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Sisters in Arms (But in Nothing Else)

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   Yelena very carefully snuck onto the ship, the early morning sun hitting her suited form. She moved inside of it, placing her duffel bag on the floor as she checked herself to ensure that she gathered everything she needed for the task ahead of her.

   She had her trusty knife and her guns were all on her and fully loaded. She was wearing her second-favorite vest and she had loaded enough ammo in her pockets and in the bag along with some snacks. She then checked her wrist, softening as she spotted the heart-bracelet that she shared with Natasha. She smiled gently as she softly pressed it just to remind Natasha that she loved her. After a few moments of pulsating, Natasha suddenly pressed the button from her end and it lit up again. Yelena felt her heart warming as she headed over to the control console.

   Natasha had gone on a mission with Clint to find a special flashdrive at a Hydra base that was rumored to be full of Hydra’s secrets. It had been placed by a mole from SWORD at one of two different bases on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, and Natasha and Clint had headed for the one located in the United Kingdom first, Natasha apparently having a feeling about it being located there. It had a tracker on it, and when they grew within a few miles of the base, they could detect it and find its location, but until they traveled almost the entire distance, they would not know for sure if it was actually there.

   However, knowing that if the flashdrive was not at the UK base that it would take Natasha a while to finally come home, Yelena made the decision to sneakily take a ship for herself from the compound and visit the other location in Canada to check it for the flashdrive. She had managed to snatch the proper technology to track it, and although she knew that Natasha was going to kill her for going by herself, she also knew that by doing this, she would bring her sister back to her that much faster and hopefully much more safely.

   Just as Yelena started cranking the ship, she suddenly heard someone walking not too far behind her. Yelena spun around, immediately on the defensive as she glared at the person entering. However, she immediately groaned as she realized it was just Kate.

   “Easy! It’s just me!” Kate assured her, and Yelena rolled her eyes before suddenly realizing that she was holding her bow and seemed to be battle-ready. Yelena had no idea how Kate managed to figure out that Yelena was leaving that morning, but she was definitely not about to let her come with her. Yelena narrowed her eyes at her before shaking her head.

   “No.”

   “Wh—I didn’t even—”

   “No. Get out and go back to bed,” Yelena told her, refusing to allow Kate to say anything and to go on this mission with her like she so obviously thought she was going to.

   “But—”

   “You’re not ready,” Yelena shot back immediately, cutting her off before she could start trying to make any excuses. All Yelena could think about was when she had turned around to see that the kid had been shot two times on that mission that Kate accompanied her and Natasha on.

   “Look, Yelena, that was one time, and I was being rash! There wasn’t a plan, and we could think of a plan together this time, and I could help—”

   “There is no ‘this time.’ You’re not ready and until you master almost all of Hawkear’s and Natashka’s tricks, you will not be entering the field in a serious combat situation. And even then, it’s going to be a seriously controlled situation with a grown-up to supervise,” Yelena informed her, and Kate made a noise of utter offense as she looked at the blonde.

   “So sincerely and with the utmost of respect, Katie-Bear… Get off of this ship right now before I throw you out of it by your big toe,” Yelena threatened, feeling a little more aggravation rising within her. She was trying really hard not to think of that paleness in Kate’s face as she had been bleeding out so horribly the last time she had stepped foot on this thing and tagged along on an official mission.

   “Look, I want to help, Yelena,” Kate argued as she stepped closer, dressed in her full, goofy outfit that she had that matched Clint’s as she carried that silly bow in her hand. Yelena swallowed hard, shaking herself from those flashbacks threatening to come back to her and the guilt that she still felt when she thought about how she had failed to keep her from getting shot.

   “And I wanted a sea pony. Life isn’t fair,” Yelena declared, trying to ward the kid away and get her to leave.

   Of course, besides the fact that she did not want Kate getting hurt again, Yelena did want to claim this victory for herself and herself alone. After all, she wanted all of Natasha’s cuddles, kudos, and affections when Yelena pulled through. She knew Natasha was likely not going to be pleased with her, but once she fussed over her, she would have to admit that Yelena did a good job and had saved her a lot of trouble, and she did not want to share that glory with Kate.

   “Okay, fine, I’ll go,” Kate finally spoke after a moment of silence. Yelena raised an eyebrow, sensing that something was a little off, but figuring that since it was Kate Bishop that there was likely nothing to worry about too much.

