Not many people could sneak up on Bucky. Steve never could; Bucky'd always had eyes in the back of his head when it came to Steve. The village kids could, if they tried; they belonged to this landscape the way Bucky had once belonged to Brooklyn and could blend into it like chameleons, if they could stop giggling long enough. He thought probably Okoye could, but the chief of the Dora Milaje would never have to sneak up on anybody; she could give Steve a run for his money at meeting life head up, ready to fight.
Romanova, however... the Black Widow could. And would.
She was watching him from a stand of tall grasses, silent and poised as a hunting lioness. Her hair was dyed blonde; her loose brown jacket, khaki pants, and clogs didn't look like anything he'd ever seen her wear. Her face was deceptively soft and composed.
Bucky straightened up and held out his hand. "I'm unarmed, Romanova."
That earned him half a smile. "I can see that." She emerged from the grass and walked to the border of the vegetable patch. "Never thought I'd see you picking vegetables."
Bucky picked up the basket. "Purple carrots. They're great. Come on, I'll make you a salad."
She followed him to the village well, walking silently on the soft ground despite her heavy shoes. His neighbors greeted him and let him practice his isiXhosa while he washed the root vegetables clean; none of them spoke to or about Romanova, as if she weren't there. Maybe he was hallucinating her. But she sat down on a fat cushion in the house and watched with interest as he chopped carrots and tore up lettuce, working deftly one-handed after months of practice.
He laid the salad on two plates and dressed it with salt and a little lemon juice, squeezed out of the fresh fruit. Then he squeezed the rest of the lemon juice into two cups of water and lunch was ready.
Romanova ate like she was hungry. "Have you seen Steve?" she asked, after consuming half her salad.
"Yeah." He didn't bother trying to hide his smile.
"Good." Romanova didn't hide her smile, either. "These carrots really are great."
"Aren't they though?"
When she had cleaned her plate, Bucky took down the fruit bowl off the shelf and set it between them. She seized an orange and began peeling it, so quickly the orange seemed to be stripping itself between her hands.
"Why are you here, Natasha?"
A quick shudder, as quickly suppressed, went over her at the sound of their shared Russian. He reached out and touched her wrist, gently, then drew away.
"You were skinny and pale and always looked like you felt the cold and were trying not to show it. You were the first thing in ages that made me think, just for an instant, "She's cute." I wasn't... human enough then to be appalled at how good an operative you already were, at that age--thirteen, fourteen? You were the very best, the best Widow. You couldn't take me down, but they had taught you not to be scared of me, and you always came at me like you thought you could. You should have been scared. I could have killed you, every time we trained together, and I think even then I would have regretted that."
If it had been anyone else sitting opposite him, even Steve, Bucky would have thought they were crying. But a Black Widow did not cry, except deliberately, to her advantage. He leaned toward her a little.
"Is that what you came here to hear, Natashenka?"
Her mouth touched his so lightly that it took him a second to realize she was kissing him. He calculated three things in his head--did she really want this, did he really want this, would Steve be hurt if he knew--and then leaned into the kiss, letting her lead.
There had been no point to letting the young Widows practice their seduction skills on the Winter Soldier. The part of himself that needed and wanted pleasure, intimacy, not just sex but good food or warm soft blankets had been shut down for a long time, like the disused wing of a mansion. The taste of food had been his way back into those empty rooms; Shuri's treatment had opened up a great many more of them. Now, as he and Natasha both got to their feet and moved toward each other, Natasha winding her arms around his neck, he felt he was pulling off the dropcloths, opening the curtains in yet another room, letting in air and light.
Natasha did not kiss him like she wanted to seduce him. She kissed him like a girl who finally has a chance at the man she has worshiped from afar. Pretty sad if he was her ideal man all these years, but he was going to do right by her now. He cupped her jaw gently and sought control of the kiss; she let him have it, let him kiss her deeply, let him feel her tremble against him.
