elevator doors closed and they were both very tense inside that small and closed metallic compartment.
Natasha stared at the elevator door and Steve was looking at all sides of the elevator... walls, floor, ceiling, at the back of the elevator, everything... except at Natasha.
It was not just tense those first seconds alone, it was horrible because it was so uncomfortable that the two were in only each other's presence, but this is because it’s been a while since they got the chance to be together alone and the last time this happened something changed in their relantionship.
At least that feeling of discomfort did not last long, it seems that they realized that they get along too well together and that the two are better together. As soon as they realized that, they remembered that one was running away from the other and the time they were apart was a away to cool down about what they were starting to feel for each other.
Unfortunately or luckily, they also realized that all this tim and effort was no use at all, because when they saw each other earlier, it looked like they had just paused the moment at the hotel and played it again now.
Knowing that there is something going on besides friendship between them, just left the atmosphere tense inside the elevator, it seemed very inevitable what was going to happen and now they just don't know when or how it will happen, but they know it will happen. Maybe the moment and place could be exactly there and now and that was making both of them anxious.
Natasha and Steve took a deep breath to relax and something in the way of each one breathing increased the anxiety that each one felt, after all, they know they are feeling something, they just didn't verbalize or express these feelings with actions.
Although the two are good at conversation and very honest with each other, verbalizing does not seem to be on either of their plans now, perhaps because of that fear of ruining their friendship, but just because they don't want to verbalize, it doesn't mean they don't want to express what they feel with actions. It is a fact that one or the other has to happen.
The more they became aware of it, the more they both took a deeper breath and that heavy breath, added to the suspense brought the feeling that now something has to happen, after all, they are alone, in an elevator... they could kiss or talk about what they feel.
Steve decided to look discreetly at Natasha and she decided to do the same at the same time, the way the two looked at each other, already made their hearts accelerate at the same time, because it was the right time, it had to be now.
Steve even started to sweat a little on his forehead due to tension, neither he nor Natasha knew who would be the first to try something and it seems that both made the decision at the same time, the two turned slightly towards each other and both allowed that the backs of their hands touch each other.
When the two looked each other in the eye, they didn't need to say anything else, but it still seemed that they needed to, just because they looked at each other at the same time, they opened their mouths and when they were about to say something, the elevator opened the doors again and a couple boarded.
Steve and Natasha moved away quicklu, they were speechless and stand apart.
- Good evening.
Said the couple in their language.
Steve doesn’t speak their language, but he nodded, greeting the couple who joined them.
The couple was friendly, smiled and then they held hands and began to talk to each other and they seemed happy.
Steve and Natasha were silent, watching the couple and they came to the conclusion that they would never be like that couple, or any other that they usually see around. Even more now that not only Natasha is a cold person, but Steve also is.
After that moment, Steve and Natasha did not look at each other again until they disembarked and arrived at the hotel restaurant, their dinner started cold and without topics to talk, it took them a while to relax and start talking normally.
A few more minutes was enough to return to their normal state, so that he desire to stay together came back so hard, so much that they spent hours in the hotel restaurant, they were even the last customers, they only left at the request of the employees who wanted to close the kitchen.
Steve and Natasha apologized to the staff, they pay the bill and finally left the restaurant.
Steve: I'm very surprised that you didn't have a single drink tonight.
Natasha: Me too, I didn't even really notice.
Steve: I wasn't so bored this time.
Natasha smiled, the two walked to the elevator and everything was normal, until they were inside that tight metallic compartment again.
A deadly silence prevailed in the elevator, but it was possible to hear each other's breathing, and there was no feeling of discomfort in the silence this time, maybe it was now... the time for that opportunity they missed earlier. Verbalize or take action... they had both options.
Steve: Did you like the food?
Natasha looked at Steve without believing that he is raising irrelevant questions now.
Natasha just nodded.
Steve: A little spicy, but you like that, don't you?
Natasha nodded again and looked at the digital display that says the floors they are going through.
Steve: You should try the tea sometime...
