Steve turned to face Clint, who was still kneeling on the floor, looking desolate. Everything already answered Steve's question about Natasha. The fact that she didn't return and Clint's reaction when he arrived.
Steve took a deep breath and as Clint did not respond and the desperation was great, Steve grabbed his uniform with aggression.
Steve: Barton!!! Where's Natasha???
Steve asked impatiently and accusingly.
Clint looked at Steve and made negative with his head, then his eyes got filled with tears, which made Steve angry and desolate by the fear he was feeling of having lost Natasha forever.
Steve is aware that this is what happened but he doesn't want it to be true and he needs to hear from Clint to be sure.
Steve: Where is she?? Why you here and she is not? What happened???
Steve now lifted Clint by his uniform, making him stand and that made the others intervene and make him release his friend.
Steve: Where is she??? She was with you!! How could you leave her behind??
Tony: Okay, alright... Thor, a little help here...
Tony asked for help to contain Steve.
Steve was pushed back by Thor and Hulk and this caused him to pull his arm abruptly to free himself.
Steve: Let go of me, Thor! Let go!!
Thor: I want to do this but you need to calm down, buddy!
Steve: I want answers and I want it now!!!
Hulk: Steve, I know. I want that too, but... you are very upset right now. I am too and even your son is... Look at him... he is nervous and you need to be able to help him.
Steve looked at James and that was what stopped him from trying to grab Clint Barton again but it also made him understand what had happened... Natasha died, that's it, that’s why Clint is so sad.
Steve: Won't she come back?
Steve looked and Clint. Clint looked at Steve, shaking his head and with tears in his eyes.
Clint: No... I am sorry...
Clint informed Steve and everyone was very shocked and very sad but not like Steve was, he doesn't know how to react to this because he has had a lot of losses in his life so he is used to pain and grief but he is not even a bit prepared to mourn the loss of Natasha, the love of his life, mother of his child, he never imagined that it was possible for her to leave him forever, it was supposed to be him or Clint or anyone else. Why she?? Why now? What does he do now??
Steve has never been without Natasha before, they have been together since his first mission with the Avengers, she was not only his girlfriend and a mother, she was his best friend, she was his best work partner and that made her the best woman he ever had. There won't be a minute of life that he won't miss her, he's already missing her now.
Steve put his hand on his chest and grabbed his own shirt very tightly as if he was feeling a sharp pain in his chest like a knife being stuck on him, he lowered his head and it seemed that his mind had traveled in time, reminding him of every moment he lived with Natasha. They went through so many things together. This post-Snap life only made sense with her, she was the column that kept him upright and he seemed to be the same for her.
Steve only came out of his thoughts when the Hulk hit the ground so hard that the whole machine shook and it scared James and Morgan. Morgan ran to her mother and James screamed and cried more than before.
Steve looked at James again, with no action yet, he knows what he needs to do but see James now is like see Natasha, it hurts. What to say to him? How to explain that his mother won’t come back. How will be their lives from now on?
Tony: Honey, can you take James to a more peaceful place, please??
Tony requested, taking over the situation because Steve was clearly in shock.
Pepper was distressed watching everything, she nodded and looked for Morgan who had ran around again.
Pepper: Morgan?? Come with me.
Morgan: I want to be with my daddy.
Pepper: Now is not the time, Morgan. Come please.
Morgan ran to Pepper and went with her towards the exit. James was being taken away but he kept looking back crying a lot and calling for Steve, because he was the one he saw first when everyone returned.
Steve: Pepper, wait!
Steve asked and then got off the machine, he ran to James.
Pepper: Steve, are you sure? You are very nervous...
Steve took James in his arms and hugged him, while still very shaken.
Steve: Son, everything is fine. It's okay, son.
Steve tried to calm James down and walked out.
Clint called to him and Steve stopped but did not look back.
Clint: I tried. I swear I tried!
Steve: Not enough apparently. She is not here but you are.
Steve declared and left with James.
The others stayed with Clint to find out what really happened to Natasha and to console him, who was very shaken too.
Some tried to go after Steve but Tony asked to give him time and space as he knew him very well, Tony Know Steve needs to be alone.
Tony: I've been through a few good shit with him.
Tony: And I never saw Steve like that.
Thor: Me neither.
