Natasha called, when T'Challa decided to take Wanda and Vision to Shuri's clinical laboratory to assess the damage he suffered and what could be done to recover him.
Steve and Natasha were right behind them all. Sam and Bucky had stayed outside, as Sam warned that he wanted to chat with Bucky since they hadn't seen each other in a while and Bucky agreed.
Steve looked at Natasha as they followed this entire entourage, but when he saw that she stopped walking out of nowhere, he stopped too.
Steve: What is it?
Natasha waited for them to be at a considerable distance and then looked at Steve again.
Natasha: Are you okay??
Steve: I think you know me well enough to know that I am not. After everything I heard from Banner about Thanos, my mind is just thinking about it.
Natasha sighed and nodded.
Natasha: Me too... and about Vision.
Steve: Sometimes, I even forget that he is hurt.
Natasha: Steve, he doesn't feel any pain.
Steve: True, but the expressions he makes confuse me sometimes.
Natasha: It's just him inventing ways to look more human, I've seen him sigh and everything. We need to take that stone from his head and destroy it.
Steve: We can’t kill him.
Natasha: Of course not.
Natasha frowned that Steve thought she was considering it a possibility. Doesn't he know that she has the same principle as him about not negotiating lives? It is true that she was not always like this but since joining SHIELD, she learned more about empathy and with living with him, she learned to have even more principles. It is possible that nowadays she has even more than he does, but neither of them knows it.
Natasha: I'm just... I'm worried.
Steve watched Natasha and noticed that she seems to be fragile, she was not like that before but it seems that she is now, which made him dismount from the austere posture, just for her and because she needs it, he gave her a more understanding and caring look.
Steve: This place has incredible technology, you could try it yourself. Everything will be alright ... They healed Bucky, they healed you ...
Steve touched Natasha's face and it made her sigh, she was positive with her head, feeling better right away, then Natasha put her hand over her mouth and closed her eyes.
Steve: What is it?
Natasha made negative with her head.
Natasha: I don't know.
Steve: Are you feeling sothing?
Natasha: I don't...
Natasha sighed, still with her eyes closed.
Steve: Natasha ??
Steve watched her with concern.
Natasha covered her mouth with one hand and took two deep breaths and opened her eyes.
Natasha: I think it is just the climate change.
Steve: You never had that before. Are you really okay?
Natasha: I almost threw up... it must have been the food...
Steve: Do you want me to order a meal?
Natasha: No, of course not.
Steve: You are feeling bad.
Natasha: I'm not, we don't have time for that now. It was only one moment, I feel better already.
Steve stared at Natasha to assess her condition and she looked really fine now.
Steve: I want you by my side.
Steve spoke and Natasha frowned slightly.
Steve: On the battlefield... when this war starts. You're as much a leader as I am, or more...
Natasha smiled discreetly and made negative with her head, while again feeling Steve's thumb sliding up and down her cheekbone.
Steve: Lead with me.
Natasha nodded and Steve looked at her for a few seconds in silence, which made him and she yearn for a kiss, they were going to share just a quick kiss... Steve got his face close to hers.
- Steve, I...
Steve and Natasha were startled and they both took a step back. They looked at Bucky Barnes at the entrance to the palace, who now looked at them confused and ashamed, it was clear that he was interrupting some moment that was private between Steve and Natasha.
Bucky: Sorry, I...
Steve: What is it, Bucky?
Steve asked, with no signs of discomfort.
Bucky: Nothing... it's just me and Sam, we'll be out here, monitoring.
Natasha: You mean guard...
Bucky looked at Natasha.
Bucky: Yeah. Will you need us in there?
Steve: No, everything is fine.
Bucky: And you...
Bucky looked at Natasha.
Bucky: Do you want to join us?
Natasha opened her mouth slightly.
Steve: Natasha and I need to discuss Vision's situation with the king and his sister.
Steve answered for her immediately.
Steve: She will come with me.
Steve: See you soon.
Bucky again nodded and left the palace. Natasha and Steve went to meet the others, returning to their usual work faces.
