Everything is Marvel. Nothing is mine.
Prompted by xenokattz for the 365 Challenge. 1. 38 sentences 2. Joan & Sherlock (Elementary) -or- Anyone in the Avengers 3. What does family mean to these characters?
The Ones Who Choose
Natasha looked up from cleaning her weapons to see Tony Stark standing in the doorway to her new suite in the Stark Tower. She had left it open to air out the excessive traces of cleaning supply smells, then settled down on the foot of her bed to polish her last few things before putting them away. "Natasha Romanoff," she corrected curtly, knowing perfectly well the point he was making with using her alias from going undercover in his organization. "Is there something you wanted?"
He gestured at the gun in her hand. "Need help?"
She froze and looked at him curiously. "You know how to clean a gun?"
"Yes." A typical Tony Stark sigh of exasperation followed. "I know how to clean a gun." He came over and sat down on the chest at the foot of her bed.
Natasha had never been much inclined to arm her enemy, but she shoved down the survivalist mentality and handed him the weapon, watched for a long moment to ascertain his level of skill in this work. Not bad.
"I did work in the weapons industry, you know," he pointed out with his usual annoying smirk, then fell into small talk. "It's Parents Day today."
"I don't remember my parents," she replied calmly, focused on the heft of the knife in her hand and on shining its blade without cutting herself.
"Yeah, well, lucky you." He didn't look at her as he said it.
She had known from his dossier and Nick Fury both that Tony had a less than close relationship with his father, and yet. "No."
Tony glanced up at the simple response, weighted in a lot of past he would never know about. "You know, I always thought family were the people I chose to be around, the people who chose to be around me. Pepper's family. Bruce is family." He handed her back her gun.
She took it slowly, responded bluntly, "What are you asking me, Stark?"
He laughed and stood up, glanced around, then looked back at her. "Natalie Rushman. Natasha Romanova. Black Widow. Is this your suite?"
She straightened, glanced around herself: she had surprised herself earlier by really moving in, putting her things in here and evicting everything that didn't suit her. "Yes. This is my suite."
"Well." Tony shrugged, smiled, walked out—point made.