Natasha’s little sister is a bit of an idiot, but she likes Yelena that way.
“You look beautiful,” Yelena says in Russian. She’s quite loud about it too. She has a small smile on her face as Kate slides over a plate of partially burnt pancakes.
Kate just smiles back and sits down across her.
“Literally everyone in this room understands her,” James Barnes mutters under his breath. From the living room, they are all unseen and unheard by Yelena.
Clint snickers and kicks his feet up on the coffee table. “Think she cares?”
“She’ll care when she figures out Kate can understand her,” Natasha says with a laugh.
“Which is why we’re keeping our mouths shut,” Clint says, nudging her shoulder.
“Does she actually understand everything?” Natasha asks.
Clint shakes his head. “Not really. She just started to learn when she realized how much Yelena talks to her in Russian. But I figure she’s got about half of it down. I’ve seen her watch Russian stuff without subtitles.”
“She’s very determined. I like that.” Natasha isn’t very close with Kate. She knows her through Clint and Yelena, but Kate gets nervous around Natasha easily, so they’ve never really had the opportunity to talk.
She likes to think that Kate’s nervousness is a result of her wanting Natasha’s approval to date Yelena.
‘Or you’re just really intimidating,’ Clint had told her once.
Well, either explanation works for her.
James puts a hand over his face. “Ugh, romance,” he groans, as if Natasha hasn’t caught him crying to romantic comedies at 2 a.m.
Natasha doesn’t point it out, though. She’s far too busy waiting for her sister to say something else.
Yelena’s face twists into a slight frown when Kate explains how she’d sprained her wrist after a pretty bad fall in her most recent mission. A mission that Clint, James, and Natasha had all been a part of.
“Oh, shit,” James says. He sits up straight and watches Kate and Yelena, wary. Then, Yelena turns to them completely, eyebrows raised.
“Bye.” Clint stands up immediately and grabs his coffee mug, drinking all of the coffee at once.
“Cowards,” Natasha mutters when the two of them rush towards the elevator in an attempt to save themselves from Yelena’s wrath.
Kate places a hand on Yelena’s thigh (only she and Natasha can touch Yelena without warning and not get decapitated in the next instant). “I’m fine now,” Kate says.
“I’d kill anyone who hurt you,” Yelena says in Russian. Which, bleh. Natasha is happy for them but the sweetness is a little overkill sometimes. In English, Yelena adds, “You should be more careful.”
“Well, sparring with you has really helped me improve,” Kate admits. It’s a clear invitation to spend time together, and it’s not a smooth one either.
Yelena takes the opportunity anyway, though Natasha isn’t sure if she’s oblivious to the fact that it’s an excuse to be together or if she just doesn’t care.
“Would you like to spar after breakfast?”
Kate grins. “Sure.”
Natasha figures she’s seen enough of them for the day and takes the comfortable silence between them as a sign to get out of the communal floor and find something else to do.
“Ah, Kate Bishop, it is nice to finally meet you,” Zemo says, walking into the private dining area they’d reserved. “Black Widows, it is good to see you again.”
“Enough with the pleasantries, Zemo,” Natasha sighs.
Zemo raises an eyebrow at her. “For a spy, you are not very good at pretending to enjoy exchanging niceties.”
“This is not an undercover mission,” Natasha says. She knows better than to try and manipulate Zemo. The man is a psychological genius. If anyone can evade Red Room-learned manipulation, it’s him. “We’ve been in contact with you for a month about this, and you’re still not giving us the information we’ve asked for. I’m starting to think you don’t have it.”
Zemo ignores her and extends a hand towards Kate. “Hello.”
Yelena slaps his hand away. “Don’t touch her.”
Zemo makes a face, rubbing his hand. “I see you have quite the soft spot for this one, Widow.”
“Shut up,” Yelena growls at Zemo.
“What? We both know it’s true,” Zemo says in Sokovian, a small smile on his lips as he tilts his head towards Kate.
“You should know better than to test me,” Yelena spits back in Russian.
