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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat May 04, 2019 8:44 pm

Serena had been unable to concentrate in her class that afternoon. Her mind kept going back to Peter. She continued to check her phone for any messages from him since he would text her all the time. However, today there was nothing. She found herself rather upset about this and unsure of what her feelings meant or what to do. That night at dinner she was rather quiet, but thankfully her father seemed distracted himself and didn't really question her.

Logan and Natalya ordered in some food and watched a movie together that night. Natalya found herself thinking about the press conference and what Malcolm was going to say. That night as she lay in her bed she looked over at the bouquet of flowers he had given her and she couldn't help but smile. She went to sleep thinking about him and what their future might hold.

The press conference was to be held at noon and just before that time Natalya, Logan, Pharaoh, Steve, Kate, and Tony gathered around the tv and turned it on to the news. Natalya felt surprisingly nervous as the time neared noon. She could see on the screen a podium and a few of the reporters and cameras. As Malcolm suddenly appeared all you could hear for a few seconds was the sound of photographs being taken. Finally, everyone became more quiet as Malcolm prepared to speak.

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Post by Conleth on Sat May 04, 2019 8:57 pm

There were several microphones in Malcolm’s face as he stood behind a small podium. The crowd of people behind him and in front of him was large and almost constantly there were flashes from phones and cameras going off all around him. Malcolm was dressed to the 9’s in one of his Gray, pin striped, Giorgio suits, a flawless representation of a dark, handsome man who everyone knew and loved. Many famous people were not so likable in person. Some were divas that complained about everything. Some talked about others behind their backs or made derogatory statements right to their faces. Malcolm never did any of that. He didn’t have the capacity for hate or prejudice. He judged people for what they did and said not for they chose to live their lives. He had never been taped as saying anything against anyone nor did he own a facebook account or put anything of that nature in writing. He literally was untouchable, until now which is why he resigned his chairman status for his own charities. He was concerned that his clothing line might take a hit as well but he felt it could weather this storm. One he hoped would blow over eventually.

“Hello,” He said into the microphone and people all around him said Hello back or ‘Hi Malcolm!’ or ‘We love you Malcolm!’ Behind and to the right stood a woman, slightly younger than he was with similar good looks. She was wearing a suit as well though with a black, leather skirt and high heels. Her hair fell dawn her back in curls and her blue, designer glasses reflected the flashes that went off around her. Malcolm’s sister Rachael, his agent looked on with a worried expression.

Malcolm smiled and raised his hands toward the crowd in appreciation to their cheers for him. His expression changed eventually to seriousness when he began to speak.

“Ladies and gentlemen, friends, I’ve come here today to talk to you about someone dear to me. A woman that I met a while ago and who has become a very important part of my life, Natalya Sokolova. I don’t expect everyone to understand what I’m about to explain but we’ll do the best we can, alright?” he asked and looked around himself. He nodded to someone just off camera and waved at someone else who must have waved to him. His smile returned but faded once more. “Imagine that someone had a picture of what you were going to be before you were born then tried to make you become that picture. Imagine that your destiny was decided for you before you knew how to walk, talk or make decisions for yourself. The SSB...this Soviet Special Branch, created Natalya with the intent to turn her into a human weapon. A spy with inhuman strength and lethal precision,” he said as his expression changed to anger. “They took a child, a little girl and used pain, torture and cruelty to make her into the assassin they wanted. They abused her, raped her...repeatedly and tortured her. They systematically tried to remove any shred of humanity from her to get the results they wanted,” He said and paused as his eyes welled up with tears. He held up a finger indicating that he needed a moment and his sister stepped forward and loaned him her handkerchief. He wiped his eyes as she hugged him, whispered something to him then stepped back. Malcolm continued.

“Natalya did as she was created to do. She killed and murdered and did horrific things. But the moment she met someone you all know well, Logan...the Wolverine. A man that showed her that she actually ‘had’ a choice. Not to kill...not to murder...not to hurt innocent people. She chose not to. She made a choice to turn herself into SHIELD for her crimes,” he said and paused for a long moment as he surveyed the faces of those around him. Everyone looked at him with wide-eyed surprise and interest. His voice was a powerful tool, it always had been and he spoke with that power and the intent to sway his audience and to get them to empathize with him. And it was working.

“Instead of locking her up and throwing away the key though they gave her a chance at redemption. Like Logan, like Captain America and the Avengers who risk their lives everyday, Natalya Sokolova does as well. She fights for you...for me, for our world,” he said as he gestured. “And I love Natalya for that. For standing up to those that hurt and tortured her and for trying to right the wrongs she has committed” Malcolm said. No one said anything not even the news reporters. There was a stunned silence and all eyes were fixed on him right then.

