Title: The Sisterhood Of The Ruby Stilettos XXII: Canada Dry Ginger Ale And Saltine Crackers (1/1)
Pairings/Characters: Natasha/Pepper, Clint Barton, Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Thor, JARVIS, Bruce Banner
Continuity: The Avengers (2012)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Summary: Natasha falls ill after a mission.
Date Of Completion: May 19, 2020
Date Of Posting: August 29, 2020
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel and Paramount do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1704
Author’s Note: The entire series can be found here.
Is a warm bed
To share it with.
And when you’re low,
Battered with blows,
It’s even nicer
For a tattered soul.”
"Luxury Of The Soul"
Black Widow adjusted her stingers as she surveyed the terrain in front of Victor Von Doom’s castle. Hawkeye signaled her from his perch in a tall oak tree at the edge of the Latverian forest. Everything was quiet, a bird twittering unseen in the trees. A light breeze blew through the branches as Black Widow waited for Captain America’s signal.
“Widow, on three.” His voice spoke in her ear via commlink. “One…two…three!”
She moved as she saw Iron Man and Thor flying toward the castle. Hawkeye took aim from his perch. Black Widow disappeared into the forest as Captain America leaped high, landing on a second-floor balcony. Black Widow emerged from the woods, scaled a high wall, and ran through a lush garden as Thor and Iron Man alighted on one of the castle turrets.
Black Widow entered the library through a set of French doors. There were crammed bookshelves, a large black walnut desk, heavy leather chairs and an Aubusson rug. No sign of the king of the castle, she thought wryly.
She checked the entire first floor and met Captain America coming down from the second floor.
“Looks like Dr. Doom flew the coop,” he said.
Thor and Iron Man radioed no luck on the third floor.
“That leaves the basement,” Black Widow said.
Cap nodded. He looked unhappy.
“We’ll go first,” Iron Man offered.
Cap agreed, holding his shield at the ready. Black Widow waited patiently. She felt cool, almost icy.
& & & & & &
Natasha sharpened her knives as she listened. Steve and Tony did most of the talking while Thor and Clint put their two cents in.
Natasha felt warm. A result of her exertions? Or maybe a memory of her phone call with Pepper, reassuring her anxious lover that she was all right. She smiled to herself. It was nice to have someone waiting for her back home.
She wiped her brow with the back of her hand. Yes, definitely warm. Surely this wasn’t a hot flash?
Definitely won’t mention that, she thought wryly as she glanced at her male colleagues. They continued their strategizing, not ignoring her but knowing she would speak if she had something to say. She kept one part of her mind tuned into the discussion while the other part daydreamed about a sexy reunion with Pepper.
“Doom lured us,” said Steve.
“He was never there,” Tony agreed.
“Where’s he hiding out in the question.”
“Contact Fury for contacts with Doom in mind,” said Natasha.
“That’s a good idea. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s network of spies should be able to provide a lead,” said Steve. He went to the cockpit to get in touch with Fury.
Natasha opened the small refrigerator and took out a bottle of water. She drank it down and took out a second bottle. Man, she was thirsty!
& & & & & &
“I gotta find Phil,” muttered Clint as he brushed past the lovers.
When they broke apart, Natasha said, “See you guys later.”
Tony winked at her as he walked past
Once in their quarters, Natasha said, “I need a shower, babe.”
“I’ll join you.”
“Mmm, nice idea.”
“I thought so.”
The women peeled off their clothes and entered the bathroom. Pepper started the shower and adjusted the temperature of the water. They stepped inside the shower and closed the glass door.
“Hmm, steamy,” said Natasha as the glass fogged up.
“What’s better than a steamy shower?” asked Pepper.
“A steamy shower with a redhead in it.”
“Or a steamy shower with two redheads in it.”
Natasha laughed. “I guess you’re right.” She slipped her arms around Pepper’s neck as the water cascaded over their bodies, warm and wet.
They kissed and rubbed each other’s squeaky-clean skin. They could not get enough of each other. Natasha felt dizzy but Pepper had a firm grip on her. It was easy to slip in the shower so they always clung tightly to each other.
“Mmm,” Pepper said.
Natasha framed her lover’s face with her hands. “Cherish me.”
Natasha grinned. “Chocolate or vanilla?”
“Definitely chocolate, with vanilla icing.”
“Oh, I like that. Double your pleasure.”
“Yin and yang.”
“Frosting…yum.” Natasha’s eyes sparkled.
Pepper ran his tongue over her lips. “Icing on the cake.”
Natasha drew Pepper into a kiss.
& & & & & &
“Good morning, ‘Tasha.” Pepper kissed her ear.
Why was she so hot?
“You okay, honey?” Pepper asked.
Natasha opened her eyes and the room began to spin. She closed her eyes again. “No, she rasped.