Rhodey: Me neither. And even tho I have seen Steve angry before, live in the Civil War time, but never like that.
Tony: No, this is about pain, Guys. He’s mourning... he is sad and I have seen him sad too but never crying.
Rhodey: True. Although he was very shaken on the day of the snap but he didn’t cry.
Tony: Yes and that is why I know how much Natasha’s death is hurting him and there is nothing we can do to make it better.
Steve asked James for calm and repeated that everything was fine with him all the time, but this was more for him than for James. As soon as they entered the bedroom, they came across with Natasha's clothes and it made Steve's chest hurt again, he put his hand on his face and now it wasn't just silent tears, it was a strong and heavy cry, a cry he haven't had it in a long time.
James was more in control but he didn't understand what was happening to Steve, he looked at him with a frown.
Steve sat on the bed with James and hugged him tightly, using him as a comfort in this moment of so much pain, after a few minutes he had to control himself because James was getting scared and started to grumble.
Steve couldn’t even be totally isolated with James in that day because he needed to eat and take his bottles, so in a few hours he ended up leaving the bedroom and Pepper offered to give James dinner, she said she would be at the Avengers’Building for a while to be able to help and that Steve could rest a bit that she would take care of him.
Others also volunteered for it and Steve didn't even dare to refuse the offer because every time James called his mother, he was dragged back to the whole feeling of loss.
The next day, Steve was more controlled but no less sad, he finally got together with the others to deal with Natasha's farewell but he didn't want to hear from Clint what happened in Vormir yet, he said that he would listen to him after they had a funeral for her.
Rhodey asked what Steve intended to do since there is no body to be buried and Scott recalled that there were no bodies of the people who went to the Snap as well, that a ceremony should be held anyway.
Steve informed that he wanted to do this for Natasha because she deserved it but that he didn't want anything too big because he wants James to be there to say goodbye to his mother and he doesn't like croud he is scared with many people around and also because this didn't do Natasha's style, like having big events to celebrate anything about her, no one ever celebrated her birthday for that very reason.
Everyone agreed with what Steve proposed and it took a few days for this farewell ceremony to happen because Steve was very unstable, one time he looked well, in another time he looked catatonic.
Steve and the others held a farewell ceremony for Natasha outside the Avengers’ building almost a week later. Steve couldn't help but cry again for Natasha's death, which made James cry and Pepper took him inside to play with Morgan and get him out of that heavy atmosphere.
I should have forced you to go with me. Steve thought as he looked out over the lake. The ceremony had already ended but he decided to stay there and his friends stayed with him.
But you would not obey me, you would not listen to me. Nobody was in charge of you, Natasha. Why did you have to go without me?? Why didn't you keep your promise? You left James alone and you left me alone. What am I without you?? Steve thought and tears streamed down his face silently.
Clint Barton approached Steve and regretted it again, he asked Steve for forgiveness and now Steve heard his version of the story in Vormir.
Steve understood what happened and knows that Natasha would never allow him to kill himself, he believed in the fight between him and Natasha and believed in all her efforts to keep his friend safe and in that instant, he hated her for being so heroic.
Thor: Do you understand, Steve??
Thor asked and no one answered.
Thor: She is there, we need to go back there to rescue.
Everyone looked puzzled at Thor.
Scott: Back there how? I don’t have Pym particles for another trip and we agree to do this only once.
Thor: But she is there, we need to bring her back! You keep saying that there is no way, that she is dead, she was exchanged for the soul stone.
Clint: You can't undo that.
Thor: You don't know that!
Clint: The guy over there said it wasn't possible! These are not my words. I wanted it to be possible.
Thor: I think we should try! Okay, Steve?
Tony: Try and forget the main objective here? After everything we've done to get the stones?
Steve: We need to complete the mission.
Thor: Yes and then we get her back.
Steve: Thor, stop!
Steve: I can't go through this again. I will not be filled with hope. I did it more for Natasha than for myself, we wanted our son back and now I am without him and without her. I just have James and James only has me, there is no way to ruin it now.
Everyone listened in silence, without judgment.
Steve: I need to move on for James and I still don't know how to do that, I just know that I can't be here anymore.
Tony: What do you mean?
Steve: Natasha and I had already decided to move out. This is not a child's home and being here reminds me of Natasha all the time. And it reminds James too.
