Standing up quickly from her seat on the couch, she shrugs
Bruce’s hand off and tries to think of an excuse to leave. But, thanks to
JARVIS, she doesn’t have to. “Agent Romanoff, Captain Rogers is awake.” He says at that exact moment. Sighing in relief, Natasha
rushes out of the room leaving everyone bewildered at her sudden rushed
Running to Steve’s room, Natasha now clearly hears the screaming cries of the child currently behind those locked doors. “JARVIS open the door.” Natasha orders before she reaches it. The door immediately slams open allowing Natasha entrance into the room. The second Natasha enters Steve’s room, the boy shoots up from his bed, tears streaming down his face as his tiny chest heaves heavily. Rushing, Natasha scoops Steve up in her arms and starts walking around the room in an attempt to calm the hyperventilating boy.
Steve was practically vibrating. “Oh Steve, ssh… ssh. It’s okay. I’m here, I’m here.”
“You… lef'… me. I-I.. d-dun’t wan… you… to… leave… m-me.” Steve says, his breathing starting to become rapid and sharp as he struggles to breath. Sitting down on the bed, Natasha puts Steve on her lap and turns him to face her.
“Hey, hey, hey, look at me. Steve look at me.” Natasha says grabbing a hold of Steve’s chin and forcing him to look at her. “Look at me and only me. Ssh… stop crying. I didn’t leave you. I’m not going to leave you and I never will leave you. Understood?”
“B-But my mama-“
“But nothing. Your mama still loves you with all her heart. She may not be here in person to hold you and tell you that herself, but she’ll always be here Steve. Understand?”
“Promise.” Natasha assures with a smile. Steve smiles and leans back contently into Natasha’s body taking in the peaceful silence. Looking down at the somewhat content boy in her arms, Natasha tries to find a way to ask the question. She cant adopt Steve without his permission and his consent. And if she doesn’t say it now, she’ll always find a way to push off the question. Now or never. “Steve?” She calls down to him. Steve hums in reply looking up at her. “um… How do you feel about me?” She starts out. Steve looks up at her confused. “Do you like me?”
"I love you ‘Tasha. Lots and lots and lots.”
Natasha smiles down at him, caressing his cheek. “I love you too Steve. Um… h-how would you feel about me being your new mommy?”
The look on Steve’s face is instantaneous. Steve looked like he was just given the best present any person could give a child. His face broke out into a huge smile, the first smile Natasha’s seen in days. The sparkle in his eyes suddenly came back and he looked up at her with large eyes that made him look like a deer in headlights. Someone wanted to be his Mommy?
Steve looked Natasha up and down. Natasha was really pretty and she had red hair, and momma’s hair was a light brown that it looked like it was red in the sunlight. And Natasha’s smile was just as pretty as his mother’s. This woman wanted to be his mother because his real mother couldn’t be here anymore. That’s something he’s wanted ever since finding out about his mother. No one can take his mother’s place in his heart, but he’d do anything to have what he had with real mother again. Maybe Natasha can be that person. He smiles up at her and asks the question on his mind, “Can I called you mommy?” Steve asks innocently.
“You can call me whatever you want to call me.” Natasha replies earnestly, kissing his cheek.
Grinning up at her, Steve snuggled into her chest and slips his thumb back into his mouth. “I wub you mommy.” And from that moment Natasha never felt so complete or as happy in that moment. The moment Steve called her ‘mommy’.
Natasha Romanoff had never seen herself as a mother. And yet, here she was. Sometimes she felt overwhelmed because Steve had opened up so much to her and she felt a wall that made it impossible for her to reciprocate. Nonetheless, the child opened up to her about grief and feelings and babbled about what his life had been like with his real mother and father. Most of the time Natasha never understood what Steve was saying because he ran his words together too many times or his words would get broken up due to his sobbing, but she never said anything and never judged Steve. She only listened and offer support and encouragement. Thanks to Natasha’s encouragement, Steve began eating again. As for his dreams and hallucinations, he would come out of them much more easily and they began to come less frequently, but they never went away. As days passed, Steve felt like he had a reason to stay in reality. Because he had a momma. A momma that cared about him so much and was scared of failing him.
It was plain and simple, she didn’t want to fail Steve. Even if she was his mother for a short period of time, she wanted to do it well. She wouldn’t fail him because 'Failure' wasn’t a word in her vocabulary. Motherhood was supposed to be instinctual, wasn’t it? What could go wrong?
Natasha, when Steve fell asleep that night, slipped off to find Pepper and make phone calls. She wanted to start the adoption process as quickly as she can because she heard from Pepper that it can be lengthy and long.
