A/N: It you haven't read my standalone story "Cerulean St. Cloud," you might want to read it first. This one will spoil one of the surprises of that one.
The Return of Cerulean St. Cloud
The two sets of bodyguards were getting along pretty well. Their bosses had dictated cooperation, but the men found they had a lot in common. The black gang and the white gang held a strong hatred for the Hispanic and Asian gangs that were encroaching on their territories. They were bonding over a discussion about whether they should attack a school or a church for the first action of their war.
Discovery of a cache of AIM superweapons on the border between their territories might have been grounds for war between the gangs. Instead, they decided to join forces, share the weapons and wipe out all their other enemies — including the police.
The gang leaders, Doherty of the White Rulers and Corbin of the Midnight Scourge, were working out the details behind closed doors. One man from each gang stood sentry at the door of the back room. The most trusted lieutenants stood sentry at the front door while the other men had started a friendly, penny ante poker game, while keeping half an eye on two monitors showing camera feeds from outside.
"How about the Catholic school on Figueroa," one big white brute named Striker suggested. "It's the best of both worlds."
An equally big and brutish black man called Bullet for his shaved head grinned wickedly. "Herrera's kids go there, don't they?"
One of his cohorts, Slick, rubbed his pencil-thin mustache and laughed. "Yeah, and Lopez' little sister."
The fourth poker player, tall, fair-haired Sanders, nodded approval. "Suggest it to the bosses, Mackie."
The white guard at the inner door agreed. "Not likely they'll go for it, though."
"No, they'll want something profitable," his guard companion agreed in a voice deeper than Darth Vader's. Huge, powerfully muscled and dark as ink, Abdul was an odd contrast to rangy Mackie with his pale, freckled skin and faded red hair.
"What about the bank on Figueroa and Fifth, then," said Manton, Doherty's guard on the front door. "Make a profit there and blast the school on the way past."
His fellow sentry, Roulet, chuckled. "I like the way you think," he said. "Distract the cops and send a message to the Soldados." He bumped fists with Manton. Though different races, the two men looked oddly alike, Roulet with milk chocolate skin and Manton with a deep California tan and both with full sleeve tattoos, rugged faces and close cut black hair.
As they casually plotted the deaths of innocent children, they were distracted by a figure on the monitor.
"Someone's coming," Sanders warned.
They all leaped to their feet — because they were very good fighters, though very bad men.
The figure stepped up with no attempt at concealment and knocked on the door.
Hand on his gun, Doherty's man looked out the peephole to see a saucy blue eye peeping back. The eye winked, then moved away so the guard could see the woman on the doorstep. Even with the peephole distortion, she was worth looking at, wearing a short blue dress that seemed painted on over pert breasts and a well-rounded backside. She flipped golden curls over her shoulder and looked back to wink at the closed door.
Manton relaxed. "It's the entertainment," he told the others, who were drooling over the monitor. Manton made way for Corbin's man, who confirmed there was just one woman outside, before he opened the door. "Nice piece," Roulet commented.
The woman waited patiently on the doorstep. She carried nothing but a tiny purse slung over her shoulder. She flicked out a card between her forefingers.
"Hello, boys," she purred in a sweet Southern accent. "Antoinette sent me. My name is Cerulean St. Cloud."
Manton invited her in.
Wearing a blonde wig and blue contacts, Natasha Romanoff sashayed into the hideout, hair and bottom swaying enticingly.
"Hand over the purse, babe, and raise your hands," Manton said.
"Sure, sweetie," she drawled at the burly guard. Unafraid, she plunked the brightly colored bag on the side table. The small, heavily beaded purse made a squishing sound like a beanbag when she set it down and opened it up.
Manton pawed through the purse and let Roulet have the pleasure of frisking Cerulean, though there was hardly any place she could hide a weapon in that tight outfit.
"Ooh, leather," Roulet hummed as he fished down Cerulean's cleavage.
"Can't walk the street in a corset and fishnets, honey," Natasha answered. She considered her words. "Well, you can, but that's not my department.
She put up with Roulet's wandering hands, but when his touch lingered too long, she playfully slapped his hand away. "This package is for your boss to unwrap," she warned. "Unless he likes to share."
Roulet gave her bottom a bruising pinch, then stepped back, smiling, with his hands raised in mocking surrender.
While Roulet manhandled Cerulean, Manton pawed through the tiny blue bag. He fished out two loose cards — a driver's license and a lone credit card, a checkbook and two pens, two safety pins, two Band-Aids, a pack of condoms, a lipstick, a compact and a small spray bottle.
