When Vision and I returned to the base, the others greeted us and brought us inside to get some rest.
"How long do we have off?" I asked Steve.
"Until after the holidays, at least," Steve said. "Don't worry, I'm giving you a long time to rest and recover."
I nodded my thanks, remembering that, indeed, the holidays were coming up fast. I hadn't really planned anything to do. Usually around this time, I would be trying to not freeze to death with the others at the shelter, with holidays the last thing on our minds.
I kinda felt bad, knowing that they were suffering while I was able to live comfortably. A few times when I had a day's break between missions, I had brought them blankets to help them out and gotten warm food for them so that they could eat, but I knew it wasn't a lot.
It was something I didn't tell anyone because I didn't know how they would react.
The night Vision and I returned, we had decided to get some sleep because, even though we felt we could continue to go, we knew that London had really drained our batteries more than we expected.
The next morning, we were at breakfast with the others, having our meal with the others.
"So, how was it?" Clint asked. "London?"
"We really didn't get the chance to sight see," I said. "We were too busy fighting."
"But when we were resting, it looked nice," Vision put in.
"And what of S.T.R.I.K.E.?" Natasha said. "How were they?"
"They were inviting and helpful," I said.
"That's good," Clint said.
"Clint, you wish to ask your sister something," Vision spoke up suddenly.
"Uh, yea, I kinda do," Clint said. "It can wait until after breakfast though."
"You sure?" I said. "You can ask me now if you want."
"I was just going to see if you wanted to get out of the base for a few days and see your step-sister and her kids," Clint said. "You know, little bit of family time."
I nodded, smiling. "Sure, Clint," I said. "I'd love to."
We left as soon as the weather had permitted, not knowing when our next chance would be.
Clint piloted a jet while I looked outside.
"It feels different to be in a jet so long after being use to flying by yourself," I said as I looked at the passing scenery.
"I suspect it would," Clint replied. He switched to autopilot and turned to me. "So, now that you've had some time being an android, do you like what Tony did to you?"
I turned to look at Clint. "Well, it certainly makes some stuff easier for me, but it makes me wonder what kind of future I'm going to have," I said.
"Like what?" Clint asked.
"Well, a dream and goal of mine is to settle down someplace, have a family, not have to worry about the danger and everything," I said. "Am I still going to have that ability now that I'm part of the Avengers and that I'm an android?"
"That I'm not sure, but if you can't have kids, then you can always adopt some," Clint said. "It definitely would improve the lives of however many you choose to have."
I nodded, feeling a bit of guilt again as I remembered my old friends, but not showing it.
Clint looked out the window. "We're landing," he said. "And then you'll meet Laura, Lila, Cooper, and Nathaniel."
"Does Laura at least know about me not being exactly...human?" I said, feeling a bit anxious now.
"Yea, she does," Clint said. He landed the jet in the trees next to a comfortable-looking farm and got to his feet. "Not too sure about the kids, though." He held out his hand to me. "Come on, Sister."
I took his hand and he pulled me to my feet, the two of us walking out of the jet and to the farm.
Clint opened the front door and we went inside, a woman sitting in a chair in the living room, rocking a young baby to sleep. She looked up as we came in, doing a small smile and saying softly, "Nathaniel just went to sleep." She got up and carefully placed him in his crib before walking to us, hugging Clint. "Just in time for the holidays, honey."
"I planned it at the right time," Clint replied, kissing his wife's forehead. He turned to me. "Laura, this is Rose, my sister."
Laura smiled kindly as she hugged me. "It's so great to finally meet you," she said. "Clint was so worried last time he was here, when he had brought the others here without you."
"Well, I would've been here, as well, but stuff got in the way," I said. "But I'm here now."
"Where's Lila and Cooper?" Clint asked.
"In their rooms, playing," Laura said as she walked to her chair again, watching Nathaniel sleep with a small smile.
"Rose, why don't you stay down here while I go get them," Clint said, walking out of the room and up the stairs.
Laura beckoned me over so that I could see my newest nephew.
I smiled as I saw him. "He looked so much like Clint," I whispered.
"Yea, he got his father's good looks," Laura said softly, leaning over and gently giving the baby a kiss on his forehead.
