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The [Shipped] Gold Standard

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Pepper is completely in love, totally infatuated and more than a little bit in lust.

Not with Tony like the world thinks, they've had their day to make it work but good sex doesn’t make up for a shitty relationship and now they're just friends again. It's better than way, they're closer somehow and Pepper is free to love and lust after Natasha Romanoff.

She's not sure when it started. Not when she was Natalie that's for sure, but before she and Tony broke up (the final time). The woman is far from perfect and even more damaged than Tony but that hasn't seemed to have put Pepper off at all. She wonders what that says about her and thinks back to the odd smattering of longish relationships she's had since college and their problems but realises she doesn't want to delve into that too deeply.

She'd rather just think about Natasha.

Natasha and her gorgeous red curls and her bright knowing eyes, her pretty lips and tight curves. Natasha and the way she listens to Pepper when she talks, takes in her words, makes little gestures here and there to show she cares. Natasha and her weird dislike for her own cat and the way she'll try anything once because she can never be sure of anything until she has tried it, seen it, tasted it in this incarnation of her life.

The problem is that Pepper is completely terrified to do anything about it.

She's tried. Or has at least sent a few texts when drunk that indicated she wants more from Natasha but never gets a reply to those texts that she then deletes immediately. She assumes Natasha is still not interested or not available or it's not been clear enough. Pepper's not been sure which and tired not to think about it too much during the day – when she's sober and everything is bright and clear – because her heart hurts to think the other woman might never be interested in Pepper and they are becoming good friends slowly.

They both help Steve catch up and help Jane with Thor's integration and watch bad sci-fi films with Clint but they're rarely alone. It's not something she does but she thinks it might be Natasha's choice, after those first few drunken texts (plus two emails and half a phone call). Which also hurts – she's not going to jump her – but she understands and like all those years with Tony she'll take what she can get.

She's not happy though. She can't see anyone else – not even Tony for what he calls 'sex with the ex' or whatever. She can't look at the cute executive that works with R and D, or the funny and sweet CEO from the medical supplies company or any of the other stupidly hot Avengers she finds herself spending most of her time with.

So she's hooked on Natasha, with no chance of reprieve and is trying to learn to live with that.

Doesn't help when Natasha is sitting next to her in the sofa like its just the two of them and Clint isn't on an armchair almost asleep. It felt like they were alone. It feels like it could just be them and Pepper feels a muted joy for a moment and also terrified because even if she was brave enough to make a move sober she can't because Natasha isn't interested.

She can't help but sink a little lower into the sofa and rest her head on the woman's shoulder. She felt Natasha sigh and turn to look at her but Pepper didn't think about it too much. She turned her attention back to the film – she hasn't really been following the plot but Natasha's movements instead. The way she's pressed against her from shoulder to knee almost and shifting every now and then because she can't keep still sometimes. The way she keeps looking at Pepper or Clint, alternately smiling and getting frustrated over things Pepper can only guess at.

She dozes off thinking about it, head on Natasha, curling her feet up beneath her before she's asleep.

When Pepper wakes the movie is over and Clint is gone. Natasha is still there though, soft beneath her head which is a little confusing. Shoulders aren't soft and when she was able to process a little more she realised her head was in Natasha's lap. Before she could sit up in panic she also realised that while her head was in Natasha's lap but the other woman didn't seem to mind.

Not by the way she was stroking Pepper's long red hair.

Natasha stopped, pulling her hand her away slowly when she felt Pepper move and waited until she sat up and looked at her.

“You okay?” she asked, smiling softly at her. Pepper nodded a little dumbly; she was still a little dozy from her unexpected nap and waking up in Natasha’s lap.

“Sleep okay?”

“I missed the film.”

Natasha chuckled.

“It was boring. Barton went to bed before it was over,” she said. Pepper hummed stretching a little. “Want to watch something else?”

“Sure. Maybe something better?”

