The next day, Steve's positive thinking worked out as he predicted because the sandstorm was over.
Steve ended up sleeping, sitting with his back against the wall, close to where Natasha was lying, he was the last one to sleep last night and also the first to wake up.
Upon waking, Steve took a deep breath and looked at Natasha first, then looked at where Wanda was lying and then where Sam was lying.
Steve got up carefully to not wake anyone yet, despite the silence already indicating that everything is calm outside, he had to check, so he went to the window and carefully removed the wooden tops, checking that the storm had really gone.
Steve was very quiet, but messing with the window that was already broken, made noise inevitably and that made Sam and Natasha wake up at the same time. They both were alert.
Sam soon sat down and rubbed his eyes, then yawned, he noticed the landscape from the window, without a hint of storm.
Sam: The storm has passed!
Sam: We can finally move on!
Sam looked at Natasha who, although awake, was still lying down.
Sam: What's up, Nat? How are you feeling?
Natasha: A little worse than yesterday.
Sam was surprised.
Sam looked at Steve.
Sam: She may have some internal bleeding, she needs a doctor.
Steve: We will provide that.
Sam: The hospitals here will end up reporting us, we need disguises.
Steve: I don't intend to take her to any hospital here.
Sam: How not??
Sam was already anxious.
Steve: I know where I can take her.
Sam: But she is in pain!
Steve looked at Natasha.
Steve: She can take it a little longer, right, Natasha?
Sam: Are you sure it is not better to try see a doctor here?
Natasha: And take the risk of being arrested, even tortured beyond what I already was? No thanks, I prefer to take the risk of waiting.
Natasha replied and Sam understood Steve and Natasha's reasons.
Sam: So let's start mobilizing soon.
Sam looked around, a little lost, but stood up and looked at Wanda.
Sam: Wanda! Wanda! Wake up!
Wanda took a deep breath.
Sam: We have to go.
Wanda woke up and frowned slightly, she sat up and tried to locate herself.
Wanda: Is the storm over?
Sam: It is over, we are going to Wakanda now.
Steve interrupted Sam and walked over to where his sleeping bag was and started collecting it to keep in his backpack.
Steve: No. Not all of us. Only Natasha and I will go to Wakanda.
Sam and Wanda were waiting for explanations.
Steve: If we all go there, it would be just to stay for a few hours, maybe spend a night and leave. However, Natasha needs medical care and needs to recover. I respect the kingdom of Wakanda and all its privacy, and I know that the nation there is not comfortable with foreigners around, so the more people there, the worse. I don't know how long Natasha will need to recover.
Wanda: I understand.
Sam: Oh... I really wanted to see this place.
Steve: You will have that opportunity, Sam, but it is not the time yet.
Everyone started to collect their things to leave. Natasha was going to do the same, she struggled to sit up, but these movements were very painful for her. Wanda stopped Natasha and said that she would pack up for her, Natasha thanked her for this and also for Wanda using her powers to help her stand.
Wanda also helped Natasha to walk to the jeep, which Sam and Steve brought back to the shelter so she could board. This took almost forty minutes, as the Jeep broke down again and they had to fix it first before go.
Already in the jeep and on the way to where they left the jet, Wanda questioned where she and Sam would go since Steve and Natasha were already with a certain destination.
Steve: You are free to stay in Europe.
Natasha: But we have to have an agrément, guys... don’t go too far, if it is necessary to go far, warn us and always find a way to report.
Steve: And don't get into trouble. Don’t take the risk of being discovered and arrested.
Wanda: Yes, sir.
Wanda saluted, jokingly.
Steve: I will give you a ride to Denmark, and from there Natasha and I will proceed to Wakanda.
Sam and Wanda nodded and a few hours later, Steve dropped them off in Denmark as arranged and then flew to Wakanda.
- Welcome to Wakanda, my friend!
King T’Challa spoke to Steve who had arrived in Wakanda about twenty minutes ago.
Steve shook hands with T’Challa, followed by a hug.
Steve: King T’Challa, thanks for having me. In fact, for receiving us...
