Swan Queen | The Strongest Magic
Someone needs to get on this ASAP.
Natasha had heard a lot of stories about Agent May since joining SHIELD. That she was single handedly responsible for decimating an entire Hydra cell without killing a single one. That she had once beaten Director Fury in a sparring match. Once she killed an assassin with a magazine. She could fly a quinjet though a hurricane without once hitting turbulence. Some said she joined SHIELD after a stint as a test pilot for the Air Force. Others said she was a Recon Marine, or an Army Ranger. Someone once murmured that she was a CIA super-spook and that Director Fury had to dodge phone calls from Langley every few days begging him to send her back.
Natasha just rolled her eyes and went on with her training. She was familiar with rumors and how they exploded over time, besides, SHIELD was a global agency with tens of thousands of employees, it was highly unlikely she would ever have to deal with this Agent May anyway.
Several months later she was taking advantage of the deserted training room in the wee hours of the morning when another agent walked in. Asian descent, late-thirties to early forties, hair in a high ponytail and dressed in the usual SHIELD workout gear. They nodded to each other in polite acknowledgment and went on with their workouts.
Two nights later it happened again, then again. The two women never spoke a word to each other, but fell into a companionable silence as they went through their workouts.
Then one night the other woman paused in her weight lifting repetitions to eye the empty sparring ring. Natasha was working on the heavy bag across the room and happened to look up in time to meet the un-named woman’s eyes.
"What do you think?" she asked, her voice soft and melodic, echoing across the room, a faint smirk on her lips. "Want to hit something that hits back?"
Natasha’s grin was all teeth and wolfish. It had been a long time since someone other than Hill or Clint would step into the ring with her without bribery. “Absolutely.”
The woman grinned back and went to get her sparring gear.
"I didn’t get your name before," the woman said, adjusting the straps of her gloves.
Natasha was pleasantly surprised by that. Most of SHIELD knew who she was by now, she was the infamous Black Widow after all. It was nice, not to have her reputation precede her. (though she did feel a little bad that this woman had no idea who she was stepping into the ring with. she’d learn.)
"Natasha," she said.
"Melinda," was the reply.
Natasha attacked, hard and fast, and was pleasantly surprised when Melinda matched her blow for blow. The first flurry of strikes and blocks were tests, gauging the others’ strength, and Natasha was stunned to realize that Melinda was on her level. Their match was more like a dance than a fight, their bodies falling into sync.
"You trained with Howlett," Natasha accused, popping her mouth guard out to take a gulp of water. Her voice was hoarse as she tried to regain her breath.
Melinda grinned and did the same, squirting some of the water over her flushed face. “So did you, and with Shostakovich.”
"Were you in the Red Room?"
Natasha narrowed her eyes and scowled. Melinda shrugged and wiped the sweat from her brow. “What’s your clearance?” she asked.
"Level 5," Natasha said.
"Make you a deal: if you pin me in the next two minutes I’ll tell you the story over dinner."
"And if I don’t?"
"Then we still have dinner and I won’t tell you the story. I wanna know how you did that leg throw."
Natasha smirked and stretched her arms over her head, noting the way Melinda’s eyes traced over her body. “Are you asking me on a date, Melinda?” she purred.
"I’d like it to be a date," she replied, not a trace of embarrassment or uncertainty in her voice. "Or it could be just dinner between friends."
Natasha hummed and bounced on the balls of her feet. “If you win it’s a date, if I win it’s dinner. Deal?”
Melinda smiled. “Deal.”