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Separately Alive and Rather Burning

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Peggy has known since she was a teenager that she was attracted to more than just men. She had always felt out of sync with the other girls, but still she had wanted desperately to be liked by them. Even as a young child, she had often found herself fixated on certain classmates with long, glossy hair or sharp, pretty eyes, absolutely bent on befriending them and keeping them at her side.

She keeps quiet about it. Fred hadn't known; Steve hadn't known. Jarvis, who through an extremely unexpected set of circumstances has become her closest friend, doesn't know. But it has been a long time since romance even approached being a priority in her life. With Daniel, she had thought there was something, budding, but by the time she had been emotionally ready to face that possibility, it was too late. With Jason, she had sensed a unique sense of connection, but the accident had put a dampener on that. Besides, she can’t imagine telling either of them about the silent, searing desire that sometimes coils within her.

It’s all quite secondary to her work, even if there's a part of her that undeniably hungers for a sense of true connection with another person.

And, in her profession, Peggy doesn't interact with many beautiful women—or any women at all, really. Even when she does, she never finds herself fazed or intimidated by them, so safely her secret rests deep within her. When she sees them on the street or at the shops, her eyes may linger in appreciation for a split second, but never in any noticeable fashion.

But then, one day in Los Angeles, Peggy slips.

After they break Dottie out from under the FBI’s nose, Daniel drops them off at the Stark estate. Ana provides Dottie with an evening gown and waves her off to a guest room down the hall. Peggy escorts her, untrusting. Behind her, she can hear Jarvis and Ana discussing whether or not glasses will be enough of a disguise for him.

The door shuts behind her with a click and makes Peggy suddenly very aware that she had handed her gun over to Jarvis earlier, afraid Dottie would take it and use it against her. Her eyes flicker quickly around the room to catalog the items that Dottie could potentially use as weapons against her. Outside, the California sun stretches generously across the Stark grounds, casting soft afternoon light through the window.

“Alone at last,” Dottie sighs happily. “I thought they’d never leave us alone.”

Peggy turns from where she’s trying to figure out how best to wield the lamp on the bedside table as a blunt weapon and is met with the sight of Dottie brazenly stripping her clothes off.

Automatically her eyes flicker down to the bare, golden skin of Dottie's modest chest and the smooth and firm expanse of abdomen beneath. Her body is perfect in a way that makes Peggy's mouth water in the most embarrassingly adolescent way.

Dottie's eyes meet hers on the way up, and her lips form an O. For a moment, she looks genuinely surprised, and her hands still on the waistband of her standard-issue trousers.

“I knew it,” she says, delighted. “You’re like me.” Her bright eyes—so good at disguising the dangerous intelligence beneath—light up with a predatory gleam.

“I’m nothing like you,” Peggy says acerbically. She crosses her arms and trains her gaze on Dottie’s smug smile, which is harder than it should be.

"No need to be shy," Dottie says, voice sultry as velvet. Peggy notes absently that it sounds different from the playful one Dottie affects when flirting with everyone in her proximity, and then Peggy isn't aware of anything other than the sharp heat in the pit of her belly as Dottie steps out of her trousers and moves into her personal space like she belongs there. Riveted, she tries to back away but doesn't get very far. When Dottie's fingers caress her cheek, Peggy can't suppress her shiver.

"I should've known," Dottie says. "How do they not see it? You are so much more than what those little people think."

"I don't know what you're on about."

"Oh, yes you do," Dottie says, backing Peggy into the wall and pressing their bodies together.

Peggy should be fighting back. Peggy should just hit her. She knows eight different ways to incapacitate someone who tries to traps her against a wall.

But Peggy's mind is a haze as she breathes in the suddenly intoxicating scent of Dottie—not the cloyingly sweet floral perfume she used to wear but something that is much darker, truer, and more human.

Without any hesitation, Dottie grabs Peggy's hands and places them on her breasts.

"Go on then," she murmurs against Peggy's lips, and then they're kissing.

Dottie kisses like she kills: with practiced precision and a perverse sort of glee. Her hot tongue coaxes Peggy’s mouth open and proceeds to invade and map every millimeter of it, as if conquering unexplored territory and planting a flag. Never one to sit back and submit, Peggy gives as good as she gets, meeting Dottie’s possessive tongue with her own and tangling with it, a dance as fierce as their hand-to-hand combat.

