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.”
Valkyrie returned to New Asgard, wearing Natasha’s shirt and feeling stupid with sex, to find Loki waiting for her.
Or at least he seemed to be, with how quickly he came charging across the land as soon as she lowered the quinjet to the ground a far distance from the buildings. By the time she’d gathered her things and climbed out, he was standing right outside with his arms crossed, his face stormy.
“Yes?” she asked cheerfully, jumping down. “Did you need something?”
His expression seemed to darken further. “You’ve been gone for more than forty-six hours.”
“Aw. Have you been counting? I’m flattered. I didn’t know you cared so much about where I was.”
She sauntered past him, and he turned to follow, apparently intent on being the ominous cloud on her sunny day.
“I care,” he said, “when you’re wandering off for days at a time for no reason beyond wanting to play with a pack of mortals. Your duty—”
She stopped dead, spun around, and jabbed him in the chest with her forefinger. “Don’t you dare talk to me about duty. I would have laid down my life for Asgard twice over. I swore allegiance to my king, and I followed him across the galaxy through fire and bloodshed. I built that hovel you call a home while you stood to the side and whinged like a spoiled prince.”
The last was a bit of an exaggeration. She’d built nothing singlehandedly, and he’d been monitoring children, not standing idly. But he had been complaining, endlessly, about everything from the sunlight to the capabilities of Thor’s new eye.
He appeared stunned now, leaning just out of reach of her finger, and said nothing, which suited Valkyrie just fine. She turned and continued walking, hearing his footsteps still following behind her.
“And those mortals,” she said, “have influence and resources, which we sorely need. Did you know Thor is actually refusing their help now?”
“I…did not.” He didn’t even bother to mask his surprise, which spoke to how strongly he must have felt it. “And it seems out of character, I grant you, but perhaps he has his reasons. I suppose I can’t fault him for not wanting to be beholden to a megalomaniac.”
“Oh? But he manages you so well. What would another hurt?”
The unmistakable sourness to Loki’s silence made Valkyrie smirk. She glanced over her shoulder to find him glaring at his own feet.
“Presumably it was worth it, then? Your…dalliance,” he said, with an edge so bitter that she couldn’t help but wonder at it.
Because he had an ugly history with the Avengers? Because his brother regarded them so highly? Because… Ah.
She slowed to a stop again and faced him. “You think I’m doing what Thor did. Leaving you and everyone else behind to play with the humans.”
He was shaking his head, his mouth turned down. “That is not—”
“Really? Because the way I figure, it’s either that, or you’re just trying to start an argument with me for kicks. And if that’s the case…” She smiled, trying to put as much of her genuine happiness into it as she could. Since he immediately stepped back, looking wary, she must’ve been more out of practice than she realized, but that only amused her further. “I should warn you that nothing can ruin my mood today, after the last forty-six hours I’ve had. Well, not forty-six continuously, of course. Even I can’t manage that.”
His reaction was better than she’d hoped, odd though it was. His eyes practically bugged out, and his cheeks went pink. “I…”
“Have you ever even had sex?” she said gleefully. “Because with the way you’ve been acting about this whole thing, I’m starting to wonder—”
“Shut up,” he hissed, flushing even harder now.
He marched past her, avoiding her eyes. She was still chuckling as she trailed after him.
Thor was mysteriously absent that day, and the next, so when her work was done, Valkyrie sought him out.
She found him near the cliffside, sitting on a large rock and gazing out at the sea. She didn’t doubt he noticed her approach, although he did not speak until she had lowered herself next to him.
“I wondered if you would return,” he said. “You fit in well on this realm, better than even I anticipated. If you’ve any interest, I am certain the Avengers would welcome you on their team. Perhaps you could even replace me!”
Even if the words themselves hadn’t made her frown, the smile he ended them with—as though he wanted to be happy but couldn’t remember how—surely would have. Did he agree with Loki, that she was neglecting her duty?
“I’m not abandoning New Asgard,” she insisted. “I shouldn’t have been gone so long.”
Thor shook his head, and this time his grin at least seemed more heartfelt. “No, no, that was not meant as a rebuke. It gladdens me to know that you feel at home with them.”
At home might’ve been pushing it a bit, but she didn’t correct him. “Be that as it may, I still didn’t intend to stay as long as I did. And if I’m honest, I know I can’t keep traveling back and forth every few days. It’s not a short distance.”
“Perhaps every few weeks, then. Or months. Truly, Valkyrie, you needn’t tie yourself to New Asgard indefinitely. Your assistance here may be invaluable, but anyone can see that it weighs on you.”
“Interesting that you should say so, Your Majesty,” Valkyrie said. “Perhaps you should spend more time in New York.”
Thor’s expression, as he glanced at her and then back to the sea, was rueful. “I take your meaning. The title of king, such that it is, rests heavy on me.”
“Well, your reign has been a nightmare so far.” She realized too late how that sounded, and blanched. “Not of your doing, of course.”
He snorted. “Aye, but perhaps…” He gave a heavy sigh, then gestured toward New Asgard behind them. “You have seen and spoken with them as have I. Many of them are frightened of this realm and its people. I worry I have erred in settling Asgard here.”
“What would you have done instead?”
“Sought a place with no inhabitants, I suppose. No preexisting divisions of land or laws. We could have made our home and built everything as it had been.”
“You could have,” Valkyrie agreed. “Although I think the benefits of Earth outweigh the disadvantages in the end. You have influence here, and friends, people who can help.”
“Ah. You have been speaking with Stark.”
“Not entirely by my own choice, but yes.”
“He is a good man. Generous in his wealth. And you know I have accepted help, both his and others’. A great deal of it, in fact. But as king, I cannot in sound conscience continue accepting that which I cannot hope to return in kind.” He met her gaze, and whatever thoughts showed there made him grimace. “My reasoning is flawed. I know. I can hear it when I speak. But I… I was raised to be king, yes, but not like this. Nothing I was taught means a damn thing here.”
Valkyrie looked back to New Asgard. Newly lit torches were flickering as the shadows of people wandered outside, making the most of the natural light that remained in the sky. “Well, I was not raised to be king, but I’ve seen kings and many other types of rule. And it seems to me that closing us off here, insisting we rebuild on our own, is not doing your people any favors. They’ve suffered greatly, Thor. If anything could be done to give them an easier time of it now, don’t you think they’ve earned it?”
Thor was silent, the deep furrow in his brow indicating deep thought. Finally, he said, “I appreciate your counsel, Valkyrie, more than you know. I will think on it.”
“Do that,” she said, and stood from the rock with a grunt.
She remained a week and a half in New Asgard, arguing the merits of turning their attention to schooling and recreation, and then she went back to New York and straight to Natasha, hoping she was easily found.
She was, in the same apartment she had shown Valkyrie before. Natasha threw open the front door even before Valkyrie could knock, and hauled her inside.
“I got you a phone,” Natasha said, wasting no time getting her hands on Valkyrie, pushing Valkyrie back against the door and fondling her through her clothes, reacquainting herself with all of Valkyrie’s favorite spots. “Which I should have done before you left, but I’m blaming you for making me stupid.”
Valkyrie grinned, trying to touch Natasha in return, but Natasha kept growling and knocking her hands away. It was truly terrible: Natasha wore a pair of black trousers that molded themselves to her hips and thighs, and a red button-up shirt that so easily could have been undone and slipped over her shoulders.
Natasha kissed her hard enough that Valkyrie’s head banged against the door, and she barely reacted when Valkyrie got bitey, letting Natasha know how little she appreciated the one-sidedness.
“Let me play,” Natasha said, the words garbled by Valkyrie’s teeth in her pretty bottom lip. “You can have your turn later.”
Valkyrie subsided, although only slightly, and Natasha ate her out right there, grinding Valkyrie’s bare back against the white-painted wood and winding Valkyrie’s legs over her shoulders. Showing Valkyrie how strong and capable she was, how easily she could hold Valkyrie’s weight and flick her tongue over Valkyrie’s clit as fast and ruthless as she needed it.
Valkyrie yanked Natasha’s hair, and seized and clawed at the back of her shirt, and when she came, she heard fabric tear and felt the rumble of Natasha’s laughter in her cunt.
Afterwards, Natasha led her to the bedroom—which was bare, Valkyrie saw now: clean in a way that seemed more impersonal than neat. Natasha opened a door across from the bed—a closet, only half-full of hanging clothes, most of which were darkly colored—and dragged out a large box from the corner.
“I meant to show you these, too,” Natasha said, stepping back and finally removing her ripped shirt and everything else as Valkyrie lowered herself to her haunches and flipped the box open. “To see if you had any interest in anything in there.”
It was sex toys and paraphernalia. Valkyrie identified most of them in only an abstract sense: anything long and cylindrical was probably meant to be inserted, anything short or nubbly meant to massage.
She recognized restraints just fine, though, as well as a harness and a phallus that fit perfectly into it. The cock was an angry red, smooth, and thick. She grabbed it and the harness and carried them to the bed, where Natasha was waiting.
“Did you have strap-ons in Sakaar?” Natasha asked.
Valkyrie was surprised she remembered the name; she’d mentioned it only once before. But then again, maybe Natasha had heard it from Thor or Bruce. Still, she felt warm, pleased with Natasha’s attention.
“We had a lot of things on Sakaar,” she answered. “Debauchery was sort of the planet’s specialty.”
Natasha said nothing, but then again she didn’t need to. Her spread thighs communicated well enough on their own. She had less pubic hair than before, almost none at all, so there was nothing to block Valkyrie’s view of her cunt, her clit, and how very, very wet she was.
Valkyrie fastened the harness around her hips, secured the cock in place, and crawled on top of Natasha, who promptly lay flat beneath her, her legs bent on either side of Valkyrie’s. Valkyrie could smell her, her slickness, or maybe she could only smell the remnants of the last time they’d fucked in here.
Either way, the scent was heady, as was Natasha’s seductive, heavy-lidded stare. The tilt of her head, baring her neck just slightly, said needy and submissive, but Valkyrie knew it was a ploy. She was counting on it.
With one hand on the cock, Valkyrie teased its tip up and down Natasha’s slit, getting it slippery, and then positioned it right at Natasha’s hole. She pressed in just barely, enough that Natasha sighed with pleasure and anticipation.
“Hm. We might have to pause for more foreplay,” Valkyrie said. “I don’t think you’re anywhere near ready.”
Natasha’s smile was toothy and devious. “You can try.” She wrapped her legs around Valkyrie’s waist and drew their bodies together, forcing the head of the cock into her cunt with a wet pop. “But,” she added, more deeply, lust thick in her voice, “when it comes to sex, I’m not very patient.”
Valkyrie fucked her like that to start, digging her fingers into Natasha’s hips, leaving red marks, but all too soon Natasha was shoving at her, demanding that they move, shifting and positioning Valkyrie like a doll.
Valkyrie fucked her from behind, again gripping her hips, darkening the red to purple, and Valkyrie fucked her on her side, sinking her teeth into Natasha’s nape and shoulders. Each time lasted only a few minutes before Natasha was squirming and bucking her off and wanting something new.
They ended with Valkyrie on her back and Natasha astride her, riding the cock with abandon, pinning Valkyrie’s wrists to the mattress above her head. Valkyrie could have fought and broken free, and considered it, but Natasha was too beautiful like that. Her face was flushed and sweaty, her tits bouncing.
“You like that, don’t you?” Valkyrie said. “Total control. All I have to do is lie here and let you use me. Are you going to come on my cock? Are you going to show me how good it feels?”
Natasha moved faster. “You can’t imagine,” she said through gritted teeth, “just how good.” And then, as her rhythm stuttered: “Fuck, fuck, oh god, fuck.”
After, Valkyrie left her panting and recovering on the bed, and returned to the box and the closet, still curious about the contents of both. She picked through the toys once more, then peeked into the corner where the box had been stored. There, she found two floggers, a crop, and a whip hanging from the wall. She took one of the floggers, ran her fingers through the leather tails, and showed it to Natasha, raising an eyebrow.
“This is your thing, hm?”
Natasha rolled onto her side and propped herself up on one elbow. “Sometimes,” she said evenly. “I’m guessing it’s not something you’d be interested in.”
Valkyrie hesitated, wondering if this would be the deal-breaker that spoiled their relationship before it had even really started. But, if that was their fate, she wasn’t going to lie in some stupid attempt to prevent it. “From the receiving end? No.”
Natasha was unfazed. Valkyrie listened for even a hint of disappointment in her answering “Okay,” and heard nothing but matter-of-fact acceptance. Natasha sat up fully and swung her legs around.
“You know what else we should do?” she said, standing. “I should introduce you to the Hitachi.”
Natasha had a meeting with Steve, Vision, and Wanda, and although Valkyrie wouldn’t have minded sitting in—learning more about what Earth’s heroes were focusing on now that Thanos had been defeated—it wasn’t her place.
She accompanied her to the New Avengers Facility, though, and they parted ways inside. Valkyrie meant to find one of the place’s many empty rooms to play with her new phone, but Tony found her almost immediately.
“I’m hurt,” he told her. “Gutted, actually. Here I am, opening my home to you, thinking we’ve bonded, and I have to find out from Cap that you’ve hooked up with our little Natasha.”
She stared. “What happened to there being no gossip on this team?”
He took a dramatic step back, laying a hand on his chest like she’d wounded him. “How dare you slander us. I’ll have you know gossip is an integral part of teamwork. I won’t stand for anything less.”
“Well,” she said, slowly, “now you know.”
“Indeed I do. And because I’m a such a gentleman, I won’t ask for details…although I would be ecstatic if you felt inclined to share.” He made as though to walk away, but then turned back. “Oh, the main thing. Have you seen our labs? ‘Cause our labs are looking a little big and green today. If you’re into that kind of thing.”
Valkyrie doubted they’d let the Hulk run free in the labs, but she was intrigued enough that she followed Tony up the elevator, stood silently as he tweaked the security protocols to allow her access, and let herself in.
It wasn’t the Hulk, but it was Bruce, looking sad and lonely by himself in a room full of equipment.
“Oh,” he said when he saw her. He jerked up from his seat so fast that he banged his knee on the metal table, rattling the computer on top of it. “Hey. I didn’t know you were…here today. Uh.”
Gossip really did get around this place. “You know,” Valkyrie said.
“Know? I know…well, a lot of things, actually, but in this case you’re going to have to—”
“That I’m sleeping with your ex.”
He gaped for a moment, tried to remove his glasses, and nearly poked himself in the eye. “Wow, that’s—that’s blunt.”
She shrugged. “There’s no point beating around the bush. I would’ve talked to you before, but you’re hard to find these days.”
“Yeah, that’s kinda on purpose. But I don’t know why you’d need to. Nat and I are done. She’s a great woman, and I wish her the best. No one needs my permission to ask her out.”
“I had no intention of asking permission,” Valkyrie said. “Or, if I’m honest, letting anything you said sway me one way or the other.”
“So…why do we need to talk about this?”
She sighed, rolling her eyes. “Because you’re my friend, Bruce. Even if you’re doing your damnedest to pretend like you don’t have any. And I care if I’m doing something that hurts you.”
He echoed her sigh, although his was heavier and gloomier. “It doesn’t hurt. Not in the way you’re talking about, anyway.” He repositioned his chair and seemed to droop into it. “It’s just… Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like the Hulk has taken everything away from me. You know?”
She didn’t know. She couldn’t; no one could know the things Bruce struggled with, not really. But she could imagine them. She walked closer and rested her hands on the table across from him.
“Sure,” she said. “But he’s given you things too, hasn’t he? Like me.”
His smile was wan, but she was still glad to see it. “You know, you’re different now,” he said. “Since you’ve been on Earth. Less…prickly. Not warm and fuzzy or anything, but maybe not so far from it either.”
She snorted. “Well, I am sober for the first time in about a thousand years, so…”
She meant to make him laugh, but he didn’t. He looked more horrified than anything, which just made her think longingly about Natasha. Natasha would have seen the grim humor and appreciated it.
So, hoping the meeting was over now or at least close to finishing, Valkyrie left Bruce to whatever he was doing, and went to find her.
“Hey,” Natasha said, shaking her awake one morning. “Train with me.”
Valkyrie hadn’t trained, as such, for ages, but she remembered it well. Getting up when the sky was still dark, letting movement and comradery rouse her mind and her blood as the sun rose and warmed her skin.
It had been like that in Wakanda, different members of the Dora Milaje training outside every morning. As she’d watched one such session, drowning in nostalgia and grief, Okoye had offered to speak to King T’Challa on her behalf, saying, “Wakanda would welcome a warrior such as you with open arms.”
But the Dora Milaje had seemed too settled, too ordered, while Valkyrie was scattered and adrift. She couldn’t imagine training with them, fighting alongside them, finding her place among them.
She had a feeling, though, that Natasha would be different—and she was.
Natasha took them to Tony’s gym, away from the sun and the wind, helped Valkyrie into the “boxing ring,” and offered no direction or guidance, not even an encouraging word. She simply stood across from Valkyrie, smirking and looking radiant in her sleeveless shirt and skintight shorts, and said, “So? Let’s spar.”
Natasha fought dirty. She relied first on feints and evasions, keeping her distance, until Valkyrie began to feel the first vestiges of tiring. Then Natasha wasted no time taking them both to the floor, using any available part of her body to knock Valkyrie off-balance, sweep her feet out from under her, pin her down.
Natasha’s attacks felt uncoordinated, haphazard, and yet there was a clear grace to them, a calculated purpose to the chaos. It was nearly impossible to predict what way she would move or what she would target next. Valkyrie was constantly on her toes, and it felt brutal and real in a way no training ever had before.
It was invigorating. It was glorious. Valkyrie couldn’t stop grinning. When she eventually embraced the underhandedness, adding teeth and nails like they were animals rather than human and Asgardian, the sparring dissolved into childlike wrestling, followed swiftly by touching and kissing.
“You’re good,” Valkyrie said, out of breath. “That was… I admit I held back a little, since you’re human and I didn’t actually want to hurt you, but you barely even gave me the chance.”
Natasha was straddling her thigh, licking the sweat from her neck. “That was the point.” She sat back. “For next time, remember you don’t have to go easy on me. I can take a lot more than you realize.”
Loki’s words echoed in Valkyrie’s mind: “She’s an assassin, you know. Trained from almost birth to be a weapon in both body and mind.” She wondered—not for the first time, but more seriously than she had before—what that meant.
Something must have shown in her expression because Natasha shook her head and removed her hands from where they’d been teasing just above Valkyrie’s waistband.
“It’s a long story. There are files online that probably explain my history in better detail than I could. I can get you copies if you want. But the short of it is, I was raised this way. Indoctrinated and trained from infancy to be one of the best spies and assassins in the world. This world, anyway.”
Valkyrie cupped her cheek and swept her hair away from her face, looking up into Natasha’s lovely green eyes. “That’s…”
“It is what it is.” Natasha turned her head and kissed Valkyrie’s palm. “Any thoughts about sex after sparring?”
“My thoughts are: yes.” Valkyrie gripped her hair and drew her back down.
Natasha stopped just before their lips met. “FRIDAY, engage privacy mode. Code 76823.”
“Privacy mode is engaged, Ms. Romanov.”
Natasha crashed their mouths together hard enough their teeth clacked, and Valkyrie moaned, arching under Natasha’s weight.
The sex was as brutal as the sparring. Teeth and nails. Grabbing instead of stroking, crushing instead of caressing. They grappled and growled. Valkyrie fucked Natasha on her hands and knees, her arm wrapped around Natasha’s waist, fingers entering Natasha’s cunt from the front. As Natasha groaned and swore, hips rocking frantically, Valkyrie bent so she could sink her teeth into Natasha’s nape and thrust her groin against Natasha’s ass.
Their orgasms weren’t quite simultaneous—it was Natasha’s muscles starting to clench as she came that drove Valkyrie to rut harder and take herself to the edge—but it was as close as they’d ever been.
I think I could love you, Valkyrie thought as they lay still afterwards, sweating and breathing together in the middle of Tony’s boxing ring.
She was still sore when she went back to New Asgard, and the soreness bred a sort of glow she half suspected everyone could see.
None of the Asgardians paid her much attention as she walked among them, and Korg only nodded in greeting when she approached.
“What are you doing?” she asked, peering at the tool in his hands.
“Leveling the land. The king said something about creating a garden area, somewhere people can relax, you know, which I thought was a nice idea. Course, he didn’t say where it would be, exactly, but this seemed as good a place as any.”
Korg looked at the grassless ground under him, and as they both watched, a pebble broke off of his chest and tumbled down.
“Oh dear,” he said. “There’s another one gone. But yeah. It’s slow-going, what with me adding to the rocks and all that. And, now that I think of it, I don’t know that a shovel’s really the best instrument for it at this stage, eh?”
“Probably not,” Valkyrie agreed. “Actually, you should probably decide how big the area needs to be and what you’re going to put there before you start leveling anything.”
Before she knew it, she was marking off a section of land herself while Korg leaned against the shovel a short distance away and provided running commentary. She’d barely gotten started when Thor’s voice boomed behind her. She jumped in surprise, whirling around, and was pulled straight into a hug.
“You did not tell me that you and Natasha have grown beyond friendship!” he said, sounding positively elated.
She contemplated jerking away but decided his hold on her was too firm for her to try without injury. “Don’t tell me you heard that from Steve too.”
“Indeed not. From Stark.” He kept his hands on her shoulders and beamed down at her like a proud parent. “I don’t blame you for not telling me, of course. I know I’ve not been as dependable a friend of late—”
“Well,” Valkyrie mumbled awkwardly, “and it’s still sort of new, so…”
“Regardless, I wanted to tell you how happy I am. She is an excellent woman, and I imagine you suit each other well.”
He patted her shoulders twice and then let go. “And I realize I’ve interrupted you, so we shall speak later. Hello, Korg, good to see you!”
“Oh, yeah,” Korg said. “And if I might say, you’re looking well, Your Majesty.”
With one more face-splitting smile at them both, Thor left. Valkyrie glanced down, judging size and distance. It was still too small, she thought, unless Thor envisioned a garden only three could stand comfortably in. She would need more rope.
“He’s sleeping better, I think,” said Korg. “He looked a right fright for a while there. So, Natasha, eh? She sounds like a pleasant sort of person. Course, I only have her name to go off of.”
Valkyrie wanted to laugh. Talking about her sex life with Korg: not a conversation she’d ever anticipated. “I like her.”
“Uh. No. On the short side, I’d say. Thin but strong. A bit like me, I suppose.”
“Long, dark hair?”
She blinked. Would this question-and-answer session go on until she’d given him a complete description? “No. It’s red and shorter. About”—she gestured at the middle of her neck—“this length. She wears it wavy sometimes and straight others.”
“Ah, red. That’s a lovely color. The color of passion, or so they say. Although it’s also the color of rage. Danger. Sometimes blood too, but that depends on—”
“Are you truly telling Korg about your new paramour?”
Valkyrie turned to find Loki stalking toward them. Of course he was. Really, she should have been surprised he hadn’t been waiting for her as soon as the jet had touched down, eager to berate her for being gone longer this time.
“He asked,” she said grumpily.
“Well,” Korg said, “it’s not like I have a lady of my own. Course I’m not so interested in love myself, which my mum was never very happy about, but it’s still nice when others find it.”
“Did Valkyrie also tell you that the lady in question is an assassin?” Loki said, smiling at Valkyrie so coldly she might’ve shivered from it. “She’s killed hundreds. Children, even.”
“Yes, she has,” Valkyrie snapped, because she did know that. It was in the files Natasha had sent her, the long and sordid history of the Black Widow. “And I was a bounty hunter for the Grandmaster. Do you know how many children I brought him to be enslaved or sent to fight?”
He didn’t know. His expression said as much: like he’d realized too late that he had stepped into a fight he wasn’t trained for.
“And for that matter,” she continued, with a smile even icier than his, “how many children died when you led the attack on Earth? Let’s see, shall we?” She retrieved her new phone from her pocket. “The humans made a list of every single person you killed, did you know that?”
Loki stumbled backward, looking shaken.
“It’s a fair point, you know,” Korg said. “Perhaps a bit harsh, but that’s life, eh?”
“Well,” Loki said, snarling even as his eyes were haunted, “clearly the two of you are well suited, aren’t you?”
Loki turned on his heels and fled back toward the houses, skirted past a group of giggling children, and eventually ducked out of sight.
After a brief silence, Korg said, “For what it’s worth, I won’t judge her for it.”
“Do you know what’s wrong with him?” Valkyrie asked. “He’s been hostile and odd for weeks now.”
“Oh, yeah. Miek and I talked about it once or twice, had a friendly debate and everything. Miek reckons he feels left out. You and he were the angry ones, if you’ll excuse my bluntness. And now that you’re in a better place, making friends, falling in love, it’s just…him. There’s no one he can relate to anymore, you know?”
Valkyrie squinted at the sky, considering the plausibility of that. “But you don’t think that’s it.”
“Nah, man. It looks like your basic jealousy from where I’m standing. Although, Loki being such a complex person and all, it’s more likely a combination of several factors, but we decided to simplify for the sake of our debate.”
“Jealousy,” she echoed, incredulous. “Of what? Of me? Of her? Of…the fact that I’m getting away from New Asgard?”
“Don’t know. They all sound like good options, don’t they? This was just a friendly debate, remember, not something I’d go staking my life on. Hey, you won’t…tell him, will you? What with him being a mite testy lately, I don’t think it’d go over so well, yeah?”
“I won’t say anything,” she assured him, although her brain was running at full tilt now.