Steve started again. Natasha took a deep breath and looked at him again.
Steve fell silent when he looked at Natasha again.
Natasha: Don't make this more uncomfortable than it already is.
Steve looked down and sighed.
Natasha: You don't have to force subjects with me.
The elevator stopped and announced their arrival on their floor.
Natasha: You don't need that either.
Natasha disembarked first and Steve came next, the two stopped in the corridor in front of the elevator, facing each other.
Steve: The night seems so short now.
Natasha: Because we don't want it to end.
Natasha said frankly and Steve fell silent, he looked down and sighed, he looked embarrassed.
Steve didn’t look at Natasha, something was making him very embarrassed, and maybe it’s the fact that Natasha is treating all this very clearly and naturally, as if they’ve already talked about what’s going on and that everything is already right, but they didn’t talk, didn’t touch, didn’t even kiss, how is he going to act like it’s already a romance?
It would be right for him to kiss her now, but there is not enough courage for that, all her openness is intimidating him.
Natasha sighed when Steve didn’t look her in the eye, she knows what’s going on, he’s stalling, stalling or too embarrassed to take any initiative or respond to her initiatives, so okay, she’s going to wait... he has to be comfortable and confident to go ahead with it, but they crossed a line that has no return, the most they can do is what Steve is doing, postpone that moment.
Natasha: I'm going to my room.
Natasha declared and that made Steve look at her right away, he would have said "no, don’t", because he wants her company, but he didn't say anything, he stood looking at her and Natasha still gave him the chance to change his mind, staying a few seconds quiet for him to say something, but he didn't.
Natasha: Thanks for the dinner.
Steve: No, I thank you.
God... Natasha thought when Steve answered, she was forced to sigh again, scratched the back of her neck and nodded.
Natasha walked to her room and before entering, noticed Steve closing his hand tightly and frowning, alone, in a conflict over what he wanted to have asked for and didn't ask for, or what he wanted to have done and didn't do, but that’s up to him to deal, she went to her room and slept.
The only attempt to invest in Natasha again was only months later, after the completion of a two-part mission.
The first part of the mission started in Syria, with Natasha and Wanda disguised as Islamic nurses, they were infiltrated in the middle of the army, in a war zone, the two spent days taking care of Syrian extremist soldiers and keeping any and all confidential information about their operations.
This first part took time because women were not invited to participate in decisions, they were there just to serve, taking care of the wounded and at times, they could hear the high-ranking men of the extremist group discussing matters that would serve for something.
Nobody also knew that the mission would have a sequence. At first, it seemed that the mission would be only in Syria. Steve and Sam were disguised as Islamic soldiers and even sweating a lot to complete the mission in Syria, Steve refused to ask for help from Tony Stark, even though Natasha warned that he would help knowing the cause of their mission.
Anyway, by not asking for help from Stark, they took time to dismantle a technological operation of the extremists, it took longer than expected and this gave way for part of this army to go to another destination, which Steve and Sam did not know which would be. Luckily, Natasha and Wanda overheard more conversations and discovered that their plan would be resumed in Lebanon, so they all went there, trying to prevent the plan from being resume, because if it was resumed it would start the mission all over again from scratch and with few chances of success.
In Lebanon, by making a slip, Wanda had her disguise compromised and for not let Wanda to be caught and the mission not go down, Natasha turned the enemies' attention for herself, revealing that she was not Lebanese, and yes Russian, she didn’t speak English at all, she wanted them to think she was a spy, but a Russian spy, because being associated with the American government, it would be terrible for the United States and she was still in danger of being killed, either by extremists or by the American government.
So Natasha was arrested instead of Wanda and Steve only learned about it, days later, when Wanda managed to see him and Sam again, as they were in different sectors of the operation, even different cities.
Steve: How come they took Natasha??
Wanda: They took her!!
Sam: Okay, they took her, but... couldn't you have stopped them? You have a lot of power.
