A/N- In case you didn't read Holding My Heart, this story takes place at the same time as that one, but it isn't necessary to enjoy it. But there's a lot more Rae in that one, if you like her.
Rating- T for bed inuendos and SLASH relationships
Disclaimer- I own nothing but Rae.
Natasha Romanoff woke up to smell of bacon sizzling and the sound of giggling. She smiled to herself when she heard Rae. Then a wave of violent nausea hit her and she jumped out of bed. She barely made it to the bathroom in time. Her bedmate propped himself up on his elbow in concern and ran a hand through his sleep-rumpled curls. Bruce Banner waited for his girlfriend to come back out of the bathroom. When she finally did, he got up and brushed her hair out of her face.
"Tash, this is three days in a row. I think that you need an actual medical doctor. I'm sure Cade wouldn't mind coming by and giving you a checkup."
She shook her head in the negative and told him that it was just a bug she had picked up on her last mission. Even though she trusted the SHIELD doctor who had somehow managed to become friends with the Avengers despite the fact that he had hit on both Clint and Steve before they had been in their current relationships, she really didn't want him to give her a check-up. Besides, she already had an idea of what was causing her illness, but didn't want to say anything in case she was wrong. Bruce sighed, kissed her cheek, and gave in. He always did when it came to her.
"I'll tell the others that you're sleeping in. There's no need in getting them all worried if you're sure it's just a bug."
"I appreciate it, babe. You know how they are. They'd all want to fuss and smother me. I'd end up stabbing someone….One second thought, maybe you could mention it to Tony."
She said the last part playfully and gave the scientist a smile. He shook his head and rumbled out his version of a chuckle. He kissed her on the forehead and went down for breakfast. She waited until she was sure that he had made it to the kitchen. She studied the ceiling
"Yes, Agent Romanoff?"
"Can you block all recordings in here for about ten minutes?"
"I can, but I am programed to ask why."
"I need to have a completely private conversation. You can continue to listen, but I don't want any record of it. I swear that I'm not going to do anything wrong. I just don't want to get anyone's hopes up."
"Would this have to do with your illness the past three days?"
"All recordings are currently blocked. You may proceed."
Tasha sighed in relief and threw a muttered thank you to the AI as she pulled out her cellphone and dialed the one person that she knew would help her out without asking any questions.
"Pepper. I need you to do me a favor."
"I've already told you that I won't help you bury Tony's body if you kill him. I know he's annoying, but think of how sad Steve would be."
Tasha managed to swallow her laugh before it bubbled out.
"No, Pep. I don't need that kind of favor... yet. I need you to pick up something at the store for me."
"Okay. What do you need?"
When Tasha told her, Pepper squealed so loudly that the spy had to pull the phone away from her ear. Nat quickly told her
"I'm not sure. Don't get excited yet. It's just a hunch."
"I'll be there as soon as I can."
"No problem, Nat."
As she hung up, she spoke to JARVIS
"You can turn the recording back on, JARVIS. Thank you."
The AI replied
"You're welcome, Agent Romanoff. I take it Dr. Banner does not know?"
"No, not yet. Please don't say anything yet."
Even Natasha was impressed by the way Pepper managed to get to her room without being seen by any of the men or Jane.
"You have surprisingly ninja-like skills, Pep."
The strawberry-blonde gave her a smile and pretended to buff her nails on her smart suit jacket.
"Over a decade of working for Tony Stark does tend to create a very unique, yet useful skill set."
Tasha considered that
"I would imagine so. Especially before you settled him down."
"Oh, I didn't settle him down. Even when he was with me, he was still insane. Once he fell in love with Steve, he stopped doing things that should have landed him in a padded room. Our Captain is an influence for good, even with egomaniacal geniuses."
Tasha's lips quirked into a smile at the thought of Steve in all his wholesome innocence and Tony in his...Tonyness. The two of the really did belong together.
"True enough. Okay. Here goes."
She went into the bathroom. Pepper paced around the bedroom. She and Natasha had gotten very close after the Hammer snafu. Pepper knew the spy better than Natasha realized. Back when Tony was still trying to get Tasha and Clint to admit that they were in a relationship, Pepper had often argued with him over it. She had insisted that there wasn't anything but friendship between them. She had seen the way Tash had looked at Bruce even back then. Tasha wasn't the kind of woman that would continue in a relationship if she had feelings for someone else. After she had married James, she hadn't been around the team as much as she had wanted. But it had still been enough to observe them all very closely. When Clint had informed the team about his marriage to Phil, Pepper hadn't been too shocked. She had always felt that there was something not quite right in the cellist story that she'd heard about Phil. Maybe it had been the way that Phil had always refused to talk about it, even to her. Then Tony had FINALLY told Steve about his feelings for the super soldier and they had gotten together. Pepper had been thrilled. She adored Steve and thought that he was very good for Tony. Tasha had been so much in love with Bruce that she hadn't noticed how the doctor looked at her. When Bruce took matters into his own hands, the female agent had admitted her feelings and made the gamma specialist a very happy man. Pepper checked her watch for the 25th time in 3 minutes. That was it. She was going in.