Loki’s fixation on Valkyrie and Natasha—no, not just them, but Natasha herself. Trying to warn Valkyrie away from her, getting frustrated when Valkyrie made a move anyway. She thought there might be something to that.
It stayed with her the rest of the day, on and off throughout the night, and then into the next morning.
She’d known, in a distant and theoretical sort of way, that Loki and Natasha knew each other. Had probably interacted at least once in battle if not some other time as well. Loki had attacked Earth, and Natasha had been one of the humans who’d worked to stop him.
And Norns knew, now that Valkyrie had seen—and felt—Natasha fight, she understood how someone could become infatuated because of it. Not to mention Loki wasn’t exactly well-adjusted or rational in the way that he treated people and expected to be treated.
Valkyrie dearly wanted to use her new phone to contact Natasha and broach the subject, ask what sort of dealings she’d had with Loki and what sort of impression she’d gotten from him then. But she also recognized it was probably a conversation better had in person, if only so Natasha didn’t misunderstand and think Valkyrie was the one who was jealous.
Besides, she thought, it’s not that important. It was intriguing, yes, maybe a little amusing, but that was it. It could wait until she was back in New York again.
She decided to avoid Loki for the foreseeable future, and put the whole issue out of her mind for now.
At the New Avengers Facility, waiting for Natasha to come pick her up for lunch, Valkyrie wandered until she finally found the same heavenly-smelling coffee room she’d been in before. This time Wanda was seated at the table, and Steve, leaning back against the counter with his arms crossed, waved Valkyrie inside with them.
“I don’t know what you said to Thor,” Steve told her, “but whatever it was, it worked.”
Valkyrie stared. Most of the conversations she’d had with Thor in the last week had revolved around Natasha—in particular, grand and probably exaggerated tales of her cleverness and her feats during battle. Valkyrie hoped that wasn’t what Steve was referring to. “What?”
“There are meetings every day, or near enough to it, about what aid and resources Stark Industries can offer New Asgard.”
Valkyrie was impressed. With Thor but also with herself since, as Steve said, she had been the one to encourage Thor. Then she remembered Tony’s comments. “I thought there was a lot of…‘red tape’?”
“The sad truth about Earth,” Steve said, shaking his head, “is red tape tends to go away real quick when you throw enough money at it.”
Valkyrie snorted. “That’s not just Earth.”
“Is that what all the designs and sketches Tony’s been working on are?” Wanda asked.
Steve nodded. “He’s been going all out. I don’t think Thor’s going to go for a lot of it since it’s more…flashy, than practical, shall we say.”
“I thought it was a theme park,” Wanda said. “It looked like Disneyland, with the castle.”
“I think he’s envisioning some kind of tourist destination, building New Asgard’s revenue that way. Like I said, I don’t know how Thor feels about any of it.”
Not knowing what Disneyland or a theme park were, Valkyrie had little to say to that, although she would certainly be talking to Thor when she returned to New Asgard.
“I’m sorry, by the way,” Steve said. He rubbed the back of his head and gave Valkyrie a little grimace of embarrassment. “What I said before, about you and Nat…”
When Valkyrie didn’t immediately respond, Wanda asked, “What did you say?”
Valkyrie shrugged, determined suddenly to enjoy herself. These were Natasha’s teammates, her friends. She could make an effort. “Something about how a woman can’t possibly be attracted to another woman.”
“That is a huge oversimplification,” Steve protested, looking even more mortified.
“Eh. Close enough.”
But Valkyrie smiled to let him know she was teasing, and after a moment he smiled back.
The instant she saw Natasha, she thought of Loki. It surprised her. She hadn’t actively thought about Loki in days. Hadn’t forgotten the whole thing either, exactly, but she had set it to the back of her brain and been prepared to let it stay there.
Then Natasha walked through the doors of the Avengers facility, her hair windswept, the sun hitting it just right that the golden highlights among the red shone—and somehow Valkyrie was reminded of Loki.
She tried to focus on other things. The sunglasses Natasha wore, how her blue trousers (“jeans”) molded to her powerful thighs, the dip in her black shirt that showed just a hint of cleavage, her tan leather jacket that would wrinkle and groan so nicely in Valkyrie’s grip.
But now Loki was there, hovering in the corners of the scene like some sort of vengeful ghost. Fragments of thoughts flickered through her mind, like that Natasha would look stunning above him, pinning him effortlessly despite their difference in stature, or that they could not-quite-smile at each other, sharing in the same grim joke. It bothered Valkyrie.
No. It infuriated her. He’d gotten in her head again, spoiled something he shouldn’t have been able to touch.
He didn’t spoil it, she told herself. He doesn’t even know. No one does.
“You’re thinking really hard about something,” Natasha said. Her sunglasses were nearly opaque, but Valkyrie could still feel her eyes on her as they climbed into the car.
Valkyrie hesitated. She’d wanted to ask. She still did. But maybe not now. Later. “I do. It’s…complicated.”
“Okay,” Natasha said. “We can shelve it.”
Her nonchalance, how easily she turned the conversation to Tony and the other Avengers, content to give Valkyrie whatever space she needed, made Valkyrie ache a bit. She didn’t know why. She wanted to curl her body against Natasha’s, damn the car, and breathe the scent of her skin.
They went to a sandwich shop, which Valkyrie was neither impressed nor unimpressed by.
“It’s cheap,” Natasha said, as they sat down. “And light. I trained with Sam this morning, and he can be ruthless when he wants to be.”
“Training with other people now, hm?”
Natasha’s lip twitched, and when she lifted her sunglasses and perched them on her head, her eyes were warm. “Terrible, isn’t it? I don’t know how I live with myself.”
They ate. Their shoes pressed against each other’s under the table, the only real contact they’d had so far. Valkyrie ended up rambling about New Asgard, the garden area she’d leveled with Korg, which turned into her explaining Kronans and a little more about Sakaar.
“I’ve thought about visiting New Asgard,” Natasha said.
“Really? It’s a mess so far. Everyone lives in dark box-houses, the food is bland and watery, and there are children underfoot everywhere.”
“It’s your home,” Natasha said. “And believe me, I’ve seen and stayed in worse.”
Valkyrie mused on that, imagining Natasha standing among the controlled chaos. Thor would be delighted. Korg might be too, for all she knew. Loki—
Loki. She stopped herself from groaning and banging her head on the table. Back to that again. Valkyrie could watch them interact, trying to judge what Loki did or didn’t think of Natasha based on his behavior.
“Maybe,” she hedged. Then she thought, Fuck it. This was just going to get weirder if she let it fester. But how to broach it? “You know that there’s a—” She paused, weighing her words. “—former threat there, right?”
Natasha’s eyebrows flew up, but her expression quickly settled into one of quiet amusement. “I do, yeah. Thor argued very, very passionately in his favor, so… He’s still considered a possible threat, and he’s being monitored, but we voted to leave him be for now.”
“Monitored how?” Valkyrie asked before she could think better of it.
Natasha paused, looking uncomfortable, before she said, almost reluctantly, “I can’t tell you that.”
No, of course she couldn’t. Valkyrie hummed to say she understood, but when she opened her mouth to respond, Natasha interrupted.
“Let’s pause this until we get back to the car. Okay?”
Right. Because talking about the man who’d destroyed New York was not the best conversation to have in public, even if the shop wasn’t busy and the background music would mask most of what they might say.
They finished their food and walked leisurely back to Natasha’s car, Valkyrie pulling back her hair and Natasha replacing her sunglasses. When they were in their seats, the engine started, Natasha said, “What does Loki have to do with anything?”
What, indeed. Valkyrie chewed her lip, looking out the window as the car slid into motion. “Well, like I said, he’s there. I don’t know how you’d feel about running into him.”
Natasha seemed to consider that for a moment, saying nothing as she adjusted her grip on the wheel. Eventually, she replied, “I’m not sure I’d care, actually. You can’t hold grudges in this line of work. Things change too rapidly; lines are constantly being redrawn. I might watch him with some suspicion, be on my guard, but I’m not going to attack him the moment I see him.”
There was a tension in her voice, barely there but enough to stand out like a beacon. Valkyrie had offended her. She closed her eyes and berated herself. She was usually so good at being blunt, so why was she failing now?
“That’s not what I meant. I…” She would just be out with it. No circling around and acting stupid. “I asked because I had another question that’s a lot more awkward. Did you and Loki…?”
But that was all Valkyrie could manage. Too late, she realized that even in her own thoughts she hadn’t put words to what she wanted to know. Did Loki seem interested in you? seemed juvenile. Did Loki make any sort of sexual advancement? seemed crass.
She was saved any further mental rephrasing when Natasha snorted once, went quiet, and then barked out a laugh as though she couldn’t hold it in any longer. Valkyrie knew she wasn’t really laughing at her, but she was disgruntled about it anyway.
“No,” Natasha said, still chuckling minutes later. “God, no.”
By mutual, silent agreement, they said nothing else until they were in Natasha’s apartment. There, Natasha tossed her keys onto a side table, took off her sunglasses and jacket, which she placed on the table too, and then turned to Valkyrie.
“Okay,” she said, “so I assume something happened to put that thought in your head.”
Valkyrie sighed and gestured expansively. “Ugh. He happened. He’s been hostile—more than usual, I mean—toward me since I realized I wanted you, and just generally bizarre about you, really.”
Valkyrie paced as she explained about Loki trying, increasingly aggressively, to warn her off Natasha and scolding her for visiting New York, then about what Korg has speculated and how it seemed to make a kind of sense to her. She finished with “I knew you’d probably had some sort of interaction with him, but I wondered if it was…you know, significant. To him, at least.”
Natasha’s arms were folded now, and she seemed puzzled but shook her head slowly. “We had one conversation. If you could even call it that. He tried to manipulate me, and I played along until I got the information out of him that I wanted. That’s it.”
“With him specifically?” Natasha shook her head again, this time more decisively. “Not at all. The Hulk took him down pretty singlehandedly, and I wasn’t there for it. And anyway, this was years ago. I doubt he cares about me at all. I’d say, if he’s jealous of anything, it’s more than likely me.”
Valkyrie stopped in her tracks. “You? You mean… No. Not possible. He tried to kill me.”
“Well, no. Only at first. But…”
“I think it’s a lot more likely than him harboring some sort of attraction to me,” Natasha said, unfolding her arms.
Valkyrie couldn’t even wrap her head around it. It seemed…impossible. Impossible and stupid. “Norns, I hope not. That’s not nearly as interesting.”
Natasha cocked her head. There was a sternness to her expression that Valkyrie found inexplicably attractive. “Interesting, huh?”
Valkyrie looked away. “I can’t explain it. Something about you and him is just…interesting. Not that I’m suggesting you drop me or anything, mind.”
Natasha stepped closer, bringing her hands to Valkyrie’s biceps. Her skin was warm and soft, as always, her fingers strong as they curled slightly and squeezed. “Oh, I’ve no intention of that. As far as Loki and his ‘bizarre’ behavior…let me think about it.”
Think about what? Valkyrie wondered but didn’t ask.
“Now,” said Natasha, her lips curving into a half smile, “I busted my butt this week to finish a recon mission in two days so I could do nothing but lie around in bed with you. If you’ve no objections…”
“None,” Valkyrie said quickly. “Not a one. Lead on.”
The bedroom felt sleepy as the evening fell. The sun had been bright enough that they’d left the overhead lights off, but now it was getting low in the sky, the light filtering through the window getting fainter.
It made Valkyrie feel vulnerable, but not unpleasantly so. She lay under the bedsheets with Natasha, being nuzzled on her shoulder and her neck. Natasha’s hair, gone fluffy in its dishevelment, tickled her cheek, making her giggle.
They kissed, Natasha winding her arms around Valkyrie’s back, Valkyrie cupping Natasha’s jaw. Natasha nipped her lips not-so-gently, and Valkyrie gave back just as roughly. She shifted and manhandled until Natasha was straddling her thigh, smearing her wetness on Valkyrie’s skin.
Valkyrie had fucked her long and slow with four fingers, clinging stubbornly to the seat of control until Natasha had shivered and gasped, “I will kill you if you don’t let me take over, I swear.”
So wet. Valkyrie could hear it, that soft slick sound, as Natasha rolled her hips, dragging her vulva back and forth on Valkyrie’s leg.
“Can you come like this?” Valkyrie asked. “Rubbing?”
“Oh yeah.” There was a rasp in Natasha’s voice, faint but sexy. “I’m not trying to, though.”
“Mm. Maybe you should.”
Valkyrie gripped Natasha’s ass, meaning to encourage her, but Natasha stopped her with a hand on her wrist. She lifted, guided Valkyrie’s fingers to her mouth, and made the forefinger and middle one warm and slippery. Then she directed the slick fingers to Valkyrie’s groin, and Valkyrie took over, slipping between her labia and flicking her still-sensitive clit.
Natasha was smiling, glancing down their bodies and then into Valkyrie’s face. “There. Only if you join me, just like that.”
So Valkyrie touched herself while Natasha frotted against her thigh. They panted into each other’s mouths until Natasha ducked her head with a groan, grabbed a fistful of sheets, and thrust so hard that Valkyrie’s leg muscles and bones started to protest. She bore it, though, whimpering and relishing Natasha’s strength, and her own orgasm followed soon after.
It was the sweetest, laziest sex she could remember having, and they didn’t move when it was finished, Natasha’s cunt still making a mess of Valkyrie’s thigh and Valkyrie’s fingers still against her own clit, not flicking anymore, just feeling.
“Glad I could join you,” Valkyrie said. Stupid and pointless, really, but it was the first thing that came to mind.
Natasha let go of the bedsheets to touch Valkyrie’s arm instead. Idle exploring, Valkyrie thought at first, maybe just Natasha wanting to feel her muscles, as Valkyrie often enjoyed doing to her. Then she noticed that Natasha’s head was tipped down, that she was gazing where the covers had slipped, where her fingers were on Valkyrie’s forearm tracing—
“It marks me as a Valkyrie.” She was impressed by how casual she sounded, as though saying the words didn’t conjure the worst memory of her life.
“Yeah,” Natasha murmured. “I figured. I’ve been trying not to pay much attention to it, but… I have a thing about marks, scars, and all that. It’s hard to stay away.” Her hand stopped. “Sorry if I’m making you uncomfortable.”
And she wasn’t. Valkyrie already felt open, exposed, in the low light of Natasha’s bedroom, as close to Natasha as two people could get. It seemed almost a natural progression. Valkyrie had already bared her body and her desires, so why not bare other, darker things as well?
“I’d wanted to be a Valkyrie since childhood. My mother hoped I would change my mind, or at least not be good enough to succeed, but I didn’t and I was.”
Natasha’s fingers began to stroke again, but this time higher, in the inside of Valkyrie’s elbow right above the seal. “What was it like?”
Valkyrie shook her head. “I’m not sure I can describe it. I felt like I…belonged, I suppose, but I know that sounds trite. You know when books are on a shelf, and they fit perfectly? It was like that. Every one of us was important, every one of us necessary to keep the shelf in order. Without even one, we would cave and collapse, and we knew it.”
“Books on a shelf are tight,” Natasha said, sounding thoughtful. “They don’t budge easily.”
“We were close,” Valkyrie agreed. “Beyond teammates and friends. I called them my sisters because that was the only way we knew to convey what we were.”
She could hear that her tone was faraway, and it felt like she was hovering a great distance away from her memories of the Valkyries and her past. The easier to look at them, to explain them, to not lose herself in them.
Natasha didn’t touch her differently, didn’t try to pull her close or console her. Valkyrie liked that. She much preferred it to the alternative.
“When they were gone,” she continued, “and only I was left, it seemed only appropriate that I became Valkyrie. I took their memories, their deaths, I took all of it into myself. Which, I realize now, sounds morbid, and maybe I should regret it, but…”
“But you don’t,” Natasha said quietly when she didn’t finish, “because now it’s who you are.”
Valkyrie smiled, but it felt wavery. “Yeah. It is.”
The sun was gone now, the room dark. Valkyrie could see the faint shine of Natasha’s hair and her eyes, but little else.
“You mentioned a woman,” Natasha said, “before.”
Yes, Valkyrie had. And she expected it to hurt, to feel like daggers being dragged along the length of her trachea, but instead it was shockingly easy to say, “Sigrun.”
“That was her name?”
Valkyrie made a quiet sound of agreement. “And honestly, everything I could tell you, you could probably guess. I idolized her. She became a Valkyrie before me, even though she was younger. The youngest to ever join the Valkyries, actually. She felt only fondly for me at first, like a sibling. When I began to think of myself as her equal, she started to see me differently as well. Romance was…not strictly permitted among the Valkyries, but nor was it outright forbidden. And we probably wouldn’t have cared if it was.”
And there it was. The catch in her voice, the burn of tears behind her eyes. Valkyrie cleared her throat and forced out her final, most important sentence.
“She was not my first love, but she was my deepest—and my last.”
Except for you, maybe, someday, she didn’t say, because even she wasn’t sure of that, and Natasha might be even less so.
She also didn’t say that Sigrun had died to save her, that it was that fact more than anything that haunted her, because if she did say it, it wouldn’t just be a catch and a burn; it would be agony.
Instead, she asked, “Have you ever been in love?” knowing but not caring that it was an obvious diversion, trusting that Natasha wouldn’t call her on it.
Although she was, frankly, shocked when Natasha said, “No, I haven’t.”
Natasha drew back so that she was no longer straddling Valkyrie’s thigh, and after some shuffling and squirming, she settled again on her side, one leg draped over Valkyrie’s.
“I’m not actually sure I’m capable of love,” Natasha continued. “Not the love like you’re talking about, anyway. I love Clint, his wife, and his kids. I love all the Avengers, actually, to varying degrees. But it’s not romantic. Every time I start to think it might be progressing that way, it sours, like with Bruce.”
Valkyrie considered that, trying not to make it personal, not to read anything into it about her or them. Whatever Valkyrie may or may not feel, Natasha had never promised her anything, and Valkyrie hadn’t wanted her to.
Then Natasha said, “What does it feel like?”
Valkyrie had to stop her breath from rushing out in a whoosh. That was a heavy question, in some ways even heavier than the others. “Honestly? Not as different from platonic love as you might think. Or at least it wasn’t for me. It was more like…a willingness to stay with them, to make it work, to keep trying, to…um.”
To lose yourself completely when they die. She mentally rolled her eyes at herself. Enough of this. They—she—had been wallowing for too long.
Natasha agreed, apparently, as she suddenly said, “Do you want food? I could throw together something for dinner.”
“Yes,” Valkyrie said. “Food sounds great.”
This time it was Valkyrie who was up first thing in the morning, shaking Natasha awake even before the sun had properly risen.
“Get up,” she said. “Train with me.”
Natasha groaned and peered at her through squinted eyes. Her hair was a mess, and there was a wrinkle across her cheek. She looked cute, enough that it made Valkyrie feel playful, so she yanked the covers back.
Natasha was still nude, neither of them having put on clothes last night. Valkyrie saw her breasts first, her soft nipples, and her twisted torso. Then Natasha rolled over, and Val saw her thigh muscles flexing, spreading, revealing what little stubble remained of her pubic hair.
Val hadn’t tasted her yet. She’d been too distracted by the fucking, constantly hearing the echo of Natasha’s voice declaring that penetration was “very good.” Now it seemed a travesty.
Natasha was just starting to stir, to sit up, when Valkyrie climbed on the bed and pushed her back down. Natasha sighed as Valkyrie pressed her fingertips into her thighs, watching the skin dimple, feeling the muscles underneath.
“Mm,” Natasha moaned. “I like waking up like this.”
“You’re going to like it even more in a second,” Valkyrie said.
She bent forward and bit Natasha’s thigh once. Not hard, but not exactly gentle either. Natasha’s leg jerked in a way that Valkyrie recognized as the precursor to a kick, but Natasha seemed to remember and stop herself before completing the motion. Oops, Valkyrie thought. Bad spot. Then she paused, a few things clicking into place in her mind, and she realized.
“You don’t actually like being bitten, do you?”
“I don’t not like it.” Natasha hesitated, staring at the ceiling. “It just…is.”
“Huh.” Valkyrie felt bad, staring at the growing red spot on Natasha’s leg.
“You like it,” said Natasha. “I don’t mind.”
Just maybe not on her thighs, Valkyrie told herself, and not so suddenly. She kissed the bite mark, soothing whatever pain still lingered with her tongue, and licked upward. She nuzzled Natasha’s labia and laid a wet kiss on the mons right above Natasha’s slit.
Natasha hooked her legs over Valkyrie’s shoulders and arched, rubbing herself against Valkyrie’s mouth.
“Remember what I said about my patience during sex?” Natasha said. There was a growl in her voice, sexy and gorgeous.
Valkyrie leaned back just enough to say, “I remember something about that, yeah, but maybe you could remind me.” And she grinned, delighted, when Natasha fisted a handful of her hair and tugged her down.
Natasha tasted salty and maybe the tiniest bit sour—probably from not washing after all the fucking they’d done last night—which, as far as Valkyrie was concerned, was as sweet as chocolate. She licked into Natasha’s cunt with relish, feeling the rim relaxing around her tongue, letting her in, while Natasha moaned, clawed at her scalp, dug her heels into Valkyrie’s back. When Valkyrie dragged her tongue up and flattened it over Natasha’s clit, Natasha bucked with a cry.
Natasha didn’t even try to hold back after that. She gripped and wrenched Valkyrie’s hair, yanking as necessary to move her where she was wanted or keep her where she was needed. She was a force of nature, beautiful and brutal and constantly in motion. She allowed Valkyrie only a minute or two of toying with her clit at a time, getting it nice and wet and swollen, before she was gritting out curses and thrusting into Valkyrie’s mouth, grinding her clit roughly against Valkyrie’s tongue.
Finally, Natasha came with an “ughnn” that seemed to shake the walls. Valkyrie gave her a minute, suckling her labia gently, licking up the sweat in the crease between Natasha’s thigh and groin. Then Valkyrie shoved backward and stood.
“Give me a sec,” Natasha said.
“Nuh-uh. We’re going to train, remember?”
Valkyrie was prepared for feints and evasions, Natasha playing more to the defensive, but was treated instead to Natasha going on the full offensive. This time it was Valkyrie trying to retreat and maintain distance while Natasha kept coming at her, trying to get her to crack.
When they broke for water, Valkyrie was breathless not just with exertion but with laughter. “You’re screwing with me,” she said. “Intentionally. That’s your entire strategy. Just to confuse me and mess with my head.”
Natasha reached for a towel. “It can help sometimes when I’m up against an opponent who’s stronger than me. They can’t hit me if they don’t know what to do with me. It doesn’t always work, but apparently it does with you.”
She wiped her face and then tipped her head back, dragging the towel down her neck, which made Valkyrie’s mouth water. Sweat and adrenaline and battle-hunger—apparently they still got to Valkyrie after all these years.
Natasha tossed the towel aside. “Now I want to ask you an awkward question. What’s Loki like with you?”
Valkyrie had known Natasha wasn’t ignoring it, that she really was thinking about it as she’d said and would circle back to it later, but Valkyrie hadn’t expected later to be so soon.
“Not that different from how he is with Thor, really. A mixture of cocky and varying shades of antagonistic. I’m not sure if he really likes any of us or if he’s just putting up with us…or even if he knows which it is.”
Natasha was peering at her carefully, seeming as much in her own head as she was listening to Valkyrie. “What happened when he tried to kill you?”
“To be fair, ‘kill’ might’ve been a bit of an exaggeration, although it’s hard to say. It was on Sakaar. I got in the way of his plans, and we fought. I won, knocked him out, and then I chained him up.” She was still smug about that and didn’t bother hiding it.
Natasha only said, “Hmm. Okay.” She set her water bottle aside and climbed back into the ring. “Keep going?”
Again, Valkyrie thought she was prepared—expecting a heavily offensive style, lots of punching—and again Natasha surprised her, relying almost strictly on her lower body. She blocked and deflected when necessary, but most of her focus seemed to be on maneuvering Valkyrie into a position where Natasha could easily get her in a leg hold and hurl her to the mat. Then as soon as Valkyrie began to adapt, Natasha was switching it up again.
Chaos, Valkyrie thought. She’s relying on chaos, and you’re falling for it because you’re not used to it.
And of course chaos made her think of Loki, and thinking of him made Valkyrie’s mind turn to Natasha and him. Imagining how Loki would fare against Natasha in a sparring session. Imagining what Loki would think of the fierce grip of Natasha’s thighs around his neck as she threw him down.
Eventually Natasha stepped back, dropping her fighting pose. She was flushed and sweaty, her hair damp at the temples and clinging to her skin. “We’re pretty similar, I guess,” she said.
Valkyrie dropped her pose as well. “Evenly matched, you mean? Right now, maybe, but I told you I’m still holding back.”
“And I told you that you don’t need to do that. But no, I’m talking about Loki.”
Valkyrie understood immediately, and the idea was so strange that she stepped backward as though trying to get away from it. “So it’s not just one of us or the other, it’s both of us?”
“No, I still think it’s you. I’m just saying us being, well, who we are might be playing into his reaction.”
“Who we are, as in…warriors who bested him?”
Natasha grimaced. “I wouldn’t call myself a warrior, but yeah, that’s the gist of it.”
“Huh.” Valkyrie stared into the distance, turning the idea over in her mind. “He does have a certain…aura.”
Natasha’s smile was so sharp it might’ve been a weapon. “The aura of someone who’d get off on being bested?”
“You picked up on that too?”
Natasha shook her head, ducking out of the ring again. “I got it from your reactions. You asked about him and me in combat specifically.” She grabbed her water, twisted open the cap, and paused. “You really think it’d be ‘interesting’? It wouldn’t bother you?”
