"She's totally jealous."

"She's not jealous."

"Are you even looking at her? Look how tense she is!"

"I don't see anything out of the ordinary."

"You're full of it."

"Am not!"

"Oh yeah? Wait till Natasha really lays it on."

Sam, Clint and Scott peeked up over the edge of the sofa, watching the trio on the far side of the room. Wanda was curled in the recliner like a cat, bundled comfortably in a blanket with a book in her lap, but her attention wasn't on the novel. Instead, her crimson-ringed eyes were focused in on the sofa, where Natasha was inching ever closer to Vision, an enticing smile on her lips.

"She's gonna blow. I'm telling you. Give it another two minutes," Clint whispered.

"Dude, they've been training together for weeks right under my nose. If I haven't noticed something going on between the two of them, there isn't anything going on," Sam replied.

"Scott, have you decided on your bet yet?" Clint prompted, nudging the other man with his elbow. "If you don't bet now you're gonna be disqualified."

"Um...I dunno, I think I might side with Clint on this one."

"What? You're gonna bail on me like this, Tic-Tac?"

"I mean, Wanda's starting to look really annoyed..."

"Yeah but she could also just be pissed cause Nat's being all predatory in the living room while she's trying to read."

"Too late, he's made his bet," Clint interrupted. "No take backs. Now pay attention!"

The three strained to hear what Natasha was saying, but the rooms were too far apart and they couldn't make out the words.

Wanda, however, went rigid.

"Shit," Sam muttered, leaning his head forward against the sofa.

"Ha-ha!" Clint crowed, his whispered voice bordering on the edge of noticeably loud. "Pay up, Sammy boy, I win!"

"Not yet you haven't," the Falcon replied. "You said she'd get jealous enough to throw Nat off of Vision and all she's done so far is made some unhappy faces."

"Maybe Natasha's not trying hard enough?" Scott offered, glancing at the red-haired assassin with a little frown.

"Oh, ye of little faith," Clint grinned. "Nat's got this covered. She could seduce a literal rock if she wanted to. She's just working up to it."

"You should ask her real nice, she might give you a demonstration," Sam snickered, and Scott swallowed hard.

"N-no, I think I'm good, thanks. Those thighs are great in concept, deadly in practice. I do have a few self preservation instincts."

"If you've got self preservation, then why are you helping us bait Wanda?" Sam snickered.

"Because all my friends were jumping off a cliff and I decided to do it as well," he hissed, ducking a bit lower behind the couch. "And I'm hoping that we're far enough away that we won't get caught in the splatter zone for her powers."

"Nah, she's not going to kill us," Clint hummed. "Well, at least so long as she doesn't figure out that we were betting on this. If that happens then she might make a point of killing us, but she's not going to do it accidentally."

"That's not all that much better."

"Ssh," Sam hissed, batting at the other two blindly as he stared into the far room. "Look, something's about to happen!"

The three crowded one another, staring intently into the other room as Natasha inched closer to Vision yet again, pressing herself right up along his arm.

The synthetic man blinked down at her in mild surprise and pointed confusion, asking her something that she responded to with a sweet smile.

Sam muttered a curse as Natasha walked her fingers up Vision's arm, flustering the synth and making Wanda close her book with a snap.

"Yeah, I think Nat's about to take a trip..."

"Well she bet on a reaction too, so she's at least expecting it," Clint shrugged. "And we're on the first floor in case Wanda aims for the window."

"She wouldn't throw Nat out the window, would she?"

"Don't think so, but it's always better to play it safe," Sam shrugged.

"Here we go, finishing blow," Clint muttered, eyes focused on the assassin as she went in for the kill.

All three stared intently as Natasha leaned in close, her parted lips hovering an inch from Vision's as she asked him something. The witch visibly bristled but didn't react, however Natasha's finger trailing up the android's chest to tip his chin up toward her a second later was all it took to snap Wanda's temper.

The little witch stood suddenly, her hands clenched into trembling fists at her sides as her powers flared up and out, and all the light bulbs in the room burst. Natasha jerked back, eyes wide, to meet Wanda's watery glare.

For a moment neither moved, then with a sharp phrase directed at Natasha in what sounded like Russian, Wanda had turned and fled the room.

"Wanda, wait!" Natasha called, standing to follow the girl, but she was shoved back onto the sofa a minute later by a burst of red and the door that Wanda had left through closed over with a sharp slam that seemed to hollow all the sound from the room.

The three men exchanged slow glances, sinking low behind the sofa as Vision tried to follow Wanda and Natasha drew him back, shaking her head.

