By the time she reaches her room, the blood has reached her jawline, and is now dripping onto the floor. Immediately she hurries to the sink, pours hot water, and tries to wash away as much blood as possible. There is a nasty scrape across her forehead, and another sharp cut on her cheek. That will not go unnoticed at the office tomorrow. They’ll stop, stare and point and then she’ll be asked questions she really doesn’t want to answer, and then finally they’ll discover that she has not only taken on a mission she wasn’t supposed to take on, but she, in fact, completed it within a night.
They won’t like that one bit.
Eventually Peggy manages to stop the bleeding, but her wounds are ugly. She’s relieved she managed to return to her apartment without being spotted. If anybody saw a young lady soaked in blood, and in the late evening to boot, it would be a catastrophe. Her cover would be blown, and she might even be out of the job. But she’s brilliant at what she does. As far as anybody is concerned, she has been locked her in her room all night. Reading, smoking cigarettes, listening to the radio, minding her own business––all of those things. All of those dire things Peggy doesn’t have time for.
She shrugs out of her coat and drapes it across a chair. It’s bloody, and needs a good wash before she returns to work. Her white blouse has unfortunately been victim to red stains as well. She huffs. Now she’s grumpy. She hasn’t eaten in over fourteen hours, been on her feet constantly, had to tackle down more men than she should manage, and now she’s returned to her apartment to find her favourite attire is ruined. She’s grumpy, hungry and tired.
The portable gramophone which Howard has generously allowed her to borrow for a few months is getting dusty. He gave it to her for a reason. Tonight Peggy is in the mood for something slow and calm, and one song instantly comes to mind. She carefully retrieves one her disks, and places it onto the platform, lowering the tonearm onto the outer edge of the disk. Clump. The disk begins to rotate and sound emits from the box.
I love you
For sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I’ll give you my heart
Much better. Peggy approaches one of her cupboards to prepare herself some tea, taking some Digestive Biscuits as well. She has one bite, and then realises she's not alone after all. Peggy turns. A woman dressed entirely in black has her feet up on the table, watching her with a bemused smirk. Her foot lightly rocks with the rhythm.
‘You’re back early,’ Peggy remarks. She returns to her kettle which has boiled.
‘Don’t pretend you’re disappointed.’
Peggy sighs, and pours her tea. ‘I hate to be rude, Natasha, but I’m not in a talkative mood this evening.’
‘That’s fine.’ Natasha slides her feet off the table and stands. ‘What gave you the impression I wanted to talk anyway?’
Peggy isn’t a fool. Of course she knows Natasha’s purpose for being here. She may be back early, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been away for a long time. How long was this mission? Four to five months? Natasha had a hunch she’d be gone for at least a year. Peggy places the kettle back. Natasha’s feet are silent against the floor, and a shudder runs up Peggy’s spine when she feels Natasha’s arms wrap around her waist. Natasha buries her nose into the crook of her neck. Peggy smells wonderful: lilac, perfume, blood, the musky scent of her work.
‘You’re tense,’ she remarks.
‘It’s hard not to be when you’re around.’
Natasha grins, and raises her head. ‘You’ve missed me.’
Yes. She has. Obviously. She really wishes she didn’t miss Natasha whenever she went away, but she does, and it’s a pain. Peggy takes pride in her independence, the fact she doesn’t need company to feel good about herself. She’s had relationships in the past, and has never felt attached to an unhealthy degree. Peggy is good at keeping a distance, especially now.
But then there’s Natasha, a Russian spy who won’t even reveal her last name to her. They met on a mission, pure coincidence, and ever since, Natasha has snuggled her way into Peggy’s domestic life. Peggy has nothing to complain about. But when they have to part ways, promising to meet another day, it is hard on her. Sometimes she wonders if there will be another day.
Time is short for two women who fight injustice for a living.
Sometimes Natasha reveals a few events in her life. Where she came from, the comrades she’s had along the way, past lovers, how horrific her training really was. She’s given another name, one Peggy dislikes tremendously: Black Widow. It gives Natasha such a dark, unforgiving image and Peggy likes to believe she doesn’t necessarily live up to the name.
Beyond that steely persona, there is a softness. A compassionate, demure, charming lady.
Peggy never takes it for granted whenever Natasha expresses those sides to her. She treasures each moment dearly, even if it’s short lasted.
Currently, Natasha is acting smug. She knows Peggy has missed her, but Peggy knows she has been missed too. There’s something about being missed which Natasha appreciates. It means somebody, out there, has been thinking about her. Thinking about her so often her absence is actually painful. She likes that. Natasha likes being missed; being loved.
It’s simple: she came back to Peggy to be loved.
Darling, I’m never lonely
Whenever you are in sight
But Peggy is really tired. Her thighs hurt, and her right hand is sore from handling rough weapons all day. She just wants to lie down. ‘Now is not a good time,’ she says.
Yet Natasha is just as stubborn as she is. Despite her mood, Peggy doesn’t pull away when Natasha’s hands trails up past her bosom to the bloody patch near her shoulder. ‘Oh, dear.’ She pulls at her button, and it pops open. ‘Dirty work. You should get this washed.’ The second button comes undone. ‘Here, Margaret, let me help you.’
I love you for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
Before she can venture further, Peggy swerves round on her heel and faces her properly. Her hands rest against the counter, and she throws her a rather mischievous look. ‘I know what you’re doing. I’m tired. Can this not wait?’
