Natasha recommending all these different perfectly nice, ladies for Cap to go out with and he finally just goes 'I'm not into them I have someone else' except not all dramatic and cliche but like lighthearted and fluffy and funny idk???
They’re in a van, because when you work for a well funded government organisation (or a private one bankrolled by an eccentric billionaire) start missions in planes. When you’re on the run in one hundred and seventeen current countries, you get a van and hope bullets don’t like it
Scott Lang is driving, and while the guy has been pretty obliging up to this point, this is so not a conversation Steve wants to have in his earshot.
He’s pretty sure that’s why Natasha brought it up. Her sense of humour is terrible. He stares at the van’s back doors.
“She’s Peggy’s niece.”
Which, he muses, had been a pro and a con. Sharon understood the mark a woman like Peggy Carter could leave on your life. They could share in each other's’ grief, and there was no denying that she was a good woman. The sort of women he’d ask out for coffee. Maybe take dancing, once upon a time.
But she’s Peggy’s niece.
“Come on, Steve, i’m not suggesting you settle down and get married with two point four kids and a dog.” Natasha tightens her ponytail. It’s a new look for her. He likes it. Not that it’s his job to have feelings about her hair either way. “It’s about connection. Making a life in this world.”
“Black Widow. Super spy, therapist.” He keeps his focus on the door. “I have connections. Most of them are fugitives now, thanks to me, but I have connections,”
“Is this your way of telling me you aren’t the ninety year old virgin?”
“Yes. I’ve been struggling with how to tell you, but I guess it’s out in the open now. I have had–” and then he rolls his eyes at her, jerking his head towards the van doors. Bullets ping off them. One pings into them. It’s times like this Steve really misses his shield.
The suggestion is so absurd, and also they’re in the middle of infiltrating a Hydra base, that it takes Steve a second to realise exactly what she’s talking about.
To his right, Bucky snorts. While Steve is usually appreciative of the fact that his best friend is back from the dead (and worse), right now he - okay, he’s still appreciative of that, but he wishes the guy was doing it somewhere else. Far away from this conversation.
“Jesus, Nat.” Footsteps up ahead cut off his follow up for a moment, and he has them all halt before gesturing at Natasha. She glides up ahead like a phantom, and a crackle of blue lights up her silhouette. He waits until they catch up before saying– “She’s a kid.”
“Steve. She’s younger than you, not an infant.”
“I am not interested in Wanda.
“Something wrong with Wanda?” Bucky asks. Somewhere in the compound an alarm goes off.
Steve can commiserate.
“This conversation is over,” he declares, and starts running.
The whole ‘get Steve a girl’ game is exactly that. It’s not something they have actual conversations about. Steve has his own reasons for not bringing it up, but for Nat - it seems like something she enjoys doing just to rib him during the non-essential part of the missions. Prod at Steve, let off some steam, complete objective.
So when it comes up on a quiet evening in some nothing motel, he knows to pay attention.
Bucky’s out, and Steve’s trying not to watch the door. But the only other option is Natasha fresh out of the shower, dressed in a worn pair of shorts and an old shirt of his. She tips her hair to the side as she towels off her hair, and Steve feels his eyes slide away.
It’s intimate in a way his life hasn’t been for a long time. There’s not a lot left in the world for Steve to be familiar with, these days. But he has this.
“Bucky,” she says, and the word drops into the room like a pebble into a pond.
This is not a game.
He considers briefly pretending not to understand. To glance out the window like he thought she’d seen the other man, to play dumb. He’s had a lot of experience with that, the last few years.
Perched on the edge of a creaky old mattress, he leans back on his hands, finally letting himself look at her. Her face is carefully blank. She switches to the other side of her hair. This, too, is familiar.
“You’d think so, huh?” He drags his eyes from her, up to the ceiling, traces a crack there towards the bare wall. There’s water damage.
“I don’t like to assume.”
“That makes you against the rest of the world.” He shrugs. “I dunno what to tell you, Nat. I love him, but you think if either of us wanted that, we wouldn’t already have it?”
“Social mores were a little different when the two of you were growing up.”
He snorts. “We’re all too old to worry about that shit.”
He reaches back, throws a pillow at her. She drops the towel, catching it and hurling it back; he dodges with a laugh, and pats the mattress next to him. Her hesitation is a weakness she doesn’t let many other people see; this, too, is intimacy.
But she sits, pulling her legs up under her. That green gaze scraps his chin. He does his best to meet it.
“There’s someone,” he says, and hears it’s you. Her fingers curl a little lighter of her calf, and Steve thinks she might hear it as well. “But she’s been having some trouble finding herself lately. I didn’t want to get in the way.”
“What if that someone is a grown woman who can make up her own mind about what is and isn’t in the way?”
His lips quirk up a little. “Well, then I’d have to ask what that someone’s been doing trying to get me to date other people for the last couple of years.”
Natasha snorts. “Don’t flatter yourself, Cap. It hasn’t been that long, I don’t do pining.”
“Do you do coffee?”
It startles a laugh out of her, and that might just be the most beautiful thing he’s seen all damn week. “There’s no way you were that smooth in the forties.” The laugh settles into a smile, and he’s seen her pull a lot of those since they started working together, but this–
This is just simple pleasure. Like an ice cream cone. Like going out for a drink.
“Yeah,” she adds. “Yes, I do coffee.”
“Then it’s a date.”