Author's Note: I opened up my e-mail the other morning and saw I had 21 messages (but two of them were from Barnes & Noble). But I saw 18 messages all about my first chapter. Everyone who reviewed, favorited or added this to their watch list, thank you. I'm so glad you all liked the first chapter, because I was eager to start the second! :)
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!" Tony said, waving his hands a bit. "Stop." He looked Bruce straight in the face with a slightly confused expression. "So your ex just randomly calls you and tells you she's at the hospital and then she dumps you with a kid?" He turned around saw Meredith looking up at Clint, talking to him as he took his attention away from football. Tony turned back around and looked at Bruce. "Who does that?"
He sighed. "Look," he started. "She had nowhere else to go. It won't be that long."
"Nowhere else to go?" Tony repeated. He snorted and folded his arms. "Fine, but you are in charge of her." He wasn't happy, obviously…
"I know," he said through gritted teeth.
Natasha walked out into the living room. "Hey, Clint-" But she stopped and Clint took his attention away from the little girl to look at his friend. "Yeah?"
"Who's that?" Natasha demanded, putting her hands on her hips.
Bruce walked over, hands in his pockets. "That would be my…daughter." He nodded a bit.
She looked at him with an awe-struck expression. "Your daughter?" She knitted her eyebrows. "I didn't know you had a daughter."
Bruce chuckled. "My ex called and told me I had to take care of her."
"Must be a great day for you," she said.
"Oh, yeah," Bruce replied.
Clint looked back down at Meredith and she whispered something in his ear. He smiled and looked up at Bruce, saying, "She's adorable, man."
Natasha looked surprised. "Agent Clint Barton's weakness is…children." She laughed a bit.
Clint rolled his eyes and said, "Okay, Meredith. Go back to your dad."
The little girl smiled one more time and ran back over to Bruce.
She grabbed her father's hand, dragging it out of his pocket and keeping a tight grip on it with her small fingers. In return, Bruce looked down at her, slightly surprised but he still smiled.
She grinned up at him. "Clint's nice…" she said meekly.
Everyone saw Clint smile in the background, but when Natasha gave him a look, he took the smile off his face and said, "What?"
Natasha rolled her eyes and smirked, shaking her head. "Nothing."
Tony sighed angrily, casting a glance toward Bruce and Meredith.
Natasha noticed Tony's cruel gaze and squatted down to Meredith's level. "Hey, Meredith," she said sweetly. "I'm Natasha. Can I tell you a secret?" She smiled.
The little girl smiled brightly and ran over to Natasha. "Hello, Natasha," she said.
The red-head nodded and then said, "Okay. Here's the secret." She put her hand up next to Meredith's ear and leaned over, whispering something in the six-year-old's ear.
She nodded and smiled, then looked at Natasha and the woman smiled again. She got back on her feet and Meredith ran over to Tony, looking up at him with an innocent smile.
Tony looked down at her with a go-the-hell-away expression.
Then, unexpectedly, Meredith attached herself onto Tony's leg, hugging him. He, in return, sighed and put a hand on his forehead, shielding his eyes from the others. "Banner," he groaned.
Meredith giggled and held on. Bruce didn't even make a move to stop her. "Aw! Tony, she likes you!" he teased.
Tony scowled at Bruce, just standing there now. You are so very screwed, Bruce… he thought angrily. I'm going to kill you.
She didn't let go and kept on smiling. Natasha watched and laughed, then look her phone out. "The internet better be ready for this," she said mischievously, pulling up the camera on her phone.
His eyes widened and his lips parted a bit in shock and surprise. "Natasha, don't!" he said firmly.
She smirked and cocked an eyebrow. "Why shouldn't I?"
He searched his brain for one excuse for her not to do this to him, but he couldn't find anything. "Because… Because…" He groaned finally and Natasha snapped a picture, looking at it. She then quickly sent it to Steve, wanting to get him out here.
Tony's jaw dropped this time and he was in awe. "Cra-"
Clint ran over and put a hand over the billionaire's mouth. He just pointed a figure down to Meredith, who looked up.
Tony shoved Clint's hand away. "So I can't cuss either? Sh-"
Clint slapped his hand over Tony's mouth again. "Don't."
He smacked the archer's hand away now, giving him an icy glare. Finally, Bruce had had enough entertainment for today. "Okay, Meredith," he said with a smile. "Come here."