Although, fortunately for her with the help of SHIELD, it only took a week before Steve was officially declared hers. Her adoption to Steve made it harder for people after him to track him. Especially if Natasha changed his last name and altered his appearance just a little bit. Fury was all for it after thinking about ways this adoption could become an asset and couldn’t wait to get the process done as quickly as possible.
Ever since finding out Natasha wanted to be his mother, Steve has almost been back to his usual self. Sure, nightmares still get him, and he’s not as hyper and happy as he use to be, but he’s getting there. He’s much better then he use to be so it’s progress.
One morning, Natasha awoke and was pleasantly surprised to find that Steve had slept through the rest of the night. Early morning sunshine streamed through the window nearby her and she smiled. She looked to see Steve still fast asleep beside her before looking at the clock. It was 9:30. Steve finally slept through an entire night and two more hours later than usual.
Leaning down, she kisses his forehead before slipping out of bed. She decided to go and make him breakfast before he wakes up. Walking into the kitchen she finds Bruce already at the stove, scrambled eggs in a frying pan. Ever since she announced her decision to adopt Steve, she hasn’t seen Bruce for days. He’s always down in the lab and she hasn't had the time to go down there, because her main priority at the moment was Steve and his well- being. It’s not like she’s avoiding him due to their last interaction with each other, but they’ve both just been busy. Too busy for them to talk about what happened that night before. Well now, nothing’s going to stop them from doing it now.
“Good morning.” Bruce greets giving her a smile.
“Morning Dr. Banner.” Natasha greets taking a seat at the table, rubbing her eyes. She closed her eyed and when she opened them again she noticed his stare. “What?”
“Are you okay?” Bruce asks concern evident in his voice.
“I’m… fine.” Natasha says between a large yawn, shaking her head to clear her foggy mind. Biting her bottom lip, Natasha tries to get the courage to bring up the night from days ago. Although it was difficult for her to start with a conversation as awkward as this because she doesn’t even know if what she saw was true. That couldn’t have been actual love she saw. It was most likely care because they’re team mates and Bruce cares about everyone on the Avenger team, especially Steve. But, if she doesn’t talk to Bruce soon, she’ll never know. “Hey, um…, Br-“
“Good morning my friends!” Thor bellows as he enters the room with the others following.
“Good morning Thor.” Bruce greets while Natasha cant help, but frown at the table top. She missed her chance to speak to Bruce alone. Maybe she can try to get him away from the others and-
“Miss. Romanoff, young Captain Rogers is calling for you.” Sighing, Natasha stands from the table,
“I’ll be back.” She informs everyone before heading towards Steve room. When entering she finds the 2 year old trying to open the top draw of his dresser that contains his many different outfits. Leaning against the doorway, Natasha crosses her arms and smiles at her small teammate who use to tower her and would get things for her if they were high for her, but now cant even reach the top draw of a dresser. It’s very ironic how this situation is to her that a giggle passes her lips alerting Steve of her presence. Looking behind his shoulder, Steve gives her a sheepish grin.
“I do it mommy. ” He assures her.
Walking into the room, Natasha opens the draw for him and pulls out an outfit. “Yeah, but you don’t have to do it. Mommies take care of their babies and I cant take care of you if your trying to do things yourself.” Steve frowns, but shrugs after considering what Natasha had just said.
“Uppy.” Steve requests. Natasha raises an eyebrow, placing a hand on her hips waiting patiently for Steve’s manner. It takes Steve a minute to realize what he forgot to say, “Uppy please mommy?”
“Much better.” Natasha praises picking Steve up and placing him on her hip. “Come on lets get you dressed. Bruce made breakfast.”
After quickly changing Steve’s diaper and putting his outfit on for the day, Natasha carries Steve into the kitchen where everyone is starting to sit down to eat. “Good morning Steve.” Pepper says giving the 2 year old a wave. Steve waves back at her and blushes slightly when Darcy, suddenly, plants a kiss on his cheek from behind. During the time Darcy and Jane have been there, Steve seemed to have formed a little crush on the crazy, fun teenager. Everyone found it amusing and cute, especially Tony considering now he has something to tease Steve about when he becomes an adult again. He tried doing it to Darcy, but nothing fazed her and she joined in which made it no fun for him.
“Hello sleepyhead, did you sleep well?” Darcy asks taking a seat in the chair closest to Natasha and Steve.
