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Read Each Other in the Dark

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Valkyrie had no especially strong feelings about Earth, aside from that it was loud, overpopulated, and its alcohol excruciatingly weak.

Then again, it was weeks before she ventured far from New Asgard, as Thor had taken to calling the stretch of land the people of Earth had given them. A poor name since the place was nothing like the Asgard she remembered. To her eye, it was only a bit of grass near a cliffside that no one else had wanted to inhabit, and the housing they had built were only cold, dark boxes that would crumble in less than a century.

But Thor seemed proud of it, endlessly so, and Valkyrie had followed him this far, so she put more time into New Asgard’s construction than she’d put into anything in…she couldn’t remember how long.

When she eventually left it, it was only so that Thor could introduce her to the teammates he spoke so highly of.

Throughout all his stories, somehow it had escaped Valkyrie’s notice that only two members of this team were women. One of whom, Wanda, was kind and welcoming, and looked at Valkyrie—raiding the liquor cabinets of this “New Avengers Facility,” trying to find anything as strong as the bottles of Sakaarian drink she’d polished off ages ago—with something too close to pity for her liking.

The other, Natasha, had the bearing and the shrewdness of a trained warrior, so it was toward her that Valkyrie gravitated when her search failed.

A smart decision, as proven when Natasha said, “We could go to a bar. The alcohol there might not affect you much, but that’s no reason you can’t try it.”

Valkyrie beamed even more widely when Thor and the rest of his teammates sent shocked, worried glances at each other. “I think I’m going to like you.”

 


 

She did. Natasha took her to a quiet, low-lit bar and sat across from her at a table barely big enough for the two of them.

When Valkyrie said, “I think you’re meant to be discouraging my bad habits,” Natasha only shrugged.

“Guess I missed the memo.”

But then, after they’d gotten their first set of drinks—which were as weak and foul as any other Valkyrie had tried on this planet—Natasha added, “Then again, I might feel otherwise if I thought any of this actually would do anything to you. If Tony’s rum doesn’t make you feel something, I’m pretty sure nothing on Earth is going to.”

The words seemed darkly amused rather than mocking, so Valkyrie found herself laughing, charmed by them. When Natasha raised her glass for a toast, Valkyrie happily lifted her own. She hardly minded that the drink didn’t even burn on its way down, much less that it sat in her belly like water.

Natasha was lovely. Redhaired and green-eyed. She scarcely smiled—and when she did, it was with her eyes rather than her mouth—and every glance seemed to judge Valkyrie, weigh her, and deem her just as intriguing as Valkyrie found her.

“You’re a Valkyrie,” Natasha said, when she was on her second drink and Valkyrie her sixth. “And Thor calls you Valkyrie like it’s your name.”

Valkyrie’s good mood soured. What an excellent time to remind her why she hated facing each Earth day without the comfortable haze of alcohol. “Yeah.”

She’d put a deliberate challenge in her voice, and Natasha responded to it with an actual mouth-smile, like she was pleased to have found Valkyrie’s weakness.

“I didn’t mean anything by that. I just thought it was interesting. Everyone around me puts so much significance on names, when I’ve picked up and discarded…oh, probably hundreds since I was born. I wondered if I’d finally found…maybe not a kindred spirit, exactly, but something like it.”

Had they been alone, Valkyrie would have shucked out of her thin but itchy Earth clothes and encouraged Natasha—demanded her, really—to come to her, to fuck her, to have her, and then, in the dark and the quiet, to tell her to explain more of what she meant by that.

While Valkyrie was still sorting her thoughts, Natasha sipped her drink, her lips looking obscenely soft and pink against the rim of her glass, and said, “Have you met the Dora Milaje?”

 


 

Valkyrie had not, so Natasha had pulled out her comm device—what people here called a phone—and contacted person after person until she’d secured an invitation.

And after Valkyrie had met the warrior women of Wakanda—seen them train and spar and move as one as Valkyrie and her sisters had done, bringing tears to her eyes, yet a satisfaction, a peace, to her heart that she had lacked for centuries now—she was furious with Thor for not bringing her here first.

