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There Is Nothing Here For Us

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     Tony is not supposed to be drinking. It’s not like anyone can really stop him, but the genius had already admitted to himself and others that he had a tendency to over-indulge and do stupid shit sometimes. Even more stupid than the stupid shit he did sober. Granted, much of that was while he was dying, so there was some semblance of an excuse, but still– alcohol should not be a crutch. Tony had been doing a very good job of staying away from it.

     Until tonight, apparently. Natasha’s been away so she’s not sure what led to said drunken state. But when she walks in and is greeted with a booze-flavored kiss, full on the mouth with hands tangling into her hair, she does nothing short of panic. Her brain short-circuits a little first, of course, and she has to fight not to kiss back– and a traitorous little part of her brain says that he probably won’t remember this anyway so why not just enjoy it– but she’s not that kind of person anymore. She’s not going to take advantage of him.

     So instead, she gently pulls away, presses a kiss to his forehead, and cuts off his resulting ramble with a pointer finger laid over his lips.

     “It’s time to get some rest, Tony,” she murmurs quietly. “We’ll talk again when you’re coherent.”

     She takes him back to his room, unlacing his shoes and placing them by the door where he won’t trip on them, pulling his suit jacket away, along with his belt, and decides that’s probably as far as she should go. He’ll be comfortable enough, now, and there’s always dry cleaning for the rest of it. Or he can replace it, if it’s too far gone to fix. Nat tugs the covers up over Tony, petting his hair gently, and hums an old Russian lullaby until he falls asleep.

     It doesn’t take long, with all the alcohol in his system, for Tony to pass out. Nat stays a little longer, out of concern, making sure that his breathing is even and he’s not going to be a danger to himself, before slipping out the door. She stands on the balcony of the adjoining room for a long time, wondering what the hell she’s done to deserve this stupid ache in her heart, but she knows she’d rather have Tony in her life any way at all than the alternative. She’d suffer a thousand heartbreaks for him, quietly and without him knowing, because his guilt over it would hurt her even more.

     Lost in her musings, she barely notices the time go by until the sun starts slipping into view again, at which point she goes back to the room from whence she came, clears away all evidence of the alcohol and mess left behind, and then slips back to her own quarters. There will be water and painkillers on the side table for Tony when he wakes, but no Natasha. 

    Love is for children, she reminds herself, and settles down to take a nap before going off in search of her next mission.