Guardian Angel

I rarely ever come to places like this, Harold thought to himself, sitting in a bar, and even then it is only to think something over…or think about something, but never to drink. But this time, he grimaced, as he placed an order, I definitely need one.

Harold Alexander, by all accounts, was immensely worried, and that is what pushed him into this bar in New York in the first place; in the vain hope of forgetting his worries. He had just heard back from Jason; Colin Price and Olivia were nearly killed in Japan. The boy responsible was a person in a family that was of great interest to the Center; one Sousuke Miyabe, oldest child of the Miyabe family, and older brother to the young Tatsuki Miyabe. Harold had suspected, on the few times he ever went there, just to visit, that the boy was unstable, and if pushed far enough, he would go ballistic.

The boy turned out to be a complete psychopath; take Sweeney Todd, and remove what ever motivation he ever had, and you end up with Sousuke Miyabe. Give that mindset supernatural power, and a twisted obsession, and the end result is a near-unstoppable massacre of anyone thought to pose a threat to the one obsessed over. SousukeMiyabe killed several Center employees, some who he became close friends with, and he also nearly killed both Olivia and Colin, but Colin suffered the worst of it. He barely survived his encounter. The twisted maniac even killed his own parents, yet felt no remorse. Thankfully, no one else was killed, and Tatsuki was safe with Colin…although the scars had already been dealt.

He first caught wind of the events when Algernon called to tell him of the new, and Olivia dared to come back home in her half-dead, half-alive state. Unfortunately, Isaac managed to catch a glimpse of it; a five year old child, seeing his most of the time absent mother, bloody and battered, as if she went through a war, and barely got out. He ushered him away, not intent on telling him of what happened, but the damage was done to Isaac. For nearly every night up to today, he'd have the same nightmare; his mother in that same state, and then she would vanish as everything went black, only to be replaced by an evil laughter coming from devil-red eyes. He'd wake up every night screaming out for his mom, but it would have to be Harold who'd tell him it was just a nightmare.

The damage was even harder on little Tatsuki, as he heard from Colin; her parents were murdered by her own brother, and she was forced to stand in fear as her psychotic brother told her it was an accident, but saw the truth behind that emotionless face, and his body covered with the blood of all of those he killed. He heard from Colin, that Taki's mind was scarred to an extent, where the only way to cope was through Hemaphobia; fear of blood. The funeral had already been held, and Colin had started to take care of her along with Octavia Paine, who Algernon assigned to help him. He felt uneasy about the whole thing; why would Algernon have ordered the Miyabes to be arrested? He knew Ryuto from a while back, in the most life-changing mission of his life, and he never struck Harold as a person who would be guilty of paranormal crimes. And why did Sousuke react like that when he heard of it; it was as if he knew it would actually happen somehow.

Harold could only sit there, as his order came in, and hold the drink, thinking ahead to the funeral, and how hard it would be for Taki. He had never met her personally, but Colin had told him that she was quite mature for her age. He described her as a sweet, innocent girl around Isaac's age, possessing the traditional Miyabe traits of shadow black hair and brown red eyes; a combination that, ironically, was opposite of his own traits, and his son's; silver-white hair, and sapphire blue eyes. She looked up to her big brother, which made the tragedy even greater when he went down the path of bloodlust. In his last visit when Colin and Octavia were taking care of her, he came to see the young Miyabe as something he sometimes wish he had; as a daughter.

Taki, he thought, fiddling around with the bottle, of anyone I have ever known, you have faced more tragedy in a single day than any of them did in a single lifetime. If healing can be given to you, I pray that it comes.

As he thought about this, he didn't notice the woman that walked in, and sat a few seats away from him. Only when the bartender spoke was his attention caught. "Your back, Natasha," the bartender said. Natasha, Harold thought, snapped back to reality, that name…but it couldn't be. "I'm guessing it's the usual?"

"Yes," the woman said. "Leave the bottle, like always."

It is her, he realized in shock, and he slowly turned his head in the direction of the woman. The woman was beautiful, with emerald eyes and straight, shining brown hair. At least, that is how Harold remembered Natasha Lombard; how could he forget? They met the very day Isaac was born. Right now, she looked a whole lot worse; she was pale, her eyes were bloodshot, and appeared unkempt by the standards expected of her. What happened to her, Harold thought, recalling the joyous woman he met on that day, what could have possibly caused such a beautiful woman to be driven to drink? Harold felt he knew the answer, as he was suffering in the same way; grief.