Natasha nodded but neither woman moved to put a new film on. Pepper couldn't look away from the other woman and her soft smile. Natasha didn't move either, and she hesitated. Pepper could see it clearly on her face – unbidden and clear – before cupping her cheek. Her hand barely made contact with her skin for a long moment before Pepper leaned into the touch. She was still, not knowing what Natasha was doing or wanted to do.

“Natasha,” she murmured. “What are you doing?”

She didn't answer, only leaning forward and pressing her lips to her gently, barely at all but Pepper moaned quietly anyway. She surged forward, wrapping her arms around Natasha and kissing her solidly, exploring her lips with her own. They both moaned, the sound muffled by their movements and she pulled Pepper closer, their bodies pressed together.

“Na-tasha,” she said, voice a little horse. “why now?”


“I didn't think you were interested, I didn't think you wanted me.”

“You're usually drunk when you offer. There's one time you called me, told me not to dye my hair red and asked if I wanted to see your tits.”

Pepper flushed bright red and looked away from Natasha went to move away a little until the other woman pulled her back to her and kissed her again, harder this time threading her hands into Pepper's bright red hair.

“I'm sorry,” she muttered against her lips as they broke apart again, Natasha kissing down her jaw, her neck.

“It's okay. I just – had to be sure – the way you look at me.” She looked at Pepper her expression unreadable again. “I just had to be sure I wasn't going to be some drunken mistake.”

Pepper wanted to cry.

The sound of Natasha's voice, so sincere and sad it broke Pepper's heart a little. She wanted to pull away again but Natasha held on tight making sure she couldn't leave.

“Just don't get drunk and horny without me, okay?”

Pepper laughed then, kissing her though it, joy bubbling to the surface but bright and intense this time.

“Okay,” she said in a tight breath.

“Tell me how you feel about me Pepper,” Natasha said, pulling the taller woman down to lie half on top of her on the wide sofa, rearranging their limbs to that Natasha was wrapped around her. “I need to know.”

She sounded a little desperate and Pepper felt a little guilty. All this time she had been playing with Natasha's emotions while being unable to deal with her own.

“I'm so sorry,” she said softly, “I've been such a bitch to you.”

“Shush,” she replied, kissing her, “that's not true.”

“I love you, and it scares me.”

“Is that why you could only talk to me when you were drunk?” Pepper nodded silently. “That explains it,” she added. She kissed Pepper quickly on the lips. “I expect you to follow through on all those things you text me.”

Her grin was delicious and she pressed her hips up into Pepper's, making the taller woman flush bright red.

“I don’t even know what I said. I deleted them in the morning.”

“That's okay I have them all saved on my phone.”

“Of course you do.”

“I have to ask though, why didn't you want me to dye my hair red?”

Pepper thought back to the phone call last week, trying to remember through the haze of alcohol and lust.

“I think I wanted to see what colour your hair really is.”

“It's only a little lighter than this,” she said and Pepper tangled her fingers in the curls around her neck. “I'm a true redhead, you'll find out soon enough.” Pepper groaned at the grin on her face, dipping her head down to nip at Natasha's neck.

“I guess it was just part of wanting to see the real you.”

“There's it no real me,” she said, and Pepper looked up at that sincere sad tone again. “Except for my feelings for you and probably Barton. There isn't anything real about me.”

She didn't even realise that wasn't true, Pepper thought, didn't even think it was possible. She didn't push though, not now and kissed her instead.

“How do you feel about me Natasha?” she whispered.

“I love you Pepper,” she said with a bright smile Pepper hadn't seen before. It was beautiful and she pulled away when Natasha went to kiss her, to see it for a little longer before she let her pull her down, pull her into a harder kiss. “I love you Pepper,” she repeated against her skin. “I love you.”

Pepper moaned and moved again, shifting a leg between Natasha and pressing into her sex. Natasha bucked her hips with a groan, wrapping her arms around Pepper to hold her close. She ran her hands up under her t-shirt hands running down her smooth skin.

