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think well, love well, sleep well

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Steve's never actually had lasagna before, and the original goal of the night is to rectify that particular failing.

"It contains all the protein, carbs, and fats that you require in a solitary dish. It's a nearly perfect food," Natasha tells him as they make their way to a restaurant that is probably worth more than the entire city of Brooklyn had been in 1945.

"Pizza has all of the same," Steve tells her, and he grins into the face of the severe scowl she levels at him. That he is one of the few people brave enough to do so is one of reasons that he is here with her, as her date. Lesser, but equally wise, men would be cowering in fear.

"Pizza is not a second date food," Natasha scoffs when she has sufficient evidence that he is not going to turn tail and hide.

It's a legitimate fear. One scowl from Natasha had terrified Agent Kelley so badly that he'd ran for his life, and they they still haven't found him, five years later. Clint's taken great delight in telling Steve that story - multiple times - since he's discovered Steve's interest in Natasha.

"But lasagna is?" Steve asks as they're led to their seats.

The view is a nice one, and Steve takes the time to appreciate the tactical benefits of the table's position. Natasha's done a good job in requesting this specific table, he takes the time to think before sliding the chair out for her.

The waitress raises an eyebrow, and covers it before Steve's supposed to see it. Steve wonders if maybe it's another social mistake that he's made, and not for the first time, he's glad that he and Natasha are both so old.

"Lasagna has an elegance and sophistication that's appropriate for two people who are still getting to know each other," Natasha answers. "Pizza lacks both attributes, and is appropriate for two people who have grown bored and complacent with each other's company."

"Well, let's hope pizza days are a good while off for us," Steve says optimistically.


8:29: From Natasha Romanoff: Finally.

Clint waits for Barnes to stop firing at the target before he announces, "Hey, our buddies are finally getting lucky."

"It's about goddamn time," Bucky says, fondling his gun in what Clint is sure counts as obscene in at least half a dozen states.

"It's only the second date," Clint says reasonably. "Steve's like 100 years old. You should be praising his ability to roll with the flow."

"I praise his ability to 'go with the flow' each time he chooses not to shoot one of the Avengers, like they deserve," Bucky scoffs. "It's your turn, Barton. You gonna use a real weapon, or you gonna insist on that Paleolithic toy?"

"You'd know all about the Paleolithic era, old man. Weren't you there?" Clint retorts. He picks up his bow only after texting a reply to Natasha.

8:45: From Clint Barton: ur place or his?


They go back to the Tower, because despite Steve's concerns about Tony's robots spying on them, Natasha's bed is bigger.

"I was used to cots and tiny beds that had to fit in spaces smaller than your bathroom," Steve tells her, because she tells him to keep talking while he undoes the buttons of her shirt.

It gives him something else to focus on, and keeps his hands from fumbling too much. It's ridiculous that his hands fumble this much, when he has seen women naked before, and Natasha is one of the closest friends he has. But the nervousness is still there, and it outranks all the tactical skill he is supposed to have.

"I'm used to my bed needing to be big," Natasha tells him bluntly, and she's pushing his pants down with expert skill. "The more room, the better."

Steve's thinking that he could just let her handle all of the taking off of the clothing, and that would probably go better. But his hands are enjoying the feel of her soft skin beneath them far too much to stop.

It feels strange, for her skin to be this soft. He's seen her in battle, broken, bleeding, and as torn up as any soldier; it isn't that he doesn't know that women can be soldiers. Of course he knows this. If he'd ever doubted, Peggy'd set him straight, a long time ago. But he still expects her skin to be as tough as he knows she is.

He's still marveling at how good and soft the breasts in his hands are when Natasha pulls away and leans back onto the bed. The brief feeling of disappointment disappears, however, when she says, "For our first time, I think we should start with plain old missionary. Let's crawl we run, hmm?"

Steve takes far longer than he should to consider what "running" might entail in this metaphor, before joining her on the bed.


Clint's in the middle of making an incredibly late dinner for himself and Barnes - might as well share with the other formerly brainwashed sniper, right? - when he gets the first concerned Avengers text.

9:20: From Tony Stark: dammit. i owe u money in the capsicle pool.

9:20: From Tony Stark: looks like tiny cap finally thawed out after all.

