Chapter 1: An Offer Between Friends
Natasha's feet were resting up on the dashboard of the truck Steve had stolen. She was watching him carefully. He was nice to look at, she'd admitted to herself. She wanted to know more about him, which was a stretch because she wasn't the type of person to care about what other people did or who they were. Still, he was different. After all, this was Captain America. He wasn't like other people and neither was she.
Finally, after trying her best to think of a way to get him to open up, Natasha decided that the best way for her to find out more about Steve would be starting off with something small. Like, for instance, the truck they were riding in. It was kind of funny to think of America's golden boy stealing.
Looking over at him impassively - or what one would mistake for impassivity if they didn't know a thing about Natasha - she asked, "Where did Captain America learn how to steal a car?"
Steve didn't miss a beat. "Nazi Germany."
"Mm." Of course it was in Germany. Made sense. Natasha had been expecting maybe a little story about how he got to that point. She would have given anything to have actually witnessed him do something so...badass.
Before she could ask him to elaborate, he added, "And we're borrowing. Take your feet off the dash."
His voice had taken on that authoritarian, parental tone that he made when he was trying to sound like stern. Natasha thought it was cute, yet a little intimidating. However, she didn't put her feet down because she was afraid of Steve. She chose to put them down because she realised that she would encounter less resistance from him if they were both in a comfortable place. Although, she honestly wasn't sure there would be a moment when being chased by SHIELD would be comfortable.
Of course, that kiss they both shared to get the agents off their scent was pretty nice. Unfortunately, it was far too brief for her to gauge how good of a kisser Steve Rogers really was. Even though it was a very inopportune time for her to try and probe Steve about his experience with kissing the opposite sex, she didn't care. Natasha wasn't the type of woman who shied away from a challenge just because it was ill-timed or absolutely none of her business.
"Alright, I have a question for you, which you do not have to answer. I feel like, if you don't answer it, though, you're kind of answering it, you know?"
Natasha couldn't help the half grin that spread across her lips as she said, "Was that your first kiss since 1945?"
"That bad, huh?"
"I didn't say that."
"Well, it kind of sounds like that's what you're saying." He sounded a little defensive.
"No, I didn't. I just wondered how much practice you've had."
"You don't need practice." He was trying to blow off the conversation by being nonchalant, but it wasn't working.
Natasha called his bluff and gave him a sly smile. "Everybody needs practice."
"It was not my first kiss since 1945. I'm 95, I'm not dead." Really, he was so touchy. With that response of finality, he revealed himself.
"You're lying, Steve. You've never kissed anyone besides me since 1945, have you?"
Steve didn't bother looking at her as he scoffed. "Nat, come on. That's ridiculous."
In Natasha's line of work, she'd gotten used to the signs a person would give off when they were lying: squinted eyes, wringing hands, shuffling feet, forehead perspiration, cleared throats, etc. The point is, Natasha was an expert when it came to reading people. What she could see here was a man who was uncomfortable talking about who he last kissed and when.
It was interesting, how Steve's jaw had become a little bit tighter and he gripped the steering wheel with more force than necessary. An unexpected pang of jealousy ran through Natasha and she sighed, looking out the window. "She must have been some girl..." She said under her breath.
"Just tell me, Steve. I'm not going to tease you or make jokes about it. I promise." She paused for a moment before speaking again, "That was the only kiss you've had since 1945." The words came out like a statement, not a question.
The blonde kept his eyes on the road as he said quietly, "Yes, it was."
Satisfied with his response, Natasha smiled triumphantly, but her smile fell once she realised, in hindsight, how much of a weak kiss it was they both shared in the mall. Steve hadn't done a lot of moving with his lips when she'd kissed him. Natasha expected that was because he was taken by surprise when she pulled his head down to hers. Had his eyes even been closed at all? She couldn't remember. If only there were some way to recreate the situation and let the moment come back...
They came to a red light and Natasha got an idea. She turned her body towards Steve, angling it so she was on her side. After careful deduction of his facial expression, she told him, "Do you really think that you don't need practice kissing?"
Steve looked at her, cheeks coloured with a faint pink tint. She had to bite her tongue for fear that she would start laughing and give him the wrong impression.
"No, Natasha. I don't need practice. That's like saying people should have an excuse to go out and kiss whoever they want. It would only be a waste of the person's time. If you decided to just practice kissing with anybody, you could end up accidentally having feelings for someone that you don't know that well. It's too risky."
Maybe Natasha was crazy, but from the way Steve was talking, he seemed like he was referring to himself. He did have a good, solid point, though. "I agree. That's why the best way to practice kissing is to practice with someone you're good friends with, knowing that you'll never see them as anything more than platonic. They should be someone that you're compatible with and close to, yet not so close that they would feel uneasy kissing you."
Natasha decided to take a big chance with her next decision. She scooted onto Steve's lap, surprising him and making him jump. He frowned, clearly disapproving her action. "Nat?! What the hell are you doing?"
Stroking his shoulder, she leaned forward, her breath mingling with his own. It was difficult to ignore his hands around her waist, but Natasha had a mission and she wouldn't relent until she finished it. "Giving you a little practice~"
Then she pressed her mouth to his slowly and passionately. Natasha made sure to take it easy on Steve since he was relatively a newbie at this. Once he started moving his mouth against hers, though, the word 'newbie' left her mind quickly. Steve was getting wrapped up in the kiss, his hands gripping her side.
Natasha moaned involuntarily and she gripped Steve's shoulders, aroused by how good his lips felt against her own. Not to be outdone, she began to suck on his upper lip, making him moan just as much as she had.
Steve shifted and his hands began to play with her stomach. She had to fight off the giggle that lodged itself in her throat. Not many people knew that she was ticklish, much less on her stomach. When Natasha felt his hardness brush her core, she grinded against him, delighting in the friction.
In Natasha's line of work, she was used to doing her job and doing it well. Sometimes she needed to be a little intimate, but she never had to have sex with her targets. Hell, even when she had to kiss, she was never kissed like this. Steve may have not had much practice, but he kissed like a pro. No, scratch that. He kissed like a lover, making her feel so desirable from the attention he paid her.
Unfortunately, a loud car horn honked behind them and they pulled apart quickly, cheeks flushed and breathing heavy. The magic was gone now and sitting on Steve's lap suddenly felt wrong and inappropriate. Silently, Natasha slid off Steve's body and back onto the passenger's seat. She clicked her seatbelt on and looked at the striples on her hoodie.