She returned to New Asgard and stomped into Thor’s box-home, wishing she were drunk enough to slur and stumble. Thor was standing in what amounted to a kitchen area, his raised voice seeming to shake the walls, while Loki paced in front of him. They were clearly in the middle of an argument, but it was such a common occurrence she didn’t care that she interrupted.

“Thor, your team sucks,” she said, half shouting herself. “The only intelligent person on it is Natasha, and frankly I’m not sure she’s treated with nearly the degree of respect she deserves.”

She knew full well the anger was displaced, even irrational, but she still felt it warranted something more than the hearty shoulder clap that Thor gave her.

“Excellent! It warms my heart that you are getting along with them so well,” he declared, grinning widely, as though she hadn’t just insulted all but one.

It was Loki’s reaction, though, that struck her. He said nothing but stood as if frozen, staring at her like he had never seen her before and didn’t know what to do with her now that he had.

“You’re both useless,” she said, turned on her heels, and left.

 


 

Loki found her the next day as she was eating her breakfast on her own in the mess hall.

“I thought I might warn you,” he said, sliding into the bench across from her, “not to get too attached. Last I heard, she was romantically involved with the beast.”

Valkyrie made a point of not swallowing before she spoke, and relished Loki’s expression of disgust at the partially chewed food in her mouth. “Do you have more alcohol from Sakaar you’ve been hiding from the rest of us? Because unless you’re off your arse right now, I can’t imagine how you think that sentence means anything to me.”

He sighed as though she was the one trying his patience. “The Black Widow. Natasha Romanov. I realize I am not the best judge of emotional attachments, but neither are you the type to care about how much respect someone is granted. It seemed significant.”

He wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t going to admit that. She scooped more of her breakfast onto her spoon—a soft, chewy food that didn’t taste terribly different from the gruel they’d had to subsist on before they reached Earth—and got her mouth nice and full before she responded. “Considering you tried to kill them all and enslave their planet, I’m not convinced you know anything so personal about Thor’s teammates.”

Loki’s slow, delighted smile might have been frightening if she hadn’t seen so many horrors in her life. “Oh, but that’s where you are mistaken. I know a great deal about Thor’s mortal comrades, and especially her. She’s an assassin, you know. Trained from almost birth to be a weapon in both body and mind.”

Valkyrie could admit that she was curious, but she hadn’t been lying: she didn’t trust anything Loki had to say about the Avengers. Nor, if it were true, did she want to hear any of it from him.

She smiled back, and if hers wasn’t as intimidating as his, she at least made it look a touch unhinged. “I’ll keep that in mind.” She dipped her spoon into her food again, and then paused. “What ‘beast’? Oh, you mean the Hulk?”

She suspected it was the note of pleasant surprise purposely added to her question that caused his satisfaction to dim.

“That’s good,” she said, feeling cheerier the more his expression darkened. “It means she’s not ruled by prejudice or fear, unlike some. And anyway, I like Bruce, and I don’t mind sharing.”

He stood abruptly, looking stormy—and perhaps a little embarrassed—and stalked off.

 


 

Because she had no reliable mode of transportation and no way to transfer her Sakaarian units to Earth money, she had to rely on Thor to find time to take her back to New York.

By then, Natasha had been sent on a mission, and Valkyrie spent what might have been her longest day ever wandering the Avengers facility and napping on various pieces of furniture. Eventually she woke to find a tall, muscular blond bending over her, looking concerned.

“You’re Steve,” she said. She’d met him with the rest of the Avengers, but hadn’t thought much of him (beyond that he was quite pretty) until he had featured in more than one of Natasha’s anecdotes.

“Yep.” He smiled and offered her a hand up. That he seemed unfazed when she ignored it, standing on her own, impressed her. “If I’d known you were here, I would have found you earlier. Do you like coffee?”