9:22: From Tony Stark: did they have 2 b so loud?

9:23: From Tony Stark: other ppl live here 2.

9:25: From Tony Stark: all that bitching about how he's a grown man and needs his own space yet rogers comes back here for a booty call?

9:26: From Tony Stark: bootycall goes badly with my cheez-its.

9:30: From Tony Stark: u actually answer ur texts or is everyone getting laid tonight but me?

"He better never let Nat hear him call it a bootycall," Clint says to Bucky, before Clint pulls the second pot pie out of the microwave.

"She'll kill him," Bucky acknowledges. "Do you think JARVIS would play that video back for us?"

9:45: From Clint Barton: not our fault pepper's in europe, stark.


Steve's used to needing to be quiet. Small tents, crowded orphanages, small allies next to full apartments, and army regulations have always made being quiet necessary.

But right now, there are no regulations to stand in the way of making sure that she knows how good those hands feel wrapped around his cock. Since waking up in the 21st century, Steve's been relying on his hand to get by, and he's almost forgotten how much better another person's hand can feel - especially when said person is straddling his leg while jerking him off.

"Louder," Natasha encourages, and her accent gets thicker.

Vaguely, through the haze of pleasure that Natasha's hands are causing him, Steve is able to remember that Natasha's from Russia. He's always marveled at how much he could never tell. It's something he could admire and appreciate, because the Brooklyn accent had been thick, once, and it took Steve several tries, with a very patient Peggy, to practice making it sound "All-American" enough for the troops he'd been singing into victory.

He's not singing anyone into victory these days, but he still thinks there's something to Captain America having an "All-American" accent, or at least one that can't pin point exactly which street he grew up on.

Tonight, however, the Brooklyn accent is quite obvious as he spills onto Natasha's hands.

From the smile on her face, Steve is guessing that she enjoys his verbal slippage as much as he enjoys hers, even if he believes that her slippage is far more calculated than his is.

"Barton owes me $500. The serum of yours, it really does what it advertised," Natasha says, and Steve would like to play innocent, but the way that she licks her fingers sends another pulse of want directly to his groin.

But it isn't his turn, so Steve just raises an eyebrow at the bet, and gestures to the region of Natasha's body currently resting comfortably on his leg. "Do you want me to use my hands? Or my mouth?"

"Do you know how to do that?" Natasha asks. It's not disbelief, the way it would be on so many of the other Avengers, who continue to believe that he is as pure as the Blessed Virgin herself, despite all evidence to the contrary. Natasha's question is merely curious, and her accent is momentarily gone, again. Steve wonders what he'll have to do in order to bring it back.

"I was on tour with a lot of ladies who missed their husbands and boyfriends, and didn't want to end up ... compromised," Steve answers her. "And plenty of ladies who didn't have any interest in having husbands and boyfriends. So between the two types of ladies, I learned plenty about how to use my mouth and my hands."

And from Peggy, he doesn't say, because the chorus girls had involved a lot of fun mutual exploration, but Peggy is ... Peggy, and he's pretty sure you don't bring up a great love of your life to a lady you're trying to court.

"And Director Carter probably taught you a thing or two, as well," Natasha says for him.

There's still a tightness there, in his chest, when she speaks of Peggy, but it's not so bad anymore that it feels like he's having an Asthma attack. It's not so bad, because he can think of the ring on Peggy's finger and the way Natasha's small hands feel resting on his chest while they talk about his oral sex experience.

So instead of breaking down, he just nods and says, "I've done it enough that I know that each lady prefers a different technique, some more with my hands, others prefer more with my mouth. You'll have to teach me what you like so I can make you happy."

He wants to make her so mind-numbingly happy that even she isn't sure whether the accent slip is on purpose or not. He's not sure he's that good, because she is really good at what she does, but he wants to be that good, to make her that happy.

She leans up to ruffle his hair, before rolling off of him and throwing the condom into the trash. Steve sits up to give her more room, and she spreads her legs. "So far you've been a pretty good student."

"Thank you, Ma'am," Steve says, scooting down to get in position.

"But the first lesson for this particular act is this: for me, you should use your fingers and your mouth."