Dottie tugs Peggy’s shirt out of her trousers and begins unbuttoning it. When Peggy’s hands clench unconsciously around the glorious curves of Dottie's breasts, Dottie grins devilishly into the kiss and tears the blouse away. Buttons spray across the room, but Peggy barely even notices. The world around them has narrowed down to their clasped mouths and the confident fingers removing Peggy’s bra and pinching her nipples with surprisingly calloused thumbs.

With a soft whimper she barely recognizes as her own, Peggy arches against Dottie, who angles them so that their bare breasts press together and Dottie’s thigh rests against the growing blaze between Peggy’s legs. To get back at her, Peggy tugs on Dottie’s lower lip with her teeth and sucks it forcefully, and is thrilled when she’s rewarded with Dottie making a sound like she’s been punched in the stomach.

The tiny part of Peggy's brain not consumed by being kissed within an inch of her life recognizes that this isn't the first time they've locked lips. But this time there's no poisonous lipstick, no collapsing—just dizzying heat and Dottie's bare skin stretched over lithe muscles and a deadly strength. Peggy’s hands roam all over the curves and angles, marveling at the glorious warmth of this cold, dangerous killer.

Reticence tossed out the window, Peggy cups Dottie’s ass, yanking her closer and grinding their bodies together roughly. Dottie gasps a Russian curse against her lips. The utterly entrancing spark in her eyes—equal parts surprised and excited—bolsters Peggy’s courage; she dips one hand past the waistband of Dottie’s plain underwear and brings the other one around to explore the unmistakably damp spot in front. Arousal blooms from Peggy’s stomach to the tips of her fingers and toes. Dottie’s not shamming; she’s practically dripping with longing. Peggy finds herself salivating at the thought, fingers twitching absently, clumsily.

“Peggy!” Dottie moans, expression genuinely shocked for one brilliant moment. The novelty of that response jolts Peggy back to awareness. Grinning in triumph, she tugs at Dottie’s earlobe with her teeth.

“You like that, hmm?” Peggy murmurs. She barely recognizes her own voice, husky with a desire she doesn’t know how to name.

For a moment, she considers whether this is all just part of a scheme to distract her into letting Dottie escape. But if that was Dottie’s plan initially, it seems to have backfired: Peggy is the one in control currently. That much is clear from how responsive Dottie is to her touch and how taken aback she seems about her own state, each curious stroke of Peggy’s fingers making her breath stutter. It’s an intoxicating thought, being able to exhibit control over this dangerous, unflappable woman, and it brings to life a base, animal hunger within Peggy.

“More,” Dottie says, kissing her neck sloppily. Peggy thinks it’s meant to be a demand but instead comes out sounding like a plea, a beautiful complement to the sight of pale skin flushed an inviting shade of pink.

Peggy twists to gain leverage and slams Dottie against the wall, pressing her wrists against the tiny flowers of the wallpaper.

Oh,” Dottie says, pupils blown wide. She squirms in the hold but doesn’t break it.

Peggy lowers her mouth to a pert breast, lapping and nibbling at the dark nipple with enthusiasm. She is overwhelmed by the thrill of being in this position; it’s as if something that had been missing in her life has suddenly slotted into place. While her mouth is occupied, she tugs Dottie’s underwear off. Dottie offers no assistance, instead keeping her hands pressed against the wall as if Peggy were still restraining her.

When the gorgeous angles of Dottie’s body are fully barren before her, Peggy has to take a moment to lean back and take in the sight. Breath tight in her chest, she finds herself profoundly affected by the mouth-watering vision. Though she’s seen plenty of women in various states of undress, this is completely different. This is the body of a beautiful woman that is naked just for her.

She doesn’t know what she’s doing, not really, so she lets that base instinct guide her down Dottie’s firm stomach, marking her territory with an eager tongue and tasting the intimate tang of sweat. She makes her way down to Dottie’s inner thigh, where she bites and sucks, leaving a trail of dark bruises that sends a frisson of heat through her own body.

“Touch me,” Dottie says, sounding imperious but looking utterly wrecked.