Manton diligently flipped through the checkbook, tried writing with the pens, rubbed his finger on the powder in the compact and twisted the bright red lipstick up and down, then he picked up the spray bottle. "What's this?" he asked suspiciously.
"Breath spray." Natasha took the bottle and squirted it into her mouth. From inches away, she breathed a waft of medicine mint into the guard's face.
"See, minty fresh," she said.
Manton grunted acceptance. He let Cerulean pick up her goods. "I'll tell the boss you're here."
"Give me a minute, sweetheart," she pleaded. "This girl's got to pee. Unless your boss is into that kind of stuff."
Manton made a face. His boss had spent years in the Army. He was a neat freak as far as Manton was concerned.
He pointed the girl to the small washroom. "Be quick," he ordered, giving her a swat to send her on her way. She squealed obligingly.
"As quick as I can, sweetheart. This dress is murder to wiggle out of." With a saucy look, Cerulean entered the tiny washroom and Natasha immediately began to breakdown her belongings.
She quickly slipped out of her royal blue silk dress and, with a pang of regret, let it puddle on the floor.
She stood in a black leather bustier that was embroidered with red flames. Garters held up fishnet stockings while showing a glimpse of creamy thigh. Knee high black boots completed the sexy ensemble. The outfit looked smoking hot, and was just as easy to move in as her SHIELD cat suit.
Natasha smirked at her reflection. Only SHIELD would make a Kevlar corset and girdle.
One of her steel pens went into a waiting pocket in her bustier. She used the other to punch a hole in the bottom of her purse and added water. She took her meager possessions out of the bag and set it aside.
With the swiftness of diligent practice, she scraped a coating off the edge of her credit card revealing the razor-sharp edge. She notched it carefully into a slit on her left side.
She touched up her makeup with the lipstick and compact, then put the pins, Band-Aids and lipstick in a small pocket at her waist.
By the time she had secreted her weapons in their easy-retrieval pouches, the fast-setting concrete "bean bag" in the bottom of her purse had solidified into a rock. She threw everything else back in the purse — because extra weight wouldn't hurt. Checking her makeup one last time, she slung her flail behind her back and took the breath freshener in her left hand.
"Ready or not, boys, here I come," she called in a saucy manner. She sauntered out, exaggerating her hip movements, and twirled like a model on a runway to give the men a good look — and not incidentally drawing them to her.
Whistling, they ranged around the sexy superspy in a neat circle — not unlike a target.
Natasha winked at Manton. "One last touch," she said. She brandished her tiny spray bottle, parted her glistening red lips and squirted the liquid in her mouth. Coquettishly, she offered it to Manton. He leaned close, opening his mouth.
Natasha jammed her finger on the plunger, emptying the bottle in one strong stream. Mint-infused vodka sprayed into the guard's eyes, blinding him. He yelled in agony but a well-placed elbow to his jaw dropped him into darkness.
"Minty fresh," Natasha purred, while the other guards gaped in shock.
She lashed her beaded flail left and right, knocking out two men while they were still staring. A third got his arm up in time and the weighted purse whirled around it. While the others leaped backwards and drew their guns, Striker yanked on the purse strap. Natasha went with the pull, ducking behind the man's bulk just as two of his cohorts opened fire. Striker's body protected her until he dropped in a heap.
Before the gunmen could fire again, Natasha responded by flinging one of her pens. It was an ordinary pen — high quality, with a stainless steel body and a ballpoint tip that turned it into a dart. It flew like a missile and buried itself in the eye of Roulet who had enjoyed mauling her. Her aim was perfect, but she cursed in Russian when Roulet crashed down on top of his pistol, so she couldn't grab it.
With five guards down in half a minute, the other three realized they might be outnumbered by this spitfire in a leather bustier. One pulled the table over for cover, sending the computer flying. The monitor went dark, so nobody saw the two shadows streaking toward the building in response to the gunshots.
Natasha wasn't going to stand around and wait for men to get with the program.