10:30: From Tony Stark: no rly y

10:35: From Tony Stark: yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Clint rolls his eyes at the phone messages and goes back to arguing with Bucky about their movie choices for the night.

"No, you don't actually have to see the first two Jurassic Park movies," Clint tells him. "The other two have some semblance of a plot, and after this morning's mission, do you really want that?"

"Nah. But I feel like I would like to understand what is going on in this movie. Logic would dictate that we watch the first two in order to achieve that goal, Barton."

"This movie doesn't have a plot, Barnes. It's an excuse for big dinosaurs to chase little people. That over your head?"

Clint's phone buzzes again, and he rolls his eyes, but checks it, just in case it's from someone who actually matters.

10:40: From Thor: Our Friends Seem To Be Having Quite A Sexual Celebration. Our Other Friends Do Not Seem Very Happy About This. I Do Not Understand Midgard's Conservative Sexual Beliefs.

10:41: From Clint Barton: some ppl are just outdated, thor. don't worry about it, buddy.

10:42: From Thor: I See. Would It Be Appropriate To Offer Them Refreshments When They Emerge From Her Quarters? This Would Be An Appropriate Action On Asgard, But Your Customs Are Different.

10:43: From Clint Barton: that might be a little weird?

"Hey, how come everyone is texting you about Steve and Natalia's exploits?" Bucky asks. "He's my best friend. You'd think someone would be texting me obnoxiously about it, too."

Clint laughs at Bucky's question. "Sure, Barnes. Remember the last time the Avengers tried to include you in the group and you shot Tony Stark?"

"Steve's shield deflected the bullet!"

"But you didn't know that it would."

"Sure I did." Bucky shrugs. "Anyway, he was trying to get me to watch Nicholas and Alexandra and kept calling me the 'Soviet Assassin.' And he was offering me vodka! I was born in Indiana and what the fuck is wrong with you that you would get me to watch movies about Russia?"

"Natasha made him watch a movie about Afghanistan at the next movie night, if it makes you feel better." Clint shuffles through his movie collection and picks up another one. "Okay, no dinosaurs. But it does have potentially exploding buses? That going to bug your PTSD?"


10:50: From Tony Stark: have been blasting music in2 her room 2 get them to b quiet. not working.


Steve lies next to Natasha and thinks that he could spend the night painting her. He's not even that fond of painting, really. He prefers pencils and charcoal, because he will forever believe that they allow you to get a better sense of someone's personality than thick, clumsy paint can.

But paint is good for capturing shadows and curves that twist in ways that make you want to stand there all day long to try to puzzle out the meaning; that describes the woman his hands are full of pretty well.

"You look contemplative," Natasha notes. "Are you thinking about slipping away to dreamland?"

"Who could sleep with all this noise?" Steve asks, rolling his eyes in the general direction of the speakers that are currently blasting the worst possible music into the room. Tony really was obnoxious sometimes. In the universe where sometimes meant usually.

"True. There's a reason I suggested we keep Iron Man and not Tony Stark," Natasha says crisply. "Unfortunately, Colonel Rhodes has yet to be persuaded."

"I'll have to talk to him," Steve says earnestly.

The corners of Natasha's lips turn up. "As loyal as Colonel Rhodes is to Stark, if we send you in your current attire, he might be tempted."


11:00: From Bruce Banner: I'm supposed to appeal to you as Natasha's friend to get her to try to take it somewhere else.

11:50: From Tony Stark: i will make you whatever trick arrow u want. just god plz get them 2 take it somewhere else.

12:00: From Tony Stark: they are right over my lab. :(

12:20: From Tony Stark: do u know what they have done to the kitchen table?

12:21: From Bruce Banner: Never would have pegged - pardon the pun - Steve as the submissive type. But I will now be seeing it each time I walk into the communal kitchen.

12:25: From Tony Stark: dad was the only stark who ever needed 2 see spangles naked.

12:26: From Thor: We Do Not Have These Types of Mating Practices On Asgard. But I Believe The Lady Sif Would Approve Of Them. Perhaps Lady Jane And I Will Make Her Aware Of Them During Our Next Trip.

1:25: From Natasha Romanova: Running low on lube and condoms. Could you pick us up some and bring them by the tower before bed? Some refreshments would be appreciated, too.