Wanda: That's what I'm trying to explain to you, before they captured her I was cornered by them, I had an accident, something hit my head, there must have been an explosion during the bombings and that's when they saw that I was an American, I was very dizzy and then they hit me even more, I couldn't react. Natasha made them stop, but... I wasn't in a position to react, I remember her coming up to me and saying that it would be okay, that as soon as she attacked them, that I should run, but I couldn't... I couldn’t.
Wanda was shaking a little, Steve sighed.
Wanda: Steve, I wanted to help her, I don't know what was right, because I saw her fighting and then I saw her being taken in a car, she was trying to talk to me, but I was deaf.
Sam: Did you see which way they went?
Wanda made negative with her head.
Wanda: I blacked out and when I woke up, there was no sign of anyone around.
Steve: You could have been killed or suffered some torture, even get...
Steve: Are you okay? Do you need to see a doctor?
Wanda: They didn't rape me, Steve.
Sam: But you passed out.
Wanda: I know my body.
Steve took a deep breath.
Sam: How are we going to find Natasha now?
Steve: We won’t.
Steve declared and Sam looked at him in astonishment, as did Wanda.
Steve: She will find us.
Sam: But Steve...
Steve: She will find us.
Wanda: Are you sure? You saw the size of this criminal organization and we are in their territory...
Sam: Yeah, Steve, this is crazy.
Wanda: We are at war.
Steve: She can do it.
Sam: Dude, Steve...
Steve: She can do it!!!
Steve reafirmed with all confidence and he showed all of that confidence for the next whole week when no one heard from Natasha and he had to show that he was confident that Natasha was fine, because Sam and Wanda were very worried about what might be going on with her, or what could have already happened, maybe Natasha was even dead.
Wanda: Steve, are we really leaving?
Wanda questioned a little uncertain whether she should ask about Natasha again, as Steve hasn't been so open to conversation lately.
Steve: It was the deal. Day 25.
Steve replied shortly.
Sam: But we haven't heard from Natasha yet and what if she needs us?
Steve looked at Sam and raised an eyebrow.
Steve: Do you know where she is??
Steve: Me neither.
Wanda: But we should look for her.
Steve: And haven't we done that already?
Wanda: Yes, but...
Steve: She knows we are leaving today and she is going to meet us wherever we go.
Sam: If she is still alive.
Steve and Wanda looked at Sam.
Steve: She is alive.
Steve said dryly and walked over to his bag, where he placed some items that were on the table.
Steve: She's alive, I know that.
Sam: I hope you're right, Steve.
Wanda: It’s not right to leave her behind, Steve!
Steve: I'm not doing that.
Steve turned to face Wanda and Sam.
Steve: I know Natasha very well. And more offensive to her would be to think that she is not able to take care of herself. I know she's capable, so... we're going to get in that car outside and get out of this place and she'll find us as soon as possible.
Sam: But what if she...
Steve: If she is dead as you are suggesting, Sam, what is the need for us to stay here??
Steve put his backpack on his shoulder and walked out of the small ruined house, where they were hiding.
Sam: I, huh...
Wanda looked at Sam.
Wanda: He's so different.
Wanda whispered to Sam.
Wanda: Should we try it again?
Sam: I think he knows what he does and I think he will soon lose his temper even with us.
Wanda lowered her head and looked thoughtful.
Sam: I also worry about Natasha, Wanda, but I've also seen her getting in and out of a lot of trouble, with a lot of mastery even. Fury was a mentor to her and the guy has died twice since I met him, so death is something that doesn't go well with SHIELD spies.
Wanda: Yeah, I know, but... I feel like I owe her that, she is in this situation because of me.
Sam: Steve really knows her, so if he's not worried, we shouldn't be worried either.
Wanda: So is that it? Shall we just leave?
Sam: For now...
Wanda sighed in frustration and took her backpack and put a hat on her head, it wasn't even cold, she just likes to wear this hat to help her disguise.
Sam and Wanda also left the house and saw Steve sitting in the jeep, in the driver's seat, they both boarded the jeep, Sam sat next to Steve and Wanda sat in the back seat. The three put cloths on their faces because of the constant dust in that arid region.
