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Post by Conleth on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 6:33

Steve’s heart broke when he discovered that she knew what she was doing as she did it. The horror of that was not lost on him. He had been controlled like that before to. But for it to happen to her...to hurt people and act against the people you know...just a horrific experience that he wished she had not had to go through. He managed to keep tears from falling but oh it was so hard not to weep for her. The love of his life was wounded, on the inside and he didn’t know if she would ever be the same.

“Sssshhhh, don’t think of that now. Your here and safe and I love you,” he whispered as he kissed her cheek and held his face touching hers.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 6:46

Kate had missed Steve so much. Without him, she had felt as if a part of herself was missing. She knew that it wouldn't be as simple as them simply starting back up where they had left off and forgetting why they had broken up in the first place, but she hoped they could at least try to work things out between them. As he kissed her cheek she closed her eyes and leaned into his touch.

"I love you too Steve," she said as she opened her eyes to look into his. "I want to work things out between us. I want to be with you."

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Post by Conleth on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 7:42

There was alot that would have to happen behind the scenes for Steve to make that happen but he nodded anyway. He could deny her nothing in that moment. And having her back. Having her in his arms...needing him...was the only thing he really needed to bridge the gulf that had opened up between them when she had left. He rested on his elbows above her as he held her head in his hands. He could see the pain in her eyes and wished there was some way, any way to take that from her.

“I want you with me to,” He said as he felt his throat strain to keep himself from breaking down. He wanted to be strong for her right then...and always.

Logan appeared in the workout room. Natalya was beating the hell out of 2 combat dummies that were next to one another. Hands, feet, elbows and knees made contact with them and she had tore the fabric of the left one on the corner of its shoulder. He turned off the glaring music and stood there behind her with his thick arms crossed in front of his chest.

“You pissed because he didn't tell you or because you really liked him,” Logan said in his, dry, gruff way he usually spoke. “Or both,” he said with a grin.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 7:53

Kate could tell that Steve was trying to be strong for her. They were both trying to be strong for the other and that was how their relationship had always been. She knew that she had probably been close to death that day. She could only imagine what Steve must have been going through, thinking that he might have to kill her. But she understood why he would have thought that. Her powers were strong...and dangerous and her not having been in her right mind she easily could have killed them all. She could still remember using her powers to pick up all of those objects and hurl them at her friends. That very thought made her feel sick to her stomach. Needing something to distract her, she gently pulled Steve down to her and kissed him.

Natalya figured Logan would be down to check on her sooner or later. She was breathing hard from her all out attack on the combat dummies, but she didn't let up, because her anger didn't let up. When Logan turned off the music she paused in her attack and glanced over at him. She didn't answer his question...which ultimately answered his question. She just began to attack the combat dummies again.

"I want him gone."

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Post by Conleth on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 8:16

Logan chuckled. “Well I’ll be the first one to kick him to the curb,” He said and meant it literally. But he didn’t like to see Natalya in distress. She was his best friend and confidant. He did not like seeing her suffer and somehow this guy had really gotten under her skin. From personal experience though if she didn’t resolve her feelings for Malcolm then he was fairly certain that they’d always be there in the back of her mind and she’d wonder, ‘What could have been.’ If he was gone she would be left like that and he knew more than anyone how terrible living like that was. ‘Jean.’ He repeated in his head. “What I don’t understand is, the man is upstairs and you’re down here hitting combat dummies. I never knew you to be afraid to confront anyone,” he said. And he said it like the way he did on purpose. To get her talking, he hoped. Or, failing that, she would attack him and really get out some of her frustration. And his to if he were truly being honest. Logan never brought out his claws upon her but he didn’t hold back often and they had injured one another more than once though he healed much faster than she.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 8:47

Natalya continued to hit the combat dummies but did listen to Logan. Of course he did make a good point, which irritated the hell out of her. She turned and looked at him and then let out a low growl as her eyes narrowed at him. She paused only a moment before attacking him. The two of them fought hard. They both had pent up aggression they needed to get out. They didn’t hold back against one another and at one point or another they each had the upper hand.

Finally, they both collapsed back onto the floor as they tried to catch their breath. Tears suddenly came to Natalya’s eyes. “I’m tired of being used.”

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Post by Conleth on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 9:33

The fight ended abruptly when Natalya broke Logan’s nose with a hard elbow to the face. He snapped it back into place as they laid next to one another, their chests heaving from the rigour fighting they had just been doing. He grunted as it snapped back into place and he cricked his neck and the cartilage popped several times as he rolled his head around. They both were bleeding, he form his nose and her form the side of her mouth.

