Over the new few days, the Avengers Tower was nothing, but active. Someone always doing something about the mission, whether it was Tony Bruce and Jane down in the lab, Clint and Thor training the new recruits at headquarters, Pepper taking care of the media, Natasha Darcy and Steve playing to distract the child from his upsetting thoughts and dreams. No matter what time of day it is, the Avengers always had something to do.
Clint, Tony and Thor came back really early/ really late the same day they left with no lead on the organization. It was a quick look around and take what you want kind of mission. As Fury and everyone suspected, the area was vacant as soon as the jet descended from the air. There was no one in sight in or outside the building and tunnel. All they were able to capture were a few artifacts that Jane and Bruce are currently running tests on, back up files and a map with possible locations of their whereabouts.
As soon as SHIELD’s hand got a hold of the map locations, Fury immediately gathered up agents and with stern instructions, ordered Thor and Clint to train them for the upcoming missions they were about to endure. Clint and Thor’s day was filled with wincing, harsh training, and- when Clint would get bored and want to traumatize someone on his team- crying rookies.
Pepper was extremely busy everyday trying to hold in the media with press conferences, meetings and live TV interviews. Pepper and the others were able to come up with a convincing back story of what happened to Captain America. They assured everyone that he is in fact still a part of the Avengers and has taken a leave of absent for a while. But he’ll be back. Captain America wanted to explore the world and see what he had miss after being frozen for 70 years and that he is not, in fact, gone and will never be. The tabloids and rumors calmed down drastically from Pepper’s last TV interview, but not have gone away.
As for Darcy, Natasha and Steve who have nothing to do with the mission- so far- their days were spent trying to do anything to distract Steve from his intense dreams that seem to come more frequently during the night. His dreams mostly consisted of death. Either his mother’s, Natasha’s and Bruce’s or watching his best friend- Bucky- die over and over without him being able to do anything.
As the days pass, Steve becomes despondent which worries Natasha and Bruce extremely. The happy going child is gone leaving a broken, upset child in its place. After examining Steve, in case there was something physically wrong with him, Bruce said that coupled with a dose of regression it was nothing out of the ordinary for a toddler dealing with a death in the family- particularly one as acute as the Mother’s. It was very unsettling to Natasha that she had to sit back and watch as the child in front of her broke down every passing day. It hurt her so much to know that she cant do anything to help him. She tried, but nothing worked. She was starting to fear that Steve would never go back to the same happy toddler was before he had that awful dream about his mother. She was scared that she’d never see that child again and prayed to God that, by some extend, Steve would return.
For the next few days, the child’s thumb never left his mouth and the blanket Jane had delivered him never let his side. Whenever anyone tried to get him to eat he just cried, so Natasha ended up having Bruce attach an IV to him so they fed him through a tube. Nothing was as bad as the nights, though. The nights were the worst part of the day. Steve never got a good nights sleep. The last good night sleep he was able to get was the night before he found his mother had died. The most the others could get him to sleep was 3 hours. 4 at the most. The lack of sleep did nothing to the child, only made him weak and unable to do anything, but sit in Natasha’s arms and stare at nothing. He never got cranky, unlike most toddlers, and the only emotion he expressed was sadness. An emotion that almost broke Natasha’s heart every time she had to look into his moist, tear- filled eyes. At night, Steve would cry himself hoarsely, or so hard that he threw up. Twice, Natasha and Steve spent the night in the bathroom because she couldn’t get him to calm down enough and he kept throwing up what little food they could get into him. Most of the time it was a combination of the two. The dreams grew worse and soon Steve seemed to barely be in touch with reality. The others were extremely concerned, Natasha and Bruce the most.
Bruce worries himself sick. He prescribe Steve some anti-psychotics and slipped it into his IV drip, but it didn’t seem to be working. Not even when he boosted the medicine up the most he can boost it up for a child’s safety. After that, he had begun looking into what made Steve like this in the first place hoping, by some power, that he can help get Steve back to normal. Well… as normal as he can make his 2 year old leader.
