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Keeper of My Own Key

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I have been thinking about penetrative sex.

I never used to permit myself to consider it for more than a passing instant. Thanos taught me that sex was a distraction from my true purpose. He taught it so well that the sentiment was sewn into my consciousness. I believed I was a weapon for Thanos to use, not my own person with the luxury of bending to my own desires.

Physical pleasure was not something I was allowed to pursue, and penetrative sex, above all, was prohibited; an assassin who becomes pregnant is a being who is useless. Having a pregnant body would negatively influence an assassin’s battling abilities and having a child would be the ultimate distraction from her purpose. Long before my time, Thanos had declared that his policy of obligatory termination of all assassins’ pregnancies did not truly solve the problem, as it sometimes caused addling emotional distress, the sort an assassin cannot afford to be consumed by.

Thus, pregnancy could not be risked, and birth control could not be trusted; the only solution was abstinence. For his assassins, all sexual activity was forbidden. Even thoughts of sex were forbidden. They were a slippery slope to utterly disappointing him, to failing him, and he made it perfectly clear that he would offer no forgiveness. Sexual pleasure was something meant for others, not for assassins like me, not for weapons like me. No, the only pleasure to seek in my life had been that of Thanos’ approval, and it was a pleasure always out of reach, a pleasure always theoretical.

Even after I turned away from Thanos, I retained the belief that sexuality was lost to me. He had taken too many of my body parts and replaced them with machinery that could not feel. He had taught me not to let myself desire physical contact. He had trained me not to want to be touched, or held, or pleasured. He had ingrained in me that I was never to crave the nearness of another body, the sort of closeness that I could not even conceptualize, but that I knew others had. He had taken that aspect of life away from me, my desire and my ability. It was gone forever, and the only pleasure to seek in my life had become that of murdering Thanos.

But things are different now. Tony has changed me. We have held one another and kissed one another and given one another orgasms with our mouths; I wish to be closer still.

“I want to have penetrative vaginal sex,” I tell him decidedly one night.

He looks at me, surprised.

“Really?” he asks, “we don’t have to do that.”

Something in me sinks.

“You do not wish to. You do not want me that way.”

“No, no, it’s not that,” he hurries to assure me. “I would love it, I’m sure it would be amazing, I just don’t want you to feel any obligation.” He looks around the space as though something else has just occurred to him. “Also, we don’t have any condoms.”

“I do not feel obligated. I want to experience that pleasure and I want to do it with you. As for the condom, Luphomoids can neither contract nor spread diseases through sexual activity, and,” I pause, reluctant to speak the truth of my body aloud, “I am infertile. Thanos saw to that, long ago, when he caught me looking at a man the wrong way and decided precautions were necessary. Insurance, in case of,” I look down, because I am afraid of what emotions my face may be displaying, “my disobedience.”

An angry expression takes over Tony’s face. I think it is directed at me, though I am unsure what I have done wrong.

“I hate him for everything he did to you,” he speaks with rage.

My heart thumps in my chest. I have never seen anyone care so much about my suffering. I step near and bring my face close so that he will kiss me. He takes me in his arms and kisses me with passion and kindness.

“Let me make you come first,” he instructs after the kiss, “it’s important for your first time that your body be really ready.” I begin to undress, and he stares for a long moment with lust in his eyes, then regains focus and strips his own clothes. I settle naked on the floor of the ship and he positions himself over me. He looks down into my eyes like he is trying to decode them, like he believes he can find all the answers if only he works hard enough, if only his will is strong enough.

But I am a fortress, and it is only since knowing him that I have even begun to learn how to take down the mask I wear. My attempts are not always successful; I often need him to draw the unguarded expression from my face, to do what no one else has ever been able to do. He kisses me with slow caresses of his tongue for a long moment, then pulls away and hurries to look again into my eyes. I am not sure exactly what he sees on my face, but I feel naked, and it is not only because of my nude body. He smiles and strokes his thumb softly over my bottom lip. I am pleased that he likes what he sees. Though it can be a challenge, I enjoy showing myself to him, sharing my emotions, telling him my secrets. Every day I like it even more. It is very strange, and beautiful.

He moves to my neck and kisses a line down the side. I feel his tongue lap at the skin and then his lips brush up against it so lightly that I shiver. I slide my good hand into his hair. He runs his mouth down to my right breast and takes the left one into his hand. He begins to draw that particular, lush pleasure from my chest; it rises to the surface and blossoms against his mouth and his hands. I surrender to the sensations: his tongue against my hardened nipples and his warm breath blowing across them, his fingertips stroking the sensitive skin around them, caressing above and below my breasts, tracing over the curves and massaging the supple flesh.

