Coming Into The Fold

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Post by Conleth on Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:09 pm

Her sudden, passionate kiss had completely caught Malcolm off guard. He expected something completely different. A slap or a punch in the mouth perhaps, not a kiss! But he kissed her back and shifted them so he pinned her up against the wall, for a moment. His hands felt over her breasts over her clothes and when he heard her gasp he let go of her and leaned back. “Well, not that we got that all settled,” he said and grinned a knowing grin at her. “I have things to be about today,” he said and then just left her there without the decency to even look back.

Kate returned the next morning and the first place she went to was the gym where she knew Natalya would be. Especially after a heaping plate of Logan’s pancakes. She was in regular clothes, not work out clothes and when Natalya stopped to look at her she smiled.

“Could we..talk?” she asked. When Natalya nodded Kate visibly relaxed. She really needed to talk to someone and usually that was Pharaoh who seemed to be who everyone spoke to when they had to get something off of their chest and didn't want what they said repeated. Not this time though, this was woman talk and the subject ofcourse was about men. Two men in particular. She stepped up to her and nervously rubbed her hands together.

“How is it going? I heard that Malcolm Cross was part of the team now, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or both?” She said. “I’m coming back to but I wanted to talk about Steve,” She said uncertainty. “Im afraid if ‘things’ start up between us again that I won't be able to stop it. This makes me both unbelievably happy and also very very worried. Steve has a big heart that sometimes influences his head. I love him Natalya. I think I always have. And he loves me and we both know what happened before,” she said plainly. “Please, be honest with me, I need to hear it straight,” she said.


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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:52 pm

Natalya was always one of the first ones up. She liked to start her training and workouts early before the rest of the team came down. She needed her own space and time alone. She hadn't seen Malcolm since yesterday, but wasn't concerned. He knew where she was and where to find her. So when she heard someone walk into the training room she thought it was him at first. However, as she looked up she spotted Kate. Kate looked much better than she had the last time Natalya had seen her. She looked rested and refreshed and much more like her old self. She had missed having Kate around. Being the only woman on the team made it...difficult at times and she appreciated Kate's skills. It was also nice having a woman to talk to about certain things.

When Kate asked to talk Natalya nodded and turned off the music. She picked up her bottle of water and took a sip as Kate gathered her thoughts. She knew what Kate was going to want to talk about, but she still let Kate speak and actually say what was on her mind. Natalya was quiet for a few moments as she thought about the situation before finally responding.

"Kate, you and Steve belong together. I have always thought that. Every relationship is going to have its difficulties but it's clear to me that you and Steve want to work things out. Don't let what happened before frighten you away. You know when Steve thought we might have to kill you he was beside himself. I told him if it came down to it that I would do it because I knew he wouldn't be able to because he loved you so much."

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Post by Conleth on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:17 pm

Kate and Natalya weren’t always close. At the beginning there was more than a little distrust. Kate was a former SHIELD agent and Natalya worked for the SSB. Agencies who worked against one another. Steve had been the one who actually brought them together and once the distrust was gone they had become fast friends. That and they were the only women on the team which helped their relationship even more.

Kate wasn’t certain how to take what Natalya had said and she put on a false smile. “Uh...thank you?” She said as if she wasn't certain how to take that. “I'm planning on...moving in with him. He doesn’t know that yet but I know it's what I want. There will be times, in the future where he might try to ‘hedge’ me out of harms way for his feelings for me. And I need someone to set him straight when he does this. Someone who isn’t me,” She said. “This is one of the reasons I left before and I would not have it become an issue again. For the other...I have decided I can live without ‘it’ for now,” She said and unconsciously touched her stomach.

“I’m not used to setting aside what I want for a man...not like...you know, a man I’m in love with...romantically,” She amended. “Fury wanted to promote me when I came back but I suspect that the promotion did not come without even more strings upon me. Strings I would much rather Steve tie around me instead,” She said fondly. Oh she was smitten alright. And she intended to put everything into her and Steve’s relationship. Everything.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:29 pm

Natalya and Kate were completely different personalities, but somehow they had become friends. Natalya had missed Kate when Kate had left and was glad to have her back and she knew Steve was glad to have her back. Natalya thought about Malcolm and sighed a bit.

"I'll set Steve straight if you'll set Malcolm straight," Natalya responded. "He told me he loved me yesterday during the team meeting...right in front of everyone else. We've only been on one real date and now he's apart of the team. You remember how difficult it became for me and Logan when we were together and went on missions? I need to be able to do my job and even though he says that the mission will always come first I'm not so sure that will actually be the case."

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Post by Conleth on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:38 pm

Kate ofcourse had heard about that and smirked. “Then we do for the other, what we can not. I looked this new man of yours up. Pretty hot stuff this Malcolm Cross. Not the ‘usual’ sort you appear to be drawn to,” she said dryly though Natalya knew who she was referring to, Logan. “The same will need to go for us to. I just got Steve back, I do not relish the thought of losing him again,” She said thoughtfully then drew back to Natalya. “So, how do you feel about Malcolm? A bold man to speak his feelings in front of everyone like that. Men are normally so ‘stiff necked’” She said and smiled at Natalya. “Unwilling to show a woman he has feelings and this one openly announces them...well, is that not better than having to guess how he feels or pry his feelings out of him with a crowbar? Steve doesn’t mind a bit of PDA from time to time. I like that he no longer wears a mask. Perhaps someday malcolm can to,” She said.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:51 pm

Natalya sighed and took another sip from her water bottle. "The thing is is that I'm not even completely certain what my feelings are for him yet. The first night we were together it was just pure passion and sex and then we had one date and now he's telling me he loves me. It kinda freaked me out a little if I'm being honest. I do like him, we do have chemistry, but I'm nowhere near ready to tell him I love him. It me forever to even say that to Logan. I'm not the girly type. I'm not the type of woman who needs a man and Malcolm is completely different from Logan. I'm afraid he's going to bring it up again and then what do I tell him?"

Meanwhile, Serena Stark strolled into the Avenger's Tower. Her father was on his way back from Japan and had told her to meet him there. Serena was Tony's only child and he was very protective of her. He had lost her mother when Serena was a baby and seemed determined not to lose her as well. Serena received her looks from her mother, but her intellect from her father. She was an science and engineering prodigy and was in her first year at MIT. Of course her father did not let her stay on campus. She was helicoptered in and out of the campus every day. Serena was somewhat upset that her father wouldn't allow her to live on campus, but at the same time she knew she would miss Peter too much. She and Peter had met her first day at the STEM magnet school they both attended for high school. Serena had been privately tutored up until then and was excited to be able to attend a real school. Peter had shown her around and they had become fast friends. Serena knew that Peter was interested in more of a real relationship with her, but she didn't really see him the same way...or at least she didn't think she did. Serena dated music and film stars and the sons of the ultra wealthy, although right now she was currently between guys.

She walked into the kitchen and grinned when she saw Peter. "Hey Spider-Boy," she teased playfully and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

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Post by Conleth on Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:18 pm

Kate smiled at Natalya. She was always so independent. Never allowing herself to really rely on anyone else. By now she would have thought she would have smoothed edges by now but she still saw that sharp, bladelike mentality in her. Double-edged And always ready for a fight.

“Natalya, I think you underestimate yourself. You are a very beautiful woman and Malcolm is obviously a very passionate man who sees who and what you are. And really likes it. Sometimes it’s that simple. It doesn’t mean you have to love him back or say something you don’t feel. Allow him to love you. Enjoy him, and let your bloody guard down once in a while,” she said in a more scolding tone.

Peter was altogether taken aback. He hardly expected anyone to kiss him and even more unexpectedly, it was Serena! His mouth gaped in excitement and he hugged her immediately. “Serena! Oh wow, I didn’t know you were coming!” He banged at his head a few times in jest. “There must be...something wrong...with my spidey senses!” He teased. But he was truly ecstatic that she was there.

“Are you staying long? So much has happened, I can catch you up!” He said quickly. “Is Mr. Stark coming back to? When will he get here?!” He asked just as excitedly.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:49 pm

Natalya smiled a little at Kate's comment but then her smile faded a little again. She was quiet and looked away from her. "He...he deserves to know the truth about me, but I can't tell him." She looked back over at her friend. "Would you give him my file? I think he should know what he's getting into with me."

Serena was wearing a pair of shorts, her tennis shoes, and an MIT tee-shirt. Her light auburn, shoulder length hair was lightly tousled and gave her a laid back look. Her makeup was minimal, but she wore a light, clean smelling perfume. "I guess I'm staying until my dad gets here. When he called he was about 30 minutes away." She walked over and grabbed a bowl and poured herself some cereal. She didn't add any milk, but began to eat it dry. "So, what do you need to get me caught up on?"

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 7:38 am

Peter was more than happy to talk to Serena...to even be near her seemed to turn him into a bumbling idiot. He had missed her terribly and now, looking into her big, brown eyes his insides wanted to melt...and catch on fire. She smelled nice, had tanned, smooth legs and he loved her hair to.

He told her about their mission in Latveria and about Kate coming back and a new team member, Malcolm Cross aka ‘Velocity’ who was a pro baseball player. And ofcourse now, Steve and Kate ‘were a thing’ and Natalya and Malcolm ‘were a thing’. And right now, everything was kind of quiet. He explained all of it very quickly and not in the order that it all happened.

