Believe it or not, I started writing this story right after Avengers came out in theaters last year. There were maybe ten Stasha fics out there at the time and I NEEDED more. I didn't have time for character set up so I wrote it as a post event scenario. But I kept writing, and FINALLY I'm done. That's what a ridiculous amount of writers block and life events going will do to you. BUT today I completed Chapter 5, the last chapter, so I'll be uploading the chapters every few days or so until this is fully up. In the meantime! Enjoy!

Chapter 1

The morning sunlight streamed through the windows in an unwelcome intrusion. Steady breaths came from the bed in the small apartment bedroom, shifting the covers silently as they rose to accommodate the owners. Dust motes floated in the air easily, almost unaffected by the gravity that weighed everyone down. But it wasn't the gravity of the earth that struck Natasha Romanoff as grave, but that of the situation she was currently in.

Her head lifted slightly from the bed, short, wavy red hair falling in her eyes before a twitch of her head sent them flying over her shoulder. Her green eyes trailed over the room, settling first on the shirt on her dresser, though it was definitely not hers, then upon the bra that lay draped over a chair next to her desk, the sleek screen of her monitor shining light through the black lace and highlighting the flowery detail. Her eyes trailed then to her chest, the blanket holding on barely to her breasts, one shift vertical ready to send the blanket down to her stomach.

Her hand reached up and pressed the blanket to her more firmly, anchoring it to her body and giving her the ability to move modestly. Dread landed like an anvil in her stomach as gravity took over the situation within her once more, and her eyes traced the blanket across the bed to where it hung off the hips of the other occupant, parting away from the body at the V of his hips. If she shifted back towards the headboard slightly, she'd be able to follow that V all the way down. Instead, she trailed her eyes up across his abdomen and followed his arm from his crooked elbow up to his shoulder, and then to the broad planes of his face, relaxed in sleep.

What had she done? Would she ever be able to deal with a situation normally from now on? Her whole world tilted in that moment of realization that her inner gravity had shifted to that where she was changing all her stances on life. Six months ago, she was prepared to lay down her life to stop invading forces from another world… or two. It had never been made clear to her whether Loki counted as being of Asgard at that point. Six months ago, she was sure of the fact that she need only her skills sets and a mission, using what she could to see that mission through. Six months ago, she hadn't met the occupant in her bed.

She'd changed from never wanting love to suddenly contemplating it. It felt almost within reach for her now, should she only want to reach out and grasp it. Had this occurred with someone else, had it meant nothing else, she would easily move on, kick them out of her apartment and go to work. Go to the gym. Go anywhere. But not for him. He deserved better and she knew it.

His normally perfectly combed blonde hair was in an array around his head, and he almost looked like he fit in this century, that he wasn't actually pushing 95, or that he remembered the first Stark Expo. That he worked with one of the greatest scientists that made SHIELD a possible thing, or that he was an icon for kids who were now in their late 60's.

He almost looked…Her age.

And in a way, Steve Rodgers was. And he fit with her, in every way. The way her small, lithe body fit next to his toned, hard one. How they could probably take each other in a fight and not have too much trouble because he'd use his strength and she'd use it against him. The way he whispered hours prior that he had a thing for red heads. How that whisper felt so out of character for him, and how it was a side of him no one ever saw…but she did. She loved that…

But could she love him? A small voice in the back of her mind whispered that she might. And another whispered for her to run.

She slipped from beneath the sheets and stood, pulling her discarded underwear from the night before on, then a shirt from off the bed post and shorts from her dresser drawer. She wandered through her apartment, quiet as a mouse and over to her balcony, discreet in its view of the city. Stark Tower lay nearly invisible against the mass of sky scrapers, but she could see its wavy architecture and had it been night, she'd have also seen the lone 'A' on the side of the building.

She pulled her body up onto the wide brick ledge, her feet following as she leaned against the corner post and completely out of view from the door that led into the apartment. She might even be able to hide long enough that Steve would disappear into the city, and she wouldn't have to deal with things.

An hour passed, then two, and she finally heard a click from her front door. She waited a beat before stepping off the ledge, careful not to scrape herself on the rough, porous stone, and back into the apartment. Her breath froze in her throat as she caught sight of him leaning casually against the wall of her living room.

"See, I knew you were hiding," he smirked. "At first, you had me fooled, but I know you, Nat, you had to be hiding. So I waited, and then I realized you were hiding from yourself and were waiting for me to disappear."

"So you faked a disappearance," she summed for him, her lips pressed tightly together. "Clever."

"Thank you," he nodded once. "Why do I have the feeling you were setting me up to walk out on you?"

"I can't tell you what you feel," she said evenly and stepped further into the living room with the intent to make coffee.

"Can I tell you what I feel?"


"I figured as much," he nodded, crossing his arms over his chest. Her eyes flickered to his briefly, then down to his exposed chest. That familiar flutter reached her stomach once again, as it had over and over in the past few months, and she pushed to ignore it once more. His muscles trailed off, hidden by his pants neatly belted in place, and part of her almost wished the pants weren't there. If it was just them at night, like last night, hidden beneath the covers and whispering secrets, so uncharacteristic of their normal selves. "Nat, you let me in last night, why can't you do it now? What's so wrong about us in the light of day? What can't you deal with?"

"I'm fine," she said evenly. "I just need to think."

"You think too much," Steve sighed. "Don't think about what this changes. Just go with it. Do something for yourself. You are always duty bound, or debt bound, or bound by your past. Well, I am the past! In a way, you could say I'm history."

"You're the present."

"Let me in."

"I…" she trailed off, her lips parted and gaping, her eyes meeting his once again. "I can't. I can't, and I won't. Last night was a mistake."

"No it wasn't," he shook his head, ever the patient man. It nearly infuriated her that he kept an even, level presence, while she seethed and waited like a cat ready to strike always. That's why she and Clint were such close friends; they understood the game of hunting. The thrill of isolating prey and waiting for the perfect time to strike. Eager to follow an order that produced this thrill.

But Steve merely waited for an order that could change the world, protect it from the evils. His world was more of a black and white one, while hers black and red.

"I've got Red on my Ledger."

She turned away from him, unwilling to see his face anymore for fear her decision would change. "You need to leave, Steve. Nothing can happen between us. I'm sorry."

"Something already happened between us, Natasha. You are the one that just hasn't accepted it," he sighed. "When you have, you know how to find me. I'll be there."

She heard his footsteps turn away from her and into the bedroom. She spun on the spot and walked straight to the balcony, her arms crossed around her chest in an effort to keep the pain she couldn't control in. Her chest felt like it was exploding, and there was no way it was still intact.

She didn't cry until the door opened and closed for real.

I suck at constantly reviewing stories so a fav or a follow is all I'll hope for! That's enough for me! Do your own thing and I'll be back in a few days!