Sometimes, Fury wanted to be wrong. Coulson had thought using Romanov as his security detail was overkill. As the edges of the room lost focus and his head began to spin, Fury knew that once again, he’d been right and that Phil had underestimated the situation. Romanov was exactly what Fury had hoped for: calm, cool and collected. She tossed his arm over her shoulders just seconds before his balance went.
“Little too much to drink.” She laughed to a passerby as she moved him towards the door. He felt as though the floor was shifting angles at every step, first inclined, then declined, then sloping sharply left. He stumbled, tripping over Natasha’s leg, and slurred an apology.
Sharp eyed, she saw the enemy moving in to kill him, or to capture him; it didn’t matter. “Sit.” When she slipped out of his grasp, he couldn’t help but obey. He could feel whatever they had drugged him with tugging at the edges of his mind. Something to get him confused and compliant.
“Drugged,” Fury mumbled.
“Mm-hmm.” Natasha responded noncommittally as she took out the assailants with her usual grace and poise. “There’s more coming; we have to move,” she said urgently, kneeling to help him back to his unsteady feet. She wasn’t strong enough to outright carry him, but she bore the brunt of his weight, all while wearing heels, as she guided them to the car.
Natasha helped herself to Fury’s keys, tucked into his jacket pocket. She unlocked the doors and eased him onto the passenger seat.
“Nobody drives my car but me,” Fury objected weakly.
“You really think you can drive, sir?” Natasha crooked her eyebrow at him as she got behind the wheel. “Try not to puke.”
She lost whoever was after them, of course. She was kicking herself for not finding out who they were, but she’d lost them nonetheless. She was on a security detail, and that meant prioritizing Fury’s safety. She parked outside his apartment building and got out to open his door. Fury hadn’t puked, but he was still acting like a drunk.
“You lost them?” he mumbled, looking up at Natasha.
“Nah, I thought it’d be fun to lead the bad guys to your sanctum.” She rolled her eyes.
“Sanctum?” Fury scoffed. “Baby, this is just a place to crash.”
He pushed himself out of the vehicle, grasping the top of the door opening to steady himself. He lurched and pivoted, nearly twisting his ankle and she quickly stepped in to catch him. Her arms hooked under his and her back hit the rear door of the car as his weight crashed into her. He propped his arms on either side of her, trapping her against the vehicle.
“You’re beautiful,” he whispered, his voice suddenly husky. There was a tenderness in his face as he leaned down, pressing his lips over hers. Her fingers dug into the back of his shoulder, wrinkling his shirt. His hand swept down to the small of her back, pulling her tight to him, the growing hardness between his legs pressed against her abdomen. “So beautiful,” he sighed, his breath hot against her cheek. He breathed in her perfume.
“If you ask me to come upstairs, sir, I will.” Natasha’s voice was small but cold. She forced herself to release his shoulder. “But I’ll only be following orders.”
Fury’s eye opened. “No, that won’t be necessary, Agent.” He released her, bracing both hands on the car and pushing away. “I can make it.”
He made four steps before tripping. The world tilted and he struggled to his feet. Natasha watched impassively as he mostly crawled up the front steps, and stalled at the front door. She realized belatedly that she still had his keys. She unlocked the door and offered him a hand to get to his feet without making eye contact. He steadied himself against the wall instead.
“I’m sorry about that.” He gestured toward the car with a shaking hand.
“No harm done. I don’t think it needs to go in the report.” Natasha stalwartly avoided his gaze.
“I’d appreciate that.” He took his keys gingerly, avoiding touching her hand, afraid of what might happen if he came in contact with her soft, warm skin. “I mean it though. I was out of line.”
“You’ve been drugged,” Natasha reminded him. “You’re not yourself. I’ll have someone from medical stop by to check on you.”
He tried not to stare at the way the taut fabric of her dress stretched across her ass as she moved. Once inside, he started a pot of coffee with no intention of sleeping until the effects of the drugs wore off. He shed his tuxedo on the bathroom floor and turned the shower on cold.
“I sent her away,” he informed his persistent hard-on. With a little sigh, he took matters in hand. Eyes closed, icy water spraying across his back, he might have panted out her name when he came, but there was no one around to hear it.
