Chapter Three

The funeral day was bright and sunny.

Natasha was there to help get ready.

Is it just me, thought Natasha, or is it chilly outside?

Pepper rushed toward her.

"What in the world, Natasha?! It's about 90 degrees, for heaven's sake! You must be crazy to wear such a heavy coat!"


So it's just me, huh?

"Are you feeling alright, Natasha?"

Tony and Bruce walked toward them.

"Whoa, Natasha," exclaimed Tony. "You look like cr - ,"

Bruce cut him off.

"What Tony is trying to say is that you look really feverish. I shouldn't have let you move around so early."

"I'm fine," said Natasha, but suddenly she shuddered.

"No you're not. You're getting chills," said Tony sternly.

"What's it to you?" snapped Natasha. Tony recoiled, but then he put a steady hand on Natasha's shoulder.

"Are you ready for your speech?" he asked.

Natasha looked away.

Pepper squeezed her hand.

"You can do it."

Truth was, Natasha was worried she might break down in front of the audience. Even when Steve had shown her the ring, she had tears in her eyes, but she did not let them fall.

But today was different. She had a fever, she was depressed, and she missed Clint horribly.

The time soon came for her farewell speech.

She stood up in front of the Avengers and all the SHIELD agents who had been friends with Clint. Almost all of them were either crying or had tear filled eyes. They all missed Clint terribly.

She tried to speak. Her mouth opened and closed a few times. Her voice didn't seem to work.

After what seemed to her like ages, she finally started speaking.

"C-Clint was a faithful…," she looked back down at her cards.

"Clint was a faithful friend, a devoted SHIELD agent, and an excellent marksman. He and I were…close. I…I…I'm not one to make great mushy speeches, but I can say that…I loved…,"

Natasha looked down and away from the crowd.

"I loved Clint Barton," her voice trailed off from the mike as she realized her voice was breaking. She ran away from everyone. Out of the cemetery. Into the parking lot. There she sank down next to a tree and hugged her knees. And for the first time in over five years, Natasha cried her heart out.

Because when Clint died, he seemed to have taken the part of her heart that had the last bit of true love in it. The last bit that didn't believe that love was child's play.

Natasha didn't believe she could love anyone anymore. It seemed everyone that had ever been close to her was gone. Her parents, Dreykov's daughter, Phil, now Clint.

There was nobody left now. Nobody that would want to take care of her like they did.

She remembered Clint's gruff face. He had a terrifying "relaxed" face, but when he smiled, it seemed that she would melt.

No other man had ever been able to do that to her – the Black Widow.

She wouldn't trust any other man to back her up when she was on a solo mission. A solo mission for crying out loud! And Clint had insisted to come with her! She smiled at the memory of that particular mission.

"Natasha, there you are," said Tony from behind her.

Natasha quickly wiped her tears, embarrassed. She tried to hide her face, but her efforts were in vain. However, Tony said nothing about her tearstained face.

"I'm taking you back to Stark Tower early. Come on, get in the car."

That night, Natasha couldn't sleep. For the longest time, she lay staring at the ceiling. Tony had forced her to stay in bed. He had made her some hot tea and chicken noodle soup. He had played a DVD for Natasha to watch. Then he drove back to the funeral to comfort Pepper. (He was a busy man.)

Natasha looked at the clock. 4:30 a.m. Well, she might as well get changed now. She was getting bored just staying in bed.

So Natasha went to the kitchen and made herself some tea. She went to drink it in a common room.

Steve couldn't sleep that night either. He kept remembering the way Natasha recoiled from the ring in hurt and pain. He couldn't get the image of her running away from the funeral. Steve sighed. He felt so bad for her.

He looked at the clock. 4:31 a.m. Well, he might as well get changed and get going. There was no use in just staying in bed when he couldn't sleep.

"Why don't I make myself a cup of tea and read a book in a common room for a while? Maybe the common room with the big window," he said to himself. It was the Avengers' favorite common room.

When Steve entered the room, he stopped and blinked in surprise. There was Miss Romanoff staring out of the window. Moonlight reflected on her, making her already pale face a pure milky white. He stared for a while and then went to sit next to her.

The two sat in silence for a while.

"I wish, Clint was here. Right here, right now," Natasha spoke up.

"We all do," said Steve.

"Clint loved the moon."

He looked at her. "There's just something about the moon that just enchants you, huh?"

Natasha nodded.

"When I look at the moon," Steve said, "I feel like I can say anything. I feel like I can…cry. Those tears in your eyes, Natasha. Let them fall."

Natasha's face was completely emotionless, but slowly, tears rolled quietly down her face. Moonlight glistened off of them.

"Tell me things you remember about him."

So through the night, Steve and Natasha shared cherished memories about Clint.

That morning, the Avengers walked in to the kitchen to see her smiling as she ate her breakfast.

Well, that's it! Whew! I don't think I'm going to write character death stories for a while. :) It gets depressing.

Thank you to Julliet15!

Make sure you check out either Julliet15's or my profile to learn about our collaboration project.