Natasha was a very reserved person. She never talked about her past, her thoughts, anything. She just didn't see the point. Why talk when there was nobody to listen or care? As a result of this, and what little people did know of her past, all but her closest friends stayed away from her. They would let her know of missions of upcoming assignments, but that was it. They didn't talk much to her unless they had to. The only people that did talk to her were her fellow Avengers, Phil, and sometimes Fury.

Maybe this was why she fascinated Tony so much. She kept to herself but still was just as involved in everything as the rest. She was good at her job, and she knew it. But she didn't make a huge deal of it. It was almost like she wasn't proud of it. But also, he knew part of the reason he was interested in her was because she didn't fall head over heels to be within five feet of him. In fact, she hardly paid any attention to him at all. Occasionally they would swap sarcastic remarks, or make fun of something, or someone, together. She was one of the only people able to keep up with his sassy remarks and counter them just as well.

But it wasn't just one sided. Secretly, Natasha was interested in him too. Maybe it was because she didn't understand him and his attitude. Maybe it was the facial hair. Maybe it was because he was different than all other men she had ever seen. Or maybe it was a whole different reason. Maybe it was because she saw what no one else did. She saw the untold stories in his eyes. The feelings that were buried beneath the sarcasm and narcissism. Anger, sorrow, depression, rage, with himself? To Natasha, Tony wasn't the heartless jerk everybody thought he was. And every time someone would make a comment about his lack of caring, or his rudeness, or how he didn't deserve to be a hero, it pained Natasha just a little. Tony acted like he couldn't care less. Like the burning pain of the hateful words didn't even phase him. But she knew that deep down, those words added another scar to his ever growing wound. She knew how much it tore him apart. But every day, he would wake up, paint on the mask that had become his personality, and survive another day.

And maybe all those reasons were why this was happening. Who knew why Fury (or Nicky as Tony liked to call him) had sent them on this mission together. Maybe he saw what was happening between Tony and Natasha, even though they themselves were oblivious to it. Or maybe, he just needed them together for this mission.

"Care for a dance, Natalie?" Tony asked, holding out his hand and trying not to smirk at the familiar name.

"I would love too." She said, taking his hand in hers and stepping onto the dance floor.

Her black heels clicked on the smooth floor as they stepped to a quiet rhythm. She was wearing a black cocktail dress and a small black bow in her fiery hair. Tony was wearing a simple black tuxedo, which was enough. He had to be constantly reminded that they were trying to blend in, not be the life of the party.

Natasha remembered what Fury had told them. "It's a simple mission. You need to infiltrate the party, find the drug lord and his bill of shipment, and get it. Easy in, easy out. I would recommend, Agent Romanoff, a seducing method. Stark can sneak in, get the bill, and you both can get out before the drug lord ever knows what happened."

Although Tony made a few remarks about how he should be the one doing the seducing, it was quickly settled when Fury reminded him that the drug lord was a man, and if it had been a woman, it would definitely be the other way around. And it would be an easy mission. Probably one of the easiest missions Natasha had ever done. So why was she sent with Tony? He didn't even like to work with SHIELD. And this mission would have been just as easy, if not easier, with Clint, or even Steve. She probably could have even done it by herself. But for a reason that would forever be a mystery, she was sent with Tony.

And as they danced, both of them had a hard time concentrating on their mission. Natasha's stomach was being flooded with butterflies, which was something she wasn't used too. Her hand was in Tony's warm one, and her other hand rested gently on his bicep. Tony was nervous too, which was something that hadn't happened to him for a long time. He was used to being fully in control with a girl. But Natasha was a free spirit. She would do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted.

He held her cold hand firmly in his and his other hand pressed gently against her lower back, leading her through the steps of a simple waltz. Natasha peered over his shoulder, avoiding eye contact. They both knew exactly who they were looking for. SHIELD had an unbelievable amount of information on the drug lord.

"You see him?" Tony asked, also avoiding eye contact.

"Nope. How about you?" Natasha asked.

Tony shook his head. "Do we know where the bill is? We could just go grab it and be done. We could get dinner or something."

"Yes, but we know that he'll be going in there sometime. And it's in a safe, so you have to put that device of yours on it, and that'll take a little time." She said, and then met his eyes. "And dinner? Really?"

Tony chuckled. "Your airplane food sucks."

Natasha gave a small smile. "Can't argue with that I guess."

Then, Tony stiffened slightly. "I see him."

Natasha nodded slightly. "Good. Okay, turn around so I can see him."

Slowly, Tony maneuvered so that they danced in a three hundred sixty degree circle. Natasha pursed her lips. "Yeah, that's the him."

"Time to work your magic." Tony said, smirking.

