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with the lights out (it's less dangerous)

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Rogers: The Musical’s closing night was on January 25th, the same week that Kate nearly cried over a typo in her program.

Despite being in her fourth year as a computer science (and electrical engineering) major, she still made the stupidest of mistakes. Normally, this would not phase her, but between college, her internship, and superhero-related training, her sanity was hanging by a thread.

“You need a break,” Yelena said one night. She was in New York for the entire week. That was the longest she’d been around since her and Kate began their thing.

“I’m fine,” Kate said with a yawn, pretending her cheeks weren’t stained with the most unreasonable tears. “The program works now—” she paused, squinting at line 58 of the file. “Wait, I forgot to consider—”

“No,” Yelena said, closing her laptop without hesitation.

Kate gaped at her. “What if I didn’t save that?”

“You saved it five times in the last two minutes.”

Had she?

Kate sniffed. “Come on, I’ve got to finish it.”

“Didn’t you say the company will need it by March?

“Yes, but—”

“And don’t you work with a team?”


“Take a break, Kate,” Yelena said. “Surely, you must have something else you want to do today.”

Kate buried her face in her hands and sat back on the chair. What else did New York have to offer, anyway? “I guess there’s that Captain America musical that Clint was telling me about.”

“Great. Let’s do that.”

Kate peered at her. “You want to watch a musical?”

Apparently, it was the last night of the show, so the theater was packed, and all the tickets were already sold out. Kate was already thinking of going back to her apartment to finish her project, but a part of her did want to take her mind off things before she would break down completely.  

So, Yelena stole tickets for them instead.

“Are you crazy?” Kate hissed.

“Will you please relax?” Yelena said. “You’re so hostile.”

“You stole tickets!”

Yelena rolled her eyes and clamped a gloved hand over Kate’s mouth playfully. “Stop announcing it to the world. Do you want me to unsteal it now?”

“Yes,” Kate said, voice muffled.

Yelena clenched her jaw. “Why are you like this, Kate Bishop?”

She removed her hand from Kate’s mouth and looked back at the man that she had just pocketed their tickets from. Instead of going back, she just pulled out her phone and took a photo of the man.

“What are you doing?” Kate asked.

“Shh,” Yelena murmured. She tilted her phone away from Kate, scrolling and typing away like this was normal. Then, after a few minutes, she grinned triumphantly and showed her screen to Kate. “He’s a CEO.”

Kate blinked, staring at the extensive profile of the man displayed on Yelena’s screen. “Why does that make you happy?”

“Because it means we don’t have to feel bad about stealing from an innocent man.”

“Just because he’s a CEO—”

“Multiple tax evasion charges… oh, look at this, ‘upper management received annual increase in salary while employee benefits were cut’.” Yelena looked at Kate, eyebrows raised. “Well?”

Kate was quiet for a moment. Yelena was right, it did make her feel a little less bad about the stealing. “Okay, fine. Losing two tickets isn’t going to kill him.”

Yelena grinned. “That’s my girl.”

Kate took off her suit jacket and leaned back on the chair, looking around the theater. “This is a really great view,” she whispered. Next to Yelena, there were two empty chairs. The show was starting in two minutes, and she wondered why anyone would willingly pass up the opportunity for such amazing seats in a Broadway show.

“This is my first time as an audience in theater,” Yelena said.

Kate glanced at her. “Huh?”

“The Red Room used to make us do ballet. Helped with agility.” Yelena sighed. “They would tell us to do the same routine over and over again until at least half of the girls collapsed.”

“I’m sorry,” Kate murmured.

Yelena shrugged. “I never collapsed, though. If anything, Natasha and I were one of the best Black Widows in the program.” She looked Kate. “And I’m proud of that.”

Kate nodded. Instead of responding, she just reached over the arm rest to hold Yelena’s hand, squeezing it lightly.

The lights dimmed then, leaving only the stage lights on. The orchestra began to play the first song, and a man about 5 feet entered, playing the pre-serum version of Steve Rogers.

Kate didn’t let go of Yelena’s hand. Yelena didn’t try to move away either.

It was on the second song that two men began making their way down Kate’s aisle, towards the two empty seats next to Yelena. In the dark, it was hard to tell who they were from afar, but the moment they tried to move between Kate’s knees and the seat in front of her, she recognized them.

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes.

“Excuse me,” Sam Wilson said, ducking his head down.

“Holy shit,” Kate replied.

Bucky Barnes looked at her then locked eyes with Yelena. Instantly, both of them seemed frozen in place, and Yelena’s grip on Kate’s tightened so much, Kate felt like her fingers were going to break.