Wanda: Where are we going now?
Steve started the car, but it didn't start, he tried to turn the key again, but it still didn't start.
Steve: The next destination is in Africa.
Wanda: Africa? Okay, but that’s a continent, can you be more specific?
Steve paused for a moment, thinking about the answer.
Steve: I can ...
Steve: Have you heard of Wakanda?
Wanda: Not that I know the place, but the name is not strange to me...
Sam: That guy who was after Bucky who dressed like a cat...
Steve: Black Panther.
Sam: It's his war name, right? That's right, he came from there. It’s a very poor country, I heard someone comment.
Steve: There is nothing poor about that place.
Steve: I didn't take you there before and I didn't even mention it because Wakanda lived in disguise as a third world country, but they have technology and knowledge never before seen in the world. Knowledge passed from one generation to the other and they kept confidential to preserve their nation.
Sam: I think I heard about something like that on the radio, but I didn't associate it with Wakanda.
Steve: Exactly, that news that we heard was about Wakanda. They have revealed themselves to the world and are trying to help others. I asked King T’Challa a favor, he’s taking care of a friend of mine. I think it's time to visit him.
Sam: Bucky? Is Bucky in Wakanda?
Steve nodded and tried to start the car again.
Wanda: This sandstorm is increasing, Steve.
Steve: I know, I'm trying here, it must have accumulated dust on the engine.
Sam: Soon it won't be possible to get around by car, I almost don't see anything around us anymore and without seeing where we are going we can suffer or cause an accident.
Steve forced the key into the ignition and accelerated at the same time, making the loudest noise and finally the car looked like it was going to start.
Steve: I am aware of that.
Steve said and went back to doing the same procedure, and on the fourth try, the car started, but the sandstorm was practically formed.
Sam: Are we going anyway or will we have to wait?
Wanda: I don't want to spend the night here, we don't have windows, we can be suffocated by the sand, even more if this storm last days.
Steve: We better get going.
Steve declared and decided to start driving, he started driving slowly.
Wanda: Steve you need to step up.
Wanda put her hand in front of her eyes because a lot of dust was getting in them.
Steve: If I go faster, I can run over someone.
Sam: We know that everything is deserted here and the storm has started, we have to get out of here fast!
Steve nodded and decided to accelerate.
Wanda: STOP! STOP!!!
Wanda screamed in despair and Steve braked the car, but still hit something heavy.
Everyone was alert and worried after the impact of the car, the three got out of the vehicle worried and praying that it was just some animal, at best.
When they arrived in front of the vehicle, Steve, Sam and Wanda saw that it was a person, and the person had cloths around her head. Soon the nightmare was confirmed, they had run over a civilian, it was not even possible to know if it was a man or a woman, the clothes was practically unisex.
Steve: We need to help him.
Steve knelt down next to the person affected.
Steve: Sorry, we didn't see you but we will help you. It's gonna be okay.
- It better be.
The person spoke and Steve recognized the voice, he removed the glasses that covered the person's face, since the rest was covered with cloths and recognized those green eyes immediately.
Wanda exclaimed and crouched down to see her better.
Wanda: It's really you!!!
Natasha looked at Wanda.
Natasha: Who else would you hit in a middle of a sandstorm?
Wanda: I'm so happy to see you, I thought...
Steve: There is no time for that, Wanda.
Sam: Natasha, can you get up?
Sam held out his hand to Natasha.
Natasha: I think I need help.
Sam: Take my hand.
Natasha: I think I need more help than that.
Steve looked at Natasha's body.
Steve: Did I hit you that hard?
Steve was surprised because when he hit Natasha, he was already braking, so it was not an impact to hurt her to the point that she was unable to move, after all she has already suffered greater impacts and managed to get up, so she can only be very hurt.
Natasha: I'm not sure.
Steve: Don't worry.
Steve declared and then picked her up. Natasha made a pained expression and put her hand in the direction of the rib.
