There are bags in the trunk, and music is playing loudly, and they are laughing, loud and happy as people in love do.
There are bags of money that was not previously theirs, and there is a gun under her seat, and there is blood on his shirt.
Natasha is seventeen and sweet, and innocent, and doesn’t deserve what’s happened to her, her parents say. She was going to be a doctor, her mother tells the neighbours, who only remember a teenage girl who rarely went a night without climbing out of her bedroom window to spend it at someone else’s. A teenage girl whose smile was blood red; the only colour she wore. But try to tell parents grieving a child dead to them that this has been a long time coming, try to tell them that she’s always been a dangerous one, and then, well, you’re the criminal, aren’t you?
(Never mind that it’s not you who robs banks and steals cars and kills whoever gets in your way. No, no, that couldn’t possibly be their little girl, could it?)
Natasha wears demure black dresses, and nice black heels, and keeps a revolver in her purse next to her cigarettes and fake ID. Natasha doesn’t keep Bucky around to fight her battles for her or to clean up after her or for whatever else reason nosy neighbours whisper about when parents aren’t around; a girl like that, they say, doesn’t need nobody but herself, doesn’t keep anyone around unless she wants them there.
Natasha doesn’t need anyone but herself, sure, but who’s to say she can’t have a bit of fun?
The first time he sees her, she is a shadow in an alley, cigarette burning bright, the darkness and the smoke curling around her like it’s a part of her, an uncontrollable extension of her body. She’s wearing a smug smile and blood on her cheek and her knuckles, and yeah, he think he might want to know this girl a bit better.
"Steve Rogers," he says, and he holds out a hand for her to shake, kisses the back of her hand when she does take it. "And who might you be, gorgeous?"
"Leaving," she says, and she smiles and laughs as she walks away.
She's not there again until two nights later.
"Natasha," she says as the lighter illuminates her face.
"Those things'll kill you," he tells her as she inhales.
This time she takes his hat when she leaves.
Natasha leans against the dirty wall a week later, shoulders stark white against the black of the city. Her hair bleeds red down from beneath his hat. Her stockings are ripped, and she’s kicked her shoes off. "So what is it that you do, Mr Rogers?" she asks, looking up at him. He’s taller than her, but not by much.
“Call me Bucky,” he says.
“So what is it that you do, Bucky?”
"I rob banks," he grins. Because there's no real point in lying to someone who wants to do something exciting, something thrilling; someone who wants to go out with a bang.
(No matter what she says, he knows they're the same. You can always recognise your own.)
“Now, miss,” the detective says, giving her a picture of Bucky. “If you’ve seen this man, you oughta tell us about it.”
Natasha blinks at him. “I ain’t seen nothing, detective. Never seen him in my life.”
He looks at her, and Natasha smiles. “Well, miss, if you do, you be sure to call us, right? Fraud and robbery are serious crimes.”
“Of course, I’ll be sure to do that,” she says, and she is very sure to lock the door and move away before she laughs and laughs and laughs.
The first time she fucks him they have been sharing a bed for a month.
“I’d rather be a gentleman about this,” he says, as she pushes him back on to the bed and straddles him.
“No, you wouldn’t,” she says, and she unbuttons his shirt.
“No, I wouldn’t,” he agrees, and she lifts up so he can undo his pants.
She fucks him for the first time in a dirty motel room in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the day with the curtains closed and the lights on. His fingers bruise her hips, and her nails cut into his shoulders, and at night they do it all over again.
Nothing lasts forever.
The first time she kills someone, she's told him three time not to touch her, because -- well, she's go this boyfriend, see? And he gets jealous something awful, you know. She just doesn't want any harm to come to him; he seems like such a nice man, after all.
"He ever hurt you, sugar?" the man asks, and he's going to be her hero, he's going to save her from the nasty horrible man who stole her from her parents.
He reaches out, puts a hand on her shoulder, strokes the back of her neck with his thumb like she's a cat. "Don't worry," he says. "He won't come near you again."
"Oh dear," Natasha says, and she's slightly sad now, because she's told him, hadn't she?
He's cold when Bucky comes around in the car, and he takes the gun out of her hands, says, "It's okay," says, "You warned him," says, "I love you."