T’Challa: Always a pleasure, Captain. Sorry to be late coming here.
Steve: You don't have to apologize.
T’Challa: Did you come to visit your friend? I already sent people to call him. Where are you going next?
Steve: Actually... I did come to visit Bucky, but I need to ask you a favor...
T’Challa: Say it, Captain.
Steve: I know you don't like foreigners in your land, but Natasha is seriously injured, she needs treatment.
T'Challa spied on Natasha who was sitting in an armchair in that big room where they were waiting for T’Challa.
T’Challa: I see.
T'Challa noticed that Natasha had her arm in front of her belly and that she was very pale and her eyes showed pain, although the rest of her face was showing calm.
Steve: I know you have the resources to make her well again in a few days and I would like to be able to stay here during her recovery period, if it is not a problem.
T’Challa: I don't see any problem, Captain. You are most welcome.
T’Challa looked at one of his assistants.
T’Challa: Make sure Miss Romanoff receives proper treatment with my sister.
- Yes sir. I'll get a wheelchair.
Natasha: I can walk...
Natasha gestured for the woman to wait and she had to stop a second to take a deeper breath, due to the pain she felt when raising her arm a little.
Steve walked over to Natasha and crouched in front of her, he also put his hand on Natasha's knee.
Steve: You are not in a position to walk by yourself.
Steve spoke in a low voice, just for her to hear.
Natasha: I can do it.
Steve: I know you can do it, but you will stay here longer if you continue to push your body to the limit, I already made you try hard enough to bring you here on this journey of hours and you don’t allow me to carry you.
Natasha: I'm not crippled.
Natasha frowned, feeling offended.
Steve: I didn't say that. Stop being so stubborn...
Natasha: Am I the stubborn here??
Natasha raised an eyebrow.
Steve: We will not fight, Natasha!
Steve spoke more firmly, seeing that this was going to culminate in a big fight, but he paused, took a deep breath and calmed down to speak again, first of all, he looked her in the eyes again and made positive with his head.
Steve: Please, Natasha, accept the help we are trying to give to you. I am very worried with you, I have no doubts of what you are capable of doing, but... can you do this for me?
Natasha took a slow breath and looked upset, she didn't even respond to Steve, she just looked at T'Challa's assistant and nodded, implying that she would accept the wheelchair.
Steve: Thank you.
Natasha: It wasn't for you.
Steve: Yeah... I’m thanking you in the same way.
Steve declared and got up again.
Steve turned to the king of Wakanda.
T’Challa: While your rooms are being prepared and your friend is being treated, I would like to talk to you alone.
Steve: Of course, your majesty.
T’Challa led the way and Steve followed him out of the room. Natasha was transported by wheelchair to the medical sector of the Wakanda palace, where she met Shuri, sister of T’Challa.
After talking to T’Challa about information from the American government, Steve was given carte blanche to move around the palace and the kingdom of Wakanda.
Before looking for his friend Bucky Barnes, Steve went to the medical sector of the palace and was informed that Natasha was in surgery now, but that as soon as it was over, they would contact him so he could see her.
Steve then went to the village where Bucky spends most of his time, working in the fields, not only with harvest, but helping to build houses for T’Challa’s subjects.
Bucky is very famous with the children of Wakanda, who always stay behind him and want to hear his stories, they really believe that he is a real wolf who turns into a man during the day and a wolf at night.
Steve: I didn't know about your talent as a builder.
Steve commented good-naturedly when he saw his friend preping cement.
Bucky smiled as soon as he heard Steve's voice, he dropped the hoe and turned to greet his friend, welcoming him with a tight hug.
The two smiled.
Steve: I didn't mean to interrupt.
Bucky: I went up there to talk to you just now, but they said you were busy talking to the king... is everything okay?
Steve: I'm banned from America as you already know... Interpol is keeping an eye on me and my team, even outside Europe. My life has been escape after escape...
Bucky: All of this because of me.
Steve: All of this because they wanted to decide when the world would be saved or not and I would not allow it. I will interfere whenever I have to.
Bucky: I expected no less from you.