“In order to help people and do the things that we do...unfortunately it comes with the job. I don’t think I could see you as a medical biller or a bank teller. Those are pretty safe jobs,” he said mocking her tears. But he definitely knew where she was coming from. But malcolm was alot more than someone like Tatiana. The SSB had done horrible things to Natalya. Horrible things, cruel things to break her and train her to be an emotionless killer. It had taken a long time for her to trust someone. To expose her back and trust that someone else would guard it. To allow herself to have feelings for anyone or anything. Part of him honestly pitied malcolm for delving into that viper’s nest. But he had and like it or not, he had made an impression upon her. Logan had become more than tired of listening to Peter rattle on about the man. He reminded him of some kind of boy scout. He knew he didn’t like Malcolm but part of that dislike was his protective nature with Natalya.

“No one is forcing you to do anything anymore Nat. Live your life how you want but you know the SSB won’t just leave you be. And they won’t try anything knowing who you are working with. And SHIELD never tells anyone the whole story. I doubt he knew we were going to be there just like we didn’t know he would,” he said reluctantly. Why was he defending this man? He could not know but he recalled the photo with the kid with the cancer and how happy he was that Malcolm spent a day with him. Cap used to be like that. As of late however he had gone to a darker place. They needed another ‘faceman’ but Logan wasn’t about to say that outloud.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 10:03

Natalya had a metallic taste in her mouth from the blood. She wanted to fight more, but there was no more fight left in her at the moment. She felt...empty and strangely alone and that made her feel sad. She didn't want to be alone...she didn't want to have to continue this internal fight by herself. It was exhausting and she wanted someone strong to be beside her to help pick her up when she fell apart...someone to give her strength when hers was all used up. She liked Malcolm...a lot. He made her feel happier than she had felt in a very long time. It wasn't just sex...it was something more...something deeper. She knew what Nick had said was probably true. He had prevented him from revealing himself to her, but it didn't make her feel any better about the situation.

Natalya said nothing else to Logan. She slowly got to her feet and wiped the blood from the side of her mouth. She glanced at him before she headed back upstairs to the infirmary. She needed to at least talk to him. She had worked out most of her anger between Logan and the combat dummies...now she just felt...hurt. When she walked into the infirmary she saw Malcolm awake and sitting up. As he looked at her she looked back at him. She looked a mess from the fighting she had just done, but what would stand out the most was the hurt look in her eyes. She slowly walked over to him, but stopped a few feet away. She just looked at him for a moment before finally speaking.

"Were you ever going to tell me?"

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Post by Conleth on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 10:27

Peter had stayed with them as the surgical team began to work on Pharaoh’s leg. They had given him a local and were removing a few fragments from the bullet. It broke a bone so he’d likely be off of his feet for a few days and in a cast for weeks. Malcolm, who no longer had his mask had received a concussion and a dislocated shoulder from the fall. He didn’t want to be there as much as he figured they didn't want him here. He had accomplished his mission but he didn't do it alone. He doubted he could have survived that encounter. Now that SHIELD knew what Victor was after he wouldn’t be able to easily get his hand son more Carbonadium, that much was certain and most of what he had was destroyed. Yes, a success but at what cost? Peter seemed upbeat and spoke to them both as if they had not just been on the verge of death just hours ago. He was young and full of life and energy especially when he spoke about something he was passionate about. He went on and on about the last world series that the Tigers were in but malcolm wasn’t really listening. He looked toward the doors and hoped that Natalya would come in. Would come in and put her arms around him. He doubted that would happen. Likely the opposite in fact. He knew it was Logan that had hit him but he supposed he deserved that. How could he make her understand? As he contemplated that, contemplated the pain of losing her now he suddenly saw her. She stopped a few feet away from him and her eyes told him all he needed to know about what she was feeling. She looked hurt as if she had been fighting. He didn't understand that but after he heard what she said that fact left his mind.

“I honestly don’t know,” He said softly. “I wanted to, since the beginning but...but I gave my word not to. Now that this mission is over though...I’m not held to my word any longer. I worked for SHIELD but im not ‘working’ for them. They told me alot of innocent people were going to die so I felt I had to help,” he said though he thought it all sounded like some kind of poor excuse.