Everyone who was gathered in Shuri's laboratory discussed the possibility of extracting Vision’ stone and Shuri assured that it could be done, but within a certain time, that nobody knew if they would have enough time.
Okoye: Something has entered the atmosphere.
Okoye commented with concern, everyone soon became more attentive and apprehensive.
Sam: What I really want to know is whether there is a bar here in Wakanda?
Sam was talking to Bucky outside. Bucky laughed at the question asked.
Bucky: Is that really what you want to know?
Sam: Yes... if they have a bar...
Sam: And where there's a bar there are beautiful women, I presume.
Bucky: There are bars here and beautiful women too.
Sam: Good, we'll have a beer when this whole thing be over and play pool.
Bucky: Are you prepared to lose?
Sam: Oh, lose? For you?? I don't even lose to Steve, who's already old.
Bucky: Steve is Steve. I'm me.
Bucky continued to laugh and then frowned when he noticed that Sam was serious out of nowhere and looking up at the sky. Bucky also looked and noticed what looked like shooting stars or meteors falling to Earth.
Sam: What is this? It seems to be getting close.
Bucky: It's definitely close. Let them know.
Bucky asked and Sam activated the point in the ear.
Sam: Hey, Cap... we have a situation going on out here.
Soon afterwards Bucky looked stunned because these ‘meteors’ were coming at full speed and one of them looked like it was going to fall on them but fell on Wakanda's invisible dome, catching fire immediately.
Despite already knowing many technologies from Wakanda, Bucky was still surprised by this new feature.
Bucky: God, I love this place.
- Don't celebrate yet, folks. More are still coming, outside the dome.
Everyone in the laboratory went to the windows, to observe the spaceships that were falling in droves around the protective dome of Wakanda except Vision who was lying on the stretcher and Shuri who was conducting the stone extraction operation.
Not even the Avengers saw anything like this before, so much so that everyone was impressed and were speechless watching this scene, those things were much bigger than that army of aliens they faced in New York, this is much worse and much more frightening. The feeling was that this could be the last battle of their lives.
With that feeling also was Steve Rogers. What if this is his last battle? Steve thought and thought it was okay that it could be his last battle, but what if it is her last battle? It can't be her last battle.
That thought made Steve look at Natasha but she was impressed by the scene outside, so impressed that she was about to bite her nails and didn't notice Steve’s look, but T'Challa was looking at Steve, who made him look at him too and disguise that her was looking at Natasha actually.
T'Challa ordered the royal guard and the Dora Milaje to prepare for the attack and also ordered them to get a shield for Steve who looked at him with gratitude. Within minutes, they all gathered outside the palace and started boarding Wakanda's flying vehicles.
Steve: Where's Bruce?
Rhodey: He's in the hulkbuster.
Bruce shows up walking awkwardly and bumping into every corner with the hulkbuster's armor.
Steve: Isn't that dangerous?
Rhodey: He will do well, these armor is very intuitive.
T’Challa: Captain, this way... we'll get there faster that way.
T’Challa warned while boarding one of the flying vehicles and then looking at Steve who boarded his vehicle. Natasha got ready to embark on Steve's, but was intercepted by Okoye.
Okoye: Natasha, you come with me.
Natasha looked at Okoye and briefly at Steve who nodded while listening T’Challa speaking strategies, he was aware of which vehicle Natasha was going to board and after seeing which one, he focused only on the mission.
There was just one more moment of distraction, when Natasha asked how Bruce is doing... because it was his first time on that thing and right away he seemed to be having problems. A simple and normal question, but it made Steve look at Natasha to find out the level of her concern and he was pleased that her face was showing nothing more than the usual.
Upon reaching the battle point Wakanda's army lined up perfectly, with the leaders at the front. T’Challa thanked M’Baku for his help.
Natasha positioned herself next to Steve, as he had requested. T’Challa got closer to the two.
Steve: That woman we've faced before.
Steve referred to Proxima Midnight.
T’Challa: She and the big guy next to her got closer to the dome.
