It's all fluff, but I hope you find joy in it!
Title: Home is where your holiday is.
Fandom: Marvel/Captain America
Pairing: Black Widow/Captain America
Word Count: 2,052
Summary: How do you celebrate the holidays together when you're all wanted criminals.
Author’s Note: Happy Swap of Joy, flipflop_diva. Again, it's fluff, but I like this pairing best when they're fluffy. In my mind, this takes place after Civil War. Superfast and awesome read through was done by asphaltcowgrrl (Thank you, ACG!).
Wakanda for Christmas? was the title of the draft email that Clint had left her. Nat smiled as she read the body of the unsent email. Tony was apparently shipping Laura and all the little Bartons out of the country for the holiday, since Ross didn’t know they existed, the trip should be safe enough. Everyone agrees, it’s not Christmas without Aunt Nat. Try. She left another draft message saying that she would let Clint know.
The inbox was full of receipts from different online retailers thanking Francis Barone for his purchase or confirming that packages were being shipped to him at one of the Stark facilities. Natasha went to the clothing retailer Clint had used, found a comfortable outfit for Laura. She checked out a few other websites and found things for the kids, and everything was shipped to Mr. Barone with a note reading Love, your favorite aunt. If things worked out and she could meet her adopted family she would, but if she couldn’t she knew Tony would get them their gifts.
Nat logged into Pinterest and sent a coffee meme to Steve. It was a code she and Clint had set up: Coffee meme was Hey, call when you can, a puppy meme was I need you here now and a kitten meme was RUN. She smirked whenever she thought of how Pinterest had saved lives.
She finished her tea as she wiped the phone of the memory of what she’d just done, then she walked from the Starbucks/Pizza Hut cafe in Target and texted the number that had been calling since she lifted the phone. Found this in baby clothes, will leave at service desk Nat walked into the parking lot a minute later, and into the November fog.
Natasha answered the burner phone from the comfort of her $119/night hotel room, knowing it would be Steve. “Luigi’s Pizza. Pick up or delivery?”
“Very funny.” But Steve’s voice was laced with humor.
“How are you?” Nat’s voice sobered, genuinely concerned.
Steve sighed. “I’m still trying to find research. Two of the world’s leading experts on mind control have suddenly left their think tanks for better offers. I don’t know if it’s Tony or Ross.”
“Do you really think Tony would help like that?”
“Well, he’s convinced Scott’s ex-wife and her new husband to go to London for Christmas to meet Scott. I know he’s not a bad guy, Natasha.”
“No, but he’s still pissed at you.”
Nat took a silent deep breath. “Are you spending Christmas with Sharon?”
“No,” Again, Nat could hear the humor. “She’s going to meet her fiance’s parents.”
“It’s fine, Nat. I’m fine. He’s good for her. He’s not wanted by Interpol.”
She smiled, pulled her knees up to her chest and stared out the window of her room. “But he’s not Captain America.”
“I think that’s a large point in his favor. What are you doing for Christmas?”
“Laura and the kids are going to Wakanda, Clint invited me. Can you make it? I’m sure they can find space at the table.”
Steve sighed again. “It would be nice to see a real family at Christmas again. But I’ve been in and out of Wakanda a lot this year. I’d hate to push my luck and get all the Bartons caught up with me.”
And that was Steve Rogers to Natasha’s mind. The guy who didn’t do what would make him happy in order to keep other people safe. Sharon, Laura and the kids, even Bucky, although Steve didn’t say it out loud. He was the best of the good guys, even when he was doing something she would never decide to do, he was doing it for what he thought was the right reason.
She took another silent bracing breath. “Paris?”
“Was there an incident?” His voice was suddenly tense and alert.
“No,” She closed her eyes and went on. “I was inviting you to spend Christmas with me in Paris.”
Oh. Oh. Oh… The response echoed through her mind.
“How about Boston, instead?”
There was a knock on the hotel door before she heard the electric click of the pass key being used. An employee would have called out as well, so it had to be Steve. Or, she supposed, it could be Ross, but she doubted he’d knock. She smiled and turned toward the door, hands behind her back, gun ready just in case.
“Just me.” Steve smirked as he closed the door behind him.
He looked… Delicious, and … Virile. She was in trouble. Steve was moderately bundled up against the typical temperature for December in Boston. Which meant the coat, gloves, and hat must have his super-soldier body sweltering. But it still looked damn good on him as he dropped his bag to the floor and began taking off the outerwear.
“You upgraded the room?” He asked glancing around the suite he’d been given a key to as opposed to the double room he’d booked.
“No.” And Nat noted from the question that he hadn’t done it either. “Clint knows we’re here.”
“Did he get us the ballet tickets too? The concierge handed me the tickets for tomorrow night.” Steve moved to the window, checking neighboring buildings, looking for what an attacker could use as vantage points. As if Nat hadn’t already done exactly that.
Natasha moved to the desk and turned on the tablet. She found a pin of a nutcracker and sent it to Tony. The response was immediate. IKR? Enjoy. She showed the conversation to Steve.
“I’m going to need something to wear, and I could eat. Interested?”