“Uh- huh.” Steve says nodding. He reaches his arms out for the teenager to take him. With a laugh, Darcy grabs Steve from Natasha and places him on her legs bouncing them. Loving the up and down motion, Steve lets out a squeal and Darcy chuckled as Steve’s hands slapped her knee in excitement. On some days and a lot of occasions, the Avengers could easily forget that baby Steve is Captain America. That’s he not the person that was defrosted from the ice less than a year ago, but a regular 2 year old boy that loved to play and color with his mommy and aunts and uncles. It was those sweet moments that made Natasha smile and her heart flutter with her undying love for the child on Darcy’s lap.
“Are you hungry Steve?” Darcy asks him after halting her shaking legs. After a moment, Steve nods. “What do you want to eat?”
Looking across the table, Steve smiles at the sight of seeing his ‘Uncle’ Thor eating a stack full of pop tarts. It made his stomach growl just looking at it. Pointing at Thor’s plate, Steve replies “Po’arts!” excitedly.
Thor smiles and gestures for Darcy to hand Steve over. Placing the small child on his knee, he hands Steve a poptart. "Certainly young Steven. Come sit and enjoy these delicious pastries you mortals call poptarts."
“Than’ you Unca T’or!” Steve says in his high pitched voice.
Shaking her head, Natasha sits down beside Thor and the child and starts eating her own breakfast.
(2 Days Later…)
He was so focused that he didn't notice Natasha walk in and still hasn’t, his focus all on what he’s experimenting on at the moment. Jane sits next to him, but her gaze is obviously planted on the book she’s reading and she either has noticed Natasha, but hasn’t called her out, or doesn’t care why the redhead is here. Whatever reason it is, Natasha is grateful for it.
Natasha pulls back her hair and stands up straight before walking over to Bruce. “Hey Bruce?” Natasha calls taking a step back when the scientist suddenly jumps, her voice frightening him. Bruce’s hand goes to his chest as he takes a large deep breath.
“Natasha.” He says as he breathes out. He cracks a smile turning around to face her as he takes off his goggles. Running a hand through his hand he speaks, “I didn’t see you. You scared me.”
“I’m sorry.” Natasha apologizes, but Bruce waves her off.
“It’s alright.” Taking off his gloves Bruce walks over to another bench, near the only couch this lab has. Natasha follow silently. “Where’s Steve?”
“With Pepper. She’s watching him for the day.”
“Why is that?” Bruce asks confused. It's a rare occasion when Natasha would leave Steve in someone else's care. Frankly because she never leaves the child out of her sight.
“Because I wondering if we could talk.” She states, a little nervously.
“Sure.” Bruce motions towards the only couch sitting in the corner of the room. Natasha’s eyes glance back at Jane for a moment, but long enough for Bruce to catch. “Alone?” He clarifies.
“Please.” Bruce gives her a nod slipping off his lab coat. “Can we go… out? Just as friends to talk.” Natasha hurriedly adds at the expression on Bruce’s face at her question. Bruce nods giving her a smile.
“Do you think I could take a shower before we go?” Bruce asks looking down at himself self consciously, with an adorable expression of embarrassment.
“Of course.” She says to which the scientist smiles gratefully.
“I’ll only be 20 minutes.”
“I’ll be waiting in the common room.” Bruce rushes out of the room and into the elevator hitting the button for his floor. Natasha opts for taking the stairs and sits down in the common room to wake up.
Bruce only keeps Natasha waiting 10 minutes before he emerges in different clothes, and his wet hair combed neatly. She looks when she hears footsteps indicating someone had entered the room. “Where are the others?” Bruce asks when Natasha stands.
“Clint, Tony and Thor are at SHIELD. Darcy is in her bedroom, and Pepper and Steve are in his bedroom watching ‘Monsters Inc’. Jane is, as you know, still in the lab.”
“So when we leave it will just be Jane, Darcy, Pepper and Steve in the Tower.”
“Do you think that’s safe?” Bruce asks, worry and uncertainty lacing his tone.
“Don’t you forget they have JARVIS. He’ll make sure nothing happens to them and besides the safety protocols for Steve are still activated. Right JARVIS?”
“Yes Ms. Romanoff.” JARVIS responds.
“They are fine here.” Natasha assures.
Bruce bites his bottom lip nervously for a moment before shrugging and nodding his head towards the elevator. In less than 5 minutes, the two of them are on their way to coffee shop a couple blocks away from the Tower.
“So…” Bruce starts as he and Natasha sits down at a table in the coffee shop. “What’s up?” He asks as he raises an eyebrow.
Natasha slowly takes a seat beside him, rubbing her hands together before she has to wipe them on her pants to get rid of the sweat slowly building up on them. She figures if she cleared the air between them it would make everything go. She straightened in her seat, met Bruce's eyes and took a deep breathe. “Bruce..."