Then I see one of his hands travel downward, beyond the metal plate on my lower stomach. My vagina has already lubricated itself, driven by the pleasures of his kiss and his touch. His fingers land gently between my legs, and he makes a soft sound when he feels the wetness. He brings his mouth to mine and kisses me with slow, firm movements as he begins to stimulate my clitoris. His two fingertips are slick with my juices and they slide lightly over my clitoris with a silky feel. I reangle my hips, pressing my pelvis against his hand, and he increases the pressure of his touch.

Soon I am moaning as he rubs circles over my clitoris, his movements quickening by the instant. He does things with his fingers I cannot keep track of. My eyes fall closed for a long moment, and when I open them, I see he is watching my face. I am embarrassed, because I am so raw and open, because I am too undone by the pleasure to hide and who knows what he might detect from my facial expressions just now if he looked hard enough - yet, at the same time, I am thrilled to call such focused attention to his wide, lovely eyes.

“You’re so beautiful,” he tells me, and he presses his fingers firmly to my clitoris. The compliment fills me with a rush of urgent pleasure; I buck against his hand and I feel my orgasm approaching. The lust pools inside me, guided to the surface of my flesh by his touch, sparking against his fingers and bursting into something like flame, something hot and consuming, something dangerous that sheds cozy, soothing light.

We keep our gazes locked as my orgasm continues to take me over in waves. The waves grow shallower as time passes, but he does something soft with his fingers that makes the pleasure stretch on and on.

When the fog in my mind clears enough, I reach with my good hand for his erection, gratified that he is hard for me, eager to stroke him, to bring him pleasure. He keeps his fingers on my clitoris, but his touch gets even lighter, like a breeze blowing over my sensitive flesh. He groans as I wrap my fingers around the shaft of his erect penis, then kisses me with the sort of intense passion that frightens me, even as I crave it. I continue to pump his erection, and he breaks the kiss to moan loudly. I feel his hardness pulsing in my hand, and I think he is going to release, but suddenly he pulls away, panting.

I remember then, with a thrill, where this is going; that he is going to come inside of me.

He lays on his stomach with his head between my legs and begins to lick me. By now he is practiced at drawing out my orgasm, but I wonder if he is trying too soon after the first. I have barely come down from the heady bliss of the climax his fingers brought me - or, actually, I realize with alarm, I have yet to come down completely. His light touch had held me in a place of quiet ecstasy until his tongue had taken its spot. My clitoris never stopped throbbing, my hips never stopped rocking, and a faint orgasmic pleasure is still humming throughout my body. When I have not even finished recovering from the peak of the first, how will I be able to orgasm again? I begin to grow anxious that I will disappoint him.

But he is working me with his skilled tongue and his warm lips, and all at once I realize I am, somehow, riding a fresh orgasm that has layered itself over the remaining ripples of the first, and I am lost in them both, grinding against his tongue and gripping his head and gasping for air.

After I calm enough to release my grasp on his head, he looks up at me. His hands are resting on my thighs, each hand laid halfway over one of the metal plates and halfway over the flesh that meets the metal’s edge.

“Do you want me to put my fingers inside your pussy?”

“Yes, Tony,” I reply, and I can hear the thick longing in my voice.

He laps lightly at my ultrasensitive clitoris and I feel one of his fingers tease my opening. He strokes over the slit again and again, his finger wet with the evidence of my desire. His tongue pleasures my clitoris gently as he begins to slide his finger past my labia and into my vagina. He moves in slow increments. I close my eyes to focus on the new sensation. It feels like an invasion, but a welcome one.

“You may add another finger,” I tell him, “if you desire,” I add, a flash of terror taking me over, a vise of fear that he is not enjoying himself. I desperately want to know if he is still erect, but I can no longer reach his penis.

He swirls his tongue in a tender, repeated motion as he slides in a second finger. He begins to withdraw them, then push them back inside, over and again. He goes slowly, so slowly it starts to frustrate me, and I feel the muscles of my vagina tense around his fingers. He increases the speed of both his thrusting fingers and his twirling tongue. I moan, and he moans loudly in reply, the sound muffled by my flesh against his mouth. I breathe a sigh of relief at the sound; he is enjoying himself after all.

I feel his fingers curl and rub against a spot inside that makes me yelp and squirm. He begins to brush over it gently with his fingertips each time he moves his fingers in and out. His mouth continues to overwhelm my clitoris with lush sensation. The tip of his tongue slips between the folds to either side of my clitoral hood, traces over as much of my labia minora as it can reach, then travels, slick and slow, down the center to the edge of my opening, where it meets with his hand.