Natasha: Yes, I'm sure now.
Wanda: What do we do now??
Steve got up with Natasha on his lap.
Natasha: The question is... what were you doing? Driving in a storm like that?
Sam: And you wandering around in a storm like that???
Natasha: I was trying to find you and I had no choice, I had nowhere to stay.
Sam: That's true, the place we were in is the only one still with a roof.
Wanda: But without windows.
Steve: We will need to go back there, she can't walk and I don't want to run over anyone else.
Sam: What about the car?
Steve: We have to leave here, just get our things and we will return to the shelter.
Sam and Wanda agreed and as soon as they picked up their bags, they followed Steve who carried Natasha to the shelter, which was not that far away.
As soon as Steve entered the shelter, he noticed that Natasha had slept or passed out, because he felt her body go limp and her head hung.
Steve: Sam, the door.
The shelter had no fixed door, it had been uprooted and every night, they put the door against the opening to try to protect themselves.
Sam: Wanda, a little help.
Wanda placed the backpacks on the floor and then moved her hands, forming a red cloud between her fingers, she directed the cloud towards the entrance of the shelter, causing the sandstorm to stop invading the place.
Sam put the door to cover the entrance and used broken chairs to prop it up, then took a wooden board and fitted it over hooks, which made the door “locked”.
Next, Wanda directed the powers to the windows and did the same procedure. Sam used boards to close them, but they didn't completely cover the opening, but it eased the amount of dust entering the place.
Sam looked at Steve and soon offered to provide a sleeping bag to put on the floor. Steve laid Natasha in the sleeping bag and removed the cloths that wrapped her head.
Steve: Natasha? Natasha??
Steve moved Natasha's face and saw her frown and move her brow.
Sam: What happened?
Steve: She just slept. She must be exhausted, I don't know how much she walked and how much struggled.
Sam: At least she’s with us now.
Steve: Let's just let her rest.
Wanda: I'm going to prepare dinner...
Wanda walked to the entrance of the kitchen.
Wanda: Do you guys want protein bars with or without sand?
Wanda turned to Steve and Sam, joking about dinner, after all they only have protein bars to eat and that is what they have been eating for days.
Sam: No sand, please.
Sam commented, getting into the same mood, there is no point in being sulky or wishing they were eating something else, when there is no other option.
Wanda: Sorry, sir... we are not working without sand anymore but I assure you that with sand it is much more interesting.
Sam: Yeah... it's crocrant...
Wanda: That's right, sir.
Sam and Wanda laughed.
Steve got up and walked away from Natasha so he could tap on his clothes to get the excess sand out of his body.
Steve: Those were tough days, I know.
Wanda: We are not complaining, it was just a joke.
Steve: Yes, I know, but... I just wanted to say that this situation is temporary. We will leave here tomorrow.
Sam: If the storm passes.
Steve: I am confident that it will pass.
Steve: Guys, I know that everyone is hungry and without a bath, we barely have water, but we are here because of what we needed to do for these civilians. We have not completely shut down this organization but we have avoided a genocide this time.
Sam and Wanda nodded and smiled.
Wanda: Everything is worth it in the end.
Steve looked at Wanda and nodded.
Steve: I'm glad to have you all here with me.
Wanda: We are glad too.
Steve looked at Sam who nodded.
Steve: Natasha needs water.
Steve took a canteen of water from his backpack that was half full. Water has been scarce and they are rationing water and food.
Steve went back to Natasha and put his hand under the back of her neck, lifting her head up.
Natasha just took a deep breath.
Steve: You need to drink some water. Come on...
Steve lifted Natasha more and left her with her back against his leg, he touched the canteen to her mouth and Natasha choked to drink the water, but then managed to drink properly.
Steve: Do you need more?
Natasha didn't answer, she hadn't even opened her eyes, she just seemed to have gone back to sleep. Steve laid her down again and closed the canteen.
Wanda: Here, Steve.
Wanda returned with the protein bars, she handed one to each one and Natasha didn't eat because she was too tired, Steve preferred not to bother her for now.
