Portal to an alternate realm that doesn't follow logic as she knows it? Fine.

A man from that world being able to cause explosions with just a snap of his fingers? Seems plausible.

The woman who stands at his right shoulder, steady brown eyes watchfully guarding his back?... There's something strange about her that Natasha can't identify.

She studies the pair (Roy and Riza; their names even fit together like puzzle pieces) as they stand in the conference room in front of the Avengers. She can look past the rather outlandish, old school military uniforms to see the disciplined warriors beneath. The Lieutenant, as Roy ranks her, has at least three pistols on her person that Natasha can see; though the Colonel (as Riza respectfully calls him) has no conventional weapons besides the traditional boot knife, the white gloves have proved to be a danger all their own. When the woman cranes her head to look at Tony's vidscreen (they'd chased some sort of nearly immortal monster through New York before finally bringing it down- must be a Tuesday[*]), she spies the edge of a horrible scar running across her throat. It looks as if someone slit it wide open. There's a story behind that scar, Natasha knows.

Warriors and their scars aren't anything new to the Black Widow, though, so that can't be what's causing the little ringing bells in her brain. The Lieutenant is certainly beautiful, and the Colonel is a brand of handsome that seems to be universal, but Natasha is surrounded by more-than-attractive people on a daily basis, so that can't be it either. She puzzles over it for long moments, only paying half of her attention to the debriefing.

Then, while they're listening to Tony and Fury attempt to impale each other with words, their eyes meet. Sharp brown met steely blue-grey, and recognized each other.

Now Natasha sees it; the way Riza angles her body towards Roy, eyes flicking to him every few moments, aware of every move he makes. It's more than attraction, more than just a romantic relationship- it's loyalty, as pure and simple as it gets. Natasha's eyes involuntarily flick to Clint, remembering a time when he held her life in his sights and chose to spare her. The two warriors eyed each other, aware that each of them was thinking the same thing.

I'd die for him.

I almost have, and I would again. In a heartbeat.

I know he'd do the same for me.

Natasha tips her chin back in a subtle salute, and Riza bows hers a little in return. They're kindred spirits; they don't need to say anything more.

She'll hold back on the speculation and betting about their relationship after the strangers have gone home. She already knows, and using her skills for this purpose wouldn't be fair to the others.

… Well, maybe just this once.

Author's Notes:

I don't know what it is with me and character studies through crossovers. I just love writing and reading about the ways characters from different universes react to each other.

I recently got into FMA in a big way- I finished the entire anime (Brotherhood) series in about two weeks. Three words for the entire series...


Seriously, I fell in love with practically every character, and mourned the deaths of the Homunculi even though they were villains. (Greed made me cry. Envy too.) I cheered for Roy and Riza and Ed and Al, and practically danced when they won.

I fell in love with Roy and Riza's relationship, especially towards the later chapters. Just... ARGH. Those two are as good as canon in my brain.

This oneshot was taken from the parallels between Natasha/Clint's relationship and Riza/Roy's relationship. Yes, I know that Lan Fan/Ling's relationship is also similar, but I think that their master/servant dynamic can mess up an outsider's perceptions of them; especially in a modern society like America, where we generally don't have servants and that type of relationship. Also, Lan Fan was brought up to be loyal to Ling, while both Riza and Natasha made a choice to be loyal to Roy and Clint. Also also, I find Riza and Roy much easier to write. (Though Ling x Lan Fan x Greed is my OT3 for the series. Sorry, off topic.)

Anyways, I think these two kick-butt warriors would recognize something in each other. :)

* This line is heavily borrowed from black. 's WONDERFUL Torchwood/Avengers crossover, Golden Apples and Norse Gods. If you have even a passing interest in those fandoms, you really need to read that fic. SERIOUSLY.

I'd better cut off these notes before they become longer than the fic...

Hope you enjoyed, review if you feel like it!