Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers.

Fallen To Pieces

By Jennifer Collins

"Don't…" she whispered shakily as his lips moved across her face. "They'll come for you."

"I don't care."

"I have to leave tomorrow."

He tightened his hold on her, pulling her flush against him. "Then we better make this count," he said softly, his breath hot on her neck.

"Natasha?"

She blinked, running a hand through her hair. "I'm sorry, Tony. I was… somewhere else. What did you say?"

He frowned. "I was asking you about the notes from this morning's meeting."

"I left them on your desk."

"It's him again, isn't it?" Tony asked, his brow furrowed.

"Hmmm? Who?"

"The new Captain America. I've seen that faraway look in your eyes before."

Her shoulders stiffened. "I don't know what you're talking about…"

"Perhaps you haven't been totally honest with me about your history with him."

"Look, Stark…"

He shook his head. "What is it about this man that has you in pieces? It's not like you to be so… distracted."

She sighed. "It's complicated."

"Well, whatever it is, fix it. I need you to be on top of your game. I'm giving you the evening off."

"What? Tony, no…"

"It's done, Tasha. Get some air. Pull yourself together. And tomorrow, you'd better be in top form."

She nodded. "Fine. I'm going for a walk."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The air was cold and brisk and she shoved her hands in the pockets of her long peacoat as she made her way down the street, mentally scolding herself for being so transparent. Tony was right, it wasn't like her and she would be damned if she let a few memories from her past tamper with her present; with the life she'd worked so hard to build. She'd spent too much time detaching herself from that former life to let it get in her way.

She looked up to find herself in front of a familiar apartment building. For a moment, she tried to tell herself that it really wasn't that far out of her way, so why wouldn't she wind up walking past here? After all, it was little more than a week ago that she'd spent nearly every day here looking for him, so it was only natural for the route to be embedded in her routine, right?

She sighed, wondering for the millionth time why on earth did she kiss him that last night and why the hell couldn't she get it out of her head?

She gritted her teeth, noticing that the light was on in his window. She debated internally for a moment, almost willing herself to walk away. It's not like he'd ever know that she was there. On the other hand, if she stopped to say hello, perhaps under the pretense of checking up on him for S.H.I.E.L.D. , perhaps she would find some end to her distraction.

Before she could persuade herself out of it, and knowing that it was against her better judgement, she headed into the main lobby of the apartment complex and rode the elevator to the fourth floor.

She only hesitated a second before raising her fist to knock. A few seconds went by without any answer and even though she swore she heard him stirring inside, she turned to go.

"Natalia?" Damn.

"James… hi."

He leaned against the doorframe, a lock of his slightly shaggy brown hair fell into his eyes as his face warmed in a smile. "Hey. Didn't think I'd see you again so soon." He frowned. "What, you've got a mission for me? I thought we talked about this-"

"I'm not here on S.H.I.E.L.D. business," she said, shaking her head. "Or on Captain America business, either."

"Oh. So… what can I do for you?" He asked, visibly relaxed.

"I…. I'm not sure… I don't really know why I'm here…"

"Well, come inside." He took a step back to let her in. "Can I take your coat?"

"Um, sure…" she shrugged out of it and watched as he neatly folded it over the back of a chair. "Thanks." She thought for a moment. "I'm sorry to just drop in on you like this."

He shook his head. "Don't even worry about it. I could use the company. Have a seat."

She scanned the room, noticing a plush couch and a reclining armchair. She settled on the couch, knowing full well that he would sit next to her.

"I was just watching the news, but you could turn on whatever you like."

"It's fine. I don't really watch television… you watch the news?" She asked.

"Always," he replied.

"Isn't that a little redundant? It's not like we don't have access to all the information anyway," she said.

He shrugged, turning his attention back to the tv set.

She regarded him for a moment, taking in the way he leaned his face in his metal hand, his eyes trained carefully on the television. "Stop that," he said after a moment.

"Stop what?"

"You're making me self conscious."