   “Good,” Yelena replied easily.

   “But I guess I’ll just have to call Natasha and tell her that you’re heading out on a super dangerous mission without telling anyone and without any backup,” Kate declared, and Yelena’s eyes widened just a little as she spun around away from the controls to stare at Kate. Kate looked strangely smug as she stood there firmly, and Yelena narrowed her eyes a little.

   “You wouldn’t,” Yelena growled quietly, and Kate looked just a little less certain for a split second. Kate shifted uncomfortably as she looked down for a moment, obviously trying to gather her nerve, and then she looked back at Yelena with a firm nod.

   “Try me,” Kate told her, and Yelena remained staring at her for a long moment, not saying anything. She really did not want Kate to come along with her, but she also did not want Kate tattletale-ing on her. And she did not have time to tie Kate up somewhere and leave her there until she got back…

   Yelena just groaned heavily, rolling her eyes as she turned back to face the controls for the ship.

   “Fine,” Yelena begrudgingly agreed.

   She could practically hear Kate fist-pumping behind her back, and Yelena scoffed as she commanded the ship to close up the bottom ramp and programmed the location to fly to. She then turned to face Kate, pointing her finger at her firmly. Kate froze quickly, just staring at her uncertainly.

   “But you will do exactly what I say, or I am turning this ship around and dumping you off regardless of the consequences,” Yelena threatened wholeheartedly, meaning every single word she said. Kate nodded quickly and compliantly, raising her hands in a placating gesture.

   “Of course! Got it, Banana—I mean boss,” Kate quickly corrected herself, and Yelena just narrowed her eyes at her before lowering her hand and turning to settle in the chair.

   Kate tentatively approached the other chair and sat down, placing her bow nearby.

   “Oh, wow… Nice view up here at sunrise, huh?” Kate questioned, and Yelena groaned before looking at Kate and deciding she would cut all of this off now.

   “Just be really quiet, okay? Until we get there, don’t say anything unless it’s pertinent to mission,” Yelena warned. She was already in a not so great mood because Kate had blackmailed her, and Kate was adding to her frustration with her small talk. She honestly did not want to get any more aggravated than she already was. She was doing her best to be at least semi-nice to Kate even though she was severely getting under her skin.

   Kate quieted quickly. However, as soon as she averted her gaze from the view out the windshield, she then started to look down at all of the buttons curiously. The last time that she had been in the ship, she had not been able to come this close to the control panel, and honestly she was making Yelena nervous with how interested she looked right now.

   But Yelena did not actually take action until Kate did. As Kate experimentally reached toward a button that was labeled radio, Yelena’s hand darted out and she smacked Kate’s hand. Kate yelped a little, withdrawing her hand quickly.

   “Keep your grubby little baby fingers away from this. This is a big girl toy, Kate Bishop,” Yelena told her, and Kate just scoffed defensively.

   “I was trying to turn on the radio! What do you have against music?” Kate questioned somewhat offendedly. Yelena rolled her eyes heavily.

   “That’s the communications radio, you idiot. You were about to call the compound,” Yelena scolded with irritation, and Kate immediately looked terribly apologetic.

   “Oh! Sorry,” Kate expressed, and she kept her hands resting in her lap as she just looked over the control panel. Yelena clenched her jaw a little, trying to remain as silent and patient as she could despite the fact that she was already ready to turn around and dump Kate out.

   “So… If you hypothetically wanted to listen to some music… Which button would you press?” Kate asked, and Yelena forced a far too cheery look on her face.

   “The one right next to eject passenger seat. Be careful, they’re connected!” Yelena smirked, and Kate just huffed a little, pursing her lips as she relaxed in the seat a little more fully.

   There was a dead silence for a time, and Yelena was actually starting to feel some semblance of calm again. She was starting to think through her now-adapted plan for her self-assigned mission, and she was actually trying to think of ways that Kate could be out of the way yet useful since it was intended to be a silent mission and Yelena was planning to go in by herself.

   However, she was quickly interrupted from these thoughts as Kate started very quietly started singing some asinine song.

   “Raindrops keep falling on my head… And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed… Nothing seems to fit… Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling—”

   “What in the knick-knack, frick-frack, tiddly-tack, paddy-whack are you singing?” Yelena questioned, her voice completely deadpan as she questioned the young archer. Kate suddenly looked some combination of embarrassed and awfully amused, and she shrugged.

