marvel: red in my ledger

fic:sunshine & clandestine meetings, burn notice/marvel(mcu)

Title: Sunshine and Clandestine Meetings
Prompt: kerrykhat/Burn Notice & Marvel (MCU)/"Natasha + Miami Crew" & #446 Foreshadow @ tamingthemuse
Rating: FR13
Disclaimer: Burn Notice and all related characters are copyright of Matt Nix, Fox Television Studies & The USA Network. Marvel and all related characters copyright of Marvel Entertainment Paramount Pictures and Stan Lee. No infringement intended.

Synopsis: He’d seen Natasha’s work up close and personal—work that made his dossier read like a children’s story.


+

A beautiful woman is noticeable, but in Miami—where there’s an excess of beautiful people—they do tend to blend. However, there are some women that once you notice them you can’t take your eyes off them.

Some might call that attraction, I consider it self-preservation, because if a woman, beautiful or otherwise, holds you at gunpoint you notice the little things. Not her ample charms or how red her hair looks in the sun.

You notice the PSS Silent Pistol, small, sleek and deadly—not unlike her—pointed at your femoral artery.

And if she’s smiling, you’re already dead.


+

Sunlight bathed the rooftop patio, forcing the few patrons brave enough to confront the unrepentant heat and humidity to seek shelter beneath oversized umbrellas. A few sought the protection offered by the awning covering the bar where his backup enjoyed the shade and a mojito—the more things change and the more things stayed remarkably the same.

Michael Westen shook his head before he adjusted his suit jacket, more comfortable than most in the heat, and inclined his head so the reflection off the water wasn’t quite so glaring. He made his way up the few steps separating the bar from the pool. A body of water this close to a bar seemed like a safety hazard, but he’d worked in worse conditions. Some of those conditions had even included Natasha Romanoff. He’d caught sight of her several days before while working out a small issue between a drug cartel and a grieving family. Fiona had tracked her down for him before making herself scarce.

Michael didn’t begrudge her the quick exit. He’d seen Natasha’s work up close and personal—work that made his dossier read like a children’s story—and she wasn’t seen unless that was her intention. He forced a smile and made his way to her table and the minimal shade her umbrella offered. The mirrored tint of her sunglasses showed Michael that his smile was more of a grimace. He took a breath and forced himself to soften it as he stopped beside the table, waiting for his cue to take a seat.

She leaned back in her chair, presenting weaponless hands and an outfit that perfectly matched the casualness of the vacationing clientele surrounding her. A loose knit sweater, that could easily hide a weapon—or several—covered what appeared to be a men’s t-shirt. It had been pulled to one side of her waist and causally knotted over shorts that exposed the muscles in her thighs. She’d been posing as a ballerina when he’d first met Natasha and her physic was till slim and strong. Her callused feet were tucked into a pair of hiking boots. Fiona owned the same pair, apparently they were a trend, but Michael assumed that, like Fi, she was wearing them for their tactical advantage.

Her smile was the barest quirk of her mouth, but he knew that tell and he undid the button of his jacket before claiming the seat across from her. Michael removed his sunglasses and, attempting to meet her casual display, allowed his smile to spread. He folded the arms down and dropped them into the inner pocket of his jacket. She returned the favor and pushed her own sunglasses up to sit atop her head. It made her messy braid messier, but that only added to the illusion.

One of her arms lifted and dropped elbow first onto the table before she propped her chin on her hand and studied him a moment. Still in character and still as beautiful as ever—perhaps it was best that Fi had taken off for sunnier beaches for a little while. Michael bared his teeth, as more of a challenge than a smile, and asked, “What brings you to Miami?”

“Don’t worry, Michael,” her smile spread, “I’m not here for you.”

“Never thought you were,” Michael assured her before adding, “If you were here for me we both know I’d never have seen you on the boardwalk.”

“Flattery,” her voice took on a distinct purr before she leaned back, allowing her hand to fall to the table, “Not that I mind, but there’s no need for it.”

“Is it flattery when it’s the truth?” His tone was only a little mocking.

“It can be,” she assured him and reached for the condensation lined glass at her elbow, “The dossier on your burn notice read like a fairy tale,” she inclined her head while she returned the compliment he’d given her, “You’re more than capable of everything in that file, but no one has found your price,” she bared her own teeth, “Yet.”

She lifted the glass filled with fruit and a fizzy liquid that looked alcoholic, but Michael wagered it wasn’t. She took sip from the straw and he kept his gaze on her eyes rather than the shape of her mouth as he questioned, “Come to test the waters, have you?”

“I already told you.” Natasha frowned, “I’m not here for you.”

Her chin lifted, gaze trained on the bar and the patrons there before she settled on one particular individual. Michael didn’t need to turn to know who she was saluting with her glass and motioning to join them. He dropped the smile and the false pleasantries. “Leave him out of this.”

A brow quirked with his emotionless order and Michael had the distinct impression that he’d amused her. She took a moment to stir her drink before sliding her gaze up to meet his. “Shouldn’t your friend make his own decisions?”

“I don’t know.” Sam’s shadow spread across Michael’s shoulders, a brief reprieve, as he added, “Mike’s pretty good at making them for me.”

“Mr. Axe,” Natasha returned her drink to the table before adding, “Please, sit.” A fresh mojito joined her fruit-filled glass before Sam pulled a chair outward and closer to Michael. It was a not so subtle line drawn in the sand and there was that amused half-smile again.

“Natasha Romanoff?” Sam made her name a question and she dipped her chin in acknowledgement. “I thought you’d be bigger.”

Michael spoke over any response Natasha might’ve had. “What is it that you want?”

She looked to Sam and stated, “General Fury would like to call in his favor.”

“Ah hell.” A hand lifted to scratch at the back of Sam’s head. “Really?”

Michael frowned, glancing back and forth between the pair before the name registered and his eyes widened. “General Fury? As in Director Fury?”

Sam cast a doubtful look at Natasha. “You’re with SHIELD?”

“SHIELD?” Michael was pretty sure his voice hadn’t just cracked, but to be safe he cleared his throat before trying a different—and yet somehow very similar—approach to the question. “You work for SHIELD?”

“We live in interesting times.” Natasha replied, voice dry before she looked to Sam. “Are you in?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“It’s Fury,” a vague retort and slight shrug of her shoulders was Natasha’s reply.

“That’s answer enough,” his friend huffed and retrieved the mojito.

Half of it was gone before he returned it to the table and while Michael was used to Sam being three drinks in before the end of most operations he got the distinct impression this one was different. He didn’t have a clue as to the history between Fury and Sam—he’d rectify that later when they weren’t with a possible enemy—but he’d never been one to let friend to face a difficult situation alone. He looked back to Natasha and offered, “How can we help?”

“Mike, that’s sweet. Really but—” Michael glared and Sam sputtered to a stop. He frowned at the both spies a moment before finishing the rest of his mojito and looking to Natasha, “Well alright. What’s the mission?”

+

Treating someone as an ally, that you once saw as an adversary takes time. It won’t happen overnight and it certainly won’t be easy. It takes dedication to your cause and a strong stomach—antacids are key.

Allowing a KGB assassin into my home took more willpower than I’d care to admit, but sometimes the job forces you into situations you’d rather avoid. Situations in which your every move, your every word is shared with someone you see as the enemy.

She might be beautiful, but she’s also cunning, intelligent and resourceful.

I’m glad she’s on our side—for now.