“The taste, not especially. But I like the smell of it.”

He led her to a room that smelt heavenly, far better than the stuff that Thor had introduced to New Asgard, where two other men were seated at a table, stirring steaming cups.

“You’ve already met Sam,” Steve said, “and this is an old friend of mine, Bucky.”

They nodded at her in greeting, and Bucky hastily wiped his hand on his trousers before he held it out in expectation of the handshake that the people of Earth seemed keen on. Valkyrie obliged him, although she would have preferred to test the grip strength of his other, metal hand rather than his flesh one.

“So,” she said, hauling out a chair and dropping into it, “you sit around and drink all day, do you?”

She hadn’t meant it critically—sitting around drinking was a fairly accurate description of her life just a few short months ago, after all—but all three men spluttered like they were insulted.

“N-no, that’s not—” Steve finished pouring his own cup with a sigh. “It’s mostly waiting around at this point, just in case we’re needed. Things haven’t been… Well, I don’t know what Thor’s told you about us, but the Avengers are only just starting to get our feet on the ground again after a pretty long break.”

Valkyrie did not care, really, but knew that would be rude and insulting to say—and she did have manners, even if she hadn’t properly utilized them in ages—so she only nodded in a way she hoped was sympathetic.

“Speaking of the Avengers,” she said, seizing the opportunity, “I heard a rumor about Bruce and Natasha.”

Only Steve seemed taken aback by the topic change, giving her a puzzled frown as he joined them at the table with his coffee.

Sam shook his head. “Nah. I mean, there was definitely something there for a while, but whatever it was, it’s long gone.”

Bucky agreed. “They avoid each other.”

“They don’t avoid each other,” Steve said. “But…yeah, they don’t really interact much anymore. We don’t gossip about our teammates, though.”

There was a gentle warning in his tone, but Valkyrie hardly cared. “Good,” she said, feeling quite cheerful now. As she’d told Loki, she wouldn’t mind sharing, but there was less possibility for mess if she didn’t. “Good! That’s perfect.”

“Oh.” Steve sat back in his chair, wide-eyed. “Oh, you… Bruce?”

“No.” She laughed. “Norns, no. Natasha.”

“Called it,” Sam announced, pointing a finger at Bucky, who rolled his eyes.

“Oh.” Steve looked stunned. “I don’t… I mean I don’t want to… I’m just not sure she’d be…interested…in that.”

“Why not?” Valkyrie snapped. Her hackles were up, her annoyance heating to a simmer. Was it because of her drinking? That she had been a Valkyrie? “She certainly acted like she was interested.”

Sam turned to Steve, looking just as affronted as Valkyrie. “What are you doing? El-gee-bee—I know you know what that bee stands for.”

“Oh.” Steve was blushing now, and she was getting tired of hearing him say that word. “I’m sorry. She never really talks about herself, and I guess I just assumed…she was only interested in men.”

Her anger heated further, this time in indignation for Natasha. She never talked about herself? She’d talked about herself a lot the other night. Then Valkyrie realized that it was a comment any number of people might say about her, and she felt warm with understanding.

Which left the other comment to be offended about.

“I see,” she said, her tone clipped. “So you didn’t realize it’s possible to be attracted to many genders?”

Steve actually gaped at that. “Many genders?”

Sam was shaking his head sadly, a sentiment that Valkyrie shared. Aside from Natasha, and now perhaps Sam, Thor’s team really did suck.

“Put ‘sex and gender’ on your list,” said Sam. “We’ll talk about it later. Away from the mythical warrior woman who’s clearly fed up with the part of your mind that’s still stuck in the 1940s.”

“He was frozen for seventy years,” Bucky told her, smiling winsomely. “It’s been an adjustment, but he’s trying.”

“Hey!” Steve said at the same time that Sam said, “And where were you again?”

“Okay,” Valkyrie said loudly, jerking her chair back and standing. “Thanks for the chat, guys. I guess I’ll—”

Steve raised a hand. “Wait! Are you sticking around here for a bit? Do you have a place to stay?”