She snorted. "Yeah, right."

He turned his head to face her. "Why did you come here, Natalia?"

Her eyes widened slightly, though she recovered herself quickly. "I was out for a walk. Needed to clear my head, I guess. I was in the neighborhood."

He raised an eyebrow. "And you just happened to wind up outside my apartment, even though you know you're not supposed to be here?"

She sighed. "I guess this seems kind of familiar, doesn't it?"

He grinned. "Sort of. Although the last time it was forbidden for us to be together…" He leaned closer to her.

She pulled back slowly, wondering why her heart was suddenly pounding in her ears. "What are you doing?"

He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, his fingers lingering on her flesh for just a second too long. "Nothing you don't want me to…. It was you who came to my apartment and kissed me last week, right?"

She sighed, trying to ignore the strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. "James…."

"Alright, alright. I'll stop," He said quietly, slowly backing off.

She looked up at him with wide eyes. "Who said you had to?"

He leaned his back against the arm of the couch. "Are you teasing me?" He asked, slightly incredulously.

"I'm not trying to," she said honestly. "It's just… why can't I stop thinking about you?" she whispered.

"I… don't know," he whispered back. "I'll admit, you've crossed my mind more than once," he added with a grin.

"This is crazy, right? We don't even know each other anymore."

He frowned. "I'm not the same person you know from back then," he said defensively.

"That's what I mean," she replied. "I don't even know who you are."

"I hope you're not expecting me to answer that for you. Because I'm still trying to figure that out," he said softly, with a quiet sadness in his eyes.

She smiled weakly. "I'm different now too."

"So I've noticed," he said with a grin, as his eyes moved appreciatively over her.

She rolled her eyes.

He laughed. "We can… get to know each other," he said. "If you want."

She raised an eyebrow. "So, what, we're hanging out now?"

"You're the one who came over here and made yourself comfortable on my couch," he reminded her.

She nodded.

"Although, if you want to get even more comfortable…."

She looked up at him coyly through thick eyelashes. "I made the first move last week," she said in a low voice, hoping that he couldn't hear how loud her heart was pounding again.

"Well, then I'd better keep up," he said quietly. In one quick motion, he closed the distance between them, his hands cupping either side of her face as he tilted her head back and kissed her softly.

She moved her hands up his sides, eagerly returning the kiss, and suddenly she was fifteen years old all over again, only this time she wanted him with a woman's longing.

He leaned into her as he slipped his tongue into her mouth, pressing her down into the couch cushions, and she adjusted herself to welcome his warm weight. "James…" she murmured, as his lips moved down her neck.

She tangled her fingers in his hair, brushing her nails through his scalp, knowing very well the effect it would have on him.

He growled softly into her skin, unconsciously moving his hips against hers. "I want you," he breathed, his hands sliding down her sides.

"I've always wanted you," she murmured, slowly and deliberately moving her fingers through his hair as they kissed passionately.

"Do you want to take this to the bedroom?" He whispered into her ear, causing her to shiver slightly.

She nodded wordlessly, letting him pull her up.

He led her by hand down the hall, not bothering to turn on the lights as he kicked the door shut. It was only a matter of seconds before he was on her again, lowering her gently to the mattress and she tugged his t-shirt off over his head before he lay down beside her.

She covered his mouth with hers, running her hands across his chest and down his bare back. He eagerly pushed her shirt up, and she shivered as his metal hand moved slowly across her ribs and around her back to unhook her bra. "James… " she uttered quietly as his hands roughly groped her breasts.

"You are even more beautiful than I remember," he whispered huskily, lowering his lips down her neck as his metal fingers slid slowly down her stomach.

"Ahhh," she shivered against his cold touch.

"Sorry, baby," he murmured, his tongue tracing her earlobe as he undid the button on her jeans. "I'd use the other hand, but you might like this one better." With that, he slipped his metal fingers into her panties, urging her legs apart with his.

"Ohhh," she moaned, as his left hand moved between her legs.