“You know,” Zemo replies, his Russian a lot more accented than Yelena’s, “she looks much too innocent for you.”
Yelena lunges forward and Natasha has to grab her by the back of her vest. It’s exactly the reaction that Zemo wants. He smiles and takes a seat.
Kate shifts uneasily next to them. Natasha doesn’t really know why she’s here. Negotiation isn’t exactly in her field of expertise, but Clint had insisted that she ‘needs to learn at some point, Tasha’ (even though he didn’t even come along to this meeting). And Yelena didn’t really object to it.
Natasha, unfortunately, has a soft spot for both of them.
“Look, do you know where Fisk is or not?”
“I do,” Zemo says, leaning back on the chair. “But I fail to understand how this exchange is mutually beneficial.”
“Because you’re not telling us what you want in return,” Natasha grumbles, and they’ve tried to figure it out. Zemo’s either really good at hiding what he wants or he just simply doesn’t have anything he wants.
Zemo hums, but he doesn’t respond.
“You’ve got a son, right?” Kate asks. Natasha wants to clamp a hand over mouth because she’s been instructed not to speak, but doing or saying anything that indicates she’s unhappy with where this is going will only give Zemo the upper hand.
Zemo narrows his eyes. “Tread carefully, Miss Bishop.”
Kate flushes red, and Natasha hopes that she stops right there, but she barrels on. “It’s not a threat. I was just wondering… if you don’t want anything, maybe we could give something your son wants instead? He’s, like, 8, right?”
“He’s eleven,” Zemo says.
Natasha resists the urge to facepalm.
Under the table, she can see Yelena typing something on her phone with one hand, not even looking at the screen.
Kate nods. “I bet he’d want a lift over New York City in the Iron Man suit. Or… or he can shoot one of my trick arrows, they’re always a lot of fun. Oh, he can even try to throw Cap’s shield.”
Zemo crosses his arms. “What makes you think he is even a fan of the Avengers?” It’s not an immediate no, though. Natasha’s sure they’ve got a deal.
Kate falters. “He’s a kid. If he doesn’t think it’s cool, then…”
Yelena glances down between her legs, looks back up, and takes over. “He has an Iron Man backpack. It is clear that he is a fan. Any fan would enjoy what Kate is offering.”
Zemo regards them for a few moments then nods slowly. “Alright. It seems you have offered something quite substantial.”
Natasha sits back, glancing at Kate. She’s… impressed. Most negotiations she’s been involved in were usually a matter of exchanging information or favors. And favors usually involve paying off someone in the justice system or giving someone money. She feels a little… irritated that she didn’t think of it.
It’s probably because Kate has a much fresher perspective when it comes to these things.
Zemo finally gives them the information they need on Fisk. Natasha commits them to memory.
“I expect you to hold up your end of this bargain, Miss Bishop,” Zemo says right as he’s about to leave. He reaches out to pat Kate’s shoulder only to earn another slap on the hand from Yelena. Zemo rolls his eyes. “I will be in touch.”
Yelena takes it upon herself to escort him out. She looks seconds away from stabbing him, but Natasha trusts that she has enough restraint to keep from doing so.
This is the first time Natasha has been left alone in a room with Kate Bishop.
“Sorry if I was out of line,” Kate says after a moment, but there is little guilt to be found on her face.
Natasha snorts. “You’re not sorry.”
“Well, we got the information on Fisk,” Kate mumbles.
“And you’re going to be the one to tell Tony he’s going to have to take some time babysitting Helmut Zemo’s son.”
Kate winces. “Well, I was thinking we could have Yelena tell him...”
“She’d do that for you,” Natasha says because Yelena’s in over her head when it comes to Kate.
Kate blushes again, shy. She looks down at her lap. “Right. Anyway, thanks for letting me, uh, tag along. I know you didn’t want me here.”
Natasha shrugs. “You did a good job on this one, kid.” It might’ve taken Natasha twice as long to extract that information from Zemo, but they are not close enough for her to admit that (nor is she ever going to admit such a fact to anyone, not even Clint).