(With Pepper, Steve, Darcy and Jane)
“Darcy!” Pepper calls out carrying a sleeping Steve in her arms when she enters the common room. “Darcy! Where are-” Pepper jumps when Darcy’s voice speaks up from behind her.
Taking a deep breath to steady her heart, she turns and looks at the teenager. “Could you watch Steve?” Pepper asks passing the sleeping child over. “I have to run a couple of errands and Tony wants me to meet him down at headquarters so we can come back together.”
“Sure, no problem.”
Walking over to the couch where a purse lays on the edge, Pepper grabs it before walking towards the elevator. “I’ll only be gone 2 hours. 3 at the most.”
“We’ll be here.” Darcy says using Steve’s tiny hand and waving bye at the CEO right before the elevator doors close. Sighing, Darcy looks down at Steve and brushes his hair back from his forehead before making her way to his room. Setting him down in his crib, Darcy makes herself comfortable on Steve’s larger bed, turning the TV on and resting her head on her elbow.
It stays like that for a long time, sometimes Darcy would occasionally busy herself with playing with Steve’s hair if the show that’s on is extremely boring. But when JARVIS speaks, all the relaxing and calming feeling in the room vanishes at once. “Intruder alert! Intruder alert!” JARVIS’s alarms start beeping and Darcy instantly finds metal starting to drop down to cover the door, the windows being bolted in and all electronics in the room being shut off at once. “Intruder alert! Intruder alert!” Her head snaps to the side when Steve's crib begins folding into itself, making a metal cage around him. Panicking, Darcy reacts without thinking. She plucks Steve out of his crib before the cage has finished being put together and when she hears it lock in place she mentally curses at herself.
Steve, who had been asleep for a few hours, suddenly jumps awake when Darcy grabs him and pulls him harshly to her chest. He looks around in panic for a moment before starting to cry. Darcy practically goes wide eyed when she sees a shadow outside the window and almost drops the crying child in her arms, but gets a grip on him tightly. “Ssh, it’s okay, it’s okay.” Her voice is unsteady and she looks around the room trying to find a place to hide Steve. She doesn’t care what happens to her, as long as Steve is safe. Her eyes land on the closest.
“JARVIS, shut the alarms off.” Darcy screams over the alarms. They shut off at once and alls that left is Steve’s crying. Nodding her thanks, Darcy starts walking in the direction of the closest. “Okay, Steve, ssh, ssh, ssh, can you look at me?” She requests sitting down in a rocking chair near the closest. She places Steve on her knee and turns his body to face her, tears streaming down his scared face. “Steve look at me.” His eyes lock on hers and he grabs tightly onto a lock of her hair trying to pull himself closer to her. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s okay. It’s me, it’s Darcy. Everything is going to be alright, your going to be fine.” She assures him, bouncing her leg slightly.
“Mama, mama, mama.” Steve winces, crying harder.
“Mama’s coming. She’s coming. But I need you to be a big boy for me. Can you do that? Can you show auntie Darcy and Mama that you can be a big boy?” Steve just cries, really scared and Darcy swears she sees someone standing outside the door. ‘Shit!’ “Steve, Steve, Steve, ssh… look at me. Okay? Do you want to play a game?” Steve shakes his head, raising a hand to rub his eyes. “Yes you do, come on lets play a game. Lets play hide- and seek. Huh? Sounds like fun right. Now before we play you have to stop crying so we can. You don’t want to get found right?” Darcy says, her voice starting to go to a whisper. After a moment, Steve shakes his head, his crying starting to weaken into a whimper. “Right, because you want to win right?” Steve doesn’t hesitant to nod this time. “Good, now your going to hide. Somewhere really good, okay? So Darcy cant find you. You have to hide in this room only.” Darcy says purposely placing Steve facing the direction of the closest. Steve looks back at her, an uncertain look in his eyes. Darcy has to encourage him even more for him to start making his way to the closest. When he reaches the door he slides it open using all his strength and squeezes himself inside with all his adult sized shoes and clothes. Once the door closes Darcy sighs in relief before starting to make her way towards the locked door. “JARVIS is anyone in the hallway?” Darcy whispers.
“Not at the moment ma’am, but I suggest you run. My systems are now malfunctioning and my cameras have been shut off. Someone must have cut the-“ And JARVIS voice abruptly stops as if he’s been unplugged. Unexpectedly everything starts to go back to the way it was. Steve’s crib returning back to normal, the metal around the door sliding back up. Darcy’s eyes widen and she just enough time to run to the side of the bed and duck before the door burst open.
“Hello… Anybody here?”
