If there's one oft-repeated truism about international covert alien-related special ops organizations, it's that SHIELD and UNIT do not get along.
It's not something that either of them like to advertise, but if you read between the lines of old reports it's plain enough to see: the Roswell crash, when Colonel Keynes basically invaded New Mexico; the thing with the monster in the English Channel, when Deputy Director Markowski annexed Canterbury; the disastrous clash between submarine and helicarrier that went down in the Bermuda Triangle ten years ago. There have always been attempts to bring their agencies closer together, but Natasha was there for the infamous Nick Fury/Winifred Bambera food fight incident that took place during the International Covert Organizations Picnic, and she doesn't hold out much hope for the new spirit of collegiality, cooperation, and trust that had been called for in the opening speeches before the pie came out.
SHIELD and UNIT do not get along.
Natasha, therefore, does not get along with Doctor Jones. Doctor Jones does not get along with her.
The day after the Chitauri invasion her cell phone starts ringing. Only five people have the number, and the other four are in constant contact with her over the comms while she helps with the cleanup and security efforts, locking the alien bodies and technology away before anyone enterprising can grab themselves an incredibly efficient flying Chitauri death platform. Natasha picks up the phone on the first ring, but waits for the other person to speak first.
"Agent Romanov. Good work yesterday; I saw you on the news."
She's alone, and so Natasha allows herself a grimace. "I didn't see you, Doctor Jones. Too busy to come lend a hand?"
"By the time we knew what was happening it was too late to join in the battle."
"Sounds like your information networks need some work. Don't you have any SHIELD informants anymore?"
Doctor Jones laughs. Natasha wonders how she always manages to sound so genuine. "Well, I was hoping that I had you, wasn't I?"
"You don't," Natasha replies, but offers a breath of a laugh with the words, just to let Doctor Jones know that she's not serious.
"Yeah, maybe I'd like to, though. Are you free for dinner?"
"You're in town?"
"We hopped on a plane – or, well, plane-like thing – to come and lend a hand as soon as we saw what was happening. The battle ended while we were still over the Atlantic, but we thought, hey, why not go and see our friends at SHIELD, since we're halfway there."
"I'll check with Director Fury and see how much alien technology I'm empowered to bargain away." For no reason at all, Natasha smiles into the phone.
"Good. Eight o'clock. I'll wear something beautiful; take me somewhere fitting."
The restaurant she chooses is off the beaten path, dark and cozy, with an extremely short menu and very few clear lines of sight. Natasha has used it to seduce information out of some of the most high-powered movers and shakers in the world; put them in a high-walled booth, feed them delicate hors d'oeuvres, and they're typically telling her everything before the second glass of wine. She reflects that, really, this meeting is more about her seduction than someone else's, and that she's making Jones' job easy for her by picking this location and making herself the mark. While she's smiling over this thought, Doctor Jones herself shows up and meets her at the table.
"Agent," she says, smile bright and effortless. She's wearing a simple green silk sheath, cut high at the hem and low at the neckline, with stunning designer stilettos and glittering emeralds; it shows off the strength in her arms, the elegant curve of her neck, flashes just enough thigh to be enticing. If Natasha had been outfitting her for this mission, it's exactly the kind of thing she would've chosen. Natasha has also dressed the part: more conservative than Doctor Jones' choice, a flowing silver cocktail dress that leaves a lot to the imagination, relatively low heels and a simple pearl choker. An outfit that says, I'll have to be convinced.
"Doctor," Natasha replies, and moves to take her shawl. The gentlemanly gesture adds a twinkle to Jones' eye, and Natasha allows herself an answering smirk. They both know what they're here for, after all.
"You know I've asked you to call me Martha."
"Just as you should call me Natasha."
They settle in for wine and their first course, with Doctor Jones begging sweetly for details about the battle. Natasha's dress covers the majority of her injuries – all minor, anyway – but Jones' eyes go unerringly to her split lip, to the bruise at her temple that her hair can't quite cover, to the road rash on her right forearm.
"And then Stark, naturally, had to throw himself at the nuclear bomb," Natasha finishes, taking another bite and arching an eyebrow. Jones rolls her eyes.
"Of course he did. I saw it on the news; very much the grand dramatic gesture."
Natasha shrugs one shoulder calmly. "It's what he's good at."
"Meanwhile, if I'm not mistaken, it was you on the ground shutting down the device."
Their eyes meet, and Natasha can't help but cock her head a little. "That wasn't on the news."
"No," Martha agrees, "I imagine that SHIELD is working as hard as they can to keep your face and Agent Barton's off the radar. But I had a pretty good view, and saw you on the roof with Doctor Selvig."
"So your SHIELD informants aren't so bad after all," Natasha grins.
"I do all right," Jones agrees, and under the table her leg slides smooth and soft against Natasha's, only for a moment.
