Alright, here it is. Indeed, this is the last chapter. I hope you like it. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own the song lyrics at the end of the chapter. They belong to Lana Del Rey.
It was a sunny, humid day in the beginning of June as the soon-to-be graduates of Bedford Academy High School marched to the nearby park for the graduation ceremony. From their perspective, there were rows of white chairs on either side of the aisle. There was a small stage set up in front with a podium and a couple chairs for the administrators to sit on. Next to the podium was a small table with a box that, most likely, contained the diplomas. Finally, off to the side, were rows of more white chairs that were already packed with parents, family members, and friends.
"Alright, settle down!" Mr. Coulson said. Coulson usually organized graduation and was the one to read the names and hand out the diplomas. "Remember how we did it in rehearsal. We march in. You sit in your seat. You shut the hell up during the whole ceremony and when your name is called, you come up, get your diploma, and sit back down in your seat to wait for everyone to get theirs. Got it?"
The soon-to-be graduates chanted their responses and Coulson turned his back to them as he prepared to lead the march down the aisle. The music flooded the park and Coulson walked forward to lead the students in. The spectators cheered as the soon-to-be graduates marched in behind Coulson and sat down in their designated seats.
For Clint, today was just another day. He would be handed a piece of paper that said he graduated and he would be sent on his way. He couldn't believe parents actually cried over this sort of stuff. He couldn't believe his mother had actually cried over it already, and he hadn't even graduated yet.
Clint's graduating class wasn't very big – maybe about 100 students at most – so he followed Bruce into their row and took a seat next to the science whiz. They waited patiently for the rest of their classmates to take their seats and almost immediately, Principal Fury took his position at the podium to start his spiel about looking to the future.
"God, he really doesn't change his speech at all," Clint mumbled under his breath to Bruce.
Bruce chuckled. "This is seriously the same speech from when your brother graduated?"
Clint nodded and then grew silent. The last thing he wanted was for Fury to call him out for talking while he was giving a speech. He knew it would happen at least once during the ceremony and he didn't want to be that person who received an earful from Fury for the last time.
When Fury had finished his spiel, he introduced Bruce, the class valedictorian, and Bruce rose from his seat to make his way to the stage. Bruce's classmates – including all of his friends – cheered as he climbed the stairs of the stage and shook Principal Fury's hand. Fury moved out of the way to let Bruce take his position at the podium.
As Clint listened to Bruce give his speech, he actually got pretty excited. In the fall, he would be at Pace University. He was hesitant at first to even go to college. He figured he would most likely end up like Barney and go to a community college for four years, taking two or three classes per semester. But he realized he didn't want to do that. His impending graduation had motivated him to get a proper education at a university. He had sent in his deposit and chosen his housing; he felt like he was ready to start over in the fall.
Bruce had finished out his speech and Clint joined in on the applause with the rest of his classmates. Bruce walked down the steps of the stage and rejoined Clint and the rest of the soon-to-be graduates. It was at that point that Coulson took his spot at the podium to begin announcing names and handing out diplomas.
"Ah shit, this is really happening, isn't it?" Clint said with a chuckle.
"Ha, yeah, I guess it is," Bruce said nervously.
"Bruce Banner," Coulson announced and Bruce rose from his seat and made his way up the stage for the second time that day. He shook Coulson's hand and took his diploma with the other. He waved to his parents in the audience off to the side as climbed down the stairs on the other end of the stage.
"Clint Barton," Coulson announced. Clint rose from his chair and followed the same path Bruce took as he walked up to the stage. He climbed the steps and shook Coulson's hand as he grabbed his diploma. As he walked across the stage to descend the other set of steps, he searched the crowd of parents to find his own. Row by row, he searched for his parents. When he spotted his brother, he raised his hand to wave, but stopped when he noticed something different. A flash of red hair.
He nearly tripped as he descended the steps and made his way back his seat next to Bruce. He wasn't particularly paying attention to where he was going and nearly missed his row. Bruce had to hiss his name to grab his attention.
