sinope: a hundred thousand fireflies (A hundred thousand fireflies)
Title: Tilting into the Wind
Pairing: Steve Rogers/Natasha Romanov. Explicit.
Length: 2066 words
Summary: Steve wants to stop time for a little while. Natasha helps.

Note: So [personal profile] quigonejinn wrote All things are well, which is amazing and heart-shattering, and I told her that it made me want to give Steve some nice fluffy sex to cheer him up. Then this happened, and "fluffy" isn't quite the right word for "Natasha fists Steve gently until he cries." Oops. Anyway, this story can be read as a stand-alone.

Also available at the AO3.




You don't have to trust someone to like them.

Steve's seen Natasha in the field several times now. Most people know better than to trust the Black Widow, but she can work with that. It's marvelous and disturbing, the way something shifts inside her and she is a different person, from a jaded seductress to a playful girl next door. Whatever people want to have, she becomes.

It's the same trait that makes her such a good soldier. When he needs her to follow orders unhesitatingly, she will; when he needs ideas and guidance, she'll give them. Steve ends up pairing himself with the Widow more often than not, when they split up for an op, because she makes working together blessedly easy.

Natasha explained to Steve, once, why she'd joined the Avengers Initiative. He's not sure whether to believe her, but she's yet to contradict her words. Again and again, she does precisely what the team needs, what Steve needs, even when what they need from her switches from one day to the next.

Steve's never liked liars, and some days he thinks he doesn't really like Natasha. But several months into their acquaintance, when she's become literally the only Avenger who has never let him down, he realizes that he does trust her.

After all, you don't have to like someone to trust them.


...


What precipitates that night is -- well.

Steve's become adept at telling stories from his life. Weakness to strength, self-sacrifice for the greater good, loss of someone beloved, patriotic inspiration -- each of these is a different narrative, all real, but not all relevant to a given moment.

What precipitates that night is real, but when he knocks on Natasha's door, he's already classified it as not relevant.


...


It's late, and Natasha's wearing the clothes she favors on her own -- tonight, just a tank top and what Pepper calls "yoga pants." There's a book open on her table, something Russian and well-worn. Natasha takes in his face, scrutinizing longer than is entirely polite, and Steve can see the moment when she connects his expression to prior data, extrapolates, and understands. "Come on in," she says.

Steve has a brief moment when he's afraid she's going to try to talk about it. He should've known better. As soon as the door's shut behind him, she rises on her tiptoes to give him a kiss, closed-mouthed, chaste. Then she pulls back a few inches, silent, giving him the opportunity to react.

"You're very beautiful," he says, and when she smiles a little, he can see that she's reacting to the earnest awkwardness in his voice, not the words themselves.

There's a slight pause, as Natasha considers her words. "If I tell you what to do, will you tell me if you need me to stop?"

"I will," Steve says. He's feeling the familiar buzz of pre-battle adrenaline, the mingled anticipation and anxiety of stepping into the unknown.

"Then follow me," Natasha nods. She leads him into her bedroom, simply furnished and draped with fabrics in warm colors, and guides him to face her. When she pulls his t-shirt up over his head, she doesn't sweeten the moment with endearments, but she never breaks eye contact, steady and sure as a climbing rope. She pulls off his slacks and underwear with equal composure, and a phrase floats into his mind from the Sunday mornings of his childhood: naked, and not ashamed.

"Lie down on your stomach," she tells him, and he does. "Is pain generally good or bad in this context?"

Steve's face is buried in the pillows, and he squeezes his eyes shut in the darkness. "Not -- not tonight, anyway."

"All right. I'm going to start with a light massage, just to get you used to the feel of my hands."

Steve wants to protest that it's not necessary, but it probably can't hurt either. He hears her squeezing something onto her hands and rubbing together, and then they're sliding over his upper back to knead at the base of his neck. She massages him with slow, patient strokes -- not the kind of deep muscle work that SHIELD's therapists have done, but something more meditative.

He wasn't tired when he came here, but Natasha's hands guide Steve into a pleasant half-sleepy haze. She's silent beyond steady breathing and the occasional request for him to shift position, so he focuses on awareness of his body: breath, muscles, tension, scent. It's nice. It's not enough.


...


Steve lets himself lose track of time. Natasha works him over from his neck to the small of his back, then starts with his feet and works upward. As her hands start to massage the base of his thighs, the first currents of arousal start to swirl through him; he lets them ebb and flow, lets her hands knead and smooth his flesh, her thumbs slide over the divide of his ass. By the time her fingers finish the muscles of his glutes, his cock's hard, without him quite noticing how it happened.

Natasha curves her hands over his ass, letting her fingers trace the base of his spine, then downward, downward, until they're pressing into the sensitive patch just below his balls. Steve suppresses a shudder of startled arousal, and he realizes that he's already arching upward a bit to reduce the pressure on his dick.

"It's okay," Natasha says, matter of fact. "Why don't you get up on your knees now. You can keep resting your face in the pillow."

So Steve does, shifting his knees forward to pull his ass up in the air. He expects it to feel strange, exposed, but the darkness of his closed eyes and Natasha's hand at the small of his back help guide him through it. He's suddenly reminded of the time that Natasha taught him to pilot the Quinjet, one hand on his shoulder as he took the pilot's seat for the first time.