Natasha worries herself to the point where she’d start crying if she couldn’t get Steve stop. She hated emotions, always had. They were a liability and she tried never to have any. Although she tried to add some distance between herself and her mini-leader some instinct pulled her back in. The one thing she never wanted to do was start getting attached to the child.
Not only did she experience many different kind of emotions, she experienced the most powerful emotion of all… Love. Love and Happiness. And those were two of the reasons, when she wasn’t strong enough, that she cried. She cried because she loved Steve so much that she hated to see him so upset, so broken and so… unlike him. It broke her heart that she had to watch all the happiness wash away from his blue eyes that use to sparkle everyday and the smile slowly falter until finally it was gone.
Originally, she was going to leave and not come back for a while in order to keep the child at arm's distance. She was going to let the others take care of the mess they made- specifically Tony. Of course she had been concerned in the beginning with trying to get Steve back to normal, but it wasn’t her plan to fix the mess Tony made. Sooner or later, she had to admit that didn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. But as soon as she held Steve for the first time and looked into his baby blue eyes, some instinct that was buried deep inside her sparked. So she came back from her 2 week mission that she arranged with Fury earlier than planned because she couldn’t stand to be away from the 2 year old any longer. After being released from the hospital, Natasha felt her repressed instinct trying to rise up more and more. Slowly, as the days pass, the instinct was being dug out. Unearthed like a fossil. The instinct told her that she had to do something once she gave up on trying to ignore it. The child was grieving and she had to try and help him somehow because it was slowly killing her having to watch him continue this life any further. She was determined to do something, anything to make Steve better. Even in the slightest bit, she’d do anything to see the small hint of a smile grace his features again.
It was one night that she found out exactly what she had to do.
Laying Steve down in bed, Natasha went through his bed time routine before laying down beside him. Natasha allowed Steve to turn on his side and scoot closer to her, letting his back make contact with her chest. Reaching a hand behind him, his other one currently being sucked on at the moment, Steve wraps Natasha’s arm around his small body and rested his head on her chest. They stay like that for a while, Natasha waiting- praying- that Steve will actually have a good night sleep that night, although it was very unlikely. Thankfully, for Natasha, the crying didn’t start for about 3 hours. A new record. Turning around to face Natasha, Steve looks up at her with big, innocent blue eyes.
“I miss my momma.” He says in a small voice, his voice breaking on the word ‘momma’. Natasha stares down at him and a hand comes up to caresses his moist cheek, wiping away the stray tears starting to fall down his cheek.
“I know sweetheart, I know. She loved you very much.” Natasha assures, planting a kiss on his forehead. Closing his eyes, Steve takes a couple of deep breath before wrapping a tiny arm around Natasha’s torso, trying to bury himself deeper into her body. Burying his face into her chest, Steve’s says something, but it’s muffled by Natasha’s chest. “What Steve?” Natasha whispers to the child already seeing that he was starting to fall asleep.
Steve doesn’t reply right away, taking deep calming breathes and curling and uncurling his hands into fist. And he doesn’t reply for another couple of minutes, making Natasha think that he’s probably forgot what he had said. Steve’s almost asleep by the time he replies, repeating what he had previously said. “I wan you... be my mommy.” He whispers before closing his eyes and falling into a deep sleep, something that he hasn’t had been able to do at night. Natasha would’ve been thrilled to see that Steve finally fell asleep willingly, but what Steve said had her frozen and unable to respond.
“I wan you be my mommy. I wan you be my mommy. I wan you be my mommy.” It was repeated as mantra in her head, slowly turning into the correct grammar sentence. “I want you to be my mommy, I want you to be my mommy.”
It took her a while to grasp the meaning of what Steve meant and why he wanted her to be his mother. So he didn’t have to be going through this pain right now. So he can have a mother again, even if she may not be his actual mother. But she’ll be the closest thing he’ll have to having one again.