Harold decided to find out what was wrong with her, and went over beside Natasha, who didn't even notice him; she was just staring into space, with a bottle of beer in her hands, poised to drink it. As she lifted the bottle to drink, he extended his hand, and stopped her from doing so. "I would have never expected someone like you to stoop to such a level of escape from grief," I must be a hypocrite; I came here for the exact same thing, "Natasha."

She looked over while lowering the bottle and it appeared that she didn't recognize him, and he noticed something else; in her current state, she appeared to be drinking for a while. "Who are you," she asked, sealing the deal on her non-remembrance of Harold, "and how do you know my name?"

"Six years ago," he started, "at a hospital; the day my son was born; your daughter's name is Diana; your last name is Lombard. If you cared to remember, you'd recall that my name is Harold Alexander."

"Oh," she said, obviously unexcited, "what are you doing here?"

"That doesn't matter at the moment," he stated, the business of Natasha coming first in his mind, "what matters is why you are in this bar, and what caused someone like you to be driven to drink? From how little I knew you, it seems so out of character, and-"

"…My husband…He's dead."

Harold froze at the statement. Her husband's…dead? He thought. Poor Diana, she's probably taking this pretty hard, but it appears her mother's gone off the deep end in her sorrow. This is what I get for talking first, asking questions later.

"I'm sorry," Harold said sympathetically, remembering the happy mother on that day his son was born; he never really met Diana's father, but thought that he must have been very special to Natasha, "I didn't know. But…why are you here? Shouldn't you be with your daughter?"

"Where I am doesn't matter right now," Natasha said bluntly, "just leave me be."

As he listened to this, a piece of info he picked up from Colin's behaviour popped up: Colin was always to the point with his words, and he never apologized when he ever said the cold, harsh truth. And Natasha is trying to suppress her sorrow and pain, Harold grimaced, by drinking. That is a fool's route, and I intend to set her right. He sighed. To think I'd pick this up from Colin...

"I guess in the end," he started, bracing for impact, "you are turning out…to be a lousy mother."

Natasha slammed the bottle down, startling the bartender, and her features turned into a scowl. "I…am not..."

"You can believe that," Harold said, unveiling his darker side, "but in my opinion, those who abandon those they love, especially their children in a time of sorrow, to wallow away their sorrows in a place like this…are no better than scum."

Natasha stood up furiously, causing her chair to topple over, and the bartender chose that moment to leave. "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME THAT," She shouted. "I AM NOT…"

"Then why would you bother to be here in the first place, Natasha," Harold rebuked, "if you cared for Diana so much."

"Don't you dare bring my daughter into this," Natasha shouted back, "she isn't a part of this! You don't understand at all."

In that moment, Harold snapped. "I DON'T UNDERSTAND?" He yelled, remembering events from 7 years ago, and recent events from now. "I MAY NOT LOOK IT, BUT I'VE LOST A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE CLOSE TO ME!" He remembered how hurt Isaac was when he saw Olivia hurt, and exploded. "AND HOW THE HELL CAN YOU POSSIBLY SAY YOUR PAIN DOESN'T CONCERN DIANA? SHE LOST HER FATHER!"

Natasha froze, and her face became featureless. That's it, he thought, I've got her. All that needs to be done now is to pound the truth into her…painfully.

"You aren't even thinking about her, are you," Harold said venomously, "you're only thinking of your own grief. Not hers, when she needs comfort the most."

Natasha's features softened, and she turned her eyes downward towards the hand that once sported a wedding ring. "You couldn't cope with it on your own," Harold continued, "so you took the easy way out; the fool's way out…you turned to drinking your worries away, hoping it would erase the pain. All of that time, you'd push your daughter out of the equation, not caring about her feelings, and her pain."

"Stop it," Natasha said quietly, her eyes closed.

"When he passed away, Diana needed you to help her cope; she needed you to be strong; in the end however, you pushed her aside and turned to drinking, too fearful to confront your own pain. When she needed you to be strong, you became weak; when she needed your warm touch, the drinking turned it cold; when she needed a loving mother…all she got was an uncaring stranger in her place."

"Please," Natasha said, tears in her eyes, "stop it."

"You walked away from facing your own pain," Harold said, "and as a result, you began to fail as a mother. Diana doesn't deserve a weak mother to care for her, all alone," he continued, hating himself for his coldness, "she needs a strong one; one who will take care of her to the best of her abilities; one who will encourage her to be the best she can be; one…who will love her."