“I know that the ends don’t justify the means, as far and you and I am concerned. I put my mission ahead of what we have...had,” he amended though it made him feel sick to think and say it. Without his mask on he felt exposed but Peter had stepped away when natalya came up to him. There was only he and her though others were in the room. He felt like rambling on and on and his mouth worked as if he were going to say more but stubbornly he clamped his mouth shut and looked away from her. For those eyes that seemed to damn him and bore into his soul.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 10:49

Natalya felt a wave of emotions come over her as she looked at Malcolm. Her logic told her that she couldn’t trust him…but her heart wanted to trust him more than anything she had ever felt before. How could she have become so emotionally tied to him after only two nights? She was trained against things like this and yet somehow it had happened. As she looked at him she wanted more than anything to feel his arms around her and to hear him whisper comforting words to her in her ear. Everyone looked at Natalya and just saw her hard, tough exterior, but inside Natalya was broken and vulnerable. These conflicting parts to her constantly battled against one another and were always threatening to tear her apart. She didn’t just want Malcolm…she needed him. She needed his strength and comfort. She didn’t need a one night stand. She needed a companion and partner. She didn’t know if Malcolm fully understood what mess he was getting into with her.

She stood there for a long moment just looking at him and trying to keep herself together. Finally, she couldn’t take it any longer and she walked over and laid down beside him on the bed. She wrapped her arms around him and felt him put his arms around her and pull her close. Tears began to slip down her cheeks as he held her. “Don’t do that again.”

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Post by Conleth on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 11:48

The surgery to Pharaoh’s leg went extremely well and already he was on the mend. Steve had called a meeting, the subject of which stood behind and to the left of him as the others filed in. Malcolm had left the tower 4 days ago and Natalya had asked him to give her some time. He had done so but it was not easy. He had made a request of Steve who was having his own issues with Kate who had also left the tower. Presumably to resign her position from SHIELD and return to The Avengers. It was never an easy thing to end a relationship with one of the most powerful organizations in the world. But Kate said she had to do it alone though Steve wanted to go with her. Now Malcolm stood and though Steve would never say it, he was going to be judged today. As everyone began to file in they were all surprised to see him, especially Natalya it seemed. Peter only grinned while Pharaoh just shook his head. Logan scowled at him as he came in and Malcolm knew that perhaps he would be the toughest sell. Everyone eventually took their seats.

Malcolm was dressed in street clothes, he wore blue jeans and a white long sleeved shirt that hugged his muscled body. The sleeves were pushed up a little to expose the upper part of the forearms and he had on white, designer tennis shoes. His face and beard were exactly how they had been before and his light brown eyes had a...thoughtful look in them that warmed up considerably when he looked at Natalya. Steve had a chair in front of him and had his hands on the top edge of it as he waited for everyone to get settled.

“Well, I won’t make any long speeches about this, Malcolm wants to become one of us,” he said plainly. “What has to happen is everyone has to agree or it isn’t happening. With the recent events he has allowed me to debrief him on what happened in Latveria. I won’t go into details, you were all there, but our mission there was a success. However we can not say we did it alone. Malcolm and SHIELD both played a part in that and as a result, the Carbonadium was all destroyed, we recovered kate and everyone survived. He’s already heard the spiel, none of us can be here and work for other masters. We are a team here and if and when we decide to follow anothers lead, we make that decision collectively as a whole. There are no lone wolfs here,” he said and both Peter and Pharaoh nodded. During all of this Malcolm only looked at Natalya. He felt that if Logan didn’t put the kibosh on his joining the team, he felt she likely would. Regardless of how she felt about him. But he was tired of being alone and he saw what the avengers were able to accomplish together. Far more than he could, that much was certain. That and his last conversation with Nick...hadn’t gone well.

“So thats it. Everyone has their say, and only one of you can say no and its not happening,” he said. Peter looked thrilled, almost beaming. “Hey there Mr. Cross...Malcolm, can I call you Malcolm? I think Velocity is a cool made up name. Ooo, are those Nike Xs?” he began in a rush as if he feared someone might cut him off. “Peter…” steve said looking down at the floor in exasperation. “Oh..uh, yeah, I say yes, ofcourse I do...who doesn’t want malcolm Cross on their team?” he said looking around and grinning.

“Why not,” Pharaoh said in his usual british accent and left it at that. Logan looked as if he were having difficulty deciding. He narrowed his eyes at Malcolm and everyone was looking at him do to the delay.

