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“I need a favour.”

Bucky doesn’t even look up from the book in his lap. “No.”

“Listen, Barnes.” Natasha slides into the loveseat beside him, nudging her hip up against his to make him move over. “If anyone but you ever said that to me-”

“You’d kick their ass into next week, I know,” he sighs, turning the page with a little more force than he intended and causing it to tear slightly.

Natasha leans in, resting her chin on his shoulder. “What are you reading?”

He lifts the book wordlessly to show her the cover. Harry Potter had been Barton’s suggestion, an apparent literary classic of the 21st century that he wasn’t allowed to miss out on. He has to admit, it’s not bad.

“Clint made me read that when he first brought me in to SHIELD.” Natasha’s voice is soft. “Told me I was missing out on ‘one of the greatest classics of our time’.”

Bucky lets the book fall into his lap with a deep sigh. “Okay, I’ll bite. What do you want, Romanoff?”

“You know how I keep trying to get Steve a date?”

He knows all too well. Everyone in the tower knows. He thinks the entire population of New York might know. “How’s that working out for you?”

“He’s decided to reciprocate.”

“Reciprocate, how?”

“Steven,” Natasha says sourly, “has been attempting to find me an eligible bachelor.”

Bucky stares at her incredulously before bursting into laughter. “You?”

“Yes, me. Which is why I need you.”

“Oh yeah? And how do I factor into this?”

She knocks her knee against his. “I need you to help me get him off my back. It’ll be easy. You just need to play along.”

“What if I’m not interested?”

“You shot me twice,” she accuses, jabbing him in the chest with her finger. “This is the least you can do.”

He laughs again. “Fair. So what are we doing?”

“Play along,” she says with a mischievous smile, sliding her hand into his. He laces his fingers through hers tightly, his thumb rubbing circles on the back of her hand in a movement that feels a little too natural.

Natasha takes the book off of his lap, dropping it to the floor with a soft thud. She swings one leg over both of his so she’s straddling him, hovering over his lap. “Play along,” she tells him again. His hands find her hips, pulling her closer until she’s pressed up against him tightly, their faces inches apart.

She can feel his breath on her lips and she lets out a gasp; soft, involuntary.

“Play along,” he whispers, and then he kisses her.

Current Sexuality:

The hitch in Bernie’s breath at the end of the kiss, how her mouth hovers, light, over Serena’s, her lips reflexively seeking out just one last touch.