Hulk: I think you're right, Steve.
Rhodey: Count on us for whatever you need.
Steve: Thanks and now... I would like to be alone for a while.
Clint: Of course.
Steve: If James cries...
Scott: Everything is fine with him. You can take all the time you need, Steve.
When Steve was alone, he took time to clear his mind of all other problems, he wanted to have one last conversation with Natasha and as she didn't come back, he needs to do it now as a way to end her story .
What I will always regret is that... it took me a long time to realize that I loved you. I hope you can hear me from wherever you are and I would believe that you can hear me but I don't want you to be able to hear, because if you can... it means that you are really dead and will never come back. I don't know why I still question this if you fell off a cliff... you threw yourself off a cliff. It is obvious that you will never come back and I have to accept that.
Steve took a deep breath and lowered his head.
It hurts, Nat...
Steve raised his head slightly to look at the lake and more tears were streaming down his face.
It hurts too much and all the time. I wish we had more time together, just a little bit. Why did we spend so much time discovering that we loved each other that way? I was always so tired of this life after everything I lived after the freeze, after so many wars and I couldn't take this life anymore but having you with me... it was different. I realize now that you gave me the strength to continue and I'm not going to lie to you because you know me too well... I lost my temper after you left. I don't want to be here anymore, Nat. And I wouldn't have been if your sacrifice hadn't been to save lives. How can I let this be in vain? It would not be fair. I have to finish what we started. For you. For James.
Steve made negative with his head.
When I think of him, I feel I am a coward... he has already lost you and here I am thinking that I do not want to be here also, that is enough of this life for me, but what about him?? He's so innocent in all this story and he misses you so much, Nat... he's so Young but he understands and realizes things, so when I'm really bad, he doesn't cry much and he don’t get like a naughty boy... he is quiet. He's a very good boy. He loves you and just as I promised you that I would not let him forget about his brother, I will not let him forget you. It will hurt, but he will always know about you.
Natasha... I hope my mom welcomes you wherever you are and I want you to know that I would like to have taken more pictures of you to keep looking, to show James, most of the ones I have, you are not looking for the camera and the ones you’re smiling are rare... I think I’ll need to ask our friends for more of your records.
Steve laughed through his tears.
That's how you are and James will know that and he'll love you even more. He had a very authentic mother. We love you. Rest in peace. I love you.
A few days later....
Pepper: I’m so worry about Steve and James. Steve is still totally destabilized and James is very Young yet. I plan on taking him home with me and Tony. At least for a while.
Pepper commented to Tony, Scott and Rhodey, they were gathered in the lounge room.
Tony: The only person who can make Steve react at the moment, is James.
Pepper: So we could invite them bot ...
Pepper also suggested and Tony took a deep breath, thinking of the answer.
Tony: Honey, if you feel like you should... then invite.
Pepper: Don't you think I should invite them?
Tony: I think so, but I know his answer. He will not come to our house. He needs to be alone and occupy his mind.
Pepper: But will James be okay?
Tony: I don't know about that.
Pepper: We will help them both in the best possible way. The only thing is that James, despite being familiar with us, has always been very fond of staying with his parents.
Scott: Yes, guys. He even stayed with me for a good hours but then he called Steve and Natasha. Now what will it be like when he calls for his mother?
Nobody knew what to say, there was a cruel silence in the environment.
Steve: I will say that I am here for him.
Steve spoke as he approached the lounge and overheard the conversation, he went to the kitchen without anyone noticing and came out of there with a bottle to take to James. Everyone was a little embarrassed to see him.
Pepper approached Steve and gave him a hug, she always does this to comfort him.
Pepper: Sorry that we were talking about you.
Steve: I know that your intention is noble. And I appreciate the concern and all the help.
Tony: What did you decide to do, my friend?
Steve: I want to complete the mission, you can count on me.
Pepper: It is good to hear that, it will be good for you.
Steve: Yes and I want you all to know that I found a place, not far from here.
Rhodey: A place?
Steve: Yes. A home ... for me and James.
Rhodey: Are you sure it is a good idea to go now?
Pepper: I think it is. Here is no place for a child. A new place means a fresh start for you and him. You two need to move on, almost a month has passed.
Tony: I'm with Pepper on this one.