She glared playfully at him. "If that's what you want to call it."

For a second, they shared a long look. She again saw all of the things he wanted to say but didn't allow himself too. All of the things he didn't allow himself to feel. And he saw the same thing in her eyes. Her past mistakes and all the secrets she kept hidden and stowed away in the darkest corners of her mind. All of the feelings she hid and protected herself from. And then it was over.

"I'm going to get a drink." Natasha said.

Tony smiled. "Alright, Natalie."

Natasha turned and walked off, her heels clicking as she made her way through the crowd. She tried to push Tony from her mind so she could focus. She swayed her hips just a bit more, stood up a little straighter, and painted a small smile onto her face. She stopped at the drink bar. "I'll have a Vodka." She said, adding her Russian accent back into her words.

She hated to use it, but sometimes the accent worked wonders. The bartender nodded and filled her glass with the requested drink. She took a small sip from it and turned around, scanning the people. She saw Tony making his way through the crowd casually, always staying within at least a hundred feet of her. After all, he was the only one able to sneak a gun in. She tried to ignore the butterflies that had suddenly surfaced in her stomach again. The fact that he was purposely protecting her made her feel... Strange.

Natasha shoved Tony from her mind and made eye contact with the drug lord. When he noticed, she quickly looked away and playfully bit her lower lip. Some sort of spell seemed to come over the drug lord and he quickly excused himself from his conversation. He walked over to Natasha, unable to keep the idiotic grin off his face. He was even more unattractive in person than in a picture. "Hello." The drug lord said. "Are you enjoying the party?"

Natasha smiled. "I am. I hear you're the one who put it on?"

"That would be correct."

"Well, I must say, it's an amazing party." She said, taking a small step towards him, still fingering her Vodka.

The drug lord flushed with pride and he stood up a little straighter. "Thank you, madam." He paused. "Are you Russian?"

She gave a small laugh. "Is it that obvious?"

"No no, I meant nothing bad. I like it." He said. Natasha smiled.

"You do?"

"I do." He said, still smiling like a crazed hyena.

Natasha sighed and pretended to check the time. She frowned. "Oh, I really must be going."

"So soon? The party has barely started!" The drug lord said anxiously.

Natasha sighed and took a sip of her Vodka. "I suppose it is still early." She paused. "I don't think I got your name."

"My name is Anthony." He said. "But you can call me Tony."

She almost laughed out loud. She couldn't wait until Tony heard about this. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Anthony."

She said. "Please, call me Tony. And your name is?"

There was no way she could call this guy Tony. It felt weird enough to call him Anthony."Natalie." She said, smiling.

"A beautiful name to match a beautiful girl." He said, giving a toothy grin.

Natasha laughed and edged closer to him. "I'm glad you think I'm beautiful." She said softly.

"You're the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on."

Natasha reached out and placed a hand on his chest. She sincerely hoped Tony was almost done. "You're very good at giving compliments." She said quietly.

"And you're very good at receiving them." He whispered.

Natasha had to hold her breath so as not smell the awful stench of his cigarette breath. She traced a finger up his chest and onto his face, following the (fairly large) curves up his cheek and down his chin. Suddenly, Tony appeared behind her. "Natalie, it's time to go." He snapped.

Natasha turned around, her eyes thanking him for finally showing up. "So soon?" She asked.

"You've already overstayed your welcome here." Tony said.

Natasha was hoping nobody had recognized him when they had split up. So far, they were in luck. "Oh Robert, are you sure we have to leave right now?" She whined.

"Natalie, now." He growled.

Natasha turned back to the drug lord. "I'll see you, Anthony."

The drug lord looked like he was going to cry as she walked away. When they left the party and were in the car, out of earshot, Natasha slumped in her seat. "Took you long enough." She said, erasing the Russian accent. "That was awful."

Tony didn't say anything. "By the way," Natasha said. "You played your part really well. Almost too well." She teased.

Tony looked at her. "It just... Looked so easy for you."


"So easy for you to compliment him and act all flirty and... You never do that." He said.

"Wait, are you, jealous?" She asked, dumbfounded.

He started fiddling nervously with the paper he had gotten and didn't meet her eyes. Natasha sat stunned. For a long moment, they didn't say anything. Then, "Dinner sounds good." Natasha said.

Tony folded up the paper and put it back into his pocket. "So you really did want to go." He said, smirking at her.

Natasha chuckled. They drove in silence for a while and Tony kept casting glances at her. He didn't do well in silence. Natasha kept her eyes forward. "By the way, I hated every second of the time I spent with that guy."

Tony laughed. "I don't care, Nat." It was a lie.

She looked at him. "You don't? Oh. I thought... Never mind."