“Dude, you’re blocking everyone’s view,” Wilson hissed, taking his seat on one of the empty chairs. He waved at Barnes and motioned towards the empty chair between him and Yelena. “Sit down.”

“Yelena,” Kate said through grit teeth. “My hand is going to snap in half.”

Yelena blinked, looking away from Barnes. “Sorry.” She let go of Kate’s hand completely and continued to stare at Barnes.

“Yelena,” Barnes said with a nod.

“James Barnes,” Yelena said.

Barnes didn’t seem to be pleased with that. He cleared his throat and sat next to her, hands awkwardly resting on his lap.

Kate glanced between them, concerned. She didn’t know if Yelena encountered Barnes at any point. They both seemed like they knew each other at some point.

Either way, Kate couldn’t ask for details now.

She leaned over to Yelena and whispered, “Are you alright?”

Yelena nodded, but replied, “Switch with me.”

“Oh, sure. Yeah.” Sitting next to the Winter Soldier in a theater had not been on Kate’s 2025 bucket list, but weirder things have happened.

As it turned out, Bucky Barnes also had the same idea, which resulted in Kate sitting next to Sam Wilson instead (she was sitting next to Captain America).

Wilson gave her a small wave as they sat down. “Hey.”

Kate could only smile sheepishly. “Hi.” One would think that, after having met her favorite Avenger and becoming his protégé, she’d be much cooler in handling situations like these.

Apparently not.

“Kate Bishop, right?”

Kate’s mouth went dry. “Um. Yeah. You know who I am?”

“Sure. I’ve seen you on the news a couple of times.”

“Oh.” Kate wanted to scream. “It’s nice to meet you, sir. Mr. Wilson. Uh. Captain Wilson. Sorry.”

Wilson chuckled. “Sam’s fine.”

“Right. Sam.” Kate shifted in her seat, willing Yelena to say something so she could stop embarrassing herself. Except Yelena was… out of it. She was staring at the chair in front of her, knuckles turning white as she gripped the arm rests.

Barnes, on the other hand, had a hand over his mouth. He was flexing his gloved hand, looking down at the floor.

The musical number filled in the awkward silence before Wilson said, “I just dragged Bucky here to make fun of him and Steve.”

“Make fun of—” Kate furrowed her eyebrows. “Sorry, isn’t Captain Rogers, uh…” Dead? Well, she couldn’t say that aloud, could she? But wasn’t the whole point of this whole musical? To remember him?

“Sure. Steve’s on the moon,” Wilson said, cracking a small smile.

Kate really didn’t know if he was fucking with her. She figured it was better not to ask.

The rest of the night was both awkward and enjoyable. Kate constantly stole glances at Yelena, but it seemed neither she nor Barnes were interested in the show. Wilson, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying himself for the most part. Kate did enjoy the show, too, but half of her mind was too worried for Yelena to really focus on the story.

During intermission, Barnes stood up and made a beeline for the exit without another word said to Wilson.

“I’ll see you in a bit,” Wilson said to Kate before rushing after Barnes.

With Kate and Yelena alone again, Kate shifted in her seat to face her not-really-girlfriend. Yelena hadn’t moved for the past hour at all. For the entire time that Kate knew her, Yelena had never been this quiet. Ever.

“Yelena,” she said softly. “I know you probably don’t wanna talk about it but I’m really worried…”

“No, I can talk about it,” Yelena muttered. She finally looked at Kate, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. “I can talk about it.” She tilted her head towards the exit. “That was the Winter Soldier.”

Kate nodded.

“There were times when he was invited to the Red Room.” Yelena furrowed her eyebrows. “I am not certain if Dreykov had a contract with HYDRA or if it was something else, but he was around sometimes to train the girls.”


“He’d kill some of them. He was ordered too if the girl couldn’t disarm him in a limited time,” Yelena said. “He killed some of the girls I trained with.” She exhaled. “He almost killed me.”

Kate didn’t know what to say to that, except that she wished Dreykov or Alexander Pierce wasn’t dead yet so she could torture them herself. She was never one for torture, but she’d definitely be willing, in this case.

“Maybe we should head home,” Kate said. “Would you feel safer there or…?”

“I don’t feel unsafe seeing him,” Yelena told her. “I am a better fighter than I was at seven. It is just that this is the first time I’ve seen him in person since the Red Room. It is reminding me of plenty.”

“I could say the same for you.”

Kate looked up to see Barnes and Wilson standing in the aisle behind them.

“I told Sam it was better for both of us if I just left,” Barnes said, running his gloved hand through his hair. “But he insisted on talking about things. He likes that shit.”