Steve: It is already decided, I am going to hire a nanny and I will need your help in this, Pepper.
Pepper: Of course, count on me, I already have someone to refer you.
Rhodey: When do you move?
Steve: Between today and tomorrow... I want to see how James will adapt.
Steve: Yes. I already started to pack.
Pepper: We all wish you luck.
Steve nodded and then went to finish packing in the room, where James was watching cartoons.
Steve: Okay, James...
Steve handed the bottle to James.
Steve: Are you excited to go to our new home? I think you'll like it... it's not very big inside, but it has a big balcony and also a big garden in the front, where we can play together and you can sunbathe.
Steve commented to James, he was not used to talk to him a lot but started talking about common things with him since Natasha used to do that with him a lot, even about things he doesn't understand yet.
Steve: I think I'll teach you how to play baseball or basketball... what do you think?
Steve gave James a small smile, who did not understand what he was saying but was paying attention in the same way. James always liked how much Natasha talked to him, since he was a baby and now he likes his father to do the same.
Steve: Dismantling this crib looks easy, I just don't know about putting it back together. What do you think?
Steve commented and started putting James' clothes in a large suitcase, all of which were already clean, folded and stacked neatly on the bed.
Steve: In a few weeks, James, Daddy will have to go on a mission again... I didn't want to leave you but I'm going to do it for your mom. But while Uncle Tony and the others are going to find a way to create a new Inifnity gauntlet, I'll stay with you. We will spend as much time together as possible, okay?
Steve asked and went on organizing the suitcase.
Steve: Easter is coming too, you know? Do you know what Easter is? It's a religious day... we celebrate Christ's resurrection... but you don't know who He is yet...
Steve: Someday we will have a conversation about that but... Easter also means a happy day, especially for children because they get chocolates and there is a fun game where you hunt eggs...
James went on listening and went on without understanding.
Steve: Eggs that the Easter Bunny leaves for the children. Our new neighborhood has a lot of kids, James. You will have many friends.
The next day...
Steve: Here we are ...
Steve commented to James as soon as he parked the car on the lawn of their new home. It was near the end of the day.
Steve: Our new home! Are you excited?
Steve commented and looked back to look James in the eye, who was sitting in his child seat.
Steve: What did you think?
Steve turned off the car and then got out, he took James from the back and stopped to look at the house for a moment.
Steve: I hope we can be happy here, James.
Steve: I just...
Steve: I wish your mom could see it.
Steve: Yeah, son...
Steve stroked James’ back.
Steve: Let's go in...
Steve opened the trunk of the car and took two large suitcases, while holding James in one arm, he went to the door of the house and rested the bags on the floor of the porch so he could take the keys and open the door.
Steve came in with James first and turned on the lights, then put James on the floor.
Steve: Our house... go explore...
James looked at Steve and then looked suspiciously into that living room, he was afraid that someone would show up because it’s a new place. He doesn't understand that it’s his house yet.
Steve: Go, son...
Steve took James's hand and made him walk around the room. The house was bought fully furnished.
Steve: I'll get the rest of the stuff from the car.
Steve released James' hand and ran to the door, but it made James run after him and cry.
Steve: James everything is fine, I just go in the car.
James reached Steve and held out his arms for a lap.
Steve: Okay, you can come with me...
Steve took James on his lap and because of that, he had to make three trips to bring everything inside the house and on the fourth trip, he left James on the porch to take the crib apart on the car. James cried until Steve came back to him.
Steve: I'm here. Calm down!
Steve put the crib in and finally came in and locked the door.
Steve: Look, we have a chimney... Santa Claus can get in here now.
Steve commented trying to cheer up James.
Steve: Are you hungry? Come and see our kitchen.
Steve went to the kitchen and James followed him and saw Steve take out ready-made lunchboxes, he just put them in the microwave and then took them out.
James saw Steve open the kitchen cabinets and look frustrated.
Steve: You know what, James? We don't have dishes. No cutlery... but we have one spoon... your spoon... so first you're going to have dinner and then I'm going to have dinner with your spoon. Can you lend me?
Steve: Okay, so let's sit down... we have a dinner table, this is new, right?
Steve took the lunchboxes to the dinner table, then placed James at the chair and sat beside him.
Steve: Do you want to watch cartoons?