Valkyrie didn’t even have to think about it. “Not as long as I could watch. You?”
Natasha took a big gulp of her water and seemed to take a little too long to swallow. “I’d say the same,” she said eventually, “if it were anyone but Loki.”
Valkyrie could hardly fault that. Loki had been a violent little shit to Valkyrie, but at least he’d never gone after her home and the people she cared about.
“Have you ever thought about joining the Avengers?” Natasha asked.
At first Valkyrie didn’t even know what to say. “Well, that’s certainly a non sequitur.”
“Steve likes you,” Natasha said, “and Tony. Not to mention Bruce and Thor. And Wanda actually sought me out to tell me she thought you’d make a good team member.”
“Wanda? I’ve had—” Valkyrie thought. “—one conversation with her, not including our terrible two-second introduction.”
“I guess you made an impression.” Natasha took another sip. “I don’t know if you noticed, but it’s kind of a boys’ club. We both think it’d be nice to have more women.”
“Oh, I noticed.” Valkyrie finally left the ring herself and went for her own water. “I didn’t even think she liked me. I was kind of a bitch to her when we met.”
“You were a bitch to everyone that night,” Natasha said, so matter-of-fact that Valkyrie snorted. “You were pretty obviously angry about a few things.”
“And yet you invited me to a bar.”
Natasha tossed her sweaty, messy hair over her shoulder and winked. “What can I say? I guess I have a thing for the angry ones.”
Which just made Valkyrie think of Loki again. The angry ones, Korg had called them.
“Anyway,” Natasha said, twisting the cap back on her water bottle, “I’m not exactly being selfless. I want to be able to tell you more about what I’m doing. I think you’d have new reads on some of our missions. And it’s always good to have an extra person watching your back.”
“You’ve thought about this a lot.” Despite herself, Valkyrie felt touched that Natasha would think of her, want her around.
Natasha picked up her towel and flipped it over her shoulder. “It’s not an official offer or anything. I’m not authorized to give those. But just think about it, yeah?”
“Yeah,” Valkyrie said. “Okay.”
Natasha nodded once. “I think I’m done here for today. Want to shower together?”
As if Valkyrie would say no to that.
Just like it had taken Valkyrie entirely too long to eat Natasha’s cunt, so did it take entirely too long for Natasha to fuck Valkyrie’s.
But finally she got it. In the center of Natasha’s bed, which stank of them now in the best possible way, with Valkyrie on her knees and Natasha behind her. One arm was wrapped around Valkyrie’s waist and the other dipped past Valkyrie’s ass so that she could stuff one finger from each hand into Valkyrie’s cunt.
Something about the dual angles, the way it stretched her in a different way—not to mention how it mashed Natasha’s palm against Valkyrie’s vulva, the heel putting beautiful pressure on Valkyrie’s clit—did it for Valkyrie in a way that fucking usually didn’t. She’d still probably choose pure clit stimulation any day, if only because it was less fuss, but this was good.
The room filled with her own gasping groans and Natasha’s grunts and ragged breathing. Natasha’s low voice occasionally added to the symphony, mostly nonsense like “That’s it” and “You’re so tight” and “Oh, I felt that, squeeze around me again,” which was sexier than it had any right to be. Then, when Valkyrie pitched forward, planting her hands on the mattress so she could heave herself backward and give it to herself good and hard: “Mm. You going to come for me, Val?”
Valkyrie was, and did, and thought, Val. I like that.
Natasha draped herself over Valkyrie’s back while Valkyrie caught her breath, still shuddering with the aftershocks. Natasha’s vulva was nestled between Valkyrie’s ass cheeks, and Valkyrie thought she might rut herself to orgasm like that.
But Natasha only bit Valkyrie’s shoulder, a brief but vicious bite that made Valkyrie twitch and hiss, and she murmured, “You should toy with him a bit. See what he does.”
Valkyrie twitched again, for a different reason. “Seriously? We’re talking about Loki now?”
She felt Natasha’s shrug, the drag of her shoulders against Valkyrie’s. “Why not? You’re right. It’s interesting.”
Valkyrie didn’t know what to say to that. What the best way to respond was when she felt unsure and intrigued in equal parts. She settled on, “Yeah?”
Natasha ran her tongue over the bite mark she’d left, making it smart and ache like a brand. “Yeah.”
Valkyrie wore a Black Widow T-shirt back to New Asgard. A gift from Tony, who had looked gleefully childlike as he’d handed it over right in front of Natasha.
“Where the hell did you even find one?” Natasha had asked, wrinkling her nose. “I’m the least popular Avenger.”
“Apparently,” Tony had answered, “you have some very, very dedicated women-loving female fans.”
And of course Valkyrie couldn’t resist saying, with a leer, “Yeah, she does,” which had made Tony cackle and Natasha duck her head to hide her not-quite-smile.
The shirt was a little too big on her, and she wasn’t so keen on the design: the Black Widow’s symbol on the front and a silhouette on the back that Valkyrie reckoned was meant to be Natasha, although it didn’t really look like her.
But here Valkyrie was, wearing it as she navigated what amounted to the “streets” of New Asgard, following the rumble of Thor’s distinctive voice until she found the king sitting on the grass with a group of older children. He beamed when he saw her and stood gracefully.
“Valkyrie! You have returned. I would speak with you if you have the time. Excuse me,” he told the children, and he led Valkyrie away with a hand on her shoulder. When they were a fair distance away, he stopped and turned to her. “I trust your trip was pleasant.”
“It wasn’t bad,” she said, but that wasn’t what she wanted to talk about. “You finally talked to Tony, huh?”
Thor set his shoulders back and looked out over New Asgard, squinting in the sunlight. “Loki came to speak with me not long after you, and I realized you both were right. After years of conquering my pride, I had finally let it get the better of me again.”
She imagined Loki stalking into Thor’s home to start yet another argument, this time over something that Valkyrie had told him. It was an odd image, but it gave her some reassurance—about Loki himself, about Thor’s trust in him and how well-placed it was. “What does that mean?”
“First, it means electricity. Not today, of course, but soon. We’ve survived on fire and magic thus far, and no doubt we could survive many years that way, but…” He shook his head. “This is Earth, not the Asgard of old. I mean not just to survive, but to thrive. So we must adapt. And adapting need not mean loss, although I’m not certain Stark yet understands the balance between the two.”
“He’ll get there,” Valkyrie said. “You both will.” Maybe she didn’t feel as wholly confident as her tone implied, but… Well, she trusted Thor. Whatever he decided, she would follow—unless it was idiotic, of course, and then she would correct him. And, apparently, so would Loki.
“Do you know where your brother is?” she asked, trying to sound nonchalant, as though she didn’t particularly care and certainly not as though she intended to “toy” with him.
“I do not. But Heimdall will. He is in the common area, I believe.”
The “common area” was a large circle of grass located in almost the center of New Asgard. The people had built a bonfire there during the first few weeks on Earth, and although the fire hadn’t been lit for months, the remains of it were still there. Heimdall was standing at the edge with his sword, seeming to stare into nothing as he often did.
“You seek the prince,” he said when Valkyrie reached him.
“I do. Where is he?”
His golden gaze flickered briefly over her. “The kitchens.”
So to the kitchens Valkyrie went next, and sure enough, Loki was there, sitting on the floor with his legs crossed as he sorted through the food supplies by hand. One of many in New Asgard who flat-out refused to change traditional clothing for something more common on Earth, he was dressed in the outfit he’d favored in Sakaar, although today it was dirty, with dubious gray speckles and smears on the front.
As soon as he saw her, he leapt to his feet. “Can I help you?” he said briskly. “If you’re looking for a late breakfast, I’m afraid most of it’s been put away. However—”
“I’m looking for you, actually.” She smiled, maybe overdoing it on the cheerfulness, but she figured that if she was going to fuck with him, she might as well do it right.
He smiled back, that fakely polite one he was so fond of, and spread his arms. “Well, here I am.”
“I just got back.”
“Did you? I didn’t notice you’d been gone.”
Liar. Or—she reconsidered—maybe not. Perhaps he’d been avoiding her just as much as she’d been avoiding him. She crossed her arms, and he followed the movement with his eyes, which lingered on her T-shirt. It seemed to take him a second to identify the design, and the responding arch of his eyebrow said Really?
Valkyrie grinned. “Oh, you like it?” She twisted so he could see the back, and his eyebrow lifted even higher. “It was a gift. A joking gift, but I like it all the same.”
He didn’t seem to know what to say to that and instead knelt on his haunches and started to gather up the food supplies. They were mostly bagged and boxed things, the kind you added water to and tried to eat quickly so you didn’t think too much about the taste. Eventually, he said, not looking at her, “What do you want, Valkyrie?”
“To apologize. The last time we spoke, you were being an irritating shit, but what I said was still uncalled for.”
It wasn’t a complete lie. She hadn’t thought it was a low blow then, but Loki’s reaction—actually fleeing—suggested it might have been. It also suggested he had guilt and regrets about what he’d done, or at least was reluctant to face the reality of it, and those were things that she could relate to.
She still wasn’t going to actually say the words I’m sorry, because he hadn’t warranted that quite yet, but fortunately he didn’t ask for them. He just blinked up at her, looking uncomfortable.
“I… All right,” he said. “Apology accepted.”
He turned back to his task, not offering up any sort of apology of his own, the dick, and any persistent doubts she’d had about doing what Natasha had suggested were promptly extinguished. Loki wasn’t a nice person, so why should Valkyrie be one?
She folded her legs under her and plopped down next to him and was rewarded with a glance like he suspected she’d lost her mind. “Although,” she said, pretending not to notice, “it did get me to start thinking. You should come with me to New York next time.”
His eyes began to widen, and then he seemed to get control of himself, affecting indifference. “Should I indeed? And it would benefit me how, to return to the place I nearly destroyed and surround myself with mortals who would surely demand my head on a pike?”
“You wouldn’t enjoy that? A monument with your head on permanent display?”
He shot her a glare but said nothing.
“They’re really not bad,” said Valkyrie. “In some ways, humans are actually surprisingly clever.”
“As charming as that sentiment might be, it would mean more if you weren’t so painfully biased.” He looked pointedly at her shirt.
“Loki, if you were having sex as good as I’ve been having, you’d be painfully biased too.” She added a little preen too, planting her hands on the ground behind her and leaning back, showing off the Black Widow symbol—and her own tits, hidden though they were by the baggy shirt—and he glanced away so quickly she almost laughed.
“There is such a thing,” he bit out, “as discretion. Perhaps you should look it up. I imagine that’s something Romanov values quite highly.”
That was interesting: confirmation that he’d thought at least passingly about Natasha’s personality and her compatibility with Valkyrie. “You must not know her very well,” she said dryly, and again was intrigued when his only response was to give her a measured look that she couldn’t quite interpret.
She decided to change tacks slightly. “Speaking of Natasha, she was the one who suggested you might want to come to New York.” She said a silent prayer, asking Natasha forgiveness for putting outright lies into her mouth.
But it was worth it when Loki lost his grip on a bunch of dry food packets and sent them scattering on the floor. “What?” His shock passed quickly, though, and was replaced by suspicion. “Why? Don’t tell me she and her foolish companions intend to lure me into their clutches—”
Valkyrie cut in with a snort. “They don’t. Technically, it was just an idle comment, wondering if you were—” Another prayer, this time for willfully invoking, misrepresenting, and misattributing Korg’s comments. “—lonely here in New Asgard.”
Loki still looked suspicious, but as she watched, that suspicion turned to disgust and anger before all emotion melted away, leaving a smooth and unsettling mask. “You are lying,” he said, his words clipped. “I do not know why, but we are done here.”
And with that, he stood, abandoning all the food supplies on the floor, and walked calmly out with his head high.
All in all, not the best first attempt.
“That wasn’t what I meant when I said you should toy with him,” Natasha said, when Valkyrie called her later to report. She sounded more amused than anything, though, so at least that was something.
“I know. I just didn’t want to, you know, jump right into it.”
“You have to jump right into it. Get him off-balance, and keep him there.”
“That’s your strategy, not mine.” Valkyrie sighed, switching the phone from one ear to the other. She hadn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. The size was fine for playing games and reading, but as a comm device, she thought it was a touch too big.
“Then play to your strengths instead of mine.”
Valkyrie paused, thinking that through. Natasha had a point. Weaving lies and half truths, manipulation and wordplay—those were Natasha’s strengths. What were hers? She closed her eyes, remembering things people had said about her lately. Natasha and Tony and Bruce…
Honesty, she thought. Blunt honesty.
She cornered Loki the next evening in his little home.
It wasn’t easy. Loki had warded the place, some spell that made her keep forgetting her purpose when she got too close to the door.
But she hadn’t been a Valkyrie for nothing.
“You’re out of practice, Loki,” she said when she finally barged inside. “That was weak.”
He didn’t seem surprised to see her, just looked at her through narrowed eyes from where he was lounging on his cot with his hands folded under his head. “What now? Another apology?”
“Yes.” That was, in fact, the exact tact she’d meant to use. “You should take notes in case you ever decide to return the favor.”
“Why would I do that?” His tone was all boredom, but when he sat up, there was a gleam in his eye that she thought meant he was at least slightly curious. “But please, do go on.”
She clasped her hands in front of her, trying to look sincere. “You were right yesterday. I wanted you to be honest with me, and I thought lying was the best way to get you to be.”
He swung his legs over the cot and stood. She bit her cheek so she didn’t smile as he sauntered closer, peering down his nose at her but clearly intrigued.
“Honesty through lying,” he said. “An interesting tactic. What were you hoping I’d be honest about?”
“Natasha,” she admitted.
His forehead wrinkled in a frown. “You’ll have to be more specific than that.”
“I like her,” Valkyrie said. “I like her a lot. Basically since the first time we met. Then I came back here and was apparently pretty obvious about it, and you warned me not to get attached. Then it happened again. And again.”
He was frowning even deeper now, looking distinctly uncomfortable. “That was not my intention. I only wanted—”
She talked over him. “And I don’t care, really, what you think of her. But you do think something of her, obviously. Do you know what I started to wonder then?”
He flattened his lips into a thin line, and there was a line of tension in his shoulders that made her think he’d happily flee if it wouldn’t make him seem weak. “No,” he said lightly, “but somehow I suspect you’re going to tell me.”
She let her smile free, leaning closer. “I started to wonder if your problem was that you just didn’t want anyone else to have her.”
She expected some reaction to that, whether it be a facial twitch or a verbal denial, but he only continued to stare at her. Immediately, she second-guessed herself. Maybe she’d rushed to conclusions. Maybe Natasha had been right, after all.
Be honest, she reminded herself. Brutally honest.
“And, you know,” she said, “I wouldn’t blame you. I wouldn’t even be surprised. Yeah, I’m biased, like you said yesterday, but I still feel confident in saying she’s one of the most attractive woman you’ve ever met. Isn’t she?”
Loki’s nostrils flared, and she knew he was going to say something dismissive and cruel—going to be a shit, basically—but she wasn’t going to have it. She stepped toward him and swore she could hear his teeth clack, breaking off whatever response he’d been forming.
“Not just physically either,” said Valkyrie. “Although she is gorgeous. Red hair, green eyes, those lips… Do you know what those lips feel like, Loki? They’re soft. That bottom one especially. So plump and pink I just want to bite it…and I do, probably too much. But she doesn’t complain. She lets me do it. She’s giving like that.”
He was beyond uncomfortable now; it was written all over his face, all over his posture. He was keeping his arms in front of him, like a barrier, but his hands were fidgeting, betraying him. He probably wanted to back away from her, but he wouldn’t let himself give in to fear and weakness like that. Or maybe he would, if she came any nearer.
For now, she remained a scant distance away, only a few inches from touching.
“And the way she moves…” Valkyrie shook her head, letting herself get lost for a moment in her memories. Natasha’s body against hers, pressing her into the bed. “She’s got iron willpower. No, stronger. Iron is fragile in comparison. And she’s always in control. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, if I’m fucking her or she’s fucking me, if I’m eating her—”
Loki jerked back then, his hand fidgeting faster. She followed him, feeling like the master of a hunt.
“Perhaps,” he said, and she was impressed by how steady his voice was, “you should be keeping those details to yourself.”
She laughed, although it came out more like a bark. “Maybe. But I don’t think she’d mind.”
Valkyrie moved even nearer and touched his hand, stilling it. He glanced down and swiftly back up. Her head was starting to feel light and spinny now. She couldn’t believe she was doing this. She couldn’t believe he was allowing it.
Maybe he just really, really wanted it.
“She’s smaller than me,” Valkyrie said, and now that they were standing so close, she only had to whisper to be heard. “Just barely, but it’s enough. So I’m taller, and of course I’m stronger, but despite that, there’s something about her that makes me feel weak. Something that defies all expectation. Do you know what I mean?”
His head twitched minutely, like he’d been ready to shake it but had stopped himself. He swayed toward her, his gaze dropping to her mouth. His own lips were parted, like an invitation.
An invitation that she declined. She couldn’t, in good conscience, take this any further, nor did she want to. Not without Natasha.
“Well.” Smiling, she drew back. “Even if you weren’t thinking about it before, you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?”
She didn’t wait for a response. She turned and saw herself out.
Valkyrie still felt lightheaded and a little dizzy as she shut herself into her own box-house. It was as dark as pitch inside, but that suited her just fine for now. She didn’t need to see much to stumble forward, hit her cot, and tumble onto it.
She lay there a moment, her head turned to one side. Thinking about Loki’s reaction, his expression. He’d been turned on; she had no doubt about that. By Valkyrie’s words, the image she was putting in his mind? By Valkyrie herself? Did it matter?
She was turned on too—just as much by talking about Natasha as by knowing Loki was listening and getting aroused.
She rolled and reached under the cot, fumbled and felt Dragonfang and her Valkyrie armor before her fingers finally closed around the phone. She lay back down and called Natasha, who answered after one ring.
“Hey, you.” Natasha’s voice was low and flirty and made Valkyrie smile.
“How’d it go?”
Right to the point. Following Natasha’s lead, Valkyrie jumped into a full explanation of what she’d said and what Loki had done.
“Huh,” Natasha said when she’d finished. “I didn’t think it’d be that easy. That’s interesting. And?”
“And what about you?” Natasha’s tone was confident and teasing. She knew exactly what about Valkyrie. “Are you turned on right now? As much as he is? Or was… You think he’s had enough time to take care of it?”
Valkyrie shivered. If she hadn’t been already, she would be now. It felt wrong to be toying with Loki, to be giggling over it with Natasha in the dark—wrong but all the more good because of it. “I don’t know about him, but I am. And I haven’t taken care of it.”
“Of course not. You had to share it with me first. That’s part of the fun.”
It was. Valkyrie wouldn’t have thought of this at all if it weren’t for Natasha. “What about you?” She closed her eyes, imagining Natasha was with her, that they were lying together in the dark, about to get each other off.
“I’m more into the idea than I thought I’d be.” There was a brief silence, then soft rustling. Natasha getting settled, maybe: going to bed too so she could pretend the same. “Remember when you looked at my floggers and restraints, and you told me you didn’t like being on the receiving end?”
Valkyrie knew where this was going, and her stomach twisted with anticipation. “Yeah.”
“What about the other end?”
If Valkyrie had been touching herself, she would have come right then over just the way Natasha’s voice went low and husky on those last two words. “I’ve…dabbled,” she admitted. “Not much.” Because by that point she’d begun to lose herself, and even on Sakaar no one wanted to be whipped by a drunk. “But I’d be very, very open to dabbling some more.”
“Mm. That’s what I was hoping you’d say.”
Fuck it, Valkyrie thought, and unbuttoned her jeans one-handed. “So you like floggers and restraints. What else?”
Natasha hummed. Valkyrie imagined she had undone her own jeans and was tracing the outline of her vulva through her panties, like Valkyrie was doing. “Strap-ons, which you know. Collars and leashes can be fun. I’m usually not a big fan of gags, but for certain people I could make an exception.”
“Certain people like Loki?” Valkyrie inched her fingers lower until they were grazing her entrance. “He does seem like he might be a loud one, doesn’t he?”
“Loud is fine. Hell, loud is good. Bitching and complaining? Not so much.”
Valkyrie chuckled, but thought back to being in Loki’s room and how he’d responded to her. “He wasn’t very chatty. Didn’t say much at all, actually. He seemed too…stunned.”
“Good stunned, right?”
Pondering that, Valkyrie stroked her inner thigh, so lightly that she made herself shiver. “Yes. Definitely a good sort of stunned.”
“He wants you,” Natasha said. “He was probably hoping you’d throw him down and ride him. I know I would have, if I’d been him.”
“No, you wouldn’t have. You’d never be content to do anything passive as just be ridden.” She paused a moment, still thinking about Loki and Natasha and herself. “Is it strange that I’m a lot more interested in you and him, than me and him?”
“If it is, then I’m just as strange. I keep thinking of you and him. I’m not in the picture at all, except maybe as a voyeur.” Natasha sighed suddenly, sending a rush of static into Valkyrie’s ear. It was a pleasant sigh, though. The sort she made when Valkyrie was kissing her, touching her, just right.
“So you can imagine,” Natasha added, murmuring now, a seductive tone that made Valkyrie’s toes curl, “what it’s doing to me to think of you talking dirty to him, turning him on…and then leaving him to suffer.”
“Whereas I’m more excited by the fact that it was you I was talking about,” said Valkyrie. Which, in her mind, settled it: if they did anything with Loki, it would have to be together. Nothing else would work for them both; nothing else would be as satisfying. Assuming Loki even wanted any of it. “Hypothetically,” she said slowly, “if we had Loki—”
Valkyrie laughed at the immediate response. It didn’t technically answer the question she’d intended to ask, but she went with it anyway. “You’ve been thinking about this.”
“What can I say? I’ve got a dirty mind, and my life involves a lot of waiting.”
Valkyrie slipped her hand into her panties and ran her fingers through her pubic hair. She didn’t remove or trim it like Natasha, so it was thick and curly. She liked the tease as she played with it. “How long would you keep him in chastity for?”
“You say that like I’d ever have to let him out.”
Natasha didn’t mean it; her tone was too deadpan to be serious. And it might’ve been that Valkyrie’s arousal was already burning hot, or that her mind was just as dirty as Natasha’s, but that joking comment did things to her. Arrogant, overconfident Loki going out of his mind with need, wanting to come so badly but never, ever being allowed to.
She traced her slit with her fingertips, thinking about that. Loki whining and complaining endlessly and Natasha being utterly unmoved by his dramatics. Valkyrie picking which flogger, crop, or whip she wanted and punishing him while Natasha looked on, saying See, Loki, this is what happens when you question us.
“You’re touching yourself,” Natasha said, sounding pleased. Maybe Valkyrie had made an involuntary noise, or maybe Natasha just knew her that well. “What are you thinking about? Tell me what we’re doing to him, Val.”
Valkyrie gave in and rubbed her clit, just a fleeting initial touch. It was hard, peeking out of its hood, wanting more. “We…” She cast her mind out and reeled in the first thought she came to. “You’re under him, on your back, and his cock is in your cunt.”
“He’s fucking me?”
“No. Well, yes, but not—” She flicked her clit, relishing the spark of pleasure that lit her up all the way to her toes. “Uhn. Not exactly. I’m fucking you. I’m wearing your strap-on, and I’ve got that red cock up his tight, stupid ass.”
“Mmm. And every time you drive that cock into him, you thrust his cock into me. And you’re going to give it to me nice and slow and deep, aren’t you? Just like I like it.”
Yes. Valkyrie’s hips were moving now, rocking with each stroke of her fingers. “It’s torture for him.”
“Ohh, yes.” There was a soft moan in Natasha’s voice. She was touching herself too. Rubbing that hard little clit, or maybe pumping her fingers into her wet cunt. “He has no control of anything. All he can do is lie there between us and take what we give him. Mmm. He has no choice but to let us use him.”
Valkyrie could picture it, could almost feel it. Loki shaking and crying under her, his head between Natasha’s breasts while he clung to her, overwhelmed by how completely helpless he felt, confused about how something that should have been so good instead felt so painful. Natasha meeting Valkyrie’s gaze, sharing a smile.
And then, when Natasha was close, when she was bucking against Loki and moaning, needing it faster and harder, Valkyrie would give it to her. All while bending over Loki’s back, whispering into his ear about what would happen if he came, if he dared to keep Natasha from getting what she deserved.
“Fuck,” Natasha said suddenly, “fuck, fuck.”
Coming just like she would come on Loki’s cock, clenching around him, milking him, and he would do nothing but squirm and whimper and beg to please, please be allowed to come—and then he would curse them when they said no.
Valkyrie followed shortly after, squeezing her thighs together and letting Natasha hear her breathy groans as her clit throbbed so sweetly under her finger.
When she was under control again, Valkyrie said, “We’re assuming he’d even be willing. Or interested in the same things as us. When there’s actually a good chance he’d want no part of it. I mean, this is Loki, after all.”
“I can be very, very persuasive when I want to be,” Natasha said, a smile in her voice. Then she sobered. “But, yes, I know. And besides, reality often doesn’t live up to the fantasy.”
So perhaps this best remained fantasy. Perhaps Valkyrie just pretended she hadn’t spoken to Loki as she had, and all three of them went on about their lives, eventually forgetting this single, inexplicable aberration.
Why, she wondered, did that sound so…unappealing?
“But,” Natasha said, “there’s no reason we can’t try, and see what happens. If that’s something you’d want.”