“I think that’s pretty much it...oh and Pharaoh was injured but he’ll be alright. And Logan, he’s alright to and me...I’m ok. I missed you though,” he said...again. “So did you miss us while you were gone? I mean...uh...me?” he asked as spots of color bloomed in his cheeks.

“I will do what you ask but what if he doesn’t read it? What if he doesn’t care? I’m not certain you can roadblock him like that, no matter how hard you try. He did say the words, did he not?” She said and smiled very brightly. She recalled the first time Steve had said those words to her. She’ll never forget that moment or the first time that he kissed her. “I need a good workout, care to spar a little?” She asked and as Natalya squared off with her, it began.


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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 7:49 am

Serena was surprised by all that had happened. She hadn't been able to come by the Avenger's Tower in a while because of her school work, but it was clear that a lot had happened. She was even more surprised to hear that Malcolm Cross, the baseball player, was now a member of the team and that he and Natalya were a thing. She wondered how Logan was handling that. Even though the two weren't together anymore he was extremely protective of her.

When Peter asked her if she had missed him she gave him a little smile. "Of course I missed you Peter. You're my best friend. Oh, I have to tell you about this guy at MIT in one of my classes. He thinks he's pretty hot stuff and for weeks now he's been flirting with me and trying to get my number. I finally gave it to him today, but we'll see what happens. Sometimes its hard for me to tell if a guy is into just me...or the fact that my father is Tony Stark."

Natalya knew that Malcolm may not read it, but she wanted to give him the opportunity to. It didn't seem fair to keep him in the dark and he did deserve to know the truth. When Kate asked her if she wanted to spar she smiled and nodded. She was always ready for a good fight and Kate was well trained. She had practically been raised at SHIELD HQ. Thought Kate lacked the Super Soldier Serum she more than made up for it with her intuition and tactics. The two fought for a while before they both suddenly heard the unmistakable sound of a jet arriving.

"Well, Tony must be back," Natalya said as she took a sip of her water.

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 8:26 am

Peter’s heart sunk as Serena began talking about another guy. This was not the first time she failed to notice how he felt about her. ‘You could just tell her how you feel!’ A small voice said inside his head. But he just smiled politely and refused to listen to it. It wasn’t that he was shy, not exactly. He was just worried that she’d make light of his confession and his feelings. Like just about every other girl he had ever liked. ‘She sees me as a geeky kid, not a man’ he thought. Pharaoh hobbled up with Logan right behind him.

“Hey, we heard the jet, Tony’s back?” Logan asked. “Ah, the lady Serena, how good it is to see you again,” Pharaoh said in his usual way that made everyone think he was born in a time when there were kings and queens and a proper way of speaking. He even nodded a bow though it hurt to do so. Steve Rogers stepped into the large open space as well and appeared to be looking for someone. Kate most likely. Seeing Serena he smiled his genuine smile that made women swoon sometimes. “I’m glad you’re back Serena, how are your studies going?” he asked as kate and Natalya, still in their workout clothes came up the stairs toward them. As they did Tony Stark stepped into the room from the stairs that led to the Helipad. He had a light colored suit with a light blue shirt and sunglasses. He had a short, well kept beard and carried a smallish case that looked like some kind of metal. Everyone assumed it was one of his newer suit models. The person not there was Malcolm. He had a board meeting to attend for one of his charities and he was using Tony’s video room for the web meeting.

“Wow, I didn’t expect an audience. Hey Cap...Peter, Pharaoh...Logan,” he said as he surveyed them as a group. “Kate, didn’t expect to see you. What, you and Fury no longer a thing or what?” he said teasingly. “Nat, you gain a little weight while i was gone?” he said though mild insults was how he usually addressed her. He smiled and winked at Serena. ‘You all caught up girly? What’s that...cereal? Anyone else up for a cheeseburger? Oh and Cap, this is for the vault. I’ll talk to you later about it,” he said as he handed Steve the case.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 8:50 am

Serena was not completely unaware of Peter’s feelings towards her. However, she felt it was best that they remain just friends. She didn’t really think of him in that way. He was Peter Parker…her best friend. And besides, her father had a strict rule against her dating anyone who was a Superhero. She looked over at Logan and Pharaoh as they walked in. “Yeah, I think he just arrived. It’s good to see you too Pharaoh. I hope your leg is alright. Peter told me all about the fight. It sounds like you all were lucky to get out of there relatively unscathed. Maybe one day my father will actually let me join the fight instead of sitting on the sidelines.”