Nathaniel yawned but other than that, he didn't move, staying sound asleep.
"How long are you guys going to stay?" Laura said as I sat down in a chair opposite of her.
"I'm not sure," I said. "I've been given an extended leave since I've been working so hard on the missions with my partner. I start work again after the holidays if something doesn't turn up between now and then."
We heard footsteps racing down the stairs and turned to see the other two kids rushing into the room, Clint a step behind them.
"Aunt Rose?" Lila said softly, her mother motioning to their baby brother to keep quiet.
I got to my feet and walked to them, nodding. "Yes, I'm Aunt Rose," I said with a smile.
Lila and Cooper seemed to launch themselves into my arms, hugging me.
Clint chuckled, leaning against the banister with his arms crossed, a look of complete happiness gleaming in his eyes.
Laura smiled widely as the kids released me and went to watch Nathaniel. "He just went to sleep, so don't wake him," she said.
They nodded, keeping quiet.
I sat back down in the chair, thinking to myself, "This is the plan I had in mind. Settle down someplace away from the action and be able to start anew."
"Anything I can help out with?" I asked Laura as she started dinner. She knew that I wasn't going to eat and I was just trying to be helpful to make up for it.
She shook her head. "I got everything," she replied. "Besides, you're the guest. Go put your feet up, play with the kids with Clint, do something else. You shouldn't need to be doing the chores."
"I'm just used to helping out when I can," I said.
"I know, Clint told me all about who you were before you worked for S.H.I.E.L.D.," Laura said as she washed some vegetables to cut up. "I know you want to help. You really, you don't need to."
"Alright, alright," I said. "I'll go play with the kids."
Laura smiled at me and said, "Go do that. Impress them with your magic."
I chuckled and walked out, going to the playroom. I knew I had made huge progress on my powers from when I first started training: before if Clint had asked me to come see his family, I would've denied right away: I didn't want my powers to hurt them. But now, I felt at ease using them, even using it to impress the kids by doing something really showy.
"Aunt Rose!" Cooper exclaimed as I came into the room.
"Magician!" Lila cried, her nickname for me.
"Laura kick you out?" Clint said, looking up at me from the chair at the table that was definitely made for kids and not adults.
"Yep," I said. "So I came here."
The two kids immediately pulled me into another open chair once they heard that.
"So, what are you guys doing?" I said.
"Daddy's telling us a story about crime fighting!" Lila said excitedly.
"And what is this crime fighting story about?" I said as I looked up at Clint.
"An evil robot!" Cooper said. "Trying to take over the world!" He turned back to Clint. "Continue the story, Daddy!"
"Yes, continue it, 'Daddy'," I teased. "Let's hear the rest of the evil robot story."
Clint chuckled and then picked up where he left off, talking about Ultron's fight against the Avengers but ending up losing badly. "...And the people of Earth lived happily ever after, the end," he finished.
The two kids cheered at the end, clapping enthusiastically.
"Dinner!" Laura called.
With that, we got to our feet and went to wash up before going to the dinner table.
"Everything looks great, dear," Clint said as we sat around the table. "The base does have good food, but nothing's compared to what you make."
"I'm glad you think so," Laura said with a smile.
I fed Nathaniel as everyone else ate so that I wasn't doing absolutely nothing and open to extreme questioning from the two kids.
Nathaniel started to say something.
"Clint, Laura, he's going to say his first word," I said, the other two perking up immediately as the baby continued to stutter on the word, getting up and coming to him.
"Come on, Nathaniel, what are you going to say?" Laura coaxed as even Lila and Cooper paid close attention.
"R-R-R-Ro-Ro-Rose!" Nathaniel suddenly exclaimed.
I put a hand over my mouth, surprised.
"His first word is your name, Rosie!" Clint said, clapping me on the back.
"That's amazing!" Laura said as she hugged me.
"R-Ro-Rose!" Nathaniel repeated, grabbing my finger as I reached my hand to him.
I smiled, feeling a sense of accomplishment. "I'm here, little buddy," I said.
"Rose!" Nathaniel squealed, excited for himself, gripping my finger a little bit tighter.
"With that being his first word, I definitely feel more like I'm part of the family."