Slowly, the truck began to move, and neither Steve nor Natasha spoke. It was many, many minutes before her vocal chords started working. "So...that was a lot better than the kiss on the escalator. Not bad for lesson number one."
A cough came from the other side of the truck and Steve's eyes darted from Natasha to the road. He obviously hadn't expected her to say that. It was so difficult holding back the smirk that wanted to form on her face, but Natasha kept it at bay. This was not the moment to tease him.
"Lesson number one?" He croaked.
"Yeah, number one. You have a good technique with your lips and I could sense that you knew what to do with them. Your hands, though, are an entirely different story."
"What's wrong with my hands?"
"Nothing at all, but you just need to know what to do with them. While you were kissing me, your hands were sporadically moving around my body. That kind of thing can kill a mood, so you still need further practice." That was partially a lie because his hands did hold her in the right place at first, but then they began to struggle to keep in one place.
"Oh," he replied, a slight hint of disappointment in his voice.
Natasha licked her lips and turned her gaze away from him to the dashboard. She didn't mean to upset him, but it was the truth. "It's not enough just to kiss. Everything you do has to feel organic, but second nature to you, so it doesn't come off like you're trying to work out the next steps in your head."
To reassure him, she decided to let him know that he was on the right track, but not exactly where he needed to be...yet. "You know a little bit about where to hold someone, but you need to understand how long you need to hold them and when to move your hands. Women like to be touched and caressed, to be held as if they're the most important person in the world to whoever is kissing them. That is what I am going to teach you."
It was hilarious that she was describing the merits of kissing to Steve. From the faint blush on his cheeks and the frank way she was talking to him about one of the most celebrated acts of intimacy, Natasha felt almost as if she were his teacher.
Well, that made sense, really. She was giving him lessons on how to kiss properly. Whenever a person knew more than someone else about something and decided to inform them about it, it was considered teaching.
Natasha Romanoff, part-time kissing teacher. God, that sounded corny.
Steve voice cut through her internal musing and she gave him a glance. "What about me?"
"What do you want?"
Natasha turned to look at him, wondering why he asked her that. Her heartbeat began to pound in her chest and she furrowed her brow, trying to think of what to say. In the back of her mind, she admitted that it would be nice to kiss him. Even if it were only to teach him how to kiss, at least she would get to know what it felt like to have him kiss and hold her like he lo-No. She couldn't think that way. Not now and not about him. It would only lead to disaster.
Still, she needed to say something. They reached another stop light and his focus was completely on her now. If she said nothing, he would think that cared about him and she couldn't afford him to think that. No matter how much she might want to.
"I...just want you to find the right girl, but first, you need to know how to sweep her off her feet when you kiss her. That's why I'm going to give you lessons and prepare you. Unless you don't want to..." She let her sentence break off, letting him know that if he didn't want her help, he was free to refuse.
Looking at him from the side of her eyes, she could tell that he was carefully weighing the pros and cons in his head before replying. Smart man. Even if she never offered this before and never would again, regardless, no man should take the idea of getting kissing lessons from Natasha Romanov lightly.
Steve silently made his decision and spoke. "Well, you're trying to help and I'm not arrogant to think that I can refuse it when I know I need it. Sure."
A large feeling of relief ran all over Natasha's body and she couldn't deny attributing it to the fact that she was happy he said yes. "Great! Don't worry, Rogers. By the time I'm finished with you, the girls will be lining up for you like a sale at Kohl's on Black Friday."
He chuckled. "I don't need them all lining up for me. Just one special girl will be fine."
"You're such a romantic, Rogers." Natasha grinned and turned to look out her window again. She couldn't keep looking at him anymore, not after what he'd just said. 'One special girl'. Silently, Natasha cursed the lucky woman who would eventually steal Steve's heart, whoever she was. There weren't many men like Steve in the world.
And once Steve became committed, Natasha would have to forget about these missions with him. It wouldn't be the same. Flirting with him would be inappropriate and she would have to build up walls to protect herself from her emotional attachment to him. Foolishly, she took a longing glance at Steve. Too bad she was already compromised.
Chapter 2: Dropping the Defenses
Steve and Natasha share an intimate moment in Sam's guest room.
This is the chapter where things are more solidified between Steve and Nat. Lesson two begins here, but it goes a bit farther than either of them planned.
Natasha felt a bit shaky, which, after barely surviving an air strike from the people she used to work for, would do far worse to someone else in her position. Natasha had been through difficult situations before and barely even batted an eye. She was the epitome of cool and professional. They didn't call her the Black Widow for nothing.
Still...after the events she and Steve had gone through the past day, Natasha felt a bit disheartened. In the years she worked for SHIELD, she thought she'd been doing good. It felt like some sick, cosmic joke that HYDRA was hidden inside SHIELD, working behind the scenes to push forward their sinister plans.
Normally, Natasha was very good at concealing her emotions and keeping her feelings hidden. It was a necessary part of her job and a way to keep people from thinking they could compromise her. However, in this instance, it was extremely hard to not show the frustration on her face.
Thank goodness for Sam Wilson. Natasha had no idea who the guy was, but if Steve took them to his house, the guy must be alright. She trusted Steve and his judgment, so she went with him with little argument. Maybe she would have questioned if they could trust the young man she'd briefly met when she picked Steve up a few days ago, but she was very tired.
Natasha had been through a lot of dangerous situations. She's faced some of the scariest situations that anyone could imagine. Hell, the worst thing she'd ever been through was when the Chit'auri aliens invaded New York. She'd dealt with that a lot more calmly than this. HYDRA being the unseen driving force behind SHIELD was something that she knew would forever change the rest of her life.
The redhead was drying her hair and musing on how she would get herself out of her current situation. It'd be possible for her to go off the grid and use one of her many covers as she usually did when there was trouble, but this was different. For the first time in her life, Natasha wondered about someone other than herself, which was interesting.
That isn't to say she never thought about other people, but she didn't have many friends that she could trust or rely on to have her back. Besides Clint, she had no one, not even Fury, who was a mentor and a father figure of sorts to her.
If she were an ordinary person, Natasha might have found this to be incredibly tragic, but she wasn't an ordinary person. She was a trained agent and spy, one of the best that SHIELD had...or rather, HYDRA had since they were the ones pulling the strings.
Steve was washing his hands in the bathroom sink on the guest room that Sam had out them in. Natasha sent a few glances his way. What would he do, now that they'd discovered he really died for nothing and that their purpose in the world was meaningless? He would probably find it easy going undercover. Something told her that Steve Rogers, Captain America, was clever enough to disappear without a trace.