At that moment Steve walked in and his smile made her melt a little inside. She had a tiny crush on him, but saw the way he looked at Kate and the way Kate looked at him. Steve was always nice to her and was always willing to go out of his way to help her with something. She had known him almost her entire life and he had become almost like an uncle to her.

The moment Tony walked into the room he commanded the room. That was the way it always was with him. His suit was well pressed and it didn’t even look like he had just gotten off a flight from Japan. Kate smiled at Tony when he made his little comment about Nick and herself. “Yeah, I tried to let him down easy, but he didn’t take it very well.”

Serena rolled her eyes at her dad when he asked if anyone wanted a cheeseburger. “Dad, it’s 9:30 in the morning. How many espressos did you have on that flight?”

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 9:49 am

Tony looked at Serena quizzically. “What, you're not my mother...don’t you have something better to do kid...facebook, anything?” He said quickly He held something else in his hand, a magazine folded in on itself. Obviously he had been reading it while on the flight. Oddly though he handed it to Natalya. “There’s some juicy stuff in there, might find it interesting,” he said then turned back to the others and then stopped when he saw Peter just standing there...looking at Serena.

“Peter...cheeseburgers...chop chop,” He said and slapped his hands together quickly. “Oh..uh...right away Mr. Stark,” Peter said quickly and then hurried away toward the stairs.

“So cap, where’s the new guy? Does he not play well with others? Well, I’ve seen him play baseball so that can’t be true. If I knew it was bring your significant other to work day…” he began but moved on form that line when he saw Steve frown at him.

“He’s in a conference call right now. He’s a board member of a few charities and like I said, he’s asked us to keep his identity secret,” he said.

On the cover of the magazine, it was the National Enquirer, Were the usual tabloid crap of who was cheating on who and who was having so and so’s baby. But in the lower left corner below the 100 ways to improve yoru sexlife was a small caption. ‘Malcolm Cross, stepping out with his new mystery woman. Pg.19

On page 19 it was them as they were leaving the Century club. The angle was perfect to get a good shot of them both. And they both looked very happy when they came out of the club. The story basically was about the last 3 women Malcolm had dated and snippets of how he ‘supposed’ dumped them for this new mystery woman...her in a photo.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 10:18 am

Serena rolled her eyes at her father. He could be so…childish sometimes. However, the two were pretty close and God knows he was extremely protective of her. She had been begging him for the last year to let her actually join the Avengers team and fight, but he wouldn’t even listen to her. He would just tell her no and walk away. She sighed and crossed her arms over her chest as he ordered Peter to go find cheeseburgers. She didn’t like how he ordered Peter around. She saw her father wasn’t looking her way and so she slipped away to go after Peter. She knew her father wasn’t going to be happy, but she didn’t care. She caught up to Peter. “Hey Peter! Wait up!” She began to walk beside him down the street. “You shouldn’t let my father order you around like that.”

Natalya raised an eyebrow slightly when Tony handed her the magazine he had clearly been reading. She unfolded it and was confused at first as to why Tony had handed it to her. It was a tabloid magazine and she didn’t read those. However, as her eyes scanned down the information on the front page she suddenly saw Malcolm’s name. She immediately turned to page 19 and what she saw horrified her. There was a picture of Malcolm and her leaving the Century club a week ago. She felt her mouth go dry as she scanned for her name, but thankfully she was just listed as the “Mystery Woman.”

Kate saw Natalya’s face and she walked over to her. “What’s wrong?” Natalya showed her the article and Kate knew why Natalya was worried. “It’s alright Nat. They didn’t mention your name and the picture isn’t clear.” Natalya sighed. “I just hadn’t thought about the fact that Malcolm is going to be followed by photographers. The last thing I need is for the SSB to find me…or worse him.”

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 10:36 am

Peter was surprised but happy that Serena had caught up to him. When she said he shouldn't let himself be ordered around he only shrugged. “It’s Tony Stark Serena. I know he is your father but he’s a great man. Steve Rogers, Logan, Akar, Kate, Natalya and Malcolm, any of them, I’d do whatever they asked. And you to,” he said though it was obvious there was something he was ‘about’ to say after that and didn’t. ‘I’d do anything for you Serena...anything’. He thought.

“You didn’t have to come with me, I’m a big boy, I can find my way,” he said smiling at her. Peter was born and raised in New York. He knew the city like the back of his hand like her father did. ‘God she’s beautiful’ He thought as he snuck a glance at her then looked away. ‘You could just tell her!’ That voice said in his head. But he ignored it again.

“So do you know what Tony brought in that case? It was made out of Uru, I think or an alloy of it,” Peter said.

