Continuities: The Avengers (2012) and The Avengers 4: Endgame (2019)
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fix-It, Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Dreaming Of Death
Spoilers: For The Avengers 4: Endgame (2019)
Summary: Is Natasha dreaming, or is she looking into another world? :(
Date Of Completion: May 17, 2019
Date Of Posting: May 24, 2019
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel Comics and Disney do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 886
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: A fix-it of sorts.
The entire series can be found here.
She was falling, falling, falling, her soul slowly being pulled away like taffy off a stick. She opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. Flame surrounded her with yellow brightness and red heat as her bones began to crack, the wind rushing past her ears and drowning out the echo of her name from above. She hit something hard and her back cracked, blood rushing to explode as she sighed…
Natasha’s eyes snapped open as her heart thrummed. Where was she? Her bedroom in the Tower? No, the lake house.
She slowly sat up, looking over at her companion. Pepper was thankfully sound asleep. Carefully Natasha slipped out of bed, put on her robe and sandals, and left the house to go out on the terrace.
She leaned on the wide, concrete railing, staring out at the lake. She tried to stop trembling as she watched the shimmering light on the lake from a three-quarters moon. She took deep breaths as she smelled the fragrance of night blooms.
She nearly jumped. “Pepper!”
“Sorry to startle you.” Left unsaid was that Natasha was rarely, if ever, startled. “Are you okay?”
Natasha wanted to grind out, “No, leave me alone,” but she was part of a couple now. She didn’t have to go it alone anymore.
“I had a nightmare.” Pepper nodded, her eyes sympathetic. She said nothing, but Natasha knew it must have been obvious. She thumped the railing with her fist. “Why I keep dreaming of an overgrown eggplant, I’ll never know.”
Pepper raised an eyebrow. “What?”
Natasha smiled slightly. “A big, purple alien who keeps popping up in my dreams just before I fall.”
Natasha nearly laughed. What a world they lived in! Mention of purple aliens didn’t cause an eye to bat.
“You’re shaking, baby.” Pepper touched her lover’s shoulder.
“I keep dreaming about falling.”
“That’s normal for a dream.”
“I feel like I’m losing my soul as I fall.” Tears prickled her eyes. “I’m all alone.”
“No, sweetheart, never alone.”
Pepper drew Natasha close and embraced her tightly. Natasha clung to her desperately. She let her fear slide away. She was safe. Not alone.
Pepper stroked her hair. “How many times have you had this dream?”
“Three times in the past month.” She shuddered. “It was so real.”
Pepper sat them at the small table that was located close to the railing. She held Natasha's hands.
“The first time I dreamed it, I’d come back from that lecture on Malthusian theory.”
“You mean the overpopulation theory?”
Natasha nodded. “How Thomas Malthus predicted that the planet wouldn’t be able to sustain its population unless humans took measures to curtail population growth.” She shrugged. “Ever since then, I’ve been having this nightmare.”
A night owl called, the stars twinkling overhead. How could she be so wrapped up in horror with all this beauty surrounding her? Natasha sighed. As Pepper always said, the Red Room had truly done a number on her.
Pepper now said, “I was talking to Tony the other day. He said that Stephen Strange was talking about parallel universes.”
Natasha smiled slightly. “That sounds like Stephen Strange.”
Pepper chuckled. “Tony said the same thing. Stephen also talked about branched-out timelines, but you might be getting a bleed from another universe or timeline.”
“You mean there’s a big, purple alien out there pushing people off cliffs?”
“Maybe a little salted? Eggplant always tastes good salted.”
Natasha felt better. “You mean there’s another me out there?”
“And she’s the one falling?”
Natasha tugged on a lock of hair. “This sounds a little squirrelly.”
“Probably, though after Asgardian gods, Hulks, and alien invasions, really?” Pepper squeezed her lover’s hand. “Or maybe it’s just a nightmare.”
Natasha looked out at the lake. Pepper had bought this cottage from Tony, and Natasha loved its peace. The moonlight’s shimmers on the water were like diamonds on glass.
“I don’t want to fall.”
The words were quiet but steadfast. The fear of the nightmare was still lingering, wispy webs difficult to brush off.
Pepper gently stroked Natasha’s forearm. Her quiet support was what Natasha desperately needed.
“I’m an old hand at nightmares, as you well know, but this…it terrifies me. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I can’t describe it, except that it feels like my soul is being sucked away.”
Natasha looked at Pepper. The fear was crawling up her bones again.
“Don’t let that Russian fatalism get hold of you. You’re in the here and now, not another dimension or timeline or universe, just here. With me.” She suddenly laughed.
Surprised, Natasha asked, “What?”
“Any Purple People-Eaters come for you, we’ll just call in the heavy artillery, though I bet you could take him alone. Still, it’s good to have friends in a battle.”
“I still say he’s an eggplant.”
Pepper’s eyes sparkled. “Put a little salt on his tail?”
“He’s not a bird; he’s an eggplant.”
“You’re making me hungry. Come on back to bed.”
They stood and Natasha grasped Pepper’s hand firmly. No more shaking or worrying. Nightmares were just imagination gone wild. Or if they were a bleed-through from another place, count herself lucky she was here and not there.
She went back inside the cottage with her companion, hand-in-hand.
This story can also be read on AO3.
This entry has been cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment on either entry as you wish. :)