"That feel good?" He asked, sliding two fingers inside her.

"Oh yeah," she breathed, her body starting to writhe beneath him.

He continued to kiss her neck as he pumped his fingers in and out, finding a rhythm he knew she liked. Her hips bucked up involuntarily to meet his thrusts. It wasn't too long before he felt her body stiffen and he pumped faster as she tugged on his hair.

"James…. Oh, James….oh, yes!" she shouted as she climaxed around his fingers.

"God, you're hot," he whispered into her hair.

"You're not so bad yourself," she said with a grin as she rolled on top of him, pinning him down into the mattress. Her fingers fumbled with his belt buckle for just a second before she slid his pants off. "Let's see if I remember how you like this," she added softly, pressing her tongue into his mouth.

She lowered her lips to his neck, down his chest, kissing and licking her way down his stomach teasingly. She tugged playfully at the waistband of his shorts, skimming her fingers across his belly.

"Tease," he murmured, though there was a hint of a grin at his lips.

"Baby, you haven't seen anything yet," she said with a wink, finally removing his underwear. She lowered her head, softly pressing her lips against him, her tongue licking slowly at his underside.

He groaned audibly and she moved her mouth over him, running the tip of her tongue along his length.

"Oh, please," he moaned.

She quickened the pace of her tongue, easing him in and out of her mouth as she licked hungrily.

"Holy shit, that's good," he breathed, as he moved his hips, trying to shove more of himself into her mouth.

"Mmmmm," she moaned as she sucked harder, faster, tightening her lips around him as his eyes started to roll back into his head.

"Fuck, Natasha, I'm gonna-"

"Not yet," she whispered.

He groaned in protest. "No, don't stop," he pleaded with a slightly confused expression on his face.

"I want you to fuck me," she said evenly.

"You don't have to tell me twice," he growled, flipping her over so that her back was pressed into the mattress. He pushed her thighs apart with his knee, bracing his hands against her shoulders as he slowly eased into her.

She whimpered slightly as her body stretched to accommodate him.

"Good?" He asked quietly.

She nodded once before closing her eyes.

He began to move against her, breathing heavily as he grinded his hips against hers.

She moaned audibly. "Fuck, that's…. unhh…" she moved her hips to his pace, arching her back to meet his movements.

"I… almost… forgot… mmm… how… good… you… feel…" he gasped in between thrusts.

"F…faster…" she breathed.

He eagerly obliged, lowering his face to hers and claiming her mouth with his as he moved into her.

"Oh, God…. Oh, James….James!" she shouted as she rode out her orgasm.

His came a moment later and he gasped her name as he collapsed into her.

"Holy shit," he said again.

She raised a hand to his face. "I guess there are some things we still know about each other."

He nodded as he rolled off of her, still panting slightly. "Yeah."

She pulled the sheet up around her.

He propped his head up on his elbow. "Do you still like to cuddle after?"

She looked up at him with wide eyes. "I only ever liked that when it was with you."

He grinned. "Come here."

She settled herself into the crook of his arm. "We'll figure it out, right?"

"Are you asking me, or telling me?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. Both, I guess."

"That statement suggests that this isn't over."

She shook her head. "No, I suppose not."

"Good." He kissed the top of her head. "We'll be fine, Natasha. As long as you don't lose your job over me."

She frowned. "I won't let that happen."

"Me neither."

She idly ran her fingers across his chest. "So… were you ever planning on taking me on a real date?"

He grinned. "Well, then we wouldn't be just hanging out. Would you be okay with that?"

She thought for a moment. "I think so. You?"

He nodded. "It would certainly make us getting to know each other a little easier. So how about it?"

"How bout what?" she asked coyly.

"Will you go out with me?"

"Yes," she said with a smile.

"Alright. So, dinner? Tomorrow night?"

"I can't. I have to work," she reminded him.

"No fair."

She grinned. "Come on. I thought you already knew I don't play that way."