"I look at you right now," Harold said, watching the tears stream down Natasha's face, "and I don't see the Natasha Lombard I met on the day my son was born: happy, beautiful, and a loving mother…all I see is a hollow shell of it: pale, uncaring, depressed, and a drunk. Diana doesn't deserve that."

Natasha turned her eyes down to the floor, and she began to cry, throwing herself around Harold. He was slightly surprised, but returned the embrace, hoping it will bring comfort to her. "He's gone," she said, heart-broken, "he left me all alone. And Diana…she needed me…but I…" she couldn't finish, and started crying again.

I hated to do this to her, Harold thought, tears falling down his face, but it probably was the only way to make her realize her mistake. "Natasha," he calmly said, "I can only think of how hard it has been for you, but the only thing that you can do is to get better."

"How," Natasha asked tearfully, "how can I do that?"

"You're already facing your pain," Harold said, "that is a start. For the rest," he said, moving Natasha away from him, "I think I can help you with that." If Colin could see me now, he thought inside my head, he'd say I should be a psychologist.

"You'd be willing to do that," Natasha said, her eyes slowing regaining that same joyous glow they had five years ago, "for me? But what about your own wife and son," she asked, "what will they think of you helping me like this?"

"…They'll understand," Harold said, "because you aren't the only one who is suffering."

"What do you mean," Natasha asked, concerned.

"…On a visit to Japan for her work…a horrible incident occurred." Should I tell her, Harold thought, at least the basic details? No, I will only tell her the personal ones. "A family she was visiting…one of their own, their eldest son, killed his own parents, and nearly murdered my wife and a friend of mine."

Natasha was visibly shocked by the statement, and only could pause as Harold continued on. "The only one of the family who survived was their youngest daughter…she is only about a year younger than Isaac and Diana," he said, a tear seeping out of his eyes, "and yet she fell witness to the bloodshed and murder of all those close to her by her own brother, who she once adored. The only way her mind could cope, was to become Hemaphobic, forever afraid of blood."

"Isaac, my son, fell witness to what that crazed boy did to his mother, after she returned to us…half-dead. For the past nights since then, I was left alone to comfort him after he woke from his nightmares; nightmares of the same image of his mother when she returned, only to be replaced by evil laughter, and a set of red eyes looking at him. I keep reassuring him that it is over, that it was just a dream, but it keeps on coming back. Many others, some with whom I was friends with, were also killed by that lunatic."

"…I'm sorry," Natasha said, wiping the tear away from Harold's face, "I guess you are suffering far more than I am."

"No, I am not," he told her, "but the girl is suffering the most," Harold said, referring to Taki, "she had her parents killed by her own brother. The funeral has already been held, and a friend of mine is taking care of her."

"…What about everyone else who died," Natasha asked.

"…Their families will be told of what happened. No one else will hear of it."

"Then why did you tell me all of this?"

"Because you asked why I was here, and that is why."

"So, you tried to drown your sorrows too?"

"I thought about it," Harold confessed, "but I saw you, and realized that it was wrong."

They both stood in silence, and finally Natasha spoke. "Harold, thank you for being here for me," she said, "I may have never realized my mistakes if you weren't here."

"I don't need it, but your welcome," Harold said. "It was only coincidence that I was here anyway. But if I'm going to help you, I'll need someone to look after Isaac," he said, pulling out a phone, "so I've got to call a friend to look after him for as long as necessary."

"Why are you saying that," Natasha asked.

"Because until you are better," Harold stated, "I won't be letting you out of my sights, nor will I be leaving you."

"Then I should get someone else to look after Diana as well," Natasha said thoughtfully, "if for the next two weeks we'll be living together."

Harold paused in stunned silence as he processed this; yes, he did say he wouldn't be leaving her, but he never intended on living with each other for two weeks. What have I got myself into, Harold thought. This is going to be a long two weeks. "I…suppose so," Harold admitted. How will I explain this to Olivia?

"Harold," Natasha said, "it seems that you aren't any ordinary man after all."

"Then what am I," Harold asked, curious about why she bothered to say that.

"…A guardian angel," she said sweetly, her hand caressing Harold's cheeks, "that is what you are."

