The blonde watched the young woman across the crowded cafe; a finger absentmindedly scratching at her hairline. It was a shame you couldn’t find a decent fitting wig in some parts of the world anymore, she really needed to update some of her contacts.
The redhead took her coffee to a small table along the roadside and added her packet of Sugar on the Raw. ‘Nancy’ shook her head, wondering how long it had been since she’d been so green. Had she ever? Perhaps that was the upside to her Red Room training, if she ever had been this green it would have been dealt with immediately and effectively. One way or the other.
“Would you care for anything else this morning, Ms. Rushman?”
Smiling sweetly she folded her napkin in half. “Thank you, Chris, I think that will be all.” She handed over her empty cup. “If you could do me just one quick favor though….” She folded a crisp bill around the napkin as she detailed his instructions before she took her leave of the Parisian cafe.
Wanda Maximoff took a deep breath and surveyed her surroundings once again. She knew Steve and the others would be upset if they knew that she had ‘taken the bait’ with the note that the waiter had delivered to her this morning, but there was something about the wording, something familiar, that had her considering the note with curiosity more than apprehension.
“Looking over your shoulder still needs to become second nature….” A blonde woman, whom she wouldn’t have recognized if not for the voice, took the empty space next to her on the bench. “Even being able to move things with your mind can’t help you if you allow someone else to get the drop on you.”
Wanda rolled her eyes, “Last I heard, Hill, Stark and their crew were after you as much as they were me, so I figure you’re not here to bring me in.”
Natasha Romanoff moved her sunglasses to the top of her head. “Never let your guard down. Even your friends can be out for you, and sometimes they’re the ones best positioned to twist the blade home.” Wanda watched as Nat’s eyes took on a dark far-away look to them. She wanted to reach out, to touch her mind and find out if there was more than their recent inner conflicts to her advice; but she knew the response would not be a welcomed one, and with all that had happened she really didn’t want to deal with it. “Besides, I was under the impression that you were here for me, not the other way around.”
Wanda smirked, “Your paranoia is showing again. I’m here for someone, but it’s not you. We’re trying to get to people before the accords do.”
Nat nodded her head. “Then it’s possible we could work together…. But don’t let them fool you, in an environment like this, only the paranoid survive.”
Wanda smiled grimly, she knew better than to fully trust Natasha in their current state. Even Tony had thrown out the quip about her double-agent status. But Wanda didn’t fear for her own safety with Natasha; there had always been a kinship between the two of them. Whether from the aspects of their pasts that mirrored each other or their gender similarities, Wanda couldn’t be sure. She, however, was not disillusioned enough to believe that if given the choice between her own freedom and Wanda’s, Natasha wouldn’t throw her under the bus in a heartbeat.
Natasha sat on the side of the small bed in their cramped hotel room just outside of Havana, her head hanging to rest in her hands. It had been weeks, if not months, since it seemed they had successfully reached someone before SHIELD and the Accords. She was starting to wonder if it really mattered anymore. SHIELD, the Accords, ATCU, the Watchdogs, the Red Room, HIVE, HYDRA, Strucker… what difference did it make which group you ultimately wound up connected with? It all seemed to serve as just another wedge to put between people, another ax to grind away at who you were and who your friends were -- if you ever truly had any to begin with. Though sharing three-quarters of a bottle of Cuban Rum with Wanda -- who had apparently very little experience in the alcohol department -- had probably not been the brightest idea she could have come up with as ways to commiserate.
She felt the slight tickle in the back of her mind before the bathroom door opened and Wanda entered the room.
“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times, stay out of my head.”
Wanda cracked a shy smile, “Sorry. It gets harder to control the more I’ve had to drink.” She reached for the bottle sitting on the nightstand.
Natasha’s hand reached out and beat her to it. “You’re cut off.”
Wanda pouted and stared for a moment before replying. “You do realize I can move things with my mind, right?”
Nat lifted her head. “And I can still kick your ass six ways to Sunday, your point?”
Wanda shrugged her shoulders and flopped backwards on the bed, her head coming to rest even with Nat’s thigh. “Do I need to have one? And I think I had you at the airport.” Her hair flared out around her head, while her left forearm rested against Wanda’s knee.
Nat huffed and shook her head as she picked up and downed the last of her glass of Rum. “I suppose not.” When she looked down Wanda was staring up at her, her eyes obviously glazed over and sparkling. “You’re drunk… get into bed.”
Wanda giggled, “Is that an order or a proposition?”
Nat rolled her eyes and moved to lay back on the bed, her hand toying idly with Wanda’s hair. “Neither… both… does it even matter?”
Wanda tilted her head up in an attempt to look at her more directly. “If you really thought it didn’t you would have gone off the grid after Leipzig.”
“You’re assuming I have anywhere better to go or anything better to do. For the majority of my life I’ve been a puppet of one organization or another -- The Red Room and the Kremlin, SHIELD and Washington -- I figured I might as well do something that I wanted for a change.”
Wanda sighed staring at the ceiling, “So why didn’t you go off looking for Banner? Why pick me up and recruit me as your project?”
Natasha inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly, “Bruce won’t be found until he wants to be, he’s made that readily apparent.” Her head rolled to the side and her fingers toyed with a lock of Wanda’s hair. “I see so much of myself in you. Before I’d completed my training. Before I’d totally become a puppet, but long after the seeds had been planted. I guess I just want you to at least have your eyes open before you start making your alliances.”
Wanda rolled over, coming to rest even with Nat’s face, and cocked her head to the side. “So, I should know who I’m getting into bed with, before I do?”
Nat tried to choke back a laugh. “In a manner of speaking, yes.”
Wanda smirked before leaning forward, “I think it’s a little late for that.”
For a split second, Natasha thought about pushing her away, before their lips met and she pushed the thought away and decided to embrace whatever was to come instead.