Steve Rogers looked up at the sound of his name. He was sitting in the kitchen of the townhouse on the Upper West Side that Emma and Clint Barton owned. He turned his attention from the sketch he had been working on to the tiny voice that had said his name from the doorway.
There stood Audrey, Emma and Clint's 5-year-old daughter. She was dressed in a frilly black dress and she was clutching her pink teddy bear. Behind her was her trusty black lab, Elvis. Tears were rimming the eyes of the little girl as she made her way towards him.
"What's wrong, Audrey?" he asked as he swept the little girl up into his arms and placed her on his knee. She laid her head against the shoulder of his black suit as the tears began to finally fall. After a second, she finally spoke up.
"Will mommy ever be happy again?" she asked sniffling, wiping her tears against her arm.
Steve sighed. It had been several weeks since Clint had supposedly been killed during the mission in Pakistan when Emma had been shot and left for dead. Both the Avengers and his Strike team from S.H.E.I.L.D. had scoured the area for any signs of Clint's body. Each time was the same result – no body, but there had been signs that Clint must have died – ranging from massive amounts of blood to his boot marks. All of which led to a cliff that dropped into one of the many rivers that ran along the Himalayas. So there was no telling where his body was.
During that time Emma had been held at the S.H.E.I.L.D. trauma center in Zurich, Switzerland to recover from her injuries. After two weeks, she had finally been allowed to return home. All of the Avengers had taken turns monitoring her recovery and helping out with taking care of Audrey, especially after Emma had decided to move back to the townhouse that she and Clint owned. There was an agreement among the team that Emma still needed time to grieve for her husband.
Yet that didn't mean that they would leave her alone. Clint had been apart of their team from the beginning and she only added to it – especially once she and Tony had been reunited after 24 years of being kept apart.
"Eventually she'll be happy again. It will just take time," he finally answered. The little girl nodded against his shoulder as more tears began to fall.
"I just want daddy to come home and make mommy happy."
"if it were that simple…"
Memories tumbled through Emma's mind…each one vivid and bright.
…the first time that they had met at S.H.E.I.L.D. headquarters thanks to Fury insisting that she have a partner.
…him saving her life countless times…
…their first date…
…the first time they had made love together...
…the first time her had asked her to marry him…
…when she had told him that she was pregnant with Audrey and the look of pure joy on his face…
…the second time he asked her to marry him…
…the times they had spent with their daughter, including their wedding day…
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she carefully put in the diamond stud earrings that Clint had given her for Christmas the first year that they were together as a couple. Stepping back, she looked at herself in the full length mirror. She was wearing a black dress with a dark purple belt – Clint's favorite color on her. It had taken a while to get ready that morning, because this was the day that she had been dreading since she had woken up in Zurich with Nick Fury sitting by her bedside.
Today she was being forced to say goodbye to her husband.
Even though there was not a body to bury, it had been decided that one of Clint's bows and quiver of arrows would be buried instead. Fury had insisted that some kind of memorial be held since Emma needed it to cope. It had taken some pushing from Tony, but finally all the plans had been made.
While she knew that the director of S.H.E.I.L.D. had only her and Audrey's best interests in mind, she also would not forget part of their conversation the day that she woke up in Zurich...
"You used the formula didn't you?"
Fury nodded. "It was the formula or subjecting you to the T.A.H.I.T.I. program. I thought that this was better suited for you…"
It wasn't fair. She was alive while Clint was gone. This wasn't how life was supposed to be. She and Clint were supposed to have more children together then watch them grow up as they grew old and grey together.
She wasn't supposed to do it all on her own.
But what in her life had ever been fair or easy?
A knock at her bedroom door caused her to come out of her thoughts. Looking up she saw Steve standing in the doorway with a sleeping Audrey in his arms. Emma figured that her daughter must had cried herself to sleep in his arms – just like she had done with all the other Avengers over the last few days. He also had a look of concern on his face. "I was just making sure that you were ok," he whispered, so that he didn't wake Audrey.
"About as ready as I am going to be."
AN: Hey everyone! This story picks up from where 'The Things They Carry' left off. I hope everyone liked the short chapter for now. More coming soon!