Harold was stunned into silence, and he could only close his eyes, and smile. Do I really seem like an angel to her, he thought. Well, I guess I currently forced myself into that role, and will be her angel, for as long as it takes…

Twelve days later,

Twelve days, Harold thought, as he heard the sound of Natasha forcing the last of the alcohol out of her system, and she has shown to be getting much better. "How are you feeling," Harold called out.

"Like I just emptied my stomach of everything I've eaten in the past five years," she replied tired.

"Well, it all should be out of your system now. We may as well go see the doctor about it."

When they did, the results were completely positive. "Well, it seems that all of the alcohol is gone out of her system," the doctor said proudly, "you did a good job on getting her back on track."

"Thank you," Harold said, "I just wanted to help her."

"You did more than that," the doctor said, "one could say you saved her from sending her life down the drain."

"He did," Natasha said, "he did."

Back at their shared apartment, they were both packing to leave. "Well," Harold said, "now that we are finished, it's time we part ways."

"I know," Natasha said, "but I find it hard to, after everything you've done for me."

"I do too, in a way," Harold admitted, "even though I still have my own wife."

"Well, she will understand, as I'm sure your son will. Has the music been helping him sleep?"

Harold smiled as he thought about this: Natasha had suggested that while he was away, that music would be played while Isaac slept to keep away the nightmares. It worked, and somehow, Harold felt he owed Natasha. "Yes, he hasn't had that nightmare since then. But I fear that they'll come back after the music stops."

"Harold," she said, her hand caressing Harold's hair "that may be so, but you need to make sure he copes with it. If he conquers his fear of that, it will go away."

"I suppose you are right," Harold admitted. "Natasha," he had to ask, "How did your husband die?"

Natasha pondered quietly, and answered. "He had just left for a job," she said, "since our jobs take us around the world a lot. He told me he loved me, and said he'd be back. I didn't see the news that night, so I didn't know...A few days later, the police came to our house, and said...that he had died."

"I was absolutely devastated," she continued, "and I didn't know what to do; he was practically everything to me."

"I...I'm sorry," Harold said, "It had to have been hard." He said this to Natasha, but he knew very well what the consequences of losing a loved one were. Olivia felt the same way about what once happened, 7 years ago...

The next day, outside Harold's apartment

"Is this your apartment," Natasha said to Harold.

"Yes it is," Harold said, "because there is really no point in buying an expensive house when you move around a lot as an archaeologist, doesn't prevent me from going luxury," Harold stated, opening the door to his apartment.

"Was that apartment," Natasha asked humorously, observing the furniture and the size of the room, "or penthouse?"

"Well, I did overdo it this time around in New York," Harold confessed, "but the offer was too sweet to resist."

"Well, it's about time you got back," a man roughly Harold's age, with green dyed hair, features called out as they walked in, "although it hasn't been much trouble to take care of Isaac," he stated, and he stopped to look at Natasha, and recognized her, as she recognized him. "You're the woman that Harold bumped into the day his son was born!"

"And you're the man who was with him," Natasha said, recognizing Colin.

"Natasha, this is Colin," Harold said, formally introducing the two, "he's the friend I mentioned, and my wife's; Colin, this is Natasha."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Colin said.

"The same here," Natasha said.

"Harold," Colin asked, "what took you so long? I expected you back by last night."

"I called you last night," Harold explained, "But we had to check out in the morning. I assure you, nothing happened."

"You know she'd kill you if something did." Colin stated.

Harold chuckled nervously. "No, she'd do worse." Natasha was puzzled; how did such a nice man marry such a scary woman?

"You bet I would."

Harold and Colin jumped out of their socks when they heard Olivia's voice coming from the doorway to the kitchen.

"Oh, Oli," Colin spoke, "t-there you are." He immediately moved over to her side, and began whispering into her ear something. When Olivia looked over to see Natasha, she did a double-take, and Harold sweat-dropped. So she just popped in from the Center, Harold thought. Another thought hit him: if Colin was able to take care of Tatsuki, then who...?

"I believe that you two have never formally met," Colin said, and scooted Olivia over to where Harold and Natasha were. "Oli, this is Natasha Lombard," Colin said nervously, but happily, "Tasha, this is Olivia, Harry's wife."

"It's a pleasure to meet you." Natasha said.

"I'm glad to meet you too," Olivia said.

"Okay," Harold said, "now that everyone's been introduced to each other," he looked towards Colin, "how's Isaac doing?"