Scott swallowed hard, looking between the other two for instruction.

"Shit...I didn't think she was going to get upset..." Clint muttered after a moment, running a hand over his face. "I thought she'd just get a bit annoyed."

"Should we try to find her...?" Sam asked, rocking up onto his knees to glance over the sofa before sinking back to the ground. "You know, before she does anything stupid?"

"What are we even going to tell her?" Scott asked, wide-eyed and pale. "That we were betting money on Natasha upsetting her by hitting on Vision?"

"I'm starting to think that we should have thought this through a bit better..." Clint muttered.

"God, we're a bunch of assholes..." Sam muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose.

The three jerked up in guilty surprise as the sound of quick footsteps reached them from the hall, and scrambled to their feet just as Steve rounded the corner a second later, brows drawn in concern.

It only took the soldier a second to analyze the situation, his eyes flicking from the three men who had just been hiding behind the sofa to Natasha and Vision in the other room, the assassin in the process of an embarrassed explanation to the rather irate robot.

"What happened in here?" Steve demanded, looking around at the shattered glass and sparking lamps before settling his gaze on the three before him with a frown.

Clint, Sam, and Scott exchanged a look.

"Well," Clint started, wincing as Steve turned a raised brow on him. "In our defense, we really hadn't planned for things to happen quite like this..."

"Start talking."


Steve carefully rapped his knuckles on the door to Wanda's bedroom, giving it a second before he began to ease it open, poking his head through the doorway.

"Wanda...? Can I come in?"

A little hum of ascent reached his ears, and Steve carefully pushed the door open the rest of the way, stepping inside before closing it over once more behind him.

The little witch was sitting in the center of her bed, a pillow hugged to her chest as she sniffled quietly. She'd obviously been crying.

"Hey, Wanda," Steve started gently, offering what he hoped was a reassuring smile as he began a slow approach. "Mind if I come talk to you for a while?"

"Am I in trouble?" Wanda asked quietly, blinking big, glassy eyes up at him, and Steve let out a slow breath in pity.

"No, kiddo, you're not in trouble. Sam, Clint, Scott, and Natasha are in trouble. Not you."

Wanda looked down, leaning her chin more heavily into the pillow.

"But I was the one who broke the lights and used my powers on Natasha..."

"Yeah, you did," Steve shrugged, strolling a few steps closer. "But that wasn't exactly your fault."

Wanda glanced up, her brows drawn in confusion, and Steve offered a sad smile.

"Turns out there was some betting taking place among the less mature of our friends," he explained gently, lowering himself to the mattress at her side. "Clint and Sam got into an argument about whether or not you had a crush on Vision, and decided to test that out by trying to make you jealous over him."

"I-"

"You don't have to explain or admit to anything," Steve was quick to interrupt. "I'm just letting you know what was going on. None of this was serious - Natasha was just baiting you for a reaction. And trust me, I have already yelled at all of them."

Wanda slowly glanced away, a little frown settling on her lips, and she muttered something in a different language that Steve couldn't possibly hope to translate, the words sounding bitter and annoyed.

"I can promise you that none of them meant to upset you. They were hoping that you would just get irritated and tell Natasha to bug off, or push her away with your powers. They all felt really bad that they'd hurt your feelings."

Wanda glanced back up at him, her expression worried.

"Vision..." she started, swallowing hard. "Is he upset with me?"

"Not at all. On the contrary, he thinks that you're upset with him. I've already told him that it's not his fault either, but he still feels terrible that you were upset by Natasha hitting on him," Steve said, getting to his feet and offering the little witch a hand. "He wants to take you out for ice cream or a movie to make up for it."

"Silly thing," Wanda murmured fondly, shaking her head as she accepted Steve's hand and let the super soldier draw her to her feet.

"Come on," Steve coaxed. "Let's get you straightened up a bit, then you and Vision can go out for the afternoon while I make everyone else run laps till they drop. Sound like a plan?"

Wanda nodded, a smile starting to return to her face, and she scrubbed the back of a hand across her cheeks as Steve led her out into the hall towards the bathroom.

A few doors down, Clint was leaned up against the wall, frowning down at the floor in thought with his arms crossed over his chest. The man looked up sharply as they approached, and quickly stepped out to block their path before they could pass.

"Wanda, baby," Clint started with a pleading smile, arms held open placatingly, and she responded by smacking his chest.

"You're an idiot!" she scolded.

"Yes, I am. I'm a very sorry idiot," he conceded. "That was a really mean thing to do, and I didn't think any of it through before I acted. I'm sorry. Please forgive me?"

