She Deserved Better

By Lizabeth S. Tucker

Most of the world was unaware that Tony Stark had two funeral services. One was a televised extravaganza, the seats of the memorial hall rented for the occasion filled with hordes of politicians and celebrities eager to be seen at the hero's funeral. It was attended by Pepper Potts-Stark, Steve Rogers, and Nick Fury. The other Avengers declined to be a part of the circus.

The second was more a private memorial, held at the Stark property, attended by Tony's friends and close coworkers, still a fairly large group. It was by invitation only. This was where the true mourning occurred. Some attendees supported each other through the pain and grief; others withdrew into themselves. Memories overwhelmed everyone. The few reporters who discovered the event were kept far away by SHIELD agents who volunteered for the job. Very carefully screened SHIELD agents.

Two weeks later there is a much smaller gathering at the Barton family farm. There is no press. No important people clamoring to attend. There was no recognition for the woman whose ultimate sacrifice made it possible for Bruce Banner to bring the missing back. For Tony Stark to stop Thanos and his plans to snap every living thing out of existence. For Clint Barton to return to his family.

It was a memorial service without a body to bury. Much like Tony's second service, those who attended were there by invitation. In addition to Clint and his family, including the children, there was Wanda Maximoff, back to living at the farm while waiting for her immigration situation to be resolved, Bruce Banner, Phil Coulson, Nick Fury, and a now aged Steve Rogers. Thor had left the planet before the service had been planned. The others who had fought so valiantly didn't truly know Natasha Romanoff. Clint was determined that only friends and family would be present.

In remembrance of his longtime partner, Clint decided there would be no headstone, no fancy plaque, or a copper clad statue that probably wouldn't look like her. Instead, those present helped plant a garden filled with plants that were both beautiful and deadly, just like Nat herself. It seemed only fitting.

August 2019