|A Widow Nesting
Author: nikonic PM
Life throws the Avengers' resident assassins for a little loop; a story in which we see how the newly minted Avengers Tower handles a pint-sized assassin baby. Hawkeye/Black Widow established relationship, all Avengers included at one point. Rated for languageRated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Black Widow/Natasha R. & Hawkeye/Clint B. - Chapters: 15 - Words: 69,177 - Reviews: 291 - Favs: 352 - Follows: 291 - Updated: 08-08-12 - Published: 06-30-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8273236
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: So I've been MIA from the world of fanfiction for a while, and Marvel's Avengers struck my fancy. Bear with me as I try and write my way through my slight obsession with these characters.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Sadly, still a poor college student not to excited about graduating. Reviews make me happy.
"Tasha," he yelled as he watched his partner duck into a stairwell and out of sight. "What are you doing?" Hawkeye continuously fired arrow after arrow into the sea of enemies swarming the building. They were seriously outgunned and outmanned. "Nat," he called again. He couldn't hear her heaving breathing through her comm link. "Woman, if you lost your damn comm because one of these bastards knocked you in the head, I'm going to superglue that fucker in your damn ear. Natasha, do you copy?"
Six minutes passed and he heard nothing. He swore in every language he knew until he caught a flash of her red curls on the roof below. Armed enemies were making their way up to the landing where she was. One fired and he saw her wince. "Fuck," he grumbled. He was always better at cussing in English. When he saw her signal, he coded a zip line hook onto his arrow before aiming at the low roof of an adjacent building. She took a sprawling jump off her roof and he swung from his a moment later.
His body collided with hers and he wrapped his arm around her tightly, holding her close. As he landed on the roof, he pressed his comm to call for immediate extraction from the rendezvous point. "Target force not wiped out. Armed enemies still at location. Back up requested immediately." He looked at Natasha, who looked deathly pale but held up a flash drive. "Mission accomplished. USB retrieved. Mark terminated. We need immediate medical team. Romanov has been hit." SHIELD agents barked in his ear affirmative remarks and commands to the teams on the ground. He faintly heard the fire fight across the street.
He was entirely focused on the fiery redhead in front of him. "Tasha, stay with me." The archer continued to talk to her, forcing her to answer questions as he searched for the entry wounds causing the most blood loss. "What's your favorite city?"
"Budapest," she whispered, her voice quiet against the street noise.
"What's your least favorite city?"
"How many tattoos do you have?"
"What's my favorite color?"
"What shirt of mine did you steal?"
"Mine," she slurred.
"Yeah, it's yours now only because I can never figure out where you hide it. What's on that shirt, Tasha?" Her eyelids fluttered dangerously. "Tasha, you've got to stay awake. Medic is almost here."
"Love you." Her words jumbled and his heart clenched in his chest. Her eyelids drooped.
"If you can hear me, squeeze my hand, Tasha. Okay?" He waited, pressing his free hand to his comm links "Damnit where the hell are you?" He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I love you too, Tasha," he whispered in her ear after briefly muting the comm link.
"You two are out of your fucking minds," Fury scolded. Hawkeye sat uncomfortably at the debriefing table, wanting to be in his partner's infirmary room instead. "Absolutely fucking crazy. Would it kill you to do one mission by the book? Get in. Get the USB. Don't alert every freaking armed guard in a forty-mile radius of your presence as operatives, and then get the fuck out. It doesn't sound that hard, Agent Barton! So what went wrong?"
"There was a silent alarm set up by the mark that we weren't aware of. Whether he triggered it or it was the pitch of a gunshot or it was a perimeter breach, we were outmanned and outgunned within minutes of being on the property. There was no way to get in and get out before his goon squad showed up."
"So you covered from a perch and Romanov ran unprotected into enemy fire, stole the USB drive, wiped the hard drives, and killed the mark before getting shot six times and taking a suicide jump off a roof."
"It wasn't a suicide jump, Director. She knew I would catch her. It was her only evacuation plan. We accomplished the mission. I don't see what the problem is." Barton, ever calm and collected, was starting to get angry. He had already reached frustration and was quickly escalating to pissed.