At the alluring sight, it’s easier than anything to slip two fingers in between Dottie’s weeping folds. Peggy twists them a little, exploring this alien terrain, arousal only amplified by her curiosity. Nobody has ever done this to her, but she read about it in a schoolmate’s borrowed romance novel once. Her thumb brushes over something that makes Dottie swear in Russian again.

“Good?” she says, rubbing her thumb in the same spot as she thrusts her fingers in further and then pulls out again. The wet heat around her fingers is unbelievably erotic. Dottie pants openly now, her control evaporated. Enraptured, Peggy adds another finger and slams into her harder, holding Dottie’s hip in place with her other hand and maintaining a punishing pace.

Yes,” Dottie answers, or maybe it’s just in response to Peggy’s motions. “You—I’ve never . . .”

Never what? Never done this? Never done this with another woman? Never done this so honestly, so openly? Never done this for the sake of doing it?

It could be any of those, or all of them. Peggy finds that she doesn’t really care. She doesn’t even care that this is a trained killer and deadly assassin unraveling under her touch. She knows herself well enough to recognize that she’ll likely care later, that she’ll probably curse her own lack of restraint. But, in this moment, none of that matters. All these years of suppressing socially unacceptable desires and now she has a beautiful woman quivering under her amateur touch. It’s impossibly wonderful, and she can’t get enough.

On impulse, Peggy leans in and tastes Dottie.

Dottie gasps her name and her fingers leave the wall to dig into Peggy’s hair, clinging onto her scalp. It should feel oppressive, but instead it just sets Peggy aflame. Her tongue grows bolder and her mouth greedier. Dottie tastes like she smells: like a recently fired gun, like the adrenaline rush of chasing a suspect, like hard-won satisfaction, hot and sweet. Peggy can’t get enough of it. Dottie’s strong thighs twitch under her aggressive ministrations, crying out quietly as she stoops to curl around Peggy.

Dottie stills when she climaxes, clutching Peggy’s mouth to her as she screws her eyes shut. Peggy continues moving her fingers against the pulsing walls, eyes intent on the open, agonized pleasure writ on Dottie’s fair face. A breathy stream of Russian rushes out of Dottie when she looks down and meets Peggy’s eyes as she removes her fingers, slowly, reluctantly, from that spectacular pocket of warmth.

It only takes Dottie a moment of recovery before she’s pushing Peggy facedown onto the bed, tugging her trousers and underwear out of the way like a wild animal. It’s all the warning Peggy gets before Dottie thrusts three slim fingers deep into her. At this point, she’s so wet and worked up that it’s barely a stretch. The sudden, overwhelming pleasure is so intense and the situation so erotic that Peggy has to muffle her moans with the expensive duvet, bracing her toes against the wood floor as Dottie drives into her.

Bent over her back, Dottie leans down to mouth at Peggy’s spine, nibbling and sucking ungently. Peggy is certain she is leaving bruises on purpose, but with Dottie establishing a rough, confident tempo with her fingers, she can barely remember to breathe, much less get out a complaint.

Pleasure continues to build within her, an unquenchable fire she has no desire to contain. With her free hand, Dottie kneads Peggy’s ass ungand spreads her cheeks. Without a stutter in her rhythm, she leans in to lick a wet stripe up Peggy.

When her orgasm strikes, it’s unlike anything Peggy has ever felt. She jerks wildly in Dottie’s grip, completely undone by the new, delicious sensation of freefall. She can’t suppress her panting at the intensity of the white-hot pleasure curling within her.

As she’s recovering, she gets to her feet, legs admittedly shaky. For a brief moment, she gazes down with tender eyes at where Dottie kneels, feeling a strange desire to bend down and scoop her up in her arms.

Then she remembers herself and who she’s dealing with. She reaches for the bedside lamp and hits Dottie over the head with it, knocking her out.

Later, Peggy enlists Jarvis’s help in restraining the unconscious Dottie in a chair, tying expert knots even as she recognizes that Dottie could easily slip through them. The truth is that the ropes are mostly for show and to reassure Jarvis. Peggy knows that Dottie isn’t going to escape—not yet. She’ll do this task for them; she’ll do what Peggy asks, because she’ll be eager to corner Peggy for another round. Her hunger and delight were too bright, too real, for her to be able to resist the opportunity.

A traitorous part of Peggy leaps at the thought.