- Hello? Hi, I’m sorry. I, uh... I called last week for an appointment... I was unable to attend, but... I would like to know if I could go today.
- Oh, can you tell me your name, please ma’am?
- Natalie. Natalie Rushman. I hope I can go today.
Said Natasha Romanoff on the phone.
- Ms. Rushman, I'll check it out now. You were scheduled with Dr. Olavo, correct?
Natasha: Correct. Look... if I need to, I pay twice as much to consult today.
- There is no necessity. You can come this afternoon.
Natasha: This is a relief!
- We are reducing the price of consultations in fact. 30% discount.
Natasha: Really? Why?
- Well, the office has not been full, after... after the Snap’s Day. There are almost no more patients and... the best doctors we had here too... are also gone.
The day Thanos snapped his fingers and decimated 50% of the universe's population became known on planet Earth as ‘Snap’s day’.
Natasha: I understand. So what time can I arrive?
- Any time from 2pm. He attends on first served basis.
Natasha: Okay, I... will be there. Thanks.
- You're welcome. Have a good afternoon!
The call ended and Natasha sighed, she was sitting in the armchair in her room, with her knees bent and her feet on the armchair’s seat and after the call, she remained there, silent and alone for the rest of the morning. She just came down closer to lunch.
Upon arriving on the first floor of the Avengers facility, Natasha looked out over the lobby, which has a huge lounge with sofas and puffs, a reception, a small space for coffee and water, and a bar area, which next door has an area for DJ's that Tony Stark made sure to include in the project for his events and even for events of the Avengers themselves.
The idea was to have such a large area at the building’s entrance to receive either press, either guests on party without having to involve the intimate area in the route that outsiders take when they are visiting the facility, so it is not necessary to inform that there are also restrooms in this big lobby to outsiders.
From the lobby of the base, it is also possible to see the stairs where Natasha came down, which gives access to the intimate area of the base and it is possible to see the elevator just before the stairs.
There are some doors that give access to technical areas such as air conditioning, deposits, etc. There are two large doors leading to a cafeteria. Inside the cafeteria there are large windows and glass doors, which overlook an internal garden, which has outdoor benches and tables to be used on non-rainy days. From there you can also access an industrial kitchen, where employees cook for the facilitys employees and also for the Avengers.
On the second floor of the base there is also a kitchen, but a smaller kitchen, which is for the use of the people who live there, in this case, the Avengers and a few other agents. This kitchen is a gourmet kitchen, with an island, sofas and drumsticks, with warm colors and wood tones, which make the atmosphere much more cozy, as if it were an English pub.
Natasha did not use the kitchen on the second floor, which is smaller and more practical and even closer to her room, because being remember her of the moments she was there living with the other Avengers. She considered them as her Family.
At this hour, if he wasn't on the farm... Clint would be telling jokes or he would be on the phone with Laura. Thor would be bragging about Asgard's stories about eating a whole boar alone. Tony Stark would be attentive only to his conversation with Pepper Potts and if not having Pepper there, he would be annoying someone, probably Steve Rogers, who would be reading a book or trying to.
Natasha would be talking to Steve and Sam, or the most sensible person in the house, who in the absence of Bruce Banner... is Rhodey.
Natasha recalled those moments as she saw the entire empty lobby, with no soul around, no sound of anything, and that was not how it used to be. There would be one or two receptionists at the reception at that hour, taking calls, checking in and out of base people, there would be agents from the Avengers base, circling with clipboards and weapons, there would be cadets being trained.
Natasha still remembered the parties of the Avengers that took place there. Maria Hill came every time, despite being antisocial and she even socialized a lot but certainly to spy on the party and try to get some data she shouldn't know. Hill would ignore Natasha's presence as she thinks she would be questioned and followed by her during the party.
She is right. I would follow her and question her. I miss you, my friend. Natasha gave a tired smile when she thought about Hill, she looked at the bar area and imagined Tony going there and pouring himself a whiskey, Tony would have the same glass for at least 2 hours until he finished drinking. She remembered Sam and Clint competing who is the best DJ at the party and they are both equally good at it, people danced a lot with their music.
