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Remind Me That I'm Human

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The first time it happened, they both agreed it was a one-time thing, and that if caught, it was Pepper’s idea, if only so that Tony would get so distracted by the idea of Pepper actively wanting to sleep with another woman that the conversation would be derailed in its entirety. Or so they told themselves. It really was Pepper’s idea, and it had shockingly more to do with Tony than Natasha should have been comfortable with. Apparently Pepper was the type who when stressed and unable to work, she wanted to have sex. Rough, quick, hard, satisfying on the most primal level, sex. And Tony made her stressed. A lot. And Natasha’s name had been Natalie.

The next time it happened was after Natasha came back from some mission where she almost died. She had called it life affirming sex, and Pepper had joked that she wasn’t nearly that good. Natasha disagreed but let it drop, because after all, this was never supposed to happen again.

And so it continued. Natasha or Pepper showing up at each other’s door, a bottle of wine or vodka in hand, respectively, after something has gone tits up and they just want someone to be there. A warm body to rut against and then press into while they battle with sleep. Because make no mistake, the sleep afterwards may be nice, but it is a battle.

After the battle of New York, they both called it life affirming, and neither cracked jokes. Tony’s nightmares and refusal to talk about it drove Pepper away, until they fought about her not answering the call when he was dying. And then they were okay again, for a while. Until Maya showed up, and everything went to hell.

So, at this point, when Natasha opens her apartment door to see Pepper holding out a bottle of vodka, it should be no surprise. But every time it does take her by surprise, because Pepper could have her choice of people to bed, but she keeps coming back to Natasha.

“What happened?” Natasha asked, taking the bottle to inspect it, because after the first time that Pepper showed up with cheap vodka, she isn’t taking chances.

“I was kidnapped and used as some crazy’s lab rat and now, now I’m not even sure I am human anymore.” Pepper word vomited before she walked into the apartment with Natasha.

“Come tell me.” Natasha says, closing the door softly.

“It will be quicker to show you.” Pepper said, grabbing a stack of paper off of the coffee table and setting it on fire a second later with nothing more than her hand.

“You just burned my mission reports.” Natasha said, blinking owlishly at Pepper.

“Yea, with my hand. Because I was mildly irritated at them, because you were using red pen to fill out official forms. Like I know red is kind of your color, but really Natasha? Really? They are official forms, use black or blue like normal people!”

“Uhm, Pep, you’re kind of glowing.” Natasha said, and for the first time Pepper heard what it sounded like when Natasha was actually nervous.

Pepper sighed before dropping down to sit on the couch, breathing deeply like she was trying to force herself into some meditative state by sheer force of will. “This is what happened to me. Tony stabilized it.” She ended with a snort. “God that’s a joke. It’s not stable at all. I’m not stable anymore.”

“You might be the most stable person I know.” Natasha said, dropping down to sit next to Pepper and grab her hand. “What do you need tonight?”

And then the first tears slid down Pepper’s face, drying up before they could reach further than the middle of her cheek. “I want to forget, but I am so scared to.”

“Why?” Natasha asked.

“Because I can’t control it, and what if I hurt you. I would never be able to live with myself.” Pepper explained, pulling her knees up to her chest.

“I think you can. And I think forgetting will help.” Natasha said, pressing a kiss to Pepper’s temple. “And I will help you forget. Just like we always do. Nothing changes.”

The vodka Pepper had brought over goes untouched and Natasha moves them into her bedroom, laying Pepper on the bed, framed by pillows and pink sheets.

“Nothing changes.” Natasha whispered, slowly unbuttoning Pepper’s baby blue shirt, kissing every inch of exposed skin.

“Everything has changed.” Pepper murmured, pulling her arms out of the shirt and tossing it off the bed, not really caring where it landed.

“You have not changed, Милая моя.” Natasha whispered before kissing a small scar on Pepper’s stomach from scissors a boy had tried to jab into her in middle school. They had been sharp and it hurt like hell, but the scar was small and no lasting damage was done. Pepper had joked that he was the kind of boy that in today’s society would have caused a school shooting, so she got off easy. Natasha had hushed her and told her it wasn’t funny, and she was lucky that’s all that happened if that was true. “Your scars are still here.”

