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The first time it was out of operational necessity.

SHIELD had the Black Widow following one of the resurrected HYDRA's agents, a ruthless killer with a subtle touch for death. Nikoli was good, very good, properly paranoid, well-armed, and able to blend in the club crowd he'd chosen with appalling ease. The only way to get him alone was to corner him in the bathroom. And despite many movies’ action scenes to the contrary, cornering someone in a bathroom was not the best idea. There was usually only one exit, too many hard surfaces, far too much potential for bullet ricochet, and too many ways to inadvertently kill an asset if someone slipped on a wet floor.

But if the job were easy, they wouldn’t have given it to Natasha. Clint and Steve were her backups, Clint covering her from above, Steve in the crowd, so modernly made up by one of SHIELD’s urban camouflage experts that it even took her a second look to find him. Wearing leather pants and mesh shirt, his blonde hair shocked and spiked, he looked like any other dancer in the club. And while he might have blushed at the tight pants and see-through top, his determination to help had overridden any objections he might have made.

That had turned out to be a godsend.

“Come on,” Natasha said, laughing lightly as she pulled Steve inside the surprisingly clean and gleaming room, bright compared to the dimmer dance floor, the music dropping away as the door shut behind them. She dropped her cheerful expression as abruptly as she’d put it on.

“Natasha, he saw,” Steve warned, looking over his shoulder, hands clenched as if on the straps of his shield.

“I nearly let him make me, so I damn well hope he saw. He’ll be coming for us. Steve, fuck me,” she said, reaching down and pulling her skirt up with one hand, flicking Steve in the chest so he’d be against the far wall, facing the door.

Steve didn’t have to say what she knew he was thinking, because he had known her long enough to know she would give him an explanation. Hopefully. Natasha had reasons for everything she did.

“He needs to think he’s mistaken about my identity; that will make him hesitate, and the last thing I’d do on a mission, as far as he knows, is this.” Steve’s back was flat against the wall now, and he automatically held her up when she climbed up his body, her back to the door. “And when you see him pause, turn us, and I’ll get him.”

“We can’t just… make out?” Steve asked, the hard lump at his groin, probably agony in those tight pants, belying his polite words.

“You saw what was going on on the dance floor.” Natasha leaned closer, Steve’s skin warm against the half-naked skin of her chest, and whispered in his ear. “People were doing everything but that in public. If he gets suspicious, we’re dead. I can’t do this alone, Steve.”

Steve looked right in her eyes, and nodded very slightly. Neither of them could hide much in the way of weapons in their clubbing gear, and Nikoli wouldn’t hesitate to take and kill hostages if they tried to get him on the dance floor. They needed him alone. They needed him vulnerable.

And surprise was one of the greatest weapons to any soldier.

“With your permission, ma’am?” Steve whispered, sounding a little strangled as Natasha’s clever fingers worked on the elaborate buttons confining him.

“Granted.” Natasha knew her eyes widened a bit when she maneuvered Steve’s cock into the open because, well. Super all over, indeed. “Now,” she hissed, and leaned forward to bite gently at Steve’s neck when he entered her.

By the time the door opened behind them, no one, not even Fury, wouldn’t have accepted that they were just a pair of lovers (or a random hook-up) so overcome with lust that they couldn’t deny themselves a second longer. Natasha’s nails were scoring Steve’s back through his mesh shirt, and there were certainly going to be bruises on her hips from where he was guiding her onto his cock, using all of his strength to hold her at just the right angle. It was only the very faint huff of amusement behind her, barely audible over their own soft moans and the slapping of flesh, that gave her any warning. Steve turned, braced Natasha against the wall, his hips and hands giving her the stability she needed to grab the chemical dart hidden in her bra and throw it unerringly at Nikoli’s throat.

Steve’s cock was a beautiful distraction inside her, but even Clint would have been proud of her throw as Nikoli collapsed, a dumbfounded expression smoothing out into unconsciousness.

“Got him,” Natasha said with satisfaction, and tapped her earbud to get Clint down so they could secure their prisoner. Steve still had his head down, supposedly to give her room to throw, but his hands were still very firm on her hips.

And he was still very firm within her.

Natasha’s lips quirked a little as she estimated the time until Clint got down out of the rafters.

“Thank you,” she said, and tightened her legs around his waist when he would have pulled out.