Valkyrie swallowed and turned onto her side, blinking into the dark. The phone was warm in her hand and against her cheek. She didn’t think she and Natasha had ever talked so long over it. She would probably have to leave it attached to the power bank all night for it to recover.
“Maybe you should visit,” she found herself saying. “Like you mentioned before.”
“Visit New Asgard?”
If nothing else, Valkyrie figured, she would at least be able to see how Loki behaved with Natasha, and then maybe the idea would lose its allure.
“Yeah,” she said. “Exactly. What are your plans…hm, next week?”
Natasha visiting New Asgard somehow became Natasha accompanying Tony on a trip to New Asgard. Valkyrie didn’t care one way or the other, but Thor was thrilled to have not one but two of his friends coming. Meal plans were made up, and a tour was prepared and practiced, and the bonfire was rebuilt as though it somehow made the common area more impressive.
Thor, Heimdall, Valkyrie, and Loki met them when they arrived. Valkyrie did her best not to acknowledge Loki any more than necessary. That had been her strategy for the last week, and she thought it prudent to continue today, since Loki was clearly on edge. As they’d crossed the field, he had moved in a sort of skulk, and now as they watched the quinjet land, Loki’s expression was stony to the point of grimness.
Valkyrie wondered if his desire to have nothing to do with the Avengers was warring with his desire to not hide away like a criminal or a nobody. Or perhaps he was just that nervous about encountering Natasha again—although Valkyrie knew that was almost certainly just her own wishful thinking.
Tony emerged first, looking flashy and put-together in a suit, a white button-up shirt, and a pair of sunglasses, and Natasha followed. She, too, wore sunglasses, along with dark jeans, a black shirt, and a light green jacket. Her jeans, as always, were tight, her shirt was almost obscenely low-cut and clingy, and Valkyrie both wanted to show her off and to whisk her away and keep her for herself.
Natasha allowed Thor to haul her into a bear hug, and then she came to stand beside Valkyrie, their arms brushing. Valkyrie was embarrassingly close to beaming stupidly, unable to help herself, and Natasha’s lips twitched once, her blank mask nearly breaking.
“Miss me?” she murmured.
“Maybe just a bit,” Valkyrie said, knocking their elbows together.
“Wow,” Tony said, gazing around them and at the buildings in the distance. “It’s a lot bigger than I remembered. And you’ve done a hell of a lot with it since I was here before.”
Thor was glowing like a proud father. “In truth, my friend, I have done little. It is my people who have made this simple piece of land into what you see before you.”
That was hardly the full truth, as Thor had borne the brunt of the hard labor and the worrying and the pain of their failures, and Valkyrie suspected all of them knew it.
But Tony only said, “Sure, sure. Heimdall, good to see you, and—ah, Loki. Wow, you look…pretty much the same as when I last saw you. Got to say, though, I’m glad you lost the helmet. It was a little too, how should I put it, ‘man, he must be compensating for something,’ you know what I mean?”
Loki’s smile looked pleasant enough, but Valkyrie didn’t doubt his proverbial teeth were hiding behind it. “Says the man who built a three-hundred-meter tower with his name on it to dominate the skyline.”
“Three hundred and forty-six, I’ll have you know. But it’s not strictly mine anymore, so congratulations, you just wasted an insult.”
Loki opened his mouth but shut it quickly when Thor clapped him on the shoulder.
“Come,” Thor said, “let me show you New Asgard.”
And with that he led Tony off, Heimdall following immediately after, silent and watchful. Valkyrie hesitated with Natasha, waiting for Loki to go next. Loki, however, seemed to be doing the same. A strange, loaded moment passed where they stared at each other, Loki’s gaze flitting back and forth between Natasha and Valkyrie as though either was going to attack him.
Then he smiled, that same ostensibly pleasant but truthfully deadly smile, and waved his arm in a please, you first gesture. “Agent Romanov.”
Natasha’s lips twitched. “SHIELD fell years ago. I’m not an agent anymore.”
But she didn’t move like Loki was inviting her to, and he didn’t seem to know how to respond to that. “I see. I…apologize?” was what he came up with.
Valkyrie hid her amusement as Natasha said, dryly, “Unless you threw your hat in with HYDRA when you were on Earth, I think you’re blameless for this one.”
Tony, apparently still close enough to eavesdrop, turned and called, “Yeah, and we’re one step closer to vigilantes now, which is about a million times cooler.”
“We’re really not, and he doesn’t actually think that,” Natasha told Valkyrie, and finally they were walking, swiftly at first to catch up and then leisurely, with Loki trailing behind them. Natasha seemed to be paying no attention to him, so Valkyrie followed her lead.
“Huh,” Tony said when they’d reached New Asgard proper. “I thought it was just the distance making these look small.”
“I call them box-houses,” Valkyrie chimed in. “Because it feels like being in a box.”
“I’d probably call them huts,” said Tony.
Thor bristled at that, insisting hotly that they were not so crudely constructed as that. Valkyrie didn’t hear what Tony said because Natasha was nudging her, leaning until their faces were close, and gifting Valkyrie with a rare full smile that made her feel stupid with fondness.
“I’m supposed to tell you that Clint feels left out, being the only one who hasn’t met you yet.”
Valkyrie knew who Clint was, of course, both in terms of who he’d been as an Avenger and what he meant to Natasha. In fact, she’d been wondering for a while now when he would turn up. “Well, nothing’s stopping him from coming to New York sometime, is there?”
“Oh, that reminds me.” Natasha reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her phone. She swiped and tapped a few times, then held out the screen for Valkyrie to see.
It was a chubby-cheeked child with what looked like some sort of red sauce smeared all over his shirt, face, and even up into his dark hair. In general, Valkyrie was ambivalent toward children: more kind to them than adults, extremely protective in certain situations, but not especially drawn to them. Natasha seemed to feel more positively toward them, and especially Clint’s.
So Valkyrie summoned excitement and interest as she said, “Aw, is that Nathaniel?”
Natasha nodded. “He wouldn’t touch spaghetti until a few weeks ago, but now it’s apparently his favorite.”
It went on like that, the two of them tailing Tony, Thor, and Heimdall, with Loki silently bringing up the rear, but ignoring everything to talk quietly amongst themselves about Natasha’s teammates and friends. Natasha told her that Steve had received a friendly message from the Guardians, that Vision and Wanda had argued over a mission and only recently reconciled, that Shuri had designed Bucky a new arm “for fun” and Sam would go with him to Wakanda to retrieve it.
Natasha at even her most relaxed and extroverted didn’t just tell story after story like this, but Valkyrie didn’t question it, knowing there must’ve been a reason. She just listened and responded when it seemed appropriate and let Natasha continue.
Until they paused by the new garden area, where a few infant trees, bushes, and flowers had been planted, and Natasha glanced at Loki for the first time in nearly an hour.
“What’s that look for?” she said.
Loki didn’t have a “look,” as far as Valkyrie could tell, or maybe he’d just wiped it from his face by the time she turned to see for herself. But he did shift his weight, as though uncomfortable with the sudden attention, and answered, “There are more of you than I remember.”
“Yeah, well. It’s been a while, Loki,” Natasha said. “Things change.”
Loki narrowed his eyes at the same time that Valkyrie finally understood what Natasha had been doing: emphasizing the closeness between the Avengers and how easily Valkyrie had been accepted among them. If Loki was feeling left out and jealous, then Natasha had just stood on that wound and made it bleed.
“Indeed,” he said mildly. “Evidently they have.”
Valkyrie sent Natasha a look of her own, asking silently Do you know what you’re doing?
Natasha slipped her sunglasses partway down her nose and winked, as though answering Don’t worry. Trust me.
Heimdall left them in the evening, claiming a need to return to his “duties.” Valkyrie thought Loki might leave as well, as he seemed alternately bored and exasperated by the whole endeavor, but he didn’t.
The five of them had a private dinner in Thor’s home. (“Hut,” Tony insisted in an undertone to Natasha, who rolled her eyes and shushed him.) It had been cleaned since Valkyrie had last been inside, the makeshift table and two chairs having been replaced with a table that was larger and more sophisticated and enough chairs to seat them all.
The room had also been lit with several of Loki’s floating lanterns, which Tony seemed at first only somewhat curious about and then wholly enthralled by. He stood, interrupting Thor midsentence, and started poking at one.
“Sorry,” he said, “sorry, I just— What is this? This isn’t fire, right? It’s blue. And it’s hanging by—how—”
“Magic,” said Thor. Rather than being indignant at the interruption, he instead looked painfully proud. “Both are magic. I believe even the lanterns themselves are some form of magic, although you shall have to ask my brother for the specifics, as they are his creation.”
Tony glanced at Loki, his eyebrows raised. “You did this?”
Next to Valkyrie, even Natasha perked up a bit, sitting straighter in her chair. It occurred to Valkyrie that they probably didn’t encounter this sort of magic often.
She thought Loki might have shared some of Thor’s pride in his work, but he wrinkled his nose and looked put-upon. “I did. I could expand on the theory and the method behind it, but I fear they would go so far over your head as to be worthless.”
“Try,” Natasha said, talking right over Tony’s response. It startled Valkyrie—Natasha had been quiet through most of dinner, observing far more than speaking—and even Loki seemed taken aback.
“I—” he began. Valkyrie thought for a moment he might refuse to answer, just to be difficult, but finally he continued. “In its simplest terms, the ‘fire’ is a basic illuminating spell but condensed into a very small space. It is ‘hanging’ by use of a modified levitation charm, and for the lantern, I made a very rudimentary frame from twigs and blades of grass but cast several refinement spells to make it look like a traditional lantern.”
“Is it difficult,” Natasha asked, “the skills required for those particular spells?”
Tony was still standing, appearing more mystified by the second, and Thor’s expression was still one of immense satisfaction at the turn in the conversation. Valkyrie was mostly just interested in where Natasha was taking this.
Loki, on the other hand, was plainly suspicious, and his gaze kept flickering to Valkyrie as though she’d put Natasha up to this somehow. “Not at all,” he said. “The refinement is the most time-consuming, as an illusion, but even that I would still consider novice level.”
“Huh,” Natasha said. “That’s impressive.”
“Is it?” Loki sat back, wiping his mouth daintily. “Ah, but it would be for a mortal, wouldn’t it? I suppose you’ve never encountered magic before.”
“I have, actually.” Natasha smiled thinly. “Remember when you said there are more of us now? One of the new Avengers is a witch. I don’t know much about her skill level as compared to yours, but since you’ve had so much more practice, there’s probably a lot you could teach her.”
Tony practically fell back into his chair, going pale. “Natasha,” he said, a warning in his tone.
Natasha barely glanced at him. “Wanda is strong, but it’s raw skill, I think. If she could channel it in different ways…”
“Natasha,” said Tony, more insistently, while Thor beamed even more brightly.
“Indeed, Loki has not simply practiced magic but studied its art for many centuries. I have seen none other with his talents.”
“Don’t pretend that you know anything about my ‘talents’ in that regard,” Loki snapped, “when you have spent our entire lives being willfully ignorant of them. And you”—he fixed his eyes on Natasha—“cannot possibly be suggesting that I—that I train one of your teammates.”
“No,” Tony said quickly. “No, she absolutely is not. Not that I know what she is doing, but—”
“Why not?” Natasha folded her arms on the table. “Thor’s assured us you’re on the straight and narrow now, right? And if your knowledge can be of use to us, I don’t see why we can’t use it.”
“I can,” Tony jumped in. “Which is to say that we should talk about this as a team first before we go bringing other people into it.”
This was like a sport of some kind, Valkyrie reflected, reaching for her drink. Simultaneously entertaining and stressful. Even Thor seemed to realize something wasn’t quite right; his happiness had dimmed slightly, and he was staring at Loki with concern.
“If he’s willing,” said Natasha, “we can talk as a team about whether we actually want to bring him in as a consultant or not, but in the meantime—”
Loki stood, and his chair rattled and groaned as it was thrown backward. “I will not,” he said, his voice icy and his eyes almost glowing in the lantern light, “be mocked.”
Natasha hadn’t expected that. The surprise on her face was too real. When she spoke, her tone was unusually soft, soothing. “No one is mocking you.”
“Loki,” Thor hastened to say, equally mollifying. “Brother, please.”
Loki hissed, sending a nasty glare at Thor before he stormed out.
The silence that fell was brief but uncomfortable, broken when Tony said, mock cheerfully, “Well, that was charming. Nice job, Natasha.”
Thor sighed heavily, burying his face in his large hands. “I apologize. I—don’t know what offended him, although I know it was not your intention. I will speak with him.”
“You blew that,” Valkyrie told Natasha when they were alone in her box-house for the night.
“I did,” Natasha said as she sat on the cot, “and I didn’t. Even if I got a reaction I wasn’t trying for, I still got something. Although I’m still not sure how he thought I was mocking him.”
“He’s weird about the Avengers, and he’s weird about things that sound like compliments. And he’s already on edge about you.”
Natasha gave her a faint but smug smile. “Right. Because you talked dirty about me to him.”
“With your encouragement,” Valkyrie reminded her. “And your approval after the fact.”
“My very enthusiastic approval.” Natasha kicked off her shoes and lay back, lengthwise, on the cot. “Come here.”
Valkyrie came and climbed on top of her, feeling the warmth of her body even through her clothes. That was the best thing about Earth clothing, in her opinion, and what had eventually won her over: they were thin and easily removed.
She slipped her hand under Natasha’s shirt and caressed her stomach, enjoying the contrast of her smooth, soft skin and the rough texture of the scar by her belly button. It was sensitive, that scar, although only to very, very light touches, which Valkyrie took great pains to keep to now. Soon, Natasha was shivering and making wordless murmurs of pleasure as she moved against Valkyrie and brushed their lips together.
“I like your sounds,” Valkyrie sighed, gliding her hands upward and molding her palms to the cups of Natasha’s bra. “They’re not loud, but…the things they do to me…”
“Yeah?” Natasha tipped her head back, inviting Valkyrie to descend on her neck, so Valkyrie obliged, giving her throat a sucking kiss. “What sort of things?”
Valkyrie chuckled, scraping her teeth along Natasha’s pulse. “You know exactly what. You’ve felt how hot you get me, you tease.”
“Have I? I can’t really remember…”
Valkyrie wasn’t quite ready to give up the reins yet, though. She unhooked Natasha’s bra, then sat up while Natasha slipped off her jacket and removed the bra. She kept her shirt on as she did, just tugging the straps down her arms and whipping the rest of it out from the bottom.
The black bra disappeared onto the floor, and Valkyrie took the hint to cup Natasha’s breasts through her shirt and find the outline of her nipples with her thumbs. She toyed with them, grazing the fabric back and forth until they were hard little peaks tenting Natasha’s shirt.
Valkyrie bent her knee between Natasha’s legs, pressing against her groin, and lowered her head, ready to suck at one of the taut nubs, when there was a sudden, heavy rap against the door.
She very, very seriously considered ignoring it, maybe even pointedly making Natasha moan so whoever it was would get the hint and go the fuck away, but Natasha nudged her shoulders gently, telling her to go answer it. So, biting back curses, Valkyrie did.
It was Loki, standing outside with an intensity on his face that was almost frightening.
“May I?” he said sharply when she only stood there.
“Uh,” she said, but behind her Natasha called, “Let him in.”
When Valkyrie waved him in, he stalked inside but froze just beyond the door. She didn’t have to look to know what he was responding to. It was probably obvious what they were doing, or about to do, with Natasha on her back on the cot. But when she shut the door and stepped closer, she saw the scene was even more damning—and obscene—than she’d realized.
Natasha had propped herself up on her elbows, and the pose seemed to call attention to her breasts, the hard nipples poking out from her shirt. Valkyrie’s mouth had left red marks on her neck, and her lips were pink and wet from their kisses.
“I—” he said. Valkyrie sympathized with the waver in his voice; Natasha looked good enough to ravish.
But Valkyrie was also miffed to have been prevented from doing just that. “What do you want, Loki? We’re busy, in case it isn’t already obvious.”
He turned on his heels and focused his glare on her. “I know what you’re doing. It is neither clever nor subtle, and it will stop.”
Good, Valkyrie thought, an opportunity to just be out with it. “Is that right? And what am I doing, Loki?”
“Toying with me,” he spat. “Mocking me and teasing me. Calling my attention to you and trying to lure me like a—”
“A black widow?” Natasha said.
Loki’s head jerked as though he nearly looked at her but stopped himself, keeping his eyes on Valkyrie. “I can’t imagine your motive, what you could possibly hope to gain from this, but—”
Natasha interrupted him again. “Really? You can’t think of even one thing Valkyrie and I could be trying to tell you?”
“Valkyrie?” That got his attention, and he finally turned back to her. Natasha was sitting up now, her legs swung over the side of the cot and her feet on the ground. “You still call her Valkyrie? She hasn’t even trusted you with her true name?” For some reason, he seemed delighted about that. “It’s Brunnhilde.”
Valkyrie flinched. He’d gotten that from her mind, she supposed, when he’d invaded it during their fight on Sakaar, although this was the only time he’d dared to use it.
Natasha’s expression, which had been brimming with amusement, went as still and cold as metal. “No,” she said curtly, standing, “her name is Valkyrie.”
She closed the distance between them, looking so much like a predator stalking and assessing its prey that Valkyrie wasn’t terribly surprised when Loki’s reaction was to draw his knives and brandish them threateningly.
Natasha paused for only a second, and her lip twitched, amusement sparking again in her eyes. “Seriously?” She stepped even closer, until one of Loki’s knives was inches from her throat. “Go for it, Loki. I’ve had a lot worse.”
Valkyrie was only slightly worried. Even if she weren’t confident that Natasha could handle herself, then she had enough faith that Loki wouldn’t hurt one of Thor’s friends in a situation like this. Still, she approached them, ready to jump in if necessary. “You’re the one who came here,” she reminded him. “You knew we would both be here. What did you think you were going to walk in on?”
“And you can still leave,” Natasha said calmly. “No one’s stopping you, if that’s what you want.”
Loki said nothing, and he didn’t take his eyes from Natasha. His hands and the knives in them were shaking slightly.
“But you don’t want that, do you?” said Natasha. Valkyrie knew that tone, the low, seductive lilt, and she shuddered at nothing but the knowledge that Natasha was turning it on Loki. “Valkyrie’s right, isn’t she? You knew what you’d find, and you were banking on us talking you down, giving you that final push.”
Loki’s answering laugh was dark and bitter. “Do you even realize what you offer? I invaded your realm.”
“I killed your people.”
Natasha smiled wryly. “You’re really working against your own best interests here, you know that? Put the knives away, Loki.”
After a brief hesitation, he did, and they vanished back to whatever dimension he stored them in. But he still didn’t relax, didn’t drop the suspicion he was wielding like a shield around him.
“Good.” Natasha’s smile widened. “It can’t hurt to listen, right? If you want to stop, if you want to leave, just say the word, and we’ll back off and leave you alone.”
“I don’t trust you,” he said, then glanced at Valkyrie. “Either of you.”
“You don’t have to trust us,” Natasha said. “We’re just asking you to…play with us. See, we have a theory about you. We thought that your interests and ours might intersect in a few places that could be worth exploring. Didn’t we, Val?”
Valkyrie wanted to keep watching, enjoying the interplay between them, but she recognized this was Natasha drawing her back into the action. We, she reminded herself. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
“We did,” she agreed. “And maybe we were wrong, and this really is just a nightmare for you. But I don’t think it is. Is it, Loki? I think you’re just as curious as we are.”
“Don’t you want to see what we can do to you?” Natasha murmured, pressing herself against his front. She lifted herself onto her toes so she could nuzzle his chin.
Loki gaped, staring at Natasha like he’d never seen anything like her before. Maybe he hadn’t. As far as Valkyrie was concerned, she looked even more divine and godlike than him. Natasha laid her hand on the back of his hair, and immediately, almost instinctively, he ducked his head, bringing himself closer to her height. His lips parted, like they had done with Valkyrie that night last week, like he wanted to be kissed but didn’t know how to properly ask for it.
Natasha brushed her thumb over his bottom lip, and he inhaled sharply. “Do you know,” he said, his voice gritty and harsh, “how many have begged for me to join their bed?”
Natasha neither looked nor sounded impressed. “Yeah? And you didn’t take a single one of them up on it, did you? Because you don’t want them to be the ones begging.”
Loki sneered, but it seemed weak. “If you expect me to beg you for anything, you’ll soon be disappointed.”
“Aren’t you tired of disappointing people?” Natasha asked.
Valkyrie actually flinched, thinking that was a little too cruel, but Loki shocked her when he let out a quiet, broken sound and pressed his mouth to Natasha’s. Instantly, heat pulsed between Valkyrie’s thighs, and her breath caught in her throat. They looked more beautiful than she’d imagined. Natasha’s hands were so sure on his hair, his jaw, and he seemed to melt into her.
When Natasha leaned back, Loki made another pained noise and kissed her throat instead. Natasha looked at Valkyrie, arching an eyebrow. Still okay? she seemed to say.
Valkyrie let her smirk answer for her.
Smirking back, Natasha extended one arm and crooked her finger. Valkyrie came eagerly and touched Loki’s arm. He jerked and straightened, his back rigid. There was a wariness in his eyes, like he was thinking he’d been tricked or worse.
Valkyrie snorted. “Come on. I may be a bit bitier than her, but that’s no reason to be scared.”
Natasha, apparently less patient, twined her hand in his hair and began to roughly draw him down to Valkyrie. He took over halfway there and closed the distance between their lips. Valkyrie kept it gentle at first, just letting their mouths move against each other, then tasting him briefly with her tongue.
When he turned fully toward her, wrapping his arms around her waist, she gave in and nibbled. He sighed happily, so she bit down on his bottom lip. It wasn’t as soft and plush as Natasha’s, but it was still satisfying, especially with the way he moaned and slumped against her.
“Oh, that’s good,” Natasha said, echoing Valkyrie’s thoughts. “Now she has someone else to bite.”
If that wasn’t an invitation, Valkyrie didn’t know what was. She bit Loki’s jaw and his neck, even harder than she’d dared to bite Natasha, and he only gasped and arched into her, encouraging her to keep going—at least until he made a frustrated noise and pulled away.
But Valkyrie saw soon enough that it was only because Natasha was behind him now, walking them both backward.
“Come on,” she said. “Come sit with me on the bed.”
It was a cot, technically, but Valkyrie didn’t correct her. She followed them and grinned when Natasha shoved Loki unceremoniously onto its surface, making him squawk in protest. Natasha climbed behind him and gestured for Valkyrie to join them.
Valkyrie sat on his lap, resting one leg on either side of his hips. He was hard. She could feel his erection against her ass, and she moved until it was nestled against the fly of her jeans instead. He let out a gasping groan and tried to grab onto her, but Natasha clamped her hands on his wrists and kept them pinned to the cot.
It made Loki laugh shakily. “However strong you are, I am still stronger. There is no way you could hold me down that I could not break free from.”
“I could,” Valkyrie reminded him, “but it doesn’t matter because you’re not going to try.”
He growled but didn’t deny it. And when Natasha shifted closer, hooking her chin over his shoulder, he didn’t hesitate to twist his head until he could kiss her. The soft, wet sounds of their lips moving together worsened the ache between Valkyrie’s thighs. She rocked against him, rubbing herself against the stiff outline of his cock, and Loki broke away from Natasha’s mouth so he could echo Valkyrie’s moan.
Valkyrie rocked again, and again, and rested her palms on his chest, feeling it heave with his breaths. At some point Natasha let go of his wrists in favor of wrapping her arms around his shoulders, drawing him back against her. His hands didn’t so much as twitch, as he left them where they were.
This was different than Valkyrie had expected. Sweeter, more traditional, but it was still satisfying—and she didn’t think she was deluding herself when she thought there were signs it could become something else.
Natasha met her eye and smiled. It was so like in Valkyrie’s fantasy, the two of them sharing a smile while Loki suffered between them, that Valkyrie reached for her and kissed her over Loki’s shoulder. Loki cried out like he’d been struck, and shuddered between them. Then his hands were on Valkyrie’s ass, squeezing, trying to thrust her against him more tightly.
Valkyrie jerked back at the same time that Natasha grabbed Loki’s arms, yanked them away, and joined his wrists together behind his back.
“Can you keep these here,” Natasha said, “or do I need to tie you up?”
The sound that Loki made, the way his eyelids went heavy and fluttery—he was as close to bliss as Valkyrie had ever seen him. Yet when she bent to bite low on his neck, he shook his head and said, “No. Stop.”
They stopped immediately. Natasha scooted away until she was no longer touching him, and Valkyrie stood and stepped back. He sat, red-faced and tense, clenching and unclenching his fists. His erection tented his trousers obscenely.
“I don’t—” He gritted his teeth, looking away. “I will not be your toy, your…pet.”
There was silence, then, as he glared at the wall of Valkyrie’s box-house while they watched him.
“Okay,” Valkyrie said slowly. “What does that mean?”
He exhaled sharply, his nostrils flaring. “You wish me to beg, to consent to be bound and manhandled and—and any number of degrading things.”
“You know that for a fact, do you?” Natasha said dryly, and he shot her a furious glance. Valkyrie couldn’t help but notice he wasn’t standing up; he wasn’t storming out like he had at dinner.
“I submit to no one,” he said. “Certainly not you. Either of you.”
Valkyrie bristled. “What is that supposed—”
But Natasha cut her off, thunder in her voice. “Fine. If that’s how you feel. Then leave.”
Loki clearly hadn’t expected that, and he didn’t bother hiding it. He gave Natasha a wide-eyed, almost helpless look, which he then turned on Valkyrie.