“Dinner and shopping. Rogers, you really know how to win a girl over.”
Steve smiled and started bundling up again.
They held hands on the way back from the restaurant. Nat’s fingers were cold, even through the dollar store gloves. Steve had stopped her on the sidewalk, put both stretchy gloves on her right hand, taken the shopping bags and then taken her bare hand in his and put them both in his pocket. She leaned into him as they walked, feeling a little adorable. Adorable and warm.
When he unlocked the door to the suite Steve asked “Pajamas and Netflix?”
“Nothing more?” She winked at him, already knowing the answer.
“I’m not that kind of girl?” He joked. “I want you to respect me in the morning?”
“More would get you respect.” She winked again, grabbed a few things from her bag and dashed into the bathroom.
When Steve came out of the bathroom Nat was steaming the store creases from the clothes they’d bought. She turned off the small machine and he was right behind her.
“Thank you for that.” He nodded to his shirt hanging in the closet. “You’re not upset with me, are you?”
She turned him around and pushed him toward the couch. “I’d have been surprised if you’d asked me what my safe words were, Rogers.” Nat started rummaging through the mini fridge. “I knew what I was getting into.”
When she stood and turned Steve was right in front of her. Slowly his hands raised to her neck, thumbs grazing her jawline. Slower still, he moved in to kiss her. Easy, delicate, promising. “You are beautiful, strong, and amazing. You are worth being respected.”
Her smile twisted, as if contemplating his words. She answered with a sarcastic, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Nat let her hands linger on his waist.
Steve kissed her quick and light one more time. “My safe words are no and stop.” He took her hand and headed for the couch and the remote.
“You’re so vanilla.” She curled up against him on the sofa, putting her feet up and his arm around her. “If you put on some cute animal movie, I’m outta here.”
Steve found the action section of their options. “Vanilla is an excellent flavor. Maybe you just haven’t tried it when it’s done right.”
She laughed, like she hadn’t since the last time she played Legos with her niece and nephews.
They slept in, next to each other in the big comfy bed. Something else Nat hadn’t done in forever. They watched the tail end of a very red news broadcast in a very blue state, and then they decided to find someplace for brunch.
A couple of Bellinis and Belgian waffles later they ambled around Newbury Street to window shop. Again, Nat had her right hand double gloved, and her left held securely in Steve’s pocket. It was, possibly, more romantic than Paris.
“Are we exchanging gifts?” Steve asked while they were stopped looking at a blue and white serene window display.
“I didn’t…” She started and stopped. Eyes wide in the slight reflection across from her, Nat recalled thinking that buying something before she got to Boston seemed like it would be too much. But now, hand warm against his, having woken up next to him, if felt like she should have. “I hadn’t…”
“Me either.” Steve squeezed her hand and smiled at her. “Stockings?”
She smiled back. “That sounds perfect.” Nat tugged him into the store to buy a tasteful co-ordinating set of Christmas Stockings.
A few hours later they each had small bags of purchases they made while the other one was looking away - from a cheap jewelry shop, an expensive keepsake shop, a bookstore, a street fruit vendor, and an odd little sock store. Steve had even stopped at a craft store to get things for the Barton kids.
They made reservations (or the concierge did) for after the Nutcracker, and set aside time to get ready. Walking to the Opera House and watching the ballet, was a beautiful blur. Nat was enthralled by both the story and the man beside her. It was the best way to spend Christmas Eve eve that she could have ever imagined, and part of her, a part she kept tucked away most of her life, wanted to make it a tradition, wanted to do his same thing over and over again.
They were walking to the restaurant when Steve stopped her, pinned Nat against the wall of a random stone building and kissed her. As simple and full of promise as their kiss the night before had been, this one was full of complicated feelings and heavier promises. Nat spun them around, pushing Steve against the wall, feeding her own complex desires into the kiss.
Steve made a wanton noise into the kiss, and Natasha found herself smiling as his hands traveled along her sides under her coat.
“Maybe we should cancel the reservation and just head back to the hotel?” He asked into her throat.
Nat was on board with the plan, and was about to say so when someone walking by suggested that they get a room.
Steve laughed, pushed away from the building in the direction of the hotel. He pulled out his phone to find the number for the restaurant to cancel.
The were in the hotel hall when Natasha’s phone went off with a loud alert. It was strange in two parts. First, she hadn’t turned the phone back on yet after the performance. Second, it was a cat’s meow that she didn’t know her phone had.
They entered the room quickly and quietly. She checked her phone while Steve threw their things into their bags. Tony had sent a cat meme via pinterest with a note that read < hour. As they were leaving on the fire escape Steve’s phone vibrated with a text that had an address of a small airfield out beyond the suburbs.
Forty-five minutes later, while State Department goons were assaulting their hotel room, Nat was starting up one of Tony’s personal Quinjets. She sent a coffee pin back to Tony with a Ty. They were in the air when she asked “Where to, Captain?”
Steve grazed his knuckles across hers where she held the controls. “Why don’t you take me home to meet your family?” He smiled out at the horizon as the jet turned southeast toward the Bartons, Christmas Eve, and Wakanda.