“You said she was sleeping in conference room four,” Sam said. “I think it’s safe to say she doesn’t.”

“Why do you have so many rooms?” Valkyrie wondered, a question that had been plaguing her on and off all day. “No one is here.”

“Like I said,” Steve said, “we’re building this place up again. But also, it’s Tony, which was going to be my next point. He’s got more than enough room, and I’m sure he’d be happy to put you up for a few days. Let me go find him.”

 


 

Tony seemed almost gleeful to accommodate her, showing her around his (over-luxurious and over-large) quarters with the energy and excitement of a child.

“This is the gym,” he said, extending his arms wide and spinning in a circle. “Used mainly for, you know, exercise and training and the like, but in a pinch, it can function as a decent party space if the foyer is occupied. Or destroyed. FRIDAY, can we show her the lights please?”

“Yes, Mr. Stark.”

“I do appreciate all this,” Valkyrie lied, as the lights above began to flash in shades of red, orange, blue, and purple. “But I’m not planning on staying long. I intend to continue helping to build New Asgard and—”

“New Asgard!” Tony said, and with one clap of his hands, the lights switched back to normal and stayed that way. “Right, yeah. That reminds me. I’ve been working hard to get you guys better supplies and a lot more monetary and legal support, and I know T’Challa is too. Like I keep telling Thor, it’s better to take the time to build a solid foundation now so you don’t get stuck in a crappy situation that was only supposed to be temporary. But there’s so much bureaucracy and red tape around, you know, refugees and the formation of sovereign states, and Thor isn’t exactly making it any easier, so…”

He paused, plainly expecting her to chime in, but she had nothing to say. She didn’t deal with the bigger-picture issues of establishing New Asgard on Earth. Thor told her what needed to be done, she told him when his idea was stupid and impractical and suggested a better one, and then she did it.

So she stared back at Tony, arching her eyebrow when the silence grew awkward, and finally he cleared his throat and steered her out of the gym.

“So,” he said, leading her through the corridors, “you were a Valkyrie, huh?”

She already knew this conversation wasn’t going to go as well as it had with Natasha, so she decided it best to nip it in the bud.

“I was,” she said solemnly, “before my sisters were mercilessly slaughtered in front of me by the Goddess of Death.”

Tony’s pause was long and tremendously satisfying. “Wow. Blunt. All right, then. That’s a hell of an origin story, huh?” He patted her shoulder. “You’ll fit in great around here. Hey, you want a car? A motorcycle? Maybe a jet? I tried to offer Thor some, but he got all”—he deepened his voice in a terrible impression of Thor’s—“‘as always I appreciate your generosity, but my people have no need—’”

“Jet?” she asked, intrigued, remembering the spaceship-like vehicle she’d visited Wakanda in.

“A quinjet, to be specific. It’s kind of our thing, the Avengers, you know.”

Though as a rule she was wary of gifts, surely this warranted an exception. She’d thought, after coming to Earth, she would never fly a proper ship again. “I would gladly accept a quinjet.”

“Great!” He clapped again, but this time the lights did not react. “C’mon, let me show you what we have in stock.”

 


 

It seemed Tony had only just finally left her alone to get settled in her borrowed portion of his home when a knock sounded from the door. She answered it to find Natasha on the other side, standing with her arms folded, looking beautiful. Her hair was wavier than Valkyrie remembered it, tucked behind her ears, and her black clothing clung so tightly that Valkyrie’s mouth watered.

Natasha’s smile, very faint and all the more smug for it, said she knew exactly what effect she was having. And though Valkyrie knew it was rude, often unconscionable, to kiss a friend unprompted, she wanted to kiss her anyway and feel how well Natasha’s body molded against her own.

“Hey,” she said instead. “They said you had a mission.”

“I did.” Natasha shrugged one shoulder. “Simple information gathering. Quick in, quick out, no complications. I’m glad I didn’t miss you. Do you want to have dinner with me?”

