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This Touch Will Not Heal Us (but it will remind me that I am yours)

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     Trust, is that what he wanted? A display of loyalty? A confirmation that she is his, and that no matter which role she takes in the battle ahead, she will always be on his at the end of the day? She was a liar by trade, a woman of a thousand faces, but she would not let him doubt her.

     She knelt before him, silent as stone, hands clasped behind her back, eyes lowered to the ground.

     “What are you offering me?” He murmured the question, bending down to trace a thumb up her jaw, and she fought not to shiver.
     “Anything. Everything, if you want it.” What a dangerous reply.
     Tony shook his head, pulling her halfway to her feet in an embrace. “I can’t ask that of you, Tasha.”
     “You don’t have to. I’m offering,” she said with a smile, “because I want to. And because you need it.” 

     Tony tried not to be affronted by that. Still, the assassin, deadly and analytical, was right this time. He did need this. The rift with Steve was preying heavily on his mind, tearing his attention and confidence to shreds. He was still debating whether he should get Peter involved in the upcoming fight— a child shouldn’t have to help in his battles, but he’d need all the help he could get, especially if Wanda stood against them, and—

     “You’re drifting again.” Natasha interrupted his thoughts with a gentle kiss.
     He held her close, letting his eyes shut for a moment, and then frowned, pulling away. “You’ve been with him.”
     “You’ll need to be more specific.”
     “I can smell Steve’s cologne on you. Tasha, what—“
     “I tried to convince him and failed. I came back to you.”
     “And that makes you smell like him because…?” 

     Tony’s frustration was palpable, but only a fraction of it was actually directed at her. Largely, it was at himself, his own insecurities and irrationalities made stronger by the stress of the current situation. It was bad enough that even knowing that Natasha had been around someone who currently fell into the category of adversary (though he could never really call Steve an enemy) made him want to punch a wall.

     Natasha kissed him again, not bothering to hide the despairing look on her face. “He just had the love of his life die, Tony. I gave him a hug. Surely you can allow that. Any other month before the Accords, you would have done the same thing. Not having you around is hurting him as much as not having him around is hurting you, and now he’s got another grief stacked on top of it. Leave it be.”

     “He wouldn’t have to not have me around if he would sign the damn papers.”

     “Those papers are primarily a frantic and misguided attempt by terrified people to pretend they have some measure of control. I signed them because I understand politics, but you can’t blame him for hating them. He’s not the reason they were created.” You are, sat unsaid on her tongue, but they both heard it anyway. 

     Tony barely managed not to glare at her. “And yet here you are,” he replied to her unspoken accusation.

     “Here I am,” she replied in kind, tone thoroughly neutral despite the obvious tension in her body. “Here I am, because I love you, possibly more than life itself. I’ve offered you anything you might want of me, but you apparently don’t know how to take it. I don’t know what else to do to put you at ease. I have no promises to make because I cannot lie to you, not again. We may not get out of this unscathed. Everything might not be fine again. For all I know, I might die out there tomorrow, but I will die yours, Tony. That’s all I need you to know.”

     The breath rushed out of him, and for a singular moment he couldn't say a word. Then he dragged her in for a bone-crushing hug, letting the air rattle back into his lungs.

     “I know, Tasha. I know. I’m sorry.”
     “Remind me.”
     Tony’s brow furrowed. “What?”
     “Remind me that I’m yours. That I’m doing the right thing for you. Please.” 

     It’s the please that broke his resolve (broke his heart), and he nodded, pressing a kiss to her lips and pushing her back to kneeling (the way she started, the way she felt most comfortable right now).

     “Anything for you too, love. I promise.” And he began.