The group seemed to be breaking up. Tony and Steve went toward the offices, Pharoah went toward the kitchen and Kate gave Natalya a reassuring squeeze and left to go change into regular clothes. Malcolm had come out of the conferencing room and smiled as he stepped up to her. “Hey there...was that Tony Stark? He’s back huh?” he asked then saw her frown. “Is...everything alright? You look as if Tony just told everyone some bad news…” he said. He wanted to kiss her but he considered her frown and decided against it. Apparently she wasn’t into PDA like he was and he knew he really upset her with his ‘announcement’ he made in front of everyone. But he did feel that way even if she did not. Love almost always seemed to work in the opposite direction for him. Those he dated grew to attached to quickly and now it had happened to him with Natalya. The difference was he had buried the hook pretty deep in her and wasn’t willing to cut the line, not by a long shot.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 10:50 am

Serena sighed a little when Peter referred to her father as a ‘great man.’ Of course she thought he was. He had done a lot of good over the years for the world and had been willing to sacrifice his life on multiple occasions. She just wished he would answer the questions she asked him about her mother and would let his grip on her loosen up…just a little. She was 19 for God’s sake! Of course she knew why he was so protective, but it was starting to really get to her and she was starting to act out because of it. She had half a mind to just make her own suit, or better yet, to find her mother’s. She knew her father had it hidden in storage somewhere.

“I know you don’t need my help, but I want your company,” Serena admitted. “I haven’t seen you in a few weeks after all and I would much rather get out of the Tower where my father isn’t breathing down my neck.” They stopped at a crosswalk and waited for the light to turn. “I haven’t got a clue what’s in the case. Knowing my father it could be just about anything.”

Natalya remained in the room as the rest of the team broke up and went their separate ways. She was still holding the magazine in her hand as Malcolm walked in. She looked up at him and sighed. She didn’t say anything. She just handed him the magazine and watched to see what he would say.

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 11:12 am

Peter had no parents and for a long time lived with his Aunt May who he loved very much. When other people complained about their parents, when Serena complained about her father, he could never quite understand it. To have that happening in his life. To have someone who cared about him like that was a luxury Peter never had. Always he was alone with few friends. Always did he strive to please those he cared about. It all brought about feelings like jealousy of everything she had and he didn't and annoyance that she had so much and complained about it.

He shrugged. “Well, I just assumed you’d be talking to your new guy or something,” He said plainly and his face held a momentary expression of irritation. It faded quickly but the words he wished he could take back were already spoken, unfortunately.

Malcolm raised an eyebrow when she handed him the magazine. He never read these though his Sister, his agent had often warned him about them. Malcolm was nearly as clean as they came and these rags still tried to put unsavory spins on his actions and his life. He had sued The Globe, another magazine for printing absolute lies about him being the father of some woman’s baby. He won the lawsuit and it barely made a dent in their bottom line.

“Rubbish? Bullshit?” he began and just folded it up and handed it back to her. “I never read them. I imagine it won’t be long before they find out your name. Its not going to make any difference though,” he said. “Ive lived with this for years just like alot of other personalities. And I continue to enjoy my life how I want. Let them take pictures and make up stories about us...what does it matter?” He said. “Heck, do you remember when they thought the actor Liam Hemsworth was actually Thor?” he said chuckling. “Its complete nonsense,” He said uncertain as to why her frown was still painted upon her face.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 11:34 am

Serena, though extremely intelligent, was rather oblivious sometimes. She mostly operated in her own little world and never really realized the effect her words often had on Peter. She never even really thought about the fact that he didn’t even have a father and that she should be grateful that she still had him in her life. However, Serena was still young and in many ways naive. She pulled out her cell phone to check some text messages as they continued to walk.

“No, I gave him my number so the ball is in his court to call me. If he thinks I’m calling him he has this all wrong. How’s Aunt May doing? I haven’t seen her in a while.”

Natalya opened her mouth to say something, but closed it again when she remembered that he knew absolutely nothing about her past. She needed to wait until after he had seen her file…then they could talk about this. She wanted him to understand how dangerous the SSB is and how being seen with her could put his life at risk. Perhaps allowing herself to be in a relationship with him was something she needed to reconsider. The last thing she wanted was for him to get hurt or worse because of her.
She changed the subject and then a few minutes later she left to go meet Logan for a training exercise. Kate had changed and then went and found Natalya’s file. She held it in her hand as she went to go find Malcolm. Nat had asked her to do this for her and she was her friend so she would do it. She found Malcolm in the kitchen and he was alone so she approached him.

“I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced yet,” she said with a little smile as she walked over to him and extended her free hand. “I’m Kate Blackwell. I just wanted to say welcome to the team and also apologize for what happened at Dr. Doom’s facility. I unfortunately wasn’t in my right mind and I didn’t mean to hurt you.” She hesitated a moment before handing him the file. “I was also asked by Nat to give you this. This is her file. It is all that we know, or that she has revealed to us, about her past. She wanted to tell you all of this in person, but it’s too difficult for her to talk about. She wants you to understand what you are getting into with her. I really think you should read it, but fair warning there’s some dark stuff in there.”

