When he woke up the next morning, he was surprised to see Natasha asleep on the rug. His mind replayed the events of the night before, her soothing touches and whispered reassurances, and unless he was sorely mistaken, her genuine concern. He sighed, lifting his head up slightly. When he saw that there was no debilitating dizziness, he kept going, pulling himself up to a sitting position. He groaned loudly at the stretch of the homemade stitches in his side.

Natasha's eyes fluttered open. "Hey," she said with a shy smile.

"Hey." He smiled back.

"Fever's gone?"

"I think so."

She got up and sat next to him on the couch, placing a hand on his forehead. "Fever's gone," she confirmed.

"Thanks to you," he said cautiously.

"Here, let me make sure your wound's not infected," she said, reaching out to peel the bandage back. She wrinkled her nose. "You don't have a super human healing factor."

He laughed. "Why would I?"

"I don't know. Super soldier serum?"

He shook his head.

"So you're not the real Bucky?"

He grinned. "Not this game again. And don't you know anything about Bucky and Cap?"

She nodded. "I'll apply some more medication and change your bandage."

"Thanks," he said softly.

He fingers brushed across his skin, just under his ribs and he involuntary pulled away. "Hey, that tickles," he said.

Her head snapped up to meet his gaze, eyes wide.

"Hey, that tickles," he said, grabbing her wrist in his hand.

"Oh really?" she said with a mischievous grin, reaching for him with her other hand.

A lock of brown hair, almost reddish in the sunlight, fell across his eyes as he tried unsuccessfully to dodge away from her. His grin was boyish as he laughed, his back arching slightly, and she threw a leg over his hips, straddling him. He howled for her to stop, although his struggling was only half-hearted…

He frowned. "What's the matter?" He asked, his gaze searching.

"N-nothing." She shook her head. "I was just wondering if you think you could make it to the bedroom? I was thinking maybe I should take a walk to the convenience store down the road and get a few things. But I'd feel much better if there was another door between you and the outside world."

He nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I could try."

"Okay." She reached out and placed her hands firmly on his sides, holding him just under his armpits to help pull him up. He was unsteady when he rose, in turn placing his hands on her shoulders and leaning a good portion of his weight on her. She looked up at him, suddenly on high alert when she realized how close his face was to hers, so close she could feel his ragged breathing in her ear…

"Easy," she whispered as he stumbled forward. "Are you dizzy?"

"No," he whispered back, unconvincingly, and she wished she could say the same. "I'm okay," he said, more firmly.

"Okay. Let's try to walk," she managed.

He took a couple of steps and though she could see his face twist in pain every time he put more weight on his right side, he didn't say anything else after that so she kept going.

"It's just right down the hall," she coaxed, urging him forward and trying to ignore that fact that she could feel his muscles flex right under her hands. "There you go."

It didn't take long for them to reach the bedroom and she eagerly helped him settle down into the mattress, tucking him in. "Don't attempt to get out of bed until I get back," she warned.

He nodded. "I won't," he promised.

"I'll just leave a glass of water right here on the nightstand," she said, her eyes lingering on his face, unsure of what she was searching for.

"Thank you," he softly replied.