Bucky: Damn it… we’re two steps behind when we should be tracking him down. This is what he wants us to be doing.
Natasha: No, the Red Skull wanted another wave of economic fear to rip through the country… we just stopped that. And we’ll keep at it. That’s what Captain America does, remember?
Bucky: Yeah, I guess it is.
I think there’s a temptation to describe this pairing as two broken people finding ways to become whole together, two living weapons learning to live, and I see how that’s attractive but I don’t think it actually describes their dynamic. Bucky’s story is a redemption narrative, and more particularly a struggle to see himself redeemed. But that’s not Natasha’s fight— for better or worse, she doesn’t feel the need to apologize. The past in her stories is something to be escaped, not something to be reckoned with. More than that, though, she had her redemption arc in 1969 and has struggled on since. She carved out her own life, her own redemption, and ultimately she did it herself because there was no way she could have done it otherwise. And that strength, that specific strength of having been there, and done that, is what she offers him.
You can see it here. She reminds him how to be Captain America, because parts of him might have forgotten. But she hasn’t.
From Captain America #34, by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting.