“That tickles,” Natasha commented lightly, smiling a little and combing her fingers through James’s hair as he bit lightly at the base of her neck, following it up with a hot pass of his tongue that made her shiver, the scratch of his stubble tickling lightly against her skin.
“Do you want me to stop?” he asked, smiling as he pressed another kiss into the hollow of her shoulder, she could feel it against her skin, even as his hand skimmed up under her shirt, gentle against the curve of her spine until he found the clasp of her bra and unhooked it easily.
Natasha smiled a little more, burying it with a kiss in his hair as she curled her fingers firmly into the thick hair at the nape of his neck, gripping it tightly so that she could tug at it. “Don’t you dare,” she said.
James shivered a little, that time, but she thought it was a pleasant kind of shiver, and his palm went flat against her back as he moved his mouth up along her neck to place a kiss behind her ear, bite lightly at it. “You’re the boss,” he murmured against the whorl of her ear.
Natasha smiled a little at that, too, but it was a serious thought. “Hmm,” she said, and she moved to straddle him, not letting go of his hair, instead, using it to drag his mouth back up to hers, curling her arm more thoroughly around his shoulders as she settled over him. He let her, tilting his head eagerly up into the kiss even as she tightened her fingers in his hair, at the nape of his neck, his hand skimming down to settle against the bare skin of her waist under her shirt. The other came up hesitantly to rest at her side, barely touching her skin, just a delicate brush of the fingers she knew to be metal, though they didn’t look like it just now. She personally didn’t care one way or the other; he could have held onto her as hard as he liked with that hand, she wasn’t the sort to be put off, even by bruises, but she knew he was conscious of it, how much force the metal could exert, and so didn’t mention it—she had been afraid he was going to leave it lying flat on the sofa cushion, not touching her at all, as he’d been prone to doing lately, and she would have said something then, but this was progress.
She licked over his chapped, rough bottom lip instead, curling her tongue deeply into his mouth, reveling in the banked, surging heat in the way he kissed her back and yet the lightness of his touch, the way he tilted his head back so willingly with her grip on his hair. His real hand tightened a little, just a little, on her waist, his fingers curling inward, and she could feel the sweat on his palm against her skin.
She kissed him a moment longer, feeling the heat of it starting to tingle and prickle fizzily under her own skin. His hand pressed flat against her back, moving up against her spine, clutching her closer to him without really pulling. They were both flushed by the time she pulled away—she could feel the heat and warmth high in her own cheeks, and see the answering flush in his. She tugged his hair a bit more, to see his flush deepen and warm and his lips part, curling her fingers tight into the slightly curling strands, against the back of his neck, then said, “All right, then,” with a bit of a smile. She brought her hand away, pulled her shirt off over her head and tossed it over the back of the sofa, following it with her bra and shaking her hair back over her shoulders, running one hand back through it to tease it out.
He smiled up at her, chest heaving just a bit from the kiss. “That’s a good look on you,” he said, blushing a little, his lips going crooked as he ran his hand up along her back.
“In charge?” Natasha asked, grinning, “or topless?” She reached down and gripped the bottom of his shirt, pulling it up over his head to follow hers, as he raised his arms to help. It left his hair tousled, and she smiled at that, combed it back out of his eyes a bit and framed his face with both her hands after tossing his shirt away, too.
“Both,” he said, and grinned, turned his face and bit lightly at her thumb. His cheeks were still a little flushed, the pink clearly visible even in the low light from the lamp near the sofa. “Either. Is that a trick question?”
“Not for you,” she said, idly stroking his hair back behind his ears. Most questions were trick questions, she thought, but she tried to be honest with James, because of what it meant. They both knew the value of honesty, of not having any masks and not playing games. And she knew he knew it, because he bit his lip, dropped his chin though without looking away from her eyes, pressed his lips to her thumb in a soft kiss.
“Then both,” he said, quietly, gazing up at her. The look was sincere, almost reverent, and the meaning of it was clear to her. She leaned in, pressed a kiss to his forehead, then trailed her fingers down over his shoulders, thumbing over his nipples and running her palms down over his sides, before she moved her hand down to palm his crotch, feeling the heat of his erection tight under the cloth of his pants under her hand. He gasped and arched up slightly, his eyes widening, but didn’t look away, his lips parting again. She smiled and bit lightly at his bottom one, following it up with a light lick over the spot, before she curled her fingers more firmly around his erection through his pants and ducked her head down to bite at his shoulder. He shifted under her, pushing up into her hand, then his hips dropped down again, squirming just slightly, not demandingly, but moving restlessly, almost anxiously.
“Shh,” Natasha said, smiling a little to herself. “Easy, now.”
James gasped, gave her a look, looking sweaty, tousled, aware of what she was doing and breathless, both frustrated and pleading, but bit his lip and went still, fingers of his real hand curling against her back. She pushed him back against the sofa a bit, rubbing her hand in circles over him now, up and down, slow and teasing, through the front of his pants, until he was gasping, his hands opening and closing. The metal hand did go down to the sofa, digging into the cushion as his eyes fluttered closed, then open again.
“Now, don’t rush things,” she said, teasing and a little overly sweet, to get him going, and watched as he opened and closed his mouth, that flush rising in his cheeks again and down over his chest, frowned just for a moment before he took a deep breath and nodded. He came willingly when she reached out, curled her fingers around the back of his neck, and brought him forward to rest his forehead against her shoulder, and she could feel the warm puffs of his breath as he dragged in long pulls of it against her skin. She kept at it, rubbing against him, stroking the fingers of her other hand against the back of his neck, tugging lightly on his hair, then curving her fingers in against his skin, rubbing the pads of them there. She curled them in one by one, scratching lightly with her nails until he was gasping a little harder for breath, his skin pebbling down over his chest with the sensations. When he was circling his hips in small, abortive little movements and had his forehead pressed even closer, holding desperately to her with the arm he had looped around her waist, she finally opened the top button of his trousers, pulled the zipper down delicately with one hand, and then traced her fingers over the heavy, hot length of his cock, outlined clearly through his briefs, which felt warm and slightly damp under her hand. He gasped, dragged in a deep, raspy breath that wasn’t quite a grunt, or a whine, but something in between, his head coming up, but he didn’t protest.
She simply kissed him again, pressing their lips together, his lips parted and moist with his warm, heaving breath under hers, as he leaned into the kiss, giving way eagerly, generously, beneath her exploring lips and tongue. The kiss was passionate, intense, but slow, as she took her time and he leaned into it, cooperating, slow slides of their lips, tongues against each other, slick and wet. Natasha hooked her fingers in James’ briefs and carefully pulled them up, freeing the head of his cock, then tugged them down beneath his balls, using her hand to push both trousers and briefs down around his knees a moment later. He let them drop down to his ankles, then toed them off over his feet, still in his soft gray socks from earlier, and kicked them away. She kissed him just a little bit more deeply, more insistently, so that when she pulled away he really was gasping for breath, then did just that to get a look at him, naked underneath her on the sofa, except for those socks, bare and exposed to her gaze. He was trembling a little with desire, arm still around her waist, the other clenched into a fist against his thigh. His cock was flushed dark with need, desperately erect, and he flushed a little, in his cheeks, down over his neck into his chest, when he saw her looking at it, looked down.
She tsked at him for that, got her fingers under his chin and tilted his head up again, so that he could meet her eyes, then moved her fingers down, tapped them gently against the front of his shoulder, where the joint of the metal met his skin, raising her eyebrows at him and rubbing her thumb gently against the seam for a moment. James bit his lip, but lifted his hand and pressed the button on the back of his shoulder, so that the illusion of flesh faded away, and they were both faced with gleaming metal. Natasha traced her fingers down over it, down over the joint of the elbow, over his wrist, to take his fingers in hers. “There,” she said, “there you are,” and he smiled a little, not quite bashful, not quite hesitant, but he ducked his head, and squeezed her hand in return.
“Yeah,” he said. His voice was a bit uneven, rough in his throat, but she just ran her thumb over the metal curve of his wrist, rubbing it there another moment.
She held James’ gaze another moment, moved her other hand up to slide her hand down her chest, over her stomach so that she could skim it beneath her pants and her own underwear to find her clit with her fingers.
She let out a breathy gasp when she reached it, not bothering to try and hold it back, that wasn’t the point, teasing herself with circles of her thumb. James made a soft sound in response, and his hand twitched against her back, moved up to hover in the air for a moment, as if he wanted to touch her, but she shook her head at him, firmly, and he bit his lip, but moved that hand back to rest against her shoulder, fingers tangling in her hair.
Natasha skimmed her hand down against herself, slicking her hand with her own desire, sliding first one, then two, fingers up into her body and arching back against his hand. James groaned, almost like it was him she was teasing, pleasuring, not herself, and she smiled at that, let her head fall to the side to rest against his hand. He curled his fingers gently in her hair, let them rest against her face, undemanding but present.
When her hand was good and wet, she brought her fingers away, slowly, giving herself one more good rub against her clit, feeling the ache and tingle of desire now, hot and needy, but she had things to do, things she wanted to do. She watched James’ face as she wrapped her hand, wet and slick now, around his cock and gripped tightly, stroking up.
James was usually fairly quiet at times like this, but at that he groaned loudly, and then his eyes widened, as if he were almost surprised by the sound himself, his fingers tightening desperately on hers, almost but not quite to the point of pain, before he gasped, his jaw clenched, and his grip loosened again. He was breathing heavily, turned his head to the side, hair falling forward into his eyes, curling damply against his forehead already, and his cock twitched desperately in her hand, even before she passed her thumb over the head, rubbing insistently at the slit there, smearing fluid over him, a mixture of his and hers.
“Natasha,” he said, rough and heavy. “Tasha, I—”
“Shh,” she said. “Easy, solnyshko.”
He smiled a little, at the endearment, but gasped, turned his head and rubbed his cheek a bit against the back of the sofa, breathing heavily. “I don’t know if I can … .”
“You can,” she said. “A little longer. Not long.”
He nodded, took a deep breath. “Not long,” he repeated, low.
“You can,” she leaned toward him, rested her forehead against his, so that their breath hung warm, heavy between them, and smiled, stroking her hand back down over the hot length of him. He moaned, softly, licked his lips, his eyes heavy-lidded and hazy where he looked at her, a little dizzy. “Does that feel good?” she whispered. “So close, aren’t you? That was fast, wasn’t it?”
He nodded. “I can’t help it,” he said, and groaned again as she twisted her hand. “Not with—you, like this, I—Tasha—” he broke off on a low, shuddering gasp, as she scooted a little closer.
“I love that,” she said, low, into his jaw, feeling the tickling scratch of his stubble again. “I love that you get like this.” She squeezed him a little tighter, listened to his uneven, rapid gasp. “You’ll come soon, won’t you?”
“Soon,” he agreed, voice very low and rough now. “When—whenever you say I can.”
She smiled at that, and bit at the hinge of his jaw. She did make him wait for it a little, though, even took her hand off him to tease his balls with her hand, rub her fingers hard into his perineum, until he was squirming, not struggling, but moving restlessly, not quite grinding against her but rolling his hips a little jerkily, desperately, balls hot and heavy and tight against the base of her palm as she pushed up against him, cupping him firmly. When his breath was groaning in his throat and his eyes were wide and blown, his lips bitten and wet and parted loosely and the color high in his cheeks, she tweaked his nipple with one hand, tugging until he gasped, then leaned down, trailed her lips down along the seam at his shoulder to close her mouth over that same nipple, licking and teasing, shifting her hand back to his cock and stroking up, twisting her hand, and then easing it back down, shifting into an even, not fast, but not slow, rhythm.
She heard the hitch in his breath that was almost a whine, though with no voice behind it, saw the tightness in his shoulders and thighs as he almost began to curl in on himself, and leaned up, put her lips against his ear, moving her hand around to grip the back of his neck firmly. “Go on, James,” she said. She had no doubt about his ability to obey; she could see it in his body, in his face, how close he was, wavering on the edge already. Her breath in his ear should help push him over that edge, too, he was so sensitive to small things like that—her hand on the back of his neck, her breath against his ear and the low husky sound of her voice as well as her hand on his cock. “Come, come for me.”
He gasped, squeezed his eyes shut, and then came, with a gasp that left a moan on the exhale. She tightened her hand at the back of his neck and held him close, holding him closer, until he finished, his come hot and wet against her other hand, bracing herself over him so that he was pinned, pleasantly, she hoped, against the back of the sofa. He was held down beneath her, and he didn’t fight it, just shuddered against her, trembling just a little in her hold. She wiped her hand off on his side, after a moment, brought her hand up to toy with his nipple again, gently, teasing. He gasped and pressed his face in against her neck, heaving breaths warm against her collarbone. “I’ve got you,” she murmured into his hair, and he nodded, let his head go limp where it rested there in her shoulder. She stroked his hair, idly, teasing his nipple only lightly, with her thumb, enjoying the quiet moment, the way he felt so completely relaxed in her arms, easy and pliant. She loved him like this, she loved having him like this, relaxed and happy and free of all the rest of it, just there, with her. She always had, since the beginning, with him. He was hers, like this, just the two of them, willing and soft under her hands, even as she teased gently at sensitive spots, made him shiver and shift against her, the hard edges, the shields, all faded away. When he looked up at her, finally, his face was so open, feelings written large in his mouth and eyes, love and respect and adoration that bordered on worship but didn’t cross that line, the one that would have made her uncomfortable, his expression grateful and still blissfully hazy. He kissed her lightly, swiped at the come on his side with his fingers, then wiped them off on his chest again, and slid both arms around her.
“What’s next?” he murmured, soft against her lips, his expression eager, with that adventurous grin on his lips, a little soft and silly with orgasm-bliss and the soft haze of wherever he was, mentally.
“Whenever you’re ready,” she told him, moving her hand away from his chest to brush it along his jaw, still stroking his hair. She felt wet and hot and needy herself, and her underwear felt damp with it, but she didn’t want to cut this short.
“I’m ready,” James told her, ardent and eager, laying kisses along her jaw, along her neck, back under her ear, and she shivered a little, as his warm, rough hand came up over her back, curled along her shoulder, the other, not as cold as it used to be, stroking down her side, barely brushing the side of her breast, a mostly chaste but sensuous touch as he nuzzled in against her neck, mouth open and soft, wet and hot against her skin. She had been getting a little cold, sweat pearling and evaporating on her skin, and she hadn’t been aware of it until that warm touch brought the contrast into higher relief.
“If you’re sure,” she said, with a smile at that, stroking her fingers down along his neck, before she shifted back. She kissed him lightly, then swung her leg over him, shimmying out of her loose sweatpants and underwear and kicking them off to leave them in a heap on top of his, as she sat down on the sofa beside him. She tapped her foot lightly on the floor, picked up one of the sofa pillows and dropped beside her feet.
James never needed to be told twice. He immediately shifted off the sofa, onto the floor in front of her, moving the pillow so he could kneel on it. She spread her legs, draped one over his shoulder as regally as she could muster, and trailed her fingers down between her legs, shifting until she was comfortable, stroking gently with her own fingers, playing with her clit just a little more. It felt so much more intense now, shivery blossoms of sensation when she touched herself, hot and bright.
“I think you know what I want you to do,” she told him, curling her other leg around him and tapping his rear with her toes, just to give him an extra hint.
“I know what I want to do,” he said, voice breathlessly rough and almost desperate. His eyes were so wide, wide and liquid brown, and fixed on her.
She grinned at that. “Show me?” she said, drawing her fingers away, and felt a warm twist of pleasure when he leaned forward immediately and laid his mouth where they had been. He was so amazing—so eager, not the perfect lover, but perfect, like this, with her, he always made this fun, made it feel right and perfect and like the loving act it was, not anything else. Natasha sighed, contented, as he licked a slow, easy stripe along her, up to lay a kiss over her clit, and let her wet fingers curve against his cheek, leaving a smear of her wetness there that made him flush lightly, his eyelids flutter pleasantly and slip down as his breath huffed softly against her. “Good boy,” she said, and he gave a slow, easy breath, as if pleased by that, his shoulders dropping down, relaxing as he continued to tease her gently with his mouth.
He was sincere, enthusiastic, his mouth soft and yet thorough as he licked gently at her—not the most practiced lover she’d ever had at this, certainly, or the most skilled, though he’d never exactly been clumsy, but sweetly eager and entirely genuine. She even enjoyed the slight rasp and scratch of his stubble, as long as he was careful, and he was, no matter what else. She let him lick along her folds for a while, lapping almost hungrily between them, between lightly grazing her clit with soft brushes of his lips, twists of his tongue, then curled her fingers in his hair and spread her legs a little more, bringing her fingers up to spread herself apart a bit for him. “A little deeper, please,” she said, hearing her own voice, so breathy and hot now, and he buried his face further between her legs willingly, thrusting his tongue a little deeper. She let him work there, for a while, sighing, letting her eyes slide closed as her fingers drifted idly through his hair, pleasure flowing through her, amping slowly, in easy waves, washing over her warm and heady. One of his hands came up, touched lightly against her knee, and she reached down for it, brought it up to rest against her side, holding it there.
“Back up, a bit,” she said, when she was starting to feel warm and almost sweaty, her chest heaving with it, dizzy and hot. She tugged on his hair slightly, but he didn’t need the encouragement, already moving his lips back up, licking and sucking softly at her clit. “So good, James,” she sighed, and he made a soft, pleased sound, opening his mouth a bit more and sliding his tongue down along her. She could see his face glistening now with wetness, his eyes mostly closed, but moving up to check on her, every so often. “Ah,” she said, as a particularly intense spike of pleasure went up through her. He made a soft sound, as if pleased by that, but the soft, persistent movements of his tongue didn’t cease, as if he was eager, hungry for the taste of her. She closed her eyes, let her fingers tangle in his hair, idly brushing off the tangled curls back from his forehead where they were sticking there, damp with sweat, with her thumb. She spread her legs apart a little more, let herself push forward against him a bit, and he slid his tongue up inside her, obliging.
It was that that brought her close to the edge, and she stopped trying to control, let go, just let him tease and stroke her closer and closer, farther and farther up with that weightless pleasure—so warm and wet, easing and teasing that ache inside until she was hot with it, tongue twisting along her, against her, until he reached up with one hand, rubbed his thumb gently over her clit, and she felt her release spark inside her, a wave of pleasure and heat that left her gasping and dizzy, bright sparks dancing in her vision as if to mirror the sparks within. James, of course, was lovely, kept licking at her, teasing, until she was writhing under him, unable to stay still, feeling herself gasping, heaving for breath, more pleasure cascading over her in waves.
It was some time before he pulled away, just when she was getting too sensitive, and about to push him away herself, pressing soft kisses down over her thigh, kissing gently at the inside of her knee. “Good,” she managed to gasp out, again. “Good. My good boy. Come here.”
He was grinning, practically alight with that, with the praise, and immediately was beside her on the sofa. She lay back against the arm of it and beckoned for him, and he lay down beside her, letting his head rest on her shoulder, and let his breath out as she curled her arms around him, looking for the blanket that she knew was there somewhere. She found it, wadded up at the other end of the sofa, and snagged it with her toes, bringing it up until she could catch hold of it, then shaking it out over both of them, tucking it around his shoulders. James’ face was damp against her skin, and she smiled at that, brought her hand up and wiped at the dampness on his face, letting her fingers trail softly against his skin, rubbing affectionately. His hair was damp too, with sweat, and tangled, and he felt very warm, still, all over, though not as warm as she was, she expected. She buried her face in his hair, breathing unsteadily, still, from her climax, and the feelings it had brought with it, a rush of love and affection and protectiveness and fear of loss and everything that went with it.
He was hers, she thought, fiercely, stubbornly. He wanted to be with her, had chosen her, after everything, just like she’d chosen him—after they’d found each other again. And that choice, that meant everything. Had, and still did.
They’d taken him away, but here he was. And he wanted her. Still wanted her. And she’d never stopped, wanting him, not really. She kissed the top of his head, even as he pressed in against her neck, her chest, kissed the skin there softly himself. James trusted her to do this for him, to give him what he needed, to keep him safe while she did it. She couldn’t even express how much that meant to her—it was an honor, and a precious, wonderful thing, all at once.
He was her precious, wonderful thing. And she loved him. She concentrated on that, held it to her, fiercely, felt it, in all the joy and pain and aching truth of it, the fear in it, but the wonderful warmth of it, too. She knew all too well the risks, that she could be hurt, but she’d been hurt. Much worse not to feel at all. Not to have this, at all, the trembling warmth of his breath against her, the feelings so intense they almost hurt, hot and vibrant and pulsing in her blood, pressing against her chest from the inside—the warmth of his body, and the tenderness in the way he wrapped himself around her, the soft tangle of his curling hair under her lips, against her hand. That was living, feeling, that meant something.
“That was perfect,” he sighed, against her throat, after a while. “You’re amazing. You’re always so …” he sighed again, his arm curving closer around her. “Amazing.”
She smiled at that—it was always nice to be appreciated. “You’re not bad yourself,” she told him, biting lightly at his ear. She pushed his hair back again, carding her hand through it, holding his head close to her neck.
He grinned, nuzzled in against her. “I try m’best,” he said, quietly, but still smiling.
“Well, I’m impressed with the results,” she said, and curled her arm around his neck and shoulder, rolling him onto his side, so she could slide down and kiss him. They kissed for several moments, heated, but soft, warm with the contented lassitude of completion, and then she pressed herself up against his chest, tucked her head against his shoulder, laid her hand, a little possessively, if she were honest with herself, and she tried to be, against his shoulder, as he tucked the blanket tighter around both of them and curled his arms around her. And because, sometimes, it was good to say things that were true, instead of just knowing them, she said it, softly, quietly, against his pulse, but loud enough for him to hear, to know. “I love you, James Barnes.”
His hand, gently playing with her hair, stilled, and she didn’t have to look to know he was biting his lip. She traced her fingers along his shoulder, down over his throat, waited, listening to him breathe.
“I love you, Natasha,” he said, slowly, reverently, ducking down so his lips brushed her forehead as he spoke. “My best gal.”
“Yes,” she said, and smiled at that. “I am.”
“You sure are,” he said, smiling, too.