"The problem is I don't like clean up, and I'm constantly cleaning up after whatever shit you and your partner pull without regard to the mission parameters. Until further notice, you're both on solo assignments. Consider your partnership on hold. Dismissed, Agent Barton." The archer stood up and stalked out of the room using every bit of self control possessed not to shoot Fury in his only good eye.
As he left he passed Hill in the hall, the younger woman gave him an apologetic smile and clasped him on the shoulder. "I'll see what I can do to fix this. Go see Natasha." Clint nodded, once again grateful for their handler, who silently passed over the wedding rings she held for safekeeping. He hoped Hill could talk some sense into Fury. Breaking up their partnership would be detrimental. He would leave SHIELD before resuming indefinite solo missions on the other side of the world. Where she went, he went. There was a permanent spot by her side that was rightfully his, and he wouldn't give that up for anything.
He entered her room and perched dutifully at her bedside. Natasha looked deathly pale still, but the steady beeping of the heart monitor helped assure him she was alive. A doctor came in and explained that she should wake up in the next 24 hours, as her body needed time to recuperate. The man also detailed a list of her injuries, though Barton wasn't really listening. He would read the file when the doctor left. He would also bet money his partner didn't need 24 hours. At most, six he bet himself.
The partners were well versed in the art of first aid. Neither willingly went to doctors or infirmaries. Both preferred to let the other cleanse the wounds received if possible. Numerous missions ended with Barton gently cleaning bullet grazes and deftly sewing gashes from knives and daggers or Natasha skillfully removing pieces of glass from his skin or tenderly bandaging his forearm and fingers from where the bowstring had worn down skin. It was a soothing ritual and clearly portrayed the best parts of their marriage.
They were each other's support in every way possible. He trusted her to be his ears when he took out his hearing aids. She trusted him not to use her emotions against her. He always had her back, and she always had his. They completed each other. He told her that once and she nearly punched him. After he explained though, she had understood his point. She fought hand-to-hand, close combat. It was her forte. He fought best from a distance, using his spectacular sight and aim to his advantage. They covered each other's cracks and weaknesses. They presented themselves, not as two separate people, not as two partners, but as one unified front.
He just wanted to see her bright green eyes and hear her laugh at his stupid joke. He wanted to feel unified again. Watching her lying in a hospital bed with wires and monitors making her look small, he felt broken. He picked up her hand between his, noting how small her hand looked next to his. He kissed her bruised and slightly bloodied knuckles before dropping his forehead to the bed, never letting go of her hand. It wasn't the most comfortable position, but he had slept in worse. The steady beeping of the monitor and the feel of her hand in his comforted him. So Hawkeye finally allowed his assassin side to slip ever so slightly to take a nap perched on his wife's hospital bed.
He woke to the feeling of fingers threading through his hair. But he knew those fingers and Clint couldn't help but let out a grateful sigh as he turned his head slightly to look at Natasha. "Hi," she greeted quietly.
"Hey." He shuffled around to not jostle her and she glared at him for tiptoeing around her. "Hi," he repeated with a gentle smile. He kissed her and rested his forehead against hers, cradling her face in his palms. Her eyes fluttered closed at the touch as she leaned into him. No longer Widow or even Romanov, at this moment she was Natasha as he was Clint, and they were both glad to be alive. "You scared the living shit out of me. Absolutely terrified me, Tasha."
"Hmm," she mumbled noncommittally. "Nice catch though."
"I've had practice. You tend to jump off buildings frequently."
"Hmm," she mumbled again. "What's the damage?"
"Six gun shot wounds ranging from more-than-a-graze-less-than-a-whole to should-have-been-fatal. Not to mention the other general battle wounds-bruises, gashes, and scrapes."
"Not too bad then."