“You're not wearing a bra,” Natasha said with a grin, “all night you've been sitting here with no bra on?”

“Most nights we sit here I've not had a bra on,” Pepper said, gasping when Natasha shifted her to the side so she could cup one of her small breasts, feeling her nipple pebble under her palm. “We should – oh – we should move.”

Natasha held onto her as she tried to move away, pinching the taller woman's nipple gently until she fell back against her on the sofa thigh pressing down into Natasha's centre. She groaned, hips rotating against Pepper's leg, kissing her hard.

“Your place or mine?” Natasha asked and Pepper chuckled.

“You did not just say that.”

“I did, it's a legitimate question.”

Her voice was breathy and her cheeks flushed bright red. Pepper swept a hand up her leg and beneath her top, slowly stroking over her skin until she came to her breasts. She scraped a nail over Natasha's nipple through the lace of her bra. She moaned pushing her chest up into her hand.

“Pepper,” she moaned, that breathy whisper going straight down her spine to her core.

She responded to the plea by pulling at Natasha's green shirt, opening it up so she could move her lips down her skin, pulling down the lace of her bra to suck on the skin above her nipple. Natasha moaned loudly but Pepper wasn't going to move now, now with so much soft skin to explore. She opened the bra and moved it out the way, kissing her breasts reverently, listening to Natasha's reactions – the careful moans when she was careful and unrestrained cries when she sucked a mark into her skin. She liked that, liked the noise she made and mark left behind and liked it even more when Natasha grabbed her hips and flipped them over.

“Natasha,” she grumbled, “I was busy.”

She didn't reply, simply kissing Pepper and moving down and off the sofa, settling onto her knees on the floor. She pulled down the taller woman's shorts in one smooth movement, Pepper gasping in surprise, feeling a rush of excitement. She moaned when she felt Natasha pressing kisses up her legs, gentle and teasing, stopping at a scar on the inside of her right knee.

“What happened?”


“This is new,” Natasha said. “This scar.”

“Oh, that's from when the missiles hit Tony's mansion. I have a couple of little scars now,” she said, sitting up a little to look down at her, pulling her leg out of the woman's grip. “I didn't think it mattered.”

“It doesn't,” Natasha said, kissing her other knee. “I just noticed it.”


She didn't ask how Natasha already knew her body so well, and just let her carry on kissing her up her legs, nipping the sensitive skin of her thighs until she couldn't hold herself up any more and she slumped back into the soft cushions, her legs falling open under Natasha's insistent hands. She felt fingertips brush her underwear so fucking briefly and then at her hips, pulling her closer to edge of the sofa roughly. She grinned up at her, fingers trailing over her hips, back down her legs, stroking softly up and down, up and down. Pressing her nails in and dragging them down, licking little lines up until she was millimetres away from Pepper's underwear.

“Natasha,” she whimpered, “please touch me.”

“I am touching you,” she said with a hint of a laugh. “You should be more specific.”

“Oh God,” she hissed as her fingers stroked over the edges of her panties, framing her sex and then pressed her palm down gently. “Please strip me and touch me.”

“Seeing as you asked so nicely,” Natasha said, leaning back a little and pulling the blue cotton down her her legs, dropping them to the carpet. She looked over the light curls covering Pepper and kissed her just above them, listening to her soft gasp. “You're beautiful Pepper,” she said. She reached up and spread her open with her thumbs, leaning forward and licking through the slick folds. Pepper whined, pressed her hips up into Natasha's face as she started a slow rhythm with her tongue, listening to her moans carefully, as they ratcheted up a little higher and faster quickly. She flicked her tongue over her swollen clit, pressing down hard then, holding Pepper down as she bucked up against her again. Her whole body was on fire and it felt too much too fast but not enough and it was exactly what she wanted from Natasha. Exactly what she had expected.

“Natasha,” she moaned.

“What do you want honey?”