   “‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head’ by B.J. Thomas?”

   “That is the stupidest song I’ve ever heard,” Yelena declared, and Kate huffed in reply to her.

   “Like you have room to talk, Miss ‘Rasputin,’” Kate commented, and Yelena was honestly shocked at her boldness and embarrassed at her comment as she thought back on the disaster that had occurred the one time that she made the mistake of wearing a beard and dancing to that accursed song.

   “Don’t you even start with me about that again! That was one time!!!” Yelena threatened with a growl, pointing at her insistently as she tried to scare her at least a little. Kate leaned away from her immediately but looked far too pleased in the midst of her fear.

   “You can’t do anything to me, I’ve got dirt on you!” Kate cried quickly, and Yelena growled under her breath as she returned to looking out the window unhappily.

   “So whatever happened to the beard?” Kate questioned, and Yelena clenched her jaw as she turned to face Kate again.

   “Katie-Bear, if you utter one more word before we get there, I will click the eject passenger seat button so fast and I won’t care what happens when you tell on me because I’ll be too busy basking in the pure joy I’ll feel at not having to hear your constant chattering,” Yelena informed her, and Kate grew quiet as she looked out the windshield.

   Yelena looked down at the screen on the console, realizing that there was still quite a bit of flying to do to get to the location that they needed to reach. Yelena sighed deeply, sinking down into the seat as she closed her eyes. She was not aiming to go to sleep, but she was planning to at least pretend to be so that Kate would maybe be discouraged to speak to her.

   There was a silence that felt utterly heavenly to Yelena, but then Kate suddenly spoke up.

   “So… did you shave it off?”

   “KATE BISHOP!!!”

 

 

 

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

   A few hours later, they had arrived, and Yelena was now trying to explain the plan to Kate. The flashdrive was indeed there since they had started getting readings from it, and Yelena was already prepared to move since she had a quick, easy plan of action.

   “Now you are going to run along the roof of the building. As you can see from here, it’s flat, so you shouldn’t have any trouble,” Yelena told her, and Kate nodded, dead serious as she listened to her carefully. It was surprising to Yelena how mature that Kate looked in that moment. She was still very much a kid and a baby and had a lot to learn, but Yelena could actually see potential for an Avenger.

   “With the way the thing is directing, you’re going to get a more powerful signal from the roof, so I want you to move directly above the strongest reading and let me know when you’ve reached it. I’ll follow the tracker on you from inside since the building has only three levels, and I’ll look for the package,” Yelena explained, and Kate nodded easily.

   “But the most important thing here is do not engage,” Yelena informed her, making sure that her voice carried no signs of joking as she tried to communicate just how important this point was.

   “Well, yeah. You’re not engaging, so I don’t really plan to either,” Kate chuckled a little, furrowing her brow in confusion.

   “No, I mean don’t engage. Even if I have to,” Yelena replied, and Kate tilted her head a little with concern.

   “What if you’re in trouble, though?”

   “Kate. I don’t care what happens. Don’t engage,” Yelena firmly replied to her, actually using Kate’s actual name with no nicknames and no teasing as she tried to express just how important this part was.

   Yelena was not sure how she would be able to handle Kate bleeding out again without Natasha there or some manner of assistance. Yelena honestly was not good with anyone bleeding out when those people consisted of Natasha most particularly, but also Peter or Kate.

   Kate stared at her for a long moment before hesitantly nodding in agreement.

   “Good. Now, let’s do this,” Yelena told her before starting out of the jet and heading out toward the building.

   Kate followed suit easily, making her move toward the nearest roof access on the outside of it. Yelena kept her eye on her for a moment, ensuring she got on top of the building okay, and then she moved to the nearest window to start scoping things out as Kate followed the signal.

   She took a careful count of the people inside, plotting routes through the place, and before too terribly long, Kate came in over the commlink.

   “Found the package and I’m standing over its coordinates,” Kate came in over the commlink. Yelena nodded just a little, letting out a small breath as she tested the window to see if it would open. To her surprise, it actually was unlocked. She grinned as she lifted it up.

   “Alright, going in,” Yelena replied to her, and she swung herself through the crack she made that was big enough to let herself in.