Valkyrie lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Yeah, that sounds right. You don’t want the same thing we do, fine, but you’re going to be insulting about it? Then you can show yourself out.”
He hesitated long enough that Valkyrie thought he was going to refuse, to take it all back, but he stood and marched out without a backward glance.
“Well,” Valkyrie said when it was clear he wasn’t going to return, “that went poorly.”
“You think?” said Natasha. “I thought it went well.”
Valkyrie stared at her, exaggerating her incredulity. “He got angry and left. How is that going well?”
“That was nothing. The first negotiation attempt is almost always messy.”
Natasha motioned for Valkyrie to join her on the cot, and when Valkyrie did, Natasha put her hand on Valkyrie’s nape and tugged her none-too-gently into a kiss. Valkyrie went happily and gave as good as she got, running her palms up and down Natasha’s body, lingering on the still-stiff outlines of her nipples, on the sensitive scar on her stomach—and, of course, on where she was so hot between her thighs.
“Are you wet for me?” Valkyrie asked.
“Why don’t you find out?”
When Valkyrie had unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans, Natasha went ahead and shucked them off. Her panties were black and silky, and there was—Valkyrie moaned low in her throat—a visible wet spot. Valkyrie didn’t bother removing them, just nudged them to one side and stuffed her fingers into Natasha’s cunt. She was sopping wet, and sighed when Valkyrie started to fuck her, slow and deep.
“Did you hear how badly he wanted to be tied up?” Natasha murmured.
Valkyrie laughed breathlessly. “I think even the poor people next door heard how much he wanted it.”
Natasha slid her palm up Valkyrie’s arm, squeezing once as though feeling the muscles working to fuck her. Then she transferred her attention to Valkyrie’s breast, groping the fleshiest part, making Valkyrie groan and lose her rhythm.
Natasha made a noise of frustration and let go. “Take those off.”
As Valkyrie hurried to disrobe, Natasha took off her panties and her shirt as well, so when they came together again, they were both nude. Valkyrie wasted no time shoving her fingers back into Natasha’s cunt—four of them this time, as she figured Natasha was more than wet enough to take it—and with a keening cry, Natasha ground herself against Valkyrie’s hand and reached down to rub her clit. In only seconds, she was clenching down and swearing as she came.
“Someone was keyed up,” Valkyrie said. She continued fucking her, although more gently now, not wanting to leave the slick warmth of Natasha’s body just yet. “Please tell me that if he lets us tie him up, you’ll sit on his face.”
Natasha chuckled. “I think at this point it’d be considered a cruelty not to. And speaking of sitting on someone’s face…”
“I’m not done here,” Valkyrie said. She made wide circles with her fingers, digging the tips into Natasha’s sweet spot, making her buck and moan. “Give me one more.”
Natasha didn’t argue, rubbing her clit again and writhing against Valkyrie. It took longer this time, but eventually she came again, arching her neck so she could muffle her cry in Valkyrie’s shoulder.
Loki’s rejection seemed a long, long way away now, as minor and unimportant in the long run as Natasha seemed to believe it was.
Valkyrie felt only smug and powerful as Natasha got into her position, flat on her back in the cot, reaching for Valkyrie’s hips and dragging her closer. She didn’t wait for Valkyrie to lower herself to Natasha’s face. Instead, she lifted her upper body and buried her tongue there on her own. Natasha’s mouth was hot and eager, demanding; Natasha wanted Valkyrie to come, and nothing was going to stand in her way.
It took a back-and-forth, Natasha making displeased grunting sounds and Valkyrie ignoring her and pointedly grinding her clit against Natasha’s tongue, before Natasha finally subsided and let Valkyrie just hold her in place. Then she rode Natasha’s face until she was throbbing and coming with a wail.
With a firm grip on Valkyrie’s hips, Natasha tried briefly to keep her there, to encourage her to another orgasm like Valkyrie had done, but Valkyrie insisted, “Not now. Break.”
She lay on top of Natasha, admiring the redness around Natasha’s mouth from her pubic hair and the mess of drying saliva and wetness on Natasha’s chin.
“He has no idea what he’s missing out on,” Natasha said.
Loki made himself scarce for the rest of Natasha and Tony’s visit, and the following week as well. Valkyrie went from amusement to annoyance to worry, but she soon settled into Natasha’s brand of nonchalance. As Natasha said during one of their phone calls, “He’ll come back or he won’t. He knows what we’re offering. It’s up to him now.”
By the time Valkyrie began to miss Natasha again and think about when she could go back to New York, she’d mostly moved on. Even as a one-night stand, Loki probably would’ve been too much of a shit to deal with anyway, so maybe it was better this way.
Meanwhile, humans came to New Asgard to set up electricity, and Thor sought her out one evening to show her a stack of papers that plotted out what New Asgard might someday look like. It wasn’t Asgard of old. Most of the building and homes seemed to have the clean lines favored by Earth and little of the gold and polish of Asgard, but it was something. And, as Thor had said, adapting didn’t have to mean loss. He met with Heimdall and Loki and others, and covered the papers in his notes, then gave them to Valkyrie on the morning she was preparing to leave for New York.
She stored them in the jet along with Dragonfang (which Natasha had expressed a great deal of interest in and even suggested Valkyrie might try training with). She sat in the cockpit, ready to leave, but before she started the engine, she saw Loki sprinting across the field in her direction.
She opened the door and started down to meet him in the grass. “Hey, what—”
“Don’t,” Loki said, and pushed past her.
Baffled, she followed him as he headed toward the cockpit.
“Not a word,” he said, throwing himself into the copilot’s seat. He looked furious, his eyes blazing and his jaw clenched. “Just…go.”
Before they took off, Valkyrie snatched up her phone and sent a text message to Natasha. I have a passenger.
Natasha responded quickly. Huh. That didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.
Loki said little during the trip, aside from the occasional snide comment about her flying skills, which she ignored. Sitting in the copilot seat, he was nearly vibrating with nervousness, changing leg positions often and fiddling with his hands in his lap.
Valkyrie understood. She was a little nervous herself. Still, she couldn’t help but ask, “Do you even know what you’re doing, or did you just realize I was leaving and start running?”
He gave her a dark, forbidding look. “Not the latter.”
“But…not the former either.”
He glanced away with a frown. “Kindly keep at least some attention on the controls. Thor won’t be pleased if I die again.”
“It’s autopilot,” she said, but for the rest of the flight, she let him stew in his anxiety, if he was so keen on it.
He didn’t expect them to be traveling to the New Avengers Facility and said so, at length, when she landed. (“This is what I do,” she said testily. “If you don’t like it, then maybe you should have given me some indication you were coming along and wanted something different.”) Nor did anyone expect her to bring Loki with her, so when various loitering Avengers popped up to greet her, things got awkward.
Steve struck a defensive pose in the middle of the corridor before he seemed to realize Loki wasn’t a threat. Then he told Valkyrie, “You know, I probably should have foreseen this at some point. If not you, then Thor, but I never did. Uh. Hi, Loki.”
Loki at least seemed more amused to be the cause of alarm and confusion than offended by it. “Captain Rogers. I cannot say I’ve missed you in the last several years, I’m afraid.”
“The feeling is mutual,” Steve said. “Why are you here?”
“It is Thor’s desire that I attempt to…integrate myself with his friends and make amends.”
Steve looked at Valkyrie, probably trying to judge the truth of his words. She wasn’t about to tell him the real reason Loki was here, so she shrugged, which he seemed to interpret positively.
“Somehow I doubt he meant dropping in out of nowhere,” said Steve, “but fine. Although you might, uh, want to change into something a little less…not-of-Earth. If you’re going to stay awhile.”
No sooner had Steve wandered off than Loki was enveloping his body in gold-tinged magic, altering his clothing. When the shimmering magic faded, instead of his usual blueish-green leather armor, he now wore a long black coat over black trousers and a white collared button-up shirt. The ensemble reminded Valkyrie, albeit very faintly and likely just because of the white shirt, of Tony, although she said nothing about that, figuring he wouldn’t appreciate the comparison.
“Does Thor know where you are?” she asked instead.
Loki was fussing with his coat lapels, wrinkling his nose at the material. Valkyrie could sympathize; she’d felt similarly about Earth clothes until she’d gotten used to them and realized how easy to remove they were. “He’ll learn soon enough” was all he said.
Wanda peeked her head out of the door of a conference room and did a double take. “Wow,” she said. “I feel like I should say it’s an honor to meet you, since you’re basically a legend in the Avengers, but it’s…not.”
Loki preened at that. “Truly, that is the kindest thing anyone has said to me in ages.” He turned to Valkyrie. “Is this the witch? I like her. Tell Stark I consent to overseeing her training.”
“Training?” Wanda echoed.
Vision appeared behind her, looking inscrutable. “What sort of training?”
“Teaching her to slaughter with impunity,” Loki said brightly. “Don’t worry, my dear. I sense you will excel.”
Wanda barely blinked. “Call me that again, and I certainly will.”
“There’s no training,” Valkyrie told her, steering Loki away. “I’m just doing a poor job of keeping him in line.”
“Keeping me in line,” Loki said in an undertone when they’d gotten some distance down the corridor. “Is that what we’re calling it now?”
“That’s exactly what we’re calling it. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what Natasha and I are offering already.”
He didn’t reply to that, but Valkyrie noticed with some amusement that his lips had gone very tight and he was staring down at his feet like an embarrassed little boy.
For once, Natasha was already waiting in the lobby, chatting with the woman at the front desk. She was wearing a black dress with her tan jacket over it, and her hair was wavier than usual, almost curly as it fell just below her jawline. She didn’t smile when she saw Valkyrie, but her expression softened in a way that made Valkyrie’s throat feel tight.
Then Natasha’s eyes cut to Loki, and she was cool and indifferent again—or at least seemed to be. “Well, well. Aren’t you a surprise. Nice coat. You might be a little warm, though.”
Loki smiled, but it looked stiff, even forced. “I won’t, I assure you.”
Natasha shared a glance with Valkyrie, and Valkyrie gave the slightest head shake, trying to indicate she didn’t have a good read on his mood or intentions. She assumed Natasha understood, as she always seemed to, but Natasha gave no sign. She just said, “I’m going to stop by the ladies’ room before we head out.”
The cock of her head seemed to say, Follow me, so Valkyrie did. Loki hesitated before apparently deciding to follow as well. Valkyrie didn’t know if Natasha had intended that or not, so she said nothing—although she noticed soon enough that Natasha wasn’t leading them toward the nearest restroom but one much more remote. Valkyrie’s heart picked up pace.
Natasha paused outside the door, and the look she sent Loki was sin incarnate: a little pout of her lips, a flutter of her lashes. Even Valkyrie felt affected by it.
“You can stay out here,” Natasha told him, “or you can come in with us. Up to you.”
“A women’s toilet,” he said, deadpan. “Dear me, what an invitation.”
“A women’s restroom in the least populated part of the building,” she corrected. “Think about that for a minute. And if you have any spell up your sleeve that ensures no one else decides to wander in this direction while we’re here, I wouldn’t argue if you casted it.”
She threw open the door, and Valkyrie followed her inside. Loki remained where he was, and Valkyrie had one final image of him before the door shut: staring after them and looking…frozen, uncertain.
“I don’t think he’s coming,” Valkyrie said.
The bathroom was small, with only two stalls and two sinks and a little stretch of wall across from them that Natasha leaned back against.
“Believe it or not,” Natasha said, “I don’t actually care about him right now.”
She opened her arms, and Valkyrie stepped into them, lips parting for a kiss. To her surprise, Natasha ignored her mouth altogether, far more focused on clasping Valkyrie’s hand and drawing it under the bottom of her dress and up toward her groin. Valkyrie’s jaw dropped. Natasha was completely bare underneath, the skin of her vulva smooth and—Valkyrie groaned—wet. So very wet. Her labia and even the tops of her thighs were slick with it.
Valkyrie traced her slit, gathering the wetness on her fingertips, and when Natasha lifted one leg, hooking it around Valkyrie’s waist, Valkyrie plunged three fingers into Natasha’s cunt. It made a soft suckling sound as it opened for her, and finally Natasha kissed her, moaning into her mouth once before leaning her head back against the wall.
“Waiting for me, were you?” Valkyrie asked, fucking her gently, loving the way her hips hitched back and forth with Valkyrie’s slow rhythm.
“All goddamn day,” Natasha panted. “And when you texted me about him, I just got worse.”
“And no panties…” Valkyrie tsked. “Easy access?”
“Never said I wasn’t easy.”
The door opened, and they both turned, going still and quiet as Loki entered. His spine was straight, his chin up like he was confident and sure, yet there was something hesitant in his half-shuffling steps.
“Changed your mind?” Valkyrie asked.
He licked his lips, his gaze fixed on where Valkyrie’s hand disappeared under Natasha’s dress.
“I realized it was rude of me to turn down an invitation.” He paused, shifting his weight. “Assuming the invitation is still open, of course.”
“Still open,” Natasha said. She rolled her hips, encouraging Valkyrie back into motion. “Since you’re late, though, you’re going to have to—”
Valkyrie purposely nailed her sweet spot, just once, wanting Loki to hear the way her voice caught.
“—uhn, mm…wait until the next round.”
“Not a problem,” Loki said. One side of his lips curled up into a smirk, although it seemed weaker than usual. “Please, don’t stop on my account.”
Valkyrie realized she’d paused again and got swiftly back to it, fingering Natasha’s cunt and digging the heel of her hand into Natasha’s clit until she came. It was a weak orgasm, Valkyrie could tell—probably because all she’d done was stand and take it—but Natasha didn’t seem to mind. And through it all, Loki watched, looking hungry but shy.
“Come here,” Natasha said. “You can clean me if you want.”
He warred with himself. Valkyrie could see, and Natasha probably could too, how he seemed to simultaneously long to be a part of them at the same time he hated that they’d offered it to him. Finally, he knelt in his nice Earth clothes on the floor and crawled to Natasha. When she parted her thighs and lifted a leg for him in invitation, he dove straight in and buried his face in her slit.
Valkyrie wished she could see more of what he was doing, how and where exactly he was using his tongue, but watching Natasha’s expression almost made up for it. She bit her lip and closed her eyes, her head tipping back, exposing the long line of her throat. Eventually, her brows knit, and her features puckered with frustration. Valkyrie read that look easily: she wanted to take control.
A second later, Natasha was gripping Loki’s hair and shoving him lower. Her cunt, Valkyrie thought. She’s getting his tongue inside her. Loki moaned at the rough treatment, and Natasha echoed him more quietly. She hitched her leg higher, baring herself even more for his mouth. Valkyrie saw her opportunity and came closer, grabbed Natasha’s thigh, and held it for her. One less thing for her to worry about as she held Loki’s head in place and ground herself against his face.
Natasha’s eyes met Valkyrie’s, dark with pleasure and lust. Valkyrie bent to kiss that soft, plump bottom lip, then bit it. She only let go when Natasha tore herself away with a groan as she came.
Loki looked a mess when he stood again, cheeks pink, his hair mussed, and his chin and cupid’s bow glistening. He watched them, saying nothing, making no gestures toward the erection that was tenting his trousers. Valkyrie was suddenly certain that he would ignore it if they did, no matter how badly he might be aching to come after that.
You don’t submit to anyone, Valkyrie thought smugly. Yeah, sure you don’t.
“So,” she said, lowering Natasha’s leg, “how was he?”
Natasha shrugged. “Not much finesse.”
Loki gave her a sour look. “I have plenty of finesse.”
“It wasn’t a complaint,” Natasha said. “I don’t need finesse.”
“No,” Valkyrie agreed. “Really, all she needs or wants is someone to use. I guess he works nicely?”
Natasha’s voice was low and rough when she said, “Yes. But I’m not the only one who appreciates that.”
Loki got the message loud and clear. He kissed Valkyrie first, let her lick the taste of Natasha from his lips, and then was back on his knees, helping her out of her bottoms, and getting right to work when Valkyrie gave him half an opening.
It was like how Valkyrie sometimes tried to eat Natasha: gentle licking and suckling of all the places that only felt mildly good. Valkyrie had never understood Natasha’s frustration with that more than now. She had just watched Natasha use Loki like he was nothing but a toy for her pleasure. She didn’t need foreplay; she needed to ease the deep ache in her groin.
She was probably as rough as Natasha, hauling him right to her clit and keeping him there. She rocked against him, sampling his tongue, finding the perfect stretch to drag her clit back and forth against.
“See?” Natasha said. “He’s good, isn’t he?”
Her hand joined Valkyrie’s in Loki’s hair, and Loki moaned, accepting their control.
“Listen to him,” Natasha murmured. “And we’re just getting started. Imagine the sounds he’ll make when you fuck him.”
Valkyrie came, practically mashing Loki’s face against her, making him feel every throb and twitch of her body against his tongue.
This time, he didn’t even stand. He remained on the floor when they let him go, his eyes closed and his fists clenched on his knees.
“What do you say, Val?” Natasha said. “How did he do? Good enough for a reward?”
Valkyrie didn’t have to consider what she wanted to see next. “Let him fuck you.”
Natasha’s lip curled down. She probably wanted to play more, to tease him longer. Tough fucking luck, Valkyrie thought, trying to communicate as much with her stare. You’re not the only person here.
“Does he have to come?” Natasha said.
“Oh no. That’s not necessary at all.”
“Do I get a say in this?” Loki asked, glancing between them.
“Do you want one?” said Natasha. “Aren’t you the god of chaos? I thought you’d appreciate the uncertainty.”
Loki sneered. “And you, do you enjoy pretending that a god has subjugated himself for your whims?”
“Is this pretending?” Valkyrie said. “It certainly feels real. Either way, get up and fuck her, or tell us to stop. Those are your options.”
As Loki lifted himself unsteadily to his feet, unzipped his fly, and took out his cock, Natasha told him, “Don’t forget that you will not come. If you do, I promise you I will take you back to my apartment and whip you until you can’t walk.”
Loki paused, his hand on his prick. It was long but not thick, and it twitched in his grip, dribbling precome. “Is that meant to dissuade me?” he asked hoarsely.
Valkyrie wanted to laugh more from triumph than anything. He was giving in, getting comfortable, being exactly what they’d thought he would be.
Natasha only said, “Don’t test me, Loki.”
He came closer, and she hopped into his arms and let him pin her to the wall. His coat blocked much of Valkyrie’s view, so she had to rely on their faces and noises to tell her when he had finally begun to fill her. Natasha sucked in a breath at the same time that he exhaled in a whoosh, and he dropped his forehead to her shoulder with a grunt and started to thrust, slow and testing at first.
Valkyrie had already brought her hand between her legs and was rolling her clit between two fingers, aroused again, wanting to make herself come while she watched.
“Don’t hold back,” Natasha said, stroking Loki’s hair away from his face. “I’m not going to get much from this, so just take what you want as long as you don’t come.”
The noise Loki made was almost a whimper. He fucked her hard enough that Natasha’s back pounded against the wall and her mouth twisted—in pain or pleasure, Valkyrie couldn’t tell—but she didn’t protest. She kept muttering encouragement, things like “Does it feel as good as you thought it would?” and “You deserve this. You ate me so well” and even—Norns help me, Valkyrie thought—“That’s it. Let Valkyrie hear you.”
Her voice rattled with his thrusts, and he was gasping wetly into her shoulder as he moved faster and rougher until eventually he froze, shaking against her. Valkyrie came at the sight, leaning against the wall herself and biting her lip to muffle her cry.
“You just barely managed that,” Natasha said disapprovingly. “I can feel you, you know. You’re twitching.”
“Stop speaking,” Loki snapped, and without hesitation, Natasha shoved him away.
She only had to glance at Valkyrie before Valkyrie was replacing him, pushing her hand between Natasha’s legs. His cock was too thin; he hadn’t stretched her like she liked. So now she took four of Valkyrie’s fingers with a grateful moan.
“That’s it,” Valkyrie said. “Rub that pretty clit and let me feel you come.”
It took Natasha maybe a minute to finish herself, and Valkyrie was vividly, eerily aware of Loki still panting a short distance behind her, watching them. Did he find them as hot as she found him and Natasha? Was it killing him now not to get himself off like Valkyrie had done when she’d watched them?
Even Valkyrie’s wrist and forearm were wet when she eventually drew back and looked at Loki. His cock was still out and hard, flushed a deep red, and his eyes were wide and bright.
“Okay?” Valkyrie couldn’t help but ask when he only continued to stare at them, saying nothing.
He swallowed and seemed to shake himself out of his stupor. “You’ll have to try a lot harder than that,” he said as he tucked his erection away, “if you mean to break me.”
“Sounds like a challenge,” Valkyrie said as she, too, began to put her clothes back on.
When they were all more or less respectable, Natasha kissed Valkyrie briefly and then said, “So, lunch?”
“Lunch?” Loki sounded scandalized. “I don’t—”
“It’s a tradition at this point,” Natasha said sternly. “Valkyrie comes here, and I pick her up and take her to lunch. I’m not about to change that just because you’re here too.”
Loki tightened his jaw, looking chastised and irritable about it, but he jerked his head in a nod. “Very well. After you.”
“Do I need to worry about someone recognizing you?” Natasha asked in the car.
Loki was in the back seat, gazing boredly out the window. Occasionally he kicked the bottom of Valkyrie’s seat, but at such an infrequent rate she suspected it was accidental. Natasha’s car was fairly small, after all.
“No,” he said. “My features will seem an insignificant blur to any who look at me.”
“Huh,” said Natasha. “More magic? Genuine question, by the way. I’m not mocking you.”
Valkyrie watched him in the mirror outside her window. He shifted and again came a light knock to the back of her seat, but he didn’t seem to be paying attention. He was frowning, and he sounded sullen when he answered. “Does it matter?”
“Not really,” Natasha said. “I’m just curious. Plus, it’s one of the few topics I can think of that aren’t loaded. Or so I thought, anyway. Clearly I was wrong.”
Loki said nothing to that, returning to staring silently out the window. Natasha dipped her sunglasses low on her nose so she could share a glance with Valkyrie: Valkyrie thinking sarcastically Well, that went well and Natasha seeming to concur.
They arrived at the restaurant, which was one of the places that served what Natasha called “brunch” and Valkyrie called “delicious.” Loki narrowed his eyes at the sign out front, the décor, and even the man who seated them.
But when they were settled in a booth—Natasha and Valkyrie on one side, Loki on the other—he said, “It’s an illusion, as is the spell I’ve cast so our conversation cannot be overheard.”
Even Valkyrie was impressed by that. In her experience at least, you usually saw or felt an enchantment being cast, but she’d noticed nothing now.
Natasha slipped off her sunglasses, folded them, and set them on the table. “How’d you cast them?”
“A combination of gestures and intent for illusions of this nature. It’s largely intuitive. Children, for example, might invoke similar effects by nothing but wishing very, very strongly not to be noticed.
“Children like you?” Valkyrie wondered. She couldn’t imagine someone as attention-hungry as Loki wanting to just disappear from notice. Then again, she hadn’t known him as a child or seen what he’d grown up with.
It was possible some of her thoughts showed in her expression or her tone, since he shot her a flinty-eyed glance as he said, “Not often.”
Natasha passed him a menu, which he curled his lip at but accepted and flipped through. They ordered their food when the waiter returned: an omelet and toast for Natasha, french toast and potatoes for Valkyrie, and chocolate pancakes for Loki.
When they were alone again, Loki clasped his hands and rested them on the table, leaning forward with a tight smile. “Perhaps we might take advantage of the privacy and anonymity I’ve granted us.” His smile turned dirty, his eyes practically gleaming. “If you understand my meaning.”
“I’m not into exhibition,” Natasha said.
Loki’s grin widened. “That is not my meaning.”
Valkyrie added, “I think he wants to…continue negotiations.”
Loki inclined his head, and Natasha said, “Ah.” She took a sip of her coffee. “Somehow I thought you wouldn’t want to talk about it.”
Valkyrie agreed. “You’re not exactly the sharing sort.”
He sat back, and Valkyrie thought he might’ve been slightly offended. “I acknowledge the importance of ensuring there are no misunderstandings.”
“Mature of you,” Natasha said.
He was definitely offended now. Valkyrie thought with some humor that if he’d been a cat his fur would have stood up along his spine.
Natasha continued before he could jump in. “But all right. Let’s talk. And since you brought it up, you can start.”
Loki didn’t answer immediately. Finally, he said, with a space between each word like he was choosing his phrasing very carefully, “You want a pet between the two of you. I—” A long pause then, as he swallowed and his face twisted slightly. “—I am more accustomed to being seen as an equal, if not a better, in these situations, although I…”
He shook his head, looking suddenly helpless, his words leaving him completely.
It hurt Valkyrie, somehow. “Being our pet doesn’t mean not being an equal,” she said kindly and looked to Natasha for confirmation.
Natasha rested her elbows on the table. “That’s true. It doesn’t. I thought you must’ve done this sort of thing before. If I’d known you hadn’t—”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he hissed. “You misunderstand me.”
“Okay,” Natasha said. Her voice was soft and soothing in that way it had been on New Asgard, when Loki had gotten upset during dinner. “Then correct me.”
He shook his head again. “I will not be your pet. I will not be your plaything.”
Valkyrie said before he went any further, “Stop focusing on what you won’t be. What do you want to be?”
Under the table, Natasha’s thigh pressed against hers. Approving of her tactic, maybe, or just reminding Valkyrie that they were still together, whether they were with or against Loki.
“You’re eating with us,” Natasha said. “And you’re talking with us without violence or threats, so I assume you’re comfortable with that.”
Loki hesitated, squinting warily, then nodded once.
“And you seemed to enjoy oral sex and vaginal penetration. Or was I wrong about that?”
