"He was another agent," Natasha said, her voice oddly soft, her expression relaxed and open. "We weren't supposed to, but they weren't training us to be spies for nothing." She smiled a little as she leaned back on the couch. "His name was James... I'm not sure where he came from; I don't think even he knew. They'd done a number on him." She waved her hand vaguely about her head. "Same as me. But he wanted to, and I wanted to, and so we stole some time during our next mission out." She was quiet for a long minute, and no one dared interrupt. "We'd both had some, hm, dry runs during training, but this was with no one hovering over us, no one telling us what to do. Just us, because we wanted to."
Natasha stared off into the middle distance and smiled. "He was sweet."
No one breathed for a long moment, until Natasha broke the silence by reaching for her beer, took a long drink, and pointed the bottle at Tony.
"I knew you were unbelievable, but..." Tony muttered.
"I know," Natasha said without sarcasm, running one hand through her hair to bunch it up at the nape of her neck. She set down her beer to gather it up in a messy tail. "I figure fate owed me one good experience out of the Red Room."
"Yeah. My first time, little more dramatic. My first year at MIT, she was a junior tri-Delt. Cindy Summers, electrical engineering, could sing like an angel, had the body of a goddess and a genius mind, I swear-."
"Whoa, wait, your first year at MIT?" Bruce said, looking appalled.
Tony's expression darkened. "Yeah. So?"
"You were fourteen. She was..."
"Twenty-one. We were in the same classes, Bruce. Equals! We were lab partners, in the same study groups, everything. Age ain't nothin' but a number."
"Jesus," Bruce muttered. "Tony, that's not-."
"Can it, Banner. You would not believe the crap I put up with from Jarvis about Cindy. Shit, he found out about Cindy and threatened to call the cops on her if she ever saw me again!" Tony took a generous swallow from his glass and stared into its depths. "I really liked her," he added quietly. "It wasn't like she boned me for a dare and then called all her sisters in to take nudes pictures of the 'baby' or anything. We had a thing; it was good. Could have been more than a thing. I mean to look her up later when Jarvis couldn't bust my balls about her any more, but... Parents died, I was neck-deep in the company, and that never ended up happening."
No one else spoke, Steve and Clint keeping themselves quiet when they saw the look on Tony’s face, Natasha looking curiously resigned, and Thor staying silent at the others’ cue.
"Tony..." Bruce said.
Tony glared at Bruce, who pressed his lips together tightly before speaking.
"Marie Kelly started crying when her dad heard us on the couch in the basement. He grabbed his shotgun on the way down the stairs and I nearly ended up getting my head blown off when I ran out the back without my clothes. She never told him we'd been going out." Bruce bit his lower lip and closed his eyes. "She never told him afterwards either. I had to switch schools my senior year and go to one in the next county over. Dad never forgave me for that."
Bruce opened his eyes and saw Tony had lost some of his dark look. He sipped his chai as the silence grew and thickened, until Thor determinedly broke it.
"My first was called Helga, and she was a noble of my father's court. She was a friend of Sif, and learned to fight with some small skill, I think to attract my eye. She challenged me to a duel, and I admit I did not hold back for the lady. I beat her handily, but that was her intention. She wanted to have me right there on the practice field and I was too enamored of her brazen intentions to refuse. We cast aside our weapons and met in a fiery embrace of mouths and bodies.” Thor unexpectedly paused and actually blushed. “And in that embrace we remained, for we had not discarded much of our armor, and became entirely entwined as our protections caught on each other’s during our passion. I believed we remained in that embrace, kissing frantically whenever someone passed, for hours so no one would know we were unable to come apart! I dared not use my strength to separate us, for I would have harmed her, and eventually Helga became angry at me.”
Thor chuckled. “And in her anger, she was quite magnificent. We enjoyed each other many times that day, but it was not until we had both missed the evening feast that I finally had the courage to call Volstagg to come and disentangle us. Though I swore Volstagg to secrecy, neither Helga nor I can look at each other straight-faced to this day.”
Tony chuffed out a small laugh and Bruce smiled weakly into his chai.
“I was thirty-two,” Clint piped up suddenly, making everyone turn to look at him at once.
“How?” Tony demanded. “Were you wearing a paper bag over your head until then? Purity ring? Chastity belt?”
“Lack of opportunity?” Clint said, glancing off into space with a thoughtful expression on his face. “I mean, in the circus everyone had an older brother who was a strongman or a lion tamer, or was an acrobat strong enough to rip off your dick and feed it to you if they didn’t like what you said. I didn’t really have anyone there I was interested in enough to risk it so… I didn’t. I was on my own for a bit after that, and it wasn’t really safe. Then S.H.I.E.L.D. came along, and that was even worse than the circus. Everyone had guns, too.”
“Spill it,” Tony said. “Who’s the lucky person who got to pop your cherry? Coulson? Hill? Fury?”
Clint broke out laughing, Natasha a second behind him, so hard tears were rolling down his face when he finally got control of himself. “Oh God… Fury? Seriously? You went there?”
“You were thirty-two, I figured you’d be desperate.”
“Not enough to fuck the boss. Or my boss’ right hand. Or my handler. I’m not that stupid,” Clint said, wiping his eyes. “No, no, no one in S.H.I.E.L.D. She-.” He stopped himself abruptly and looked over at Natasha, who nodded.
“Natasha,” he said finally. “Natasha was my first. Just before she came over to S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Tony stared at them both, at Clint’s slight blush and Natasha’s satisfied smile. “Clint, I stand in awe of your manhood.”
“And rightly so,” Natasha said. She clinked her beer with Clint’s and leaned against him as he put an arm around her.
Everyone took a thoughtful drink after that, and not entirely by accident, kept looking over at Steve. He’d been very, very quiet during the whole conversation, and finally took a long pull of his sports drink like it was liquid courage before speaking.
“I don’t remember her name,” Steve said, drawing startled looks from everyone else. Some of them would have bet cash Steve wouldn’t have been able to participate in the conversation yet. “We were on leave in France, and Bucky found us this place… She was a, ah, professional.” He looked down and shook his head so his hair fell into his eyes, making him look younger. “She had this long dark hair, these amazing legs, and these big brown eyes… She was beautiful, and I didn’t know more than about three sentences in French, but she knew what to do. I didn’t-. I didn’t know much. I mean, I knew the general idea but…”
Steve shook his head, blushing furiously. “I knew I was just one more soldier, but she’d been at some of the USO shows before I, um, put myself on active duty. She recognized me. Capitaine d’Amérique, she called me.”
His accent, Tony noted with interest, was impeccable.
“It was… really great. She cared. I drew a picture of her, after. I still have it.” Steve looked up finally. “I still don’t remember her name, though. I think I was so nervous I didn’t hear her when she told me. But I liked her.”
Thor raised his glass solemnly, catching each person’s eye in turn until they did the same, some reluctantly.
“To the first. Never forgotten. From them we gained the start of wisdom.”
One by one the Avengers lifted their glasses high, affirming the toast before drinking deep.