   She landed practically soundlessly, and she felt that old, familiar feeling coming over her that dated back from her time doing solo missions for the Red Room. It was both comforting and terrifying, and it was the feeling that she always had when she performed a mission on her own. However, she pushed away the worry that always accompanied her feeling of comfort, and she chose to focus on the more positive emotions that came from the routineness of it all.

   “And, Katie-Bear, whatever you do, don’t move from that spot,” Yelena instructed firmly, trying to communicate to Kate precisely how serious she was about Kate remaining in position.

   “Don’t worry. There is nothing that will make me move,” Kate immediately replied. There was a pause as Yelena looked around the room, taking in her surroundings as she waited for Kate to catch up on what Yelena had said. Kate suddenly let out an indignant huff as she realized, and Yelena chuckled under her breath.

   “And don’t call me Katie!” Kate argued, and Yelena just huffed.

   “I was wondering if you were just slow on the uptake or if you were finally warming up to my fond nicknames. Guess I got my answer, snailbrain,” Yelena quipped with a smirk, her voice quiet as she checked the tracking technology on her arm. The screen reflected that the flashdrive was somewhere on the other end of the building. Yelena let out a breath, hoping that perhaps it could be on the top floor, although she was doubting it quite heavily.

   “Look, you know what that name means to me, Yelena,” Kate told her, sounding a little exasperated. Yelena just huffed in reply to her, amusement rising within her as she thought of her next words.

   “I know. Which is why I add ‘bear’ on the end,” Yelena winningly declared in return, her voice a whisper as she started to quietly maneuver herself through rooms and around corners as she slyly moved into cover behind objects in the rooms.

   Kate did not grace her with a response that time, and Yelena kept moving until she soon enough found herself standing directly over where the flashdrive was supposed to be according to where Kate was standing. She let out a deep groan, knowing that the thing must have been somewhere in a floor below.

   “Great… Going down a floor. Maintain your position,” Yelena whispered to her, and Kate replied with some manner of affirmation.

   Yelena snuck over to the nearest set of stairs, and she quickly yet silently descended. She was soon enough downstairs, and as she started to make for the next hiding spot and cover, one of the enemy agents there spotted her.

   He yelled in warning, and Yelena groaned under her breath, running over and grabbing him in that signature widow move. Her thighs wrapped around his head, and she threw him onto the ground easily, knocking him out cold as his head hit the concrete floor.

   Yelena looked around carefully, trying to make sure no one was coming and there were no signs of people that could have seen her.

   “What was that?!” Kate questioned, sounding terribly worried, and Yelena scoffed as she reached over and grabbed the guy, pulling him into a corner where he would not be easily noticed by passersby.

   “The sound of me knocking some guy out? What did it sound like?” Yelena asked, her voice a little strained as she put him over there and started moving again.

   “To be totally honest, I thought you might have fallen,” Kate told her, and Yelena paused for a moment, taking in Kate’s tone. It was so odd that it could easily be one of two totally different connotations.

   “I can’t decide if you’re being sarcastic or genuine,” Yelena finally declared quietly, and Kate just huffed a little, and Yelena could practically see that stupid grin on her face.

   “Whichever one makes me sound cooler,” Kate replied to her, and Yelena rolled her eyes as she headed for the coordinates that were reflected on the tracker.

   “Neither. Your genuineness is dorky, and you wouldn’t know sarcasm if it bit you in the—”

   “Ask Tasha! She doesn’t think it’s dorky! She said it was endearing,” Kate argued immediately.

   “She’s too nice to tell the truth. Luckily, you have me to give you friendly reality checks,” Yelena far-too-sweetly informed her as she reached the location where the flashdrive was meant to be located. Yelena narrowed her eyes unhappily as she realized the thing was indeed not there.

   “Checking the bottom floor now. And if it’s not there, it’s not here at all or it’s under a floorboard or something,” Yelena updated her status, and Kate made some noise of affirmation. It was not that Yelena felt in any way accountable to Kate, but she wanted to ensure that the girl knew what was going on simply for the kid’s own safety. Yelena snuck her way to the stairs once again and descended further into the building.

   Once she reached the bottom of the staircase, she swiftly darted behind some large boxes, noting how there were several heavily armed guards in the vicinity. Yelena narrowed her eyes, knowing that they must have heard something when she had the skirmish with that man earlier.