He pulls his head back a little and I make a grunt of protest that is loud enough to startle me. I am embarrassed, but it makes him moan. He brings his free hand to my clitoris, and his fingers soothe the ache of his tongue’s absence; I make a sound of lustful gratitude. I feel his hot breath against my vulva as his exquisite eyes glance up at me for a long moment. Then he slightly shifts the hand that is inside my vagina, creating a small space above his fingers. His face disappears again, and I feel his tongue push into me. It slides in and out in rhythm to his fingers for a number of thrusts before returning to my clitoris with firm undulations.

Soon I feel a third orgasm beginning to build. I feel greedy to be taking so much pleasure, but I remind myself that he is giving it freely, that he believes I am deserving of it.

I call his name as it takes me over, in part because I think he will like it and I want to please him. He makes a loud, urgent sound and thrusts against the floor, and I feel gratified, and like I am glowing.

“Oh, fuck,” he moans as he pulls away. “Oh, fuck,” he repeats as he climbs up my body and pulls me into a firm kiss. I am relieved to feel his erection press against my thigh, the proof of his enjoyment. I allow myself to return his kiss with the wildness I am feeling as my climax gradually tapers off.

Afterwards I open my eyes, which I had forgotten I had closed, and I see his face staring down at me. He looks more vulnerable than I have ever seen him. It makes me feel safer to be vulnerable myself. I smile at him.

“You have a beautiful smile,” he says softly.

I can feel my smile widen at his words, yet I look away, because he speaks with such intensity, because he sounds as though he means it so profoundly, because all of the sudden I can see myself through his eyes and I do not know how to look at myself that way.

He takes my chin gently in his hand and guides my face back toward him.

“Thank you,” I whisper, though I meant it to come out at a normal volume.

He gives me that startlingly intimate smile, then kisses me with more affection than I had ever received before I met him. Before him, I did not truly understand what it meant to be treated with affection.

I reach for his hardness. I wrap my fingers around it and stroke it gently, enjoying the sensation of its rigidity in my hand. I think about what it might feel like inside my vagina. I am ready to find out.

“Are you ready?” he asks.

“Yes,” I nod with enthusiasm so he will have no doubts as to my desire, “I am ready. Tony.”

He kisses my neck as he guides himself near to my entrance. He settles his erection between my labia majora, and I gasp at the feeling of its head pressed to my clitoris and its firm shaft stretching along the slit below.

“You okay?” he asks breathlessly.

“Yes, go on.”

He begins to rock his hips, rubbing himself against me and coating himself with my wetness. He spends some time thrusting slowly against the outside, cupping one of my breasts and breathing hard onto my neck. The slippery friction feels good against my clitoris, but I am growing impatient to be penetrated.

“Go on,” I tell him eventually, speaking softly near to his ear, “put it inside.”

He groans with acute longing and reaches between our bodies. I feel him reangle his erection so that the head presses lightly to my entrance.

“It’s going to hurt for a second,” he warns.

“I know,” I reassure him, because he looks more upset about the idea of hurting me than I am about the imminent moment of pain, “do not worry,” I place my good hand on his cheek.

He smiles.

“I should be telling you not to worry.”

“It is alright,” I murmur, “everything is alright, Tony, I am ready, I want you inside.” I press gently against his buttocks, urging him to proceed.

“Nebula,” he whispers, and he begins to push himself inside. We lock our gazes as he slowly enters, and I can see in his eyes the depths of the passion he is restraining, the lust he is letting out in a drizzle when it yearns to break free like a waterfall. I brace myself for the moment -

The instant of pain is mild, nothing to me, yet his entry makes me feel raw and small; I throw my arms around him and clutch his body, burying my face in the bend between his neck and his shoulder.

“Are you okay, are you okay?” he rushes to ask. “Do you want me to pull out?” He caresses along the side of my head with a soothing, tender motion.

I kiss his neck over and again. I feel so close to him I think I cannot withstand it, yet I wish to be closer still.

“No, please stay,” I breathe, “stay just like that and kiss me.”

We kiss for longer than I keep track of, alternating between sweet folds of our lips and desperately passionate movements of our tongues in each other’s mouths. His hand rests on the side of my face; he likes to put it there when we kiss, spread over the flesh and the metal. I layer my good hand on top of his. He has been teaching me about the non-literal way of experiencing physical sensation through the metal parts of my body, as he once learned to do with his arc reactor. Each time I think I can feel it a little more: an echo of solid sensation, a shadow of his experience as the nerve endings of his hand press to my metal, as my good hand presses to his.

I imagine his side of the connection, just as he has taught me to do. I concentrate as precisely as I am able. I focus with furious intensity. I strain to feel his touch on my metal radiating up through his hand, flooding the nerve endings of my good hand with the sensation he is feeling. I apply all my determination, struggling fiercely against literal reality, struggling fiercely against my nagging fear that all he feels when he touches my metal is lifelessness. In truth, I know better by now; he has told me over and again that he feels me when he touches the metal, just as he does when he touches my flesh. I have come to believe him that he likes how it makes him feel to touch my metal parts, and I want to feel that connection too: skin against metal as intimate as skin against skin.