"Not too bad then," he repeated, his voice heightening in pitch. "Not too bad? Natasha, you almost bled out in my arms. You told me you loved me and then passed out from blood loss. Should-have-been-fatal gunshot wound most certainly doesn't fall into the category of 'not too bad then.' You spraining your ankle because you acrobat-ed around some guy's neck with your thighs and landed on debris qualifies as 'not too bad.' You almost dying in my arms... Tasha, that is very, very bad. Damnit," he swore as he moved away, pacing the short length of the infirmary room.
"Clint," she called quietly. He stopped pacing but turned from her. She could see the tension etched in his shoulders, his posture. "Come back." He scrubbed a hand over his face before turning back to her and sitting in the chair designated as his by the bed. "I've been hurt worse before. We both have. What's going on?"
"I... Natasha..." He stumbled over his words. "Coulson is trying to fix it."
"Fix what?" She laced her fingers with his; they both needed the comfort of the contact.
"Natasha," he whispered again, an excuse forming on his lips.
"Clint." His name was a soft demand, but a demand nevertheless.
"Fury terminated our partnership. Or put it on hold or something. He said we're going to be put on solo missions." He felt her tense in front of him. God, he hated Fury at that moment. How he wished to shoot him.
Her Russian kicked in as she started to rant at a speed he couldn't follow. Her natural accent slipped in, and it almost made him smile. Her accent only bled into her speech when she was angry, feeling personally targeted. In a professional sense, she kept in perfect control- her language, her words, her movements, her emotions; everything was calculated. But when it was the two of them, when it was Natasha and Clint as opposed to Black Widow and Hawkeye, she dropped the walls designed to protect her and she let him in. He cherished those moments, knowing how much it cost her to be vulnerable.
"I know," he assured her despite the fact he missed a good amount of rant. "Trust me. I know. Where you go, I go. You're stuck with me. It's legally binding," he smirked, lifting the chain around his neck as acknowledgement. When they weren't on a mission, he wore his wedding band around the necklace that hid beneath his t-shirt. It threw off his aim, he claimed. She always smirked when he used that as his excuse. It had the same effect this time as her green eyes dramatically rolled.
"Lucky me," she teased with a yawn.
"Get some sleep." He didn't need to tell her he would be there when she woke up. She knew. Like she knew he would catch her when she jumped, she knew he would be sitting there holding her hand and waiting patiently (always the sniper) to take her home.
"I'm not tired," she rebutted, barely able to suppress the yawn.
"Bull. You sleep, and I'll concoct ways to blackmail and or maim Fury."
"I knew I loved you for some reason," she teased as she closed her eyes to sleep.
"Move," she demanded of the junior agent standing in front of the doorway. He paled but stood stock-still. Her face, her demeanor, screamed Black Widow. Clint leaned against the wall somewhat content to watch the show.
"Darling," he drawled just to piss her off. "Your Russian is showing."
Ignoring her partner, she leveled the junior agent with a glare that could kill. "Move. Now."
"Fury ordered your continued recovery be on base."
"You can tell Fury to stick his damn order up his..."
"Tasha," Clint chided, causing her sentence to switch into Russian expletives and threats. "You can't kill him. You'll pull your stitches... Again. Then, Fury will never let you leave base."
"I don't need my legs to kill him. That's just the way I prefer; you know how much I like the thigh choke. I could kill him 34 different ways with my damn middle finger, and that's not injured. See," she offered, giving him the finger with a smirk. The poor agent guarding the door looked like he just might wet himself.
"Go get Fury, and we promise to stay in the room," Barton told the young man, ignoring the protesting glare from his partner. "She actually will kill you if you keep standing there. Confinement isn't really her thing. I'd give you a reference to confirm that, but people who try are dead. I can only hold her off for so long." The agent fled quickly to look for the director.
"One of these days, you'll agree and let me kill one of those little bastards," she huffed as she sat on the edge of the bed, clenching her jaw at the sudden discomfort of putting pressure on stitches. "Damn," she muttered unhappily. "I just want to go home."
"Agent Barton, Agent Romanov," Fury greeted in an unwelcoming monotone as he walked through the door. "Barton, here. Plane leaves in two hours. Romanov, you're on recovery for a fortnight. You're to remain on this base. Do I make myself clear? And stop terrorizing the junior agents. I refuse to make diapers part of their daily uniforms."