Clint reads the texts thoughtfully and mocks Stark's pain, but doesn't actually reply to any of them. Hey, he doesn't want to encourage their behavior.

Well, any of it except Natasha's behavior.

He waits until Speed is done, because he isn't going to slouch in the introduction to shitty movies thing he has going on with Barnes. "Hey, I'm going on a shopping trip and since Steve is partially at fault, you are obligated to go with me," he says while Barnes is looking through Clint's DVD collection.

Damn, he really would like to stay and watch Barnes' face through Salt, though. Since it is basically Natasha's life story if she was played by Angelina Jolie.

... Which is a thought that Clint isn't going to dwell on for much longer if he actually wants to get going.

"I don't know. Nobody is texting me," Bucky points out. "This obviously isn't a mission for me."

"Stop pouting, Barnes."


Steve is starving, and the trip to the kitchen is cut shorter due to an interruption of a team meeting that Steve doesn't ever remember calling.

At least, Bruce tells him it's a team meeting, somewhere amid all the shouting Tony is doing.

Admittedly, Steve hadn't planned on giving his teammates a show of all of his assets (and many of Natasha's), and he probably should have heard them coming, but ... distraction is a powerful thing, especially in the hands of Natasha Romanova.

He takes the time to get dressed before making his way back to the room. Natasha doesn't bother.

"Clint and Bucky are on their way with refreshments," Natasha tells him once they are back to her room. "But in the meantime, I have something that may tide us over."

She sits cross-legged on the bed, and Steve is incredibly glad that she hasn't bothered to get dressed. He's even more glad when she pulls a bag of chocolate Kisses from the dresser drawer.

"I liberated them from Carter's desk," she explains.

"That's brave," Steve says, because Sharon is as formidable as Peggy is. Was. Is.

"I am," Natasha agrees. "But isn't that why you're here?" She unwraps a kiss and presses it to Steve's lips. "Because strong women are as much of a kink for you anything we were doing out on the kitchen counter, aren't they?"

"Yes," Steve answers, with his lips still around the offered kiss.


"Are you planning on buying the entire drugstore?" Clint asks as Barnes tosses another box of crackers into the cart.

"Steve has had a big appetite since the serum," Bucky answers with a shrug. "And that's even without all of the hours long sexcapades that everyone keeps texting you about."

Clint glances at his phone.

1:30: From Tony Stark: EVERYONE IS EVICTED.

1:32: From Natasha Romanova: Another bag of Kisses would also be appreciated.

Clint rolls his eyes at Stark and tosses two bags into the cart for good measure. "Seriously, Barnes, you need to let it go. You're Steve's favorite and I get to be the favorite of the other Avengers. That's fair."

"You're not Tony's favorite," Bucky retorts as they turn down another aisle. "Pretty sure that's Banner."

"Pretty sure it's Rhodes and Potts, actually. How does Rogers feel about canned meat? Had enough to last a lifetime?"

Bucky responds by dumping two armfuls of Vienna Sausages into the cart. That's either severe love for the man or a "fuck you for not texting me," and since Clint's not sure which one it is, he takes pity on Steve and dumps some canned chicken in the cart too.

"Pretty sure it's Rhodes and Potts and Banner," Barnes argues, because arguing is apparently what he likes to do when he is feeling sulky.

"Whatever, it's not you. I think that was point." Clint casually ducks to avoid the bag of potato chips that is thrown at his head and places it in the cart instead. "Look, don't be such a grump about it, Barnes. You hate the Avengers, so you can't care that they're texting me. When Nat knew you, you weren't even you, so of course she's texting me instead. It's not like Steve is texting me."

"He'd better not be!"

Clint rolls his eyes. "Barnes, in the extremely unlikely instance that Steve Rogers texts either one of us about his sex life, I will drop whatever I am doing and give you a blow job. But since that's never going to happen, you can fucking deal and stop pouting."

"I don't know." That was a Barnes smirk, which was a hell of a lot better than a pout. "Maybe I want to pout about the fact that I'm never getting that blow job."

"Life's hard, Barnes. Get over it."


When there is a knock at the door, Steve is kneeling at Natasha's knee and his tongue is licking melted chocolate off her fingers. His hands are locked into a pair of cuffs behind his back. "Do you trust me?" she'd asked, and how could give any answer other than yes?

