I don't know what's wrong with us
They just made us this way
There's a hole in you and me
That pulls us together
And I don't know where we belong
I think we grew under a bad sun
-Bad Sun by The Bravery
As he heard the glass door slide open, Clint tensed in his chair on the balcony of Stark Tower, or the Avenger's Tower as Tony had been teasingly calling it. He glanced over from behind his sunglasses to see the man himself, Tony Stark, step out onto the balcony. Clint inwardly groaned, guessing that the peace he had found in doing absolutely nothing in the last thirty minutes besides lounging in the sun was going to be broken by the crass man. He had been living here for five months, and Tony did not understand the definition of peace and quiet. Clint had long since given up on finding quiet hidey-holes as Stark had a sixth sense when any of them were trying to be alone. Tony considered it his personal mission to draw every one of them out of their shells and make them bond, like a real team.
"What is it now Stark?" Clint's voice infused with a bite. He hoped he could scare him off, although it had yet to work.
Tony took a seat on the chair next to Clint, sitting on it cross-legged. "Your girlfriend just huffed off; obviously upset and I thought I should tell you."
Clint rolled his eyes. He had told Tony once that Natasha was not his girlfriend, to no avail. He couldn't come up with a label for him and Natasha; yes they were sleeping with each other, but they never defined what they were. The best he could come up with was partners, in every sense of the word. But, this term didn't have the dramatic effect that Tony enjoyed, so he continued to say girlfriend and boyfriend, as if they were still in high school.
"I told you to stop trying to call her Nat."
"I still don't see why I can't call her that. She has no problem with you calling her that…but no, that's not the problem."
Clint sighed, realizing he wasn't going to get rid of Tony so easily. He sat up straight, taking his sunglasses off to look at the other man in the eye. "What happened?"
"Well, Pepper and I came up to make our big announcement, which by the way Pepper is pregnant, go us! Anyways, we told her and Steve, who had been sitting in the kitchen. She just got up and walked out, no congratulations or anything. She didn't look too good either. I'd never seen her so upset, or actually I've never seen her look upset ever."
Clint looked down and started to fidget growing uncomfortable. He tried being as vague as possible, not sure what he was willing or able to share. "Babies are a sore subject with her."
"What? Because she was an orphan?"
"Is," Clint whispered.
"What?" Tony looked confused.
"She is an orphan. You never stop being one."
Tony's face became more somber, realizing that he was treading on dangerous ground. "But that's not the problem. Is it?"
Clint looked up from his hands. "No."
Tony rubbed his face, awkwardly. "Look, this baby isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I would like to know what Natasha's issue is so I know what I can and cannot say in order to keep all of my limbs functioning. But, I won't pry."
Clint considered the man, who looked surprisingly honest and subdued in that moment. Of all people it was Natasha who was telling him that maybe they could trust the rest of the group. Clint was used to only trusting himself and Natasha. It was a foreign concept to be a part of a team. Natasha had been the same, but had slowly opened up to Bruce and Steve. She had said maybe they had finally found a place to belong. Clint was going to put faith in that trust, and he knew there was going to be hell to pay if this backfired.
"As you have deduced Natasha and I…well…are…"
"Partners," Tony finished for him.
So he had listened to Clint; Tony just liked to annoy him. "Yes, we're partners. And we have been sleeping with each other for a few years now, although in the beginning it was nothing serious. Anyways, about two years ago, Natasha became pregnant."
Tony gasped quietly, his jaw falling open like a cartoon.
Clint ignored the small outburst, looking back down at his hands, becoming lost in his memories. "She told me and we didn't know what to do. Actually we knew what we should do; our lives were not conducive to having children. But, still it was a tough decision. We considered all of our options. She didn't want to have an abortion, but neither of us was fond of adoption because of our history. Keeping the child wasn't really an option, especially at the time we weren't as committed to each other. Anyways, we went in for an ultrasound to verify that she was pregnant and we found out that there was no heartbeat and that the pregnancy was not viable. She had to abort the pregnancy. After that, the doctor wanted to do some tests on her and that was when we found out that she would be unable to have a baby because of some procedure that Red Room did to her, or something that they gave her. Honestly, I'm fuzzy on the details of it all. All I know is that it was a miracle that she conceived at all and she will never be able to carry a child to term."
"What do you think you would have done?" Tony's voice was deadly quiet.
Clint considered the question. "I honestly have no idea. It's one thing to know that you shouldn't have children, and another to find out that the option was taken away from you. Natasha still struggles with that, hell I struggle with that."
"You know there are other ways to have children."
Clint shook his head. "Neither of us is equipped to being parents. It's an idle fantasy that we let ourselves daydream about when we wonder what would have happened if we were raised normal."
"Bullshit, nobody is normal. Why the hell shouldn't you have a kid or a whole litter of brooding, mini-assassins if you want?"
"Children are liabilities in our line of work. We can't afford that luxury."