"What are you so captivated with over there?" Bruce asked.
"I just…thought I saw something," Clint said as he tore his eyes away from the audience of parents and family members.
Clint focused his eyes forward as he waited for Coulson to hand out the diplomas to his friends. Bruce and Clint applauded together when Steve and Thor received their diplomas and Clint. Bruce grinned from ear-to-ear when Betty received her diploma. Clint even clapped when Bobbi's name was called.
When the last student had received their diploma and was back in their seat, Coulson paused before he introduced them as the recent graduating class from Bedford Academy High School. The student erupted in applause and cheers. Caps were tossed into the air and silly string rained down on them. Bruce and Clint immediately screamed out of joy and hugged. By the time they broke away from each other, Betty had reached Bruce and she jumped up and pressed her lips to his.
"Oh wow," Clint said with a chuckle.
Bruce and Betty didn't break apart, at least not until Steve and Thor arrived with Peggy and Jane.
"Alright, Bruce!" Thor boomed as he wrapped an arm around Jane's shoulders. Bruce and Betty pulled away from each other and they both turned a deep shade of red. Clint and his friends chuckled at Bruce but congratulated him.
Out of the corner of his eye, Clint saw it again, the flash of red hair. He thought he had been seeing things when he was on stage but now he was pretty sure he was going insane. It couldn't be…her. They weren't allowed to see each other.
Then again, she wasn't quite one to follow the rules. That's what convinced him to keep searching through the crowd for her. He stood up onto his tiptoes to search for her red hair in the crowd. There would be no mistaking it. Her hair was so unmistakably and vibrantly red that there was no way he could miss it. Then, almost as if the crowd was reading his mind, they parted to reveal the girl he hadn't seen in months.
She looked exactly the same, though he didn't know why he thought she would have changed much. Her red curls were just brushing her shoulders and there was a headband in her hair. She wore a light blue sundress that was a cinched with a brown belt at the waist. Her white cardigan was over her dress but the sleeves were pushed up past the elbows.
He saw her smile at him as she slowly made her way through the crowd towards him. He was in absolute shock and he kept his feet firmly planted on the ground. He was so in shock that he hadn't even noticed that she was finally standing in front of him, her green eyes boring into his blue-grey ones.
"Are you going to say anything?" Natasha asked with a smile.
"Umm…" Clint mumbled.
"Hi Clint, how are you? Oh I'm fine, Natasha. I just graduated high school, how about you?" Natasha said sarcastically.
Clint chuckled nervously. "W-what are you doing here?" he stammered.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Try me," Clint challenged. "I think I would."
"Tony. He convinced my parents to let us see each other again," Natasha said bluntly. "I guess he was sick of us moping around so he took the matter into his own hands by barging into my apartment in the middle of dinner one night and convinced my parents to let us see each other once we both graduated high school."
"So you've graduated?"
"Last night," she said with a smirk.
Clint could feel a goofy smile spreading across his face. He had wondered how their reunion would go and it definitely wasn't like this. But that was okay with Clint. He didn't need it to play out like it did in his head. As long as he had her, that's all that mattered.
"So, I hear you're going to Columbia," Clint said playfully.
Natasha nodded. "So I hear you're going to Pace," she said and Clint nodded. "Well, if you know anything about Manhattan schools, you should know that Pace and Columbia are on opposite ends of Manhattan but they are both, indeed, in Manhattan."
"Wow, I did not know that," Clint said sarcastically. "What are the odds?"
"I know. What a coincidence. That's so strange," she said with a smirk.
"Well, you're quite lucky to have chosen a school that's in the same city as mine," Clint said as he rested his hands on her hips, completely forgetting about his cap and diploma. He was hesitant to rest his hands on her hips at first because he was pretty convinced this was either all a dream or the rug was going to get ripped right out from underneath them again.
He saw her green eyes soften and she reached up to touch both sides of his face. "That's what Tony said. Well, he said we were lucky to have run into each other outside of the Met that day," she said softly. "Think about it, Clint."
