It was late by the time they all arrived back at the tower from upstate. James told Natasha that he just wanted to go straight to bed, and she offered to walk him to his room.

"Thank you, for everything," James said once they were standing in front of his door.

She shook her head. "You don't need to thank me," she said. She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Are you going to be okay?"

He nodded. "It's just… been a long couple of days."

She thought for a moment. "Do you want to… do something tomorrow? Something different?"

"Yeah. Yeah, we could do something."

She smiled. "Okay. I'll see you in the morning?"

He took her hand. "Unless you want to stay with me for a bit."


He opened the door and gestured for her to go in first.

"Do you want me to make some coffee?" She asked.

"Um.. sure." He tugged at his tie. "If you want it."

She laughed. "I may not be able to tie those things, but untie them I can do," she said, reaching for his neck.

He smiled. "What would I do without you?"

"I don't know," she said teasingly.

He sat down on the edge of his bed, kicking off his shoes. "You're so good to me," he said, pulling her down next to him.

"Well, you're a good boy."

He sighed.

"Sorry. I know that was your sister's thing…"

He shook his head. "It's fine."

She stayed quiet for a moment, unsure of what to say. He slowly slumped down into the bed, resting his head on the pillow. "Do you want me to go now?" She asked.

He shook his head. After a moment, she stretched out next to him on her side, propping her head up on her elbow.

"Natasha…. do you feel as old as you are?" He asked quietly.

"Who are you calling old?" She teased.

He frowned. "You know what I mean."

She nodded. "I've never really thought about it before. I suppose not," she said. "What about you?"

"No," he answered. "I don't feel any older than I look." He turned his head to look at her. "It's… weird. To think that my baby sister did a whole lifetime's worth of growing up without me."

She reached out and stroked his arm. "I know," she whispered. "But she had a good life. No regrets, right?"

"Yeah." He closed his eyes. "Except I have so many."

"We'll work on that," she whispered. She brushed his hair back. "Do you want to go to sleep?"

He nodded.

"Okay." She started to pull herself up.

"No." He closed his hand around her wrist. "Don't go. Stay the night."

"I will. I just need to go to my room for a second to change."

He shook his head. "Just wear one of my shirts or something," he mumbled into a pillow, reaching for the lightswitch.

She blinked in the darkness. "Right." She reached into a drawer and grabbed a shirt, then checked to make sure he wasn't looking before she pulled her dress over her head. "And I suppose I'm sleeping in your bed with you?"

He rolled over. "I won't try anything, I promise."

She could hear the smile in his voice. She climbed over him as she settled onto the side that he wasn't occupying. "It's okay if you try a little something," she said quietly.

He turned back around to face her. "Really?"

She nodded. "Really."

He grinned. "What do you want me to do?"

"Hold me like you did when I was young," she whispered.

"Gladly," he said, pulling her against him and burying his face in her hair.

She pushed her face into his chest. "You have no idea how much I missed this," she said.

He swallowed. "I can imagine…"

"It's been awhile," she said.

"Too long," he agreed. "What made you change your mind?"

She pulled her face away from his body long enough to look up at him. "Now there's nobody to tell me I can't have you," she said simply, pressing her lips against his throat.

"Oh. Well you already know my family approves," he said smiling. "So where's the fun in that?"

She raised her mouth to his, kissing him thoroughly. He wrapped a leg around hers in protest when she pulled away. "I'll show you," she whispered, leaning over him.