"Look, you are no longer a part of SHIELD; you two own your destiny. Your lives are your own. You can do with it what you wish. You think Pepper and I didn't worry about the risk of having a child? This was no accident, though. We decided that there has to be something more to our lives than Iron Man and Stark Industries. That can't be the legacy we leave behind. There is going to come a day, and it's probably not that far into the future, when you two are not going to be able to do what you do anymore. You are no spring chicken and the redhead is not far behind you. So what then? What do you do when you retire, so to speak?"
Clint was a little flabbergasted by this line of logic. As simple as it may seem, he had never thought about what he would do when he couldn't be an agent anymore. He always thought he would die on the job. He never thought he would make it to a point where he would have to question whether he was physically able to keep up with his job anymore.
Tony seemed to see that his words had the desired effect. "Look, all I'm saying is don't have children because that is honestly what you want. Don't not have children because you think you can't."
Clint nodded, although his head was still a little muddled.
Tony got up to leave, before pausing briefly. "I will hint to Pepper that she should tone down the excitement just a little in Natasha's presence."
Clint gave a panicked look.
Tony clarified, "I won't tell her any details, just that it's a sensitive subject."
"No problem." Tony patted Clint on the shoulder before heading back inside.
Clint sat in contemplation for a few minutes, mulling over the words Tony had spoken to him. It was such a different line of thought than he was used to. He tried to picture he and Natasha having a family…having kids. It was difficult to picture, but if he really thought about it, he caught a glimpse of her holding a baby or hugging a child. It wasn't much, but it was something. He knew, though, that he had to talk to Natasha. Especially since Tony said she was probably upset.
He stalked off in the direction of Natasha's room, ignoring the looks of the rest of the team that was celebrating with champagne. He went down the hallway and entered her room. She sat on the bed cross-legged, a small piece of yellow fabric in her hand. She glanced at him briefly before looking back down to whatever she was holding. Clint joined her on her bed, stretching his legs in front of him. He made out what she was holding now. It was a tiny onesie, with a small duck on it.
"I picked this out after our mission in Belgium, when we had those few weeks off," Natasha explained, her voice a mere whisper. "I went to the store to get supplies for my apartment and I saw this in passing and I couldn't stop myself. In that moment I saw our child. It was going to be a girl, because I knew you would love a small daughter to dote. She was going to have my hair which I knew you loved. She was going to have your eyes and nose, but my mouth. Her name was going to be Claire, pretty but simple. She was going to be pure. She would solve world hunger or find the key to world peace. She was going to wipe out all of the red in our ledgers. She was going to be…she was going to be everything to us. In those few minutes while I was in that store, I pictured us having a family and I wanted her so badly. But, then I got back to my apartment, saw all of the locks on my doors and remembered all of the hidden weapons throughout my apartment. I came back to reality."
Clint sighed, a weight settling on his chest as he realized she had tucked this bit of sadness somewhere deep in her, where he couldn't reach. "You know I felt the same way. I wanted that baby, deep down."
They settled in silence for a few minutes, both staring at the baby's outfit in Natasha's hands. "I told Tony about what happened to you; what happened to us. He promised he would not tell anybody."
The expected outburst did not come. Instead Natasha nodded before looking up into Clint's eyes. "You are starting to trust them like I do."
"He seemed genuinely concerned that you walked out at Pepper's news."
"It caught me off guard is all. I will apologize to her later."
"You know, he said something that made me think."
Natasha smirked, probably biting back a sarcastic comment about him thinking. "What would that be?"
"He seems to think that now that we aren't a part of SHIELD anymore that maybe we could have children."
Natasha was silent for a moment before moving closer to lean against him, putting her head on his chest. "Do you want to have children?"
"I don't know. I mean in theory I would have liked to be normal and have a family. But, then what happened to you and this life we lead isn't necessarily conducive to having children."
"Mmhmm," Natasha murmured. She did that when she knew he had to talk through something.
"But, Tony pointed out that we aren't going to be able to do this forever. I'm getting older and I'm past my prime. What am I going to do when I can't be in the field anymore?"
"You could train others and run missions," Natasha offered.
"Which would mean less traveling and very little risk."
"Which means it would be feasible to have children," Natasha said, her tone neutral.
"Is that what you want?"
"I don't know. It was just never an option before and I just figured it wasn't in the cards, but now…" Clint trailed off. "What about you?"
"I don't know either. We aren't exactly the most well-adjusted people out there and are hardly qualified to raise a child. But, could either of us really be a worse parent than Tony Stark?" Natasha teased.
Clint laughed. "You've got a point there."
Natasha's voice softened again. "It's scary, though, to think about."
"I know. We don't have to decide anything, but I just want to be able to talk to you about it and maybe we can keep our options open."
"That's a fair deal," Natasha agreed.
"You know, if we adopt a kid, we are going to probably have to be married."
Natasha groaned. Clint had asked her to marry him a couple weeks after the Loki incident, and she refused, saying he was just doing it in response to what happened with Loki. Rather than take it personally, he saw it as a challenge. He kept asking her, and it had become a joke with them, to see who would cave.
