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so just kiss me

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So just kiss me and let my hair
messy itself in your fingers
- Jewel Kilcher




“Tell me you aren’t falling asleep.”


Maria opens her eyes, blinking up at the sight of Natasha Romanoff wearing reindeer antlers. “Just resting my eyes.” Maria smiles and accepts the drink Natasha is holding out for her. “That’s a good look for you.”


Natasha sits next to Maria, laughing quietly as she settles onto the couch. “Darcy brought hats,” she says with a roll of her eyes, but Natasha’s easy smile doesn’t fade. Natasha loves the holidays, unapologetically so, and she isn’t actually annoyed by the ridiculous Christmas themed hat on her head.


Maria sips her drink, some concoction made with eggnog, and she eyes the assassin over the rim of her glass. Maria does not enjoy the holidays. But she does enjoy this. Maria enjoys the way that Natasha relaxes just a little bit more this time of year, and her perpetual good mood. And, as an added bonus, Natasha looks absolutely adorable in her reindeer antlers.


Natasha leans back against the couch, moss green eyes sparkling with amusement as she watches Maria watching her. “See something you like?” Natasha teases.


Maria makes a noncommittal sound in the back of her throat as she licks eggnog from her upper lip.


They do this every year. They are always flirty with one another but the holiday season changes things, somehow. Their flirting always feels more genuine this time of year. Like it may actually lead somewhere if one of them is brave enough to take it just one step further.


Natasha follows the path of Maria’s tongue with her eyes before looking away, and Maria wonders why the thought of being honest with one another is so terrifying.


Maria came to the Avengers holiday party straight from SHIELD. She spent fifty seven hours tracking a dirty bomb across Europe, and they just barely managed to keep it from being detonated in the middle of a bustling marketplace in Rome. Maria gave some serious consideration to just going home and going to sleep. But the thought of missing this time with Natasha was unbearable.


After such a heart stoppingly close call Maria needed Natasha’s company more than she needed sleep. And she doesn’t understand how she can be brave enough to face down a maniac with a bomb, but not brave enough to tell Natasha how much these quiet moments mean to her.


Natasha reaches back and tugs at the pin holding her hair up. She shakes her head as her curls come loose, tumbling free of the messy updo she’s been wearing for most of the night. Natasha glances at Maria as her hair settles around her shoulders, and she seems satisfied by Maria’s stunned reaction.


Maria thinks that move should be illegal. When Natasha lets down her hair like that it’s sexier than anything has any right to be. Ever. And the fact that Natasha seems to know exactly what it does to her would annoy Maria if she wasn’t so distracted by the faint scent of Natasha’s shampoo.


It takes Maria a moment to realize that Natasha was using a candy cane to hold her hair up, and she makes a face as Natasha unwraps the end and pops it into her mouth. “Aren’t you sick of those things yet?”


Natasha has been eating candy canes all month. Every time Maria turns around it seems like Natasha is eating another one. Not a fan of mint candies, or excess sugar, Maria finds Natasha’s obsession with them vaguely revolting.


“Are you kidding? They’re delicious,” Natasha says around her candy, “and they make a decent weapon in a pinch.”


Maria arches an eyebrow in disbelief, and Natasha pulls the candy cane out of her mouth.


Natasha has sucked the end into a sharp point, and Maria doesn’t know why she’s surprised that Natasha’s favourite holiday treat is also something she can use to defend herself with if she needs to.


“That can’t possibly be sharp enough to actually do any real damage,” Maria scoffs. The words are barely out of her mouth when Natasha makes her move, and Maria goes perfectly still as the sharp piece of candy is pressed against her jugular.


Natasha is so close that Maria can see the flecks of gold in her eyes.


“You’d be surprised,” Natasha murmurs, and Maria exhales shakily.


The familiar twang of a bow being fired, followed by the quiet thunk of something embedding itself into the ceiling, catches their attention. Both women look up and stare quietly at the mistletoe covered arrow sitting directly above their heads.