Of course Valkyrie did.

They went to a bar again, but this one was better lit, served food, and required them to be seated by someone instead of finding a table themselves. It felt more intimate, somehow, even though they technically sat farther apart than they had the other night. Natasha rested her elbows on the wood and leaned forward, and under the table, their shoes knocked once before Natasha settled hers on either side of Valkyrie’s.

Not interested? Valkyrie thought, remembering Steve’s words. Yeah, right.

“It’s a lot of salt and grease,” Natasha said, “but the fries are amazing.”

Valkyrie didn’t care about food. Didn’t care about alcohol, either, although that might’ve been because she had accepted by now how pointless it was.

Natasha raised an eyebrow when Valkyrie ordered water to drink but only said, when they were alone again, “So Steve said you’ve been asking about me. And Bruce.”

Valkyrie liked her directness, and suspected Natasha liked hers when she answered, “Yeah. I didn’t want to be stepping on anyone’s toes. Although I could have sworn Steve said he didn’t gossip about his teammates.”

Again, Natasha’s smile was faint, but still it was as inviting as a warm bed in a rainstorm. “He stopped thinking of it as gossip and started thinking of it as matchmaking, probably. Let’s just say he owes me.”

She sipped her own water, and once more Valkyrie couldn’t help admiring her lips against the glass. She was wearing something on them today, something that left a pale pink smear behind.

“Can I ask what happened with Bruce?” Valkyrie said. She’d told herself she wouldn’t ask. It wasn’t like it mattered to her why he and Natasha had grown apart, but… Well, he was her friend, and she was curious.

Natasha didn’t seem to mind her prying. She told Valkyrie about the beginning, how she’d found herself attracted to Bruce because of how different he was to everything she’d known, how they’d talked about leaving the Avengers behind, and how Bruce had urged her to abandon a mission right when she’d realized she needed to stay.

“I don’t actually think he would have been okay walking away,” Natasha said. “Seeing what Ultron had done, wondering if he could’ve helped. But still, it stuck with me. I thought I wanted to run. And I know that he did. That he does. He’d love to leave the Avengers, the Hulk, all of it behind. Suddenly I realized that I just…that it’s not for me.” There was that ghost of a smile, but this one was more rueful, almost painful to see. “I haven’t finished balancing my ledger yet.”

“Your ledger?” Valkyrie said, and the smile flickered and died.

“It’s probably good we get this out in the open right up front,” Natasha answered. “I’ve done bad things, in my life. Killed a lot of people who didn’t deserve it. Worked to further agendas that…”

The words seemed to leave her, then, and she looked away. Valkyrie’s chest felt tight. Not just because of what Natasha had said, or the grim line of her pretty lips, but something more. Something deeper. There was a stone of emotion so dense, so heavy in Valkyrie’s gut that she didn’t dare try to examine it.

“The past can be brutal,” Valkyrie said eventually. “But you’re facing it. Not everyone can say that.”

This dinner was becoming so much more serious and somber than she’d intended, and Natasha clearly felt the same since she inhaled deeply and said, more brightly, “Anyway. Enough about that.”

“Agreed,” Valkyrie said, emphatic. “Um. What was your mission? Can you even talk about that?”

It occurred to her a second too late that that topic might not be any better, but Natasha nodded easily.

“This one, fortunately, I can. But before I do… You’re coming home with me after this, right? Or I’m coming home with you?”

“Oh,” Valkyrie said, doing an exceedingly poor job of not leering at her like a loon, “absolutely.”

 


 

They went to Natasha’s home—“One of them, anyway,” she’d said in the back of the taxi, and since her hand had been on Valkyrie’s knee, thumb sweeping back and forth, Valkyrie hadn’t asked for clarification—because neither of them wanted to run into Tony or any of the other Avengers.

The place was much, much smaller than Tony’s, but larger than Valkyrie’s box-house in New Asgard, and it was clean, airy. It smelt faintly of flowers.

