Disclaimers: I do not own Marvel or it's characters. I'm not making any money off this. The Romanian is translated through Google, so it might be wrong.
Pietro curled his lip in disgust. "You call this slop tea?" he asked, outraged. Wanda silently agreed with him, but she kept silent. No need to offend their teammates.
"It's tea," Sam Wilson said. "It says so right on the box."
"This," Pietro said, getting up and pouring it down the sink, "is not tea. It is water that tastes differently."
"You could try letting it steep longer," the Captain said, his hands cupped around his cup of coffee. Wanda supposed he had already learned that the tea here was terrible, which had been why he had refused it.
Wanda's hair blew in a sudden breeze, and Pietro was at her side. "Come," he said, "We need not be here." She allowed him to pick her up and carry her to a knoll just outside the compound, where they liked to sit and talk. It was in sight, so the guards on the compound walls could watch them, but they couldn't be overheard.
"I miss our samovar," Wanda said when they got settled. Pietro nodded.
"The tea from those little bags is like swamp water," he said.
The family samovar that had glowed on the table all the time. Neither twin could ever remember the embers in it going out. In fact, one of their first chores had been to collect pine cones and fetch water so the samovar would always be full and burning. It had been buried under the rubble of their apartment, far deeper than their parents' bodies.
"I have not seen any samovars anywhere," Pietro said. "Perhaps Americans do not drink tea."
Wanda sighed. Perhaps Pietro was right. Coffee pots were everywhere, and she had seen many of those tiny little bags that were supposed to make tea. But no samovars, the center of social life when she had been growing up. Even her parents, trying to eke out a living in a poverty-ridden, war-torn country had paused their work occasionally to gather round a samovar with their friends.
The following day was Sunday, and everyone got the day off. Sam was headed into town, and offered the twins a ride. "You need to get out of here a little," he said. "Life is more than training."
It was an hour to the nearest town, and he used it to educate the twins on musical history in America. He had surprisingly wide tastes, and played everything from rock to classical to jazz. When they got to town, he dropped them off by a Walmart.
"I'll be back here in three hours," he said. "Don't be late, you hear me?" The twins nodded and he drove off.
"What do you want to do?" Wanda asked in Sokovian.
"I don't really know," Pietro replied in the same language. "But I was about to go crazy on base. No more studying for me!"
Wanda laughed and pointed at a strip mall across the street. "That looks interesting. Want to come?"
Pietro shrugged, lifted her, and ran her over to the strip mall. The people around looked askance as the two appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
"I can walk just fine," Wanda half-scolded as Pietro set her down. "I don't need to be carried. There's no rush."
"You just go so slowly," Pietro said, almost whining.
"Stop that, or I will go at a snail's pace and make you stay with me," Wanda said, waving her fingers at him.
He sighed dramatically and they started along the strip mall. They walked past a children's store, a beauty parlor, and a bookstore, then stopped at an antique store. There was a sign in the window, Vorbim limba romana. We speak Romanian.
Romanian was very, very similar to Sokovian. Wanda looked over at her brother, felt that he was willing to check it out, and opened the door. A little bell dinged, and the young man behind the counter looked up.
"How can I help you today?" he asked in English.
"Your sign says you speak Romanian?" Wanda asked.
The young man nodded, then called, "Grandfather! Could you come to the front, please?"
A few moments later an elderly man came out from a back room. He raised an eyebrow at his grandson.
"Your sign says you speak Romanian," Pietro said in Sokovian.
The man's face lit up. "I do! Not many care to speak it now, but I keep the sign up for old time's sake. You are newly immigrated? Not many young folks these days speak the language."
"Yes," Wanda said. Immigrated was true enough in its way, though the two didn't technically yet have their green cards. Stark and Fury were working on those.
"What can I do for you?" the man asked.
"We are tired of speaking English," Pietro said. "It makes no sense. There are too many rules that are broken all the time."
The old man laughed. "That sounds like me when I was a young man. Come see my shop, and we will speak a language that makes sense."
The old man introduced himself as Pietro Butkov, and laughed when he discovered his visitor's name was also Pietro. He knew a lot about old things, and pointed out the differences between the fakes and the real antiques in his shop.
They spent nearly two hours looking around the shop, learning the history of each item. When they worked their way around to several old teapots and kettles, he explained the American way of making tea.
"I don't suppose you have a samovar," Wanda said, wistfully.
"I'm sorry, my dear," he said. "There simply aren't a lot of samovars in America. And none of them are in a small-town antique shop. But if I find one, I will save it for you, and I will charge you the lowest I can afford to."
The twins gave him their Starkphone numbers and told him that while they tended to work odd hours, they would be sure to hurry in as soon as he found a samovar.
As they walked out of the shop an hour later, Wanda had a thought. "Pietro," she asked. "How are we going to pay him?" The pair weren't making any money until their green cards came through.
"We will figure something out," Pietro said. "Maybe you can win some money off Sam in poker."
"The Captain won't let us play for money," she retorted. "And anyways, I don't know how to play poker."
The twins ambled across the street to the Walmart where Sam had left them. He was just walking out with a cart full of food items.
"Just on time you two," he said. "Find anything good?"
"Just someone who speaks a reasonable language," Pietro said.
"What's wrong with English?" Sam asked.
Wanda stopped Pietro before he said something foolish. "It is not our home language. Neither is Romanian, but it is close enough.
"Yeah, there's a lot of Romanians around here," Sam said. "Lots of things in Romanian. Books, comics, signs, the local synagogue even has a Romanian service, and so do a couple of the churches."
The twins looked at each other. They had been raised Jewish, though surviving on the streets had driven religion from their minds. Not that it mattered anyways. They always got Sunday off, not Saturday, the Sabbath. No time to visit a synagogue.
