Warnings: Canon Typical Violence; Canon Typical Character Death; Canon Typical Sexual Situations; Canon Typical Swearing; Basically if it happened in Game of Thrones, it might appear in this fic.
Pairings: Mentioned/Past Natasha/Clint; Mentioned/Past Natasha/Yasha|Bucky; Natasha/Gerion Lannister; Natasha/Tyrion Lannister; Natasha/Jaime Lannister; Tyrion Lannister/Natasha/Jaime Lannister; Jaime Lannister/Cersei Lannister; Other Canon Pairings.
Notes: I took some liberties with the timing of certain events and existence of certain nobles so just go with it.
A Widow's Walk
It happens in a flash of blue. One moment Natasha is holding Loki's scepter, arms straining as she forces it through the shield around the portal generator, and the next she is sent tumbling. To those watching, it looks like she is vaporized in a backwash of energy.
To Natasha, it is as simple as falling backwards.
Except she doesn't land on concrete. She isn't sprayed by chunks of glass and gravel. She is lying in the middle of a forest, on a bed of leaves, looking up at a clear night sky filled with strange stars. There is a circular pattern that she recognizes from her briefings on the Bifrost scorched around her, and the smell of ozone in the air.
It doesn't take her long to come to the correct conclusion.
"Heimdall?" she tries, though she doesn't expect it to work. It's still worth trying. The Asgardians might return her home simply because they don't want a lowly Midgardian wandering around the other realms.
"Thor?" She tries next, knowing it is even more of a long-shot. Then, "Odin?"
Desperate now, though nothing in her manner shows it, "Loki?"
Clint, she allows herself to think. Earth.
Her home, as much as she had one, is gone. But she is Natasha Alienovna Romanova, the Black Widow, and her world has burned before.
She gets up.
She spends her first few years traveling in search of a way back. It doesn't take her long to learn that she's not on any of what the Asgardians call 'The Nine Realms.' But then her interrogation with Loki hinted that there are many more than nine, the Chitauri's home planet being one of them.
The place she landed is called Westeros as a whole, and their language isn't too hard to learn, being very close to her native Russian. She slips among them like a ghost, a shadow studying their customs and politics. Their society is medieval, a thing of nobles and brutality. She wishes she still had her guns, but she discarded them during the battle with the Chitauri after she ran out of bullets. No matter, she replaces them with throwing knives and a crossbow, such as they are.
She dismisses technology as a means to get home very quickly, turning to magic instead. She spends some time in King's Landing, because the royal family is supposed to be made up of sorcerers. But that den of dragons seems to have lost their power a few generations ago, and their magic is that of fire and destruction besides.
Next she ventures North, to the land held by the Stark family and the Wall beyond. She dresses as a man, because it is safer, and on her way she saves many an unwary traveler from bandits or wolves or worse. Those she rescues barely see her, because while these people are martial and hard, she is a spy from a land with security cameras and listening devices and satellite imaging, and they are children next to her. She only speaks to one of them, a little girl named Lyanna whose caravan is set upon on the way to Winterfell.
"What is the name of my rescuer, Ser Knight?" the (probably) noble child asks.
Feeling a spark of mischief, Natasha answers, "I am no ser, merely a Winter Soldier."
Leaving the wide eyed girl behind, she wonders if she's started a new legend.
The godswoods of the North don't do anything but bleed, so Natasha crosses the sea next, stowing away on a ship called The Laughing Lion that is bound for Old Valyria, the supposed magic capital of the world. She's found after two weeks (medieval ships only have so many hiding places after all) and pays for her passage by becoming Gerion Lannister's whore. He's handsome and jovial and it's actually some of the better sex she's had, so she doesn't really mind. She was trained from a young age to use every weapon at her disposal, and her sexuality is one of the most potent. It helps that 'belonging' to the noble on board keeps the other men from getting ideas.
She doesn't doubt she could deal with any who tried to press the issue, but it would force her to reveal skills that a whore shouldn't have.
During the months at sea, Gerion tells her about his family. About his brothers Tywin and Kevan and his daughter Joy Hill, who is a bastard and therefore not a Lannister, except for in his heart. Family secrets are whispered to her in the hush before dawn, her fingers curled in Gerion's golden hair as he extols the virtues of Casterly Rock, never noticing that he is being subtly guided into divulging the locations of secret passages, how to open the treasury, ways to manipulate Tywin, where to strike and make it hurt.
Natasha has no particular plans regarding the Lannisters, is in fact collecting information on them more out of habit than anything, but she memorizes it all anyway. It can't hurt.
Sometimes Gerion reminds her of Clint, with his stupid jokes and the way the skin around his eyes crinkles when he laughs. Sometimes he reminds her of Yasha, with the way he handles a sword and the intensity in his gaze when he fucks her. She thinks he may be in love with her, his beautiful red haired mistress who is tougher than she looks. He gives her a string of pearls to wear that he'd originally intended for his daughter, and Natasha carefully does not examine her true feelings for him. Natalia Rivers the whore is besotted with her noble lover, and maybe that is enough.
Valyria is overgrown, plants lush and green in the volcanic soil. It's said that Valyria burned, and Natasha wonders if it was dragon fire or a natural disaster that really collapsed the empire. She goes with the crew to explore, despite Gerion trying to order her to stay on the ship. He's worried that she'll come to harm in the untamed ruins, but she giggles at him and promises to stay behind him and let him protect her, and he relents. Natasha thinks it likely that he's gotten used to her company in the evenings and doesn't want to go without it.