She kicked off her clogs and shrugged out of her jacket and toppled backward onto the bed. Bucky knelt between her feet and found the zipper on her pants. Her legs were soft and smooth but firm with muscles; she had tiny freckles on her knees. Hiding a grin, he kissed one knee and then the other. Natasha sat up and twisted out of her shirt, lay back wearing only a pale blue bra and panties.
Bucky lay down on his left side next to her, gathering her close with his one arm. She smelt of lemon and herbal shampoo and girl sweat, ripening into female desire. They kissed again and now she started to show off a little, teasing him with tiny nips of her teeth, demanding his surrender with bold moves of her tongue. Well, he might not be the world's greatest kisser, but he had discovered he could do other things with his mouth really well.
He popped the catch of her bra and drew it off almost without her noticing. Natasha had really pretty breasts and he felt he ought to say so. "Pretty little kittens," he said, in Russian, and planted a kiss between them, making sure to rub his beard against their soft slopes.
"Bozhe moi," Natasha muttered, and lay back to give him room to work.
Bucky took his time over her breasts, mostly using his mouth. Living with only one arm presented interesting creative challenges. He didn't stop until her nipples were hard as a cock in his mouth and her whole body was shaking. Then he slid his hand down her stomach and met her hand cupped over her mound, pressing hard through her thin panties.
"Let me, Natashenka," he said, and pulled her panties down when she moved her hand away. Once they were off, she spread her thighs without any shame, inviting him closer with the sight and scent of her arousal.
He cupped his hand between her legs and his fingers seemed to slide right in, drowning in oceanic wetness. Natasha choked off a moan as he curled them forward, massaging the sweetest spot. Bucky blessed the wifi hotspots all over Europe where he had upgraded his knowledge of sexuality along with everything else about the 21st century and worked her to a shuddering orgasm that left her flushed and panting.
"You're a man of many talents, Barnes," she managed to say. Bucky tried for the smile that used to charm the girls in Brooklyn.
"You haven't seen anything yet, dollface."
He didn't know whether the smile had worked, but his mouth between her legs did. Even in the old days when nice guys didn't ask and nice girls didn't offer, Bucky had liked eating pussy; he thought he might actually like it better than fucking, at least where women were concerned. He might only have one of the hands he was born with, but lips, teeth, and tongue were all where they were supposed to be, and he knew how to use them. He pleasured Natashenka mercilessly until she squealed aloud like the pretty girl she was; then she flipped him over and impaled herself on his prick and rode him like the Black Widow she was.
He watched her with his hand against his mouth, tasting and smelling her on himself, watching her face turn red, her lashes flutter with every orgasm. He came once as she fucked him, stayed hard, got harder as she pushed herself further, exhausting herself on his stamina. When she finally clambered off his body, she went down fast on his cock and sucked until he came again, letting him spurt on her rosy breasts.
She crouched over him like a lioness, still panting, wrung out and still not at peace. He felt like one of W'kabi's war rhinos had run him down and come back around for a second go, but he managed to raise his hand and touch her face. "Did you get what you wanted, Natashenka?" He spoke in Russian.
Her face contorted, shockingly, and she answered in English. "He calls me Nat."
She curled into a ball at the edge of the bed and cried, loudly and messily. Bucky didn't try to touch her until she seemed to be nearly done, looking for something to wipe her face with. Then he sat up and put his wrap into her hands. "Use that. And don't be afraid to blow your nose, all the fabric is washable."
That surprised a clogged laugh out of her. She mopped her face and blew her nose, hard, twice, before looking at him. Propped on one elbow, he looked back.
"You really are okay," she said at last.
"Natasha," he began, and then. We're friends, he wanted to say, but no. We can be friends if you want. He sat up and dared to push her hair back from her face. Red hair, her hair should be red. "You can come see me any time, Nat. On your own, or with Steve."
"Okay," she said, and sniffled. "Okay, James."
"Call me Bucky. That's what Steve does."