"I know," she says.
They leave that night and their red car in the black night looks a lot like the blood on her dress.
"It gets easier," Bucky says after thirty miles.
"It wasn't that hard," she says after fifty miles.
They stroll into town with their car and the clothes on their back and each other, rent a room at a motel, and are a normal couple who is on a road trip.
Natasha makes friends with the wife of the motel owner who smiles too much and only talks to her when Bucky isn't there, learns the town, goes to church, and goes to the bank.
She lets the motel owner fuck her while his wife is in the next room, and takes his earnings, takes his wife pearls, and takes his wallet for good measure.
"Did you have fun?" Bucky asks her, squinting at her from beneath his hat.
She puts her bag in the car, pulls him in for a kiss and says, "It was worth it."
She smiles as they walk in to the bank and her hand never once leaves the gun at her hip.
Natasha stands in the bathroom doorway, his pants too big on her, suspenders pulled tight over his shirt. Her hair is tucked up under his hat, and she grins around a cigarette.
“What are you looking at?” she asks, gruff and hoarse.
“Nothing, mister,” he says, crowding her into the bathroom, pushing her up against the wall. “Just wondering where you got that rather fine hat.”
“Stole it from a man I killed, didn’t I?” she replies, and her breath catches as he kisses her neck where the dark collar meets pale skin and slips a hand down below the waistband of her pants.
“Of that, darling, I have no doubt,” he murmurs and he pushes his fingers up.
She scratches the back of his neck and clenches around his fingers as she comes, then kisses him, sighs happily.
“What’s got into you?” she asks. “Not that I’m complaining.”
Bucky hums and runs his fingers along the suspenders. “Cops are headed this way, we’ll have to leave soon. Within the hour or so.”
Natasha sighs and thumps her head against the wall. “If I have to hear my rights one more time -- ”
“You have the right to remain silent,” he says, and Natasha laughs as he pushes her suspenders off her shoulders and tugs the pants down.
“I think I’d like to waive that right,” she tells him as he sinks to his knees and spreads her legs further.
Nothing lasts forever.
She reminds herself this when they go to get a room, and the owner looks at them, says, “I know who you are.”
Nothing lasts forever, and she knows this when he says “If you leave now, I won’t call the police,” when Bucky pulls out his revolver and shoots him once, twice, three times in the chest.
His wife comes running, and Natasha shoots her once. She falls, and doesn’t get up.
There is blood on Bucky’s shirt, on the desk, on the carpet.
Nothing lasts forever, and they run.
The last time, she’s on her knees, hands on his hips as he pistons down her throat. He gasps and moans as she licks and swallows, and when it’s over, he pulls his pants up and looks at her.
“I saw this coming,” he says, and he laughs slightly.
“I know,” she says, and she kisses him.
The gun feels heavier in her hand than it used to, and his eyes don’t leave hers as she raises it to his temple.
She wears a man’s suit and set her hat next to her on the bar, and blood drips from her smile, waxy red against pale white. She sits at a bar in a nameless town the same as a dozen others she’s driven through. A room for the night, a bar, a car -- all the things a girl needs in one place. Whisky burns its way down her throat as she drinks.
He has blond hair and blue eyes, and watches her like she’s nothing he’s ever seen before.
“What are you looking at?” she asks, voice like nails, a challenge.
He startles, like he hadn’t expected her to notice him or say anything to him. “Just wondering where you got that hat,” he says eventually.
Natasha smiles like a knife. “Stole it from a man I killed, didn’t I?”
“Of that, I have no doubt,” he says, and he smiles a little, and she recognises it as sadness. He holds out a hand. “Steve. Steve Rogers.”
She looks at him carefully, then shakes his hand. “Natalie,” she says, and he kisses the back of her hand.
“Delighted to meet you, I’m sure,” he says. “Forgive me, but -- you don’t sound local. Maybe I ask why a woman such as yourself is here?”
Natasha is still smiling. “Looking for work.”
Rogers raises an eyebrow. “And what sort of work do you do?”
“I rob banks,” she says, then down the rest of her drink in one go, picks up her hat, and leaves.
Rogers is there again the next night.
“You remind me of someone I used to know,” he says.
“How odd,” she says. “You do, too.”