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Requested by Criss-Colfer-And-Me on FanFiction :)
The baby boy, wide-awake, blinked owlishly at his father. Clint stared back at him from his position leaning over the edge of the cot, and let out a heavy sigh of defeat, something he had never experienced before. Anytime he had, he hadn't thought it be at the hands of a 17 month old baby, let alone his son.
"Please Ronan, go to sleep," he pleaded desperately, "Mama will not be happy with me if she comes back from work and you're still awake."
Ronan giggled and grabbed his toes in response, rocking onto his back.
Natasha had to work tonight – something to do with infiltrating and the gathering of information, both of which she was the expert at – and Clint had insisted he was capable of taking care of his own son, without calling in reinforcement. Now, three hours passed bedtime, he was beginning to rethink that idea. He'd done everything he could think of, taking examples from what he'd seen Rosette, Steve, and Darcy do with their own offspring, but nothing had seemed to work: Ronan had spit up the warm milk; reading his books had tired Clint out more than the baby; and he seemed to think the rocking was a game, not a way to put someone to sleep. It was driving him crazy. The other parents, even Natasha, made it all look so easy – why was it was difficult for him?
"So you're a night owl for me, huh?" Clint muttered, eying the baby, "I told Tash when you were born that you wouldn't listen to me, and already you're proving me right…"
Ronan babbled happily, giggling, dropping his legs in favour for waving his arms up at his father. He blew a spit bubble, revealing a gummy smile.
Despite his depleted energy levels and frustration, he couldn't stop the smile that crossed his face at the adorableness of his son. Who still didn't look sleepy. In his mind, he knew he only had one option of how to proceed, and it was the last possible thing he wanted to do. After he had been so insistent that he could handle everything by himself, he didn't want to hear the amusement in his voice when he needed to ask for help.
But with Ronan not even close to falling asleep, and Natasha less than two hours away from getting home, it didn't look as if Clint had any other choice.
Swallowing his pride, he grasped his cell phone and clicked one of the few numbers that had been programmed into the handheld machine. The shrill ringing echoed in his ear.
Peter snuffling in his sleep as Tony's phone went off, announcing a phone call. The baby boy had fallen asleep against his Papa's chest, pressing his face against the large chest, and neither of his dad's had the heart to move him to his nursery down the hall.
Tony dug quickly in his phone, before it could increase in volume, and pressed the machine to his ear. "What do you want Barton?"
"Help?" he arched an eyebrow, "What do you need my help with?"
Steve turned away from the television, the sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory' that he had grown fond of playing on a low volume, and his eyebrows furrowed in concern. "Help? What's wrong with Clint?"
"It's, um, Ronan…"
"What's wrong with Ronan?" Tony questioned, his body straightening slightly as a shot of concern went through him.
Steve looked at him panicked. "Ronan? Something's wrong with Ronan?"
"It's nothing serious, don't sound so worried. It's just…he won't go to sleep!" Clint trailed off into a whine he would later deny.
Stark breathed out a sigh, relaxing automatically. "Really Barton, that's what you're so concerned about…"
"It's been three hours. I've given him warm milk, I've read to him, I've rocked him – but nothing seems to be working," Clint defended himself, "Tasha's going to be home any minute, and I'm a dead man walking if I manage to ruin Ronan's routine in one night."
"What's happened?" Steve insisted on an answer.
Tony moved the receiver way from his ear. "Barton's being a pussy because he can't get Ronan to sleep," he responded bluntly, before returning to the phone call, "And what exactly do you want me to do about that?"
"Tell me what to do," Clint sighed out, "You know I wouldn't call you unless I was desperate, and you and Steve always seem to get Peter off to sleep without any trouble."
"That's because Peter's the easiest baby to put to sleep ever – he loves to sleep, probably more than he loves food, and that's saying something," Tony chuckled. He paused thoughtful for a moment, "But when he first moved in, we couldn't get him to settle unless one of us sung to him."
"Singing? You think singing would help?"
"Hey, if you're that worried, it's worth a shot. You can have that one for free. I'll charge you next time."
"Whatever Stark," he growled. There was a pause before Clint continued, and it was clear it was a struggle to get out, "…Thanks."
There was a resounding click that announced the broken connection.
"Well, Tony said I should try singing you to sleep. Not sure how well that will work – do you even like singing? I don't even know if I can sing…" Clint added in a mutter under his breath. He glanced towards the baby, who stared back at him with wide olive eyes and decided he might as well take a chance. Gently lifting the child from the cot, he scanned his mind for the best song, realising very quickly that he knew little lullabies.