They are no longer here, and those who stayed... seem to have died too. Nothing is like before. Nothing will be as before again. Natasha thought and felt a lump in her throat. This is very distressing. All these people... it used to be so loud in here, and they were so different from each other, but the time they had together it was magical, it was precious. Whether in battle, whether here enjoying days off, or days of peace.
It's like a family, you have to live with them because it's what you have and it may not look so good at first but you get used to them and learn to love them. Worst of all is learning to miss them.
Natasha pressed one lip to the other and took a deep breath, she felt her eyes mist with tears, but when she took a deep breath she recovered.
- Are you... admiring the furniture?
Natasha turned her face to the building glass dor, she saw Steve Rogers who had just arrived and broke the absurd silence.
Natasha could not smile and Steve was not smiling with the joke he did.
Natasha looked back at the lobby and made negative with her head.
Natasha: On second thought...
Steve was watching her.
Natasha: I think this place is really big.
Steve: It didn't used to be.
Natasha: But now it is.
Steve took a deep breath. Natasha looked at him again.
Natasha: Where have you been?
Steve: Just... walking around.
Steve: What about you? Have you been here?
Steve: All morning?
Natasha nodded again.
Natasha: There is nothing to do outside.
Natasha: But I... I'm going out today, tho. After lunch...
Steve: You need to... take some air... some sun... see diferente people.
Natasha: I... was going to do something to eat. Do you want to help me?
Steve: I kind of need to take a shower first. I woke up and went straight to the street.
Natasha: But are you going to eat?
Steve: No, I'm not hungry.
Natasha: It's been days since you've barely eaten, Steve.
Steve: I know, but... I don’t want to eat now. Maybe later.
Natasha: I will prepare a little more then. If you change your mind...
Steve prepared to refuse but changed his mind when he saw Natasha's eyes watering.
Steve: Okay... I'll shower and then I will come down to eat... with you.
Natasha noddad and saw Steve approach her, but not exactly of her but of the stairs.
Steve arrived on the stairs and stepped on the first step, he took Natasha's wrist and he looked down while he looked at her. The atmosphere between them has been weird since the Thano’ snap and it got even more wierd after a world ceremony that took place in honor of those who died from the snap.
For those who stayed alive, the snap meant the death of the people who disappeared. It was a difficult time for everyone. Everyone lost a lot of people, it wasn't easy and it's not allowing Steve and Natasha to pretend to be so strong now.
It’s not common for the two to be weakened in this way, suffering this way, they have a way of dealing with their problems and their pains. Both are to keep things for themselves, but Steve makes it clearer when he is sad, although he never cries. Natasha, on the other hand, just keeps everything to herself, she prefers to make the people around her look good, so she has a reason to stay strong... because she needs to be strong to make people strong.
Steve looked like he wanted to say something when he touched her, but he spent those seconds touching her wrist without saying anything. It was an attempt to communicate, to say that he is sorry that she is sad but that he also is and he is unable to say the words of comfort and hope that he always gives to her. He can not right now.
Steve released Natasha's wrist and went up the stairs. Natasha sighed again and entered the cafeteria, to go to the kitchen and prepare lunch.
Natasha prepared a grilled salmon that is fast, cooked some vegetables, she washed salad and cut it, then she served herself a plate and as she took almost an hour in this process and Steve did not show up, she considered that he would not come, or that there would be no time to wait for him, since she has na appointment to go. She should be there already.
Natasha took the plate of food and left the kitchen, accessing the cafeteria, she was undecided if she would sit there or went to the internal garden.
Not even having anyone to debate where to sit is a reason to be sad again and regret the deaths of the Snap. Natasha felt her stomach reject the idea of eating, she took a deep breath so as not to succumb to the pain and went to eat outside garden. The green, the outdoors, would make her feel a little better.
Natasha sat on one of the benches and put her plate on the table, she took a little lettuce with her fork and put it in her mouth, she started chewing willingly but it gradually decreased and she just chewed it as if it were a gum without flavor.
That was because she started thinking again about the theory that she was pregnant. Even though the idea was absurd for her she has this weird sensation. Why the pain, why that empty and strange feeling in the womb? Why? Why that?