   Yelena remained dead quiet, hoping that Kate would not come up with some manner of stupid question to ask that Yelena would have to answer. Yelena was currently attempting to formulate a plan to get the drop on these guys and take care of them in a way that was hopefully quiet enough to avoid alerting the entire building.

   “So… Quick question,” Kate started, and Yelena barely resisted the urge to groan. Yelena did not respond, just hoping that Kate would take the silence as a cue to continue.

   “You said not to move from this spot, but I think I just spotted a sniper, and he may or may not have seen me? I mean, he hasn’t shot at me yet, so that’s always a good—

   Kate yelped loudly, and Yelena’s eyes went wide as she felt her blood run cold.

   She then threw all caution to the wind, swiftly leaping to her feet to take down the guys as she launched herself onto the first one. She swiftly snapped his neck before diving onto the other one and using him as a human shield against the rest.

   They blindly shot at her, and she made sure the man was in the way. Once she was sure that he had received the majority of hits, she withdrew her knife and threw it into one of the men’s necks. She then moved over to grab onto the other and use her momentum to shove him into the other guy.

   As she moved to finish them off, she snatched her knife out of the guy she had previously lodged it in, and she sliced both of their throats. Yelena made a mad grab for the flashdrive and she quickly started to look for an escape since things were obviously getting heated. She could hear a mess going on upstairs as people no doubt were getting ready to come down and find her.

   “Kate, Kate, are you okay?” Yelena demanded into the commlink, fear racing in her for the stupid kid that she had for some reason grown slightly fond of.

   “Yeah, I’m fine! Umm… I kind of had to move positions, though,” Kate explained, and Yelena let out a breath of relief as she placed her knife and the flashdrive in their proper pockets in her vest. She then withdrew her guns, readying herself to make good use of them.

   “Get to the ship now! I’ve got the package, and I’m coming,” Yelena told her, her breaths coming a little quicker than usual.

   “Wait, wait, what’s happening in there?

   “Nothing, just get to the ship now!” Yelena instantly headed her off before shooting a couple of the guys coming down the stairs. They fell the rest of the way down, and Yelena looked around quickly, trying to plot a way out.

   Unfortunately, there were absolutely no windows on this level or on the second one because they were both underground. The first floor was her only real chance of getting out, and the stairs were clogged with guys.

   “Those were gunshots! Are you okay?!

   Yelena checked her guns and her ammo. If she landed each one of her targets with one bullet as a death shot, she might have a chance of making it out. Yelena just hoped that all that training she had been doing with Natasha and the many years of time spent in the Red Room would pay off.

   “I’m fine, just get out,” Yelena told her before ducking behind the steel counters where she had snatched the flashdrive.

   “Yelena, I’m sorry, but I’m coming in,” Kate told her, and Yelena growled aloud before shooting several guys as they barged in. They were starting to flood in too quickly for her to land hits just perfectly, and they were actually beginning to get a chance to get behind cover and shoot at her.

   “Stay away!” Yelena snarled, trying to sound threatening despite the fact that she knew Kate was coming in no matter what she said.

   Yelena swiftly ducked down as shots started ringing out, and she held her gun tightly as she tried to peek and see if she could scope them out. When one peeked up from behind cover, Yelena blasted him quickly, landing her hit. She knew there were at least three more around her, and she quickly worked her way around to shoot each one of them.

   Once she finally finished shooting them, Yelena made a run for the stairs, her guns at the ready as she tried to get to wherever Kate was now. She could hear shots being fired, and she felt a pit forming in her stomach.

   “Kate, come in! Are you there?!” Yelena called, stopping quickly to shoot a couple of guys. She then continued her trek for the top floor at ground level.

   There was absolutely no response, and Yelena knew at this point that Kate was either in such a bad condition that she could not respond or she had lost her commlink. Yelena was hoping more than anything that she had just lost the commlink.

   Yelena quickly got to the top of the stairs, and she spotted Kate swiftly where she was hidden behind some crates near the stairs. Yelena swiftly dove over beside her. Kate immediately grinned widely as she saw her, and Yelena reached out, smacking the back of Kate’s head enough to smart but not enough to actually hurt her. Kate yelped, and Yelena just grumbled under her breath.

   “I told you to go to the ship!”

   “I couldn’t leave you in here by yourself to fight these guys! They’re nothing like the tracksuits!” Kate declared, and Yelena shook her head.