Then Natasha was pulling Pepper’s jeans off, kissing the exposed legs with just as much reverence as she had her torso. The pale cream bra followed, and more kissed were placed, lips ghosting over nipples that responded beautifully and Natasha couldn’t decide if that was because Pepper was so responsive, or because Natasha could play her like a fiddle now. The matching panties quickly followed the rest of Pepper’s clothing, and when the ends of Natasha’s hair trailed along Pepper’s thighs while she nuzzled into the neatly trimmed pubic hair, Pepper hissed with anticipation.

But before Natasha could really start, Pepper was pushing her away, muttering something but Natasha couldn’t make it out.

“What, Милая моя? What’s wrong?” Natasha asked crawling up the bed to sit by Pepper’s head, carding her fingers through strawberry blonde strands.

“I’m so hot. I am going to hurt you!” Pepper was crying again, but this time the tears didn’t evaporate off of her skin.

“Милая моя, if you weren’t hot, I would be doing something wrong. Hush, let me take care of you.” Natasha whispered before putting her hands on either side of Pepper’s head, using her thumbs to wipe away the tears, and gaining the confidence with them that Pepper wouldn’t set her on fire accidently, at least not right that moment.

Pepper nodded, but it wasn’t anything close to her normal confidence level. Natasha bent down and kissed Pepper lightly before retracing her path down the woman’s body, settling between her legs, and going back to nuzzling her.

“I’m going to make you feel so good. I promise.” Natasha whispered before reaching up and letting her fingers coax Pepper’s nipples into hard nubs, carefully blowing warm air on her center, making her moan and buck.

“Please, please, Tasha, please.” Pepper whined but Natasha was content to take her time, trailing her hands back down Pepper’s body, feeling the muscles in her stomach jump at the light contact.

“So good, Pepper. You’ll see, nothing has changed.” Natasha whispered before sliding her hands around Pepper’s hips and digging blunt nails into the flesh of her ass, tilting her pelvis upwards so Natasha had a better angle to work with.

The gasp she was rewarded with when she slid her tongue between slick folds was enough for Natasha to have to mentally check if she was wearing good panties or not because there would be no salvaging them after this. She was. She didn’t really care.

Natasha was nothing if not cruelly precise in everything she did in her life, and in less time than Pepper would ever like to admit, with Natasha spelling out various things over her clit with her tongue, Pepper was ridding the edge of orgasm, just waiting to be pushed off into the abyss.

And then Natasha pulled back.

“Fuck you! Fuck me, god damn it, fuck me, I’m so fucking close, don’t you dare fucking stop now!” Pepper groaned, her fingers that were curled in the sheets quickly finding Natasha’s hair and shoving her face back into her center.

“I forgot how hot it is when you get so worked up you start saying fuck left, right, and center.” Natasha said, and Pepper didn’t hear it as much as feel the vibrations of the words directly against her clit while she held Natasha’s face there.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod! Yes, yes!” Pepper moaned, her fingers tightening into Natasha’s hair, almost painfully.

“You going to come, Милая моя? Are you going to come so hard for me that you forget your own name?” Natasha mumbled into Pepper’s center, earning her a spectacular view as Pepper arched off the bed, thighs closing onto Natasha’s head, while her body shook through the waves of her orgasm, Natasha coaxing her through it.

When Pepper finally collapsed seconds later onto the bed, her muscles loose and eyes glazed over, Natasha crawled back up the bed to curl up with her, only for Pepper to make a sound of protest.

“You’re wearin’ too many clothes.” She murmured, her voice rough.

“I can fix that.” Natasha responded before getting off the bed to strip out of the clothing, and she had indeed ruined the panties, before crawling back in beside Pepper.

“You’ve done that before. For Bruce?” Pepper asked, some of her orgasm buzz fading already.

Natasha just nodded, laying on her side while Pepper laid on her back, head turned to look at Natasha.

“Did it help him?”

“It was more for me. I can’t be scared of someone I fucked.” Natasha whispered. “But yes, he knows he can indeed fuck now, which apparently he had been avoiding since the accident.”

Pepper closed her eyes and for a moment Natasha thought that this was it, they had finally crossed the line that they had silently agreed to never cross with their friends with benefits arrangement, but Pepper blinked her eyes back open.

“You are so good to us, Tasha. You remind us to be human, even when we’re not.”

“Someone has to keep you all together and functioning with Phil gone. He would never forgive me if you all fell apart on my watch.” Natasha said with a sad smile, because she still missed Phil, even if something in the pit of her stomach told her he wasn’t actually gone.