"We make a good team," Bucky said once they were safely inside the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopter. He leaned back against the seat, propping his feet up on the chair across from him as she settled into the crook of his arm.

"Yes," she agreed, snuggling into his chest. She twisted the microchip in her fingers. "So, are you going to give this to Commander Hill for me?"

"Nuh-uh," he said. "Give it to her yourself. Come back with me."

She laughed lightly. "You know I can't do that."

"Why not?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Shall I search for redemption the way you and the rest of your friends do? Even work for S.H.I.E.L.D. full-time, perhaps?"

"Why not?" He asked again, tracing idle patterns on her arm with his metal fingers. "You do have the right skillset for the job."

"Yeah, right." She thought for a moment. "How about you come work for me instead, soldier?"

"Yeah, I guess neither one would work out too well," he agreed. "So… does this mean you're leaving again?"

She sighed. "You do get emotionally attached."

"What, do you feel nothing for me?" He asked with a slight pout.

She grinned. "I didn't say that."

She slipped a hand under his sweater, relishing in the feel of his taut skin under the pads of her fingers. "I won't stray too far," she promised. "But I can't be under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s control. Or anyone else's for that matter."

He nodded. "I guess I understand. But still… I don't want you to go."

"So you do have feelings for me after all?"

He tilted her chin up to look at him. "I do. I can't help it."

"Then don't," she whispered, reaching up to run a steady hand through his hair.

He pressed a tender kiss to her forehead, closing his eyes against the intimacy of her touch. "I want us to see each other again."

"We will," she promised.

"I think I'm going to take some time off," he said. "Maybe leave the country for awhile, get my head together."

"That's a good idea," she replied. "You clearly need a change of pace."

He grinned. "Do you think you can keep up?"

She laughed. "With you? What a challenge!" She thought for a moment. "How about this? I'll come back to headquarters with you and settle my end of the deal in person. If you take your leave right after I've won my freedom and come travel with me for awhile. It could be good for you."

He frowned. "I don't know if I can keep a clear head when I'm around you."

She grinned. "Is that really such a bad thing, dear James?"

"I can't promise that what happened back at the cabin won't happen again…."

"I'd be very, very okay with that," she said, placing a confident hand on his belt buckle.

"Tess…" He breathed as she tugged his head back by the hair. "I don't know what's going to happen."

She leaned over him, covering his mouth with her own. "And that's okay, my love," she whispered against his lips.