"Tasha, you'd better be decent because I'm coming in. You're killing me out here."
When she pushed the bathroom door open and immediately spotted the other redhead sitting on the floor with her arms wrapped around her knees and her forehead resting on them. Pepper flew to her side and asked her sympathetically
"Tash? Did it say no?"
Natasha's voice was muffled when she answered
"I don't know. I can't make myself look, Pep. What if it does?"
"Really, Tasha? Seriously? You haven't even looked? Do you want me to?"
The Russian's voice was very small when she said yes. Pepper picked up the plastic stick from the edge of the bathroom counter and drew a deep breath before flipping it over. A wide smile broke out
The SHIELD agent raised her head and looked at the stick. Shock danced across her face, followed quickly by blinding joy. Natasha Romanoff then did something she would try to deny till the day of her death, despite the fact that JARVIS had the video evidence that he would show whenever the subject was brought up, almost as though the AI enjoyed embarrassing the redhead. She leaped up, pulling Pepper up with her and squealed. The two women then jumped up and down like 13 year old girls who had seen their favorite celebrity. It was the most girly thing the Black Widow had ever done in her life. When they calmed down, Tasha gasped out
"Oh, I have to tell Bruce!"
"I guess that I should disappear. I'll see you later…And Tash?"
The spy looked at the PA.
Tasha flashed that blinding smile again
After Pepper left, Nat addressed the AI
"Would you like Dr. Banner?"
"I will inform him that you require his presence. I will not tell him about this. And blessings on you, Agent."
"Thank you, JARVIS."
Bruce wasn't getting anything done down in his lab. He really wanted to blame the fact that Tony and Steve had borrowed a corner of the lab for one of Tony's harebrained schemes and they were distracting him. But he was honest enough to admit to himself that it wasn't true. When he was in the middle of a project, he could work through a full scale war and never blink. No, he was distracted because Tasha wasn't down here helping him or even just reading in the corner. He had become so used to her being with him that he felt like half of him was missing.
Bruce shyly pulled an object from his pocket. He looked around to make sure that Tony and Steve were busy, before studying the ring with his practically patented Bruce intensity. The scientist was nervous. He knew he was asking a lot from a woman who hadn't learned how to trust until she was long into adulthood. She hadn't believed in love until she had met him, she told him that time and time again. He had believed that there was no one who could love a monster like him. She had pointed out that any damage he inflicted was done when he was not in control of himself whereas everything she had ever done had been done by her own choice. He was quick to point out that her actions when she was with the Red Room hadn't been by choice. She said no, but that she thought they had been and that was the same thing. JARVIS broke into his musings
"I believe that Agent Romanoff requires your assistance."
Bruce came very close to Hulking out in sheer panic and probably would have if Tony hadn't been in the lab. The billionaire put a hand on his science bro's shoulder to help keep him grounded and asked the AI
"J, is Nat okay?"
"She appears to be fine. She just wishes for Dr. Banner to come up."
This calmed Bruce down enough that the pale green tint disappeared from his skin, but the jade in his eyes stayed. He concentrated his breathing in the elevator ride so that he wouldn't frighten his girlfriend. He entered their bedroom unsure of what he would find. Tasha was sitting on the edge of their bed holding a plainly wrapped package. The scientist scanned his woman up and down, making sure that JARVIS had been truthful in saying that she was fine. He couldn't see anything wrong and that calmed him down to an even more manageable level. He sat next to Tasha and took the hand that wasn't holding the package.
"What's wrong, Tash? You scared me. I thought that something had happened to you."
She ignored his question
"I have something for you, Bruce."
She handed him the package. He studied her with an almost frightening intensity, realized that this was the reason she had wanted him, and then turned his attention to the box in his hands. He undid the wrapping to reveal a plain wooden box. He looked at her in confusion. She nudged him
"Open it, Dr. Banner."
Bruce lifted the box's lid. Nestled among cotton padding was a pregnancy test. It had a plus sign in the little window. He raised his eyes to Natasha's. Her green eyes were glittering in excitement.
She nodded. His brown eyes filled with tears as he pulled the woman he loved onto his lap and kissed her so passionately that she was surprised that the bed didn't catch on fire from the heat they produced. When they broke the kiss, she laid her head into her favorite spot on his shoulder that seemed made for her.
"Are you glad?"
"I can't even tell you how much, Tash. God, I love you so much."
"I love you too."