Maybe Natasha was crazy, but she felt that they could disappear together. There was nothing romantic or underhanded about these thoughts. She was just being practical. Two heads were better than one after all. Before she could ponder this further, Steve walked into the bedroom with a concerned look on his face.
That was one of Steve's biggest strengths. He cared about people, even the ones he didn't necessarily trust. Sure, some people would say that he was a fool with old world values and beliefs that don't hold up in today's society. Yet, after the past couple of years working alongside him, Natasha discovered that those values and beliefs were the essential core to Steve's character. He wouldn't be a man she'd be willing to take orders from if he didn't hold himself by a strict moral compass.
It'd probably sound strange out loud, but Natasha looked up to Steve as an example of who she would like to be, but she doubted that she'd ever measure up to him. The trust thing was a big part of why she felt that way. She was used to being out on her own, having to stay two steps ahead of people who had intent to harm her, but knowing that she and Steve were both in the same predicament and not knowing whether he trusted her or not really bothered her.
Natasha's thoughts were interrupted by Steve and she gave him a quick glance. She continued to dry her hair, but acted nonchalant, as if nothing was on her mind. The classic poker face that she was an expert at giving people wouldn't stick and she knew that her passive face was showing more emotion than she wanted. "Yeah."
Regardless of her one word reply, he came over to her and sat on a chair opposite her position on the bed. Those blue eyes bored into her and Natasha knew that she would have to give in and talk this time.
"What's going on?" Steve asks softly.
At first, she figured she'd try to play him off and say some clever quip, but none came to mind. All of the lying she'd been accustomed to telling people was not going to work here. Steve deserved the truth, so she gave it to him. "When I first joined SHIELD, I thought I was going straight...but I guess I just traded in the KBG for HYDRA."
Those words were hard for her to say and she shook her head lightly, still saddened by the irony of this situation. "I thought I knew whose lies I was telling, but I guess I can't tell the difference anymore." She smiled briefly, but it didn't reach her eyes.
She hadn't been looking at him when he said, "There's a chance you might be in the wrong business."
She stared at him in surprise and scoffed. Funny how he recanted the same words she told him when they were alone in the truck together. He really was a great listener. There was a little moment of silence and Natasha remembered Steve's strong arms holding her unconscious body and carrying her away from the destroyed bunker.
They escaped with their lives by a mere hair and she definitely would not have survived that air strike without Steve being there to protect her. That was the second time he saved her with his shield, but this time, they hadn't been The Black Widow and Captain America, side by side, fighting aliens from outer space. This time, they had been Steve and Natasha, trying to keep themselves alive.
Maybe she was dwelling to much, but Natasha needed Steve to know how much it meant to her that he saved her. Honestly, she could count on two hands how many times other people have done the same, and Steve was on the list twice. That meant something to her.
Natasha wanted to repay him for what he'd done because she had no idea how he felt about her trust-wise. Therfore, she was offering the only thing she could: She would have to find some way to pay him back. "I owe you," she said in a light whisper. Natasha never had to owe anyone before, so this was a first for her, but strangely, being in Steve's debt didn't bother her like it would have if he'd been anyone else.
Steve shook his head and replied, "It's okay." When he spoke, there was a tightness in Natasha's chest. Her heart began to pound wildly and she had to know if he was trying to tell her something important.
"If it was the other way around and it was down to me to save your life, now, you be honest with me...would you trust me to do it?" The words were out now. The very feelings that had been festering inside of her were on the table. She'd shown him her cards, holding nothing back. Now it was his turn to either let her down or give her a semblance of hope.
For someone who was great at reading people's facial expressions, Natasha was pretty terrible at seeing what Steve was saying. His face betrayed no emotion and he was quiet for a moment - it was actually three seconds, but Natasha had been so nervous that it felt like a lot longer - then he spoke with the firmness and confidence that that she had gotten used to hearing the last couple of years. "I would now. And I'm always honest."
In a rare show of emotion, Natasha's eyes widened. He said it. He really said it. She'd been stewing over that for so long, hoping that somehow, someday he'd be able to see something good in her, something worth having faith in. Because if he could see a light inside of her that gave him the ability to trust in her, then she could too.
"Steve...I..." Natasha tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come out. So she decided to show him how she felt in another way. Leaning forward, she pressed her lips against his, her hands touching his shoulders gently. It was a very chaste kiss and was over in less than ten seconds.
Suddenly feeling a bit shy, Natasha pulled back and gave him a slightly cocky grin. Well, it was more of a happy grin than a cocky one, but he probably didn't care either way. Especially not since he gripped her arms in his strong hands and moved his mouth over hers again.
That movement took the redhead by surprise and she stumbled backwards onto the bed. It was ungraceful in her part, but she wasn't embarrassed about it, just a tad bit annoyed that the promising moment had passed them by.
For Steve, it was a different story. He was standing now and looked down at her on the bed with an indiscernible look on his face. Before Natasha could ask him why he was staring at her so intently, he covered her body with his and kissed her again. "Nat...you drive me crazy..."
A low moan escaped from her lips, but Steve cut it off quickly. She mentally thanked him for that because there was no way she'd have been comfortable with Sam walking in on their intimate embrace. It as nice to know that she drove him crazy, though.
I guess this is lesson number two, she thought to herself with a sly grin as she returned his kisses. Natasha's hands ran up to clutch Steve's side and she let her fingers creep up under his tank top. The hot flesh she found there made her growl greedily. If only they hadn't been in a stranger's house, she would've dragged his patriotic ass into the shower with her and given him an education.
Just when the moment couldn't be any better, Steve's pelvis brushed against hers. Hard. The breaths coming from Natasha's grew heavy and she struggled to keep from tearing that damn tank top off. She had no idea if Steve was a virgin or not - he probably was, but that didn't matter to her - and her mind wasn't even on that level. All she knew was, she needed more of him. More of his touch.
Steve's hands were so gentle. He touched her like she was a precious jewel that he didn't want to break. There was something so caring in his caresses. Natasha had never felt what it was like to have a true lover, to know someone cherished you above everyone else, but that was what she believed she was feeling from Steve.
What she'd told him earlier in the truck about his hands not knowing what to do, well, he was making up for that now. Those strong and nimble fingers first held Natasha's neck to his lips so he could access it freely with his mouth. Then, after a considerable amount of time went by, he slid his digits down to her sides and squeezed her thighs.
"Mm..." Natasha moaned when she felt one of his fingers touch the inner part of her thigh. Steve smirked into the kiss, glad he'd discovered one of her zones and ran a circle down that sensitive area of her leg. The little tremors that shook her whole body made it hard to keep her voice down.
The lithe redhead let her fingers dance their way onto his backside and she squeezed him firmly. Steve opened his eyes and paused his ministrations to look at her in surprise. She simply gave him her best catlike grin and said, "I couldn't resist. You have a nice ass~"
After she said that, there was a flash of such intense, unadulterated arousal in his gaze that Natasha halted her breath in excitement. "Nat," he whispered, breath husky and deep with passion.
He wanted her.
The redhead moved her hands back to her own shirt and fingered the hem while looking at Steve with a playful smile. "What do you say, Rogers? Wanna take this up a notch?"
His face and his body language said the affirmative, and Natasha started to pull up her shirt when she heard it.
"Dammit!" She hissed in frustration and pushed her would-be lover away.
A knowing look shadowed Steve's face and he grimaced, reluctantly letting her push him off her body. He nearly threw himself in the chair he'd been previously sitting in. Natasha tugged her shirt back down over her stomach and noticed how Steve's eyes were latched onto that part of her body.
It took all of Natasha's will power not to clench her thighs in front of Steve. If she did that, it would only make things worse than they already were. Before either of them had the opportunity to speak, Sam popped his head in. If he suspected something happened between the two of them, he didn't voice it.
"I made breakfast, if you guys eat that kind of thing," was all he said before walking away.
In a different situation, Natasha's lips would have been curled in a smile. Instead, her lips were in a straight line and she drew upon her stoic demeanor. She merely nodded her head at Sam and stood up. Steve did the same and as they both reached the door, Natasha turned to him, her hand in front of his mouth, stopping him from speaking.
"I know that we have a lot to talk about after what just happened between us, but can we...table this discussion for later? Until we're all alone?"
Steve inclined his head towards her. "Okay."
The redhead leaned forward and gave Steve a light kiss on his cheek. He, in return, squeezed her hand gently. Then they both moved to the dining room. Inwardly, Natasha prayed that, in the very near future, she and Steve would be granted a moment alone. After today, they needed it.
Chapter 3: Just For Tonight
Maria Hill rescues Steve, Sam and Natasha and brings them to a secure facility where they find Nick is still alive. Steve and Nat have a quiet moment the night before they infiltrate SHIELD headquarters.
I know that continuity-wise, Nick had the team rest up before telling them about their plans to take down Pierce and Project Insight on the same day, but for the sake of my story, I changed it. I think that one last intimate moment between the two would-be lovers gives the story a nice boost of angst.
Please forgive any OOC behaviour on Steve and Nat's part. I had a really difficult time writing the last scene in this chapter. This was a big struggle for me to finish! Never has the 'fruits of my labor' been more true for any of my stories than this one. The next two stories should be easy sailing, though! :D
I debated on whether or not Steve and Nat should make love in this chapter, but after a little thinking, I decided against it as it would have been one of those 'last chance before we die' kind of things and I didn't want that. It would've taken away the intimacy of the moment and added a desperation to the situation, which I really did not want.
Natasha's eyes closed as the van continued to its destination. The blood loss from her wound was making her head cloudy and her vision, blurry. Even though she was in intense pain - albeit, nothing much worse than she had ever been through before - she still wanted to comfort Steve.
The haunted look on his face when he realized that the winter soldier was, in fact, his best friend, Bucky Barnes - or rather, his once believed dead best friend - tugged at her heart. It was her last chance to say something to him, to ease the pain of knowing that they were likely about to be killed by the now-HYDRA strike force.
Natasha, Steve and Sam were in the back of an unmarked black van with two masked guards sitting in front of the back doors. The electric rods in their hands were no mere toys and all three prisoners knew that it would be futile to try and fight them when they were in the enemy's hands.
Steve had kept glancing ever so often at Natasha's arm and she knew that he was feeling guilty over the fact that Bucky himself had been the one who shot her. Resisting the urge to close her eyes, Natasha gritted her teeth at the pain and covered Steve's hand with her own.
"This is my fault," he whispered to her, looking at the wound on her shoulder. This wouldn't have happened to you if it weren't for me."
They may have been sitting in the back of a van with people who were planning to kill them, but Natasha wasn't going to keep mum about her feelings now. They were out of time. If holding Steve Roger's hand was the last thing she could do to show him how she felt about him, she would do it. "Steve, don't blame yourself."
She wanted to say more, but the strain of keeping conscious was hard and the redhead found that she was beginning to pass out from the loss of blood. Steve gripped her shoulder. "Nat? Nat? Stay with me!" He touched the wound in her shoulder and grimaced. She was losing much more blood than he'd previously thought.
Sam leaned over to look at Natasha. She was almost out completely. He turned to one of the guards and said harshly, "Look, man! She's bleeding bad! She needs a doctor!"
One of the guards responded by pulling out his electric rod and charging it as if to warn Sam to back off. Sam halted.
Suddenly, the same guard who pulled out the rod, turned to the other guard and shocked him in the neck with it. Sam, Steve and a barely conscious Natasha stared at the sight, wondering what in the world was going on.
After shocking his partner, the other guard pulled off his helmet and revealed himself to be...Maria Hill. She groaned. "Ah, that thing was squeezing my brain." She looked over at Natasha and Steve, then furrowed her brow at Sam. "Who's this guy?"
Steve shook his head at the brunette. "He's a friend. We'll fill you in later. I'm assuming you have a plan to get us out of this?"
Maria nodded and held out her electric rod. "Yeah, I have a van a few hundred feet from this location that'll take us where we need to go, but we need to hurry." She glanced at Natasha, who was now unconscious and flicked her eyes to Steve's anxious face. "Don't worry. This won't take very long." Then she bent down and began carving a large, circular hole on the floor of the van.
"Nat, wake up." Steve gently shook the redhead next to him in effort to awaken her. She mumbled something in Russian before slowly opening her eyes and looking at the blonde man sitting beside her.
"We're safe now, alright? Maria picked us up, remember? She's taken us to a secure facility and you're gonna get treated, okay?"
The door to the van they're in slid open and Steve stepped out first, turning back to help Natasha out of the vehicle. Once they get into the building, Natasha was again on the verge of passing out. In the back of her mind, she thought how nice it was that he was looking after her. If the situation were different, she'd be kissing him right now.
Steve was holding Natasha close to him, feeling an alien sense of worry about his partner. Throughout all of the battles and missions they'd gone on together, he had never seen her looking so pale and vulnerable than she did now.
As they walked down the large hall, a man in a white uniform - obviously a medic - meets them and pulls back the bandage Steve is helping Nat hold in place of her wound. He looks up and says to Maria, "She's losing too much blood. We need to patch her up as quickly as possible."
Maria didn't look back as she replied, "Not yet. She'll want to see him first."
Natasha blinked and she tried to understand who the 'he' was that Maria was talking about, but her brain refused to work and her steps grew more and more slow and unsteady as she went further.
Steve could see how bad Natasha was and he had a thing or two to say to Maria for making his partner wait to be treated. Before he could open his mouth, they came to a large room with medical monitors and a hospital bed. Shockingly, the man who lie on the bed was no one other than Nick Fury himself.
"It's about damn time," the director said in his stern voice.
Steve and Natasha were at a loss for words then and all they could do was stare at their boss, wondering how in the hell he managed to live after what the Winter Soldier did to him. Natasha attempted to move forward, but her legs buckled underneath her and she fell to the ground. Steve caught her quickly and held her up in his arms.
He was a little more than annoyed at all of the secrecy going on and he sure as hell had a lot of questions, but for right now, Natasha mattered more than his anger. Barely holding in his temper, Steve snapped, "She needs help. Now."
The medic who had met them in the hall had Steve follow him to another room adjoining the one Nick was currently in.
No one missed the fire in Steve's eyes when he took his partner in his arms. It was obvious that something had developed between them while they were on the run from SHIELD.
The first thing Natasha felt when she woke up was the feel of someone's arm under her own. The redhead furrowed her brow and turned her head to the side. Her eyes settled on Steve Rogers, who lie on the hospital bed with her. He was asleep and she gathered that Sam was as well in one of the other rooms in this building. God knows they needed rest after the past couple of days.
Looking at her injured shoulder, Natasha peeled back the white cloth that had been placed over it. The smell of antiseptic filled her nostrils and she wrinkled her nose. At least the bullet had been taken out and her wound was now clean. The pain was gone and she could move her arm around with little difficulty.
Steve groaned and Natasha just watched him closely. In his sleep, he seemed so peaceful and serene, but she knew that he felt like the weight of the world was on his shoulders when he was awake. She leaned down to him and allowed her fingers to glide over his features. His eyebrows, his cheekbones, his strong jaw, his lips. Oh, especially his lips.
It had been too long since she'd felt his mouth on hers. Natasha knew that there were serious things to be concerned about right now and getting involved...caring about the soldier lying next to her could only bring trouble for both of them. Yet, she couldn't bring herself to give a damn.
Natasha lowered her lips to Steve's neck and she pecked the skin there softly. He stirred a little and she smiled, moving her lips against his neck just as he did to her in Sam's room earlier. With another groan, Steve's eyes opened and he shot her a confused look. "Nat...what are you-"
The redhead covered his lips with her fingers and stroked his cheek. "Don't say anything. Just let me enjoy this moment while it lasts." She kissed his eyelids and both of his cheeks.
Steve moaned, unused to feeling such tenderness from a woman before. Natasha understood that and did her best not to frighten him. She rested her hands on his shoulders and pressed hot, wet kisses to his jaw, framing it with each one. She wanted him to remember this for the rest of his life.
Her fingers glided over the tan skin on Steve's biceps and she massaged his muscles. "Have I ever told you that I love looking at your muscles?"
"You do...?" The blonde's cheeks turned red and Natasha bit her lip, holding back laughter at his blush. He was so cute, manly and sexy in his own undeniable way. That was one of the reasons she found it so hard to resist him.
"Mm, yes. In fact, I find everything about you tantalising." She gave him a soft kiss on his lips. "Your beliefs." Kiss. "Your ideals." Kiss. "Your shyness." Kiss. "Your stubbornness." Kiss.
"Wait, wait. Nat." Steve pulled back and held her away from his body, confusion riddled his features. "What is this? What are you saying?"
There was adrenaline pumping through Natasha's veins in a way she's never felt before. She ran her hands through her hair and blashed a deep scarlet. No sense in holding back now. She had nothing to lose. "I've wanted you from the moment I first met you, Steve."
"What?" Shock exploded on Steve's face and Natasha could feel him shake beneath her. She hadn't planned on confessing this to him, but hell, if they were going to die today, then she had nothing to lose.
She entwined her fingers with his and clenched them. "Yes...I've always thought that you were the most unattainable man I'd ever met. You're the only man I know who can't be bought or tricked into abandoning your beliefs. When you make up your mind, you're like a rock. No one can move you." She kissed his hand and held it close to her heart.
"You make me want to be a better person, Steve. I always feel...good when we're together. I can be myself around you and not be guilty for it. On our missions, when you protect me with your shield and your body, I get the sense that there's more to it than just protection."
These words were difficult for her to say, but the more she spoke, the easier it was to speak. "I just want to lie here with you and pretend like there's no tomorrow. Just this once, I want us to be Natasha and Steve." She still held his hand and looked into his eyes.
The passion she saw in those blue orbs made her catch her breath. Steve's mouth lowered to hers and enveloped her in a deep kiss. She moaned and cupped the back of his head, giving back as good as she got. Their lips mated tenderly and passionately and only the sounds of their panting breaths filled the room.
Steve pulled back after a few moment to catch his breath. He touched her cheek and stroked the skin. "I want to be with you too, Nat."
Joy filled her being and a smile graced her lips. "Oh, Steve...then I'm not alone." Natasha's eyes filled with tears and she didn't bother wiping them away. For once, she let her walls down and allowed Steve to see her as who she really was. A woman who cared about him. What's more, he reciprocated her feelings.
"You're never alone. Not with me. No matter what happens tomorrow, I want you to remember that." He kissed her forehead and held her to him, arms wrapping around her tightly. She, in turn, sighed into the embrace and lie her head on his chest.
In another time, in another place, he would have told her that he loved her, but he couldn't do that. Not now. They had to get through the next day first, and then, go from there. Together, Steve and Natasha shed the masks of soldier and spy to be their true selves. If only for one night.
Chapter 4: So Long For Now
After HYDRA has been exposed and SHIELD's secrets now dumped on the internet, Natasha has a meeting with government officials on Capitol Hill and later, parts ways with Steve.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Natasha ran into the hospital and didn't stop until she reached Steve's room. Once inside, she saw him lying on a bed, chest moving up and down steadily. His face had taken a beating and there were pink marks and bruises marring the flesh. Steve's skin was healing rapidly, though, which made her smile. He'd probably be right as rain tomorrow. Thank goodness he wasn't an ordinary man.
The redhead turned and closed the door before walking over to a chair next to the bed. She seated herself on it and took Steve's hand, brushing her thumb against the knuckles gently. "You'd better get well soon, you hear me, Rogers? That serum needs to work its magic fast because we have a lot to talk about."
After the last time they were together, Natasha knew there was no going back to the platonic friendship they'd grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, she only had a brief moment to be with Steve. She had a meeting to go to and it wasn't mandatory.
Three days had passed since the fall of SHIELD and HYDRA and the politicians on Capitol Hill were looking for someone to blame. Not that Natasha was surprised. Politicians were always pointing their fingers at people and complaining about anything and everything.
"Why haven't we heard from Captain Rogers?"
"Well, let's see. He's recovering from his injuries and is currently not available to sit here and let you attack him for something that was going on behind the scenes and right under your nose, which was ultimately beyond his control."
She didn't say that. She wished that she had said that, but this was her response. "I don't know what there is left for him to say. I think the wreck in the middle of the Potomac made his point fairly eloquently."
"Well, he could explain how this country's expected to maintain its national security now that he and you have laid waste to our intelligence apparatus."
Honestly, politicians could be so one track minded. Did she have to spell the obvious out for them? The restless feeling Natasha had gotten since sitting down in that chair was growing more by the minute. "HYDRA was selling you lies, not intelligence."
"Many of which you seemed to have a hand in telling."
"Agent, you should know that there are some of this committee who feel, given your service record, both for this country and against it, that you belong in a penitentiary. Not mouthing off on Capitol Hill."
Ah, of course. Here we go. Defaming one of the people who helped save your sorry asses from a terrible fate possibly worse than death. Natasha had a feeling that these people had never heard of the term 'let sleeping dogs lie'. Yes, she had done terrible things for and against this country, but that was all in the past.
They didn't see it that way, though. To them, her ledger was still gushing red and nothing she ever did would wipe the slate clean.
With the fall of SHIELD and the truth all over the web, she was exposed, a sitting duck. Dumping that information and been the hardest thing Natasha ever had to do. Now there was certainly an even bigger target on her back and here, they were looking for someone to point their finger at. How typical.
Natasha had been sitting here for three hours and forty-two minutes and she was sick of it. As the men spoke, she cocked her head to the side and looked away for a moment before replying with a strong statement. "You're not gonna put me in a prison. You're not gonna put any of us in a prison. You know why?"
"Do enlighten us," came the response and the look on his face said that he doubted whatever she had to say. Not that she gave a shit what any of these politicians thought.
"Because you need us. Yes, the world is a vulnerable place, and yes, we help make it that way. But we're also the ones best qualified to defend it. So if you want to arrest me, arrest me. You'll know where to find me."
She watched the expressions on each of their faces and already knew that they wouldn't follow through with their threats. They knew she was right. The police, the military, none of them had the power to fight the dangers that had begun to arise on the planet. Only people like she, Steve, Sam, the Avengers. They were the ones who made it safe so ordinary people could go to sleep in safety.
Pushing back from her chair, she stood and walked away from the room and the row of government officials, ignoring the many reporters and cameras in her direction with people asking for a statement from her.
A tiny smirk appeared on her face as she made her way out of the Capitol building and down to her corvette. After all of that, she felt the need to go for a drive. Then, she would go see a certain young soldier in the hospital.
Natasha took a thirty minute drive to let off some steam after that unpleasant meeting at Capitol Hill - well, actually, there was something she had to get for Steve first - then she headed back to the hospital where he was residing.
It really shouldn't have been a surprise to her when she got to his room and found that he wasn't in the bed anymore. He'd healed up a lot faster than she thought he would. What a shame, though, because she had brought a couple boxes of Thai food for them to share. Now, she'd have to eat alone.
After finishing her meal, Natasha went to Steve's apartment and knocked on the door. "Hey, soldier. You in there?" She waited for thirty seconds, then picked the lock and opened the door with no problems. A quick sweep of the apartment let her know that he wasn't home.
A small beep chimed from her phone and she picked it up and saw that Steve sent her a text several minutes ago.
I'm at the cemetery. Can you meet me?
She smirked and replied quickly. Be there in ten.
By the time she arrived, she saw Fury talking to Steve and Sam as they stood at Fury's grave. It didn't take much for her to hear what he said to them. He was going off the grid and probably going to look for some of the HYDRA leftovers in different parts of the country.
She heard Fury ask Sam and Steve if they'd care to join him and both declined. She knew why, of course. Bucky. Steve had made a close encounter with his once-thought dead best friend a few days ago and he wasn't going to give up searching for him. Sam seemed to have decided on partnering up with him. Good choice, she thought as she approached.
The last words Fury said before walking away were, "If anyone asks for me, tell them they can find me right here." He motioned to his grave, shook both mens' hands and took his leave.
"You should be honoured," Natasha called out. Steve and Sam turned when they heard her voice. "That's about as close as he gets to saying thank you."
Steve walked over to her. "Not going with him?"
She smiled and said, "No."
"Not staying here." There was a sound of reluctant acceptance in his voice as he said this and it wasn't missed by Natasha.
Her face softened. As much as she wanted to stay and be with him, helping him look for Bucky, Natasha knew that right now, she needed to be out of sight for a while. She had to figure out what step to take next. It was time for a hiatus.
"Nah," she replied. "I blew all my covers. I gotta go figure out a new one."
"That might take a while."
"I'm counting on it." Natasha looked at him, their eyes locked on to each other. She could feel her heart slamming against her chest. She hated to leave him, but it was for the best. Whether she liked it or not. She held out the folder to him as she said, That thing you asked for. I called in a few favours from Kiev."
Steve looked down at the file. His jaw was clenched and there was a resoluteness to his features. Natasha couldn't help but smile at his determined stare. Deep down, she hoped he would find Bucky because his life wouldn't be complete if he didn't have the man who was essentially his only living family by his side.
That kind of devotion had been foreign to Natasha only until recently, when she realised how deeply her feelings for Steve ran. Maybe someday they could find the right time to see where their connection would lead them. Unfortunately, with the country in an uproar over the fall of SHIELD, the public eye would still be on her. Disappearing was her best option at the moment.
"I don't want you to go, Nat," Steve said in a low voice, just loud enough for her to hear.
A sharp pang struck her in the heart at that and she stepped forward, taking his hand in hers and clutching it tightly. "I won't be gone long, Steve. I promise. This isn't forever. It's just...goodbye for now."
He touched her cheek tenderly. "It's not fair."