"This mission is indefinite," Barton spoke, glaring at the Director after flipping through the offered file.
"For now, it is. I need your eyes on a possible Hydra front."
"Yes. Get packed."
"No?" Fury questioned as Natasha fixed him with a pointed questioning glare.
"Last time I checked, I was still your boss, Agent Barton. But let's pretend for a second that you have a say in the mission you're given. Why the hell are you saying no?"
Barton looked at Natasha, who shrugged and nodded slightly. "I refuse to go on an indefinite mission to," he paused, flipping though the file again. "Kuwait," he finished with a low growl.
"And why is that?"
"Barton, can I speak to you? Outside. Now." Hill demanded as she stuck her head in the door. "Before you say something stupid... Or stupider." Natasha let out a breath and Barton slipped past Fury to the hallway.
"There's a debriefing packet waiting for you in your room."
"Sir, you said I was on recovery."
"You're going undercover: long-term, deep undercover. A smuggling ring is taking children and turning them into assassins. You're going to infiltrate. The packet explains it all. You'll leave in four days."
"For how long?"
"What is it with you and Agent Barton asking about time frames? You go where you go for as long as it takes to complete the mission. Do your damn job." The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. Outside, there was a clear thud of someone punching a wall before Barton stalked back in the room. "Where are you going, Agent Barton?" Fury demanded as the younger man grabbed their bags from the corner and took Natasha's hand.
"I'm taking my wife home. We're taking two weeks vacation. I'm sure you can find other agents qualified for babysitting Hydra and perfecting intel." He led her past Fury, who was still balking at his agent, and straight toward the elevator. Neither said a word as they loaded into their car and left the base, though he never let go of her hand.
Twenty minutes out, his phone rang and he glared at the screen. "What?" Natasha couldn't hear the conversation, and she didn't really care. Something had set him off, and she wanted to know what it was. She wanted to know if she still had a job, if he still had a job, though first she needed to figure out if she wanted to keep said job in the first place. She couldn't sort out her feelings until she knew all the facts, like what made her usually calm collected husband snap and storm off base after telling Fury they were married in passing. He hung up without another word, rhythmically clenching and unclenching his jaw. It was a tell tale sign that breaching conversation now wouldn't get her anywhere. Instead she moved the arm rests up and laid her head on his lap, curling into a slight ball, to go to sleep. It was her sign to him that she was willing to go wherever he needed, that she would be there when he needed her. She fell asleep quickly, comforted by his presence and the rumble of the car along the back roads to wherever they were headed.
He looked down at her and tucked a stray red curl behind her ear. He liked to drive. He found it soothing to drive through endless miles of country roads, focusing on the turmoil of his emotions and letting his senses and training autopilot the steering. So he drove and drove, letting his mind sort out its jumbled state.
Almost a full tank of gas was gone before he pulled into a lonely gas station diner combination. "Tasha," he whispered, rubbing her shoulder soothingly. "I found food."
"Congratulations. Do you want a damn gold sticker," she mumbled, her words somewhat muted by his t-shirt in which her face was slightly buried.
"Yes, you delightful ball of sunshine, I would love a gold sticker, but seeing as you don't carry stickers with you, I'll settle for a hot cup of coffee and pie." She sat up slowly and glared at him. She was not a morning person, or really not a person to be woken up against her will. "I bet they make a mean milkshake." He tried bribery and her stomach grumbled its consent. "I win," he noted smugly as he got out of the car and skipped around to open her door.
The diner had very few patrons and an elderly waitress named Flo, who doted on the young couple happily.
"How are your stitches?" Clint asked through a bite of his cheeseburger.
"Still holding my skin together," she answered smoothly.
"Good, then they're doing their job. I should probably change the bandage covering them before we hit the road again," he noted absently with a gulp of his coffee. "Damn that's good stuff, much better than base swill. Ma'am, could I have some more coffee please?" The waitress shuffled over and poured him a fresh cup, which he graciously accepted.