Wanda huffed out a breath as Clint offered her a pleading smile, but the little witch couldn't hold her frown for long.

"You're lucky I like you," she scolded, finally accepting his hug.

"I am," he nodded, hugging her tight and rocking her back and forth. "Very, very lucky, because right now you've got every right to kick my ass."

"I might still do it," she said with a watery laugh.

"Just give me a day and time, I'll be there. I'll drag the other three along for good measure if you want."

That coaxed a slightly more genuine laugh from her, and Clint pressed a kiss to the top of her head before releasing her.

"Go find your moping android," he said, shooing her off with a smile. "Keep him from strangling me or Sam."

"Don't look too relieved," Steve scolded the archer. "I'm not finished with you four yet."

Clint winced, shooting another long, pleading look at Wanda before turning his attention back to Steve and ducking his head with a sigh.

"Right. I'll start running laps. See you later, kiddo."

Wanda waved after him with a little smile as he began to jog away, and Steve simply shook his head in mild exasperation.

"Oh, yeah," Clint called back over his shoulder just before he rounded the corner. "And Nat said feel free to punch her, too."

"Laps," Steve scolded as Wanda let out a soft laugh. "You're already fifteen minutes behind the others."

"Right. On it. Later, kid!"

"Come on, Wanda," Steve said, ushering her along. "Let's get your face washed off, then you and Vision can go have fun while I run these other morons ragged."


When Steve stepped into the common room a few moments later to look for Vision, it wasn't the android that he found perched on the sofa.

Steve raised a brow at Natasha as she offered him a sweet, sheepish smile.

"One hundred laps?" he asked.

"Forty-six," the assassin winced. "I'll go right back, I promise. I just wanted to talk to Wanda...if she'll see me."

"Why don't you ask her?" came in a lilting accent from over Steve's shoulder before he could reply, and he and Natasha both turned to see Wanda leaning in the doorway with her arms crossed over her chest.

"Hey, hon," Natasha started, getting to her feet and edging forward a touch warily. "I figured I should probably make a point of talking to you...just to be sure you knew that everything I was doing was an act...and that I really, really didn't mean to upset you - or Vision - like that."

"Clint mentioned something along those lines," Wanda shrugged, glancing away, and Natasha edged a bit closer, a sorry pinch to her brows as she looked the little witch over.

"Yeah. We...tend to forget that other people still react to stuff like that with anything other than an urge to punch it in the face."

Natasha leaned to catch Wanda's eye, giving her an apologetic smile.

"We're a bit messed up," Natasha shrugged. "Me especially...Though I suppose you of all people would know that. Think you could find the heart to forgive us?"

Wanda seemed to mull it over for a second, letting out a slow breath before forcing a little smirk onto her face.

"So long as you keep your hands to yourself in the future, perhaps."

Natasha chuckled, clapping a hand on Wanda's shoulder.

"I will never touch your man again if you don't want me to. I promise."

"Why would I want you to?" Wanda asked, her face screwing up a little in confusion, and Natasha shrugged, a grin creeping across her face.

"Some people are into that."

"Don't you have fifty-four more laps to run?" Steve asked in exasperation before Wanda could start asking questions. "And then a hundred push-ups, and a hundred chin-ups to do after that?"

Natasha threw him a saucy smirk, winking at the little witch and giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze before drawing away, heading for the door.

"Yes, Drill Sergeant. Right away."

"Don't let me catch your ass back inside until you've completed everything," he called after her, scowling when she shouted "language" back from the hall.

"That woman, I swear..." Steve sighed.

To his relief, though, Wanda was smiling, warm and genuine as she turned her attention back to him.

"So Vizh and I have the day off?"

"Yeah, you're both excused from training today. The two of you be back before midnight, understood?" Steve said sternly, waiting for the girl to nod before digging for his wallet, offering Wanda a few folded bills. "Now go find Vision and have fun. Our treat."

"You're the best," Wanda said, slipping her arms around his middle and giving him a tight hug before scampering off, calling for Vision.

Steve watched her go with a little smile, something gentle and warm ebbing to replace the protective burn in his chest that had sparked to life when he'd seen her tears.

The poor creature had so little of her childhood innocence that hadn't been stolen away from her...he wasn't about to let the innocence of her first crush get taken from her as well.

"Take care, Wanda," he murmured after her with a soft smile. "Enjoy every minute of it."


Author's Note: Long story short, I got stranded in Baltimore for a week. =_=" One update to go!