Steve hears the snap of a latex glove and another squirt of liquid, even as her other hand steadies him, and then there's a slick finger pausing at the rim of his hole. "This good?" she asks. The fact that she's waiting for permission, as if she couldn't guess how often he'd done this with -- with others, is oddly sweet.

"Yeah," he says, and she's sliding into him, nice and easy. He's not used to a woman's hands doing this, the first finger so slender it hardly feels like an intrusion; it's only when she presses in a second finger that he starts to rock back against the penetration. Natasha's fingers feel cool, firm inside him, almost comforting -- and then she crooks them, and the jolt of pure pleasure has Steve gasping for air.

She's silent, still, and Steve appreciates that. He wonders where her thoughts are taking her, what she's getting out of this. He wonders how far she plans to take this, and what he himself would want.

Natasha adds a third finger. She's rocking them back and forth inside him, letting his body adjust, and now he can just begin to feel his entrance stretch, still far short of pain. The hand on his back shifts minutely; he'd almost forgotten it was there, so focused on the fingers penetrating him.

Another person would have moved that hand to grasp his cock, he thinks. He's glad she doesn't.

Just when Steve's feeling fully relaxed around her fingers, Natasha withdraws to add another squirt of lube, leaving an aching emptiness in her wake; Steve can't suppress a soft whimper of disappointment. Then she's pressing in again, and oh, yes, this is what he'd wanted -- the slow burn of just-too-tight, a delicious pain like the burn of muscle after over-exertion. Her fingertips brush over his sweet spot with every stroke, making his untouched cock bob and trickle drops of precum onto the mattress; it's like and unlike being fucked, and Steve never wants it to stop.

Her fingers pause, deep inside him, the interruption drawing out a slow shudder. Natasha slides her free hand up his spine, to the dip between his shoulders, as she leans toward him to speak. "You want even more than this, right?" Steve nods into the pillow, and her fingers crook inside him, the shocking bolt of pleasure her reply.

Steve can't tell the moment that the tip of her thumb joins the other four fingers, intoxicated as he is by the slick, relentless piston of her hand. All he knows is that eventually the pressure is wider still, chasing just ahead of his body, never quite letting the sting of discomfort dissipate. "Oh," he whispers to himself, and his legs are trembling, slick with sweat and trickling lube. He doesn't know whether to push backward or tense away, and Natasha's hand is holding him wide open, so wide, so full.

She's been nearly silent until now, so it almost startles Steve when Natasha begins to speak, a calm susurration of reassurance. "You're doing well," she says, "opening up for me so easily. Relax, just relax around me. I'm here. I've got you. Just you and me."

Steve tries to relax like she says, but he can't hide the jolt of anxiety when he feels the bumps of her knuckles at the edge of his entrance. But then she's easing out, just a little bit, letting him adjust, and the small mercy feels like an overwhelming grace. Natasha's hand is rubbing small circles at the base of his spine, as if he's a child to be soothed.

Then with an inexorable, firm pressure, the last inches of her palm slide into him, knuckles and the meat of her thumb, and she's inside him, God, her whole hand up to the wrist. "Tasha," Steve chokes out; he feels like his legs are liquid, his whole body dissolving around the tension and fullness of Natasha's hand inside him.

She shifts inward another inch, and he gasps, and then she's curling her fingers inward, forming a fist inside him, impossibly wide. Steve feels himself trembling around her, shuddering, but she shifts and rubs her knuckles just so, and it feels like lightning and ocean surf and the knowledge that he's about to come, here and now, just from this.

"Go ahead," Natasha whispers. She pumps her fist back and forth inside him, pressing against his sweet spot with each stroke; he feels stretched open and out like a balloon, like meat on a spit, nothing but a body for her to fill and animate. Steve thinks he might be crying, but he can't tell because his body is so damn full to bursting, and if she presses against him one more time he's going to --

-- come --

-- his hips bucking, his cock shooting warm slickness over his chest --

-- and Steve is sobbing, choking on gasps of tear-soaked air, shaking uncontrollably, because this feels so good and everything else hurts so. fucking. much. He can't stop crying convulsively, even as Natasha strokes her clean hand down his back, top to bottom, over and over, as if she's smoothing the feathers of a wind-tossed wing.

"I've got you," she says, again and again. "I've got you. I'm here." She eases her hand out of him, steady and gradual, and the loose emptiness that follows sets off another inexplicable round of weeping, even as Steve tries to catch his breath and calm himself. He hears Natasha pull off and discard her glove. His whole body feels exhausted, so heavy that all he can do is roll away from the wet spot and stretch out his legs to lie flat.

Natasha wraps her arms around him from behind, curled against him, still fully clothed. "Stay here as long as you need," she says, so Steve doesn't try to move further. Her cheek rests on his shoulder blade, cool and dry. Every so often, Steve feels his muscles twitch with aftershocks.

"Thank you," he murmurs, and Natasha doesn't ask what for. Maybe she knows that one of the things she's thanking him for was the absence of questions.

In ten minutes, when she thinks he's asleep, Natasha will get back up to return to her book. In four hours, Steve will wake up, dress, return to his room, and splash his face with cold water to wash away the bits of salt dried to his eyelashes.

For now, Steve rests.


(end.)

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