"Sometimes I don't want this journey to end," he confides to her one night, lying on the bed of pillows in their tent. "I think this is the happiest I've ever been, a good woman at my side and the world at our feet."
"I love you, Gerion," Natalia Rivers says, snuggling into the tall man's side.
"Would that I could make you my wife," Gerion sighs into her hair.
But all good things end, especially when they involve Natasha, and eventually they find the sword that was the purpose of the whole expedition - Brightroar, the ancestral blade of House Lannister, the thing Tywin covets above almost all else - and it is time to return to the ship.
It is only after they have sailed away that the men begin falling sick.
Natasha thinks it is something akin to scurvy or malaria or the flu - something she can recognize - at first. Her training as a field medic makes her more experienced than any maester of Westeros, so she does her best to treat them. She boils water, laces it with the juice of whatever fruit she can get her hands on, makes Gerion tea and forces him to inhale the steam. Natalia Rivers loves these men, her lover and her friends, and maybe Natasha is fond of them too, but nothing helps.
Like a slow motion video, grey starts to creep over them, leaving statues where flesh and blood people once stood.
"Greyscale," Gerion tells her, surprised she's never heard of it. Half of his face is already stiff, making his smiles into crooked things. "I didn't want it to end this way. But I'm glad I'm with you, darling girl."
Natalia Rivers weeps over him, begging him to stay with her. He doesn't.
First they are a plague ship, others veering away as soon as the greyscale on the crew is spotted by any passing vessels. Then they become a ghost ship, manned only by statues in odd poses, like the gorgon Medusa took a stroll along the deck.
Natasha is the only one who doesn't get sick. She can't decide if she's immune because she's from a different world and her physiology is different on some level, or if it's because of what they did to her in the Red Room. She isn't a supersoldier, not like Rogers, but she's something. Whatever version of the serum Russia could cobble together was given to the Red Room girls. Natasha was one of the few who survived. She's stronger, faster, hardier than she should be, though the main difference is that she doesn't age like a normal person.
She's not sure how old she is, just that she's older than she looks.
The Laughing Lion eventually runs aground off the shores of Yi Ti with no one to steer it, and Natasha fills a rowboat with everything of use and value. Then she leaves a trail of lamp oil from one end of the ship to the other and sets a candle on the edge of Gerion's desk where the motion of the waves will eventually knock it onto the floor.
Gerion is still lying in the bed of his stateroom, a smile frozen on his grey face. Natalia Rivers caresses his cold cheek one last time. His last words to her were, "Promise me you'll love again, darling girl," though he had no reason to believe that she would survive when the rest of the crew was dying.
"Love is for children," she tells him, the first time it is Natasha Romanova that speaks. "But I was happy with you. I might even have stayed." She smiles, the curve of her lips perfect and beautiful, nothing to give away that she doesn't mean it. Gerion still deserves her best work. "I guess we'll never know."
A Lannister always pays their debts. That is something that Gerion said often. Natasha has many debts, all of them written in dark red ink, and she can't help but feel that Gerion has paid one of them in her stead. It is a whimsical thought with no basis in logic, but still she indulges it. It helps guide her in a post-Gerion world. It would be so easy for someone of her skill to become an assassin, to rob and cheat, to do a million and one things that no one would see coming and leave her wealthy. In this world there is nothing to keep her from it. No international most wanted lists, no Hydra dying to get their hands on her, no Shield waiting to take her down if she falls into old patterns for even a moment. Why shouldn't she conquer herself a castle and retire in luxury?
But then she remembers Gerion's green eyes and the roar of the inferno that burned The Laughing Lion on the water and the the sting of debts unpaid. She never really was Natalia Rivers, and Natalia Rivers was never Lady Lannister, but sometimes she wishes she could have been.
Natasha continues her search for a way home in Yi Ti, and then the Free Cities, and in Lannisport Joy Hill receives a crate that contains Brightroar and a note written in Gerion's hand that says, Do with it as you will, joy of my heart.
But Natasha keeps the pearls.
In another year, Natasha is back in Westeros. She didn't find anything across the sea, and she looks Westerosi. In a world where traveling so far is rare she stands out too much in the other countries, so to the Seven Kingdoms she goes.
Aerys Targaryen has gone mad while she was gone. Well, more mad. He was always a sadist but now he doesn't seem capable of coherent thought beyond liking it when things are on fire. Natasha steers clear of King's Landing, and tries to decide what to do next. She has never, not once in her life, not been hunted or hunting, never had a time when there wasn't some clear goal like stay alive, find the mole, find the way home, protect the target, kill the target, gather intelligence.
She honestly isn't sure what normal people do with their time. Especially here where there isn't much in the way of personal entertainment. She knows she wants to keep balancing her ledger, but she's not sure how to go about it. She's more of a spy than a soldier, not to mention she's a woman, so simply joining the guards of some city or keep is out of the question.
She could go to the capital once Aerys is dead and become the spymaster. The one they have now dares to call himself the Spider. Black Widow would eat him alive. But Natasha knows better than to become beholden to any one regime...
She could kill Aerys. That would certainly be a righteous use of her skills, considering the stories coming out of the Red Keep lately.
The game is all she knows, so she decides to keep playing it. Her first step is to find a way into noble circles. It's easy enough for a noble to disguise themselves as one of the so-called 'small folk,' but going the other way is a shade more difficult. Natasha watches and waits, spinning her web and gathering secrets until the perfect opportunity falls into her lap.