Pepper put a hand on Natasha’s forehead. “You’re burning up!” She climbed off the bed, putting the blanket back over Natasha. She put on a robe. “JARVIS, please ask Bruce to come to our suite.”
“Yes, Ms. Potts.”
Bruce arrived quickly. He was not an M.D. but had some pre-med training.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Natasha’s got a fever.”
Bruce did a quick examination. “Hey, Natasha, how are you feeling?”
“Do you have a thermometer?” he asked Pepper.
“In the medicine cabinet.” She hurried to the bathroom.
Bruce said, “Any other symptoms?”
Pepper returned with the thermometer. Bruce took it and said, “Open up.”
Natasha grudgingly allowed it. A few minutes later, he read the thermometer. “101. Okay, the symptoms do sound like flu. We should call a real doctor, though.”
“Fury will send someone over.” Pepper picked up her cellphone and called the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
After Bruce left and Pepper ended her call, she said, “Let’s get you into some pajamas, sweets.”
Natasha smiled. “You don’t want me to give the doc a free show?”
“You betcha sweet ass.”
Natasha wiggled her ass and both women laughed.
Pepper helped Natasha get into a set of pajamas and back into bed. “You’re going to be fine.”
“I hope so.”
The doctor arrived, confirmed Bruce’s diagnosis of flu, and prescribed rest and plenty of liquids. After he left Natasha grumbled, “Years of medical school for that.”
“Aw, you’re grumpy.” Pepper patted her shoulder. “Get some rest.”
& & & & & &
“I don’t want to pass on this flu,” Natasha croaked. Her throat hurt and she was coughing.
“Would you like some chicken soup?”
“My stomach says it’s too early.”
Pepper returned with a glass of ginger ale and a box of Saltine crackers. “I brought the crackers just in case. This is my mom’s cold and flu comfort food.”
“And comfort drink?”
“Settles the stomach.”
Natasha drank the ginger ale. “Canada Dry?”
“Your favorite and mine.”
Natasha eyed the cracker box. “I’ll try one.”
Pepper opened the box, withdrew a sleeve of crackers, and unwrapped them. “Here you go.”
Natasha took a cracker and nibbled on it. It tasted good and did not upset her stomach, so she ate it until it was gone and washed it down with ginger ale.
“There, see? Perfect for a hinky stomach.” Pepper went into the bathroom.
Natasha took a second cracker. Unless you were at death’s door, you toughed it out in the Red Room when it came to illness or injury. There was no staying in bed, no chicken soup, no attentive care. This pampering was new to her.
Pepper came out of the bathroom, rubbing her hands with lotion. “Lay off the spicy foods and you’ll be fine.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Natasha crunched on the Saltine.
Pepper sat on the bed. She pressed the heel of her hand against her lover’s forehead. “Still pretty warm.” She brushed the hair back from Natasha’s brow. “You still dizzy?”
“A little,” Natasha admitted reluctantly.
“When you need to use the bathroom, I’ll help you.” Her tone was sympathetic.
Natasha knew that Pepper had read the files on the Red Room, but Pepper never mentioned that hellhole. She was grateful for that. Knowledge of it was one thing, but constant reminders of the Red Room was something she could do without.
There was a knock on the door and Clint poked his head inside. “How’s our Russian ballerina?”
“Eating Mama Potts’ cure-all,” Pepper said cheerfully.
“And drinking,” Natasha added.
“Canada Dry? Good choice.” Clint came in and smiled at Natasha.
Natasha drank the cold soda. It soothed her throat.
“Hurts to swallow?” Clint pointed to Pepper. “This kid will see to it.”
Pepper laughed. “You betcha.” She stood up. “I’ve got to make some Stark Industries calls. Stay with her, will you, Clint?”
“Sure thing, Pep.”
After Pepper had left, Clint sat on the edge of the bed. “How you feelin’, kid?”
“That’s to be expected.”
Natasha took another sip of ginger ale. “I don’t expect it.”
“Just relax and go with the flow. Pepper will pamper you. God knows you deserve it.”
Natasha stared down at the crackers. “Do I?”
Clint grasped her hand. “Yes, you do. Fuck the Red Room.”
Natasha looked up with rheumy eyes. “Fuck the Red Room.”
Clint smiled and squeezed her hand. He stood as Pepper returned. “You’re in good hands, Nat.” He departed and Natasha looked up at Pepper.
“Is that true?”
Natasha smiled and took a third cracker. “Thanks, Mama Bear.”
“I thought it was a Russian bear, not American.”
“American grizzly bears are pretty impressive.”
“That’s true. Don’t you forget it, Baby Bear.”
Natasha smirked. “These crackers are just right.”
Pepper grinned. “Nom nom.” She took a cracker and crunched, and they both laughed.
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