Natasha skipped going to headquarters for debriefing, skipped going to her own apartment and showed up at Clint and Phil’s instead. Clint was making French toast and watching Naked Gun with the sound off and the closed captioning on.
“Phil asleep?” she asked as she let herself in.
“Yeah. Nice dress.” Clint flipped a piece of toast. “Didn’t know you were working tonight. Everything go okay?”
“You don’t usually show up for my two a.m. breakfast because you’re having a good night,” Clint observed.
“I was running security for…an important man. Very important. He was drugged but I got him out safely,” Natasha said. “He wasn’t knocked out, though, just- out of it.”
Clint slid the toast onto a plate and turned off the burner. He looked at her expectantly.
“It was nothing, he- I took him back to a safe place and he tried to kiss me. No.” She touched the center of her upper lip lightly with the tip of her middle finger. “He did kiss me.”
“Tell me you didn’t kill the guy you were supposed to protect,” Clint pleaded.
Natasha shook her head. “I didn’t. Not worth the paperwork. I just don’t know how to feel. I think I should be angry because he was so far out of line, but he was drugged. It wasn’t his fault and he didn’t – “ She shrugged and gestured as she reached for an explanation. “He didn’t hurt me or threaten to hurt me; he apologized. It was just a kiss. It wasn’t even a bad kiss.” She was hyper aware of the movement of her throat as she swallowed.
Clint looked at her dubiously. “Your righteous indignation button must be broken. Go with anger,” he advised. “Guy’s a jerk and you should be mad at him.”
“I’m pretty much guaranteed to have to work with him again. I’d rather just forget it.”
“Oh God, was it Stark?”
“No!” Natasha exclaimed. “I wouldn’t hesitate to be mad at Stark, why would you even ask that?”
“Rogers?” Clint guessed.
“Would spontaneously combust before succumbing to a kiss. It wasn’t anyone on the team. It was…someone else. Are you making enough for the both of us?” she gestured to the French toast.
“I guess I am now,” Clint answered, getting two more slices of bread out.
“You kissed Romanov?” Coulson’s tone was accusatory.
“I was drugged,” Fury countered, sounding hung-over.
“I saw the tox screen,” Coulson replied. “Disorientation, drowsiness, lowered inhibitions. Nothing that would’ve made you do something you weren’t already inclined to do.”
“What do you want me to say, Phil?” Fury sighed. “I’m only blind in one eye. She’s an attractive young woman. I was drugged. She made it clear she wasn’t interested and I let it drop. I even apologized.”
“Her trust has been shaken.” Coulson glowered at him.
“I’ll make it right.”
“And I have an ethical problem with you wanting to sleep with her, whether or not you act on that desire.”
“Noted. Anything else?” Fury remarked. Coulson’s ethical problems didn’t really concern him and he didn’t want to throw it in the agent’s face that Phil himself was dating one of his own subordinates.
“Come in,” Fury called out when a knock sounded at his door. He stood as Agent Romanov entered. “Close the door, have a seat.”
“I prefer to stand,” she responded as she pulled the door shut.
“I’m going to cut right to the chase,” Fury said. He circled around to the front of his desk and leaned against it. “Now that I’m back at full functional capacity, I want to clear the air.” It was a carefully chosen posture: leaning away from her, giving her plenty of space while minimizing the height difference and appearing casual and non-threatening.
“Sir?” Natasha prompted. She recognized the body language and saw it for what it was. It told her as much about the conversation as the director’s words.
“Sleeping with me is not, and never will be, part of your job description,” he said bluntly.
“Yes, sir,” Romanov schooled her tone of voice and features into perfectly flat neutrality.
“You’re not obligated, under any circumstances, to participate in any manner of sexual activity,” Fury clarified. “Not with me, not with any agent, ally or enemy of SHIELD.”
“And drugs or no drugs, if I ever try to kiss you, or to put my hands on you in any way that makes you uncomfortable, you go ahead and break my nose.”
“I’ll consider that a standing order,” Natasha answered with a faint smile.
“Good.” He smiled slightly as well. “I apologize again.”
“You’re dismissed, Agent Romanov.”