“Erm, thanks,” Kate says. “So, will I get to come with you—"
“Don’t push it,” Natasha says with a raised eyebrow. “Fisk is really dangerous.”
No matter what Natasha thinks of Kate Bishop, the one thing that really matters is that Yelena will go insane if she’s fatally wounded. Natasha’s not going to hurt her little sister like that.
“I can handle him,” Kate insists.
“You’ve had, what? Less than a year of training?” Natasha shakes her head. “You’re not ready for that, Kate.”
“You might die,” Natasha snaps. Kate is stunned silent. “And you’re far too important to Yelena to die. So you’re not coming.”
Kate swallows but doesn’t say anything more. Natasha understands that Kate’s pride has taken a hit, though it’s not quite enough to make her feel bad.
“Once you’ve gained more experience, then maybe we’ll let you on more dangerous missions,” Natasha adds after a moment, just to soothe the wound.
“That suit looks really good,” Yelena says. “I want to rip it off you,” she adds in Russian.
Natasha lowers the hand that was just about to knock on the door.
“Yelena! Kate!” she yells instead. “Hurry up, the car’s already waiting.”
Whether or not Yelena knows Natasha just heard what she told Kate doesn’t matter. Natasha leaves before she can hear anything that might be a little too sexual for her taste.
“Not my little sister,” she mourns as she jumps out of the window and runs down the wall. The wind ruins her hair a bit, but it doesn’t matter. The party is mostly for Tony and Steve to kiss ass with rich people. The rest of them are mostly there for moral support.
Then, to her left, she hears a shriek, and Natasha watches as Kate and Yelena rappel down the building, side-by-side.
“Natasha!” Yelena yells, waving at her.
“Oh my god,” Natasha mutters just as she skids to a stop and settles her feet on the ground.
At some point, Kate loses her footing on the wall and falls, but Yelena has her close enough to pull the wire taut so Kate can right herself before she crashes into the pavement.
“We need to work on that, Котик,” Yelena says when they get to the ground.
Natasha tucks stray hair behind her ear and walks over to them, arms crossed. “Copy-cat,” she teases Yelena.
“We did not know you were going to use the easy way,” Yelena huffs.
“I think my soul just left my body,” Kate gasps. “That was—that was the highest jump I’ve done yet.”
“We should get you on the Burj Khalifa,” Natasha says.
Kate shakes her head. “I’m good.”
Tony’s car pulls up in front of them and the window at the back rolls down. “You guys are all insane,” Clint says, poking his head out.
“You saw us?” Kate asks.
“Almost everyone on this side of New York could see three people falling down Stark Tower,” James points out from the other side.
“We didn’t fall,” Natasha says.
Clint points to Kate. “She did.”
“Hey, I kind of got the hang of it,” Kate huffs.
“Sure, kid.” Clint grins and opens the sliding door. “Come on. We’re late.”
“Will you please focus?” Natasha groans when she catches Yelena off-guard for the third time during their sparring session.
“I… am focused,” Yelena mumbles, but her gaze is elsewhere.
Natasha doesn’t have to look to know she’s focused on Kate Bishop.
Natasha glances at the chairs nearby. Kate is talking to Clint, stretching her arms at the same time. After another two seconds of watching, Natasha snaps her fingers in front of Yelena.
“Is this really how distracted you plan to be on the field just because she’s around?” she asks in Russian, a little loudly. Kate looks at them, eyebrows raised. She pretends she doesn’t understand, though.
“Shut up,” Yelena hisses.
“Stare when you’re not in the middle of a fight,” Natasha tells her, because this might actually become a problem.
“She does not distract me.”
Natasha slaps her to prove a point. Yelena doesn’t block.
“Ow!” Yelena shouts, holding a hand up to her cheek. “What was that for?”
“It’s evidence that you’re clearly distracted.”
Yelena doesn’t respond. She tackles Natasha to the floor instead.