Any other observations were quickly lost when Natasha closed the door, locked it, and reached for her.

Natasha tasted salty, like the food, and her lips were as soft as Valkyrie had imagined. Soft and plump and opening precisely when Valkyrie wanted them to, letting Valkyrie suck on the bottom one gently, give it a nibble and a harsher bite before she drew away.

Natasha was already panting, cupping Valkyrie’s neck and staring at Valkyrie’s mouth like she wanted it back, like she didn’t understand why Valkyrie had taken it so soon.

Valkyrie grinned, feeling triumphant. This was going to be good. This was going to be better than any sex she’d had in a long time. She could feel it.

She clapped her hands on the backs of Natasha’s thighs and lifted, picking her up. Natasha let out a startled laugh, clinging to Valkyrie’s shoulders as though she really thought she was in danger of being dropped. Then she wrapped her legs around Valkyrie’s waist and allowed herself to be carried to the bedroom.

“Just down the hallway,” she directed, still breathless from the kissing and the laughter. Valkyrie couldn’t remember hearing her laugh in the short time they’d spent together, but she liked it. Liked the way her mask of carefully constructed distance—and wasn’t Valkyrie so very, very familiar with those—was completely shattered by it. “I wonder if I could carry you.”

“You’re welcome to try.” In the bedroom, Valkyrie tossed her playfully into the center of the bed and grinned when that got her another laugh. “Afterwards, that is.”

Which didn’t mean that Natasha couldn’t feel some of her weight now, of course. Valkyrie climbed on top, pinning her down, but when Natasha bucked and squirmed out of her hold, the thrill was positively electrifying.

Natasha wouldn’t be restrained. She would give as good as she got.

“It’s like that, is it?” Valkyrie teased. She could have fought when Natasha flipped them and pressed Valkyrie’s body into the mattress, but she decided to save that for when she had a better idea of Natasha’s strength and capabilities.

“I don’t know. You tell me,” Natasha said, and then kissed her. Harder than the first time, her fingers carving paths through Valkyrie’s hair, scratching at the scalp, and when Valkyrie bit her bottom lip again, she bit right back.

Valkyrie spread her legs, inviting Natasha to settle between them. Natasha apparently took that as incentive to roam, her hands following the line of Valkyrie’s body down to her ribs, just barely skimming over her breasts, and ending at her hips. Valkyrie bowed her spine in encouragement and was rewarded with a hard squeeze of her ass, but only one before Natasha was stroking her sides, rucking up her scratchy Earth shirt.

“Get this off.”

Valkyrie bared her teeth. “Make me.”

If she hadn’t already been wet, the ease with which Natasha tore the fabric apart would have done it. She groaned, did away with the scraps along with the sleeveless shirt she wore underneath, and let Natasha have her full upper body to do with as she pleased.

What she pleased was more stroking, it seemed, although with Valkyrie’s skin bare, it felt better. Natasha’s hands were warm and—though Valkyrie knew she was exploring, testing what Valkyrie did or didn’t like—they felt sure. When Natasha’s fingers massaged the fleshiest parts of her breasts, Valkyrie was struck with the impossible thought that Natasha had somehow known just how it would make Valkyrie moan and arch and roll her hips, craving friction.

Natasha bent over her, kissing her mouth and then her jaw, her throat. As she bit down on the sensitive join between Valkyrie’s neck and shoulder, she echoed Valkyrie’s soft noise of pleasure and laid her whole body flat on Valkyrie’s.

The sensation of Natasha’s clothes against Valkyrie’s skin became swiftly infuriating, and finally Valkyrie shoved her away, growling, “Get those off. Although I can certainly tear them if you’d prefer.”

Natasha was chuckling as she drew back, but she undressed without hesitation. Valkyrie took the opportunity to divest herself of her trousers, of all of it, every single stitch of stupid Earth clothing, so when Natasha returned, there was nothing between them.