"Everything is better than base swill. I would prefer to eat raw coffee beans than whatever sludge is in the pot in the rec room. Wherever we're going has good coffee, yes?"
"I value my life. I wouldn't take you anywhere there wasn't a hefty supply of good coffee."
"Smart man," she hummed, taking a spoonful of her milkshake. They continued to eat in companionable silence. "Should I change into something more comfortable?" It was her way of asking how much longer they would be driving. She didn't care where they were going or how long it took to get there, but she didn't want to ride much longer in jeans that were starting to be too uncomfortable given the numerous wounds on her legs and back.
"If you change into sweats and a looser shirt, I'll be able to change the bandages easier. Your tight jeans make getting to your thighs complicated, unless you just want to strip for me in the parking lot."
"Yeah, I'll just change, but enjoy that image, Barton. Oh, and try to keep it in your pants," she teased as she grabbed the keys and went to grab a bag out of the trunk.
"I'll try, darling, but I make no promises." She tossed a glare over her shoulder, though there was a smirk on her face, as the door jingled her exit.
"Y'all make a cute couple, honey. How long have ya been together?"
"Thank you, ma'am. Just over ten years now."
"Y'all must have just been babies ten years ago," she mused. "Well, that girl loves you that's for damn sure. You do right by her, ya hear? We need more gentleman in this world."
"Yes ma'am," he agreed. "Thank you." He lifted the check in acknowledgement while Natasha slipped into the bathroom holding a change of clothes and a first aid kit. After dropping cash onto the table, he popped his head in the bathroom to see Natasha clad in a sports bra and underwear, twisted and looking at her bandages in the mirror. Flipping through the kit, he noticed they were out of hydrogen peroxide. Borrowing a bottle from Flo, he returned to remove her bandages, clean the wounds, and re-bandage. He met her eyes in the mirror as he traced a raised starburst scar near the small of her back. "I love you, you know," he whispered as he kissed one of her shoulder blades. She smiled and nodded responding in Russian. "Ready to hit the road?"
"I'm going back to sleep on your lap." He smirked and shook his head with a laugh. She pulled on his sweatpants and carefully dragged on a top over the recently bandaged wounds.
In the car, she settled in the passenger seat with her head in Clint's lap, her face slightly covered by the extra fabric of his t-shirt as she turned her body towards the back of the car. He smiled at her fondly, pressing a kiss to her knuckles before the engine rumbled to life, and they were off in the dark.
"We're here," he nudged softly, slipping a hand under the loose waistband of the sweatpants to caress her left hip. His thumb swiped gently at an old scar she received from shrapnel caused by one of his exploding arrowheads.
"There's coffee here?"
"Of course, Tasha. It's a vacation not hell."
She sat up slowly, noting the yellow hue tinting the horizon. Sunrise was just around the corner. She looked at Clint first. He looked tired, but more relaxed than before. Then she looked at their surroundings. "We're home," she murmured happily as she recognized the little cottage on a cliff.
"We are. You said you wanted home. We're home."
"Thank you," she said sincerely, her voice low and raspy.
"Let's get unpacked."
"We don't have clothes or supplies unless you have magical powers I don't know about."
"I called in a favor." She raised her eyebrows at his statement. "The guys were worried. You know JARVIS records our comm links on missions we aren't with the Avengers." She nodded and started calculating how long it had been since they were both at home. "It's been much too long," he mused as if reading her thoughts.
When they were both settled on the deck, she finally brought up the topic. She couldn't see his face as her back was to his chest, her head resting on his shoulder. "What happened in the hall with Hill?" He tensed behind her before setting his steaming cup of coffee on the ledge and wrapping his arms around her. The archer stayed silent for some time. "Clint," she prodded. "What's going on?"
"The mission, your mission, it's a suicide mission." She nodded. She figured as much. When the adjectives 'long term' and 'in depth undercover' were used, she knew the danger factor increased. She also knew when the missions were hush-hush, going so far as lying about medical leave to a partner, that there was a good chance she wouldn't return if she accepted the mission. In Clint's arms on the patio of their home, she wanted nothing more than to reject the mission. She wanted whatever this was, the odd normalcy of the moment, and she definitely didn't want to die.