Natasha falls into it, the pattern, the rhythm of it: plays cagey to Jones' solicitous, licks her lips in hesitation and lets Jones pour her just a little too much wine. It's been a long time since she's played this side of the game in such relaxed conditions, and she finds herself enjoying it. Doctor Jones has a way about her, an ability to show genuine interest, genuine delight and sorrow; Natasha has never been sure whether it's an act, but she suspects that it's closer to her own method: self-revelation and self-exposure designed to provoke an answering vulnerability.
Martha Jones doesn't lie, dissemble, or confuse. She just gives you all of herself, and expects the same in kind. As an interrogation technique, it's dizzying. Natasha often wonders where she learned it.
" . . . just as SHIELD would surely never think of keeping all of that alien technology from the rest of the international community," Martha is saying. She takes a slow sip of wine – god, Natasha wants that lipstick color – and runs her finger idly across the table, so that their hands brush briefly.
"Of course not," Natasha agrees. "Anymore than UNIT would withhold their aid in the cleanup effort," she says, and pauses long enough for Martha to look surprised at the low price tag. "Or the new research coming out of Project 43," she concludes.
Martha laughs. "You don't want much, do you?"
"Just this one little thing. In the name of international cooperation and trust." Natasha moves her knee slightly to the right so that Martha's seeking hand can find it, can caress slowly over the skin and push the hem of her dress up her thigh.
"Well, perhaps we can discuss it," Martha breathes, "but I feel as if I'm being taken advantage of." Her thumb slips down to Natasha's inner thigh. She has the hands of a surgeon but the calluses of a soldier; Natasha suppresses a shudder.
"Check, please," she says, as the waiter passes by. She doesn't know if he acknowledges; her eyes are locked on Martha's.
Ever practical, Natasha had rented a hotel room above the restaurant. They proceed there together, in near-silence, not touching. Martha's shawl is slipping off of her bare shoulder and Natasha wants very badly to stare at the exposed skin, but doesn't.
When the hotel room door shuts behind them Natasha makes herself available to Martha's hands, lets herself be turned and pushed gently against the wall. She throws her clutch to the ground.
"Did I tell you how beautiful you look this evening?" Natasha breathes.
"No," Martha says, and kisses her mouth, slowly, teasingly, a continuation of her light, glancing touches at dinner. Natasha can still feel the spot on her inner thigh where Martha's thumb had touched fifteen minutes ago.
As if she can hear the thought, Martha slips her right hand down Natasha's thigh, up under her dress and past her underwear to thumb at her clit. Natasha gasps against the hard circling pressure, the perfect filthy counterpoint to Martha's sweet quick kisses.
"Do you still come fast, like you used to?" It should sound dirty, like porn dialogue, but from Martha it's breathy and curious, like she's been waiting for an opportunity to ask. Her thumb rolls and pushes against Natasha's clit, her other hand cupping Natasha's breast, fingers scratching at the nipple. "Will you come just from this?"
"I think you should know," Natasha says, riding a slow cresting wave of pleasure, "that I always fake it with you."
Martha's laugh is surprised, and Natasha feels a warm glow at that, at being able to surprise the famous Doctor Jones.
Martha leans in then, bites lightly at Natasha's earlobe. Natasha wraps her arms around Martha's shoulders and keeps her there.
"You've never faked it with anyone," Martha whispers. Her breath is hot against Natasha's neck.
"I save it for you, baby," Natasha laughs, her orgasm shuddering through her, leaving her warm and wet and loose.
She takes a second to breathe, to smile, then changes her grip on Martha's shoulders and pushes her away, toward the bed. Martha moves gracefully, turning around to show Natasha her back as she slowly unzips her dress. The green silk parts to reveal acres of bare skin, from the slim bones of her shoulderblades to the round top of her ass. Natasha reaches out to touch a spot near her waist where the skin is rough and knotted.
"This one's new."
"The aliens with the clones and the cats," she says with a shrug, by way of explanation.
Natasha strokes harder against the scar, scrapes at it with her fingernails until Martha shivers against her. She draws back, then, and Martha takes her cue, gives a little shimmy so that her dress falls off to pool on the floor. She steps out of it, leaving her shoes behind, and turns to face Natasha, naked except for her panties. She gets her hands on Natasha's body, unselfconscious, and Natasha stays still as Martha undresses her.
"These are even newer," Martha smiles, as Natasha's fresh bruises are revealed. Natasha takes Martha's hand, draws it to the starburst of blue-black on her shoulder. Martha squeezes, not at all gently, as Natasha leans in to kiss her again, harder and deeper this time. Step by step, she walks Martha backwards until she tumbles down onto the bed, bouncing slightly. Her nipples are hard, tight little nubs. Natasha braces herself over Martha and bends to take one in her mouth, rolling it slowly over her tongue, scraping it with her teeth.
"Though I was supposed to be the one doing the seducing," Martha intones, stroking Natasha's hair.
"Oh, at this point we can assume that I've been turned wanton by your evil ways," Natasha murmurs, blinking slowly as she slides down Martha's body and strips off her panties.