Bucky: It looks like they want to negotiate the terms of the battle.
T’Challa: Are they capable of that? They speak English?
T’Challa: So I should go over there, talk to them... offer a chance to give up. Will you come with me, captain?
Steve looked at T’Challa and nodded.
Steve: She comes too.
T’Challa looked at Natasha and nodded which made her do the same, then the three went to the limits of the dome.
Steve, Natasha and the king approached the dome boundary, and Natasha, when she noticed that Proxima's fighting partner wasn’t there, whom she seriously injured, and saw how much Proxima got disturbed for it, asked to see if she would destabilize her emotionally...
Natasha: Where is your friend?
Natasha asked in a mocking tone.
- You will pay for his life with yours.
The three spent more time trying to make the surrender happen peacefully but it was in vain. Proxima confirmed that there would be a battle, so the three returned to their armies and prepare to fight.
The battle started and everything that goes on in it is already known by the movies, including the arrival of Thor, and the trick used by the enemies for Vision to be kidnapped. Wanda was the bait, she went to the battlefield to help her friends and she arrived just in time for Natasha and Okoye to be destroyed by giant bladed weapons.
Wanda jumped in front of them, lifted the weapons from the ground and aimed them at the enemies, she turned to face Natasha, who looked back at her with a discreet smile that was more a demostrantion of pride than a ‘thank you’.
Besides Wanda helping her friends, she was helped by them too because in a moment of distraction she took a blow from Proxima that knocked her to the floor.
- You will die alone.
Natasha: She is not alone.
Natasha made it clear. Proxima looked at her with more hatred than before and looked the same way at Okoye who surrounded her on the other side, the two started fighting against Proxima, who was a difficult opponent for both of them but not for Wanda who ended the fight by launching Proxima's body against one of the giant bladed weapons.
Natasha: This is gross.
Natasha commented while splashing Proxima's blood on her face. Wanda smiled at Natasha.
Wanda: Watch out, Natasha. You have a small company.
Natasha frowned with that comment.
Natasha: We have many companies.
Wanda: What I meant is...
- Guys, Vision needs help!
Natasha: Go, Wanda!
Wanda flew to protect Vision, almost at the same time that Thanos appeared with the Tesseract stone on the gauntlet, he was only missing Vision’ stone to complete the gauntlet.
When Thanos arrived, everyone's fear was confirmed, he was much stronger than they could imagine, he was already more powerful than all of them together and easily was taking everyone out of his way, he only had one goal there... Vision's stone, and Vision now was slaughtered on the ground, only had Wanda guarding him.
Wanda and Vision watched Thanos knock out the others and approach the two of them, then realizing that nothing can stop Thanos except the destruction of the stone, Vision held Wanda's hand and informed her that it was time, time for Wanda to destroy the stone and consequently, kill him...
Wanda refused of course and at the same time she started to tremble, because she knew she would have to do it, yet, she refused again and Vision had to insist and explain that there was no other solution but this one.
Wanda immediately started to cry and went into denial. Vision directed her hand at the stone on his forehead and again encouraged her and she refused again.
Wanda: I can't.
Vision: Yes, you can. Is not fair... It shouldn't be you, but it is.
Wanda shivered even more as she cried.
Vision: Everything is fine.
Vision did everything to calm her down.
Vision: You would never hurt me... I just feel you.
He mentioned what she mentioned to him when they were both at peace and alone for the last time in Scotland.
It was devastating but finally Wanda used her power. While trying to destroy it, Wanda was destroying her own heart.
Meanwhile, Thanos was being delayed by the various opponents, but there was none that could stop him.
Rhodey... T'Challa, Bucky ... Okoye, Natasha... Groot, Steve... one by one, he immobilized everyone but he didn't kill them, that's not how it works for him. He thinks that such a perfect balance will be natural, with no one choosing who deserves to live or die, he will eliminate the 50% with the stones. The stones will decide who lives and who dies.
With just one hand, Wanda held Thanos with the 5 stones and with the other she destroyed the soul's stone finally, throwing herself to the ground in pain and despair for mourning Vision.