"He's been sleeping quite peacefully," Colin told him, "although he tosses and turns like any other kid, even with the music. But he's so quiet; he wasn't anything like he was before."

"I'm just curious," Harold asked, "but who did you get to-"

"I got Olivia to," Colin said, and Harold shot him a questioning look. "She refused to stay with Octavia alone for two weeks, so I managed to convince her to do it."

"I see," Harold simply replied.

"Octavia and who," Natasha asked.

Harold and Colin froze when they realized their slip of the tongue, and Olivia glared at them to give her a proper answer.

"You see..." Harold answered first, "Colin isn't quite ready to take care of Tatsuki full-time on his own, so another associate from work is helping him look after her, not that she and Tatsuki get along very well."

Natasha noticed the frosty glare that Olivia had, and shivered a little: what in the world was her job?

She didn't bother dwelling into it, since it must have been private for the two of them. To break the tension, she asked: "Do you mind if I...see him," Natasha asked, "your son?"

Harold thought about it, and acquiesced to Natasha's request, and telling Colin that he could leave, which he did. Natasha looked at Olivia, hoping for her approval. When she saw the stern faced woman smile softly, she walked to the room that Harold gestured to, and opened the door. Inside, there was Isaac, fast asleep; he had slightly unkempt hair, as did most six year olds, hanging down in front of his face, and his small features were so serene and peaceful, although interrupted by small changes in features.

"Oh," Natasha said quietly, so as not to wake Isaac, "he is...beautiful."

"I would expect you to say that," Harold said, "considering he is my son."

"No, he really is like that; as beautiful as an angel. Just a question, but does he have that birthmark?"

Harold simply nodded; it was more of a trivial detail than anything, but Harold had decided to tell her of his and Isaac's birthmark; a perfect image of a phoenix, flat on his chest. "Yes," Harold said, "he does have it; it is a family trait."

Natasha listened to this, and noticed that Isaac's breathing sped up slightly, and became louder. Harold noticed this as well, and knew what was coming; Isaac was about to have the nightmare again. "There's no point in waking him up," Harold said, "at least, I can't when he has the nightmares."

He looked at Olivia's distressed face; it was partly because of her near-death experience that these nightmares happened. "Go on, Olivia," he said softly to her.

He watched quietly as Olivia went over to her son, and as she used to when Isaac was younger, she planted a soft kiss on Isaac's forehead. The effect was instantaneous, and Isaac calmed down.

"I take it..." Natasha hesitated to say to Olivia, "you aren't here often."

Olivia looked down. "I'm at work most of the time. In fact, Colin has been there for Isaac more than I am. I don't like to admit, but..." She placed a hand to her head. "I sometimes think I'm a bad mother."

Harold looked over at Natasha as she let out a small gasp; she probably never met someone who considered themselves a bad parent, even if a while ago, she had neglected Diana when she fell into despair. "I think what's more important," she stated, "is that you be as good a mother as you can when you are around."

Olivia pondered over Natasha's words, as she straightened out the sheets on Isaac's bed. "I guess you're right."

"I probably should be going," Natasha said, looking at her watch. "I need to get back to Diana anyway, and we'll be leaving New York soon."

"Well, good luck," Harold said, and Natasha went to the door. "Just in case you find another man and marry him, I hope he'll be as loving as your first husband...I never knew him though."

"His name...was Marcus," Natasha said.

"Well," Harold said, walking with Natasha to the door, "I guess that maybe...We'll see each other again someday?"

"Yes," Natasha said hopefully, "We will see each other, and maybe Isaac and Diana will too." And she left. Good luck, Natasha Lombard, Harold thought, and he closed the door.

"I see you two got to know each other well," Olivia said.

Harold allowed himself a small smile. "I guess we did. Even though, we've met only twice now."

Olivia chuckled. A moment later, Harold sat down beside her, and looked at their son, who was unaware of the future that awaited him.

At Natasha's home, Diana was waiting quietly through the night for her mother to get home, worrying about what may have happened to her, and what already has. Mommy hasn't been the same since Daddy passed away, Diana thought, shedding a tear as she thought about her father; she hasn't been like Mommy since then. Why has she been gone these past two weeks? Her thoughts were silenced as Natasha's car pulled into the driveway, and she jumped up to the door as Natasha opened it.

"Mommy," Diana said, leaping into her mother's open arms, "I missed you."

"And I missed you," Natasha said happily, "I promise; I won't put you through this again."