The pain in his voice nearly crushed her, but she forced herself to hold together. She had to. "When is life ever?" She covered his hand with hers and moved closer. "Hey, don't look so down. You're just going to make it harder for me to leave if you do that." Her voice had taken on a playful tilt as she tried to lighten the mood.
"I'll do my best. Where are you going?"
"I'm not quite sure yet, but...here." She pulled out a small, burner cell phone and gave it to him. "If you ever need to call or you just want to hear my voice, use it. I'll always pick up."
Steve nodded and placed the phone in his jacket pocket. That was a touching gesture from Natasha. Back when they first started partnering up for SHIELD missions, they had an inside joke that if either of them had to leave the country in a hurry, they would leave a cell phone behind so the other could contact them. For important purposes or personal ones.
Neither of them imagined that there would come a time where this would actually happen. Reality was setting in and she was a bitter mistress.
"Try not to miss me too much," Natasha whispered to him with a slightly shaky smile.
There was such raw torment, watching the different tics of his face as he tried his best to keep himself calm as well. They both knew they had started something, an intimacy that neither would put out of their minds. Being separated from each other would do nothing to change that fact or ease the burden of the distance between them.
Steve entwined his fingers with hers and squeezed them. "That's impossible."
"Then this is for until the next time we meet." Natasha leaned forward and pressed her lips to his. The kiss was soft and gentle at first, then it gradually grew more heated with her fingers gripping his shoulders and his hands drawing her waist against him.
A moan slipped from her lips as Steve's thumbs brushed under her shirt and grazed her bare skin. Their bodies were fight against each other and the friction between them made Natasha's head spin. Her hands went from Steve's shoulders to his hair and she nibbled on his bottom lip with fervour.
Eventually, they withdrew so they could take in deep breaths. Steve placed a kiss on Natasha's forehead and held her to him. "When you come back, I'm gonna take you out on a date."
Surprised, Natasha pulled back and chuckled at his sudden words. "Oh?"
"Yes. Because you are coming back and when you do, I'm going to wine and dine you, Natalia Alianovna Romanova. And I'm going to ask you to be my best girl, so be prepared." The confidence resonating from him made her beam in pleasure.
Her heart swelled, hearing him call her by her full Russian name. It sounded so perfect on his lips, like he was meant to say it. "You really want me to be your best girl, Steve? After everything that's happened, you're willing to do that?" She could scarcely believe her ears.
Steve kissed her hand and smoothed his thumb over the soft knuckles. Chills ran down her spine and she shivered from the warm rush that ran through her body when he touched her so.
"I told you I'm always honest. Remember? And yes, I want you to be my best girl. I've wanted you to be my best girl ever since that day in New York when you jumped off my shield and onto that Chit'auri craft."
Natasha couldn't help the laugh that escaped her mouth then. "My finest moment."
"I second that," Steve replied, then he reached into his pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a necklace. He handed it to her and placed it in her palm.
She looked down at the necklace and realised that he hadn't handed her a necklace, but his dog tags instead. Emotions danced across her features like an elegant ballet and she gasped and fingered the tags. The name Steve G. Rogers was etched on the metal. "Why give this to me?"
"Because I want you to keep it safe with you until you get back. And...because sometimes, when I look at you, I see a part of the little guy I used to be inside of you. You remind me of myself a lot. You may not think you're worthy and people may say that too, but I believe in you. I trust you, Nat and I always want you to remember that, okay?"
His words were like sweet music to her ears and she squeezed his hand. "Okay..."
Steve put the dog tags around Natasha's neck and smiled in approval. "Now you look ready to take on the world," he said proudly.
"Maybe some day I can do that, but right now, I just need to get lost for a while."
"Don't we all?" Steve took Natasha's hand in his and brought it to his lips. "Bye, Nat..."
"Bye, Steve." She caressed his cheek and held her face to his for a moment before turning and leaving the cemetery.
For years, Natasha had gotten used to walking the road alone, but now, things were different. No matter where she went or what she did, she was not alone anymore. Not by a long shot. The dog tags around her neck were a reminder that Steve was with her, but more than that. He was now in her heart.
Poor Steve and Nat. Having to separate after realising there was something special between them. That won't be the case for too long, though. Everything will wrap up nicely in the epilogue and yes, there will be fluff~!❤️
Chapter 5: Here To Stay
Steve hasn't seen Natasha in a year and his search for Bucky has been a fruitless dead-end. Luckily, tonight, things will change.
This chapter bears some similarities to the last chapter of The Artful Black Widow. However, they are very different stories and I did my best to make that evident. I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this fic as much as I have, writing it. :D
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had been a year. A whole year had passed and Steve was no closer to finding Bucky than right after the fall of SHIELD. Not only that, but it had also been a year since he'd last seen Natasha.
"I should have asked her to stay with me," he lamented to Sam one night while they were both in Istanbul, having a drink and feeling a bit frustrated over, yet another dead-end in their search for Bucky. "I should have told her how I felt."
Sam had put his hand on Steve's shoulder encouragingly. "Hey, man, don't think about what you should have done. Those kind of regrets will only make you more miserable. Natasha said she needed to leave for a while, so you have to respect that decision, even if it hurts. I may not have known her very long, but I know for sure that she's not the kind of woman who will stay no matter how much you ask her."
He was right, too. Natasha Romanov was a woman who was used to living life looking out for herself. She had a mind of her own and she wouldn't let herself be compelled to do something unless she allowed it. Looking back, though, Steve couldn't help but feel like slamming his head on a table for letting her slip through his fingers.
The only thing that kept him going was knowing that Natasha had freely worn his dog tags around her neck and promised that she would come back. Other people would probably find it hard to believe her, but not Steve. There had been a significant change in he and Natasha's relationship during the few days they exposed HYDRA.
Natasha had opened up to him more than he expected. For the first time, she let her walls down with him and let him see the real Natasha Romanov. Steve thought about the moment they shared in Sam's house. If Sam hadn't interrupted them, Steve was certain that he would have made love to her right there. A rush of longing ran through him at the memory and he rubbed his forehead tiredly.
Many of his nights had been filled with Natasha, and lately, he felt like he just might be driven insane from them. At this point, he just hoped that she'd show up soon because he really missed having her around. He missed having his arms on her waist, his lips on hers.
Walking up the stairs and crossing the floor to his apartment, Steve pulled out his keys to unlock the door. "It's not like it matters anyway." He opened the door, walked inside and closed it, locking it as he spoke. "All the wishing in the world won't bring her back any sooner."
"Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about," came a female voice behind him.