   “You are such a rookie,” Yelena complained aloud as she shot at the group hidden behind various crates nearby.

   “Look, I have been on missions before!” Kate told her, and Yelena rolled her eyes as she cut her eyes in Kate’s direction for a short moment.

   “Yeah, and the last one you went on, you were supposed to stay in the ship! And guess what? You disobeyed orders just like this time and almost got yourself killed!” Yelena retorted with great irritation as she popped a few more caps.

   “At least I haven’t gotten shot this time!” Kate declared victoriously, and Yelena scoffed.

   “Knock on a box,” Yelena replied to her, and Kate just looked at her as if she were insane. Yelena glanced at her questioningly as she went down into cover.

   “It’s knock on wood,” Kate incredulously corrected her, looking quite hesitant to do so, and Yelena narrowed her eyes both from her intense embarrassment and her aggravation at Kate’s audacity to actually correct her. Only Natasha was allowed to correct her words and phrases when she messed them up.

   “Whatever. Knock on this!” Yelena yelled loudly as she shot at them. She happened to miss one just barely and her bullet hit a crate nearby the man. She suddenly heard an odd sound coming from the crate, and Yelena furrowed her brow, looking at it strangely. She recognized that noise but she was not sure from where.

   She shot it again experimentally, and she heard the telltale noise of something about to explode. Yelena’s eyes widened as she grabbed Kate’s arm and shoved her toward the window. Kate gaped at her questioningly as she stumbled forward, and Yelena shook her head, just blasting the crates as much as she could.

   Before long, explosions started going off, and Yelena made a break for the window. Kate was quick behind her, and Yelena burst out of it with Kate hopping through it just after her.

   They both landed in the grass and Yelena swiftly got up, making a run for the ship, and Kate followed albeit clumsily.

   Soon enough, they had reached the jet, and they were both breathing hard as they watched the place going up in flames and exploding. Kate let herself sit down on the grass, her chest heaving, and Yelena just stood there, her hands on her hips as she breathed tiredly.

   “Whoo… Safety hazard, am I right?” Yelena breathily announced, and Kate laughed as she looked at the place with wide eyes.

   “Oh, wow… Man, if Tasha figures out about this, we’re going to be in so much trouble,” Kate chuckled breathlessly, and Yelena grinned a little.

   “Don’t worry, you already are.”

   They both immediately froze up as they looked at each other. They slowly turned their heads to look behind them.

   To their utmost shock, Natasha was standing right behind them with Clint not too far from her. They both looked to be varying levels of angry and worried, and the both of them looked at them for a long moment.

   However, after just a split second, they both pointed at each other. Kate immediately looked sheepish as Yelena growled under her breath, glaring at her thoroughly.

   Natasha let out a deep, unhappy sigh as she just eyed the both of them. Clint stepped closer, looking at the building and raising his eyebrows with some surprise. Yelena knew that he was not really quite as angry and worried as Natasha, and once he had gotten a look at the both of them and they seemed to be alright, he actually seemed to be somewhat impressed with what they had pulled off.

   “Flashdrive,” Natasha spoke, opening her hand to take it from Yelena. Yelena had no idea how Natasha knew that she had the drive, but she was pleased at the fact that Natasha had that much faith in her to know that she had gotten it.

   Yelena easily took it from her pocket and placed it in Natasha’s hand. Natasha took it and put it in her own pocket of Yelena’s number one favorite vest and the one that they shared amongst each other.

   Natasha then looked between the two of them, and Yelena knew that Natasha was resisting the urge to just place her hands on every inch of the two of them and feel for injuries. Once Natasha seemed to be satisfied with her visual assessment and the fact that neither of them seemed to be in pain, she shook her head. She stepped close to Yelena momentarily, and Yelena felt some hope rising within her, wanting her big sister to reach out and touch her face or hug her but definitely not wanting to push her considering just how unhappy she seemed to be at this moment.

   “Get to the jet. We’ll talk when we go home,” Natasha told the both of them, her voice indicating just a hint of danger. She then headed over in the direction of her and Clint’s ship, and Clint followed her wordlessly, flashing them both one last glance over his shoulder as he sidled up to her.

   Yelena groaned deeply before heading over to the jet. Kate pulled herself to her feet heavily as she followed Yelena tiredly.

