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INTERLUDE: Honor and Loyalty

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"What are you working on?" Maria's voice floated out of the kitchen and Bobbi managed not to jump at the sound. She'd known Maria was awake, had heard the shower going, but she'd been so close to done with pulling what she needed that she'd pressed on regardless.

"Nothing important," she lied, and hoped that her skills in that area weren't too rusty. She'd already closed everything but the completely innocuous web browser pointed to a news site by the time she felt Maria standing at her back.

"I could order you to tell me," she said as she leaned down to press her lips against the curve of Bobbi's neck while the computer went through it's shut down sequence.

"You could, but I'm not in your chain of command." Despite the stress and outright fear she felt from what she'd just been doing, she couldn't help but turn boneless as Maria teased at just the right spot below her ear.

"You used to be."

"And I was a good girl and kept my hands to myself until after my transfer," Bobbi retorted, and suddenly impatient she turned in her chair to wrap her hand around the back of Maria's neck and pull her in for a proper kiss, ending the conversation.

As a distraction technique it worked beautifully on both of them, and they took turns fumbling with one another's clothes as they led and were led into the small bedroom. They didn't get to spend many nights together in the apartment - when on duty, they had quarters on the SHIELD base (Bobbi) and the Carrier (Maria) and it wasn't practical to try to meet in the middle. This was their sanctuary, their home and safe haven of sorts, something Bobbi hadn't ever really dreamed she'd get. She'd considered herself lucky, once upon a time, just to have a level surface with a roof over her head.

Now she had more, and she was risking it all - risking all this, she couldn't help but realize even as Maria was pressing her back onto the bed and deftly working the buttons on her jeans, on Phil's whim and suspicion.

On Clint's life, she reminded herself, that was really what was on the line, after all.

Without him, she wouldn't have any of this anyway.

She could remember, let herself slip back into those bad days of living hand to mouth and boosting cars and running, always running, or she could push that away, push it back down and choose to be here, in the moment, for this.

This being the feel of Maria's mouth tracing a design on her hipbone while her fingers teased up and down her thighs. All she could reach was her fall of dark hair, still pinned up in dress uniform precision. She hadn't bothered to take it down when she'd showered after returning home from her trip. Probably forgot, Bobbi thought to herself with a smile. The military, and then SHIELD, taught hyper-focus and precision, and Maria excelled at both, but sometimes that meant tunnel-vision and ignoring the non-essentials like remembering to unpin her hair if it wasn't in her way.

Precision in all things, she noted as her hips bucked up off the bed, the result of that hyper-focus being applied in more intimate ways. Maria circled her clit, two fingers moving almost lazily inside of her, but making sure to hit all the important spots. Bobbi felt her breathing go uneven and her muscles tense and coil to the breaking point and then she was past it and she was in free fall.

Maria was on the bed next to her and smiling down at her when she opened her eyes.

"Well that was a nice, but wasn't I supposed to be welcoming you home?" she eased over onto her side and reached out so that she could cup Maria's breast in her palm. She loved the look on her face when her eyes slipped closed and she arched into her touch.

"I suppose so. But I missed doing that. It's been a long three weeks."

"It really, really has," Bobbi agreed. And you don't know the half of it. "I had a good vacation, though."

"I'm glad. I think I'd give my eye-teeth for one of those right about now, but it'll be awhile."

Bobbi knew better than to ask about the conference - there was absolutely nothing involved in a US Department of Defense meeting that was within her security clearance, and the last thing she ever wanted to do was put Maria in an uncomfortable position about what she should and shouldn't say in regards to her work. It was mutual, of course, because there were things she had to handle that were outside of anyone's clearance except for Fury.

"Well, I might not be able to give you a vacation, but I think there's something I can do that might relax you." She shifted down the bed just enough that she could take one of Maria's breasts into her mouth, smoothing the flat of her tongue over her nipple before carefully, lightly setting the edge of her teeth against her skin. She found the soft line of her thigh and drew her fingers slowly, teasingly back and forth, just shy of putting them where Maria so desperately wanted them to be, judging by her whimper of protest.

"Mmmmm, is there something you want?" she whispered with a grin against her chest before resuming the wicked things she was doing with her tongue.

"Yes, dammit," she gasped, arching her hips upward when Bobbi shifted her hand away.

"Isn't patience supposed to be a virtue?"

"You are such a fucking tease."

Bobbi loved what she could do, the way she could get her voice to sound breathless and thready and make her forget all of her military-grade control. What would any of them think on the bridge of the carrier if they could see their commander like this, like Bobbi did, open and wanting and unrestrained?

She loved that this was for her, and her alone.

Maria uttered a wordless cry when Bobbi finally touched her, moving deep and sure in just the right rhythm so that she came apart against her hand. She waited until she'd come back down, until her breathing had evened out and slowed, before shifting back up the bed to curl into her side and wrap her arms around her waist.

"What time do you have to be up?" she murmured against Maria's shoulder.

"0500, so I can be on deck by 8. I've got an alarm set."

"Okay," she whispered in response, and let herself slide into sleep.