Startled, Steve turned around, in shock from hearing that voice. Natasha. Her hair was short again, similar to the way it looked when he first met her three and a half years ago. She was wearing a pair of jeans, a jacket and a blue t shirt that had the familiar symbol of his shield on it.
"Nat...is that really you?" He croaked out, unsure if what he was seeing was real or an apparition.
The redhead smiled and came towards him, pulling his body to hers and wrapping her arms around him. "Yes, it's me. You can rest easy, soldier."
Steve's shoulders shook and his fingers gripped her waist, holding her as if he were afraid that she'd leave. His lips trembled and he squeezed his eyes shut. "I missed you so much." He pulled back for a moment and pressed his lips to hers urgently, like a man dying for air and she was all the oxygen he could get.
Natasha kissed him with equal fervor and clung to him. She could tell by the desperation in his voice and the way he latched on to her, that he needed this. So she continued to kiss him and hold him to her. To be honest, she needed this as much as he did. The last year had been so rough without Steve by her side, and yes, they did call each other every now and then, but it wasn't the same as being face to face.
Eventually, they had to pull themselves apart to breathe and after a few panting breaths, Steve held his forehead to hers. "If I have to handcuff you to the bed, I'm never letting you out of my sight again."
A raspy chuckle came from her lips and she nudged him with her arm. "Handcuffs, Steve? I had no idea you were so kinky." A smirk spread across her lips and she raised an eyebrow at him playfully.
"I never said I was a saint."
"Mm, well, that's just another reason to make me like you more."
Steve grinned and kissed her nose.
Natasha bit her lip and looked away for a moment. "Steve...did you really mean what you said after you came into the apartment?"
He barely hesitated to respond. "Yes, I did. You have no idea how tough it's been without you around, Nat. Sam is a good friend and I can always rely on him, but with you, it's different. You're just...you."
"I could never be anyone else, Steve."
A serious look crossed his features and that familiar chastising tone crept into his voice. "Why didn't you give me a heads-up? The last time we talked was a week ago and you never said anything about coming back."
Natasha pulled away from Steve's embrace and went to the window, looking at the moon through the glass. "I wanted to surprise you, but that's not all of it. There's something I need to tell you. Something that I couldn't just say over the phone or in a text. I needed to see you up close and personal."
The words began to spill out of her like a fountain. "Steve, I spent so much time by myself over the years. I always worked alone and that suited me, but then, SHIELD started partnering us together for missions and I just knew things were going to be different. Over time, I got used to being around you. You gave me little glimpses into who Steve Rogers really is and I liked what I saw. I began to look forward to our missions, to seeing your face. It didn't take long before I realised that I had feelings for you."
"The more I got to know you, the more I thought that I could never be with you. I believed that you needed a woman who wasn't tainted like me and done so many horrible things like I have. Someone like...Sharon. Or if not her, then someone better."
It was difficult for Natasha to say this, but she had to get it off her chest. The more she spoke, the freer she felt. "That's why I kept trying to find you a date for so long. It was my way of coping, because if I couldn't have you, the least I could do was find you the perfect partner."
Steve wanted to interrupt and tell her that he didn't need her to find him the perfect partner because he'd already found one in her. However, he bit his tongue and let her finish what she was saying. It was important for him to listen to her right now.
Natasha walked over to him and took his hand in hers, her eyes locked on his. "I've been gone for a year, but it feels so much longer. You've filled up my life, Steve. Without you around, I felt like there was something missing. You make me feel complete and I can't go back to the way things were. Because...being alone means being without you and I won't do that. I can't. Not anymore, and I know you feel the same way because I felt it every time we kissed."
She touched his cheek with her hand. "That's why I'm here, now. You're my light, Steve. You're the one person on this earth who doesn't judge me for my mistakes or hold my past against me. You make me want to be a better woman, believe that I am a better woman. I don't care if I don't deserve you. I don't care what the world says about us being together because I love you."
Steve covered her hand with his. He was sure that she could feel the pounding of his heart. "You have no idea how much I've wanted to hear you say those words. You know you never have to prove anything to me. I'll always take you as you are, no matter what kind of life you used to live. I'm with you right now and this..." - he touched her heart with his warm palm - "...is the real Natasha Romanov. And I love her. I love you, Nat."
"Thank God," she whispered and a few tears slid down her cheeks as she smiled at him before burying her face in his chest again.
They just stood there for a while, holding each other until Steve felt Natasha slump in his arms. He looked down at her and chuckled, realising that she had fallen asleep in his embrace. "Well, that doesn't happen every day." He scooped her up in his arms and carried her, bridal style, to his bedroom.
Once they reached the bed, he tugged off her jacket and boots, setting them on the chair across from the bed. After that, he made a quick work of his own jacket and shoes, then climbed into the bed with her. Steve pulled the comforter over both of their bodies and pulled Natasha close to him so she fit against him like a glove.
The smell of her vanilla shampoo soothed him and he was on the edge of sleep until he heard her speak. "Steve...?"
The blond blinked and kissed the back of her neck. "Yeah?"
She turned around, facing him with a perplexed look on her face. "What happened?"
"You fell asleep."
"Oh, and you carried me to bed." The way she said it wasn't a question, but a statement.
She groaned and moved around a bit. "I love that you're such a gentleman, but you could have taken off my bra."
Steve stilled, wondering if she meant that as a joke or if she were serious. "Uh, you wanted me to take off your bra?"
"It would have been nice, yes." Natasha sat up momentarily and reached under her shirt, unhooking her bra swiftly. She sighed in content as she pulled the fabric off her bosom.
Steve clenched his hands, imagining how soft and warm her breasts would feel beneath his fingers.
"That's much better. Just a tip for you, for a woman, sleeping with a bra on is no fun. Sometimes, you wake up, feeling sore after having it on all night. Breasts need to breathe, sometimes."
"Could you not talk to me about your breasts, Nat?"
She blinked at him and then, she giggled. "Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to arouse you; I promise. I just wanted to give you some advice, is all."
Steve shook his head. "Don't worry about it. I'm about to fall back asleep anyway."
Natasha gave him a saucy grin. "I think we've both had pretty long days, so a good night's sleep is just what we need, right?"
He yawned. "Right."
"I'll see you in the morning, Steve. And then, after we're both refreshed and well-rested, we can pick up where we left off at Sam's house. Deal?"
A light shone in Steve's eyes and he gave her a kiss that was so intense, it made her toes curl. He moved back and winked at her. "Sounds good to me." Then he pulled her close to him again, so they could cuddle once more.
I hope you guys caught the Willy Wonka reference in the story! ;)