"Hush, little baby, don't say a word, Daddy's going to buy you a mockingbird," he sung awkwardly, rocking the baby boy gently in his arms. Ronan stared up at his father, hanging onto every word. "And if that mockingbird doesn't sing, Daddy's gonna buy you a diamond ring…"
Natasha sighed tiredly, as she quietly shut the front door to their apartment behind her. She kicked off her heels, happy to be a few inches shorter and roughly pulled the hair tie from her hair to allow it fall free around her shoulders. It had been a long night, and had found herself missing her little boy more than she expected she would – all she wanted to do was check on him and curl up in bed with Clint.
The front room of the apartment was empty, although the television was still on, the reminder that anyone who wanted to watch Disney Junior should come back at 6am the next morning. Eyebrows furrowed, she wondered where Clint had got to. The nightlight shone brightly through from the nursery door that was opened just a crack. Her ears strained at the low noise, muffled words that seemed to be coming from the smaller room. Curious, she tipped toed to the entrance and peered into the room.
Clint was cradling their son in his arms, his eyes so focused on the little boy that he didn't even notice the presence behind him, a parental smile on his face. Ronan was clutching his Daddy's shirt, eyes fluttering with sleepiness, and seemed deeply entranced by the soft words that his father was saying. It took a moment for Natasha to realise he was singing.
"…you'll still be the sweetest boy in town. So hush little baby, don't you cry. Mama loves you, and so do I." Clint finished, trailing off into silence.
Ronan yawned, blinking up at him in a failed effort to stay awake. Clint chuckled. "Just in time little man, Mama will be home soon."
He approached the cot and carefully laid the small body onto the mattress. The little hands curled, resting beside his face. Clint fussed with the blanket, making sure he was tucked in, comfortable and warm. He then ran a finger along the baby's chubby cheeks.
"Sleep tight Ronan," he whispered, seeming reluctant to move.
Natasha forced herself to move away from the door, to retreat back to the front passageway. She felt a little guilty, intruding on such an intimate moment, even if it was better father and son. It was something she never meant to see, but regardless, it filled with this knowing sense of pride. Clint had been so worried about being a father, at not being able to handle it – not that she had been any different, of course – and in a brief moment, he had been able to clear all doubts either of them had about their own and each other's parenting abilities. She smiled softly at the thought.
Natasha was standing by the front door when Clint left the nursery. He appeared surprised for a moment, glancing towards the clock, as he approached her and dragged her into his hold.
"You're home early," he commented, stealing a welcomed kiss.
"The job was completed quicker than I expected, and I was too tired to check in at the office," Natasha responded, gladly offering greeting kisses of her own. "How was your evening? Ronan wasn't too much to handle I hope."
"Nope, little man and I had a great night," Clint responded automatically.
"And putting him to sleep; was that alright? I know he can be a little difficult some nights…" she tested carefully.
He hesitated. "…Nope, he went to bed pretty quickly, right on time and everything. I told you there was nothing to worry about."
Natasha smiled. "I know you did," she consented, before pulling away from his hold, "I'm going to get myself ready for bed, let me just check on Ronan first."
Clint watched her closely as she closed the distance to the bedroom. She peered through the door and smiled pleasantly. "Sleep, as you said," she nodded, "Good work for your first night."
"Yeah, well, some people are just skilled at some things I guess…"
"Maybe I should leave bedtime to you from now on, now that you're such a professional." Natasha commented nonchalantly.
Clint went a pale colour. "Um, you don't have to. Really, you are much better than me at that sort of thing. B-besides, uh, it might confuse him if we swap after so long…"
"Nope, I've decided. You are on bedtime duty from now on," she nodded firmly, turning away and heading towards the bathroom. Clint followed behind her, feeling a little lost and panicked.
"Really Tasha, I don't feel I should…" he stuttered out.
"After all, you have a lovely singing voice," Natasha arched an eyebrow knowingly as realising crossed her partner's face. She pressed another kiss to his lips almost sympathically. "Go to bed sweetie," she ordered carefully, before shutting the door behind her.
"…No one knows about this," he called through the door after a few minutes of recovery.
Her laughter followed him all the way to the master bedroom.
If you have any prompts for Avengers stories, anything you want to see in print, I am open for requests. You can either send me a private message on here, or leave me a message on my tumblr: WhatIMustWrite
Also, I want to write more Superfamily stories, in preparation and lead up to the new Spiderman movie, so if you have suggestion, please let me know!