There are no scientific reasons for what she senses, she wanted to talk it over with somebody and that somebody should be Steve but because he is the very suspect of being the father... she couldn't tell him that.
Or could she?? What would he think? Would he be there today at the appointment with her? God knows how badly she wants someone to go with her there today or someone to say that she's crazy and raving that it could never be true.
There is someone else who would do it for her, there was someone else, there is no more... Maria Hill...
I need you. Natasha sighed, while finally swallowing the food, she propped her elbow on the table and her forehead in her hand, feeling the sadness return.
Natasha looked at the glass door of the cafeteria. Rhodey was there.
Rhodey: Are you okay?
Natasha forced a smile and nodded.
Natasha: Yes. And you?
Rhodey: I am fine...
Natasha: Have you... made any progress with NASA?
Rhodey: It is progressing slowly, but we will get there.
Rhodey: It looks good.
Rhodey referred to the food.
Natasha: Oh... I made some more... it was for Steve.
Rhodey: Where is he?
Natasha: I don't know. Up there, I mean.
Rhodey: If he doesn't come, I will eat.
Rhodey turned to go back to the covered cafeteria and saw Steve coming.
Rhodey: I was about to steal your lunch.
Steve: Well... feel free to do that.
Rhodey: Just kidding.
Steve: Seriously, you can eat. I just... came to keep Natasha company... and now for you.
Rhodey: You are thinner.
Steve didn't comment, just went to meet Natasha.
Steve: Rhodey is going to eat my lunch.
Natasha shrugged again.
Steve approached and sat facing Natasha, she started eating normally in his presence.
Natasha was just eating salad and looking at the plate, with each mouthful, she took a deep breath, as if she were angry.
Natasha did not answer.
Steve: Are you okay?
Natasha: If I'm Okay???
Natasha looked at Steve and her look contained anger, which surprised Steve.
Steve: Is it about the food? Did you prepare for me? Do you want me to eat??
Natasha laughed softly and doesn't even know why, she went back to looking at food and made negative with her head several times while spearing the lettuce leaves.
Natasha: Whether you eat or not, it doesn't make any difference to what I'm feeling!
Steve did not expect this cross answer because although they were weird to each other, they always treated each other with warmth and respect.
Steve is not in a position to debate or try to smooth things over now, he fears to say something wrong and unleash something worse. Everyone has their emotions on edge, so he was quiet.
Natasha even took two deep breaths, until she was calm and made negative with her head.
Natasha: I'm not upset with you, it's just...
Steve: What is it?
Natasha looked at Steve right in his eyes and she took a deep breath, because she is suffocating with that theory of having been pregnant, of going to a appoiment about it and not telling anyone. Steve has always been her friend, she would tell him if it weren't for the fact that he was the possible father...
Steve has been in mourning for everyone, especially Sam, Tony and Bucky. They haven't heard from Tony, so for them, he's dead because he disappeared with the snap.
How could she give him more grief?? Natasha closed her eyes and took a deep breath again.
Steve put his arm on the table and put his hand over Natasha's.
Steve: Tell me what is it about?
Natasha: Nothing... I... I just... I'm a little lost.
Steve: I’m feeling like that too.
Natasha: I think I'm going crazy.
- Well, we all are.
Natasha and Steve looked at Rhodey who arrived with his plate for lunch. Natasha took Steve's hand away when Rhodey approached.
Rhodey: It's been a crazy day. I find myself talking to myself, I find myself thinking about Tony and some people in my family... people that I can't contact, so I just imagine that they're here.
Rhodey commented when he sat down.
Rhodey: This is crazy... I know they are not.
Steve: It is the wish that they could be.
Rhodey: This place looks haunted.
Natasha: Maybe it is.
Rhodey: What are you going to do this afternoon?
Natasha: I have a compromise.
Rhodey: With SHIELD?
Natasha: No, it's personal.
Steve: Anything we can help with?
Rhodey: How about you, Steve?
Steve: I didn't program anything specific to do.
Rhodey: So you can join me, as you are more into technology now.
Natasha: I need to go now. I'm already late.
Steve: Call if you need anything.