Meredith let go of Tony's leg and he stepped away from Bruce and the young girl. "Keep her away from me please. Children aren't my expertise."
"What?" Natasha was acting surprised. "But… But I thought you were a child? How could they not be your expertise?" She made a fake, pouty face.
He scowled at her. "Classy, Romanoff," he said. And on that note, he stomped off to his bedroom.
"Sorry Tony!" they all heard Steve's voice from the hallway and he rushed out, looking at his phone.
"You found the picture?" Clint asked in surprise. "By yourself?"
"Yeah," Steve replied, not taking his eyes off the device.
"Steve needs a medal for that!" Clint joked with a grin.
"What's with this picture, Natasha?" the soldier asked, holding his phone up. The spy just smirked and motioned towards Bruce and Meredith in reply.
His eyes switched over to Bruce, and then they shifted down to look at Meredith. "Who's that?" he asked.
"Bruce's kid," Clint answered, his hands in his pockets. He took one out and ran it through his hair.
"You have a daughter?" Steve said in disbelief (even though he was looking straight at Meredith).
Natasha shrugged. "Apparently he does."
Bruce nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Her mom's in the hospital."
"Wait," Steve said. "You're not married. Are you?"
"I'm not," Bruce answered. "Jennifer and I almost got married but, um… Things got in the way…"
Steve nodded stiffly. "I understand. How long will she be staying?"
"I'm not exactly sure," Bruce said honestly. "Her mother never said how long she'd be in the hospital."
Meredith was clutching onto her father's pant leg and looking around at all the adults. She tugged on Bruce's pant leg and looked up at him.
He looked down and knelt down, having her whisper something in his ear. "Who's the big, tall man?" she whispered.
Bruce smiled and it was probably the most honest smile he'd ever given. He looked at her and said, "Go meet him." He got onto his feet and looked at her.
Meredith timidly started to walk over to Steve, clasping her hands together behind her back. She looked up at him, never seeing anyone as tall as him. "Hi," she said.
Steve couldn't help but smile. "Hi."
"I'm Meredith," she said, giving him a wave.
"I'm Steve," the soldier said, keeping the smile.
The little girl scurried back over to Bruce and grabbed his pant leg. He chuckled, picking her up and she hid her face in his neck. "She's shy."
"She's a duplicate of you," Natasha said, raising her eyebrows.
"Should I take that to offense?"
"Seems like I should."
"Well, you shouldn't."
"Alright," Bruce muttered. "Does Tony have a spare room?"
"Yeah," Clint said. "It's down the hall next to Thor's room."
Bruce nodded and soon realized that Meredith had fallen asleep in his arms, her head resting on his shoulder. He walked down the hall towards the spare room when Thor came out of his room. "Ah! Dr. Banner!" he said.
"Thor, can you be quiet?" Bruce asked. He shifted Meredith in his arms.
"Who's this?" Thor motioned to Meredith, finally lowering the volume in his voice.
"I'll explain later," was Bruce's genius response. He put his hand on the doorknob of the extra room and walked inside, setting the sleeping Meredith down on the bed. He pulled some blankets over her, and then silently walked out. He closed the door behind him with a faint click sound of the lock. He walked back out to the living room to find everyone else (but Tony) talking indistinctly. They all stopped and looked at Bruce as he walked by. He stopped and looked at them, "What?"
Steve shrugged and Thor mumbled something to Clint. Natasha was the one, as usual, to speak up, "We decided we'd help you take care of her."
He seemed surprised. "Oh…" he muttered. "Thanks." He put his hands in his pockets.
Bruce shifted in bed as he heard the creak of his bedroom door. A bit of light shone through, but he kept his eyes closed, trying to get as much sleep as he could. It had been hard for him to sleep because of…the "other guy". There had been one instance where he'd nearly Hulked out while having a nightmare.
He heard the door close with a soft click and then his bed moved. All of a sudden, there was something pressed against his back. He sighed and opened his eyes, craning his neck to look over. The only thing he saw was a small figure curled up next to him and obviously it was Meredith. He smiled and turned around, placing a gentle kiss on her head, then turning back and closing his eyes to get more sleep. Small hands grabbed the back of his t-shirt, keeping a tight grip on it and he smiled again.
Author's Note: There's Chapter Two! Not as long, but I think it's a bit better than the first chapter. Review and tell me your favorite part so far. I love to see your feedback because it motivates me to write more. :)