"Hill didn't want you to go. Fury doesn't want you to go apparently. I sure as hell don't want you to go. The Council decided you would be fit for the job after the number of agents who have been KIA due to the mission." He paused, and the silence resumed. She thought he was done talking until he nuzzled her neck and spread his hands over her belly. "Hill also mentioned something that worried the medical team." That sure as hell got her attention. She wracked her brain trying to think of an injury he sustained or something that would cause the medical team to worry about him. "The doctor told Hill because she's your handler. She told me accidentally. I really don't think she meant to, but she let it slip while she was berating me for something or other." He paused again, clearly fumbling for words.
"Spit it out, Clint," she encouraged, though he could hear a trace of nerves in her voice.
"You're pregnant." He couldn't keep the smile off of his face, but naturally he was worried about what the assassin in his arms would think about the situation.
It was her turn to tense up. Her brain whirled a mile a minute and she looked down to her stomach where Clint's large hands rested comfortably. She couldn't find words. She couldn't assess her feelings. It was too much. She started to panic because she felt her control spiraling away.
Memories flashed before her eyes. Her parents, her real parents, were caught in a fiery blaze. A woman, her new mother, pulled her from the wreckage to a new home known as the Red Room. A young girl she was ordered to kill when she was 12 and the girl, her friend, 10. A baby sentenced to death by a Widow's bullet as a message to a president and his wife. Sao Paolo, when a young boy ran into the line of fire a moment too late and his mother sobbing over his lifeless body. The hospital fire, when a floor of children was engulfed in flames because her mark decided to choose his own fate and die in a bomb explosion as opposed to a bullet to the head.
If memories taught her anything, it was that she was awful with children. Her hands weren't meant to cradle or comfort. Her body wasn't meant to give life. She had been broken down and remade, her brain and body turned into weapons. Her body was meant to kill. She was the Black Widow. She wasn't maternal. She couldn't be maternal. Red Room had taken the humanity in her soul and beat it out of her until she fought back in perfect form, efficient and deadly. She couldn't be responsible for another that depended entirely on her. She couldn't bring a baby into the world knowing the dangers it would face simply because it was the Black Widow's child. She couldn't do it. Her other options weren't any better.
She didn't realize she was crying nor did she realize Clint had rearranged their seating. Her breathing was ragged, and her chest burned. It felt like someone had gripped her heart and twisted painfully. She couldn't do this. She couldn't be a mother, and she couldn't break Clint's heart when he was obviously excited about the child, their child.
"Tasha," he whispered softly, trying to pull her out of her trance without startling her. Her knees framed his hips as he had shifted their position. He needed to see her face and he needed to comfort her. In her trance, he had moved her gently (ever careful of her stitches), so that she was in his lap but straddling him this time, her chest flush against his. Her head tilted and rested against his shoulder, so she could hear his heartbeat. He ran his hands soothingly along her spine. "Tasha," he murmured again.
He would be a great father, she thought to herself. God, he would be fantastic- just the right amount of discipline with so much laughter and fun. She could see him smiling happily at a little baby and chasing a toddler around a living room. She could see him teaching a child how to shoot bows and arrows at tree stumps and comforting a teenager with a broken heart. God, she wanted to give that to him. He deserved to be happy. He deserved a family. She just couldn't give that to him. A baby wasn't in her cards. It wasn't something she could handle. It wasn't something she deserved.
"Natasha," he asked. He cradled her face in his rough calloused palms, trying to seek out her eyes with his. The pain and the fear he could see swirling in her green eyes made his heart clench. She bit her lip before breaking their eye contact. She couldn't look into his stormy blue eyes and see all that concern and love shining back at her. She wanted to cry, and that wasn't something she was used to. The Black Widow did not cry.
She was out of his arms and running so quickly that he barely had time to blink. He was almost sure she pulled at least some of her stitches bolting away as quickly as she had. He sighed and put his head in his hands, forcing himself to breathe. Grabbing their forgotten mugs, he went inside to wash them as he tried to give her the space she obviously wanted.