Wanda, Sam and Steve ate and then talked, until the moment when everyone decided to sleep and Steve said he would be on guard for the storm, because if it got worse, they would have to cover their faces again to protect themselves.
Each sought a corner of the room to sleep. Wanda preferred to stay close to the kitchen, as there were no windows there, so it was the place with the least dust. Sam lay down near the stairs leading to the second floor of the shelter. Nobody considered sleeping on the second floor, because the wooden staircase is half destroyed.
After a few hours, Steve was circling the room and occasionally checking the planks of the windows and the front door, the storm seemed to be finally stopping, which was a good sign, they could leave tomorrow and wherever they go, he will be able to help Natasha.
Steve looked at Natasha, as soon as he thought of her, he was quiet and stopped thinking about anything and at that very moment Natasha started coughing, it was a dry cough.
Steve approached her and on the way he already took the canteen and crouched next to her.
Steve opened the canteen and made Natasha lift her upper body.
Steve made Natasha drink water, she took a sip and turned away, denying the water.
Steve: You need more.
Natasha coughed more and made negative with her head.
Natasha: I don't have any more water.
Natasha announced and opened her eyes, she looked at Steve.
Natasha: And that is all you have.
Steve: Wanda and Sam still have water.
Natasha: Yes, and that is everything we have. I don't know how long we will be here and...
Natasha coughed again a lot.
Steve: Hush... just drink this.
Steve made Natasha take another sip.
Steve: We will be leaving tomorrow.
Steve: The storm is passing, I was paying attention. It's okay, you can drink.
Natasha: It's yours.
Steve: It's ours.
Steve: Nat, please don't ...
Steve looked seriously at Natasha.
Steve: Don't worry about me now.
Natasha sighed and went back to drinking water, but did not drink everything.
Steve: Drink more.
Natasha: You said it is our water.
Natasha looked at Steve, who sighed and took a sip of water, he helped Natasha to lie down again and she moaned and made a quick expression of pain.
Steve closed the canteen and placed it on the floor beside him, then looked back at Natasha.
Natasha was staring at the ceiling and looked at Steve.
Steve made negative with his head.
Steve: I was worried about you.
Natasha sighed and looked back at the ceiling.
Steve bowed his head.
Steve: I had to tell Wanda and Sam that you were fine, I also told myself that you were okay, I mean, that you were alive... they wanted to interrupt the mission and go after you...
Natasha: That would be really stupid.
Natasha interrupted Steve and frowned.
Steve: Yes, it would be, so I didn't go after you, I had to complete the mission.
Natasha looked at Steve.
Natasha: And did you do it?
Steve was still looking down, ashamed.
Steve: Wanda and Sam thought I was very indifferent to you.
Natasha: Since when did we interrupt the mission for a team member, when the objective is bigger than save justo one person???
Steve: I know.
Natasha: So I don't understand why you're trying to justify yourself, we've been through this before.
Steve: It's... true.
Steve nodded in agreement.
Steve raised his eyebrows.
Natasha: Would you look at me?
Steve looked at Natasha.
Natasha: What is the real reason you are feeling guilty?
Steve: What do you mean?
Natasha: Are you worried about me?
Natasha: But I'm here now, why are you still worried?
Steve looked at Natasha for a few seconds and made negative with his head.
Steve: I don't know...
Natasha: I think you know why, you don't usually stay like that.
Steve opened his mouth to speak but hesitated again, he frowned and looked away briefly to see if Sam was still asleep.
Steve felt Natasha touch his arm, which made him look at her hand and she was touching his arm with a few fingers.
Natasha was also looking at her hand on Steve's arm and realized when Steve looked at her again, but did not look into his eyes, not until she felt a shadow cover her face.
Natasha looked up slowly and saw Steve's face over hers, he rested his hand on the floor on the other side of her body and while he was observing all the details of her face, he moved his head down, bringing his face closer to hers.