   It was definitely going to be fun when they got home.

 

 

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

   “What were you two thinking?” Natasha demanded, and Yelena just sighed deeply as she looked at her big sister and her whole world. Kate and Yelena were sitting on opposite sides of the couch. Yelena felt bad for scaring her sister but she was largely pleased with the outcome of the mission. After all, they had gotten the flashdrive and Natasha got to come home to Yelena faster.

   However, Kate looked more like a scolded puppy with how she was glancing meekly up at Natasha and Clint and trying to make herself smaller. Yelena knew that Kate was obviously not feeling too accomplished.

   Of course, honestly, Yelena thought it sort of served her right. After all, the stupid kid did insist on coming along after Yelena explicitly tried to make her stay home. Kate was as guilty as Yelena in all of this.

   “Well, it is simple. I was going to go and check the other location, and if the flashdrive was there, I was going to snag it. That way, you could come home faster,” Yelena stated, trying to sound as casual as she could with that last statement.

   After all, she was not necessarily fond of making huge confessions in front of Clint and Kate. Sweet, loving words and conversations were reserved for the company of just her and her sister.

   Natasha’s eyes softened just a little but she still looked pretty frustrated with the two of them.

   “Yelena, you two could have gotten seriously hurt. And no one knew you were gone,” Natasha told them, and Clint shifted a little where he was standing a small distance between Natasha. He was looking away, allowing Natasha to carry the brunt of the scolding.

   Yelena felt the weight of the unsaid words. She knew that Natasha was also upset because Yelena had allowed Kate to come along. Natasha and Yelena both knew that Kate was not as capable as Yelena in terms of combat and knowledge of stealth missions, and Yelena knew that Natasha was unhappy at the fact that Kate had gotten involved in it in the first place.

   However, Kate seemed to sense this unspoken conflict, and she spoke up tentatively despite the fact that she was very much on the passive, quiet side of things as she was getting fussed at by Natasha.

   “Tasha, I made her take me with her. She didn’t want me to come, and she actually wanted me to stay on the roof and out of harm’s way. And when she got in trouble, she wanted me to go to the jet, but I went to go help her instead,” Kate explained, and Natasha glanced between the both of them silently for a long moment as she just gauged Kate’s words and took in Yelena’s statement.

   Finally, she let out a deep breath, and Yelena leaned forward, sensing her sister’s need for physical reassurance. Natasha stepped over closer, and Yelena leaned her head against Natasha’s stomach as she let Natasha pet the side of her head gently and run her fingers through her hair. Yelena nuzzled against Natasha’s shirt just barely to keep Clint and Kate from spotting her, and Natasha let out a deep breath.

   “I just want you two to be safe.”

   She then pulled away to go and see Kate. Kate looked up at her guiltily yet hopefully, and Natasha leaned down to deliver a soft kiss to the top of her head, fondly squeezing the back of her neck briefly. 

   “My girls,” Natasha whispered gently, and Yelena felt a bit of jealousy swelling in her as she looked greedily and longingly at Natasha. Natasha, seeming to sense her feelings, made sure to head over and squeeze Yelena’s shoulder gently before she stepped back enough to look at the both of them.

   Natasha then looked over at Clint, and he nodded to her as he stepped up next to her.

   “Okay… My turn,” he started, looking between them. Kate gazed up at him worriedly, seeming as if she were scared of him being upset with her as well.

   “I’ll make it brief. You two are idiots for not telling anybody you were leaving, and I agree with everything Nat said,” Clint explained, and Kate deflated a little. Yelena, however, was almost completely unaffected. The only person’s chastisement that mattered to her was Natasha’s. She did not care if Clint liked or approved of what she did or not.

   “Wise choice,” Yelena risked sassing him a little, and while Natasha flashed her a warning glance, it was not overly serious in its nature.

   “But what I will say is that you guys did a really impressive job,” Clint expressed as he looked between the both of them.

   “Which is why Nat and I,” he glanced over at Natasha, and she nodded along with his words as she gazed back at him, “have decided that we are going to recommend Kate to move up in her training so that with proper supervision from one of us as mentors, she can start coming on actual missions.”

   Yelena raised her eyebrows, rather surprised as she took in the news, and Kate immediately gasped.

   “Really?!” Kate cried, and Clint nodded. Kate immediately leapt to her feet, grabbing Clint around his neck in a tight hug.