With every spec of my being I aim to call the sensation into existence. I will it to happen, I need it to happen, I demand that it happen - and suddenly it all comes together like it never has before, clicking into place like an epiphany, or the memory of a long lost fact, and I feel him feeling me, I feel us feeling me.

“Oh god, you feel it, don’t you?” he asks, stroking my face with his thumb, sounding as though he already knows the answer, as though he can feel me feeling him as well. We are like mirrors, reflecting light off one another, reflecting glowing feeling, raw feeling, noncorporeal feeling, something beyond the corporeal, yet deeply imbedded in it.

“Yes, yes, Tony,” I can hear in my voice that I am fighting tears of emotion. Then he kisses me with such tender affection that a tear does manage to slip from the corner of my eye, and he wipes it away with his thumb.

“Tony,” I breathe, breaking the kiss. With a gentle but passionate motion, I caress the side of his face with my metal hand, and I am not ashamed. “Move inside me now,” I urge, “go on, I am ready.”

“Oh, fuck, Nebula,” he groans, then begins to pull his erection slowly out. I feel my vaginal muscles clenching around him as though discouraging his departure, but before he has fully withdrawn himself, he pushes gradually back in, then repeats the motion over and again. His hard penis feels long and wide each time it pushes inside me, and I observe with enjoyment the strange feeling of being filled.

“Are you okay?” he pants as his hips move.

“Yes, Tony,” I moan, “you can go faster.”

He makes a strangled cry of relief and starts to thrust in and out at a steady speed. He kisses my neck and runs his hands over as much of my body as he can reach, metal and flesh, all the same. He kisses the metal on my face, and I sigh.

“You feel so good, Nebula, oh fuck,” he whispers low.

“You feel good too,” I tell him, meaning it deeply, “Tony.”

As he continues to move his pelvis, I stroke his back with both my hands, being especially gentle with the metal one. I rest the hand that is flesh on the cheek of his buttocks and feel the muscles working as he thrusts. I weave the fingers of my metal hand carefully into his hair. I try to imagine what the soft locks feel like. I recall the many times I have touched them with my flesh hand and concentrate until I can sense their echo against my metal fingers.

“Nebula,” he moans, and he increases his speed further, rushing in and out of me like there is nothing more urgent in any world. I moan in response because it is so affecting to hear my name spoken with such passion and pleasure, and because the pace and force of his thrusts send thrills throughout my being. I feel taken over by him, but safe.

“Kiss me,” I tell him, and he does, and I feel as though I am melting away in the most blissful manner, like everything is warm and relaxed, even as it is intense and urgent, even though he kisses me like he wants to consume me, like he is desperate to be closer still. I feel happy to be consumed. I feel happy to let him press into me so profoundly that, for the time being, we are a singular entity in some illogical way, in the same way I have learned to feel through my metal; our unity is a fact beyond the confines of literal reality.

“Do you want to release inside of me?” I ask after a time.

He groans so loudly and deeply that I feel shaken by the strength of his yearning.

“Fuck, yes, oh fuck, oh fuck,” he chants, eyes wild, “are you sure, are you sure?”

“Yes,” I speak, gazing at him intently, trying to show my whole self, unafraid, safe. “Tony, please come inside me.”

“Fuck, Nebula, Nebula,” he cries, and he gives a final, hard snap of his hips, then leans heavily into me and makes a symphony of sounds against my neck, gasping sounds of ecstasy that overlap one another, desperate moans and grunts and swallows of air like his pleasure is threatening to suffocate him. I wrap my arms around his back and hold him close as he finishes. I feel his body writhing in my arms.

Afterwards he kisses me tenderly, then carefully removes his softening penis. He settles beside me and pulls me into his arms. I lie against his chest and he strokes my head. I pick up his hand with my metal one and bring it to my mouth so that I can press my lips to his fingertips.

“Did you like it, Nebula?” he asks, and I can hear vulnerability in the tone of his question, worry that I will say no. It surprises me, because he has always been so confident. I do not wish for him to worry. I kiss his lips.

“Yes, Tony, I liked it very much,” I assure him. He makes a pleased hum as he hugs me tightly to him, and, despite the fact that Thanos achieved his goal, despite the fact that Tony and I may die here on this ship, despite all the terrible things that are happening in the universe, I am soaringly, achingly happy; no matter what has come before or what happens next, I have had this beautiful experience, this perfect first time. Tony has given me that, and so much more.

Soon enough I hear his soft snoring begin, and I see that his eyes have closed. I kiss his cheek and huddle closer, then permit myself to fall asleep in his embrace.