The twins helped load the car with the groceries, and got yet more musical education on the way back, this time country, and hip hop. "I would introduce you to electronica," Sam said, "but that's Stark's field."
It was a month before they again heard from Pietro Butkov. They hadn't had time to go to town, because their green cards came through and they began to go on small missions. Nothing much, just breaking up crime rings and stopping arms dealers. But it gave them practice in the field, and that was what mattered.
Pietro was laid up from getting shot again when the twins received a text telling them that there was a samovar waiting for them in town, and when could they come pick it up? Pietro was not allowed out of the sickbay, but Wanda practiced her driving on the way to town with the Black Widow.
"Not bad," she said as Wanda parked outside the antique store. "Your turns are improving. You just need to learn to keep your speed consistent and be more on the lookout for the unexpected."
Wanda nodded. She was nervous. She had some money, but the accountants had been making problems about paying them, and between herself and Pietro they had only about a hundred and fifty dollars. It was more money than they had ever had in their lives, but Wanda wasn't sure what a samovar cost in America. Everything was more expensive here.
The bell dinged again as she and the Black Widow opened the door. The same young man was behind the counter, and his grandfather was beside him.
"Wanda," he greeted her in Romanian. "So good to see you! Where is my namesake?"
"He isn't feeling well," she said.
"Such a pity," the old man said. "I hope he feels better soon."
"He will," Wanda said. "Where is the samovar?"
"In the back," he said. "Matthew," he said in English, "go fetch the samovar, please."
As his grandson dissappeared into the back of the shop, he turned back to the two women. "And who is your friend?"
"I sponsored her and her brother to come here," Black Widow said in Romanian. "I'm helping them get adjusted."
"I don't think I've seen you around," he said, smiling.
"We just moved here," she replied.
Just then Matthew came back with a handcart, on which rested a wooden crate.
"I assume you will want to see it first?" Pietro said. "Matthew, open it, please."
Inside the crate was a plain tin samovar, no engravings or decorations anywhere. It looked just like the ones they sold in the marketplace when she was growing up.
"It is a very old-fashioned model," Pietro said apologetically. "It is heated by a fire inside, and doesn't..."
"It's perfect," Wanda breathed. "Just like the ones back home."
Pietro smiled. "I'm glad you like it. I was able to get a good price too. Only three hundred dollars."
Wanda's face fell. "I only have half that. Can I pay you that now and the rest next month when we get paid?"
"I'll pick up the rest of it," Black Widow said, breaking her silence.
Wanda turned around, surprised. Black Widow shrugged. "Call it a late birthday present for you and your brother."
"Our birthday is in January," Wanda said.
Black Widow shrugged again. "It's very late."
The two women paid and Matthew helped lift the samovar into the backseat of the car. They ran a few more errands, mostly food-related, and in a specialty store Black Widow threw in a tin of black tea leaves.
Wanda could hardly wait to get back to the compound and make some tea. She did stop by a park to pick up some dry pinecones to start the fire. On the way back, Black Widow had to warn her to watch her speed several times.
Once back at the compound, Wanda carefully levitated the crate with the samovar in it and started for the Avengers lounge. Before leaving that day she had cleared a space on the counter in the kitchenette. Sam and Rhodes were in the lounge, watching some sport or other on the TV.
Wanda carefully took the samovar out of it's crate and set it on the counter, then filled the boiler and began to light a fire in the pipe in the middle of the boiler.
"What's that?" Sam asked. "Are you lighting a fire in it?"
"It's a samovar," Wanda replied, "and yes, I am. I need to heat the water."
The fire caught, and Wanda turned to filling the teapot with the water and tea leaves.
"What do you use a samovar for?" Rhodes asked.
"I am going to make real tea," Wanda replied. "Not that swamp muck those little bags make."
It seemed to take forever for the water to boil. Wanda fussed with the tea leaves in the water, making little patterns in the water with her powers. Growing up, the water in the samovar had always been hot, no need to wait like this. Just a few puffs with the bellows, then set the teapot on the top.
Finally, the water boiled, and Wanda carefully removed the smokestack and set the teapot on top to steep. She wasn't sure how long it needed to steep. Her mother had always been able to tell by smelling the zavarka, but it had been some twelve years since Wanda had smelled it.
After about five minutes, Wanda decided she really couldn't wait any longer. She got out five coffee mugs and carefully poured a little zavarka into each one, then filled it the rest of the way with hot water from the boiler.
Tentatively, she picked up her mug and sipped a little bit. The smell and taste of the tea brought back so many memories of happier times, when she had still been a child and her parents had been alive. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes, and not just because the tea was hot.
Black Widow picked up hers and blew on it a bit before taking a sip. "A little too much hot water for my taste," she said, "but better than those little tea bags." She reached for the teapot. "Do you mind?" she asked Wanda.
"No," Wanda said in surprise.
Sam and Rhodes tried theirs, and both began gagging.
"What, are you trying to poison us?" Sam asked.
"This is horribly bitter," Rhodes added. "Why did you complain about the tea bags when you drink this?"
"You're just used to the stuff for wimps," Black Widow said. "In Russia, this is tea. Those tea bags would hardly be considered fit for pigs."
Wanda picked up the fifth mug alongside her own and headed for the sickbay. She could pick up on his agitation and boredom long before she reached the door of his room. He looked up when she entered.
"Please tell me that is real tea from a samovar," he said in Sokovian.
"Da," Wanda answered. "And extra strong, just for you."
She handed him his mug. "Drink carefully, it's still hot."
Pietro sipped some and sighed. "This is tea," he said.
zavarka - The concentrated tea in the teapot on the top of the samovar. It is diluted with the hot water in the boiler to taste.