“Ma’am- Natasha?” Steve asked, sounding a little wrecked. His thumbs rubbed small circles over the points of her hips and his fingers were digging into the muscle of her ass even as he continued to throb hard inside her, a second heartbeat, bare minutes away from release. And yet he would have stopped the second she said the word, ears perked for danger.

“Keep up the cover until Clint gets here,” she said, and shifted her hips enough for Steve to get back into the rhythm.

By the time Clint had the area secure, the only evidence of the operation was Nikoli’s unconscious body and the fading scratches on Steve’s back. That and the afterglow.

--

The second time was Thor’s fault.

They’d gone camping on Asgard, and while the scenery was second to none, and the hunting truly spectacular, the unwanted company in the wilds was… aggressive.

Refilling her waterskin from a stream during pre-dawn, Natasha found herself facing three drawn arrows from three Asgardian rangers, preternaturally silent, all with ugly smiles on their faces. Exiles, rogues, either way it didn’t look like declaring she was a friend of the crown prince would have any effect on their intentions. And the rest of the team was out of earshot of anything less than a fairly obvious shout.

“The Midgardian wench,” the one on the left said. “All alone.”

“Poor odds. For you,” Natasha said calmly, backing away from the stream, bulging waterskin in her hand. Her plan was clear in her mind: throw the skin at one, the knife at her hip at the other, duck the shot from the third, then run to find better ground. She’d sparred with Thor enough to know it wouldn’t go well if she tried hand-to-hand against one of his people.

“Big words from such a tiny girl-.”

“I’d listen to the lady if I were you.”

Natasha risked a sideways glance and saw Steve, carrying his shield, not a stitch adorning his body, come up to flank her. The three archers stared at him, looking him up, down, and then stopping in the middle.

She couldn’t blame them – that sight was enough to arrest anyone’s gaze.

The one on the right coughed, and all three of them blushed with sudden shame. “Ah, the wench, she’s yours?”

“The Black Widow is my friend,” Steve said sternly, as forthright and unembarrassed as if he’d been in full uniform with the whole team behind him on the steps of the White House, instead of buck naked on an alien world. “Treat the lady with respect, and leave. Now.”

The men kept their eyes fixed on Steve’s groin, mumbled something that sounded like an apology, and abruptly slunk off, looking like whipped dogs. Natasha raised an eyebrow, and Steve quickly covered his assets with his shield.

“Thanks for the save,” she said, not quite hiding her smile.

“You had it under control,” Steve said, looking down at the ground as the inevitable blush bloomed. “I was just back-up.”

“More like out front.”

Steve blushed all the way back to the campsite.

--

The third time, aliens made them do it.

“Natasha, please, tell me how I can help.”

And Steve was being a gentleman about it, being kind and polite while Natasha was writhing in his lap, both of them locked in containment against the effects of the alien spores they’d been sprayed with. Well, to hell with that.

“The pollen, the spores, they…” Natasha’s hands gripped so hard she felt the flex armor of Steve’s uniform making a humming sound as it approached a breaking point. She needed it off, she needed his skin on hers, needed his cock in her, needed the relentless heated throbbing quenched with a good, hard fucking or ten.

“But I-,” Steve’s mouth clacked shut and he looked horrified. “Oh, Natasha, I’m sorry. I thought-. I felt it too, but it passed so quickly…”

Super-soldier metabolism clearing the drugs out of his system, of course. She envied him beyond words right then.

“I need-.” Well, no need to say what she needed, not with her grinding herself down on him. “I need control,” she got out, throwing her head back and pushing her chest forward to feel the sensitive points of her nipples rubbing against the rough texture of his uniform.

Steve shivered a little, pleasantly, and pulled back to look at her. “Natasha, take it.” And he opened the throat of his uniform with a strange, slow, serious smile.

After that it was all Natasha could do keep up with the demands her body put on her, seeking more and more stimulation as the pollen burned through her system. Steve was there, arching up to meet her as she rode him relentlessly, sucking on her breasts when they cried out for attention, tugging on her hair when she cried out for it, pushing her as fast and hard as she would push herself. And still he was relentlessly thick within her, just what she remembered from the nightclub, and so potent at one point she gasped out,

“I thought I was the one dosed with sex pollen.”

Steve only grinned with a pardonable amount of smugness as the lust carried Natasha under again.