She then turned and left the kitchen, leaving him alone with the file.

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 12:04 pm

Logan hit Natalya was a right cross, something he knew she could have blocked easily if she were even paying attention. Well, she was paying attention but she was distracted to. Ever since Malcolm had been in the tower became part of the team she just was not the same. She was gloomy and reserved. She barely laughed at his jokes and he has been beating her all over the place this afternoon where normally it was him having to fend off her attacks. Natalya was alot stronger than she looked and extremely fast. Eye-blurring fast like Steve was.

“What the fuck, Nat? Are you even trying today?” he asked. “I have better things to do than beat you up and down the gym. You still upset about his ‘confession’?” Logan said and rolled his eyes at that. “I knew that wasn’t going to go over well. He’s kinda ‘open and out there’ ain’t he?” Logan asked. Logan was usually the silent, brooding type. He hated dancing and was almost never capable of getting drunk. People annoyed him ‘alot’ Where Malcolm seemed to draw people in instead of making enemies. Alot like Steve did.

Peter was about to say something else but once she brought up Aunt May he just shrugged. “Oh, she’s fine, a little frailer and a little older but she’s doing alright,” He said. He saw her every other day and sometimes more often than that. “She asked me about you last week, asked me how you were doing,” He said honestly. Even his Aunt knew how much he cared for Serena and she liked Serena besides. Thought she was someone who could keep up with Peter. And bring him down to earth.

The burger place was on the same block as they were and they stepped in to make their order. As Peter began to tell Rocco, the joint’s owner what he wanted Serena noticed the tv was on. There was an old, tube tv in there on a shelf and it was an Episode of E, Entertainment TV. The story was about The most eligible bachelors and who they had been seen with recently. Malcolm popped up first and that same photo that was on the magazine was on the screen.

“E has just learned the identity of Malcolm Cross’s new mystery woman and you won’t believe what we’ve learned. We are talking a real femme fatale here ladies and identified his new main squeeze as none other than Natalya Sokolova, a former SSB agent captured by SHIELD and is now a member of the Avengers led by America’s all around boy scout Captain America. Natalya Sokolova is the real beauty and the beast with over 50 confirmed kills, many of those SHIELD agents. You heard it here first, and I’m Guliana Rancic,” She said before the shows music began playing. Peter had heard none of it while he made the order then turned back to Serena. “Hey, did you want anything? Serena?” he asked seeing how she appeared to not have heard him.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 12:32 pm

Natalya's heart just wasn't into the training that day and it showed. She was sloppy and distracted. It was more than evident that her mind was thinking of something else. She and Logan were pretty evenly matched and usually their fights were a tie, but today Logan was handily beating her. She sighed and stepped away. "I'm worried about what Malcolm's getting into with me. I don't think he fully realizes it yet. The SSB is after me. Working for the Avengers Team I'm not exactly hiding and they've already tried to capture me multiple times. Malcolm is going to become a target because he's with me. He's famous and there's already a picture of him and me together in one of those Tabloid magazines. Thankfully, they haven't yet figured out who I am, but it's only a matter of time. Then the SSB will use him to get to me."

Serena walked with Peter into the burger joint. She could smell the fries cooking and it actually started to make her mouth water. She was about to tell Peter to order a burger and fries for her when suddenly the tv caught her eye...or what what they were talking about on the tv. They were talking about Malcolm...and Natalya! They actually said her name and showed a picture of Malcolm and Natalya together. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. This was not good...not good at all. Natalya wasn't exactly on good terms with the SSB and now Malcolm was likely going to become a target.

She glanced over at Peter when he said her name and tried to remain calm. She didn't want to say anything here. "Oh...just a cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry milkshake."

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 3:25 pm

Peter’s mouth worked soundlessly as she gave him what she wanted. He hoped he had enough money. His financial means were still one step above struggling. “Uh, add another cheeseburger, fries and a strawberry shake and change my order to just some fries,” he said. Rocco took his money and handed him back his change which Peter frowned at as he put it in his pocket. “To go please,” he added as he felt his spidey senses tingle. Just as he rubbed his arm from it they heard gunshots, screams and the sound of screeching brakes. Peter looked out the window as did Serena and Rocco and he turned back to Serena.

“Um, I got it to go and already paid...get your father the burgers?” he said as he stepped toward the door. Once she nodded that she heard him he flew out the door toward the sound of gunfire that rang out form the din of the city streets.