Loki pressed his lips together. “You were not.”
“Did it bother you when I told you you’d have to wait until later to come?”
Another lip press, and he glanced away. “Not…overly much.”
Natasha made a small humming sound that seemed both thoughtful and purposely comforting. “You didn’t like the idea of being tied up the other night. Does that idea still bother you, or would it help to know that we would let you go the second you told us to?”
“You could not hold me,” he said. “I would have no difficulty breaking free, which would render any attempt—”
“Loki,” Valkyrie sighed. “Just answer her.”
Loki scowled but said, “I could…perhaps…be convinced.”
Natasha was pleased by that; Valkyrie could hear it in her tone even if her expression hadn’t changed. “What about anal penetration? You being on the receiving end, that is.”
Loki lowered his eyes to the table, and his voice was small when he answered. “Again, I could be…convinced.”
“And if we hurt you,” Valkyrie said, “or had you do things that weren’t exactly comfortable?”
“Again,” Natasha added quickly, “with the understanding that you could refuse or tell us to stop at any time.”
“My…” He licked his lips. “My answer is the same.”
This was turning Valkyrie on, which seemed silly. It was a basic interrogation, even if the topic was sexual. But something about Loki’s obvious discomfort, and the fact that it was her and Natasha working together to make him that way… She squeezed her thighs together, relished the spark of pleasure she got from it.
“Would you look at us,” Natasha said, “exactly the way you’re looking at the table right now? Like you’re so nervous and turned on you don’t know what to do with yourself?”
Loki’s shoulders hunched slightly, but he met Natasha’s eyes and—yes, Valkyrie saw it then. The arousal and the anxiety, but also the determination and the pride he still clung to despite the shame he so clearly felt from Natasha’s words.
Their order arrived, but even their waiter and the steaming food on the table didn’t fully break the moment. Loki still gazed at Natasha, his expression hardly having changed at all, and none of them reached for their cutlery.
“If it makes you feel better,” Natasha said, “you’re turning Valkyrie on right now.”
Valkyrie jabbed her with an elbow. “I’m not the only one, thank you. Are you regretting not wearing panties yet?”
Natasha looked at her, a ghost of a smile passing over her lips. “They’d be ruined now anyway.” She unfolded her napkin-wrapped silverware and dug into her omelet.
Loki’s cheeks were pink now, which both amused Valkyrie and made her want to try for red.
“Natasha doesn’t get wet,” she told him. “She gets drenched. You’ve had a taste of it, but you still probably don’t understand. Damp spots on the sheets, stains on your clothes. It gets everywhere. You’ll smell like her for days.”
It wasn’t quite red, but the pink had darkened to more of a rose color when he averted his eyes and reached for his own napkin. His voice, though, was calm and even arrogant when he said, “I see. I look forward to it.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” Natasha said as she shut her apartment door behind them, “your safe words are ‘no,’ ‘stop,’ ‘wait,’ and so on. If you want an actual, traditional word, you can choose one and use it, but in any activity, I’m stopping the moment it seems like you’re not into it. Okay?”
It seemed fair enough, so Valkyrie nodded to indicate she’d be doing the same.
“All right,” Loki said, but he appeared mystified as he glanced around Natasha’s living room. “You’ve brought me to your home.”
Natasha shrugged out of her jacket, baring her strong arms and shoulders. “One of them.”
Valkyrie still hadn’t asked about that, she realized, but she also hesitated to do so in front of Loki.
“You’re revealing your home,” said Loki, “to me.”
The implications of that hadn’t occurred to Valkyrie until this moment, but she could see from the intensity in Natasha’s gaze that it had to her.
“Are you going to make me regret it, Loki?”
He looked away, seeming almost angry. “I could. And your teammates’ new base as well. I could do any number of nefarious things with that information.”
“You could,” Natasha said lightly, “and I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t occurred to me. But Thor trusts you, Valkyrie trusts you, and it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
“Honestly,” Valkyrie said, thinking of the giant A on top of the New Avengers Facility, “I don’t think they’d be terribly difficult to find.”
“Yeah, that too,” Natasha said. “Do you want anything to drink?”
“If it’s all the same to you,” Loki said, and then he was taking of his jacket also, revealing the stiff-looking shirt underneath, “I’d prefer to just get on with it.”
“Get on with it,” Valkyrie repeated, amused. “We don’t just have sex all the time, you know.”
“We kind of do,” Natasha said, and yes, all right, it was a lot of how they spent their time. But not all of it. There was also sparring and talking, generally enjoying each other’s company.
But as Loki continued to undress, now undoing each shirt button slowly, as though he knew precisely what a tempting package he made, Valkyrie decided she didn’t care enough to argue. If Loki wanted to get immediately to the sex, then that’s what they would do.
Natasha, it seemed, had other plans. “All right,” she said evenly. “Let’s see what we have to work with.”
Loki’s hands had paused with the buttons only half-undone, and Natasha chuckled, running her fingers up one of his sleeves, which made him shiver.
“No,” she said, “you had the right idea. Keep going.”
Sensing that she was about to get a show, Valkyrie flopped onto the sofa and, seeing that Loki was now hastily removing his clothes, decided to shuck her own while she waited. Loki noticed her as he was easing his trousers down his hips. His eyes were so dark and intense it just added to her feeling that, whatever was going to happen with him, it was going to be really good.
Natasha stepped around him and nuzzled his jaw, distracting him. “She wants to watch,” she said. “Let her.”
“You care very much about what she wants,” he muttered, kicking his trousers off and then his pants, revealing his hard, ruddy cock, which twitched as Natasha nipped his chin.
“Does that surprise you?” she asked. “That I want her to get what she wants just as I want me to?”
He was leaning into her, ducking his head to kiss her, and then snorting when she dodged him effortlessly. “And what is it that you want?”
Natasha slanted her eyes to Valkyrie, who spread her legs as encouragement, letting Natasha see how flushed she was there, how aroused and ready to enjoy whatever Natasha gave her.
“Like I said—” Natasha turned back to Loki. “—let me see what you’ve given us to work with.”
Then she circled Loki, peering at him, examining him like he was a specimen for sale and she was suspicious of the asking price. Valkyrie bit her lip at the thought and cupped her vulva with one hand, feeling how the skin was hot and swollen and, just past her labia, how slick. Not as wet as Natasha could get, but soaked for Valkyrie. She swiveled her hips and felt the ache of her clit and that slick sensation near her hole.
Natasha came to a stop behind Loki, her arm wrapped around his shoulders, her palm against his sternum. He was slender, but not skinny. There was muscle there, as defined as Natasha or Valkyrie herself. He was watching Valkyrie, his gaze fixed on her swiveling hips like he wanted to pin them in place so he could look his fill.
Natasha stroked over his pec and curved her fingers so it was her nails passing over his flat nipples. His chest hitched, and his eyes drifted shut, his lips going soft and puckered as he parted them.
“Hmm,” said Natasha. “Sensitive?”
His cock jumped and his mouth opened wider when Natasha scraped a fingernail over his nipple again. It was harder this time, leaving a trail of pink on his skin.
Yes, Valkyrie thought, dipping her middle finger past her labia, feeling the wetness there. Hurt him. She’d never thought of herself as a sadist before, not really, but the hunger she felt at the idea of Loki hurting for her and Natasha was vast.
Natasha hummed thoughtfully, still playing her part, pretending to judge him. “There’s strength in the muscles here, and—” She clasped his upper arm, not nearly harsh enough for Valkyrie’s liking. “—here too.”
“I—” Loki’s voice croaked, sounding unusually loud after several minutes of Natasha’s seductive purr. He cleared his throat and tried again. “I don’t know what you’re doing, but—”
“But you like it,” Natasha said, and oh, there was the harshness. Her sudden grip on his chin looked tight enough to bruise as she swung Loki to face her.
Valkyrie whimpered, pinching her clit, feeling it pulse with sensation, and Natasha had to dig her fingertips in to keep Loki from turning to look.
“Don’t you?” Natasha said softly. “You think we don’t see how much you want to be admired?”
His throat bobbed. “This is not admiration. This is…toying.”
“Ah, that again.” Natasha let go, and he looked instantly off-balance and—dare Valkyrie think it—disappointed. “And you don’t want to be a plaything. I remember. So…you want to stop here, when I haven’t even gotten to the best part?” She closed her fingers around his erection, and he moaned, gripping her shoulder as though he needed it to keep standing. “Hmm. You think this could satisfy me?”
She swiped her thumb over the tip, pressing just slightly into the dribbling slit, and Valkyrie flicked her clit, thinking Norns, yes, hurt him there. But Natasha didn’t, and pumped the shaft instead as Loki swayed toward her with a keening sound.
“You didn’t do so good earlier.”
“You hardly gave me the opportunity,” Loki said through gritted teeth. “Give me another, and I’ll—”
Natasha spoke over him. “Do better? I hope so. We had such high hopes for you, Loki. Didn’t we, Val?”
Valkyrie was shaking as much as Loki now, wanting things she wasn’t even sure she could name. But she drew herself together long enough to say, “Oh yeah.” This time, when he tried to look at her, Natasha allowed it. “Very, very high hopes.”
“Let me—” Loki broke off, biting his lip.
“Let you do what?” Natasha asked. There was something false and mocking in her seemingly soothing tone, something that made Valkyrie groan and Loki shudder and lick his lips—a movement that Natasha caught just as Valkyrie did. “Taste her again?”
“Yes, do,” Valkyrie said, although she doubted she would last long. She could already feel her orgasm hovering just at the periphery, waiting for her to allow it.
“She certainly seems to want it,” Loki said, but his smugness was ruined by his flush and the way his cock jumped and let loose another trickle of precome, which dripped onto the floor.
Natasha surprised Valkyrie probably as much as Loki when she roughly nudged the back of his calf with her foot and sent him to the carpet on his knees and hands. His eyes were wide, a little awed as he looked up at Natasha, which drove Valkyrie’s lust higher.
Natasha smiled, simpering, and grabbed a chunk of his hair. “She does,” she said. “So give it to her.”
She tugged him once in Valkyrie’s direction and then let go, leaving Loki to crawl himself to a spot on the floor at Valkyrie’s feet. Valkyrie grabbed that same chunk of hair, which was mussed from Natasha’s handling, and used it to haul him between her thighs.
He didn’t tease or play this time. He flattened his tongue over her clit and waited for her to move him as she liked, which just made Valkyrie hotter. She wound her legs around his shoulders and tightened them, smothering his face against her. He moaned low and rumbly against her clit, and Valkyrie clutched her breast with her free hand and gave the soft flesh a squeeze.
She was only vaguely aware of Natasha sinking onto the sofa beside her, leaning in, taking her mouth in a kiss. Valkyrie couldn’t help but bite Natasha’s lips just a bit, thinking of Loki and how he would bruise and moan under her teeth, and then she came, grunting against Natasha’s sweet bottom lip.
“Good,” Natasha murmured when Valkyrie let go. “That looked good.”
It was, but it wasn’t. Valkyrie felt scrambled by it, simultaneously wanting just this and wanting more. She loosened her thighs and let Loki free. Her pubic hair had left friction burn around his mouth, and his eyes shone even brighter with need.
“Is there a bed?” he asked hoarsely.
Valkyrie touched his hair gently, stroking where before she had pulled, and he arched into her hand once before looking deeply embarrassed at himself.
“Yeah,” Natasha said, sounding amused. “This way.”
Loki walked gingerly to the bedroom, like he was sore, and it took Valkyrie entirely too long to realize it was because he was still hard, his erection a deep almost-purple now that must’ve hurt as much as it felt good.
As Natasha stood in front of the bed and stripped off her clothes, Valkyrie touched his cock, stroking the shaft as Natasha had done. She was amused when he responded exactly as he had before, gripping her shoulder and swaying toward her as he moaned weakly.
She hadn’t had a dick in her hand in a very long time. It was softer than she imagined and more…alive, throbbing like a heart against her palm.
“Poor thing,” she said. “We’ve left you like this for hours, haven’t we?”
“You have been—” He thinned his lips, his forehead wrinkling as she stroked him again. “Mm. Tremendously cruel.”
If you think that’s cruel… She smiled deviously. “And how do you want us to make up for that?”
To her surprise, he stilled—aside from his hips, at least, which still pumped his prick into her fist as though he couldn’t help himself. “I…can think of nothing I won’t allow,” he said, shocking her even more.
“Dangerous words,” Natasha said. She was nude now, brushing out the waves in her hair as she watched them. Her nipples were taut, Valkyrie saw, either from the chill in the room or her arousal. Either way, they needed a mouth.
Valkyrie gave it to them, leaving Loki behind to suck first one nipple and then the other between her lips. Natasha sighed, cupping the back of Valkyrie’s head, and pushed her breasts into Valkyrie’s mouth and hands.
She wanted to keep going, to fuck Natasha with her fingers while she played with her tits, but more than that she wanted to watch Loki fuck her again. She drew back and glanced over her shoulder.
His lust had splintered slightly, replaced by uncertainty, although when he caught her eye, it disappeared again. “Yes?” he asked, raising an eyebrow, laying the arrogance on too thick for her to fully buy it. “For the moment at least, I believe I am at your service.”
Only for the moment? she thought, but…well, that was getting ahead of herself. They hadn’t talked about anything beyond this visit, nor was she keen to now.
She turned back to Natasha. “Fuck yourself on him.” She meant to phrase it as a question or at least a request, but it came out a demand, which made Natasha knit her brow.
“Excuse me?” Natasha said, but despite her disapproving expression, there was humor in her tone.
Valkyrie answered it with a smile. “Do you have a better idea?”
“Hmm.” Natasha peered at Loki, sweeping her gaze up and down like she was judging him anew.
She sidled past Valkyrie and touched the faint pink scratch Loki still had across his pec. She traced the length of it and then pinched his nipple, which made him groan softly.
“If he begs nicely enough,” Natasha said.
Valkyrie held her breath, already anticipating Loki’s vehement refusal. Which was probably why Natasha had said it—she liked to push buttons. And she’s good at it, Valkyrie reminded herself.
Sure enough, Loki jerked out of Natasha’s reach, his mouth going small and tight and his eyes narrowing. “And if I say no?”
Natasha shrugged one shoulder. “Then we find something else to do.”
She closed the distance he’d put between them, her fingers dipping into his collarbones and then gliding upward to his throat. His lashes fluttered. He liked Natasha’s touch, just as much as Valkyrie did.
“I wouldn’t mind your mouth again,” Natasha said musingly and brushed her fingers over his lips. When he parted them, she slipped the thumb inside.
He sucked on it, bobbing his head like he was sucking on a cock, and he kept his eyes open, staring right into Natasha’s. Watching them was just as satisfying as Valkyrie had thought it would be. She’d rub herself off right now if she didn’t think it would distract them.
“But,” Natasha said, sliding her thumb free, “I do love something inside me. Don’t I?” She aimed the last part at Valkyrie, who had to swallow before she could answer.
“She does…and you’ve felt how wet and tight she is.”
“His fingers don’t look bad,” Natasha said. “Long, agile.”
“Better than his cock, you think?”
“More flexible at least. He could do more with them.”
“He,” Loki interjected dryly, “is still right here.”
“Yes,” Natasha said, “but you still haven’t answered me one way or the other.”
He didn’t seem any nearer to it now, either, so Valkyrie decided to do a little pushing of her own. “I think you’re right,” she said. “He likes being admired. It turned him on, listening to you judge his… Hm. His value.”
“My value?” Loki bared his teeth, but Natasha cut him off.
“How much do you think he’s worth, then?”
“In Sakaarian units?” Valkyrie asked, because she still didn’t have a good handle on Earth money. There were too many different types. “Hmm…five million?”
“Only five million?” Loki said, sounding disgusted.
But Natasha said, “That sounds like a lot. Hmm. There must be something worth paying for.” She backed up until she reached the bed, and crawled onto it. “Let’s try those fingers, shall we?”
Loki hesitated, frowning like he was trying to decide how insulted he should feel, but he gave in without comment and followed her, looking wary but determined.
It took maneuvering for the two of them to find a position that suited Natasha. As they did, it struck Valkyrie for the first time that the mattress was a bit small. It might have been fine for her and Natasha, but if they were going to be adding Loki, even temporarily—
She’d barely thought it before the mattress was quivering, one side stretching until it met the wall.
She huffed. “You can make beds larger. Of course you can. Yet you left all the cots on New Asgard as they were.”
“It’s not a permanent spell,” Loki said indignantly, moving into the center of the mattress. “It requires frequent recasting.”
“Right. Lazy,” Valkyrie muttered, joining them.
Natasha seemed neither concerned nor particularly impressed that her bed was now much wider, too focused on making sure that Loki’s legs were straight before she straddled his lap. With a hand on his wrist, she drew him between her thighs.
Valkyrie heard the moment that Loki’s fingers slipped into Natasha’s cunt. Saw it on their faces too, the pleasure on Natasha’s and the raw hunger on Loki’s. Valkyrie knew that hunger. It was why she and Natasha spent so much time in bed, why Valkyrie couldn’t get enough.
“Norns,” Loki said, sounding wrecked.
Valkyrie crawled behind him and knelt there, holding his tense shoulders as Natasha rocked her hips back and forth, and side to side, Loki’s fingers making soft wet noises as they thrust inside of her.
Valkyrie brushed her lips against his ear, making him shudder. “How many fingers?”
Natasha was the one who answered. “Two.”
She was still entirely too coherent, Valkyrie thought. “Give her another.”
Natasha’s sigh when he complied was one of relief, and her hands found Valkyrie’s on Loki’s shoulders.
“Good,” Valkyrie told him. “Let her use you. She likes that.”
“I’m beginning to see a pattern here,” Loki said, but his voice was trembling.
Then Natasha moaned quietly, a sound that Loki echoed, and none of them said anything as Natasha ground her cunt onto his hand.
It lasted longer than Valkyrie thought it would, although soon enough the pleasure in Natasha’s expression tightened to something closer to the frustration that Valkyrie recognized. She wanted control; she wanted to get herself off as only she knew how.
Loki seemed to realize it too, or at least to realize something wasn’t right, because he finally said, his voice wavering more heavily now, “I’m worth rather more than five million, don’t you think? You should take me. I’m practically a steal.”
“Yeah?” Natasha glanced down to where Loki’s cock was stiff and purplish. “Are you?”
Just say it, Valkyrie thought, hooking her chin over Loki’s shoulder so she could see his expression, his eyes squeezed shut as he seemed to war silently with himself. Just give in.
He licked his lips and said, without opening his eyes, “Please,” so quietly Valkyrie had to strain to hear it despite being so close.
“Please what, Loki?”
Loki screwed his face up and looked so pained that Valkyrie’s gut clenched with want.
“Please,” he said more strongly, “fuck yourself on me.”
Natasha smiled, and it appeared almost sweet, although Valkyrie knew there was more behind it. She said nothing, though, just removed Loki’s fingers, lifted onto her knees, and held his cock in one hand.
Valkyrie was glad for her position behind him. This way, she could feel every movement, hear every noise, and see exactly what he saw. Plus, she wanted to ensure he kept his hands to himself.
As soon as Natasha began to sink onto Loki’s cock, he tried to reach for her, to grab her hips. And although he snarled when Valkyrie held his arms in place, he didn’t fight her and lay more or less still while Natasha got settled and comfortable.
It was, Valkyrie thought, not terribly different from Natasha riding her while she was wearing a strap-on. Except, perhaps, even more gratifying, somehow.
Natasha looked like a goddess above them, the overhead light making her hair gleam. Her shoulders were back, her tits thrust forward, and the muscles in her thighs worked beautifully as she began to undulate.
Loki shook in Valkyrie’s grip, his head dropping back and knocking her jaw. She transferred his wrists to one hand and brought the other to his throat, holding him there.
“Aren’t you glad you begged?” she murmured into his ear.
His answering groan rumbled against her palm.
“Word of advice, Loki. It’s usually easier to just let either of us have what we want. Ah-ah, no,” she said, because he’d tried to thrust up, nearly interrupting Natasha’s rhythm. “What did I just say? Let her use you.”
His moan was long and whining, but he didn’t move again. He sat there in Valkyrie’s possession as Natasha fucked herself up and down on his cock. Her cheeks were flushed, her breasts bouncing. She wasn’t touching her clit yet. Still trying to find the right speed and angle, maybe, Valkyrie thought.
She nearly moaned herself as she remembered again that it was Loki’s cock inside Natasha. Loki feeling every slip and clench of her cunt in a way that Valkyrie couldn’t.
“If you come before she does,” Valkyrie said, deathly serious, “I’ll make sure you regret it.”
Loki’s cry was frustrated but beautiful. He wrenched his head to one side despite Valkyrie’s grip on his throat. Trying not to watch so he didn’t lose himself? Or maybe he was just embarrassed by his own need. Valkyrie kissed his temple once, fleetingly, and his whole body twitched as he gasped.
“Fuck,” Natasha said suddenly. “Oh, fuck.” She leaned back, one hand braced on Loki’s thigh, and the other she finally brought to her clit.
As she started to rub, Loki trembled and whimpered.
“She’s clenching, isn’t she?” Valkyrie asked. She could almost feel it, the memory of Natasha clamping down on her fingers. “Good boy. See how you’re making her feel.”
Loki shook harder, and his upper back arched. His wrists twisted in Valkyrie’s grasp. “Please,” he said, sounding pained. “Please, oh, please.”
Natasha was moving faster, her thigh muscles tensing, her expression going tight and pinched. She was right there, so close.
“Come on, Nat,” Valkyrie told her. “Let him feel you come.”
With one final, heartfelt “fuck,” Natasha did just that, and Loki sobbed and yanked at his hands. It took all of Valkyrie’s strength to keep him in place, making him moan louder.
Natasha’s hips moved in tiny hitching thrusts as she rode out the aftershocks, and when she was done, she nearly fell forward, only her hands on Loki’s chest keeping her up. Loki stopped struggling, although he still didn’t quiet. Strangled groan after strangled groan spilled from his lips.
“You feel that, Loki?” Natasha said.
“I…uhnn. Mm. I…”
Valkyrie laughed breathily, and even Natasha smiled—a full, unrestrained smile.
“Yeah,” said Natasha. “You feel how wet you made me? Letting me use you, just like Valkyrie said.”
One strong rock of her hips was enough to push him over, and he went utterly, completely silent as she shook in Valkyrie’s arms.
When he came down from his orgasm, Valkyrie let him go, and Natasha climbed off.
Awkwardness fell then, although it was short and broken when Loki said, breezily, as though his chest wasn’t still heaving, his hair wild, “Well, that wasn’t nearly as trying as I’d imagined.”
When Valkyrie woke in the morning, the sun wasn’t quite risen yet, the sky only just beginning to lighten—and Loki was gone, the bed back to its normal size. She wasn’t surprised. If anything, the fact that he’d stayed the full day had been more unexpected than him disappearing before the morning.
She might have wished they’d squeezed in one more round—something more in line with the fantasies she’d been having—but they had not. Loki had licked his own come out of Natasha, eaten Valkyrie once more while Natasha directed him, and then Valkyrie had rewarded him by jerking him off while Natasha watched. By that point, it had been dark, and Valkyrie had felt lethargic.
She frowned at the memory, at all the lost opportunities, and rolled over to find Natasha awake as well, scrolling through something on her cell phone.
“He didn’t sleep here, did he?” Valkyrie said, propping herself on her elbow.
Natasha shook her head, not glancing up. “He was up and gone before I even drifted off last night.”
“Huh.” Valkyrie flopped back down.
“He’ll be back,” Natasha said.
“You really think so?”
Natasha set the phone aside. “We’re not done with him, and he knows that. And I don’t think he’s done with us either.”
Good, Valkyrie thought, although she said nothing. She might not have been surprised by him leaving, but she was surprised by how disappointed she was.
But she didn’t want to dwell too much on that. Not today, when she felt sore and raw from sex and when Natasha was still lying beside her, beautiful and even more suited to Valkyrie than she could’ve imagined.
“Do you want to train?” she asked instead.
Natasha sat up, tossing the sheets off of her. “Sure. You brought your sword, didn’t you?”
Valkyrie had, and it was with Dragonfang that they sparred: Valkyrie first letting Natasha hold it, showing her how the Valkyrie had been trained to wield their weapons, before she took it back, Natasha retrieved a thin metal club that crackled with lightning, and they fought.
Natasha’s stick lasted longer than Valkyrie expected, but it still wasn’t a match for Dragonfang. Valkyrie struck it once in the very center, and it cracked. Another hit in the same place, and it broke right in two, which made Natasha chuckle.
“Tony designed it,” she said. “I’m looking forward to showing him what you managed to do to it in ten minutes.”
“Make it twenty,” said Valkyrie, “and let’s see what I can do to the remaining pieces?”
Natasha agreed, but only two or so had passed before a shimmering gold silhouette appeared in the corner of the boxing ring and morphed swiftly into Loki. He wore his armor again and looked more clean and refined than he had last night, his hair neat and all of his regal confidence restored.
Valkyrie tried not to show how shocked she was that he was back so soon. If Natasha felt the same, she at least recovered more quickly.
“This part of the buildings is off-limits. How did you get in here without setting off the intruder alert?”
Loki waved a hand like he was dismissing a fly. “Much as I would love to reveal all of my secrets, I…well, I would not, actually. I was disappointed to return and find you both gone. I went to fetch us all breakfast.”
“No you didn’t,” said Valkyrie, approaching him. “You panicked and ran.” On a hunch, she slashed her sword through his chest. His image rippled like a reflection on water but was not damaged. “And you’re still not even here.”