It was hours later when she could open her eyes and look at him without needing to jump his bones, only to find him watching over her, gently tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“Okay?” he asked softly. He’d covered her with a blanket, and had managed to find some sweatpants to clothe himself.

“Yeah,” she managed, her voice passion-heated and throaty. Steve’s hand lingered for a moment on her hair, his big fingers tangled in the bright strands.

“I remember what it was like. Not having control of your body,” he said very quietly. “I’m sorry.”

She blinked up at him, not able to find words. Steve withdrew his hand and went to go tell Bruce to let them out.

--

The fourth time, aliens made them do it. Different aliens, for a different reason.

“They found a cure,” Bruce said, uncharacteristically gloomy for delivering such good news. Steve, oddly, was right at Bruce’s elbow, and nearly glowing neon red with embarrassment.

Natasha swung herself upright despite the faint pain and dizziness that were so far the only symptoms of the deadly, slow-acting poison the aliens’ rivals had shot her with. And only her, thanks to her warnings to the others to scatter before they could be hit. She’d been resigned to a long, lingering, painful goodbye before their alien allies had excitedly said they could make a remedy.

“Let’s have it, Dr. Banner,” she said, turning one bared elbow towards him, waiting for the other shoe he was holding to drop.

“They have a very unusual medical culture,” he continued, not even able to look her in the face. Natasha’s heart started to sink. “They don’t use any kind of traditional equipment. They exclusively use live organic mediums to carry all their pharmaceuticals. But as their own organic mediums wouldn’t work for humans, they had to adapt. They managed to get the first stage into a suspension that could be consumed. But it had to go through a human body system to be converted into its final curative form.”

Natasha flicked her eyes over to Steve, who managed to actually look her in the face, and made a subtle gesture, simultaneously apologetic and obscene, in the area around his groin.

“It’s in Steve’s semen,” she said positively, to avoid any further song-and-dance on Bruce’s part. “And I have to give Steve a blowjob to get it into my system.”

The relief was so obvious on Bruce’s part that he didn’t have to spell it out that Natasha almost laughed.

“We’ll take care of this ourselves. Don’t tell Stark,” Natasha said. “Good work, Dr. Banner.”

Bruce mumbled a vehement disclaimer and nearly ran out of the room.

“Natasha, I am so, so sorry, but there wasn’t any more time, and we were afraid that you-,” Steve began.

Natasha stood up, crossed over to in front of Steve, and sank gracefully to her knees.

“Steve,” she said, holding his gaze solemnly. “Just so you know, I hate needles.” And winked at him, getting Steve to smile in return. She refused to make this any weirder than it already was.

And with that, she went to work on the front of his pants, bringing her cure into view. Steve’s cock was becoming rather familiar to her, all the nuances of its shape, the path of the veins, the sensitivity of the head and the ridge on the underside, the impressive length that gave her plenty of room to stroke as she tasted him, sucked him, waited to hear the little warning moans that she was also too familiar with. Steve’s hand touched her hair, a soft tap of an apology her other warning as he let his self-control go for her sake. Natasha opened her throat as he came, a warm, salty flood filling her stomach with heat, pushing the weakness and pain away forever.

“Natasha,” he whispered, and dropped to his own knees when she was done, holding her up as the cure worked its magic, carefully wiping away a smear of white from her lips. Her tongue followed his fingers briefly, and Steve caught his breath before helping her to her feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked, quickly tucking himself away. “Did it work?”

She only hesitated a second before she answered. “That worked just fine, Steve.”

--

The fifth time was because of a dream.

Steve woke abruptly out of a dream of red hair and creamy skin, his cock an iron-hard torment, he was so aroused. He rolled over onto his stomach, and then back to his back when the friction from his sweatpants against the mattress just made him want to hump the bed until he’d made a sticky mess of everything. He put one hand over his face, and slipped the other one to the front of his pants, adjusting himself until he could at least walk down the hallway without offending any other Tower resident who was awake at two thirty in the morning. He’d learned the hard way that trying to simply take the edge off his arousal, particularly when they involved dreams of burying himself between Natasha’s thighs and rocking together for eternity, usually ended up with him having to stick his penis in an ice bath afterward to deal with the chafing.

Definitely not something he needed to do on a regular basis. A brisk walk, maybe a little workout, something to get his blood moving to other extremities. Any other extremity.