She looks up at the door knock and smiles indulgently. "That will be them." She stands and glances down at him. "Do you want me to untie you to greet our friends?"

Part of him does, but another part really doesn't, so Steve lets that part pull rank. "Most of our other friends have seen me naked tonight, Ma'am."

"So why get dressed for the ones who have already had that privilege?" Natasha asks, and he nods. That's a fair point, and answers any unasked questions he'd ever had about Clint and Natasha's relationship.

"Though I'm pretty sure Clint hasn't seen me naked," he adds as an afterthought.

"Time to change that," Natasha says, as she opens the door. "Clint, James. Thank you for bringing supplies."

"That's a cruel way to greet two people when you aren't inviting them to join the party, Tasha," Clint says, before walking into the room and dropping four bags onto the bed, and Steve hopes at least three of those bags are food, because he's still hungry - chocolate or no chocolate.

"Stop trying to ruin Steve and Natalia's date by inserting your naked ass into it," Bucky scolds, and he drops another four bags onto the bed. One of the bags topple over and a bunch of bananas tumbles onto the bedsheets.

Steve is absolutely going to be eating those bananas out of Natasha's hands.

"It's not 1950-whatever. It's not Natalia anymore," Clint rejoins.

"It's never been Romanov unless you fucking fail at the Russian language, but you keep calling her that regardless," Bucky answers back.

"Boys. You are not invited to join us this time. You do need to leave now," Natasha says, and she says it firmly enough that Clint and Bucky begin moving towards the door at the same time.

Clint does call over his shoulder, "Have fun you two, and Cap, make sure you text Barnes good-night, so I don't have to see him pout all fucking night."

Natasha shuts the door and picks up a banana. "Shall we continue?"



Clint is on his ass in the middle of his living room floor, putting Rocky II into the DVD player.

"This one is much less depressing than the first one," he promises. "Girl got hotter, guy got uglier. That's going to happen through all of the movies, though. But that doesn't matter, because we're stopping after III."

It's the ass crack of dawn and they should have stopped hours ago, but the mission from the day before still hasn't let either of them unwind.

So here they are, watching more shitty twentieth-century movies.

"As long as there's more mindless punching," Bucky answers.

"Every movie I own has mindless punching," Clint says indignantly, because the idea that he'd own movies without that as the plot is genuinely offensive.

"The Runaway Bus movie didn't," Bucky points out, because he is an asshole who likes to argue. "And neither did the Runaway Bride movie."

"But the Runaway Bride movie had Julia Robers and 'You Can't Hurry Love.' If you can't appreciate the Dixie Chicks covering the Supremes, Barnes, there might be even less hope for you than I previously thought."

"I don't know who any of those people are."

"I told you who they were while we were watching the movie!"

"Yeah, but I was paying attention to the movie, Barton. Not to you."

"This is why nobody texts you."

Clint gets up off the floor, makes the night's second batch of popcorn and sits down next to Bucky on the sofa. Rocky is in the middle of making some poor 80s inspired clothing choices when Bucky does, in fact, get a text.

The stupid goofy grin that Bucky gives the screen is an obvious sign that it's from Steve.

"Update on anyone's sex life?" Clint asks, because he distinctly remembers offering a blow job in that instance and hey, Clint keeps his promises. "Or something less important, like Hydra?"

Bucky shrugs. "Kind of. Steve says goodnight, the world is amazing, and apparently so is lasagna. Did we get them lasagna? I don't remember giving them lasagna"

"No. Lasagna was Tasha's 'let's get laid' meal."

"So kind of updating me about his sex life," Bucky says smugly.

"Kind of." Clint thinks about it for a minute before he adds, "And I'm sure 'the world is amazing' is old guy code for 'Best Sex Ever.' So."

It's important to keep your promises, so Clint gets down on his knees.


4:30: From Clint Barton: I just got a reciprocal bj with 'eye of the tiger' playing in the background. my life is AWESOME.

Steve shakes his head. "I don't even know what that means."

Natasha places the phone back on the nightstand. "I'll explain tomorrow," she promises, and then she lays her head back on his chest.

In the immediate moment, Steve's pretty content with all the explanations that he already has.