Disclaimer: I do not own the Avengers or any of the characters used. I own only the story itself.
\*3*/ - Time skip.
Tired beyond belief, a worn out Captain America made his way through Stark Tower as silently as he could. The super soldier had just completed a mission-well, more like training mission. He was slowly learning the ways of the new world, and Director Fury decided that a little trip to the underground drug world would help him. The mission was successful, but Steve was exhausted. The world had changed so much- frankly, it scared Steve. Children were committing crimes left and right, and the adults-
Steve didn't even want to think about it.
Finally Steve made it to his floor. He wanted nothing more at the moment than to sleep in his comfortable bed. He was grateful that he lived with the Tony Stark- a luxurious bed was nothing more than a small gift for his friends. Walking into his room, he was happy to see a wonderfully inviting bed.
And he was surprised to see Natasha…knitting?
Both of them froze. Neither breathed- they just opted for staring at each other. After the initial shock, Steve looked around the room to see that it was decorated in elegant shades of black and red. Not his ordinary white and blue.
"Is there something I can help you with, Captain?"
Steve was startled for a second, as he had momentary forgotten her presence, but he recovered quickly.
"My apologies, Natasha. I'm very tired tonight, and I didn't recognize that I was on the wrong floor. I'll take my leave," Steve whispered, trying not to sound too tired.
"No, Captain, it's quite alright. I could use the company, plus you look dead on your feet. Sleep here, I certainly wasn't."
Steve hesitated for a moment before deciding to just stay. Natasha looked well-rested, and he was about to pass out. As he trudged along to her bed, he noticed that she never once stopped her knitting- well, expect for a moment when he barged in.
He crawled underneath the blankets, anxiously awaiting sleep. Instead he found himself asking her a question.
Natasha looked up from her work, a bit amazed to see that he hadn't fallen right to sleep. She studied him for a few seconds. There was no trace of mocking amusement. Only weariness and curiosity. Finally, she answered him.
"Why not knitting?"
Steve look surprised for a second, but then he smiled. He bid her goodnight and was out before she could even respond.
Over the next couple of weeks, Steve became used to seeing Natasha knit. Sometimes he'd fine a knitting needle all alone and he'd return it to her. They never really spoke about it. Occasionally, they would even sit on the roof of Stark tower, just doing their respective hobbies. Natasha would be knitting and Steve would be drawing. He never asked "why knitting" again, because as the weeks came and went, he eventually learned why.
Every time one of the Avengers would go on a mission, Natasha would knit. She used colors to associate everyone- red for Tony, purple for Clint, green for Bruce, yellow for Thor, and blue for Steve. The captain noticed this after returning from a mission with Iron Man. A blue scarf had been placed innocently on his bed. (Tony told him that he found a red one on his.) When he had thanked Natasha the next day, she just ignored him. On the inside, though, he knew she was pleased.
After about two months of this, Steve asked to learn how to knit from her. The assassin had been rather shocked by his sudden question, but decided to teach him anyway. It took a while for Steve to get the hang of it, though. He had once knitted a "scarf" so badly that Natasha kicked him out of her room. Since then he tried his best to get better.
And better he got. Both of them spent silent hours knitting while their companions were off on dangerous assignments. Steve found that it was… rather soothing. He was still apprehensive about the outside world, so he didn't go out too often. But with his new hobby to occupy his time, he found he didn't mind his lack of a 21st century social life.
A couple of months of silent knitting led to Natasha opening up to Steve and vice versa. She would talk about her missions. He would talk about the war. She would tell him of her worries. He would do his best to give advice. And both of them talked about found that they were completely comfortable with this. It was a pleasant friendship that keep seemed like it would never have difficulties.
Until Natasha's return mission to Budapest.
The mission was a success- by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s eyes. But not to Steve, or any of the Avengers. While there, the enemy forces were defeated and Black Widow had received vital information for S.H.I.E.L.D. and sent it off. She was close to leaving when a series of car bombs set off. Natasha was better off than many of her co-agents- but her hands were another matter.
Natasha glanced up to see a worn-out Steve. She was mildly shocked to see him already back from his assignment. She wasn't too concerned, though. Ever since she was injured, Steve was by her side constantly.
"Hey cap. What a pleasant surprise-you hardly visit me anymore." Natasha smirked while Steve rolled his eyes in amusement.
"You feeling better?"
Her smiled lowered a tiny bit, but Steve's heart sank. An appointment was scheduled for her earlier that day, and although he had begged to stay, Fury assigned him to a small but tedious mission with Clint.
"Hmm? Oh, nothing. I was just thinking about how both of my boys were away when I needed them."
Steve flinched at the bitter tone of her words, hurt obvious on his face. Tasha immediately felt guilty.
"Steve, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to take out my frustrations on you."
Steve nodded, accepting her apology. Periodically Tasha would get an attitude with Steve or the other Avengers. Not that he blamed her- it was taking forever for her hands to heal, and in the meantime she couldn't knit, so she really had nothing to take her mind off her injury.
"I understand, Tasha. Now tell me the truth- what happened today at your appointment?"
Natasha looked down at her hands for a brief second before answering.
"I told you Steve, nothing."
"I don't believe you."
