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beautiful stranger

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Natasha took one last look through the rifle scope. Her target— a dark-haired, sharp-eyed woman— hadn’t noticed her yet.

Normally, Natasha preferred to work up close, but SHIELD’s file warned that this target required extra care.

She breathed out, and pulled the trigger.

A perfect headshot.

She took another look through her scope. The target was moving— standing. Half of her head had been blown off, and yet she was brushing the blood off her jacket, staring at Natasha.

Fear gripped Natasha. Whatever this was, it hadn’t been in the file she’d received.

She made a tactical decision, and retreated.


Natasha was being watched. As subtly as she could, she shifted her bags to one arm, leaving the other hovering near her holster.

She ducked down an alleyway— away from the little flat she currently shared with Steve, Sam, and Wanda— and turned, gun in hand.

A woman stood at the other end. Natasha had seen her face once, years before: in a SHIELD file, then through a rifle scope.

You,” Natasha breathed.

The woman raised an eyebrow. “Black Widow.”

For a moment, Natasha wondered: was this how she would die?

Then the woman spoke. “I need your team’s expertise.”


Since the first time she’d seen the immortal, Natasha had faced aliens, had been hailed as a superhero. She’d gotten used to odd happenings.

Andromache of Scythia was something else altogether.

“Again,” Andy said.

It had been a long time since Natasha sparred with someone who could keep up with her— and superpowers didn’t count. But Andy had lived, had fought, for centuries.

Natasha landed a jab on Andy’s jaw, breaking her lip. Andy wiped the blood away with the back of her hand, grinning.

“You’re getting slow,” Natasha teased.

Andy smirked, and swept Natasha’s feet out from under her.