Natasha quietly made her way through the door to her bedroom at the Avengers' Mansion. Before she even flicked on the lightswitch, she realized that she was not alone. Her body tensed and she sprung to a defensive position, then relaxed when she saw who it was.
"James? What the hell are you doing here? Everyone's home!"
He looked up at her from where he was sprawled across her bed with his hands behind his head. "I couldn't stay away…."
She raised a disapproving eyebrow. "How did you even get in?"
"Through the window."
"I'm on the fifth floor," she said dryly.
He grinned. "I like a challenge. What's the matter? Not used to having the Winter Soldier crawl through your bedroom window?"
A small smile slowly crept across her lips. "It's been awhile," she said softly.
"Don't worry. No one was here when I climbed up. I'm still a dead man."
"I know. I'm supposed to be getting ready for your memorial service," she said, sitting down beside him and reaching out to grip his hand with hers.
He sat up, placing his flesh and blood hand on her cheek. "Hey. I'm still here," he whispered.
"But for how long?" She cried, closing her fingers around his wrist. "I just got you back…"
He wrapped his arms around her, drawing her into his chest. "Sitwell's got a lead for me. I don't know when I'll be back. There are just some things… that I need to take care of."
She nodded. "I know."
"I just… Can I stay here tonight? I have nowhere else to go…"
She sighed. "It's risky."
"I'll be quiet, I promise."
She laughed. "Not likely," she said, tilting his head back.
He gazed at her questioningly.
"We only have tonight," she explained suggestively, leaning in to suck on his neck.
He closed his eyes, trying to savor the smell of her hair, the feel of her lips on his skin, her weight in his lap...
"Unless…" she murmured in between kisses.
"Hmmm…." He moaned softly.
"What if I come with you?" She whispered into his ear.
"I can't ask you to do that," He replied, running a hand through her hair.
"You didn't," she pointed out.
"Nat." His eyes searched hers. "Are you sure?"
She gazed back at him expectantly.
He took a deep breath. "Oh God…"
She leaned into him again, pressing her lips against his forehead. "It's going to be okay, James."
He pulled her down into the mattress, proceeding to pin her down with his leg.
"Not so fast," she protested, pushing against his chest. "I'm going to be late for your funeral."
He nodded, pulling back. "I'm sorry… that you have to do this… "
She shook her head. "It'll be easier knowing that you're here, waiting for me in my bed. Now you stay in this room. Don't go anywhere," she said, pointing a finger at him.
"I have nowhere else to go," he reminded her. "Until tomorrow. Should I pack your stuff while you're gone?"
"As long as you're quiet about it." She thought for a moment. "You better be here when I get back. I'm serious. I want you to wait for me."
His gaze was heavy as he looked up at her. "Haven't I always?"
"I'll be here," he promised.
She leaned down to place a slow kiss on his lips and he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close against his body.
"This is familiar. Us sneaking around like this," she said lightly.
"Except this time I'm not going anywhere without you," he whispered.
She smiled. "So, you're really going to keep the Winter Soldier codename?"
"I think so… yes," he answered. "It just makes sense."
She shook her head. "None of this makes sense anymore."
He tilted her chin up. "You're coming with me. Everything makes sense."
She raised her eyebrow. "Like the fact that you climbed five stories to crawl into my window even though you're supposed to be laying low?"
He grinned. "Especially that."