"I see how it is. This is all an elaborate scheme to win."
"Maybe," Clint joked.
"Fine, but you have to promise me to take pictures of Steve's face when Tony inevitably drags you all to a strip joint for your bachelor party."
Clint laughed at the thought. "Deal."
10 years later
Natasha dropped her bag off as she exited the elevator on her and Clint's level of the Avenger's Tower. She threw her sunglasses off on the counter, seeing the remnants of breakfast left out. She grabbed a piece of bacon from a plate, crunching on it. She caught sight of Clint outside, sitting on a chair on the balcony, a newspaper open. She got closer, noting his relaxed appearance. He was barefoot, wearing jeans and a soft grey t-shirt. His face was smooth of the worry lines that graced his features whenever they were on missions. She loved seeing him like this.
She stepped out onto the balcony and he looked up at her arrival, his face lighting up with happiness.
"Hey," she greeted him, leaning down to kiss him on the temple before taking the seat next to him.
"Hey, I thought you weren't supposed to arrive until tonight."
"I was able to catch a red-eye. I couldn't wait to get back. How are the kids?"
"They are fine. Isabel is upstairs playing with T.J. and Andy is still sleeping," he said pointing to the baby monitor that was in his lap. "How did the mission go?"
"Fine. There was some destruction at a local village so Bruce and I are going to go back later this week to help with repairs. I was kind of thinking it might be my last mission."
"Really?" Clint's eyebrows shot up.
"Don't look that surprised; you knew this was coming. We now have three new recruits coming so I know you could use the help with the training. Not to mention, it's getting harder and harder being away."
"I know the feeling," Clint admitted.
"Not to mention, one of the buildings that got destroyed on the mission was an orphanage…"
"Oh, I know where this is going," Clint cut in, although he looked more amused than annoyed.
"I was just thinking we haven't completely fucked up so far, who's to say we couldn't have one more child. This time I would be able to be around for all of it."
"That sounds nice."
"DADDY!" A yell interrupted their conversation, small feet running out onto the balcony. The small child, no more than seven years old, froze when she spotted Natasha. "Mommy! You're home." Isabel threw herself into Natasha's arms.
Natasha enveloped the girl, stroking her blond hair and leaning down to take in her scent. It was always a relief to hold her children again after a mission.
"Mommy," Isabel said, pulling back from Natasha. "T.J. tried to kiss me."
"What?" Clint growled.
Natasha rolled her eyes at Clint before looking back at her daughter. "What happened?"
"He was telling me that Uncle Tony keeps saying we are going to get married someday and so T.J. said we might as well get it over with. He said if we kissed then we would be married. I didn't want to though, so I stomped on his foot and ran."
"Good girl," Clint said, ruffling Isabel's hair.
Natasha ignored her husband's comment. "What have we said about solving problems with violence?"
Isabel thought about this for a second. "That we shouldn't."
"That's right. You should go down and apologize to T.J."
"Fine," Isabel conceded, climbing off her mother's lap to go back to Uncle Tony and Aunt Pepper's floor.
"And Isabel, you don't have to marry T.J. if you don't want to," Clint added.
"Good, because he is gross," Isabel said before running off.
Clint and Natasha laughed once their daughter was out of ear shot. The sound of Andy waking up in his room, crackled through the baby monitor, breaking up the laughter. Clint got up, wrapping his arm around Natasha shoulder as they headed to their son's room, smiles still playing across their lips.
"You know, she probably is going to end up marrying T.J.?" Natasha commented, amusement in her voice.
"That doesn't mean I have to like it. And you better believe the moment she becomes a teenager I'm booby trapping her door every night."
Natasha laughed, knowing he was all bark and no bite. It still warmed her to see him so protective of their family. Her thoughts turned to her three year old son though, who was currently jumping up and down on his bed, his bright red curls bouncing with each jump.
"Mommy!" The boy exclaimed as he leaped into her waiting arms. She held him to her tightly, feeling Clint's arm still around her shoulders. All those years ago, when they first discussed having a family, she remembered that she couldn't picture it. Now she couldn't picture her life without her family. She and Clint had built what had they had been missing for most of their lives, a home.
A/N: So, yes this is more than a little ooc and also a smidge on the sappy side, let me explain my line of reasoning. Since seeing Avengers opening weekend I have become obsessed with this pairing and have been reading a shit ton of fanfiction for these two, which most of it has been awesome. There were mostly two extremes when it came to the subject of kids…that they want kids and would be all domestic which I find unrealistic and then there was no kids, no way, now how, which is way more likely. I don't disagree with that line of reasoning, but I kind of wondered if there was a middle ground and this is what arose. I don't think they would take the subject of children lightly, but I also wondered why couldn't they have kids? I mean yeah the danger thing, but they have to retire at some point right? Lol, anyways I just wanted to explore the topic and this is what came out of that.
Please, I welcome all feedback as long as it's constructive, so let me know what you thought. Haven't written for these two before so it was new for me. I would love to know what people thought. Thanks for reading!