“You know, I don’t really like you,” he began and Peter and Pharaoh sighed. Logan gave them a suffering look as if they were interrupting him then turned his gaze back onto Malcolm who just stood there looking back at him. “But, what the hell, it’s your funeral I’ll be attending,” He said bluntly but Natalya might think that his words were more meant for her and what might happen to Malcolm if they continued with their relationship, not being an avenger. Then all eyes were on Natalya but Malcolm decided to say something first and by the way his eyes were looking at her, he was going to embarrass her badly by saying something...emotional.

“Before you say anything please let me say only this. I’m in love with you Natalya. I wanted to believe my feelings weren’t that strong but these last few days...feeling that I might lose you were the worst days in my life. I want everyone to know though that when it comes to the mission, that love will not get in the way. I will do what needs to be done and put those that we are trying to help and protect, first. Before you, before myself. I know it has to be this way and I am prepared to live with it...that way...with you,” he said and looked at each of them in turn. Peter’s mouth was a gape in surprise. Pharaoh only showed one of his secret grins that only he knew what it meant. Logan rolled his eyes and Steve seemed to give him a hard, thoughtful look. Then their eyes were all on her again. Filled with a new sense of anticipation and curiosity. If she said no he would not be one of them.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 12:26

Kate hadn't wanted to leave, but she knew that she needed to return to SHIELD and take care of a few things. She and Steve had been hit hard emotionally and they both also needed some time to work though some things individually. They talked everyday though and Kate had confirmed that she was returning to the Avengers' Team. That morning when she and Steve had spoken she had given him her verbal "yes" to Malcolm joining the team. She was currently in the process of filling out a ton of paperwork and going through countless debriefings. She hoped to be finished with this process by tomorrow. She was ready to get back to the Tower and back to Steve.

Natalya had also been working through some emotions. She had needed some space and Malcolm had been understanding enough to give it to her. He hadn't called or texted her and she had been spending quite a bit of time alone. No matter what else she tried to think of her her thoughts continued to circle back to Malcolm. Her anger had long since faded and she knew that Malcolm didn't have a choice but to conceal his other identity from her. She also could not deny that he had ultimately helped them that day. That morning she made a decision to call him and talk to him, but before she could Steve called a meeting. She was visibly surprised to see Malcolm there when she walked into the conference room with everyone else.

As she listened to Steve she looked at Malcolm. Her eyes studied him thoughtfully and she considered what the pros and cons might be of him joining the team. She and Logan had ended their relationship precisely because they were working together and found it difficult to put the mission above each other. She began to wonder if the same thing would happen here. She listened to everyone else's responses and felt Malcolm's eyes on her the entire time. Clearly the only answer that mattered to him was her own. When it came time for her to speak she shifted in her chair slightly and started to open her mouth, but Malcolm began to speak to her first. What he said shocked her. She just stared at him. Had he really just said what she thought he said? She felt embarrassed and really put on the spot now, which she didn't like. The others were now looking at her and she really wanted to just get up and leave.

She sighed and looked away for a moment before looking down at her hands. "...Yes."

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Post by Conleth on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 12:41

To say he was disappointed in her response was an understatement. That and she looked…upset? Angry? Both? He could not be certain. Steve ultimately gave his assent along with Tony’s over the phone and Malcolm was officially part of their team. Peter stayed behind to welcome him but no one else did. As everyone left the room Malcolm caught up to Natalya.

“Natalya?” he called but he saw her start to walk even faster. He had to jog to catch up to her and he moved into her path. For the moment the hall was already empty of others and it was just them there.

“I don’t understand...I put myself out there to everyone, including you and all you say is...yes? I think I deserve a little more,” he said arrogantly and also a little irritably as well. He found that he was irritable with her and concerned that perhaps she did not share his feelings.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue 30 Apr 2019 - 12:49

Natalya still couldn't believe what had just happened. She remained quiet and didn't look at Malcolm for the remainder of the meeting. After it was done and Malcolm was an official member of the team she got up and left the room. She started to walk to her room, but heard Malcolm come up behind her. She began to walk a little faster, but Malcolm got in front of her and cut her off.

"So you feel entitled to something more from me?" she asked as her eyes narrowed at him. He started to open his mouth but she cut him off. "You put me on the spot in there Malcolm. You backed me into a corner and embarrassed me. I have to work with those guys professionally and it's hard enough as a woman. You just can make me so...." She suddenly grabbed his shirt and pulled him towards her and kissed him...hard and extremely passionately.

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