“This is actually getting ridiculous,” James says, watching Kate and Yelena stare at each other in the middle of the battlefield. Granted, the battle is over, but Natasha does agree the pining is getting ridiculous.
“I don’t get how Kate hasn’t cracked,” Clint admits. “Girl has the self-control of a golden retriever.”
“She probably enjoys it,” Natasha admits. If she thinks about it, it’s kind of flattering to have someone compliment you when they think you don’t understand them.
Not that that has ever happened to Natasha.
All hell breaks loose when Tony Stark accidentally drops Yelena mid-air.
“I was shot!” Tony yells.
To Natasha’s surprise, she’s not the one screaming back at him.
“I let you fly a child around New York three days ago!”
“You let me?” Tony jabs a finger at her. “That was your negotiation with Zemo. I was just helping you!”
“What if she died?”
“Barnes caught her. She’s fine.”
“Fine?!” Kate throws a hand towards the middle of the jet where Yelena is laying, passed out.
“Look, I’m sorry she got injured, kid, but it’s not like I let go on purpose.”
Which… yes, that’s true. None of this is really Tony’s fault, but Natasha does understand why Kate is mad. Had the situations been reverse and it’s Yelena defending Kate, Natasha does not put it past Yelena to shove Tony out of the Quinjet so he can ‘see how it feels’.
“So, this is Kate… mad,” Clint says, arms folded. He looks very confused. None of them really know how to process this.
Kate shoots Tony another glare (Natasha’s not really that worried, he’ll be forgiven in two days, tops) before she walks over to Yelena and squeezes her hand. Tony throws his hands up and goes to sit at the front of the jet with Bruce.
One may ask why Natasha doesn’t seem to level with Kate’s concern, and the answer is she’s seen Yelena been through… a lot worse. This is nothing. She’ll be out of it for a while, but once she wakes up, she’ll be good as new (a little pissed, but fine, overall).
Yelena stirs awake after a few moments. She’s not completely awake, but enough to register Kate standing over her.
“What is going on?” she asks.
“Go back to sleep, любимая,” Kate says.
James, Clint, and Natasha’s jaws drop.
Tony looks behind from the pilot seat, squinting at her. “Katniss, was that Russian? You speak Russian?”
“Oops.” Kate doesn’t look apologetic at all. “Cat’s out of the bag, I guess.”
“Wait, what cat?” Tony asks.
Natasha is staring at Yelena, gauging her reaction, but nothing about her sister hints at even the slightest of shock. “You knew…” she says slowly.
Yelena huffs out a weak laugh and closes her eyes again. “You are all idiots,” she mumbles.
“Wait, you know she speaks Russian?” Clint turns to Natasha, eyes wide. “She knew Kate understands and she kept going?”
Yelena snorts. “She is my girlfriend, of course she knows Russian.”
Natasha expects the blow before it comes, but that doesn’t mean the impact is lessened.
James is the first one out of his seat. “She is your what?!”
“Oh, please. We were not trying to hide it.”
Natasha feels like the idiot this time. She’ll be happy for her sister in a few days, but for now she’ll sulk.
Steve meets up with them on the landing pad, smiling. He had a separate solo mission, so when he sees them stumble out of the Quinjet with the nastiest scowls on their faces, he is understandably confused.
“What the hell happened?” he asks.
“I have nothing to do with this,” Banner says.
Tony huffs. “An assassin’s girlfriend wants me dead.”
“Tony dropped Yelena,” Kate explains. Except after their confession, her anger regarding that doesn’t really seem to be on the forefront of her mind.
“I had to deal with their pining,” James growls, “and they weren’t even pining! They’re already together!”
Clint pouts. “My protégé has been lying to me all this time.”
Natasha sniffs. “My own sister didn’t tell me she has a girlfriend.” She makes sure Yelena can hear her too.
“It was funny,” Yelena says. She’s the only one amused. “And you were trying to make a fool out of me anyway.”
Which… okay, fair enough.
Steve raises his eyebrows. “Sounds like you guys had a long day.”
Damn right, they did.