Steve quickly got up to grab the remote and turn on the TV, he put it on a cartoon channel and then gave James dinner.
James became calmer when he realized that there was only him and his father in the house and after dinner he got very confortable and secure in the house, he watched cartoons alone while his father was dining, then he went to play with all the objects of the living room.
James figured out how to turn the lamp on and off and kept repeating the action several times.
Steve: I don't think Mom would like to see you turn the light on and off, James. Do you want your toys?
Steve took the suitcase with James' toys and opened it. James approached and got some toys to play with, he was fine until bedtime, he started to grumble and asked to go "home".
J: Wanna go home, daddy!
Steve: We are home, James.
J: Home, daddy!!!
Steve: Son... we live here now...
J: I want mommy.
Steve: I know, son, I know.
James started to cry and Steve rocked him on his lap.
Steve: Calm down... everything is fine. Do you want to sleep with me today?
J: No sleep!
James fought, still crying.
Steve: Okay, Okay...
Steve: Let's stay here watching cartoons...
Steve lay on the couch and left James lying on him.
Steve: We are not going to sleep... but James doesn't need to cry anymore...
Steve commented and James gradually calmed down, he watched TV and shortly afterwards fell asleep.
Steve was afraid to get up and make James wake up, so he decided to sleep over there that night.
The next morning, Steve woke up to the sound of the doorbell, he was slightly startled by not being used to this sound, he sat down carefully and left James sleeping on the couch, he turned off the TV that was on all night and then he answer the door.
Steve opened the door and there were three women there, one old and two adults, all looking very friendly with big smiles and one of them was holding a covered plate and the other one a pie, which looked great and smelled very nice.
- Good Morning!
- Good Morning!
- Good Morning!
The three said almost at the same time.
Steve: Good morning...
Steve tried to smile back.
Steve: Can I help?
- Are you the Steve Rogers, right?
- See, girls? I knew it was him!!!
- I never doubted it.
- Yes, you did!
- By God, you have no manners!
Said the older lady with the pie in her hand, she held it out to Steve.
- Here, my son...
Steve took the pie, but he was confused.
- This is for you.
- And that too!
The other woman discovered the plate she was carrying.
- It’s muffins... I hope you like it.
Steve: Oh... thank you, wow...
- We want to welcome you to our neighborhood.
Steve smiled more.
Steve: That is so nice. I appreciate that.
- We saw you arriving yesterday and I thought it would be good for you and the baby a hearty breakfast.
Steve: It helps a lot, I haven't shopped yet.
- We thought about it... you arrived alone with the child.
The women seem to have paid a lot of attention to what Steve was doing since yesterday when he arrived.
- You are a widower now, aren't you ??
One of the women said unusually and was elbowed for it. Steve gradually broke the smile.
-Oh, forgive me... is that I read about it from the newspapers, I shouldn't have commented.
Steve: It’s okay.
- We are sorry for your loss.
- Yes. And you have a baby.
- No baby, he already walks!
- You understood what I mean!!!
Steve: I have a son, yes.
- I also have a daughter, I’m a single mom, I lost my husband in the war.
Steve: I'm sorry for that.
- Thanks. Perhaps we can talk more about this experience. We could help each other.
Steve: Yeah... maybe...
That was what Steve managed to answer, even though he wanted to refuse the offer, then there was a strange silence between all of them.
Steve: Well, I have a lot to fix in the house now, so...
Steve used it as an excuse and the women peeked into the house.
- We can see that.
- If you need help...
Steve: This food here already helps a lot.
Steve smiled again.
- It was a pleasure.
Steve: It was all mine.
- I live here in the front house. My husband is not at home now... he never is, tho...
The woman commented without anyone asking anything and laughed quietly.
- But if you need anything... just show up at my door.
Steve: Okay, thanks.
- And if your son needs a friend... I live in house 35.
Steve: All right.
- Come on guys, let the man take care of his house!
Said the old lady.
- See you later.
Steve: Bye. Thanks again.
Steve closed the house door and as he walked over to the dining table to support the food he had won, he noticed James sitting on the couch and frowning at him.
Steve: Good morning, son. Are you fine?
J: Pee, pee.
Steve: Do you want to pee??
Steve approached the couch and James pointed to his wet pants.