He stood outside the bathroom door listening to the water run. He would have sworn he could feel the steam from the shower escaping from the bathroom through the crack under the door. When Clint heard her strangled sob somewhat muffled by the pouring water, he knocked. "Tasha."
"Go away." Her mumbled words could barely be heard over the water.
"I'm coming in," he announced. He couldn't let her cry by herself. He wanted to comfort her, wrap her in his arms and make everything better. Clint picked the lock easily, and the steam escaped from the small bathroom quickly as he opened the door. Natasha leaned heavily against the sink, bracing herself with tense forearms that shook slightly. Her back curved and her head drooped slightly. Her red curls hiding her face from view. He turned off the water and moved to stand behind her, wrapping arms tightly around her waist. His cheek rested against her shoulder blade. "Tasha," his voice breathed against her back.
She pictured him rocking their child, singing lullabies and giving a bottle. Her heart ached to see that scene, to have that idea be a reality, but she knew she couldn't bring a child into this world. All three options seemed equally inappropriate and impossible.
"Talk to me, Tasha." He slowly turned her in his arms. His rough palms cradled her face gently. "You don't have to work this through by yourself," he reminded her. "I'm right here." His thumb swiped tenderly at a tear that escaped. One hand shifted to tangle in her hair, bringing her to him in an embrace, as his other hand wrapped around her back.
"I'm pregnant," she mumbled.
"We," he corrected. She looked up at him, an unspoken question swimming in her eyes. "It's been we since you took my hand in Budapest."
"Which time?" She whispered despite herself. "The time you didn't kill me, the time I almost died, the time you almost died, or the time you decided to get married amidst gunfire?"
He laughed softly at her question, kissing her forehead. "From Day One, Tasha, it's been you and me."
"Maybe I should give birth in Budapest," she mused. "Everything important happens in Budapest." The words came out of her mouth before she could catch them. Her brow furrowed for a second, but she quickly schooled her features. Her brain worked through things a mile a minute. She had the reassurance she needed from him. She couldn't abort their child. She had done enough killing in her life. She knew she couldn't add that red to her ledger; she would never be able to balance that out. She couldn't give a child up for adoption, as she would always be second guessing herself and working about the child. That left her with one option, and god, she wanted to see Clint be a father. If he had her back, she could make this work. She could work her way through it.
"Give birth," Clint choked out. He pulled her back a little, so he could look her in the eyes. She kissed him softly, chastely, and tenderly. "Give birth," he asked again. "Tasha?"
"You get to tell Stark he has to build a nursery in our suite in the Avengers' Tower." He nodded happily, a huge grin breaking across his face. His arms wrapped around her, and he spun her in a circle.
"I'll tell the whole damn world, Tasha. We're going to have a baby. We're going to have a family."
"The whole damn world, maybe not, but you also get to tell Fury."
He groaned into her hair. She responded with a laugh. "We are definitely not talking about Fury right now. His bald, shiny head will not ruin this moment."
"He's good at that," she confirmed. "But I may have a different way to ruin the moment." He pulled back and looked at her. "I pulled my stitches." Clint groaned again, turning her around to get a good look. Blood slowly dripped from two of the wounds on the back of her legs.
He sighed before grabbing the first aid kit from the cabinet to the left, ushering her into their bedroom. "Let's hope our child doesn't have your penchant for not listening to doctors."
"Banner is going to have his hands full."
"Avengers Tower will never be the same again."
"Damn straight," she laughed despite the needles threading through her sore skin. "Well fuck," she mumbled into the pillow. She felt his eyes on her. "No vodka," she answered the unspoken question.
"I think there's a rule about coffee too."
"You have got to be shitting me." She flipped over to look at him. "We might have to figure something else out. I'm not good without my coffee. Maybe Stark can invent something that will let you carry the little hawk."
"Why isn't he or she a little spider?"
"Because spiders have numerous babies at a time, Clint. I think we'll have our hands full with one."
"Do you know anything at all about how hawks have babies?"
"Shut up and sew, bird boy."