Now Natasha knew what she had to do. After waiting an hour and watching Steve sleep, Natasha anticipated him to be waking up screaming and crying, but after 30 more minutes of nothing happened, she decided she could leave for a moment. She had to speak to all the Avengers, Darcy, Jane and Pepper.
As soon as she slipped out of bed, she tucked Steve in tightly before she leaving the room. Closing Steve’s door, Natasha looks up at the ceiling. “JARVIS,” Natasha says in a hushed tone. “Locked Steve’s door and inform everyone that I wish to meet them in the common room immediately. It’s important.”
“Of course agent Romanoff. I will inform you in case young Captain Rogers awakens or shows signs of distressed.”
“Thank you.” Natasha whispers walking into the common room and waiting for the others to arrive. She knew what she had to do this, but she needed the approval and support of the others because her decision would affect them as well.
Once all the Avengers, Darcy, Pepper and Jane were gathered in the common room, and everyone was seated, Natasha states- very bluntly-
“I want to adopt him.” It was so sudden that even Clint, along with everyone else, jumped. Not from the statement, but from the seriousness in Natasha’s tone and facial expression. She meant business. Jane opens her mouth to question her decision, but Natasha continues before any of them can protest. “Guys… the kid just lost his mother. He’s not handling it well and he’s going through a shitload of stuff that no child should ever have to go through. He just found out his mother died and he has to deal with the death of his mother all over again. He’s starving himself and he's getting weaker by the day. Not to mention that from the lack of taking care of himself, he’s getting sick. Very sick. There’s a part of me that cant let this go on any longer and I cant just stand by and watch it happen. Something keeps telling me to do something and I believe this is what I have to do.”
“You have to do?” Clint questions. “Or you want to do?”
Natasha ponders the question for a long moment trying to form her answer correctly that wont require a lot of explanation. Biting her bottom lip, Natasha sits looking down at her hands. Bruce sees this and it’s what possesses him to place a hand on her shoulder. Looking up at him, Bruce nods encouragingly at her which gives her the courage to answer looking straight into Clint’s eyes. “Both. I want do this for him because I know this is the right thing to do. For him and myself.” The others process her answer for a long moment before one starts to nod and the others follow suit.
Pepper and Darcy are the first to recover from Natasha’s news. Pepper squeals excitedly going to hug her red-headed friend. “Oh Natasha that’s wonderful news. Your going to make a great mother to him.”
“Wow that is really sweet of you.” Darcy comments. “That kid is lucky to have someone like you in his life if your going to go through this much trouble for him. Pepper’s right, your going to make a great mother.” She gives Natasha smile. “I guess… congratulations are in order for the mother-to-be.”
“Tis’ a righteous thing your doing.” Thor says placing a hand on Natasha’s other shoulder. “You are a true, honorable warrior Lady Romanoff. Only the bravest can do something this noble and great. I bid you a huge congratulations.”
“Thank you.” Natasha nods at him. She looks over the rest of the faces that have yet to say anything. Jane offers her a smile and a nod. Tony looks shocked by Natasha’s decision, but nonetheless gives her a smile. Pepper cant wipe the smile off her face,
“Natasha I will get the paperwork for the adoption as soon as possible. I’ll take care of everything, I promise!”
“Thank you Pepper.” Looking towards her partner, she expects Clint to show some kind of disapproval to her decision, but is very pleased to see that Clint looks relatively happy. She sighs in relief at the smile her partner gave her, and she gives him a smile of her own. Biting her lip, Natasha hesitates before looking over her shoulder at the scientist that has yet to remove his hand from her shoulder.”Bruce? Are you okay with this?”
“Of course I am. I think your doing a wonderful thing Natasha. I support you and whatever you decide 100%” Bruce responds honestly and his voice full of sincerity. Natasha looks into his eyes and something crosses his features that she cant quite understand. But she’d seen it before. The day they found out about Steve being in danger, right after Steve and Pepper came back from the ice cream shop and while they were giving Steve a bath. It was so unfamiliar to her and it took her back a bit when she finally realized what it was.