"Yeah, well, if we hadn't met, I would've never knocked you up," Clint said with a chuckle. "Alexei would've never found out and you would've never miscarried."
"I'm glad it happened, though," she said. "If it hadn't, I'd probably still be in an unhappy relationship with Alexei. Who knows, I would've probably married him by now."
"Don't say that, Nat," Clint said.
Natasha looked down at the ground as she tried to hide a smile that was spreading across her face. "I missed that."
Clint chuckled. Just as he was about to reach underneath her chin to lift her face, he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He quickly dug around in his pocket and pulled out his phone to see the caller ID flashing Tony's name.
"What, Stark?" Clint growled when he answered the phone. "I'm in the middle of celebrating my recent graduation from high school."
"You can't fool me, Barton," Tony said. "I know you're angry that I interrupted your reunion with Little Red so I'm just going to be short, sweet, and to the point. I worked hard to convince Natasha's parents to lift the whole ban on your relationship so don't fuck this up."
Clint chuckled. "Don't worry, Stark. Your hard work won't go to waste."
"Hard work," Natasha scoffed under her breath and Clint smiled.
"Yeah, whatever. So did you kiss her yet? Knowing you two you're standing there making googly eyes at each other," Tony said.
"Shut up, Stark," Clint snapped.
"Whatever, just kiss her and get it over with," Tony said. "And don't fuck this up. Okay, bye!" With that, the line went dead. Clint shoved his phone back into his pocket.
"What did ass hat want?" Natasha asked.
"He wanted to tell me to not fuck this up and he asked me if I kissed you yet," Clint asked.
"Hmm, yeah, I was wondering the same thing," Natasha said sarcastically.
Clint chuckled and for the first time in what felt like an eternity, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Natasha's. He felt Natasha reach up to touch his face again and he snaked his arms around her waist to pull her close.
Months ago, he would be savoring a moment like this because he would never know when he'd get another chance to kiss her like this. But now, she was his and he was hers. Indeed, they were lucky to have found each other.
Every now and then, the stars align,
Boy and girl meet by the great design.
Could it be that you and me are the lucky ones.
Awww and there's the happy ending that I promised. I'm sorry, I can't write unhappy endings. It might be because I'm still too emotionally scarred from Dear Natasha and I read it months ago. Anyways, thank you to everyone who added this to their favorites, signed up for alerts, and reviewed. Therefore, a big thank you to all of my reviewers: Rue Mo, dontstopthelove15, flarey phoenix, yolynnjones, dammitjoanne, IcarusOwl, PurplePercabethPandaLover, GyMusicAddict, Morgan, Dani9513, LittleMissMia123, mellbell12123, Reasonably Random, Black Magic Hunter, Fire in the Willows, Waterlilies, katielee97, FemaleMusketeer, Bobthepegasus, PaigeD6, pure-black-wings, Barry Allen, Lollypops101, ADHD Gal, Bart Evans, girl with crayon, Slightlysane443, CtrlTHaT, hogwartsharpist, Major Trouble, sibunagirl-0331, Orion84, Trinilynn, Lillyflora, SailorMoonLover24, Clkaudiia, NCISVILLE, Hawaiichick, Jenasys Loveless Lovecraft, AlexisRomanoff-Barton, MaximumMelody, JaymieCaitlyn, bookworm1517, shaneequa, fanboyReader, Elisa, .Ninja, ZeDancingHobbit, Arwennicole, Mushroomking98, Roxa-XIII, number1don, lilacring1120, WolfAngel62, Avengergirl, olimpia, Revenger Tigger, and all the guest reviewers!
I want to thank you all for sticking with me during this wild and crazy ride. Even after I wasn't so nice to my characters sometimes haha. Now that I've finished this story, expect To Rome With Love to get updated sometime soon. Hopefully this weekend. Anyways, thank you so much for reading. It means so much that everyone likes reading what I write. Thank you so much. I love you all!