She moaned at being called honey, Natasha's smooth voice using an endearment and Pepper hadn't expected that at all.


It was more of a hiccup than a word and Natasha pressed a finger at her hot entrance. It wasn't quite what Pepper had meant but she took it, crying out as she slid the finger inside. The intrusion was light but oh so good.

“Is that what you wanted Pepper?” she asked, sucking her clit into her mouth again. “Or something else.”

“Talk to me. Please,” she said, “say anything.”

“Like how beautiful you are, how hot you are,” Natasha said, pressing another finger into her body and starting a quick rhythm.

“Yes,” she hissed.

“Like how I've dreamt about this,” she continued hot breath washing over her body, “thought about this late into the night, until I'm touching myself.”

“Yes,” she moaned and felt Natasha chuckle. Her fingers never stopped moving, in and out, deep into her body and she felt a scream, felt it hot and hard starting in the centre of her chest.

“Like how much I love you.” Her voice was quieter this time, and she crooked her fingers and pressed into her scorching wet flesh and she came, that scream coming out unbidden with her orgasm, Natasha stroking her through it gently, over and over until Pepper was whimpering again. She pushed her away, hands scrabbling at Natasha until she pulled her fingers from her body and took hold of her hands, kissing them gently.

Natasha moved to straddle her, kissing her and Pepper slipped one leg between hers. She placed her hands on her hips, pulling her down onto her thigh and leaning over her and kissing her chest. Natasha's moan was gratifying and she helped her get into a quick rhythm pressing her centre down over and over. Pepper took a nipple in her mouth and let one of her hands run over the soft skin of her abdomen, and down into her underwear.

“Talk to me again,” she said, around her nipple. Natasha moaned, moving against Pepper's fingertips and leg a little quicker now.

“You are perfect,” Natasha said, panting between words, “perfect poise. All grace and delica-cy.” She cried out as Pepper circled her clit with a firmer touch. “I'm already so close Pepper, just from eating you out, just from kissing you. Just from hearing you say you love me.”

“I love you,” she said to agree, to confirm, to hear it back. Natasha was wet beneath her fingers, riding her hard, hands gripping her shoulders tight until she was shaking. Shaking. This is what Pepper had dreamt about, the look of pleasure on Natasha's face and the way she was felt beneath her fingers.


She didn't get to finish what she was saying as Pepper kissed her hard and scraped a touch of her nail over her sensitive clit. She came hard, shaking still, kissing back fiercely until she needed to breathe.

“I love you,” she finished when she could find her voice again and Pepper smiled, wrapping her arms around her. She tugged her down onto the sofa until they were lying down again, tangled up together. She pulled a blanket over them and Natasha settled her head down on her shoulder.

“We should definitely go up to your place,” Natasha said, “before we fall to sleep.”

The answer was a mumble, she could already feel the sleep coming she was so tired and so happy. Natasha shifted though, getting up in one swift movement and pulled Pepper to her feet, wrapping the blanket around her but leaving her own clothes on the floor by the sofa. She kissed her lightly and took her hand, leading her through the communal areas and into an elevator. Pepper was half asleep already and let Natasha take her up to her apartment, Jarvis unlocking the door for them. She took them straight into her bedroom, she couldn't believe how tired she felt, how much tension was gone now she had told Natasha how she had felt. Now she had heard how Natasha felt.

In her bedroom, Natasha urged Pepper into her bed, stripping off her underwear and slipping in next to her.

“Go to sleep Pepper,” she said. “I'll be here in the morning.”

She smiled then, opening her eyes to see Natasha watching her, a little sleepy too. She could've done this months ago. They could've done this months ago, the two of them in love and in her bed.

“Go to sleep Pepper,” Natasha repeated, “It doesn't matter. We're here now, together.”

She kissed her again, soft, reverent and she drifted off to sleep wrapping herself around Natasha.

Pepper is completely in love, totally infatuated and more than a little bit in lust.

Natasha feels the same.