"Mommy," Diana said, noticing that her mother's features were beautiful and warm again, "you look different."

"I've gotten better, sweetheart," Natasha said, looking at her daughter with sparkling emerald eyes again, "and I won't be touching that bad stuff again; I promise you."

"Did you get better all on your own," Diana asked, "is that why you haven't been here?"

"...No, Diana," Natasha said, placing a warm hand on her daughter's cheek, "I had help...from a very kind man."

"Will I get to meet him," Diana asked, wanting to know who brought her mother back.

"Maybe someday, sweetheart," Natasha said, "and maybe on that'll also meet his son."

A few months later

Ever since that day, Natasha Lombard stayed true to her promise, and she never forgot the man who saved her from destroying her own life. Harold, Natasha thought, I'll never forget you. She had recently moved to Sherbrooke, Quebec with Diana, liking the relative peace and quiet of Canada compared to New York.

She was in a restaurant, waiting for her order to come, when she noticed a young man walk in; a tall and stern face man, with a certain air of humour underlying his serious exterior, having blond hair and a small beard growing. Since there were no other seats available, the man went over to her table. "Do you mind if I sit here," the man asked, gesturing to the open seat across from her.

"No," Natasha said, noticing his blue eyes, "no, not at all."

"Thank you," the man said, and he sat across from her. "These places sure can get busy at this time of day, can't they?"

"Yes, they can," Natasha said.

"As for me, I and my son just stopped here on the way to one of my digs."

"So you're an archaeologist," Natasha said in interest, since Harold was an archaeologist as well, "it must be very interesting."

"It is, because who knows what one can find. Take recently for example; on a trip to some Mexican ruins, I found this expensive burial mask made of jade. It made my career."

"It sounds very interesting," Natasha said, "your son must have been very excited, and your wife proud."

"Well," the man said, looking slightly sad about something, "Martin was very excited, but he also has an active imagination, always enthusiastic about paranormal balderdash and whatnot. As for my wife...I think that she would have been proud."

"What do you mean," Natasha asked.

"...My wife...she passed away giving birth to Martin, leaving me to raise him all alone."

"Oh dear," Natasha said in shock, "I'm so sorry. Did she at least...have the chance to hold her son?"

"Yes, she also named him as well. In fact, he's more like his mother than he is me."

"I wouldn't say that," Natasha said, "because all children take after both of their parents. I know how hard it is to lose someone you husband died last year, leaving me and my daughter behind."

"Oh my, that must have been really hard for your daughter; Martin never really knew his mother, but your daughter must have loved him."

"She did," Natasha said. "Her name is Diana."

Suddenly, the man started to laugh. "What's so funny," Natasha asked.

"Look at us," the man stated, "here we are talking, but we already know the others kid's name, while we don't know each other's."

"Well, I guess we have no other choice in the matter," Natasha said, realizing this same thing. "My name is Natasha Lombard."

"Natasha...that is a beautiful name," the man said.

"Thank you," Natasha said, "and what is your name?"

"My name is Gerard Mystery," the man said.

"I see," Natasha said, "Gerard Mystery. That is an odd last name."

"I know," Gerard said, "and I decided to do a bit of digging on its origins once. Not much though; my family once originated from France, related to some 15th Century count called Gerard Montague by distant relations, where the family name was Mystère on my side."

"So it is basically the English version of Mystere?"

"Yes, although the Montague was said to be an alleged vampire," and he laughed, "which is pure balderdash if you ask me, so that's why I don't think I'll ever tell Martin; he might start thinking he's a vampire," he whispered, and Natasha couldn't help but to laugh.

"Your son sounds like a handful," Natasha stated, "I wouldn't mind meeting him someday."

"Well," Gerard said, "I wouldn't mind that, and if he likes you, we'll have to marry."


"Oops," Gerard chuckled embarrassingly, "silly me; talk of marriage on only the first day."

"Actually," Natasha confessed, "it isn't a bad idea at all; I don't think that Diana would mind having a second father."

"But don't you think that we should get to know each other a bit better," Gerard insisted, "before we jump to conclusions?"

Natasha smiled. "You're right. But we may as well consider this the first date then, right?"

"Well," Gerard said blushing, as the orders came in, "I guess you are right."

Both Gerard and Natasha chuckled a little over the prospect, both completely unaware how the lives of their family would overlap with Harold, Olivia, and Isaac's...