“Of course not. I’m at the apartment. I brought breakfast,” he said, as though repeating that fact would somehow sway them. Then, as Valkyrie tried to decide how to respond to that: “You’re upset.”
Valkyrie didn’t even have to think about that: of course she wasn’t. Perhaps she should have been. They had brought him into their bed, and he hadn’t even said a proper thank-you before he’d fled. But, since it was nothing she hadn’t expected, she couldn’t be upset about it.
Before she could answer, Natasha said, “That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it?”
Loki blinked. “I… What?”
Natasha only said, “We’ll be back in a bit. Can you keep breakfast warm for us?”
He was still baffled, clearly, glancing between them like he was trying to figure out their play, but he said, “Yes,” and flickered out of sight a moment later.
When Valkyrie opened her mouth to ask what that been about, Natasha made a cutting gesture in the air with her hand. Did she think Loki was still around, his reflection having gone invisible to hear what they said about him? Valkyrie supposed it was a possibility.
“Want to go a little longer before we stop?” Natasha asked.
“Of course. I still have to pulverize those things with Dragonfang, don’t I?”
When they were finished and rinsing off in the shower, Natasha said, as she ducked the back of her head under the spray of water, “We never really talked about what this was with him. If this would be an occasional sex thing or something else.”
No, Valkyrie realized. They hadn’t. It seemed obvious. “What’s there to talk about? It’s Loki. He does what he wants with no particular care for anyone else. Besides, I didn’t think you’d want anything…well, permanent, with him.”
“I didn’t. Like you said, it’s Loki. But I’m wondering now if I might’ve misjudged his motivations.”
Valkyrie saw where this was going. “You think he might actually want something more.”
They switched places, Valkyrie wetting her hair under the showerhead while Natasha stood back and watched. Valkyrie liked her hair when it was wet. It was darker, and only looked red where a few strands clung to her skin away from the rest, like thin rivulets of blood down her neck.
It made Valkyrie wonder, not for the first time, how glorious Natasha would appear in the true heat of battle, when she was fighting to kill.
“I think he might want us to want something more,” Natasha said. “Anything beyond that…your guess is as good as mine.”
Valkyrie considered that, rubbing her scalp to make sure all the shampoo had been rinsed. “Do we want that?”
Natasha hesitated. Valkyrie thought she might have felt the same as Valkyrie did: that because she hadn’t immediately flinched away from the idea, maybe there was something more there than she’d realized.
“I think,” Natasha said, speaking slowly, “we can’t answer that until we know for certain what he wants.”
Valkyrie snorted, then stepped away as Natasha reached for the conditioner. She didn’t apply it to her own hair, though, but to Valkyrie’s, massaging her scalp and making her want to purr with contentment. It took a great deal of concentration and restraint to return to the conversation at hand. “Well. Mmm. Good luck getting it out of him.”
Even though Natasha stood close enough that their bare, wet bodies brushed and Valkyrie was nearly melting under her touch, her expression was faraway.
“You have a plan,” Valkyrie guessed.
Natasha shook her head and led Valkyrie back under the spray to rinse. “Not a plan. At least not the kind where I have a particular goal in mind.”
“But you’re thinking of something.”
Natasha’s half smile was suggestive to the point of filthy. “Oh, I’m thinking of several things.”
She leaned forward, rubbed her nose against Valkyrie’s, and they kissed briefly but hotly. Valkyrie didn’t even care that she was nudged backward slightly, and that water was now pouring down her face, stinging her eyes.
Natasha drew back. Her hands framed Valkyrie’s waist, just under her rib cage. Valkyrie didn’t know if she wanted her to stroke up or down.
Natasha chose up, trailing her fingertips over the curve of Valkyrie’s breasts, her collarbones, settling her palms on either side of Valkyrie’s throat. “I think we should break him,” Natasha said. “Exactly like we’ve talked about.”
Valkyrie snickered even as her stomach swooped with excitement. “You really think he’ll let us?”
Natasha smiled fully and brushed their lips together again. “I think we can try.”
When they returned to Natasha’s apartment, Loki was on the sofa, his feet tucked under him, with a book in his lap. He wore a long, heavy green tunic that overlapped in the front—and therefore seemed to Valkyrie like more of a dressing gown than a shirt—and black trousers.
He didn’t look up from his book as he said, “Did you have fun hitting each other with sticks?”
“Did you have fun running with your tail between your legs?” Valkyrie asked.
It got her a short, unimpressed glance before he went back to pretending to read. “I did not run. I simply realized some of the…possible consequences, shall we say, of leaving Thor unexpectedly during the first stage of his new rebuilding plan.”
Natasha approached the coffee table, which housed a number of bags and plates and cups that smelt of coffee and sugar. “I guess that explains why you’re reading about architecture.”
It did—and Valkyrie was impressed that she’d been able to piece together any of what he was reading from a distance, even such a small one—but Loki seemed flustered by the comment and quickly dismissed the book from this dimension with a wave of his hand.
Natasha sat on the floor, with the table and the food between her and Loki. Valkyrie thought it might’ve been a subtle indication that she was meant to sit on the sofa, but she’d much rather join Natasha—and did.
If Loki was bothered by being alone, he didn’t show it. If anything, he seemed pleased to have the full sofa to himself.
He’d brought an assortment of breads and pastries, with still-steaming coffee for Natasha and something cold, sweet, and delicious for Valkyrie. They ate silently for a time, and Valkyrie’s thoughts wandered back to what Natasha had said: “I think we should break him.” They’d talked more on the drive back about what that meant—practically this time, the two of them planning rather than dissolving into fantasy, although the fantasy was tempting. If Loki not only allowed it but responded like they hoped he would…
“You like your carbs, huh,” Natasha said, startling Valkyrie from her reverie. When Loki only narrowed his eyes at her, she added, “There’s no hidden meaning in that, I promise. But back to rebuilding, how is New Asgard? I heard Thor’s decided to recreate aspects of Asgard here.”
That was news to Valkyrie. The plans he’d given her before she’d left had indicated nothing of the sort. Perhaps that was what all his scribblings had been for.
“Only some,” Loki said. “The palace, for instance, albeit on a smaller scale. Although, the longer we are here, the more he seems to…to miss Asgard. With not just Stark but King T’Challa now as well showing interest in the engineering and technology of Asgard, he may grow even more maudlin and change his mind yet again.”
“What was Asgard like?” Natasha asked.
The silence that fell was long and heavy, and even Valkyrie had to set aside her food and drink as memories waited in the corner of her mind, like a dog at the door howling to be let inside, to take over the house for itself. She didn’t want those memories, not now at least, and anyway the Asgard she had known was no doubt different to the Asgard that had been destroyed. And Natasha wasn’t asking her; she was asking Loki.
Finally, he said, “Golden. Beautiful. Elegant in a way that Midgard is not.” His lip curled as he lifted his own drink. It didn’t steam or smell strongly like Natasha’s coffee, but the cup’s lid prevented Valkyrie from seeing if it was the same as hers.
“There’s elegance on Earth,” said Natasha. “Maybe not that you’ve seen in the places you’ve attacked, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
Even before he’d brought the cup to his mouth, he set it down again, sneering fully now. “They weigh on your mind, do they? My crimes against your realm.”
“About as much as they seem to weigh on yours.”
Loki planted his feet on the floor and leaned forward, his expression bitter, and Valkyrie decided she didn’t want to watch them do this today. She and Natasha were meant to be breaking him, but not like this. So she said, with a sigh, “She keeps bringing it up because you keep reacting. Stop and so will she.”
Natasha shot her a fleeting smile and nudged their elbows together. “You think you know me so well,” she said, teasingly, so Valkyrie teased back.
“You’re nauseating,” Loki said. He turned away with an exaggerated grimace. “The both of you. I don’t know how anyone tolerates it.”
Valkyrie hesitated, torn about whether to bring him into the teasing, then decided to at least try. “Well, I do aspire to make you uncomfortable, so that’s not exactly a deterrence.”
“Do you?” he said lightly, still not looking at them. “You say so, repeatedly, but you haven’t lived up to your claims.”
Valkyrie shared a Well, that was easy glance with Natasha and stifled the urge to grin triumphantly. Only to pause a second later, wondering if he knew somehow what they’d discussed, if he was the one toying with them now.
Doesn’t matter, she thought. Between the two of us, it’ll be easy enough to turn the tables.
“Why, Loki,” Natasha said, “that sounded like a complaint. Or maybe a request.”
“Did it? Well, it was neither.” He turned back, and his expression was impassive. “Just a…reminder that you have declared certain things on which you have yet to deliver.”
“Are you sure you want us to deliver?” Valkyrie asked. “It wasn’t so long ago that you didn’t think you could handle it.”
Natasha said, “And that’s a challenge,” and Loki arched an eyebrow.
Then, slowly, a grin spread across his face like a tear in wet paper.
“A challenge,” he said, “that I accept.”
Which was good enough for Valkyrie, but Natasha added, “First, we need a safe word.”
He scoffed. “I thought a simple ‘no’ was suitable for your purposes.”
“You argue and fight,” said Natasha, “just for arguing and fighting’s sake. I think if I take the first signs of struggle genuinely, you’ll be disappointed, maybe even angry. Or am I wrong about that?”
Loki said nothing, but the way he glanced away, jaw clenching, was confirmation enough.
“Uh-huh.” Natasha sounded amused. “So. Safe word?”
“Mistletoe,” he said. No hesitation. He’d already been thinking about it. Or perhaps he already had one, from someone else in the past. Either way, it was a good sign.
Valkyrie shoved the remaining breakfast pastries aside so she could lean on the coffee table, letting him see exactly how pleased and eager she was. “Mistletoe. Good. Now, here’s what we’re thinking.”
“I don’t want to know,” Loki said quickly. He still wasn’t looking at them, his face turned to the side, giving them the perfect view of his pinking cheek. “I… I don’t—”
Valkyrie had expected as much but still thought she should try, just in case. “Fair enough. Anything we should avoid, then?”
He spun back to them, his scowl seeming to say How dare you, like they’d offended him by assuming he had preferences and limits.
Natasha spoke up. “You know, I’ve never cut off someone’s penis before. I’ve always kind of wanted to.”
To Valkyrie’s surprise, Loki didn’t seem disgusted by that, but rather thoughtful. His gaze became unfocused, like he was considering the possibility. “I might be able to grow it back, eventually… Although I take your point. Fine. No amputations, please. And I would prefer to avoid vivisection if at all possible.”
Valkyrie wrinkled her nose, a little alarmed that that was where his mind had gone, even if Natasha had sort of gone there first. But Natasha barely blinked.
“Noted,” she said. “Too messy anyway, and I think we should save the edge play for when we know each other a bit better.”
It didn’t escape Valkyrie’s notice that she’d implied this little arrangement would continue for at least a while longer, but if Loki did as well, he gave no indication. He rested his elbows on his knees and stared down at the carpet, rubbing one palm with the thumb of his other hand.
“Whatever you’re thinking,” Natasha said, “just spit it out.”
“I would not argue,” he said, “if you avoided chains.”
“Chain restraints?” Valkyrie said.
When he inclined his head once, Natasha asked, “But other types of restraints are fine?”
He didn’t respond immediately, rubbing his palm harder before he dropped his hands altogether and sat up, his lips twisted downward. “If there are not…” He gestured vaguely, an aborted wrist shake like he was trying to shoo something away.
“The weight or the sound?” Natasha said when it became clear he wasn’t going to say anything more.
Loki’s throat bobbed, and his lips curled even more. “Sound.”
“Okay,” she said and then, after a beat, like she had to remind herself: “Thank you for telling us.”
Under the coffee table where Loki couldn’t see, she touched Valkyrie’s leg briefly. Valkyrie understood. They’d discussed Natasha’s leather cuffs in the car, but that wouldn’t work. The cuffs had metal rings and hooked together with a metal connector; they rattled when they were moved.
Valkyrie stroked the back of Natasha’s hand, trying to communicate that she understood and it was fine. They didn’t really need to restrain him anyway.
“And pain?” said Valkyrie, which was most of what she cared about. Most of what she had come to fantasize about. Watching Natasha captivate and control him, and being allowed to hurt him herself. “You don’t mind if I knock you around a bit?”
Loki peered at her, his head cocked, and then he gave her a smile that was equal parts sunny and devious. “Oh yes,” he said, practically purring. “Please do.”
Valkyrie knew the benefits of starting slow, of working them all up to it—not to mention the benefits of lulling Loki into a pleasure-filled haze before they started to shatter him—but still, it was difficult to not just get right to the point.
Natasha, though, seemed to have no such trouble. She stripped down to her panties and tank top, then helped Loki undress completely, slowing him every time he tried to rush until it became the most listless striptease Valkyrie had ever witnessed.
Listless, yet lovely. Every inch of Loki’s skin bared was accompanied by Natasha’s sure hands nudging the clothing away, stroking him, teasing him. He was puzzled by the treatment. Valkyrie could see it on his face, just as the not-quite-smile on Natasha’s said she was enjoying herself.
She likes this, Valkyrie thought. Putting him off-balance, playing with his mind. She realized, too, that Natasha couldn’t have this with Valkyrie alone. Not like this. Valkyrie would want to play back, wouldn’t just stand still and go along with it, even in some attempt to figure out what Natasha was up to, which was precisely what she suspected Loki was doing.
Then, when Loki was nude, Natasha turned her attention to Valkyrie, undressing her as well—or trying to. Valkyrie waved her away, chuckling, and finished the job herself while Natasha lay on her back on the bed.
Seeing her like that, her elbows bent and lifting her upper body while her lower stretched out across the mattress like a feast, Valkyrie couldn’t help but follow. Cover Natasha’s body with hers. Slot their mouths together as Natasha wrapped her legs around Valkyrie’s waist, drawing her down.
There was nothing slow or listless about the kiss. It was as much teeth as tongue and lips, and their hands moved ceaselessly throughout it: Natasha mapping Valkyrie’s back while Valkyrie groped her front, shoving Natasha’s top up so she could stroke bare skin. Natasha wore no bra, so there was nothing to stop Valkyrie from cupping the underside of her breasts, strumming her thumbs over Natasha’s nipples.
Natasha broke their kiss to arch her neck with a sigh, and suddenly Valkyrie remembered that there was meant to be a third person here.
Loki was where they had left him, still nude, staring at them with dark eyes. Because he just wanted to watch? Because he didn’t think he was welcome?
“Get over here,” Valkyrie told him.
He hesitated briefly but obeyed, kneeling on the bed beside them. As soon as he did, the mattress stretched as it had last time, large enough to accommodate all of them with ease. “I must confess,” he said, his voice rough, “this was not at all what I envisioned when you asked if I would allow pain.”
“I guess your imagination is lacking,” said Valkyrie. “Take my place.”
Because Natasha seemed to have an unexpected knack for making him comfortable, or at least making him respond like they wanted. This time was no different. Although his expression was pinched with suspicion as he bent over Natasha, it soon went slack with pleasure when she got her legs around him, her hands in his hair, her mouth moving wetly against his.
He sagged against her, crushing her into the mattress in a way that Natasha usually didn’t like but tolerated now. He made muffled humming noises as the kiss deepened, and his hips rolled almost lazily against hers.
When Valkyrie reached between them, making them still and part slightly, Loki grumbled in protest but groaned when she grasped his hard dick and laid it flat against the front of Natasha’s panties.
“Can you feel that?” Valkyrie murmured. “The way she’s soaking those panties.” She couldn’t see them herself, but she didn’t need to. She knew Natasha and how messy her arousal could get. “Do you think we could get you excited enough to soak the other side?”
He moaned, soft and breathy, then seemed to rally his control again. “My, you certainly think highly of yourselves. You spend so much time telling me what you could do, one begins to wonder if you’re actually capable.”
Natasha slapped him. The sound of her palm striking his cheek echoed in the room like the bang of a gun. Although it startled Valkyrie, it didn’t startle her nearly as much as it apparently did Loki, who went rigid and gaped at Natasha.
Norns, Valkyrie thought, shuddering as pleasure bloomed in her abdomen. Hit him harder next time.
But Natasha didn’t slap him again. She only lifted an eyebrow and said, “What? You didn’t think I’d do it, even after you’d just taunted me? What’s your safe word, again?”
Loki blinked down at her for several seconds and then glanced at Valkyrie, who grinned and ran one hand down his spine. The touch surprised him just as much as the slap, making his whole body jolt like it’d been hit with an electric blast, even though he’d watched her do it and surely had seen the contact coming even before she’d made it.
“Mistletoe,” he said, looking back to Natasha.
“Good,” said Natasha, and although she didn’t so much as acknowledge Valkyrie kneeling beside them, somehow Valkyrie knew that was a cue.
Or perhaps she just hoped it was. Regardless, she leaned until she could reach Loki’s neck and bit the side of it, holding only enough of her strength back that she didn’t break skin. He jolted again, but the cry he let out—as much bliss as shock—was beautiful and only served to spur her on. She bit again, lower this time, closer to the shoulder, then again over his shoulder blade. With each cry, he arched into the pain, practically begging for more.
Valkyrie had to stretch and contort a bit to reach the sensitive skin of his nape, but it was worth it. The moment her teeth sank in, he collapsed onto Natasha with a low, keening moan as if in that one simple move Valkyrie had rendered him as weak and helpless as a newborn kitten.
“Oh,” said Natasha, “he likes that. Keep that up.”
There were only so many times Valkyrie could bite the same spot, though, before she got bored, so she trailed her mouth down his back instead, leaving angry red rings in her wake. She considered going lower, marking up his ass as well, but decided against it. They would get to that soon enough.
Loki was breathing heavily, still lying flat on Natasha, who looked amused.
“Is he making a mess yet?” Valkyrie asked.
“Oh yeah. He’s dripping.” Natasha tucked a piece of his hair behind his ear. “Easy.”
He lifted himself onto shaky forearms and hauled himself to a seated position, his face flushed. “Is that it, then?” he said haughtily, as though he hadn’t just left whitish smears on Natasha’s panties. “A safe word”—he sneered—“for a bit of teeth and filthy words?”
“And just for that,” Natasha said, sitting up as well, “you get even more gentleness.”
The kiss she gave him was positively sweet, even loving, her hands holding his jaw so tenderly, and she kept it up even when Loki snarled and tried to fend her off. Valkyrie joined her, kneeling next to them and brushing her lips against his earlobe.
“Shh,” she said, and he may not have liked it, but he still shivered at the rush of her breath against his skin. She kissed his neck, putting only the tiniest bit of space between her mouth and the first bite mark she’d left. “I tried to warn you. Way back at the beginning. She likes control.”
Natasha drew back and nuzzled his sternum instead, and Loki took advantage of his unoccupied lips to say, “There are words for someone like that.”
“Yeah?” Valkyrie said. “Is one of them ‘hot’?”
He huffed, but he’d stopped fighting, sitting still as Natasha licked down to his abs. Valkyrie took his mouth, keeping him quiet, forcing him to feel. He jerked away with a gasp, though, when Natasha sucked his cock down her throat.
Valkyrie would have liked to watch that more closely, how easily she took Loki’s full length, how plump her lips looked as she dragged them up and down the shaft, but Valkyrie kept her focus on Loki, kissing him, touching his face and shoulders. She tried to stay soft and gentle, but her hands strayed almost without her knowledge to his back, skimming over the bite marks, which had gone hot and swollen.
The little hint of pain seemed to draw him in and settle him. He whimpered and leaned into her, kissing Valkyrie just as sweetly as Natasha had kissed him. His knuckles brushed against her arm, so faintly and shaking slightly like he was only testing whether he could.
When Natasha pulled off and sat back on her heels, wiping her mouth, Loki bit his lip and looked at her. Valkyrie could see him mentally scrambling for his composure, trying to seem just as calm and only slightly affected as Natasha did.
“I would have thought you’d pretend to be above such a thing,” he said.
Natasha barely blinked. “I’m full of surprises.” To Valkyrie, she said, “The rubber one, I think.”
Valkyrie didn’t know what “rubber” was, exactly, but she could hazard a guess. She climbed off the bed, went to Natasha’s closet, and found the items hanging on the wall. She chose the flogger that wasn’t leather but a sort of shiny, lighter material that felt as though it would sting quite badly.
It had been ages, quite literally, since she’d wielded a flogger, and she’d never wielded this particular one. The sensible, responsible part of her, which had been raising its head more and more since she’d been on Earth and sober, had concerns about that, but Natasha apparently didn’t share them. “You were a Valkyrie and he’s a god,” she’d said in the car. “Even if I didn’t trust your aim, I’ve seen him recover from the Hulk slamming him around like a rag doll.”
When Valkyrie turned back, Loki was crawling backward to the end of the bed with Natasha’s help, her hand on his chin keeping him from glancing back and seeing what Valkyrie was doing.
Watching Loki’s pale and unmarked ass coming closer and closer, Valkyrie was nearly vibrating with anticipation. She wanted this with a fierceness that was almost frightening and in a way she didn’t completely understand.
Nor, she thought, did she care to try to. It was Natasha’s flogger she was using, after all. Whatever she felt, at least she wasn’t alone in it.
When Loki came to a stop, Natasha sat in front of him, her legs tucked under her, and said, “We’ll start on your hands and knees, like this. If you need to go lower and rest your limbs, let me know.”
“That won’t be necessary,” he said.
The bravado in his voice was plain to hear, and it made Valkyrie grin and long to snap him like a twig. If it was pain that calmed him, made him agreeable and pliant, then she would flog him until he couldn’t manage words at all.
He practically jumped out of his skin when she touched his hips to shift them, and Natasha had to grab his chin again to keep him from turning.
“You didn’t want to know what we were going to do,” Natasha reminded him. “I thought you meant even beyond just that moment. Did I misunderstand?”
“No.” There was a pause. “Does Barton know the sort of things you’re interested in? Do any of your friends? I can’t imagine what they would think of this.”
Natasha rolled her eyes, and Valkyrie did as well before she gave the flogger an experimental flick into the air. She didn’t think about the noise it would make until Loki jumped again and let out a strangled sound.
Valkyrie covered her mouth to muffle her snicker, and Natasha broke into a genuine smile. “I don’t care about their sex lives,” she said, “and I’m sure they don’t care about mine.”
Except maybe Tony, Valkyrie thought but didn’t voice it. Instead, she said, “You have your safe word, but for this time at least, I’m going to go ahead and honor anything that sounds like ‘no,’ ‘stop,’ and so on.”
He tried again to look over his shoulder, and again Natasha stopped him, this time snapping, “Loki,” so harshly that even Valkyrie flinched. Then, not wanting to waste any more time with talking, she flicked the flogger once more, relishing the way Loki still jumped, although she hadn’t hit him yet, but went otherwise still and quiet.
She took three practice swings, aiming at his ass but not making contact, more out of a desire to keep messing with Loki’s head than any true need for practice. Natasha had been right. It was easy enough for her to get a feel for the weight and the range of it.
One more practice swing, near enough that he could surely feel the movement of the air against his skin, and Loki sighed, frustrated, “Oh, for—”
Valkyrie hit him in the center of his right ass cheek, and his yelp—out of surprise more than anything, she thought, since it had been a light swing—was one of the most satisfying noises she’d ever heard. His body rocked forward enough that Natasha had to catch him by the shoulders and keep him steady.
Giving him no time to recover, Valkyrie aimed for the left cheek this time and struck him just as lightly. She didn’t know what sort of punch this flogger packed—not to mention they’d not given him much of a warmup—and thus resorted to starting weakly, building strength as Loki proved he could handle it.
No, not just handle it. Want it. And he did seem to want it. Once the initial shock had passed, he was shoving his ass back, inviting the blows, and the cries he made reminded Valkyrie of when he’d fucked Natasha. Long and whining, pained and yet undeniably blissful. She hit him harder, and he pressed his face into Natasha’s shoulder and sobbed.
Eventually, he went silent, upper body sagging slightly, and Valkyrie made herself stop. She realized only as awareness descended on her like a rainstorm that she’d gone into her own head. She felt now that her arm was complaining about the repetitive movement, that she was throbbing and wet between her thighs, and that her breathing was fast.
She felt…drunk, she thought. No, not drunk. The world was too focused, too vivid for that, but it was good in the way that inebriety was.
Loki’s ass was a mottled palette of reds, and he was trembling, somehow managing to cling to Natasha even without using his arms.
“All right?” Valkyrie asked.
Natasha was the one who nodded, while Loki moaned and swayed.
“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Natasha murmured, stroking his hair from his face. “All those endorphins. You’re wishing we’d done this from the beginning, aren’t you?”
He moaned again, more weakly, and lowered himself slowly, shakily, his head in Natasha’s lap but his ass still lifted. “Don’t stop,” he said.
Valkyrie wanted a break, actually. A chance to appreciate what she’d done to him and revel in how it felt. She came closer and set the flogger on the mattress to Loki’s left, then ran her fingers over the bruising skin. He jerked once with a whimper but stayed still otherwise, allowing her to stroke back and forth over the lines the flogger’s tails had left on his ass.
“I can beg if I must,” Loki said, more strongly. He turned his head and glanced over his shoulder. His eyes were half-lidded but sharp. “Is that what you want? To hear me beg to be hurt more? I—”
Valkyrie borrowed from Natasha’s repertoire and smacked him to shut him up, her palm striking him in the middle of one wounded ass cheek. He buried his face again with a wail. She examined the welts, not being kind or gentle, digging her fingers and even her nails in whenever possible and drawing all kinds of tortured noises from his throat.
She wished she could have seen his face. And from how intensely Natasha watched her poke and prod, she guessed Natasha wished she could see the view Valkyrie had. But there would be other times—she felt fairly confident about that now.
