Coming Back Into Bloom
Maria at least let Kat go out with a semblance of dignity. She was allowed to tell everyone that she was taking a medical leave, the permanency of which depended on how well her recovery progressed. But Kat knew that she would never be allowed back (Maria even refused to keep Kat’s report, going so far as to say that she didn’t want such an incendiary document around), at least not while Maria was in charge. And at this point, Kat didn’t know if she even wanted to return. SHIELD was severely damaged and, sooner or later (Kat guessed sooner), it was going to be hurt even worse.
Steve and Nat were shocked by the turn of events but tried their best to offer her support. Seeing her exhausted state, they encouraged her to take a few months off, forget about SHIELD, and heal herself. So that is what she did. Kat traveled to new places, avoided the news as much as possible, participated in some grief therapy under an alias, and read books she’d been meaning to get to for ages. She worked out, learned how to cook, danced, sang, dated and even had a few brief relationships. In general, Kat used the time to try and figure out who she was and who she wanted to be. By the time she received a call three months later requesting that she join the FBI, she felt ready to take on a new assignment.