“Now, you’re wondering how I know all of this. How I know who and what Natalya really is. I know because I have fought beside her. I know because,” he began then tilted his head down below the podium and put on his mask. When he straightened back up he had his mask on and there was a massive intake of breath from the crowd around him. “I am an Avenger,” He said. As the cameras began to flash even more furiously Malcolm raised his hand to wave once more to the crowd. He leaned into the microphones and said. “I love you babe,” And smiled into the camera the way he smiled at her sometimes. As he stepped back he hopped into the air, just a few inches then in the next moment he was gone and the camera angle swooped up into the air. It caught a split second glimpse of his ascent before he was lost to it and to everyone else in that moment. The news anchor came back on and they began a discussion about Malcolm and theories about what his admission could do to his business and image. He laid himself bare to the world for a woman he only just met. Not just because he loved her. But because it was right, in his eyes to do it. Malcolm hated the SSB for what they did and he wanted to cause them as much pain as they had brought to Natalya. Now their evil deeds were outed and if they killed him they’d only make him a martyr. And better for the world he admitted to himself, if they did. But he hoped it would not come to that.

After he landed a good distance away he texted Natalya.
‘Hope you aren’t angry, but you know I had to do it. Love you’



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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat May 04, 2019 9:15 pm

Natalya couldn't breathe throughout the entire press conference. As Malcolm began to speak specifically about her past and what the SSB had done to her she felt Logan reach over and take her hand. When he squeezed it he would feel her trembling ever so slightly. However, tears came to her eyes as she heard Malcolm continue to defend her. She didn't deserve him...and at the same time she didn't know what she would do without him. She was strong, and yet incredibly vulnerable at the same time. What the SSB had done to her left a wound inside of her that would never heal.

However, what she and none of the others had expected was for Malcolm to then reveal that he was a member of the Avenger's team. Kate's mouth dropped open and she glanced at Steve, who looked just as surprised as she was. Natalya couldn't believe what she was hearing, or what she was seeing. She immediately got up from the couch and grabbed her phone. She stepped away from everyone else and texted Malcolm back.

'Why did you do that? What about your charities and your business?'

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Post by Conleth on Sat May 04, 2019 9:34 pm

Malcolm felt his phone gone off as he walked along 36th street. He looked at it, smiled and texted Natalya back. ‘I resigned from my charities to protect them. And I’ll be fine and would do it all again.’

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat May 04, 2019 9:37 pm

Natalya sighed when she read that Malcolm had resigned from his charities. However, this had all ultimately been his decision. He was changing his life around quite a bit for her and she was afraid that she might not truly be worth all of this.

'What does your sister think of all of this?'

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Post by Conleth on Sat May 04, 2019 9:49 pm

Malcolm had spoke to Rachael before the press conference. She had asked him not to do this but after he explained everything she decided to support him in it. There was a danger of reprisals but if the SSB did anything to her or his family now it would only make them real to the world and hated even more.

‘She supports me and wants to meet you. I told her it was to soon for that. I know you will tell me how careless I am but I told you when I met you. I like hard luck cases. And I would not be who I am if I stood by and let you deal with this alone. Did you all see it? A bit dramatic but I want them all talking about it, at least for a while’

“Jesus Christ,” Logan said and Pharaoh nodded in kind. “Cap...why’d he do that?” Peter asked. “I’m not completely certain Peter,” Steve replied but was looking at Natalya.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat May 04, 2019 9:54 pm

Natalya was in the kitchen pacing back and forth as she texted with Malcolm. 'Yeah, everyone saw it. I think everyone is a bit shocked. I have a feeling Tony and Steve will want to talk with you. Are you on your way back to the Tower?'

Kate looked over at Tony. "Did you know he was going to do this?"

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Post by Conleth on Sat May 04, 2019 10:35 pm

Tony just shook his head but he didn’t look very pleased about it either. “Well he can’t take it back,” Peter said. “I doubt he would of he could,” Pharaoh said. “A Brave thing, but also foolish,” Steve said. Malcolm had decided to get his suit on and fly there. He no longer needed his mask and tossed it away. With a short hop he took to the air and do to the strength of his one power he was at the tower in a minute.

He used the door to the helipad that he usually did and came in to the main living areas where he assumed the others were right then. He was certain he would not get unanimous approval For what he did but that was alright. His actions set something in motion and when good men did nothing, evil like that of the SSB thrived. They would not thrive while he still drew breath he thought. He cast the thoughts of the tortured child he dreamed about out of his head and smiled as he came into the large living room from the hall.

They were all looking at him and he nodded to them. Their expressions were all different and it nearly made him chuckle. “You could have consulted with us before you did that,” Steve said. “A little heavy handed with the loverboy routine,” Tony said to lighten the mood as he usually did. “The SSB will not just take this lying down Malcolm,” Kate said and Malcolm’s smile faded into anger. “Let them come!” He said forcefully and Logan leaned into Pharaoh and murmured. “Oh I like em,” he said but Kate and others frowned at him. He turned to face Natalya though he did not see her, she was the one he had done everything for. Her and people like her.


Last edited by Conleth on Sun May 05, 2019 8:58 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sun May 05, 2019 8:50 am

Natalya, meanwhile, had gone back up to her room...well her and Malcolm's room now. She was sitting on the bed with the tv on. It was turned to one of the news channels, though she had the remote still in her hand so it was likely she was flipping back and forth between several. At the moment two men were discussing the drop in Malcolm's company's stock. It had dropped 12 points already since his announcement. They then began to discuss her.

"Seriously, Malcolm has known her how long at this point?"

"Not, very long. I believe they have only actually been out on one date."

"And he does something like this? I mean I think he could have come out as a superhero and been fine...but bringing in Natalya Sokolova..."

"She is an Avenger though..."

"Ok, sure...but you notice how she is always kept hidden away in the Tower, right? All of the others attend lots of events and make public appearances. Not Natalya. I think that's because there is still this negative image of her. She has over 50 confirmed kills...and those are just the ones that have been confirmed. She is dangerous...even more so than Wolverine in my mind."

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Post by Conleth on Sun May 05, 2019 9:04 am

Malcolm guessed she must have gone back to their room. Not a good sign he thought. “If you will all excuse me,” Malcolm said politely trying to ignore their looks and moved toward where there room was. He hesitated before entering and for a brief moment he held his hand at the door as if to knock upon it. He thought better of it though and just opened it and closed it behind him. He was in his black and neon green suit without his mask and looked in her direction.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sun May 05, 2019 9:14 am

When Malcolm walked in the reporters were still talking about her. They were now dredging up any information about her past that they could. Natalya heard Malcolm come in, but she didn't look over at him yet.

"She once actually cut out a man's eyeball, presumably while he was still alive, in order to get past a retinal scanner."

"But as Malcolm pointed out at today's press conference Natalya wasn't given a choice in the life she led."

"I think everyone has a choice. She could have walked away much sooner from that life than she did. "

"I believe though the bigger question here is, how truly dangerous is she still? My personal belief is that evil is built into her DNA...pure and simple. She was created to kill...to be the ultimate killing machine and it's no wonder why the rest of the team don't have her attend functions or events."

Natalya finally just turned off the tv and glanced at Malcolm. "Are you certain I am worth all of this?"

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Post by Conleth on Sun May 05, 2019 9:30 am

Malcolm had began to smile but it faded when he heard her question. He saw that she was watching the news and sighed. It had all begun so simple between them. And god she was beautiful. He wanted her in his arms right then but he only took a few steps toward her to change his angle on the tv she was watching. “It is not the value others like me put on you, it is the value you put upon yourself. I may not be imbued with the soldier serum or possess metal claws or a shield but I have a right to fight for what I think is right,” he said though he did not directly answer her question.

“Money and reputation can be regained over time. Ever since I read..ever since I read what they did when you were just a child. I have not been able to sleep Natalya. And who knows if they have more children right now. It makes me sick to think that they might. I can’t change what they did but I can certainly do something about it,” He said. His tone was not a defensive one. He sounded as he felt, angry and unsatisfied. Angry that the SSB is still operating, unsatisfied because he couldn’t do more. He presumed finding them would be difficult and it might well be that the only way he did find them was through people who now wanted to cut ties with them. Right now reporters and government officials from all over the world were looking up the SSB. What they stand for, who they are and those that already do business with them might not want the heat he just brought upon them upon themselves. Not a powerful blow perhaps but that could come later. This was only a first step toward that goal.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sun May 05, 2019 9:41 am

Natalya did notice that Malcolm didn't directly answer her question and, to be honest, she wasn't sure if she wanted to know his answer or not. Natalya was a woman who didn't quite feel that she fit in anywhere. She had felt alone until she met Malcolm, and though she wondered what he would think of her once the novelty of her wore off, for now he was hers and he made her feel happy.

She didn't want to think of the SSB or the news reporters anymore. She just wanted him. She wanted to temporarily forget and for a moment to feel what love felt like. She drew herself up onto her knees as a feral look came into her eyes. She reached out and grabbed him by his suit and pulled him towards her and kissed him...hard.

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Post by Conleth on Sun May 05, 2019 10:29 am

Malcolm thought that perhaps she was upset with him, for what he did but before he could say more she went onto her knees and drew him down for a kiss. There was very little talking after that….

A considerable time later they just lay there in bed. Only a single white sheet covered them from the waist down. Natalya was stretched out half atop him and half on her right side beside him. As she was wont to do she twirled her fingers into his chest hair. Her long black hair was strewn upon the pillow behind her and on his left shoulder.