Steve: Oh, James! You already peed... okay, all right, all right... you really needed a shower. Come on with daddy...
Steve picked James up and he laid his head on his shoulder and yawned, still feeling very sleepy.
Steve took James to the bathroom and bathed him and while drying James on the towel, Steve got a call from Tony Stark.
Steve thought he was going to be recruited to work today but Tony just wanted to know if everything was okay. Steve said yes and Tony told him to be unconcerned because he was taking care of the Avengers facility.
Steve: Okay, Tony. Thank you.
Steve ended the call and wrapped James in the towel, then left with him in the living room and went to the dinner table.
Steve: Look what we got, James...
Steve discovered the plate and showed James the muffins, who immediately reached out for one and the doorbell rang again.
Steve gave James a muffin and then picked him and carried him to the door. James was still wet and wrapped in a towel when Steve answered the door.
Steve spotted a couple about the age of himself.
- We are the Jacksons, next door.
Said the man.
Steve: Hi, I'm Steve and this is James.
- We know who you are. We are fans and now neighbors.
Completed the man.
- Hello, James!
Said his wife.
- That looks delicious!
James was serious, he turned his face and started eating the muffin.
- We came to introduce ourselves and bring this!
The couple handed Steve another pie.
Steve: Oh, thank you very much!
- You're welcome.
- As you know Easter is coming and we are going to do an egg hunt for the children in the neighborhood. We want to know if you will participate, since you have a child.
Steve: Hm... yeah, I Guess we will...
Steve was uncertain but did not want to be rude or harm James' socialization, after all they moved so that he could have a normal child life.
Steve: Of course. We'd love to.
- Great!. Each house must participate by donating 10 eggs. We will take care of hiding the eggs around the neighborhood and use the gardens of all the houses for this. Can we count on yours?
Steve: Y-yes... Okay.
- Taking the opportunity to say that we are the presidents of the residents' association, so any problem, just talk to us...
Steve: It's great! Now I need to go dress James.
Steve: Thank you very much!
Steve saw the neighbors leave and then closed the door, but before he could even take two steps, the doorbell rang again.
Steve rested the pie on the dining table, then opened the door again.
Steve had to look down, there were four children there.
- Are you really Captain America??
Steve didn't want to say he was, but he won't disappoint kids.
- That’s cool!
- But I prefer Iron Man! He's cooler.
- I thought you were bigger.
- Who's stronger? You or the Hulk?
- MAAAARK! WALLACE! Get out of there!
A woman screamed from the sidewalk and the children laughed and ran.
- I am so sorry for that!!!
Steve: No problem.
Steve closed the door and sighed, he didn't think about the part of dealing with the reputation of being Captain America in this new neighborhood. Will he be able to have a normal life there with James?
It didn't seem like it was going to be a normal life, not least because during that whole day, he received visits from the entire neighborhood, he got food to last for several days and he couldn't even unpack.
The children, all the time, went to ring the bell to see if he was himself and to take pictures, sometimes to say nothing, some asked to come in and Steve authorized it as long as their parents were watching.
- Mr. Captain, where's your shield?
Steve: It's safe.
- Can we see?
Steve brought the shield to the room and the children were delighted.
- Can I hold it???
- I want too!
- Me too!!!
Steve: Yes, but be careful.
Steve let the children hold the shield, they were amazed at the weight. Steve asked them to leave because he would be busy now and the kids left.
It took Steve a whole week to be considered a normal neighbor and not a celebrity, he was about to give up on the house but James was already well adapted and very fond of having children around to play.
- Wake up.
A deep voice said.
- Wake up.
Said the voice again.
- You can wake up.
The voice reaffirmed and Natasha took a deep breath before opening her eyes.
Natasha moved her eyes, even closed, she took another deep breath and then blinked a few times and finally managed to stay awake.
- Ready... there you go...
Said the voice and Natasha looked at that red-faced creature. He looked more like a skull. A red skull.
Natasha: You again...
She said with a frown. Natasha looked around without moving her head much, she wanted to recognize where she was, she looked at the creature again.
Natasha: Am I alive??
Natasha looked at nothing and was thoughtful, she took a deep breath and questioned again...
Natasha: I'm dead then... and you are... a-are you the devil??
Natasha felt stupid to ask that question.
- No. You’re not dead and no, I'm not the devil.