The weather was warm, and a brisk jog up five flights up steps to the roof did a lot to settle his hormones. At least enough that he could enjoy looking up at what stars could be seen, at the skyline of the city, overlaying what he’d known with the new and glittering panorama around the tower. There were more buildings, higher buildings, now all lit up with more towers for radio and cell phones and everything else.

Steve turned his head to look out over the river, and abruptly saw a shadow where none should be, a silhouette he knew.

“Natasha?”

The shadow moved, and Steve could see her hair gleaming in the starlight and the glow of the city, gilding her body in silver and gold and red. “Steve.”

He couldn’t read anything in her voice, she kept it so even. Not surprise or pleasure or anger or annoyance, and as good as his eyesight was, even in the dim light, she was giving nothing away by her expression.

“I had a dream and I needed to clear my head.” The unintentional double entendre flashed across his mind, courtesy of Clint and Tony’s dirty joke showdown from the other week, and Steve ran several sets of baseball scores through his head to make sure both of his heads stayed very, very clear.

“Ah.”

There was a hint of understanding coloring her tone, and maybe something more.

“If… if you wanted to be alone…” Steve said, abruptly realizing she’d probably come up here for privacy, away from the majority of JARVIS’ cameras and the rest of the Avengers. Possibly even from him – Heaven knew they’d been inadvertently too intimate lately. They had said their apologies, given their excuses, but Steve didn’t think for a second that made everything perfectly all right again.

“No,” she said, a little too quickly, and extended a hand towards him in the dim light. “Not from you.”

Steve breathed out a sigh of relief he didn’t know he’d been holding as he went to her. She drew him down beside him on the warm concrete, her arm around his waist, her head falling to pillow on her shoulder. Feeling daring, Steve circled one arm around her shoulders, and felt her relax against him.

“Why did you let me?” she asked out of the blue, after long moments of just breathing together, looking out over the city.

Steve didn’t pretend he didn’t know what she was talking about. “I- like you,” he said hesitantly.

“I used you,” she said, her voice gone expressionless again.

“Don’t,” Steve whispered, turning to speak into her hair, his warm breath ruffling the strands. “I’d never done undercover work before, during that time in the club. I meant what I said after that alien attack, about control. And I thought… if it had to be anyone for, um, the antidote, you might have preferred…”

Natasha chuckled softly as Steve stumbled to a halt. “I think the others would have assumed I’d want Clint.”

“I know who Clint is to you,” Steve said, his arm holding her a little tighter. “And you wouldn’t ask him to do that.”

“Thank you.” That was with full sincerity in her voice, and Steve kissed her lightly on the top of her head. “And that time on Asgard?”

Steve coughed self-consciously. “I forgot pajamas and I sure as hell wasn’t going to stop to grab clothes when I heard those men.” Natasha laughed again, and Steve pressed on while he still had the courage to speak. “I know you could have gotten out of any of those situations. You didn’t need me to save you.”

“What were you dreaming about, Steve?”

A breath, a hesitation, but he didn’t bother to lie. “You.”

“No, you didn’t have to protect me. But you did.” The hand around Steve’s waist tickled slightly at his ribs through his thin t-shirt. “We’ve done things a little backwards, haven’t we?”

Steve made a little choking noise in his throat, not quite sure how to answer.

“Public sex, public nudity, marathon sex, blow jobs, first date.”

Steve pulled away from her enough to look into her face, her teasing tone belied by her serious expression.

“No one protects the Black Widow, Steve. They know she’s a titanium assassin robot.”

“But Natasha…” Steve prompted, his breath catching.

“It’s okay to protect me. Sometimes.” She shifted, straddling him, her arms over his shoulders, his settling naturally on her hips. “I can break. I can get hurt. I can die.”

“I know.” Steve knew his voice was rough, but he tried to make his lips soft when he caught Natasha’s, kissing her slowly. She was hot, sensitive, responsive, things he knew too well for their first kiss, but that didn’t diminish a thing about it. “Natasha, I know. I still want to… protect you.” He smiled against her mouth. “Sometimes, at least.”

She was too warm against his groin, and the very problem he’d come out here to lose was making a return appearance, very rapidly.

“With anything you have,” she added, with a squeeze of her thighs and a not-at-all chaste kiss.

“Will you let me?” he asked, picking her up as he stood, groaning a little as she locked her heels together behind his back.

“Always.”

Wrapped together in the warmth of night, Natasha let Steve protect her over and over and over again. And protected him in return.