It was almost unnoticeable. Almost. If Clint had not known Natasha for so long, he probably wouldn't have noticed it. She was happy. Not her usual content. She was actually happy.
So, of course, he was curious.
It was odd enough that she was happy, yet it was downright bizarre that she didn't notice him tracking her from the vents of Stark Tower.
He slipped through carefully, eyes trained on the redhead below him. After a few minutes, he guessed where she was heading. His eyes narrowed. Bruce's lab. Why would she be going there?
He slipped through the vents, entering the room before her. Waiting a few moments, a knock came from the door.
Well that was odd.
It might have been the first time he had ever seen Bruce smile with real happiness, not the self-deprecating, humility filled, dry smile he usually pulled. An idea was forming in his head, but he could not believe that what he was thinking could be true.
When Bruce opened the door, he realized he was right. Natasha smiled (holy shit, not fake, not trick, real smile) and slipped her arms around his neck.
And they kissed.
When Clint woke up, they were standing over him. Bruce looked worried and doctor-y. Natasha, on the other, looked like she had murder plans running through her head. He blinked innocently.
"Hi." Bruce's eyes snapped to his. Natasha growled. He winced. He was going to get killed. Bruce glanced away from him, and over to Natasha. He grabbed her arm, causing her to look to him as well. They stared at each other for a few moments, before Natasha sighed, spinning on her heel and walking out of the room. Bruce crouched down.
"Tell me. Do you feel any pain?"
Clint blinked. She wasn't going to kill him.
And here he had been planning to give Bruce the protective older brother speech.
It was a miracle that Clint managed to keep his mouth shut about this new development for as long as he did. Two weeks was a long time. Really, it was. And really, he couldn't help it if Stark seemed to have a gossip sensor and know exactly what was a good time to get Clint drunk.
"So bird boy? What's new with you?" Tony questioned, sipping his liquor. Much more of a heavy weight, he was only slightly buzzed while Clint was completely trashed. Clint giggled at the question, leaning forward to point at him.
"N-Nothin's new with me." Tony's eyes glinted as he smirked.
"Anything new with your scary Russian friend?" Clint giggled again, leaning back some.
"Yup! Her and your science bro!" Tony's eyebrows shot up and he leaned forward.
"Really, what exactly is new there?" His mind raced as he attempted to think about what Clint was talking about. Nothing came to mind. They seemed to have a toleration for one another, but they weren't really friends. As Tony continued to think, his brain stuttered to a halt at what Clint said next.
"They're in lurve."
Before he could question that, Clint passed out.
Bruce sighed. It was always obvious when Tony wanted to talk about something. He had been hanging around the lab since earlier in the day, just staring at Bruce as he worked. Bruce wouldn't ask, but he would wait until Tony asked.
"So?" he questioned back.
"You and the Russian redhead, huh?"
The tool Bruce was using dropped with a clang. After a few seconds, he picked it up again, clearing his throat. Although he knew it was too late, he attempted to play his reaction off.
"What about Natasha and I?" he asked nonchalantly, continuing his experiment. Tony's snort told him that he was not fooling anyone. He sighed, stopping his experiment to turn his full attention to Tony. "What do you want to know?" Resigned. Tony raised an eyebrow.
"Hello? I get it. Hot Russian. What I don't get is the hot Russian assassin?" Tony shook his head. Bruce decided brutal honesty might just stun him enough for him to get away.
"I love her." He stated simply.
Well, look at that. Tony gaped at him, staring after him as he exited the room.
After Tony found out, it was only a matter of time before everyone else found out. Thor was still on Asgard, so the first person who learned about this new development was Steve. Luckily enough, Steve was not a nosy person, so he didn't say anything. That didn't mean that Natasha didn't notice the side glances.
She confronted him after a few more side glances. As Steve watched the nightly news, she silently approached, curling up next to him. Comfortable t-shirt that belonged to Bruce and plaid pajama bottoms gave off an image of being nonchalant. Yet Steve still glanced nervously at her, specifically her shirt.
Natasha smirked slightly.
"You can ask Steve. I won't get offended."
It was like a dam broke.
"So, you and Bruce are seeing one another?" Steve blurted, "When did that start? Are you happy? Is he happy? Will it affect you two in field? What-"
"Steve." Natasha cut him off as politely as she could, "Yes. For a few months. Yes. Yes. No. We have worked together in the field, Hulk and not."
Steve nodded slowly.
"You're happy?" he checked again. Natasha gave him a genuine smile. He was so protective of her. She knew that it was simply left over from the 40's, to protect women, but it still made her feel uncharacteristically warm inside.
"Yes Steve. Bruce treats me very well. I love him." She assured him. Steve grinned at her.
And that was that.
Since Thor was still not back, Steve turned to tell him commanding officer about the team. So when Natasha was called into Fury's office, she was less than surprised to find both he and Coulson there. She easily dropped into the seat across from them, relaxed. Fury stared her down, while Coulson just stared Fury down.
"Are you going to ask Director?" she questioned easily. Fury blinked.
"Is it true?"
"Do you know what you're doing?"
"I always do."
"Okay then. Dismissed."
She exited the room, slowing until Coulson caught up with her. He gave her a sideways look.
"Everyone always expects you and Barton to be together." It is just a statement, not what he thought was true. Natasha shot him a smirk, ready to stun.
"Well if that was true, then how would you and Barton be together, sir?"
Before he could respond, she disappeared down the hallway.
It was obvious when Thor found out.
"FRIEND NATASHA! FRIEND BRUCE! I HAVE HEARD OF YOUR UNION!"
And then he walked into the living room and dropped a barrel of what appeared to be mead at their feet.
Natasha noted Clint and Tony's eyes sparkling in the corner. She silently kicked the barrel in the direction and they pounced.
"In Asgard, it is customary for the bride and groom-"
"That's a little soon-"
Thor's brow furrowed, frown obvious.
"Son of Stark, did you lie to me?" Thor turned on him, pouting. Tony's eyes widened.
"No! I told you they were together and they are!" he objected, then paused, smirk overtaking his features, "Actually, now that I think about it. Brucey, what do you want for a wedding gift?" Tony teased. Clint snickered.
"Oh! I already know what I'm getting them." Steve joined in, shockingly earnest. Natasha planted her face in her hand. Bruce simply shook his head.
"Really?" Tony brightened, suddenly completely serious. Clint tilted his head.
"Can I get in on that? I couldn't think of anything." Steve glanced to Clint then shrugged.
"Sure. We'll go out shopping later." He agreed. Thor's grin was back.
"In Asgard, after the complimentary ale, friends work together to make matching jewels for the couple. I plan on completing this and getting Loki to put some protective enchantments on it." Thor declared. Natasha shook her head, sighing and Bruce just chuckled, already over their friends' imaginations.
"Well you can't make something! Then we all have to do something so thoughtful!" Steve objected, but then smiled, "I can just make them a portrait!" Tony grinned.
"I bet I could make them something to help with the…consummation of the marriage…" his grin widened as Steve turned red, Clint snorted, and Thor looked on in confusion. "I bet the redhead gets freaky in bed. I mean, I could just imagine…" he trailed off, licking his lips.
Tony would claim to the day he died that he did not scream like a girl when the Hulk suddenly came after him.
R & R.