“Speak of the devil,” Logan said as Malcolm came into the gym looking for Natalya. He held the file in his left hand and his face did not look upbeat nor happy right then. Logan saw his face as well and he gave Natalya a hard squeeze on her arm before he smirked at Malcolm and left them alone. Before she could say anything, he wasn’t certain if she would say anything he moved up to her.

“I’m certain you want this back,” he said. “I don’t know where such things are put here,” he said softly though it was obvious he was trying to to keep a straight face. If she had to guess his expression might have been...disappointment? Sadness? It was not easy to tell.

“I know as well as anyone that having your life out in the open where everyone can see it...when information is laid out as an editorial, one sided, all context is usually lost,” he said. “It’s clear that the SSB...this Tatiana? Was cruel and treated you abhorrently. And you had become what they made you to be. You’ve killed...people. But it all comes back to context, doesn’t it? And when you saw both sides...you knew it was wrong...what you did and you changed. You rebelled against yourself Natalya and the SSB. I guess I...i didn’t believe...I didn’t understand…” he continued but he was having trouble keeping his voice steady. He had heard rumors but he didn’t believe all the things people said she had done.

“I know if we remain together that my own reputation will come under scrutiny. And I have alot to lose. For what its worth, I do alot of good out there...when I can, I mean I try to,” he said but obviously he knew his words weren’t exactly right. He was flustered and upset. “The SSB...they are ruthless?” he said and saw her face. God how difficult it was not to wrap his arms around her, hold her, comfort her. None of this was her fault, not really. But he had to get this all out. He had to get it out or keep it all inside where he was sure it would grow and fester until he could not take it any longer. He’d snap and he loved her. At least he thought he did, he was standing here, wasn’t he?

“This Tatiana...she’ll stop at nothing to get you back? Hurt you...me?” he asked softly. His voice never changed. It was always a softness just loud enough for her ears.

“Does it matter to you if I accept that? Accept that I might get hurt for being...for us being together? I know you’re still sorting out how you feel about me Natalya. But even with all of this...this,” he said and touched the folder briefly then brought his hand back. “I still want to see how you and me play out. But I want you, I need you to acknowledge my right to accept the risk. It’s an important distinction because I don’t want you taking responsibility for me. I can see being more careful now but I won’t put my life on hold. I’ve got to much going on to do that. So I will ask you straight, do you feel anything for me? Does the thought of me just walking away mean anything at all?” he asked and looked as if he wasn’t certain what her answer would be. He did not. But he knew what he ‘wanted’ her to say.

Malcolm wasn’t lost on the fact that he had barely invested any time into her or their short relationship. But for some reason walking away just felt...wrong. He didn’t even know why. In the past if women had baggage he just ghosted them and that was that. He couldn’t do that here, he was part of their team and he didn’t want to be ‘friends’, like her and Logan. He wanted more between them. This was all really odd and ridiculous to him. He had had good sex before but somehow it was just different with Natalya. If he was apart from her for very long...he felt it deep inside.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 4:19 pm

Serena was too distracted by what she had just seen on the tv to even consider how much money Peter might have. She was about to tell him that they needed to talk when suddenly the sound of gunshots and screaming rang out. Serena ran over to the window to look out, as did Peter. She turned and looked at him as he told her the order was paid for. She wanted to tell him not to go, but before she could he was gone. She sighed softly. "Please be careful." She picked up the order and headed back to the Tower.

Natalya heard someone walk in and looked over to see Malcolm. She saw the file he had in his hands and knew that was what he had come to talk to her about. She felt somewhat nervous about what he might say, or what he might actually think of her now. She hadn't been lying when she told him that she wasn't going to be like any other woman he had ever been with. As Logan left a silence settled between them for a moment before Malcolm began to talk. She was glad that he spoke, because she didn't know what she would say to him. She just listened and tried to force herself to look at him. The thought of losing him made her feel...upset and though she didn't care what most people thought of her it mattered to her what Malcolm thought of her. She was afraid he was going to be angry or that his feelings for her were going to change. However, as he continued to speak it became clear to her that that was not the case. The fact that he was willing to take that kind of risk just to be with her said something to her and she suddenly felt tears come to her eyes as she looked at him.

"I don't want to lose you Malcolm," she said as her voice quivered slightly. "I...I need you. I feel happy with you. I...I love you."

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 4:45 pm

As if all the pain and worry, all that he had ever felt in his life suddenly drained away like a rushing river. Out it fled and his knees wanted to buckle. In that instant what he felt for her was beyond reason, beyond sense, beyond his understanding. Elemental in its power. There was just her in his heart and his love boiled over. Malcolm flung himself at Natalya. His lips ravaging hers though he felt hers just as strongly against this own. They crashed to the practice mat together his urgency to be inside of her obvious.

