Common area, New Avengers Facility, 25th July, 10:35 P.M.
Once again, Stark was throwing a party thanks to a successful HYDRA base raid. This had been one of the bigger, stronger, more fortified bases, in Tianjin, China. And no wonder it was so well-fortified - the Chinese seemed to be in no short supply of weapons and technology thanks to their copying of Japan's weapons and tech; Japan had long been the best at technology. Gaming, cars, guns - you name it, and the Japanese made it and made it good.
Everyone had been able to make it, which was good. Sam was there, dressed in a black polo and tan slacks, chatting to Rhodey, who was dressed in a crisp grey suit with a navy tie. Vision was taking to Wanda; the android was wearing what he perceived to be party clothes - a white button down and dark slacks - whilst the young Sokovian woman wore a maroon dress with a floaty black cardigan over the top. Stark, though retired, had been along to help them take down the base, and so was the one hosting the party, wearing a dark suit with a dark tie. Pietro, who had survived thanks to who-knows-what-kind of method, zipped from person to person, chatting amicably, dressed in a pale blue shirt and white pants that looked suspiciously like tracksuit pants - although nobody offered to ask. And Natasha was engaged in conversation with Wanda and Vision, wearing a tight black miniskirt that did nothing to hide how good her ass looked, and an aqua halterneck top that had a low back, and dipped just enough at the front to show off her cleavage.
Steve observed everything from the sidelines, holding a beer in hand. He wore a steel blue shirt that although didn't show off his abs, certainly accentuated his gorgeous baby blue eyes, and dark jeans to match. As he watched Natasha, he idly wondered if she'd worn what she did just for him, if the flirty winks and sultry smiles she'd been sending him all night had been anything to go by. And hot damn, he was certainly aroused by her, and every time she passed by, he could smell something that definitely wasn't perfume, and something he had never smelt before - the scent of an Alpha female. His Alpha instinct, so long suppressed and ignored as best he could, howled at the scent, and so Steve had made it his duty to simply stay away from Natasha - even though it was so hard because she was his closest friend and he was getting kinda lonely and missing trading quips with her - so as to not accidentally release his Alpha side.
He had been pretty content to just remain quietly so far, occasionally chatting with Wanda, Sam, or Vision if they approached him, and not-quite-subtly avoiding Natasha. He knew he wanted to find a mate - had done for some time. And since Natasha was an Alpha, and so alike, and they just had this... connection.... he knew she was the perfect mate for him. But. She did not believe in love, claiming that "love was for children" and so Steve kept his thoughts and feelings to himself, choosing to instead remain as Natasha's supportive best friend - moreso since Clint was no longer around to fill that role.
Wanda was pretty much unavailable, as unavailable as one could be when one was not actually currently dating. She quite often flirted with Vision and Sam... and besides, Steve thought Wanda as more of a little sister than a potential mate. Sure, the 10-odd year age gap wasn't really an issue, but Steve would have felt awkward dating someone he thought of as family.
Yes, he had thought of Natasha as family for some time also, but to be honest, ever since the two of them had stood at the edge of Sokovia, staring at the view, Steve couldn't help but embrace the feelings he had now that Natasha would be the ideal mate. He would love to have a family with her - he often dreamt of them raising their pups together, and loving each other as no two mates had ever loved before.
Sadly, having Natasha and loving her were two things that were not possible for Steve, so instead he loved her silently, and politely turned down the potential dates she suggested. He wasn't looking for a fling, or a one-night stand, and he most certainly did not want to date a normal human. There were still normal humans in the world; the werewolf race were dying out - the Avengers were just a handful of those who were left. Steve only wanted his true mate - Natasha - and since he could not have her, he closed himself off from the dating game, much to everyone's dismay, apart from Wanda and Vision, who understood. Wanda because she had read his thoughts, and Vision because he had read Steve's body language, and had seen all the tells when he had searched through the files of Steve and Natasha's partnered missions for SHIELD. Even Sam would occasionally push him to go date a nice chick that came along, although the man code-named 'Falcon' knew when to back off.