Natasha glared at Steve, annoyed. He just studied her, knowing that she was lying. An uncomfortable silence followed before Steve moved. He kneeled down in front of Tasha, who was sitting on a lavish recliner Tony purchased for her after her return from the hospital. Steve placed his hand on her delicate knee (both of them also injured, but were healing properly.). Steve made sure to be careful with Tasha, not wanting to put her in more pain than she was already in. He gazed up at her, pleading with her to tell him the truth. Quickly her resolve crumbled, and she sighed, more tired than ever.
"He… he said the treatment isn't working-"
Time stood still for him as Steve took in what his best friend was saying. He could hear her saying something, but by then he had stopped listening. He tried to say something, anything, but nothing would come out. Seconds passed before Steve could say anything.
"But… but that can't be- technology is so advanced, medicine should be too! How?! Why aren't you healing?!"
He stopped his rambling and focused on his best friend, who was currently… giggling?
"You didn't hear everything, did you? Listen all the way through, why don't you." Natasha laughed at the Captain's dumbfounded look. He stuttered and blushed, internally cursing himself for jumping to conclusions.
"W-well, what is it?"
"The treatment isn't working as fast as originally thought. I'll need a couple of more weeks of rest before I'm ready to start using my hands again. I don't think it's going to be pretty."
"Why do you say that?"
"I'm going to have to learn how to use my hands again."
"What? You don't mean…"
"Yup. Writing and knitting, not to mention training."
Both of them were silent for a small while before Steve spoke up.
"I'll teach you. Don't worry."
Tasha smiled at the super soldier. "With you around, Steve, how could I?"
Time flew by as Natasha fully recovered and Steve helped her to use her hands again. As soon as she was able to legibly write again, she was knitting. It was almost as if the incident had never occurred. Both were glad to have the stress of her injury behind them.
One day Steve walked into Natasha's room to find her knitting. They exchanged smiles, and Steve took his spot on Tasha's bed.
"You know what I just realized?"
Tasha tilted her head in the Captain's direction, although her eyes never left her work and her hands never stopped moving.
"That's the same thing you were knitting when I first stumbled upon your hobby."
Tasha grinned. "So observant, Captain. That's a good skill to have." He laughed at that.
"You're right, Captain; It is the very piece I was working on."
"When should you be finished with it?"
"About right now."
He looked at what she created, curious. It looked like a scarf, though it was longer than normal.
"It's supposed to be long."
Steve glared at her, annoyed that she read him so easily. She laughed at him. "Am I really that easy to read?" he asked.
"Observation skills are good things to have, remember?"
Steve mock-glared at her and they both shared a laugh. Tasha passed him the scarf, and upon inspection he found the reason why it was so long.
Detailed designs dedicated to each Avenger adorned the crafted work. Iron Man's arc reactor, his own shield, Clint's arrows, Thor's hammer, and Bruce's glasses. In the middle was an elaborate blue "A."
"You…made this entire thing…for us?"
She nodded. "I never told you why I started knitting, did I?"
"Well, no but I think I understand why?"
"Is that so? Well, tell it. Let's see what you got."
"You knit whenever one of us is out on a mission."
"Very good, Captain. But that's only one part of it." Interested, Steve nodded for her to continue.
"It was one of my earliest days at S.H.I.E.L.D. I had an assignment, when suddenly it was cancelled. I was asked by another agent to watch over her sickly daughter whey she herself went on an informational retrieval mission. With nothing to do, I accepted. The youngster was in the hospital at headquarters, and when I walked in she was knitting. She was about twelve. I asked her if she wanted to do anything else- you know, video games or other things kids do nowadays. She politely declined, but offered to teach me instead. I accepted. For the entire afternoon, I watched and learned about knitting. It was really enjoyable, and a great break from the stress of missions. She said that it was the only thing she could do when she first became ill, and she was hooked ever since. From that point on I visited whenever I could. Then I began to notice that she would only knit if her mother was away. I just adopted that little tradition."
A couple of silent moments after, Steve had the courage to ask. "What happened to her?"
"Her mom was killed in a mission. By that point, the illness had spread, so I guess the news of her mom was too much for her."
"No need to apologize. I'm the one who brought it up."
"What?" Natasha asked, confused. She saw that Steve looked heartbroken by her tale. She felt guilty, but he needed to know.
"Why exactly did you mention this?"
Natasha waited a while before answering. "Because I need someone to continue this tradition should something happen to me."
Steve's face went from forlorn to complete shock at her words. "Why would you say that? Are you trying to tell me something? Are you okay? You're not sick or anything-"
"Steve, calm down!"
The captain quickly shut up. Natasha smiled at him, effectively soothing his worries.
"You really have to lose that heartbroken face. You look like a lost puppy." Steve glared at her briefly before she began again. "Nothing is happening. I just wanted to tell my best friend, sheesh."
The man laughed nervously, his heart still racing from his previous panic. He gave her a golden smile.
They both laughed for a while at that. Once they had settled down, Steve spoke again.
"Thanks, Tasha. You didn't have to tell me, or show me this."
"You're welcome, Captain. Why wouldn't I?"
They spent a few minutes gazing at the Avengers scarf. Then, Steve had a thought.
"So you've worked on this for a long time, huh?"
"Yes, I did."
"What are you going to do now that this is finished? I mean, wasn't it a major project?"
Tasha made to answer, when she realized that she really didn't know what she was going to do.
"You… you're right. I don't know."
And awkward silence occurred before Steve finally decided to give her a suggestion.
"Want to knit an entire Iron Man suit?"
"What would we do with that?"
"Let's get to it."