Disclaimer: Only the plot is mine, and as I am STILL refusing to pull the "Shades of Grey" kind of fuckery, there should be no issues.
So, yeah...it has been a while, but I work and have College, so I will continue to update when I can, if/when I'm inspired. I know that leaves a lot up in the air, but that's life.
Thank you everyone who has been having as much fun with this as I have. Whether you Favorite, Follow, or Review...even if you just read and do none of those things...thanks.
Anyway, without further ado...
Chapter Five: Congratulations, Natasha, it's a BOY!
She was used to staring and whispering from the other agents, and even some of the scientists, at every S.H.I.E.L.D. base she'd ever been to. With her skill set and reputation, it would have been incredibly stupid if the others didn't fear her. Still. The whispering, no matter how used to it she was, was as annoying now as it had ever been. She didn't mind that they didn't trust her-she didn't need their trust. Getting the job done was in no way made easier or harder by the fact that most of the minor agents and lab lackeys distrusted her. As long as they could follow her orders when necessary, they could distrust her all they liked.
With the way things were, the whispering was expected, so it wasn't that it made her nervous, or upset her-she had much more control of her emotions than that-but, it was just so damn cowardly. They knew that she could hear the whispers. She knew that they knew that she heard the whispers. So, why not just get it over with and say it to her face? It was better than the cowardly murmuring behind her back.
However much she hated the whispering from strangers, she hated it more from the agents that she knew. They knew better than to do it, and when they did do it, Natasha knew that she was in for an unwelcome surprise. Clint still had a crook in his nose from the one and only time he'd tried to throw her a surprise birthday party. The cake had been nice, she'd admit, but was somehow less appetizing when served up by a man with two forming black eyes and blood crusted around his smashed nose, even if he was grinning the whole time.
Natasha was fully prepared to face the whispers when she arrived at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in D.C.. Her mission had gone well, which was always a bonus, and she was ready to move on to the next. She should have known something was odd by the way that the whispers had been replaced completely by less-subtle-than-usual staring. It wasn't new, per se, but it was still...off. She should have known that her day was about to get complicated when she entered Director Fury's office to find the man himself, instead of Agent Hill and a screen with a live up-link to the the Director.
"What is it?" Fury's look was telling; Natasha knew that she wasn't going to like this.
"Sit down, Agent Romanoff."
Fury didn't even wait for her to fully settle herself before he got down to business. "Something was brought to my attention about the Budapest Job recently that required me to re-open the files. It was a curious read. Curious, because now I wonder why you would exclude reporting your pregnancy and subsequent birth during your and Agent Lily Potter's eleven months of captivity."
Natasha felt her throat close up and, for the first time in memory, words nearly failed her. It had been so long ago that she'd all but forgotten about...that time. She hadn't heard from either Agent Potter in years, so she'd assumed that she'd never hear another word about what had happened in the utter darkness of the catacombs. Apparently, she had been wrong.
"It...wasn't really relevant to the mission, Director. Our objective was clear, as was the fact that we all were to do what was necessary to meet that objective. The pregnancy was a result of meeting the objective, and Mrs. Potter's...unfortunate accident...made her the perfect candidate for fostering the child."
"I see." The silence stretched for a moment, neither Fury nor Natasha wanting to be the first to break it. Agent Hill, as dedicated an Agent as she was, was obviously struggling between professionalism and not wanting to intrude on something 'private.'
After a moment, Natasha knew that she'd have to be the one to break the silence if she wanted to get this interrogation over with. "Director, why is this even up for review? The Budapest Job was completed successfully, the Agents Potter took the child and left for England. There shouldn't be any issue now, so many years after the fact."
"That's where you're wrong, Agent Romanoff. The young man was located by Agents Coulson and Barton, and is being kept in Stark Tower, for now."
Natasha felt her heart drop to her stomach. Damn it. Clint. For everything about that mess of a situation that she would not-could not-regret, her one regret was that she'd never managed to come clean to Clint about their kid. Sure, she could say that it was because Clint didn't need to know, what with having a wife and all, but she'd be lying. Clint knew her best of all, she owed him so much-almost everything. At the very least, he had deserved the truth about the kid, even if neither of them could ever raise the kid, themselves.
"When was this?"
"About a week ago, now. I'd like you to head over there, now, and let Agent Coulson debrief you on the situation. It's more complicated than you realize-your son is directly involved in the Voldemort Conflict."
"Sorry, puppy. I win again." Harry hid his smirk as Sirius twitched at Stark's nickname for him. Even he had realized that Stark would cut the shit if he stopped reacting to it, but Sirius just seemed unable to keep his cool and not react.
"Shove it, Stark! You did NOT win, you-you cheated!" Harry choked back a laugh at Sirius' scandalized tone, nearly losing it when a glance at Remus and Bruce showed the two both giving Sirius the same exasperated look.
"Face it, dog-breath, I'm smarter AND prettier." Sirius huffed and trounced off in a snit, leaving Harry in stitches. So, yes, he still wasn't happy about being stuck in New York, but it was no worse than all the places he'd been stuck by Dumbledore, and at least he had Sirius and Remus with him. It also helped that Agent Barton (Harry refused to call him his "dad") had mostly kept his distance, leaving any interactions up to Harry.
"Stark, are you EVER going to lay off Mr. Black? You know what happened last time." Ah. Ever the voice of reason, Steve had made a point of playing moderator between Stark and Sirius after the latter's first snit had resulted in a slew of vicious pranks being played on the entire Tower. Not even Harry or nice Ms. Potts were spared.
"I'll lay off when he stops reacting like a child." Harry felt a slow smirk slide across his face at Steve's droll look, which bloomed into a full grin at Remus' quiet murmur of 'kettle, meet pot.'
"Having fun, gentlemen?" Harry's grin melted off his face at the unannounced arrival of Agent Coulson. It wasn't that he had an issue with the man, but he tended to bring surprises with him. Considering that the surprises so far ended up with him being dragged to New York and told that his life was a lie, Harry tended to distrust any surprises that Agent Coulson brought with him (though Sirius and Remus were nice surprises, he could admit).
"Sure. Load of fun. It's a regular Fun House in here." Ah, there was the sulking Sirius, come trailing in to see what Coulson wanted.
Coulson smiled, that unnervingly pleasant one too, which meant that someone was in for an unwelcome surprise. Shit. "Excellent...Mr. Potter! I'd like to introduce you to someone..."
Fuck. He knew it. He bloody well knew it. "Yeah? Who is it?"
A woman stepped through the door, as beautiful as she was cold, with no expression on her face. Harry was startled to realize that she looked a great deal like the pictures he'd seen of his mum (Lily), but a lot less friendly. "Agent Romanoff, Mr. Potter. She's your biological mother."
Of course she fucking was. Like he'd thought before, Coulson's surprises were always the unwelcome kind.