“I’m right here,” Wilson muttered.

“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry,” Barnes said. “But… I’m well aware that doesn’t mean much.”

“Natasha was always more forgiving of you,” Yelena said. “I never liked the Winter Soldier.”

“She never had to worry about getting killed by him. Natasha was a good fighter,” Barnes replied.

“Are you saying I am not?”

Barnes shrugged. “You got way better.”

“It was my first year in the Red Room. You came in and almost shot me in the forehead.” Yelena said all these things so nonchalantly, it actually concerned Kate even more. Then again, nonchalance was Yelena’s defense mechanism.

Barnes bit his lip, eyes darting around the theater. “When I came back ten years later, you disarmed me within seconds.”


“I never wanted to kill anyone… especially not little girls,” Barnes murmured. “But you have to understand that—”

“I understand, James Barnes,” Yelena said. She stood up and faced him. “You don’t need to explain yourself. You were as unwilling as I was.”

Barnes nodded. Then, Wilson elbowed him lightly and he sighed. “Right. Uh, Sam does these, like, group therapy things. He’s started one for people like us. You know, people stuck in a constant state of war. So far, it’s just been him, me, and Rhodey, but you’re—"

“Thank you for the offer, but I really don’t need to do those things.”

Kate frowned. It sounded like a good idea to her. As far as she knew, Yelena only talked about her past with her and her parents. Kate could never truly empathize, and her parents… well, they couldn’t exactly sympathize.

“Oh. Yeah, okay. I get that.” Barnes glanced at Wilson. “We should—we should go.”

“Bucky was also hesitant at first,” Wilson interjected, leaning in closer. “Offer’s always on the table.” He handed her a card. “Anytime.”

“I could have found your number if I wanted to,” Yelena said, but she took the card anyway. Wilson gave her a lazy salute before he and Barnes left the theater, not even bothering to stay and watch the second part of the show.

“You should think about it,” Kate said after a moment.

“I see no point in sitting around a group and discussing my feelings once a week.” Yelena huffed. “I am a busy woman, I do not have the time to be part of a boys’ club.”

“It could help.”

“Talking to you already helps,” she muttered.

Kate sighed. “Yelena, I love it when you talk to me, and you know I’m always going to be here for you, but… I’ll never really get what you’re experiencing. You deserve to talk to someone who does.”

Yelena clenched her jaw and looked away. “Fine. I will think about it.”

Kate gave her a kiss on the cheek.

Yelena was going to think about it.

That was all Kate could ask for, really.

“Why is your girlfriend hanging out with Bucky Barnes?” Clint asked, walking into Kate’s apartment with two frappuccinos.

Kate grabbed one cup and poked a straw through the lid. “Huh?”

“I just saw Yelena and Bucky Barnes at Starbucks together. Talking.” Clint made a face. “Laughing.”

“Oh, they’ve been doing this group therapy thing. Hashing out feelings and stuff.” Kate smiled. “It’s helped her a lot. Hey! Maybe you should join them.”

“Group therapy?” Clint snorted. “Nah, I’m good. Anything I have to say, I say to my wife.”

Kate wrinkled her nose. “And me, right?”

Clint rolled his eyes. “Haha. Get your bow, we’re going for a run.”

Kate gaped at him. “I haven’t finished my drink!”

“Netiher have I,” he said, waving his own drink in front of her face. “I just meant get ready. We’ll leave after we drink.”

“How long are we going to be gone?” Kate grabbed her bow and quiver of arrows, strapping them to her bag. “Should we leave Lucky with Grills?”

Clint shrugged. “We don’t have to, but Lucky will probably enjoy that, so yes.”

Kate grinned and grabbed Lucky’s leash from the hook. Then, she took a sip of her drink and nearly spat it out. “Clint, this frappe tastes like shit.”

“It’s a new one! It looked good,” Clint said. He took a sip of it and spat it out. “Yeah, okay, that is not good.”

“Dammit. Hold on.”

 Kate took her phone out and sent Yelena a quick message.

Are you still in starbucks??

Yelena’s reply was immediate, so unlike when she was not in New York.

Just left. I got your drink, don’t worry.

How’d you know???

I saw Barton leave with pink drinks. Looked disgusting.

You’re the best :DD

“Ha!” Kate grinned, pointing at Clint. “Yelena got me Starbucks!”

Clint pouted. “Did she get me one too?”

Kate glanced back down at her phone.

Did you get Clint one?

Yes. But tell him no.

Kate grinned and looked at Clint. “She said no.”

“Why does she hate me?” Clint sighed.

Kate could only laugh.