(Meanwhile with Bruce and Natasha)
Natasha digs a finger into her temple sighing irritably when Bruce's phone goes off. This has been the third interruption since arriving. First it was Fury when he called Natasha and she had to leave the table and Bruce alone; the second was when the waitress was flirting with Bruce while she was gone. Now, that they're almost finished with their coffees, Natasha hasn't said a word about why she brought Bruce here. If she knew it was going to be this difficult, she would've talked to him in the lab with Jane there.
Bruce reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone checking the caller ID. "It's Pepper. I should answer this." He begins to stand up and when Natasha nods he walks away. Slumping in her chair, she looks out the window throwing back the rest of her coffee. Pulling out her wallet she slaps a five dollar bill on the table and shrugs her coat back on. This was pointless and a waste of time which angered and frustrated her. She could've been with Steve right now, she didn't accomplish anything by taking Bruce to a coffee place.
When Bruce begins to make his way towards her, she stands up and pulls out her car keys. He makes it to her and frowns in confusion, "We're leaving? But you never told me what you wanted to talk about."
"It doesnt matter anymore, okay? Can we just go?" She snaps at him and throws his jacket at his chest. Without giving him a chance to respond, she storms towards the door and yanks it open. Bruce stands there dumbfounded until the slamming of the front door jars him and he's left rushing after her.
He makes it in the nick of time and yanks the passenger door open. He jumps in just as the car starts to move and he sighs in relief once the door closes. Natasha keeps her eyes on the road and rolls her eyes as she drives out of the parking lot. “I thought you were going to leave me.” Bruce admits noticing her eye roll.
“If I was actually trying to abandon you here, you wouldn’t have made it into the car.” Natasha utters, angry.
“Hey, Nat, are you okay?” Bruce asks placing a hand on her shoulder.
Natasha shakes off his hand and speeds up on the road, making Bruce clutch the seat beneath him. “I’m fine.” She says.
“No your not, what’s wrong?” Bruce asks, gaining confidence in talking to the angered assassin. As soon as he fishes his sentence the car comes to a complete stop, Natasha having stomped on the brakes with all her might.
“You wanna know what’s wrong?” She spats at him.
“Yes.” Bruce replies calmly unfazed by her attitude.
“You! That’s what’s wrong with me!”
“Me? What did I do? If I did anything to upset you I am-“ And suddenly Natasha lurches forward, putting her hands on either side of Bruce’s face before slamming her mouth onto his.
For a moment Bruce is stunned, his whole body tensing and his movements halting. Natasha continues to kiss him, her eyes closed and her body practically leaning over him. By the time she feels she needs air, Natasha pulls back with a loud gasp taking in much needed air as she turns away from Bruce, his body still frozen in place, but his eyes roaming over Natasha’s face. Starting the car again, Natasha starts driving and her face neutral and blank as if nothing happened. As if she didn’t just lean over and kiss her friend straight on the mouth without any permission or anything. To her, the kiss never happened. To Bruce, he was still trying to process what she did and why she did it.
“Natasha…” He whispers, a hand coming up to touch his bottom lip. Natasha ignores him as if he didn’t speak and Bruce would’ve pressed on why she kissed him if her phone hasn’t started ringing. Plucking her phone from her pant pocket in one swift motion, she answers the call.
“Agent Romanoff.” She says in an emotionless voice. Bruce doesn’t know whose on the other line so he turns his head and looks out the window trying to comprehend what just happened minutes ago. The kiss…
Subconsciously his hand raises again to touch his bottom lip and slowly a grin starts forming on his face. He just kissed Natasha. He, Bruce Banner, had just kissed Natasha Romanoff. The cold- blooded master assassin. Well, technically it was Natasha who kissed Bruce, but that’s not the point. He’s pondering on if he should return the kiss after she’s done with her conversation on the phone, which would most likely end up with her punching him in the face, but he’d take it just to kiss her one more time.
Only when Natasha instantly slams on the breaks, surves the car around, presses on the gas pedal and shuts her phone Bruce realizes something is wrong. By the look on her face and the speed of her driving. “What happened?” He asks becoming serious, the kiss being lost somewhere in his mind. “Who was that?”
“Tony. There was an attack at the Tower.” Natasha says, her eyes full of concern and worry.
“Steve.” Bruce says instantly, his own worry making his heart drop into his stomach.
“He’s fine. Darcy hid him before anyone could touch him. Tony and Pepper have him. But…” Natasha says trailing off. Bruce catches her nervous glance his way.
“What? What is it?” Bruce asks turning his body to face her, biting his bottom lip hard.
“… They took Darcy. She’s not at the Tower.”