Natasha pulls back, removing the possibly deadly candy from Maria’s throat, and Maria glances away from the mistletoe to look at her. Natasha is scanning the room with narrowed eyes, looking for a certain archer, but Clint is nowhere in sight.


Maria knows that they could easily brush this off. It would be the smart thing to do. They have been flirting with one another for years, and there is a reason it has never gone any further than that. Maria has a list a mile long full of very good reasons why she hasn’t kissed Natasha once in all the time she’s known her.


Even though she desperately wants to. Even though she wants so much more than to just be friends with Natasha. Even though Maria is almost positive that Natasha feels the same way.


It’s the almost that’s the problem.


Natasha is a flirty person. It’s who she is and it’s what she does. She doesn’t always know how to turn it off, and there is a very real chance that this is just.. Natasha being Natasha.


Maria is still watching her when Natasha gives up looking for Clint and turns back to Maria. Natasha glances back up at the mistletoe before shaking her head and forcing a laugh. “Help me track him down and I’ll show you how much damage you can actually do with a candy cane.”


Something shifts in Natasha’s eyes and Maria decides she’s tired of being a coward. Maria reaches for her, slowly lifting her hand to brush Natasha’s curls over her shoulder. Maria’s fingers slide through Natasha’s hair, and Natasha’s eyes drift shut as she suppresses a shiver.


“Maria,” Natasha breathes, and there is a question hiding along the edges of her name.


“Hm?” Maria’s hand moves to cup the side of Natasha’s neck, her palm resting along the curve of Natasha’s jaw. Maria strokes her thumb across Natasha’s skin and Natasha isn’t able to hold back her shiver this time.


“What are you doing?” Natasha asks, even as she leans into Maria’s touch.


It’s quite obvious what Maria is doing; even more so when she exerts just enough pressure to guide Natasha’s face closer to her own. But the breathless question still settles in the air between them.


“Mistletoe,” Maria offers softly. “I don’t make the rules.”


Natasha’s lips twitch into a smile, and she allows Maria to close the last bit of distance between them.


Their first kiss is slow and slightly hesitant. It’s a gentle brush of lips, and Maria makes a soft sound of contentment before Natasha pulls away from her.


Natasha’s rests her forehead against Maria’s as she laughs quietly. “If I’d known..”


They’re so close that Maria can feel Natasha’s breath against her lips.


“What?” Maria asks. She tilts her head, ghosting her lips across Natasha’s cheek. “If you’d known what?”


“If I’d known it would be this easy I would have gotten you under the mistletoe years ago.”


Natasha’s confession is spoken softly, and everything else kind of fades away as Maria realizes what Natasha is telling her. Maria’s lips part in surprise as she leans back to catch Natasha’s eyes with her own. She blinks, unable to believe it could be this simple.


Natasha’s gaze drops to Maria’s lips for a brief second before she glances back up to meet Maria’s eyes. “I’ve been waiting years for this,” Natasha says as she leans forward, slowly erasing the distance Maria has put between them. “Can we do the whole shocked disbelief thing later?”


“Much later,” Maria agrees, and Natasha kisses her again.


There is nothing hesitant about their second kiss. Natasha licks into Maria’s mouth, stroking her tongue along Maria’s, and she relishes the quiet moan that Maria can’t quite hold back.


Aware that they aren’t alone, Natasha and Maria reluctantly pull apart after just a few moments.


Natasha gets to her feet and offers Maria her hand. “Want to take this someplace a bit more private?”


Maria puts her half empty glass on the coffee table and she takes Natasha’s hand eagerly. “I really, really do.”


Natasha smiles widely as she pulls Maria to her feet. She brings Maria’s hand to her lips, brushing a kiss across Maria’s knuckles before she turns to lead her from the room.


A slapping sound draws Natasha’s gaze and she glances towards the bar where Clint and Darcy are high fiving one another. Clint gives Natasha a smug look when he notices her watching them.


You’re welcome, he signs.


Natasha smiles, and she flips him off as she pulls Maria into the hallway and towards the elevator.