Natasha’s skin was as silky and smooth as she’d imagined, but when Valkyrie dug her fingertips in, she could feel the hard muscles beneath. Harder and more defined than Valkyrie’s, even, which made her more confident about tussling and manhandling Natasha until their positions were switched again, Valkyrie above her, taking advantage of her turn to explore.

Natasha had scars, including a prominent one near her belly button and another just below her left collarbone. Valkyrie traced them with her fingers, taking care not to stroke too lightly, and Natasha allowed it but seemed unmoved. So Valkyrie carried on, turning her attention to Natasha’s chin, her throat, following the same path with her mouth as Natasha had done to her.

She bit in the same place, that stretch of skin where neck flowed into shoulder, and Natasha held her close, scratched her nails down Valkyrie’s back as she gasped. Valkyrie couldn’t help but bite her again, and again, until Natasha was gripping her hair and forcibly guiding Valkyrie’s mouth to her tits.

Natasha liked being touched there, and kissed. Not so much the breasts themselves, as Valkyrie loved, but the nipples. Valkyrie teased the tips with her lips, took the hardened nubs into her mouth, and worried them with her tongue, and Natasha said, “Fuck,” and held her head in place with a strength that made Valkyrie ache. Even pausing to trade one nipple for the other was a struggle.

As Valkyrie suckled, she toured Natasha’s lower body with her hands. She caressed Natasha’s belly, the sharp bones of her hips, trailed down Natasha’s outer legs first until she reached the knees. Then she slid her fingers back up, swooping to the other side. Natasha’s inner thighs were tense, the muscles quivering under Valkyrie’s touch.

When Valkyrie reached the top, feeling Natasha’s trimmed pubic hair scraping the heel of her hand, Natasha allowed Valkyrie to lift her head. She glanced down Natasha’s body, at where she was so close to cupping Natasha’s vulva.

She looked to Natasha’s face and found her eyes half-lidded, her lips parted.

“What do you like?” Valkyrie asked.

Natasha’s throat bobbed as she swallowed. “Penetration is good. Very good. I like thickness over length. My clit can be…fussy, sometimes. It responds better to rubbing, not so much to flicking. You?”

“Flicking is good. Flicking is very, very good for me. Penetration, eh, I can take it or leave it.”

Valkyrie looked down again, wanting to see the moment her middle finger slipped past Natasha’s labia. The image was as sweet as she expected; Natasha’s hips twitched upward, driving her clit against Valkyrie’s fingertip.

Natasha was soaked. Far wetter than Valkyrie got even at her most aroused. No wonder Natasha liked to be penetrated. If her body went to this much trouble to get her ready to be fucked, it seemed almost criminal not to oblige.

Natasha moaned low and long when Valkyrie pushed two fingers inside her, and the muscles clenched around her, as though trying to take her deeper.

“Not to be crass,” Valkyrie murmured, “but your cunt is divine.”

Natasha laughed, and oh, Valkyrie felt that. She kept her movements small, slow, just feeling the heat and the tightness, judging whether one angle seemed better than another. She found that familiar spot where the texture was different, and pressed on it. Gently, at first, and then harder when Natasha whimpered and swiveled her pelvis like she needed more.

“I mean that literally, by the way,” said Valkyrie, hearing the husk in her own voice. “If you wanted me to stay here, oh, a year or so, and let me worship you properly, I wouldn’t complain.”

“Not to be rude,” Natasha said through gritted teeth, “but shut up and fuck me.”

So Valkyrie fucked her, thrusting right into her sweet spot, and slotted her thumb against Natasha’s clit. She focused on rubbing, not flicking, and felt powerful in a way she hadn’t in a long, long time when Natasha lapsed into a series of beautiful, throaty cries.

Then, as she kept going until her arm started to hurt, her wrist cramping, she began to get a clear sense that something wasn’t quite right. She could see tension around Natasha’s mouth, a wrinkle of frustration on her forehead.

Valkyrie stopped, keeping her fingers where they were but focusing on gentle, circular motions instead. “What do you need?”

