Author's Note: I know this update was long overdue. I also know this chapter is rather short, but as I was writing it, I realized that the drama and the subject matter behind it didn't need a massive chapter. I am working on chapter 6 right now, and it will more than likely be a more normal-sized chapter. Other than that,
"One thing, I asked him to do one damn thing," Natasha ranted under her breath as she sat on the worn out couch and typed into her phone. After a few seconds, she grew impatient and pressed the screen, and then brought the phone to her ear. "Hi Pete, its Nat, call me when you get this because we really need to talk," she said. It was obvious to Steve, who was sitting at the table of their safe house, finishing his dinner, that she had left a voicemail. And the way she was practically staring a hole into it, was proof enough for him that she was expecting a quick response.
"You alright over there?" he asked. Natasha looked over at him, her expression clear – not now. "You seem upset is all," he added.
"It's Peter," she answered quickly. "I asked him to…I gave him one simple instruction, and he practically disobeys me in spectacular fashion," she explains, holding back her frustration.
"Does he not have his parents?" Steve and Natasha hear Wanda ask from the kitchen area where she was cleaning up. It was still taking some getting used to hearing her without her heavy accent Natasha thought as she looked over at the youngest Avenger and nodded her head.
"Then let her deal with this," Steve says as he pushes his dish away from him.
"I would, if she knew he was Spider-Man," Natasha told him halfway sarcastically. "But she doesn't. So I have to be the one to step in."
"Nat, I get it, you care about the kid, but you need to remember that you're not his –"
"Quiet," Natasha tells him as her phone starts ringing. She smiles quickly at the sight of Peter's picture on the screen. "Hey Peter, you better have a good explanation for disobeying me," she started as she got up from the couch. Wanda and Steve watched her make her way toward the door to go outside. "No big deal? Metro PD got involved. I hope you don't have anything to do, because this conversation, is going to be a long one…," Natasha continued to rant as she finally went outside, slamming the door the safe house behind her.
"That's the guy she wishes she could set me up with?" Wanda muttered offhandedly as she walked over and put her hand out for Steve's plate. Steve just looked up at her, confusion written on his face. "She said she couldn't decide if she wanted me a few years younger, or him a few years older because she was pretty sure we'd hit it off if we were closer in age."
That woman cannot stop playing matchmaker, Steve thought with a shake of his head. "Just lie and tell her you have a boyfriend you see when you have some downtime, and hope that backs her off," Steve told the girl. "I'm gonna go call Sam, see how much longer he's gonna be getting supplies," he finished as he made his way for his bunk.
"Yeah…lie," Wanda mutters to herself as she heads back to wash the plate.
Natasha practically barreled down the door to the safe house. Her walk through the small base of operations was one usually reserved for when she was in fight mode. But this was different. She was flat out pissed off. She made her way over to the bedroom that she and Wanda shared, though right now it was all hers since Wanda was off meeting some guy she refused to divulge any information on. She started looking through her belongings until she found what she was looking for – her phone. As she presses the device to her ear, she was muttering the same phrase over and over every few seconds while she listened to the phone ring: "Grounded for life."
She redialed twice after getting his voicemail, before finally getting the young teen on the phone.
"Hey Nat," Peter answered softly, almost like a hurt puppy.
"Don't 'Hey Nat', me," she started, causing Peter to roll his eyes in frustration. Not again, he thought. "Are you okay?" The question threw him for a moment. He was fully prepared for another ass chewing, but relieved to hear that she wasn't without caring about him at the same time.
"I'm fine, just…I'm fine."
"Remind me again, what was it you promised me; to keep your head down, and not attract national or international attention. But for some reason, you can't seem to keep that. First, the Washington Monument, and now this. Do you know how badly you could've been hurt? How badly a civilian could've been hurt – or worse? What if someone had died? Did that even once go through your head?" Natasha said into the phone, thankful that she was alone, and that the safe house was isolated enough that she didn't have to worry about neighbors hearing her.
Peter groaned as he sat on his bed. "Nat, I already got all of this from Tony, I don't need it from –"
"Well, it's good you got from him, but you're still going to get from me."
"What do you want from me?" Peter yelled into the phone. "I was looking into things here, but Mr. Stark and Happy were just brushing me off. Until the DC thing, you and I haven't talked in almost two months – two months. You said you'd check up on me regularly, but instead, you're acting like Mr. Stark."
"Do not change the subject, and do not yell at me like that young man," Natasha gave back to him.
"Young man? Young man," Peter said impatiently. Natasha couldn't see it, but he was pacing his room now, running his hands through his hair, thanking God that May was out getting some dinner, otherwise she'd have come running in to find out what he was doing and who he was yelling at. "I already got an earful from Mr. Stark over this, not to mention as bad as all this is, he took away the suit, so I can't even keep looking into this, or stop any of it. So you'll excuse me if I don't think I need it again from someone who's…God knows where who can't even let me know she's okay, or to see if I'm okay."
"I'm busy, trying not to stop bad things from happening too, and trying not to get arrested while doing it."
"But apparently you're not too busy to call me when I screw up, so you can pile on. Mr. Stark already chewed me out, and in case you need reminding, you're not my Aunt May, and you're not my mother," he shouted at Natasha. Almost immediately he realized what he just said, and began kicking himself in his mind. "Nat," he said softly, guilt and regret in his voice, "I-I'm sor –"
"I know that that I'm not your mother, Peter," Natasha cut him off. "I really do know that. And I know I'm not Aunt May, but Aunt May can't talk to you about stuff like this because she doesn't know that you're Spider-Man. And let's not forget, you didn't make a promise to Aunt May, but you did to me."
Peter was silent for a moment, taking her words in, and wishing he could take back his. "Nat, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said what I…," he trailed off, some instinct telling him that he was being futile. He pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at it. He felt sick when he realized that she had already hung up.
Back at the safe house, Natasha was sitting on her bed. Her elbows were supported on her knees, hands hanging limply. She heard her phone hit the ground as it slipped from her grasp. As she sat there, she reminded herself that she was the type of operative that never let anyone see her cry, and even though she was alone, she wasn't going to let her see herself cry either.