Bucky picked up the hoe again and mixed the dough, he couldn't stop the process so as not to lose the material already used.
Steve: How is life here?
Bucky: It's good...
Bucky stopped for a few seconds to think, then went on.
Bucky: It’s peaceful. I've been living well.
Steve: That sounds very attractive.
Bucky: Yes, my friend... if you want to join me...
Steve was silent, thinking about the proposal.
Steve: I really should retire, but I still can't rest, not here. Wakanda started opening up to the world not long ago, the American government would find me here.
Bucky: T’Challa would declare a war with America for you, they would offer you political asylum.
Steve: Exactly for that reason I don't stay.
Bucky: Maybe somewhere else you can find peace...
Steve commented, discouraged.
Bucky: You look tired, my friend.
Steve: I am.
Bucky: Are you leaving today? You should rest...
Steve: I will rest... I will need to stay here for a few days in Wakanda.
Bucky showed surprise because Steve always leaves the same day when he comes to visit him.
Steve: One of my team members is injured, she is in surgery now.
Bucky frowned slightly.
Bucky: Did Natasha get hurt to that point?
Bucky raised his eyebrows, confused, but said nothing.
Steve: Let me help you with that.
Steve helped Bucky lay bricks in a house until the sun went down. And when the sun went down, an assistant from Shuri appeared, warning Steve that Natasha's surgery was over and that she was already in her room and that he could see her now if he wished.
Steve: Thank you, I'm going to take a shower and I will see her. Is she awake?
- She left the operating room, awake and lucid.
Steve smiled and sighed, getting relieved.
Steve: It's great news.
The assistant smiled.
- I can offer you a ride to the palace.
Steve: That would be great. Bucky...
Steve looked at Bucky.
Bucky: I will go with you but I need a shower too.
Steve asked the assistant if she could wait and she said yes. Bucky did his best to be quick in the shower and then boarded in Wakanda's vehicle along with Steve and they were both taken to the palace.
Steve: My turn to take a shower. Let's have a dinner together?
Bucky: Of course.
Bucky smiled and Steve went to his bedroom and went to take a bath.
While Steve was taking a bath, Bucky asked around where Natasha was staying and headed over there.
Bucky stopped at Natasha’s bedroom door and just stood there, staring at the door. Bucky was startled when the door opened and two nurses came out of the room.
As he was caught off guard, Bucky didn't have time to walk away from the door and not be seen by Natasha, when he looked into the huge room, he saw her on the bed, looking directly at him.
It was an awkward moment for both of them. The nurses greeted Bucky in their language and Bucky responded in their language as well and saw the two nurses disappear down the hall, then he looked down and knew that Natasha was still looking at him, perhaps wanting explanations from him being there at her door.
The last time Natasha and Bucky were together, they were trying to kill one another.
Bucky waited a few seconds to see if she would say something, called him out or sent him away, but she just remained silent, which made him look at her again.
Bucky took a step standing side by side with the doorframe, and stopped there, his intention was to enter the room, but he realized that Natasha was startled when he took the step towards her, even moving to the side in bed.
Natasha was frowning, looking at Bucky.
Natasha: If you get another inch close, I shoot right in the middle of your head. I won't go wrong this time.
Bucky: I'm not here to hurt you.
Bucky said with his head down, like cornered dogs do showing his agreement. Natasha was breathing hard and analyzing any action by Bucky.
Natasha: What are you doing here?
Bucky dared to look at Natasha.
Bucky: Steve said you got hurt.
Natasha: Yes... Don't pretend you care...
Bucky: No... but... that day... you said I should recognize you... what did you mean by that?
Natasha: You still don't remember?
Bucky: My mind is a mess. The things I remember perfectly are the things I went through before I fell off the train with Steve... then everything is a mixture of flashes of things that I don't know are real, but you are not in any of my memories, except the memory that you hindered my mission... twice.
Bucky heard Natasha laugh softly, mockingly.
Natasha: I knew you would remember that. I myself cannot forget because... I am marked by the shot you gave me. I almost died...