A considerable time later, they did not know how long they had been there in the large sauna. The treated spruce and oak wood was wet under his back as the stream rolled over their naked bodies. Her long, dark hair felk in damp waves over her neck and onto his left arm. Natalya was on her side half on him, her lithe body slick with wetness from her sweat and the steam. Malcolm rubbed her forearm with hsi free hand as her fingers played with his soft, chest hair.

In Malcolm’s mind it was done now, she had said the words. But it wasn’t done. He knew that before he even came down here to talk to her. His phone had nearly exploded with text, emails and phone calls. He would need to hold a press conference and add a little context of his own.

“I’d like us to stay in the same room, while we are here...like Steve and Kate,” he said. ‘Will that be awkward? I know you are friends with Logan...good friends,” he said.

Peter ran into action and made certain no one saw him as he flung himself up the side of a nearby building. He discarded his clothes and put on his mask then went to work. ..

Later he returned to the Tower, changed then went looking for Serena.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed May 01, 2019 5:02 pm

For Natalya feelings of love did not come easy. The only other person she had ever told she loved them was Logan. She was now in the same situation she had been in with Logan, but she hoped that it would turn out differently for them. It just...had to. She needed Malcolm. She couldn't explain the exact reason why, but she did. She knew this wasn't going to be easy, and now they were going to have to deal with the press and be on the lookout for the SSB. But at least she and Malcolm were on the same page now and he understood her and what he was getting into. However, there was one thing that Malcolm didn't yet know that she felt he deserved to know.

"It's fine if we share a room. I just want you to understand that I sometimes need to be alone and I may leave or not want to talk and it won't have anything to do with you. I just am still remembering things about my past that I buried deep inside of myself to forget." She was quiet a moment before going on. "There's one more thing you need to know. Logan and I are good friends now...but we actually were together for a year sometime ago."

Serena had given her father his cheeseburger and fries and she had taken hers and eaten half of it and then decided to give the other half to Peter. Along with half of her strawberry milkshake. When Peter got back to the Tower he would find Serena in her father's lab messing around with a few things. She heard him come in and she looked over at him. "Hey. Are you alright?"

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Post by Conleth on Wed May 01, 2019 6:09 pm

Peter had hoped for a different kind of homecoming with Serena but it was fast becoming clear that if she hadn’t figured out by now how he felt, she just wasn’t feeling it with him. Her talk of ‘other guys’ had happened before and she just didn’t seem to realize what all she really had. He knew though that being a friend was an important role to take with for anyone. He just needed to resign himself to the fact that that was all they would ever be. It was a sad thought but a truthful one. There was a girl a school who he had thought about asking out. But until now he hadn’t been able to get up the courage to do it. He thought he would now though and soon.

It took him a while to find Serena, she was in her father’s lab messing around with...something he didn’t know what. Tony always had things he was working on. Some of them were simple and mundane and some of them were a big deal and potentially dangerous.

“Hey...you shouldn’t be in here,” Peter said. “Especially without your father,” he said and only then realized how he sounded. If the roll of her eyes wasn’t bad enough. “Ofcourse I’m alright, why wouldn’t I be?” He said defensively and she gave him an inquisitive look. He wasn’t certain why he was playing angry to her but it was how he felt. Angry and hungry and cold fries was not something he wanted to eat either.

She felt Malcolm stiffen a moment. “Seriously Logan?” He asked and half cringed at the thought. “Well then this isn’t going to work,” he began jokingly and she looked up at him and narrowed her eyes. “Logan...Really?” He murmured and in truth he didn’t like that. No wonder Logan was always smirking at him, he thought. Malcolm ‘was’ the next man. But he was with her now.

“I think we will be apart enough for it to work. I do have my ‘day job’ he said. “In fact I might be gone tomorrow, most of the day,” Malcolm said. “You could come with me if you wanted but you don’t have to,” he added. “Play it by ear?” He asked.

Steve took a look at his closet. All of his clothes were off to one side, bunched up to make room for all of Kate’s. She was somewhat of a fashionista at times and she really had a lot of clothes. Clothes and boots and shoes and sandals and handbags of just about every color. He winced looking at it all.

“Is this all of it?” He asked but prayed silently for her to say yes. When she said, ‘Most of it’ he chuckled as if hearing that pained him. Luckily she was unpacking and not looking in his direction. Kate has an apartment a short drive away but Steve never kept one. He just stayed here and kept his room Spartan for the most part. It wasn’t spartan anymore.

“Do you really need all of this stuff?” He asked as he lifted up a picture of them while they were in Arizona. There were other pictures in frames as well as other things that now decorated the room.

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