“I’d like us to go on a cruise sometime. Would you like that? Maybe to the Med or Greece...somewhere remote where we could just learn more about one another. I don’t even know if you like ice cream, or even if you eat anything like that,” he said. He knew she did eat and liked pizza and other things but they really didn’t know much about one another. Only that they both were extremely attracted to one another, were Avengers, loved alot of foreplay and got along very well. For some relationships some of that was important but there was this, odd sense of trust to that he felt for her. He knew he didn’t have any kind of extrasensory abilities like Pharaoh but the moment he saw Natalya it was as if he knew they would end up where they are now. “I don’t even know if you own a bikini,” he said as he lazily kissed her forehead. She tasted of sweat and the shampoo she had used recently. He wanted to address what he had done but there would be plenty of time for that. He was certain Steve Rogers had a few things to say about what he did. And Tony Stark as well as Logan. “I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of making love to you...except, you probably will age much slower than I,” he said and she’d feel his mouth that was on her forehead widen into a grin.

Steve, Tony, Logan, Pharaoh and Kate were in a heated discussion about what Malcolm had just done. Oddly Logan and Tony felt similarly that Malcolm did the right thing. Steve and Kate however did not and Kate especially was furious with him. Pharaoh was usual tried to keep things civil as best he could.

“You’ll fight beside her but have barely taken any time to get to know her,” Logan said gruffly. “It’s not if he wasn’t hurting himself to, his stocks have dropped 12 points already,” Tony said. “I’m not concerned about his ‘bottom line’ Tony, we are a team and if he was going to point the SSB at us he should have consulted us as a team,” Steve said. “They may not be SHIELD but a bullet can kill if we don’t see it coming,” He added in obvious irritation.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sun May 05, 2019 10:44 am

Natalya wished she could just remain in Malcolm's arms forever. Within them she felt safe and the rest of the world didn't exist. It was just the two of them. It was strange to think that two weeks ago they didn't even know one another and now Malcolm was taking a huge risk for her. If that wasn't a show of love then she didn't know what else was and it both terrified and excited her at the same time. She felt she could trust Malcolm with her life and she wanted him to trust her in the same way.

When Malcolm spoke about them taking a cruise together Natalya actually smiled. She had never been on a cruise before and the thought of it just being the two of them made her happy. She didn't own a bikini because up until now there had been no reason to. "I wonder though if I did wear a bikini how long it would actually stay on," she said as she looked up at him with a playful grin.

Kate was furious with Malcolm. She stood there with the others with her arms crossed over her chest listening as the others argued back and forth. She looked over at Steve when he mentioned them being a team and nodded. "I agree with Steve. We took a chance on Malcolm and let him be apart of this team, but he's not acting like a team member at this point. If he wanted to hold that press conference as just a private citizen then that would have been fine. But the moment he mentioned being on this team that all changed. We're trying to protect Natalya...not draw more attention to her."

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Post by Conleth on Sun May 05, 2019 11:39 am

“I don’t expect you to be like other women, instantly like to shop and get your nails done, go to salons and such. But you don’t know unless you try things. I know we have what we do here to consider...always to consider but its just as important to remember what you’re fighting for I think to. I don’t want you to feel as if fighting for something is all you have. You have friends and you have me to,” he said. “But even so, I’d love for us to go and find you some sexy things to wear. I think it might be fun,” he said with a warm grin. “I think if we make a plan it will bring us closer to actually doing something like going on a cruise together,” Malcolm said.

“We’re not hiding here Kate,” Logan said. “The SSB knows where she is. I get you’re pissed he didn’t follow ‘protocol’ but I think his actions are a win for us, if not for himself. And I’m not forgetting that just a few days ago you were working for SHIELD and for Victor,” Logan said harshly.“ Steve’s eyebrows curled down as he frowned at Logan’s tone.

“You better watch what you say Logan,” Steve said threateningly as he shifted toward him. Pharaoh held up his hand to draw their attention. “I think Malcolm just wanted to sound genuine because what he said was genuine. If we tried to influence what he said it might not have come off so well. He appears to love Miss Sokolova and was able to use his resources to mark the SSB as a band of men and women that are willing to hurt children for their own ends. With his own brand of theatrics in the end. I think he was willing to take our disapproval in kind. So senture him if you need to Steve, I think he will believe it was worth it,” Pharaoh said.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sun May 05, 2019 1:06 pm

Natalya felt that Malcolm was going to take care of her and that was such a wonderful feeling. It wasn’t that she couldn’t take care of herself, she certainly could, but she liked the feeling of having someone else she could rely on. She knew that things were really just beginning for them and things wouldn’t always be this nice but she hoped they could work through those difficult times as well.

She grinned at him when he spoke about getting her some sexy things to wear. “I think that could be arranged.”

Kate sighed and looked at the others. “What’s done is done and there is little we can do about it now. I just want Malcolm to understand that he is now apart of a team and things he says publicly as an Avenger can affect the entire team.”

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