I've given you my heart
‘It could.’ Casually, Natasha returns to unbuttoning Peggy’s blouse. Her eyes focus on the blood momentarily. ‘Did it hurt?’
‘What? Oh! No. That’s not mine.’
Natasha frowns, and caresses Peggy’s wounded cheek with the back of her hand. ‘But that is.’ Her other hand retreats from her blouse and tends to the scars on her forehead. ‘As is that. You need to be careful. One day it might be your neck.’
‘I’d love to see them try.’ Peggy watches her fondly. She smiles. ‘I’ve never seen you look so concerned. They’ll heal, darling.’
Natasha cocks a brow. ‘What makes you think it’s concern I’m feeling?’ She returns to Peggy’s blouse, but this time presses herself against her. They kiss. ‘I’ve figured out a great way to get you in the mood.’
‘I can’t tell. I can show you, though.’
The way Natasha looks at her is enough to make any man or woman fall to their knees. But Peggy has played this game many times before. She pretends to act unnerved. Natasha unbuttons her last button, but before it’s off Peggy’s shoulder, the Russian spy is taken by pleasant surprise. Peggy’s fingers gently massage through Natasha’s hair as she kisses her, slow and warm. Natasha slackens a little, relaxing and enjoying her touch.
It’s times like these Natasha is able to just let go. She breathes easier, she doesn’t have to think; everything is so much simpler. The zip to her Black Widow outfit comes undone, and Peggy helps her out of it. Her skin is delicate, a little cold under Peggy’s palms, but Natasha’s cheeks begin to redden as Peggy kisses her jawline, her neck. Natasha grins crookedly, toes curling, very okay with the few lipstick stains on her body.
‘You’re doing an awful job at showing me,’ Peggy murmurs.
‘Sorry,’ Natasha exhales. ‘You’re distracting me from my work.’
‘Poor thing.’ Peggy kisses the corner of her mouth. ‘Would you rather I stopped?’
‘I’d rather you got that damn shirt off already.’
‘Impatient. You know how much I hate that.’
Natasha smiles sarcastically. ‘You think you’re funny.’ She kisses Peggy, nipping at her lower lip. Peggy takes this opportunity to curl her arms around Natasha’s hips, spread her fingers over her bare back. Natasha hits the counter, a light groan breaking from the back of her throat. She has to laugh a little when Peggy lifts her onto the counter top.
Leaning on her elbows, Natasha’s legs come around Peggy’s waist and they meet in another kiss, much rougher than before. Natasha’s tongue pushes Peggy’s back, pressing her hands to her blouse, her bare collarbone, and down her stomach. Peggy’s fingers trail up Natasha’s inner thigh, and it tickles, sending hot shocks to her groin. Natasha is impatient now, but in the most exhilarating way possible. Peggy treasures time, she values it, and she uses her time well.
She teases Natasha. Paying attention to her neck again, lips and tongue infuriatingly gentle; Natasha’s eyes roll back, and she spreads her legs a little wider when she feels Peggy’s fingers stroke her entrance. She’s already wet, much to Peggy’s amusement. Natasha doesn’t object when her panties fall to the floor, and without a moment to brace herself, Peggy runs her fingertip over her folds, before reaching her clit. She’s delicate, her fingertip rubbing her clit at a smooth, slow rhythm. She applies just the right amount of pressure for Natasha to dig her nails into her, exclaim out in surprise as her pleasure peaks.
It’s quick, and Natasha is left a little embarrassed by her speediness, but Peggy doesn’t mind in the slightest. She kisses her again, then her cheek. The noises Natasha makes are short, but sweet, almost cute even. Peggy won’t ever dare inform Natasha of that though. It just doesn’t need to be said. She wants Natasha to break away; wants her to open up, let it out. This is a haven for Natasha, her one place to hide. It’s all she has.
Natasha sits up, arms around the back of Peggy’s neck. She presses her mouth onto hers, luxuriating in their close, tight proximity, held and pressed against her. Natasha pulls away to kiss Peggy’s scarred cheek, forehead, and––off all places––her nose. With her, warm and loved in her arms, Natasha feels like the safest girl in the world.
‘I’m glad you returned to me all right,’ Peggy whispers.
‘Hm.’ Natasha caresses Peggy’s cheek idly. ‘Well, I wouldn’t be able to handle the idea of you getting hurt.’
Peggy looks at her, and frowns lightly. ‘I hope you’re not falling in love, my dear.’
‘Of course not. Love is for children.’ She pulls at Peggy’s collar. ‘I’m merely looking out for a friend.’
‘And what a fortunate friend I am.’
Then, Peggy smiles at her, and it’s knowing, almost sympathetic. A little sad. Natasha has her secrets, as does she. What is shown doesn’t need to be said. They know what love is, what they’ve done, and what they will do, but as long as it’s between them, maybe it doesn’t really matter.
Maybe their love shouldn’t have a name.
Natasha stays that night, cosy under the sheets, chest pressed to Peggy’s back, fitting against her perfectly. They both expect her gone before morning. They both expect the usual, the normal. For Peggy to wake up to a cold bed, and that same heavy loss which pools in the pit of her stomach.
It’s the sun which awakes her, thick through the curtains. Peggy squints, and winces at the harsh light. She’s not cold this morning.
And, for once, she’s not alone either.
Peggy smiles, snuggles into Natasha’s arms, and squeezes her hand.
She supposes there's always a first time for everything.