Natasha looked stunned at first but now she was more conscious, she sat and looked at her crooked legs on the floor, looked at her limp arms and she was nervous to sse her conditions, she looked like a rag doll, like a broken gelatin and soft.
Natasha: How did I survive this fall??
It was the question she managed to ask.
- Who said you survived?
Natasha: I... am here.
She responded very confused.
- Here where?
Natasha: I’m not sure. Vormir?
Natasha looked around.
Natasha: Where's Clint ??
Natasha started to realize the last moments before her fall.
- Not here.
Natasha: Did he get the stone?
- Yes, that's why you're here.
Natasha still looked confused.
- You can get up.
Natasha: But I...
Natasha looked again and saw her legs restored, as well as her arms, she was amazed and confused, in addition to disbelief.
Natasha got up slowly and took a few steps, then stopped and looked at the horizon of that strange place, which always seems to be at night, in the early evening.
Natasha: So this is how hell is...
Natasha told herself.
- This is not hell. I mean... it depends on the point of view and for whom... there it can be.
Natasha looked around again and saw the ship that took her to Vormir along with Clint, her eyes lit up when she saw the ship, she could run, she could go away.
It’s here! Natasha thought and imagined that the Red Skull would prevent her from leaving there, due to the deal she made so she had no choice but fight or kill him in order to escape.
Natasha, nimbly threw herself on top of the Skull, which floated in the air, she dropped it on the floor and managed to wrap her legs around his neck, she squeezed his neck until it cut off his air flow, she struggled and a few more minutes and the Skull fainted.
Natasha could release him now and he would just pass out, but what if he woke up and came to stop her? Better kill him. Natasha concluded and broke Caveira's neck, only then she released him and ran to the ship and entered it, she sat on the pilot's seat and started all the turbines, or tried to start but none worked. The ship did not appear to be working.
Natasha is not used to that ship, so she slowed down her actions and thoughts to understand how it worked, she recalled how she used the ship together with Clint and retraced all the steps, but nothing happened.
After almost 4 hours, Natasha tried many times and had not given up yet, she was making her seventh attempt now, but in a new way. The lights on the ship weren't even turning on.
Natasha cursed and punched the ship. She was tired already and lowered her head, resting her forehead on the stick.
Natasha listened to the silence of the ship and Vormir while she was crestfallen but despite the silence, she felt she was not alone, she put her hand on the gun and immediately raised her head and wielded the gun in the direction she felt suspicious movement.
Natasha didn't shoot and she was surprised to see that that creature, which she killed hours ago, was outside the ship looking at her, watching her and she didn't like that.
Natasha left the ship and went to the floating creature.
Natasha: Who are you?
- Does that matters?
Natasha: I don't like the way you speak.
Natasha: You are not the devil and you are certainly not an angel.
Natasha: You look like the devil.
- What makes you think so?
Natasha: Your face.
- Do I scare you?
Natasha: Do I look scared??
- You looked like before.
Natasha: Yeah... because I jumped off a giant cliff and I'm here, walking, talking, breathing... I feel alive.
- But you're not.
Natasha: And I'm not dead.
Natasha took a deep breath.
Natasha: How do I get out of here?
- You don’t. You made an exchange.
Natasha: Is it true... the stone... does Clint have it?
Natasha: And did it work?
The man was silent.
Natasha: Steve returned?? Is he with my son??
The man remained speechless.
Natasha: Can I see them?
Natasha blew out a breath of relief and emotion, she felt her heart racing, but with happiness.
- In your memories...
The creature completed and Natasha looked at him with disbelief and even hatred.
- You can always visit your memories.
Natasha didn't believe that man did this to her, she can't admit to receiving sparks of hope and then breaking her face, she was so disgusted that she couldn't forgive him, so she shot the Red Skull in the head three times and fell to the ground.
Natasha was very shaken to think of James and Steve, she missed them a lot and regretted for not be allowed to see them anymore. If only she had known that she would never see them again, she would have said goodbye better, she would have brought something of them with her. How longing hurts!!
Natasha thought and rubbed her face, she felt tears on her cheeks and didn't realize that she had started to cry.
Natasha: I need to go back to them.
Natasha walked away and went back to the ship, trying to rewire it, several times, that day and also the following days.