Finally. Natasha thought as she closed her eyes and parted her lips, she felt Steve's lips fit between hers perfectly, she felt him push her upper lip with his, making her open her mouth more, she felt him pass the tip of his tongue over her lower lip, she felt him close his lips over that same lip and felt that lip be sucked slightly by him.
Steve felt Natasha sigh when he sucked on her bottom lip, he released her lip and immediately kissed it, then kissed the area just below her lip, then the corner of her mouth, which made Natasha smile and finally Steve kissed her lips again, but this time allowing his tongue to invade Natasha's mouth and explore each cornr of that mouth. It as na amazing and incredible experience feeling the texture of her tongue.
Before that, Steve and Natasha had already kissed, but they barely had contact with the tongue, so much so that he didn't even remember that kiss to the point of knowing what her kiss tastes like, but now he is decorating every stretch of that tongue, every little fold of the roof of her mouth, he was even meeting Natasha's tongue brake and she was meeting Steve's kiss.
Natasha was just allowing Steve to explore her mouth, and she wasn’t having any work with that kiss, he was doing everything, he barely allowed her tongue to enter his mouth and she would have to wait for him to be satisfied in order to have her turn to explore his mouth.
Natasha could only put her hands on Steve's face and felt that he was shaking a little, probably because he was holding on that kiss. A few seconds later kissing so fast and desperate, Steve started to slow down the kiss, but it only made the kiss be more hot, which made them both want to go further than that.
Natasha slid her hand to Steve's ear and then took both hands to the back of his neck, she pulled his head further down, allowing him to dominate her mouth even more, they even forgot that they were not alone there, and they only realized they had to stop when Steve laid down over her body.
Steve felt Natasha scratch his neck and close her lips, he looked at her and saw her with a frown and biting her lip, that's when he realized that she was hurt and that he had just laid on a possible fracture of her body.
Steve rested his hands on the floor and immediately raised his body.
Steve: Sorry... I am so sorry!
Steve whispered feeling very guilty. Natasha was still in a lot of pain, so much pain that she closed her eyes tight and then looked up at the ceiling, taking a deep breath to gain self-control.
Steve got off Natasha and stood beside her.
Natasha: It's okay.
Steve: It's not okay, you're in pain.
Natasha: I am okay...
Steve: I shouldn't have done that. I shouldn't have kissed you.
Natasha: I would have shot you if you hadn't kissed me.
Steve looked into Natasha's eyes and she was smiling amid the pained expression.
Natasha: Why do you always have to take so long?
S: I don't think I wanted to ruin our friendship.
Natasha: Me neither.
Steve: I tried to postpone this... you know this can be a path of no return.
Natasha: This is already a path of no return.
Steve: And are you sure you want to cross the line?
Natasha: We have crossed it in a while.
Steve: So... if that doesn't work... it's the end.
Natasha sighed and nodded.
Steve: I don't want that.
Natasha: Me neither.
Steve: What do you suggest?
Natasha was quiet for a few seconds, reflecting, then looked back at Steve.
Natasha: We don't have to lie to each other. We don't have to dive into a serious relationship, I don't want to be distracted and I don't want you to be distracted from your goals, but till here our goals have been the same...
Steve nodded in agreement.
Natasha: We don't have to restrain ourselves either... we're feeling it... we can't change.
Steve nodded once again.
Natasha looked at Sam and looked for Wanda, but didn’t see her.
Natasha: We don't need more people in this relationship, either.
Steve looked at Sam and then at Natasha again, understanding what she meant.
Steve: Do you want to keep it a secret?
Natasha made negative with her head.
Natasha: Not as a secret, but also don’t we have to announce anything.
Steve: Yah... it’s better this way... to not create expectations either.
Steve looked at Sam and then at Natasha.
Steve: They're still sleeping.
Steve commented randomly.
Natasha stared at Sam, then at Steve.
Steve: I'm going to kiss you again...
Natasha laughed and felt Steve bring his face closer to hers again, he kissed her again and it was even better than the first time, although shorter, because they couldn't allow themselves to go beyond that, only because she was hurt.