Wanda thought it was over there, but unfortunately it wasn't over yet... Thanos consoled her for what she had to do and soon after he used the stone of time to go back in time and bring Vision back. Wanda even tried to stop it but was beaten before she could try anything again.
Thanos brought Vision back to life and unceremoniously tore the stone off his forehead, then he placed the last stone on his gauntlet.
Thor even launched his new weapon at Thanos, hitting him right in the heart. Thor approached, certain of victory and ready to triumph in Thanos' face, but Thanos laughed at him and said...
Thanos: You should... you should... have gone for the head.
Soon after, Thanos snapped his fingers and Thor was confused about what happened.
Thor: What did you do ?? WHAT DID YOU DO???
Thanos did not answer, he opened a portal and disappeared.
Steve, as soon as he woke up from the faint, he approached Thor.
Steve: Where did he go? Thor??
Thor looked at Steve.
Steve: Where did he go?
Bucky called and Steve looked at him. Steve didn't believe what he was seeing, Bucky had his hand being disintegrated. Bucky didn't believe it either, he looked at Steve again and soon after, his body was totally disintegrated. It was a confusing scene and difficult to understand.
Steve approached the area where Bucky was and crouched on the floor, touching the ground, trying to find some reason for what was happening. It didn't take long for more people around them to start disintegrating too.
Not only on Earth this was happening but in the entire universe. Tony had to watch his friends and comrades in battle disintegrating in front of him, and it was especially difficult to watch Peter Parker leave with the speech of not wanting to go. It wasn't fair, he was very young with a promising future. There was only him and Nebula left.
When Thanos withdrew from Earth, disappearing, he removed all the powers he had left there, soon Natasha managed to free herself from where she had been trapped, but she did not get up immediately, because she was not feeling well and after watching Wanda and more people disintegrating and also commenting that they were feeling sick before they disintegrated, she believed that she was the next one to disappear because the pain she was feeling inside her belly was great.
Natasha must have stayed on the floor for twenty minutes or more, until she realized that the entire process of eliminating 50% of the population had been completed and she did not appear to have been part of that percentage.
Natasha still felt a discomfort in her belly, she put her hand on it and frowned, trying to understand why that pain, if Thanos didn't throw her hard against the floor... she didn’t even falled facing down like it would make more sense by the way she was running but Thanos turned her body to lie on her back.
“Watch out, Natasha. You have a small company” Those were Wanda's words to her on the battlefield. It was a weird phrase but she thought at the time that it was about fighting alongside her and the other Dora Milaje, but on second thought, saying that she has a small company and that she has felt like vomiting and a heaviness in the belly for the past few days made her think of an absurd possibility.
I can't... I could never be... it is impossible. Natasha made negative with her head several times and her eyes were agitated. It doesn't make sense... Natasha sighed and ran a hand over her face. Why the tear?? Why am I crying?
Natasha slowly started to turn her body on the floor and stood on her side, she is feeling very heavy, it seems that a piece of her uterus has been ripped out and she hates to think about the possibility of being pregnant or having been pregnant, knowing that it is impossible to her body maintain a pregnancy.
It is stupid to think about it. Wake up... look around you... Natasha told herself and looked around with suffering and saw more suffering of people mourning to lose other people. Wanda is gone... Sam is gone...
Natasha frowned. Steve??
Natasha panicked, she struggled to stand and still felt dizzy, she looked around and didn't see him anywhere, which made her desperate.
Steve, no! Not you. Please! Natasha ran through the woods with a lump in her throat, she saw Thor and Rhodey from a distance, then she saw the Hulkbuster, having no idea if it was empty or if Bruce was there, she ran over to them and all she needed to know was about Steve.
Natasha could breathe again when she saw Steve intact, he was crouched close to Vision's body, she ran close to him, but again the pain in her belly persisted, she just put her hand on her belly and caressed it.
Steve was too baffled by what he had just witnessed.
Steve: Oh, God!
That was only what he managed to pronounce.