Loki wiggled his hips, and something about the motion drew Valkyrie’s attention away from his ass cheeks and to the cleft between them. That was part of their plan too, and even though it might be skipping ahead a bit…
She spread him open until she could see the sprinkling of wiry black hair that surrounded his asshole. So small and tightly shut, although it visibly clenched as she stared at it. Intentional? Involuntary? It didn’t matter. She licked one of her thumbs and swiped it along his perineum first before she pressed it to the wrinkled rim.
He shivered but didn’t make so much as a sigh as Valkyrie stroked back and forth over it.
“Okay?” she asked.
Natasha looked down at Loki and, when he didn’t answer, said, “Loki, what’s your safe word?”
That got a reaction. He lifted his head with a snarl. “Damn you,” he bit out. “I don’t need a safe word. I am perfectly—”
Valkyrie slipped the tip of her thumb inside, and he cut off with a groan. When he glanced over his shoulder again, there was no mistaking the want in his expression, no matter how much he tried to hide it. I despise you for doing this, he seemed to say, but please, don’t stop.
Natasha tapped his cheek, half smiling. “Safe word,” she said.
He licked his lips, still watching Valkyrie. “Mistletoe.”
“And you don’t need to use it right now?”
He shook his head and turned away, and Natasha scooted backward.
“Good,” she said. “I’m going to get something from the closet to make this a little easier. I’ll be right back.”
He said nothing, only moaned haltingly as Valkyrie wriggled her thumb a tiny bit deeper. He was warm inside—not hot, not as she’d been expecting, but warm—and snug. She could hear Natasha rummaging behind her but, knowing what she was doing, paid little attention. Her clit ached. If she’d had a dick, she thought, she might have been tempted to just thrust right into him.
Then Natasha appeared beside her, a bottle of lube in one hand, which she gave to Valkyrie, and the harness in the other, which she kept for herself. Valkyrie withdrew her thumb, flipped open the cap of the bottle, and drizzled her pointer and middle fingers with the cool, clear liquid.
He preferred the slickness, if his sighed “ohh” as she slid one finger inside was any indication. His head snapped up, although he kept his gaze forward, and the way he panted more than breathed said his jaw had dropped, his mouth wide open.
“Jeez,” Natasha muttered, having paused to finally remove her tank top and her panties. “Now that’s a sight.”
Yes, it was. The welts and marooning blotches on his ass, the still-red bites on his back, and his hole loosening up for Valkyrie’s finger. She gave him a second one, and he accepted it with the same breathy “ohh” as the first.
When Natasha nudged her, gesturing with her head as though to say Go, I’ve got this, Valkyrie almost didn’t want to stop. But she also recognized that she’d gotten her fun; now Natasha could get hers.
She slipped her fingers free and laughed when Loki griped, “Just get it over with. You’re going to fuck me, yes? There’s no reason—”
He shut up quickly when Valkyrie joined him on the bed, and she realized after a moment that he’d probably expected Natasha to return, not her.
“She’s going to fuck you,” Valkyrie told him cheerfully. “Yes.”
She didn’t take up the exact same place Natasha had been in, sitting back a little farther so that Loki was in front of her rather than in her lap. He stared at her dumbly while, behind him, Natasha attached the dildo and buckled the harness around her hips.
“Are you embarrassed?” Valkyrie said, tickled at the idea that that was why he was still looking at her like that. “Because now two people get to look into your face and see exactly how much of a slut you are for what we’re doing to you?”
“Don’t be insulting,” he snapped.
“Oh, I’m really not. Do you know, I think it’s actually your best quality.”
“Too high,” said Natasha. “Come down and put your feet on the floor.”
Loki complied, but not quite quickly enough for Natasha, who grabbed his thighs and yanked him flat on his stomach. Valkyrie would have appreciated another yelp, but he only hissed and glared over his shoulder like a furiously offended cat.
“If you’re going to bark orders,” he said, “at least wait for me to follow them.”
Natasha, slicking up the dildo, didn’t answer, and he turned back to Valkyrie, his cheeks red.
“Big, isn’t it?” Valkyrie said, scooting closer. “Are you sure you can handle it?”
She realized only after she’d moved that by scooting her ass across the bed, her legs splayed open, she’d basically flashed her cunt to Loki. He seemed spellbound by the sight, staring with his lips parted hungrily.
“You’ve had nothing,” he said, fluttering his lashes coquettishly at her. “Given so much but taken nothing since we’ve been in here. You—”
But then Natasha shoved the tip of the dildo into his ass, and he could only moan, his hands scrambling at the sheets like he needed something to hold on to.
Valkyrie hadn’t planned on it—had in fact intended just to keep an eye on him like Natasha had done—but the sight of him, wordless and desperate, as his hole was filled was temptation enough. Legs wide, Valkyrie shimmied even lower until her vulva was so close he could probably smell it.
He reacted like he’d been expecting it, diving in and bathing her labia, her clit, everything he could reach with his tongue. Not good enough. She clutched his hair and held him where she wanted, made him lick right over her swollen clit where it felt the sweetest, where it made her thighs tremble and her cunt flutter. He moaned, and it felt even sweeter.
She watched Natasha, who watched back, thrusting so gently, almost languidly, into Loki. Valkyrie realized it was as much for her sake as for his: Natasha not wanting to risk distracting or jostling him too much and interrupting. That, as much as the sight and the knowledge that they had him quite literally between them, was enough to send Valkyrie over the edge.
When she was done, she tugged his hair to lift him and scooted lower, until he could cling to her, if he wanted, and hide his face in her shoulder like he’d done to Natasha. She didn’t actually expect him to, at least not immediately, but he did. He wrapped himself around her, pressed his face into her neck. As soon as he was there, Natasha picked up the pace and started to pound into him in earnest.
It was both brutal and beautiful. Natasha fucked him hard enough that he and Valkyrie, not to mention the entire bed, were jolted with it. Valkyrie found herself digging her nails into Loki’s back for purchase, and he went quickly from muffling soft cries against her skin to full-throated wails.
Inspired, she clawed up his spine, her fingernails occasionally catching on the still-puffed bite marks, and he fell silent and just shook against her. Ah. It’s a good thing when he goes quiet, she thought, feeling a dribble of warmth near her belly button and realizing his cock was leaking onto her.
She scratched him again, even harder, and he twitched and lifted his head. His eyes were unfocused, his pupils wide.
“I bet it hurts, doesn’t it?” she said. “Her hips are slapping right against the welts I gave you.”
Loki’s face twisted, and she thought for a terrible second that he was actually going to cry, but he didn’t. He only gave a single guttural moan, his eyes squeezing shut, before he went silent again.
“Can you come like this?” she asked.
He shook his head, his lips going tight and small. Maybe it was an effect of that moment when she’d thought he was about to cry, but suddenly she felt…protective. Possessive. Tender like they were actual lovers who shared something more than, well, this.
She kissed his temple and sank her fingers into his hair, digging the nails into his scalp. He shuddered and dropped his head to her shoulder.
“Good,” Valkyrie told him. “You’re taking her cock so well.” Then, when he trembled harder, letting out a series of quiet wounded noises: “That’s it. It feels so good, doesn’t it?”
“Please,” he said, panting into her skin. “Please, I…”
“You want to come?” said Natasha. She was gripping his hips, driving him back onto her cock at the same time that she fucked into him.
“Please,” he said, practically sobbing—which, somehow, made Valkyrie keen to push just a little harder.
“Switch me,” she said.
“No!” Loki said frantically, raising his head. His face was red, his eyes wide. “No, you misunderstand me.”
Valkyrie laughed, and—yes, maybe it was a bit like being drunk, she thought. That feeling of invincibility, of boundless confidence. Except there was no blurring the edges here; if anything, she felt even sharper, hyperaware. And she would remember this when she woke up tomorrow.
“No,” she said. “I understand you perfectly. I still want to be back there.”
Although Loki grumbled and groaned in protest, they switched, Natasha handing over the strap-on. Valkyrie didn’t wear it, though. She worked the dildo free and dropped the harness on the floor.
“She’s going to want you in me,” Natasha said, taking Valkyrie’s place under Loki.
Valkyrie paused, still holding the dildo. She hadn’t been intending that, actually, although she knew why Natasha thought so. The fantasy she’d shared during their phone conversation, of Valkyrie fucking Natasha with Loki’s body. She hadn’t forgotten the idea—but other things had taken its place.
But if Natasha was willing to take Loki’s cock again, Valkyrie certainly wasn’t going to argue.
“Do I have a say in this?” said Loki, although he sounded weak, shaky, not at all like he usually did.
“You’re not thinking very clearly, are you?” Natasha said. “We’ve had this conversation before.”
“You have a say,” Valkyrie added. “It’s called a safe word. If you want to use it…”
The only response Loki gave was a whining “uhnm” with an aborted thrust of his hips as Natasha eased his prick inside her.
“Hold still,” Natasha said, uncharacteristically gentle. She stroked his hair when he struggled to comply. Valkyrie wondered if she felt it too: that odd sort of tenderness toward him now that they’d so very, very nearly broken him.
His asshole was gaping now, puffy and still slick from Natasha’s fucking. When Valkyrie pressed the tip of the dildo to the rim, it slipped in easily with a squelch that made her start to ache again. Loki took the full length in one smooth slide with an arch of his spine and a long, rapturous groan.
When she let go of the base and the toy began to fall out, she realized the problem with her plan.
“Can you keep that in somehow?” she asked.
Loki sighed, the muscles in his back tensing. The light played over his skin, and Valkyrie realized that she had broken skin with her nails before. Lines tipped with blood mingled with plain red, swollen scratches and the ringed bruises from her teeth. The sight both satisfied her and made her hungrier.
When she let go of the base again, the dildo stayed in place.
“The spell won’t hold for long,” he said, his voice ragged. “If my concentration slips…”
“That’s fine,” she assured him, reaching for the flogger. “Just as long as you can.”
She ran the tails through her fingers, marveling that it already felt familiar, that she thought it might end up being her favorite of Natasha’s toys no matter how good the others were.
“If you hit me by accident,” Natasha said, shooting Valkyrie a forbidding look over Loki’s shoulder, “we’re going to have problems.”
“Oh, Norns,” Loki moaned, sounding strangled, probably realizing what Valkyrie had in mind. “Oh, fuck.”
“You know your safe word,” Valkyrie reminded him, and Natasha rocked her hips, clutching at his back, adding, “You can come whenever you want.”
Valkyrie hit him, and he wailed, jerking in Natasha’s arms, his hips thrusting, driving his cock deeper into her. He did the same when Valkyrie flogged him again, and again, falling into a figure-eight movement of her arm, back and forth, striking one cheek and then the other, as effortlessly as if she’d been doing it for years.
The dildo slipped out eventually and plopped onto the floor, but Valkyrie ignored it and struck him again. The welts on his ass, already a maroon-like red, darkened to purple in places and even deeper, an almost blackish shade.
He went silent just moments before he came, humping frantically into Natasha twice before his whole body seemed to swell and heave with his pleasure. Valkyrie stopped and let the flogger fall beside the harness. She pushed her groin against his ass, felt the heat of his beaten skin against her own, and he let out a startled cry and pressed back against her.
“Good boy,” Natasha murmured, at the same time that Valkyrie crooned, “That’s it. Fill her up.”
He rocked back and forth between them as he came down and then collapsed, gasping, against Natasha.
Valkyrie joined them on the bed and reached for his shoulder. He shrugged her away and, with a grunt, lifted himself off Natasha and rolled to the opposite side.
“A moment,” he said. He was trembling, Valkyrie saw, and his eyes were red and bright. “Just…a moment.” When they both remained where they were, watching him warily, he snapped, “Don’t stare!”
At a loss for anything else to look at, Valkyrie gazed down at Natasha. Her skin was flushed where he’d been lying, and her legs were still spread, her cunt loose and so, so wet. With her own wetness, yes, but also—even if it hadn’t dribbled out quite yet—with Loki’s come.
“Might as well,” Natasha said, her mind apparently having gone in the exact same place as Valkyrie’s.
Taking care to use the hand she hadn’t fucked Loki with, Valkyrie shoved four fingers into her as Natasha sighed with pleasure. Valkyrie felt Loki’s come, thick and sticky, and allowed herself a moment to dwell on it, to think This is where I made him come in her, before she ignored it and focused instead on the change in texture that marked Natasha’s sweet spot.
She ground her fingertips against it, more harshly than she intended. Natasha bucked with a groan, so she did it again, even more roughly. She felt like she was battering it, but Natasha started to rub her clit and came quickly, writhing against Valkyrie’s hand like she couldn’t get enough.
When they eventually separated, Loki was on his side, watching them. His expression was so raw, so unguarded, it hurt to look at.
“All right?” Valkyrie asked.
Before he could answer, Natasha said, “We need to put cream on his ass. Hang on.” She climbed off the bed and disappeared out the doorway.
Valkyrie turned back to Loki, who looked at her like she was the shore and he was a boat at sea, adrift but hopeful. I guess we did it, she thought. We broke him. And now we need to put him together again.
“Can I come over there?” she said.
He moved his head in something that wasn’t quite a nod, but she decided to take it as one. As she was sidling closer, curling up beside him, Natasha returned, carrying a white tube.
“All right. Turn over and I’ll—”
“I don’t require ‘cream,’” he said, screwing up his face like the entire concept was deeply offensive. “I am not mortal. I don’t have your…fragilities.”
“Humor me,” Natasha said dryly.
“I think I’ve rather done enough of—”
Valkyrie sighed. “Just do it and stop being difficult. You’re ruining the afterglow.”
Loki wavered, no doubt trying to weigh whether it was worth it to give in so easily. Then, with a sullen purse of his lip, he rolled onto his stomach, folded his arms, and rested his head on them, facing Valkyrie. His churlish expression faltered the moment Natasha touched him, and soon his lids were lowered, his spine curving as he pushed his ass into Natasha’s fingers. If he were a cat, he might’ve been purring.
The urge to say See? Not so bad, is it? was great, but Valkyrie resisted.
When Natasha was finished, she set the tube aside and propped her hip on the edge of the mattress on Loki’s other side. “Turn. Give me some room.”
His eyes went wide and then narrowed, but he did as she demanded and rolled onto his side toward Valkyrie. As Natasha lay next to him, nearly spooning him, he glared at Valkyrie as though to say What in the Nine Realms is happening?
Valkyrie didn’t know, but she liked it and scooted just a bit closer so that Loki was mashed between them. Or would have been, if they’d been touching him more, but they were not, giving him space. If they’d tried to hold him, Valkyrie thought he might have panicked.
“Why are you doing this?” he said. There was as much bewilderment in his tone as there was suspicion.
Valkyrie knew what he meant, of course, but she could be difficult too. “Lying down. I’d think that would be obvious. Did I hit you too hard?”
“Don’t be tiresome. You know precisely what I mean. Why are you…here? Why bother with any of this? Why—”
Natasha interrupted him. “Because you’re letting us, mostly.”
Loki bristled, although Valkyrie didn’t know what could have offended him in such a mildly spoken statement. “Oh? Then I could just as easily not let you.”
He tried to sit up, and both Valkyrie and Natasha reached out to stop him.
“That wasn’t meant to be insulting,” Natasha said as he settled again, still scowling. “We approached you. You responded.”
“But why?” he said. Again, he started to sit up, and again, they stopped him, but this time as he lay back down he looked almost…frightened?
His back is turned to her, Valkyrie realized, and he doesn’t like it.
She inched backward until Loki had enough room to change positions, which he did, although he chose supine, which she hadn’t expected. He hissed and grimaced as his ass made contact with the bed.
“Undoing all that work I just did,” Natasha tsked, propping herself up on her elbow.
“Unnecessary work,” he said. “As I told you. Now answer my question.”
“Why did we approach you in the first place?” Valkyrie said, and he shot her a waspish glance that seemed to say Yes, of course, you idiot. What else could I mean? She had to stifle a smile. “Is that not…obvious? We wanted you.”
“It is not obvious,” he snapped. “It also doesn’t explain why you…wanted me in the first place. I have no illusions about what I am to either of you.” He looked at Natasha. “I killed your people, insulted you, threatened your realm with war, and harmed your friends.” His gaze swung to Valkyrie. “And you… I mocked your pain and behaved immeasurably cruelly towards you.”
“You did,” said Valkyrie, choosing her words carefully. This could go very, very wrong very, very quickly if she spoke without thinking. “But you also helped us defend Asgard when you could have slunk away instead. You could have left when that was done, but you’re staying on Earth and helping us rebuild.”
She’d chosen poorly, apparently, because that only seemed to incite him. He scrambled to get into a seated position, spitting as he said, “Do not try to pretend that you feel anything for me aside from tolerance and perhaps the barest sexual attraction.”
Natasha grabbed him and yanked him down with a strength that apparently surprised him, if his awed expression was anything to go by. “Calm down,” she said. “No one is confessing love for you, or anything like that.”
He flinched but at least stopped struggling. Valkyrie noticed that Natasha didn’t quite let go of him, keeping one hand on his forearm like she was fully prepared to keep dragging him back, no matter how many times it took, until they were finished.
“No,” Loki said, baring his teeth. “Of course not. Are either of you even capable of such emotions? An assassin and a spy, and an alcoholic bounty hunter.”
“And you’re a mass murderer and an egomaniac,” Natasha said, her tone flat. “Do you really want to play this game?”
Valkyrie jumped in before he could respond to the bait. “Look. I’m not going to lie. I like Natasha better than you. A lot better than you, actually. And I’m pretty sure she likes me a lot better than you. But part of that is because you try so hard to make yourself so damn unlikable.”
“Well. At least I’ve succeeded in something.” His voice was icy, his eyes even more so. “Is that why I am here, then? The best thing to do with an unlikable beast is to beat it until it is compliant?”
“Why are you here, Loki?” said Natasha. “You don’t trust us. You’re suspicious of our motivations. Yet you got on the jet with Valkyrie, you came here, to us. And not just then, but this morning too.”
He said nothing, looking from one of them to the other with his jaw tight, his expression guarded.
“Do you know what I think?” Valkyrie said, thinking back to what Korg had told her, beyond the part that had stuck out to her then and begun this whole thing. “You joined me and the other Asgardians even though it meant seeking refuge in a realm where everyone hates you. Your brother, your fiercest supporter, has little time for you now that he’s king, so you spend your days alone.”
“That is not—” Loki began, but Valkyrie talked over him.
“You died. Literally died, and came back, and finally realized how much time you’ve spent pushing everyone away. Then, when two people actually tried to draw you in for once, you liked it enough to not want it to stop. But you also don’t trust it. So instead of enjoying the fact that you have a woman on either side of you, happy to pay you attention for once, you’re lying there arguing with us.”
“I have told you,” he said, “repeatedly, that I will not be your pet. Nor will I be your—your loving third partner.”
“No one is asking you for that,” Natasha said.
“Then what do you want from me?” His voice cracked, and he sounded so genuinely distraught and confused, with no attempt to hide it, that it pained Valkyrie to hear it.
“Honestly? Just the same thing I ask of Valkyrie,” said Natasha. “For you to come here when you want to and leave when you need to. Anything beyond that is up to you, just like it was up to her.”
It was strange to realize that that really was what their relationship was. Natasha was happy when Valkyrie visited but never demanded it. There had been no explicit expectations, no boundaries. They had simply come together almost on a whim and continued to stay together because it worked.
And, she supposed, following that line of thought, when she had brought up Loki, Natasha had gone along for the same reason—because it seemed to work.
I adore you, Valkyrie thought, watching her. But it wasn’t nearly the right time to say so, so instead she said, “The truth is, this started as a random comment, a one-off masturbatory fantasy that just sort of…grew. I don’t know why. I don’t think Natasha even really understands.”
Natasha shook her head and added, sounding reluctant to admit it, “We just wanted to see what happened.”
“And it was good,” Valkyrie said. “The sex was great. The conversation needs a little work, but nothing is perfect.”
Loki was squinting at the ceiling now, deep in thought. Probably trying to find the lies, Valkyrie thought ruefully. “So,” he said eventually, “if I leave and do not return?”
“Then that’s it,” Natasha said. “We leave you alone.”
He wanted to say more. Valkyrie could feel it somehow, could almost hear the words sitting on his tongue. But he didn’t seem willing to speak them, so Valkyrie did it for him.
“And if you stay, or at least keep coming back, then…I guess we’ll keep seeing what happens.”
He stayed silent for much longer than Valkyrie would have liked, but she waited him out, as did Natasha. They looked at each other over him, Valkyrie trying to communicate Was that okay? and Natasha smiling back at her, a full sweet smile that made Valkyrie feel warm and at home.
Loki rolled onto his side, toward Valkyrie, although try as Valkyrie might she couldn’t quite read him. His face was impassive as a brick. The jerky, almost petulant, movement seemed clear enough though. Immediately, Natasha edged up behind him and spooned him properly this time. One arm went around his waist, her chin over his shoulder. Even though he rolled his eyes, Valkyrie couldn’t imagine that it wasn’t precisely what he’d been inviting.
“You needn’t…keep your distance,” he bit out, “out of some misguided fear of hurting me.”
“Why, Loki,” Natasha said, smirking, “are you asking me to rub against your ass?”
He huffed. “I am saying—”
But he shut up quickly when Natasha closed the distance she’d kept between their lower halves. The soft “unh” he let out was pained, but the “mmm” that followed was not.
“Slut,” Valkyrie told him playfully, joining them, throwing her arm over Natasha’s and huddling close.
“Brute,” said Loki, just as lightly.
“Children,” Natasha sighed, but there was humor and fondness in her tone.
They remained like that, the three of them cuddled together, for long enough that Valkyrie began to doze, warm and content.
They didn’t fuck again that day—although Valkyrie happily would have, especially with how gingerly Loki was moving and how he would pause occasionally, his lashes fluttering, like one of his wounds had just felt really good—and when she woke the next morning, the bed was back to its usual size and only she and Natasha were in it.
Again, she was disappointed but not surprised, and especially after yesterday, she didn’t think much of it. Loki would return if and when he wanted.
Instead, she turned her attention to Natasha, who was still sleeping beside her, facing away, a slight hunch to her shoulders. Valkyrie fucked her awake, filling her cunt from behind and making Natasha gasp and moan into the pillow.
Afterward, Natasha returned the favor, albeit more gently and with only one finger instead of three, and when Valkyrie came, rocking between Natasha’s hand and her own touch on her clit, Natasha kissed her neck and murmured, “God, I love the way you feel.”
Then, while Valkyrie recovered and toyed with the idea of continuing, Natasha lifted her head abruptly. “Do you smell…bacon?”
They threw on clothes and hurried to the living room, where Loki was on the sofa almost exactly as he had been yesterday morning: his legs under him, a book in his lap. The coffee table was covered in white containers this time, instead of bags, although the cups were the same: one in front of him and two on the other side.
“Finally,” he said, not looking up. He turned a page. “You’re finished. Did you enjoy yourselves?”
“If you’re going to hang around and listen to us have sex,” Valkyrie said, “you don’t get to complain about it.”
His smile was wicked, his eyes gleaming as they met hers. “Oh, that was not a complaint.”
“At least you got protein this time,” said Natasha. She was popping open the food containers one at a time; they were filled almost entirely with different types of eggs and meat. “Although you might have swung a little too far in the opposite direction.”
Loki sighed heavily and set his book aside. “So demanding. I’ll have to try even harder to meet your exacting expectations, I see.”
“Well, the good news is that since you’ve barely tried at all, there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Valkyrie sat on the sofa this time instead of the floor with Natasha, and although Loki seemed surprised, he didn’t comment on it.
“You paid for this, right?” Valkyrie asked. “You didn’t just…take it?”
He peered at her, his expression suggesting What do you take me for? Which wasn’t exactly an answer, although she let it go for now.
“I have been thinking,” he said. “If I am going to join your little group of heroes, then I have several requests.”
“My… The Avengers?” Natasha had been lifting her coffee to her lips, but she set it quickly down. “You’re not joining the Avengers. Valkyrie isn’t even part of the Avengers yet. That wasn’t what we were talking about yesterday.”
“Not now, certainly,” he said. “But after bringing me on as a ‘consultant,’ surely even the most dim-witted members of your team will see the value I can provide.”
“No one is bringing you on as a consultant,” Natasha said. “That was purely hypothetical.”
He ignored her. “If I can be ‘of use’ to you, wasn’t that it? I assure you, I am very useful. Training your witch, providing guidance on mystical matters, helping Stark improve his frankly appalling security measures, giving the two of you an outlet for your poorly repressed violent and controlling tendencies when we’ve nothing else on…among other things.”
Valkyrie took a drink, hiding her smile, happy for the moment just to watch the two of them go back and forth. He was playing with them, of course. Even if his tone was earnest, the barely-there upward quirk of his lips gave him away, just as the perfect arch of Natasha’s eyebrow gave away that she saw it too and was, perhaps despite herself, amused.
“Uh-huh,” she said. “And you have requests?”
“Of course. I am not, by nature, a person who excels in a team environment, so this would require a great deal of sacrifice on my part. It’s only fair that I be compensated for the difficulty. I shall provide my list of requests in writing…presuming, of course, that at least one of you can read.”
Natasha snorted. “That was weak, Loki. Your insults are usually at least passably clever.” She looked at Valkyrie. “We might have made a mistake with him.”
“Oh, you made a tremendous mistake,” he said airily. “And, even more unfortunately for you, when I tried to provide you with a convenient out, you refused to take it. So here we are.”
“Yes,” Valkyrie said. “Here we are.”