Sometimes, watching the others with their mates was hard. There was Stark, an Alpha, who had found his Omega mate, Pepper. They were happy together, and although it had gotten rough at times, they were stronger than they had been for some time. And of course, watching Sam, who was an Omega, and Wanda, who was a Beta, flirting, had some effect on him - although it was more Sam he was jealous of than Wanda. He had no need to be jealous of Vision - the dude wasn't even human, let alone not a werewolf, and therefore he did not have a mate to seek out, leaving virtually nothing to be jealous of.
Steve often distracted himself whenever the others looking happy together got too much. He'd hole up in his quarters, go for a run around the Facility, swim laps in the Olympic-sized swimming pool, or resume his hunt for Bucky, which so far didn't seem to be going very well. His last lead, a possible sighting in Toronto, Canada, had ended in, once again, a dead end. After that, all leads had simply faded and vanished completely; yet there was no way in hell he was giving up on his long-lost, once-thought-dead, best friend. No way.
Common area, New Avengers Facility, 26th July, 1:27 A.M.
Hours passed. Each team member slowly left - either for their respective quarters, or to homes in other cities. If they weren't too drunk, that is. Stark had passed out on one of the lounges, drunk out of his mind and snoring quietly. Rhodey had gone back to his home - thankfully he hadn't had much to drink all night. Sam had made it partway back to his quarters before passing out in the hallway near the training room - how he ended up there, nobody knew - snoring like a frat boy. Wanda, giggling and leaning on Vision, had made it back to her quarters, and so had Vision. Pietro had passed out on one of the lounge chairs; clearly he had drunk far too much that night.
The only ones left awake were - unfortunately for one of them - Steve and Natasha. The assassin, red hair free of its braid, a flush on her cheeks, and a slightly dopey grin on her red-painted lips, was only mildly tipsy, and the soldier was stone cold sober.
"Wow, being unable to get drunk must really suck, huh Rogers?" Natasha asked teasingly, peering up at the Captain from under long lashes, sitting on an armchair. Steve, who was standing beside the chair and glancing down at her, merely shrugged, making a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat. Sometimes being unable to get drunk was a complete and utter drag, and other times it was really rather beneficial. At the moment, however, it was the former. Being so close to Natasha was starting to get on his nerves, but he also kinda didn't want to leave Natasha whilst she polished off the last of a bowl of chips. Those Doritos were pretty tasty, and he was quite happily "helping" her eat the rest of them.
Steve rolled his eyes as she smirked at him, nudging his foot with hers. "Cat got your tongue?" she said, barely stifling a giggle behind her hand.
"Unfortunately, probably yes." was his simple answer.
"You know, Rogers...." For a moment here, Natasha seemed sober, and Steve glanced at her, curious. "You seem pretty lonely. You don't really seem to have friends outside the Avengers, you barely leave the Facility except to hunt for what's-his-face, and you always turn down everyone's dating suggestions. So, what's with you?"
The soldier bit back the urge to correct Natasha and say "his name's Bucky, not 'what's-his-face'; you should know that" and instead shook his head, glancing down at the floor as he smiled sadly. "I guess I just gotta find the right partner. I want to be with my true mate - not some fling or one-night stand. And with a regular human rather than a werewolf, no less." The redhead gave him a sympathetic smile, and, getting to her feet, patted his shoulder as she left the room on not-quite wobbly feet.
"Well, goodnight, Steve. Perhaps sometime if you need a little company... just feel free to find me. You'll know where I'll be." she told him over his shoulder as she left for her quarters. Steve barely managed a mumbled "goodnight", his brain already working over time on what she said, and what her words truly meant. She was a master spy and assassin for a reason - even off the field she had so many masks up that it was hard to tell just what she meant sometimes.
His mind replayed her words: Perhaps sometime if you need a little company...
Was that a double entendre somehow?
"No, not with Natasha. She usually means what she says." Steve said aloud, shaking his head before going off to his own quarters. Well, he could sleep on it. That would help, hopefully.