She charged, leaping over the table with the grace of a ballerina. She looped her purse strap around the gunman's neck, Twisting tightly with one hand, as if trying to rein in a wild horse. The man reared back, bringing up his gun automatically, though she was behind him. Natasha grabbed his gun hand, swung it at his scrambling companions and squeezed his fingers. The machine pistol fired a wild burst, scattering shots across the back wall, except where the two guards got in the way. Slick's face went from red to purple and the gun dropped from his lax fingers. Natasha caught it before it could hit the floor. She leaped backwards, letting the wheezing guard sink unconscious to the ground. Holding the machine pistol with casual competence, Natasha made deadly vision in black leather and knee-high boots. But there was no one conscious to see her — until the front door flew backwards off its hinges, propelled by serum-enhanced muscles.
"What kept you?" she asked, not even breathing hard.
Captain America entered cautiously, shield held to cover himself and Hawkeye, who was poised with his bow ready. When he saw Natasha standing in the midst of bodies scattered around the floor, Clint lowered the point of his arrow a few degrees and complained, "Aw, Rue, you didn't save any for us."
Natasha's lip twitched in amusement. trust her partner to make up a nickname for an alias, and one that meant "beware," too.
"You need to pay more attention, Hawkeye," Cerulean said, as she saw Cap's head tilt. Trusting his enhanced hearing, she ducked to the right as Manton leaped for her back with the fury of a wild beast. Instead of bringing her down, he got a faceful of Cap's shield. Manton fell flat on his back, out cold with a broken nose and two minty fresh black eyes.
Natasha ignored the unconscious guard and moved toward the back room. The power went out, proving the two gang leaders had been alerted by all the noise. The three agents weren't fazed by the darkness. Enough light came from outside to guide them.
"Aw, does that mean you like Cap best?" Clint pouted, as he prowled watchfully down the dark hall, following Cerulean toward the offices in back. Cap came behind, guarding the rear.
"You should know better by now," she chided and swayed fluidly to her left, clearing Clint's shot.
Hawkeye's bow sang instantly and an arrow pierced the moving shadow ahead. A man bellowed in pain and a handgun clattered to the floor. Doherty staggered into view, clutching an arrow-pierced wrist. A second arrow flew before the first had landed and a second man cried out, but held onto his weapon. Cap leaped forward to block the fusillade of shots that followed. Natasha waited patiently until the gun clicked on empty, then sprang forward and let loose a barrage of kicks and punches that the Avengers could only half see in the darkness. One violent kick propelled Corbin into the light. He had an arrow in his shoulder, but still turned to fight the hellcat.
"Tough guy," Steve commented.
"But not a smart guy," Clint said and slugged the gang boss in the back of the head.
"Here, let me help you with that," Steve told Doherty. He unscrewed the arrow tip, then yanked out the shaft, making Doherty howl. Steve thumbed open a capsule under Doherty's nose. The wounded man collapsed.
Steve zip-tied the two bosses — still alive and available for questioning — while the agents methodically checked everyone else, binding any of the guards left alive.
"You saved the bosses for me?" Clint said with a bright smile.
Natasha patted his face. "Only the best for you, sweetheart," she said in Cerulean's Southern drawl.
Steve gave them a moment, then said to Clint, "So we're even, right?"
"What was the bet?" Natasha asked in amusement.
"I thought you'd take them all out, but Hawkeye said you'd leave us a couple," Steve explained.
"And Cap said if you did, you'd save the best for me," Clint finished. He batted his eyes at his partner, who chuckled.
"I always take care of my boys," Natasha said.
"So how'd your tools work out?" Steve asked curiously. He'd been fascinated by the seemingly innocent contents of Natasha's purse when she'd packed it.
"I didn't even use the credit card knife," she said. "But it would have been handy as backup. The breath spray worked nicely and I really liked the purse."
"And the pen?"
"I like it best, because it's not a gimmick at all. It's just a pen — until someone gives you dart lessons." She smiled at Clint.
"Really, Nat didn't need any of those gimmicks, but she promised to test them out for R&D," Clint told Steve. "Other agents who aren't the Black Widow will be able to use them."
"I remember you told me how you can use some of the regular items in your purse for espionage — like dusting for fingerprints with face powder, but you never said what the Band-Aid is good for," Steve said.
Natasha took Clint's hand. There was a small cut on a knuckle from a flying splinter when Cap kicked the door in. She taped the Band-Aid over it, kissed it and smirked at Steve.
In Cerulean's honey-sweet drawl, she said, "Band-Aids are for boo-boos."
A/N: This didn't come out exactly the way I wanted it to. I meant to show how Natasha can turn innocent objects into weapons (Natasha can kill you six ways with a Band-Aid), but it kept turning into a James Bond sort of concealed gimmick story. Guess I'll have to try again.