Natasha nodded and stood up, she kept looking at Steve, wanting a hug or a kiss of encouragement, but she wouldn't have that and they are not exchanging caresses in front of others.
Natasha left them both and went back to her bedroom, she didn't bother to change clothes, much less comb her hair, she took the keys of her bike, put on a sweatshirt and left the building, riding at high speed.
- Hello! Good afternoon.
Natasha: I'm Natalie Rushman, I'm here to see Dr. Olavo.
- Oh yes, ID please?
Natasha handed over a fake ID and the attendant passed her data on to the computer.
- Home address, please.
Natasha looked at the attendant.
Natasha: Am I required to report that?
- I'm afraid so.
Natasha gave Maria Hill's apartment address.
- The consultation is $ 50 and covers the review consultation if necessary. Cash or card?
Natasha handed over the money.
- Just wait, he is attending now, but the next one will be you.
Natasha nodded and looked at the waiting area and there was only one woman there, pregnant and with a small child nearby.
Natasha tried to sit on the other side of where the woman was, to avoid having to interact with her and the child. Luckily, the woman answered the call from her husband who wanted to know if she had already consulted and she said yes and was distracted by it.
As for the child, Natasha noticed, he was playing with a toy on the coffee table and just stopped when he saw her, he looked at her without saying anything or expressing anything on his face.
In other times, Natasha's reaction would be to turn her face to the side or pretend to be doing something on her cell phone but seeing that child there made her feel good because children symbolize the beginning of a life and nothing more significant than that when the world has undergone complete genocide.
The child still had no expression on his face and Natasha was the first to smile... but, of course, that made the boy smile and he must have been 2 years old at the most.
Natasha smiled more when he smiled back at her and the boy held out his toy for her. Natasha raised her eyebrows and was going to reach out to take it but someone picked the child up. Natasha looked at the man, who was obviously the boy's father.
The woman got up, holding her belly and she and her husband didn't even say hello, they were arguing about her not waiting for him on the sidewalk and that he had to get out of the car.
Natasha overheard the discussion but looked only at the child, she was worried about him in the middle of her parents' fight but he didn't understand anything, he was looking at her and smiled again, he shook the toy to say goodbye and Natasha raised her hand in the air to say goodbye to him.
After all this tragedy, in which almost no family remained whole, the one that has them all, is not enough for them not to fight for such futile reasons. If they only knew... how lucky they are. Natasha thought.
- Ms. Rushman.
Natasha looked at the attendant.
- Room 5.
Natasha nodded and went to room 5.
Natasha took too long to confess all her distrust of being pregnant, she commented that she thought she was infertile and the doctor asked what kind of problems she had that caused infertility and she didn't want to say that she was a victim of a Russian infertility experiment, that all she knows is that the medication injected into her at that time causes her body to reject the embryo. Soon, she would not support a pregnancy.
With great patience and skill, the doctor got this information from Natasha, but she did not reveal the conditions under which this medication was injected on her and that she was sedated at the time.
The doctor also questioned whether she got pregnant at any time in her life and she said no, that even if she had been, she wouldn't know, because any embryo would naturally come out of her, in the first few days.
The doctor asked why she thinks that this time she was really pregnant, if she felt anything different and Natasha said that she felt diferente but that she thought it was a war thing.
Natasha: I know this is all absurd, but...
- You want to be sure...
Natasha: Yes. That's it.
- It's been 6 days since the snap happened, so if you were pregnant, we can find out with an ultrasound and laboratory tests too.
Natasha: I want to do it.
- Okay, do you want to do it today?
- Will you expect the result at home?
Natasha: I don't think I can wait that long.
- It may take up to 3 hours, we have others exams in line.
Natasha: I will wait!
- Then go to the reception again, pay for the exams, do it in the room that she indicates and when you are ready, you bring it to me.
Natasha nodded and did what was asked.
The exams took 3 hours and a half to get ready and she waited another 15 minutes for the doctor to finish the consultation he was in, then she returned to his office and sat down.
Natasha handed the envelope to the doctor.
- Well let’s see.
The doctor took the exams and read the results.
- Ms. Rushman...
Natasha was attentive and apprehensive.
- The exams indicates that...