Natasha breathed deeply, meeting Valkyrie’s eyes. Her breasts were heaving, the skin near her sternum lightly flushed. The darkening marks from Valkyrie’s teeth were in sharp contrast to her pale skin. “I,” she said, and paused. “I like…control.”

Control. Valkyrie processed that, and then she grinned, intrigued. “Okay. So what’s stopping you? Take control.”

The change was immediate. Before, Natasha had been…not docile, precisely, but mostly still, simply letting Valkyrie touch her. Now, she was grabbing and writhing, hooking one leg around Valkyrie’s waist to keep her close as she hauled Valkyrie up to kiss her. When Valkyrie was there—biting at her bottom lip again because, Norns, she just couldn’t stop herself—Natasha’s hands joined hers, one gripping Valkyrie’s wrist and the other replacing Valkyrie’s thumb on her clit.

It was like being used. It was being used. It was Valkyrie’s fingers up her cunt, Valkyrie who had gotten her so wet, but the rhythm, the angle, the speed, everything else was Natasha. Valkyrie liked it more than she could have imagined.

Eventually Natasha dropped her head back, mouth falling open around a moan, and Valkyrie giggled, feeling drunk with satisfaction, and groaned herself when Natasha’s cunt clamped down on her fingers again and again as she came. Valkyrie kissed her, not even caring that Natasha was mostly just panting into her mouth at that point, occasionally whimpering when an aftershock hit her just right.

“How do you feel about sitting on my face?” Natasha asked when she’d gotten her breath back.

Valkyrie hesitated, slipping her fingers out. They were slick, the pads wrinkled, and her hand was shaking slightly, the muscles weak. “I can get a little…rough,” she admitted.

“Okay,” Natasha said, raising an eyebrow. “Is that supposed to scare me? Because that just sounds hot.”

Valkyrie tried to be tame, to straddle Natasha’s face and feel Natasha licking her labia and her clit, and to just accept the pleasure that was given to her. It almost worked. Natasha flicked her tongue just right and made Valkyrie’s clit throb sweetly, like the tease of an orgasm that might follow any minute now.

Then she felt teeth. Not a lot, just a scrape along the side of her clit, catching gently on the hood. It was like a test, satisfying Natasha’s curiosity. Yet that hint of almost-too-much, the softest whisper of violence, and Valkyrie couldn’t stop it. Her hands found Natasha’s hair, tangling and twisting, holding Natasha still as she rode her tongue, putting all of her need into it, all of her strength.

I guess I like control too, she thought, shaking from how good it felt to let go. Natasha moaned, not pained but blissful, like she enjoyed it as much as Valkyrie, and Valkyrie gasped and came.

They didn’t quite cuddle afterwards, but it was close enough. They lay facing each other, their knees touching, and Valkyrie stroked Natasha’s arm and shoulder while Natasha watched her, eyes narrowed in thought.

“I liked this,” Natasha said quietly. “And you. I like how honest you are.”

Valkyrie snorted and dragged her knuckles along Natasha’s collarbone, lingering over the purpling bite marks. “To tell the truth, this is about the only situation I’m honest in.”

“Another thing we have in common, apparently.”

Valkyrie smiled. “So does this mean I can call you mine?”

Natasha shifted, lifting onto one elbow and resting her head in her hand. “It doesn’t bother you that I’m human? Mortal?”

“Asgardians aren’t technically immortal. We all die eventually.”

“But my life is a lot shorter and more fragile than yours.”

Valkyrie mimicked Natasha’s pose, sorting her thoughts. “The last woman—” She paused there, reluctant to say loved, knowing she didn’t love Natasha, not yet anyway and maybe not ever, but not knowing how else to phrase it. She decided just to leave it as that. “She was a Valkyrie too. Younger than I was. And I’ve still outlived her by centuries. So I’m not convinced that any of that really matters in the end.”

“Fair enough,” Natasha said. She scooted closer, so that their legs were entwined. “Then yeah. You can call me yours.”