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hostile takeover

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Natasha didn’t expect Stane to put up much of a fight. She was prepared of course, she is a consummate professional, and this is far from her first job. He got the traditional thirty-six hours of close up surveillance before she went in. There was nothing to indicate he was anything more than an overpaid businessman that pissed off the wrong people in the weapons trade. (Turns out he had a little sonic wave toy, and there’s a pesky splotch of blood on her shirt from their tussle. She hates miscalculations.)

The red on white is far too apparent, which brought her to cleaning her shirt in a nearby bathroom. Stane shouldn’t be discovered for another three point four hours, and she’ll be long gone by then. She just can’t have a witness notice anything on her way out. (Improbable, but not impossible.)

Her blouse is in the sink, cold water blasting when the door opens. Instinctively she sucks in a breath, pressing her shoulders down and thanking her past self that she wore nice lingerie today. (It’s a bitch while moving, but as a last defense, there’s nothing better.)

“Mr. Stark,” she says, wringing out the shirt. “I’m almost done here.”

To his minor credit, he looks over all of her evenly, doesn’t get lost in her cleavage like most trust-fund brats do. He’s still disarmed by a pretty half-naked woman, closing the door behind him, eyes stuck on her.

“Please tell me you’re my new secretary. Or assistant. I've never had a secretary, so you would do great - already landed it.”

She smiles easy, civilian cover fully engaged. “Too clumsy for that I’m afraid.”

“Oh? And what brings you to my industries today?”

“Failed delivery,” she says, rueful. “What brings you to uh,” she giggles, “this bathroom? You must have like a way nicer executive one.”

Stupid, she mentally berates herself, as he smiles smugly and comes closer. Sure, the Merchant of Death has a nice ring to it, and he’s the total package: decent looking, rich, creates weapons, and can definitely be distracted and swayed by sex. If she was looking for a partner, oblivious or not, he fits the bill. (The thoughts feel blasphemous, she wasn’t designed to want others.)

But she is supposed to be getting out fast, as unnoticed as possible. A corner of her mind whispers he’d find it weirder if she didn’t hit on him, but there’s a difference between that and--

“Maybe once your shirt dries. What’s your name sweetheart?”

Nat drops the top, dries her hands quickly and holds one out, “Natalie.”

He takes it with an amused smile, “Call me Tony.” He taps an earpiece with his other hand, “Hey Happy, bring me a spare shirt down to the third floor bathroom.”

“Now, what shall we do while we wait?” he asks, thumb petting over her knuckles.

Dangerous thoughts are brimming, and Nat goes with the safest solution to all her problems: leaning in to kiss him. A quick fuck in the bathroom, and her mind will shut the hell up about grandiose ideas of a future not alone and Stark will forget her soon enough in favor of a new model, human or mechanical.

.

She’s wrong.

It's as irritating as it is rare. Her mind won’t quiet, and memories of those skillful fingers really aren’t helping, and Stark has the audacity to get attached, tracking down Natalie in a café a few days later.

(Natasha could have, should have left this city days ago. Lets herself be found with an easy smile, Natalie’s so much more fun to be.)