Bucky: You were not the target that time. You became a target when you showed up with Steve, he was the mission and I knew I had to eliminate you, because you were the only one who could stop me from killing him.
Natasha did not respond to that.
Bucky: You are loyal to him... despite being on the opposite side in the war.
Natasha: My side was Steve's.
Bucky: Yes, you changed sides later.
Natasha: I never went against him. I would never hurt him.
Bucky: I noticed that. He trusts you.
Natasha: He doesn't trust anyone anymore.
Bucky: He does, but he is too hardened by everything that happened.
Natasha: Why are you here, Barnes?
Bucky: I wanted to remember of you. Your face is not strange to me and not only because I have seen you in those times that we faced each other, but I have a feeling that I know you better than that...
Natasha laughed softly again.
Natasha: We met, James. Before that... better than thar
Bucky raised his eyebrows at being called James.
Natasha: You met me by Natalia.
Bucky frowned and tried to remember, but nothing came to mind.
Bucky: Were we enemies before?
Natasha made negative with her head.
Bucky: What were we?
- You are here...
Natasha even opened her mouth to answer Bucky and she hesitated for a second, even trembling a lip and before she spoke, she heard Steve's voice and then saw him approach the door, which made her shut up.
Steve: I tried to find you.
Steve said to Bucky.
Bucky lowered his head.
Bucky: I was walking around and I found her room.
Steve smiled and then looked at Natasha inside the room, he got inside and approached the bed.
Steve: You look better.
Natasha: Was I so horrible before?
Steve: I didn't want to say anything, but... yes, you were terrible.
Steve decided to joke with Natasha.
Natasha: Lucky you that I am not armed, Rogers
Natasha joked too, raising an eyebrow and smirking.
Steve: But seriously... how do you feel?
Natasha: It doesn't even look like I was in surgery. They told me to stay in bed, but I feel like I could run and do jumping jacks right now.
Steve: We will not test our luck. Follow the orders.
Natasha: Do I have a choice?
Steve: You always make the choices.
Natasha: Umm... that's true.
Natasha smiled again and Steve smiled back.
Natasha: Are you far from here?
Natasha asked this in a low voice.
Natasha: You room?
Steve: Not much.
Natasha nodded and pressed her lip against the other, looking away at the window. Steve watched her reaction and saw it as a disappointment, but very well disguised.
Steve: It doesn't mean that I have to sleep in my room, tho...
Steve also answered in a low voice to confort her.
Natasha looked at Steve and laughed softly.
Natasha: Well... I'm resting, so... it's better for you to sleep far away from me.
Steve: I would never try anything with you when you are recovering.
Natasha: I am not worried about you, Rogers. I'm worried about me.
Natasha raised her eyebrow again and made Steve blush.
Steve and Natasha broke their smiles and the way they looked at each other, left them with a terrible need to touch each other, Steve even took another step towards the head of the bed, but Natasha looked away at Bucky, which made Steve stop and just take a deep breath.
Steve: I, uh... I said that I would dinner with Bucky.
Natasha: Then go.
Natasha responded quickly and Steve sighed, because he no longer wanted to leave for dinner, he wants to be with her.
Steve: Are you hungry?
Natasha: I can't eat now... the surgery...
Natasha: They'll bring me something later, something light... don't worry.
Steve: I can bring it to you...
The two said, still looking at each other and still wishing they were in more contact than that.
Natasha: Your friend is waiting...
Natasha whispered again.
Steve looked at Bucky who was all weird, staring at the ceiling as if he had found something very interesting there. Bucky was disconcerted.
Steve looked at Natasha again.
Steve: I will be back.
Natasha: I'm counting on that.
Steve stayed in the same place again, without saying anything else, just looking at Natasha, who sighed and made negative with her head.
Natasha: Steve... go...
I don’t want, Nat. Steve thought and Natasha seemed to have heard his thought, she just shrugged slightly and Steve took a deep breath and finally moved away from the bed.
Steve: Let's go to dinner, Bucky.
Steve patted Bucky on the shoulder and walked away from Natasha's room with his friend.