   “Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!” she almost squealed, squeezing him. He somewhat uncomfortably returned the hug with a slight laugh, not entirely pleased with the unexpected contact from her but willing to tolerate it. She then hurried over to Natasha, swinging her arms around her as well. Natasha immediately hugged her back, stroking her back with a grin and kissing the side of her head.

   As much as Yelena wanted that to be she herself in her big sister’s arms right then, she decided that she was going to allow Kate to have her moment. For now, at least.

   Kate finally pulled away from Natasha, and Natasha placed her hand on the side of her face as she looked at her. Kate looked as if she were positively pleased as could be, and Natasha whispered something to her that Yelena could not quite pick up from where she was sitting. Kate excitedly launched one more hug on her, and she finally pulled back, practically beaming as she looked between the two older Avengers.

   “It’s going to take a lot of patience and hard work, and you’re going to have to actually listen to us and not disobey orders,” Natasha explained as she slowly eased over to Yelena in the midst of speaking, keeping her eyes on Kate, and Kate gravitated closer to Clint, almost bouncing with her excitement.

   “Absolutely, I will one hundred percent do my best,” Kate nodded eagerly, reassuring her, and Clint huffed a little, rolling his eyes as he shook his head.

   “I’m going to need more than your best, shchenok. Disobeying us could mean death depending on the situation, Kate, so I’m really serious. You listening to us will teach you how to take care of yourself when the day comes for you to become an actual Avenger. And if you do a really good job and listen, that day might come sooner than you think,” Natasha explained to her, dead serious as she addressed the girl from where she was now standing directly next to Yelena. Natasha pulled Yelena’s head against her side where Yelena was sitting down.

   “Yes, Tasha. Don’t worry, I won’t disappoint you. I’ll listen,” Kate promised, and Natasha nodded to her softly with a gentle smile and a nod, and Clint nodded to Kate with a kind smile before starting off into the other room. Kate, however, quickly followed him happily.

   “So, whaddya think?” Kate asked as they left, and Clint grunted before gracing her with an intelligible reply.

   “About what?’

   “Lady Hawk? Bullseye? Hawkeye 2.0? Hawkwoman?” Kate questioned excitedly, and Clint groaned before suddenly making a noise that sounded as if he were actually considering her question.

   “I’ve actually got an idea,” he ruminated aloud with an interest that Yelena easily identified as false. However, Kate seemed to fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

   “Ooh, do share!” she excitedly encouraged him as their voices started to fade away further, and Clint chuckled before answering quickly.

   “Chicken Wing,” he replied, and Kate made a sound of disgust as she started to argue almost immediately.

   Natasha laughed, shaking her head as the two got out of range, and Yelena rolled her eyes. She then looked up at Natasha expectantly from where she was pressed to the redhead’s side. Natasha looked down at her, raising an eyebrow.

   “What?”

   “Don’t I get a prize for misbehaving? Or is Kate Bishop your favorite?” Yelena asked, hoping that the insecurity within her did not shine through too strongly. However, it must have shown itself a little, because Natasha’s eyes softened somewhat as she moved over to sit down next to Yelena and relax.

   “What makes you think that you deserve a prize? You’re supposed to be the responsible one out of you two,” Natasha informed her, raising her elbow up to rest behind Yelena’s head and propping her head up on her hand.

   “Look, have you even met me? Besides, I tried to keep her out of the way,” Yelena defended.

   Natasha huffed, grinning affectionately as she extended the arm that was propping her head up, and she pulled Yelena into her side, pressing a gentle kiss against her head before nuzzling into her. Yelena felt her heart swelling and warmth spreading through her as she cuddled closer to the redhead, pressing a small yet loving kiss to Natasha’s shoulder.

   Natasha’s hand moved underneath Yelena’s shirt and her fingers traced along her back in soft patterns. Yelena immediately melted against her, feeling contentment and so much happiness filling her at the feeling of the touch. She buried her face into Natasha’s shoulder, closing her eyes to better enjoy the feeling.

   “This the prize?” Yelena questioned in a blissful mumble as Natasha gave her attention. Natasha kissed her head again near her ear.

   “You disappointed?” Natasha asked softly with a gentle chuckle, and Yelena shook her head resolutely with a grin as she took in a deep breath of her favorite person.

   “Never.”