"Right, I've seduced you so thoroughly that you'll give me the alien tech and also service me sexually," Martha agrees, gasping as Natasha presses her mouth to Martha's labia, finding the skin there warm and soft and wet.
"I'm getting what I need," Natasha says, letting her hot breath skate over Martha's sensitive flesh. "I'll do anything my country requires of me."
Martha tightens her fingers in Natasha's hair, pulls her head down further. "Which country would that be, exactly?"
Natasha grins to herself as she begins to suck Martha's clit, letting her lips and tongue slip and lick all over her cunt. Martha's thighs come up to frame Natasha's shoulders, and Natasha responds by lifting Martha up by the knees, pushing her a little higher and giving herself better access.
"Oh," Martha breathes, as Natasha speeds up. "Oh, yes, very nice work, Agent Romanov."
Natasha pulls her mouth away just long enough to speak. Martha moans in frustration at the loss. "Nice enough to sweeten the pot? Get us some of those Dalek parts?" She leans back in and sucks again.
"Can't – compromise – on those, I'm afraid," Martha gasps, her heels skittering restlessly over the sheets. "Made a promise."
Natasha replaces her mouth with her hand, stroking into Martha's body and thumbing over her clit. She stretches upwards to kiss her mouth, sharing the deep musky taste of her cunt, and Martha arches up to meet her, hips thrusting in time to Natasha's fingers.
"What if Project 43 isn't enough for us? What if we're not satisfied?" Natasha slides her other hand down to play with her own clit; the sight of Martha writhing and sweating against the sheets is too much to take, and she's already getting close again.
"What else can I take?" Natasha whispers.
Martha gasps, bears down on Natasha's hand, grinding hard. "You'll be satisfied with what I give you." Natasha draws back slightly, and Martha follows the movement with her hips.
"Maybe we'll give you nothing. Keep the Chitauri devices to ourselves." Natasha takes her hand away entirely, and Martha opens her eyes, blinking up at her angrily.
Moving fast, Martha takes hold of Natasha's shoulders and flips them on the bed; she's strong, stronger by far than she was the last time they met. Natasha anticipates the move but relishes it nonetheless, the power and confidence in Martha's arms and the easy way she straddles Natasha's body and grinds her cunt down on Natasha's thigh.
"If you won't share," she says, "we can take what we need." Crawling forward on the bed she positions herself above Natasha's mouth and spreads her legs slowly to bring them back into contact. Natasha moans and arches upwards, pushing her mouth into Martha's cunt and sucking again. Martha groans, shoves herself down onto Natasha's face, and Natasha gets her fingers back on her own clit in time for them to come together, both of them gasping and arching as the pleasure washes through them.
After a few seconds, Martha sighs and shifts to one side, falling down onto the bed next to Natasha.
"Oh, Agent Romanov," she breathes. "Your beautiful mouth." Bending over, she kisses Natasha again, tasting herself.
Natasha smiles, looks for words. "Help with the cleanup and everything from 43, then?" she asks, soft like it's pillow talk.
"Of course," Martha agrees easily, touching a finger to Natasha's lips. "For at least two specimens of each type of technology you recover, however minor. And at least two of the bodies."
"SHIELD thanks you for your cooperation, Doctor Jones," Natasha murmurs, and leans up for another kiss. Martha runs her hands down Natasha's naked body, not avoiding any of the little injuries. Her fingernails scrape against the raw, sensitive skin of Natasha's bruises, and Natasha draws a grateful, hissing breath.
"UNIT thanks you for your newfound dedication to international collaboration, Agent Romanov," Martha agrees, and dips her fingers between Natasha's legs, rubbing the pads of her fingers against the labia.
"I'll get those Dalek parts one day," Natasha promises, spreading her legs and letting out a pleased hmmmm as Martha starts them up again.
"In your dreams," Martha replies, and when she puts her mouth to the underside of Natasha's breast her teeth are sharp and unforgiving.
"How was the meeting with UNIT?" Fury asks. "I see they're already lending aid for the cleanup." He's barely paying attention as he shuffles through the mountain of paperwork that the Chitauri invasion has caused.
"They're going to share everything from Project 43," Natasha replies, hands behind her back at perfect parade rest.
Fury looks up at her, eyebrows raised. "You got that out of Bambera?"
Fury nods slowly. "Doctor Jones believes in international cooperation," he says slowly. "Dispersed responsibilities and powers."
"It's not a bad idea."
"You don't think our organizations can handle a little actual collaboration, Agent?" Fury asks sharply.
"I – think that SHIELD and UNIT don't get along, sir," Natasha answers. "And I think we like it that way."
There's a long pause, and then Fury nods. "Talk to Hill about getting people on the 43 research."
"I don't suppose Doctor Jones would like to join the Avengers Initiative," Fury mutters.
"I don't think so," Natasha smiles. She thinks about it for a moment. "But I'd be happy to make the recruitment pitch."