It was early evening and the pair was curled together on the couch in the common area. Bruce was sitting in the middle with his feet propped on the coffee table. Natasha was laying down with her legs thrown across his lap and her head on the armrest. He was reading one of his ridiculously long and boring science books and she was reading Tolstoy. The original Russian version, of course. The doctor was absently running his hand up and down her calf. The pair heard her calling before they saw her and grinned at each other
Clint entered the common area carrying his and Phil's daughter, Rae. The archer set her down, and she made a bee line for Bruce. He picked her up and Tasha straightened up so that he could tuck the tiny girl in between them. Tasha leaned in to get a hug from Rae and the three year old petted her red hair. Her eyes met Bruce's and they shared a smile, both of them thinking of their secret. Bruce nuzzled the dark head
"Hey! It's the little miss. What's up, precious girl?
"Bed! Daddy says."
Rae gave Clint a dirty look over her shoulder and it was all Tasha could do not to break out laughing at the tiny girl's attempt at fierceness. Then she shook it off and said cheerfully
"Night Tash! Night Bruce! Love!"
Bruce kissed the child's right cheek as Tasha kissed the left. The couple said in unison
"Love you too."
Clint scooped his daughter back up and rolled his eyes at Natasha as he headed back out of the room. They heard her voice fading down the hall as she asked
Bruce ran his fingers down Tasha's cheek, neck, and arm then enfolded her hand in his
"I wouldn't mind if ours turns out half as good as that one."
"Me neither. She's as good as gold and twice as sweet as cake. Phil and Clint make it look so easy. I hope I do half as good a job as they do."
Bruce placed butterfly kisses on the tips of her fingers
"You're going to be a wonderful mother, Tash."
She gave him the soft smile that was reserved for him alone
"And you're going to be the best father."
"I hope so. Natasha?"
She had closed her eyes, resting her head on his chest
"I love you. You know that, right?"
"Yes. I love you too. Always."
He had stealthily worked the ring out of the pocket that he had hidden it in. He idly picked up her hand again and asked
"Do me a favor?"
"Of course. You know I'd do anything for you."
His lips turned up a little ruefully
"Don't agree until you hear what it is."
She opened her eyes and quirked an eyebrow at him
"Okay, I'm officially curious now. Go on."
He traced the outline of her hand. One of the deadliest people in the world and she was all his. He was one of the few who got to see her gentler side.
She looked at him in complete shock as he slid the ring on her finger. For the first time in her life, the Black Widow-the most feared woman in the world, was speechless. She dropped her gaze down to the ring. It was platinum with emeralds (for Bruce) and rubies (for her) set into the band. It was perfect. She let a tear slip down her cheek.
"Yes, yes I'll marry you. Right now if you want."
A relieved smile broke across his face and he kissed her, perfectly happy in that moment.
They were settled in and watching a movie when Steve asked Clint the question.
"Are you glad that you decided to give having a family a chance?"
Tasha couldn't help but straighten a little in Bruce's lap. As Clint told how much Phil and Rae had changed his life, Natasha started choking up. She felt the tears slip down her cheeks and wiped them away impatiently. She looked up at her fiancée with the question in her eyes. He nodded slightly. She drew in a deep breath, trying to gather her courage.
"I need to tell you guys something since you are the only family that I have left. Rae is going to have someone to play with sometime around Easter."
The room went dead silent as the others stared at her. Then chaos reigned when they figured out what she was talking about. Tony scrambled off of Steve and picked Nat up in a bear hug. When he released her, it was only to snatch Bruce for the same treatment. Steve kissed Tasha on the cheek and shook Bruce's hand. Thor slapped Bruce on the back, nearly sending the smaller man into the floor. The demi-god kissed Tasha's hand. Jane hugged both of them. Clint kissed Tasha smack on the mouth and hugged Bruce hard. Phil cradled Natasha's face in his hands and gently kissed her forehead. The handler kept ahold of her when he took Bruce's hand.
"Congratulations, Natasha. And you too, Bruce."
The couple hugged the older agent. When they let him go, he wrapped his arm around his husband and he kissed him lightly. Thor wrapped a massive arm around his petite Lady Jane and pressed kiss to her temple. Tony tucked himself back into Steve's arms and lifted pleading brown eyes to the super soldier's brilliant blue.
"It's Nat and Bruce's night."
The genius sighed in defeat. He muttered rebelliously
"I know. But it won't be tomorrow."
Steve rolled his eyes and tilted the brunette billionaire's chin up and caught his lips in a tender kiss
"Then we'll finish that discussion then, hmm?"
Tony nodded happily and tilted his head towards Bruce
"I call being godfather!"
The reply came from all corners of the room
"Shut up, Tony!"
A/N2- Hope ya'll enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed writing it. I have to say this one was one of the easiest to write, so that makes it pretty special to me. Or maybe I'm just crazy, which is a distinct possiblity. Forgive me, if there are any mistakes in here as it's 3:30 am and I'm pretty much exsausted. Review, pretty please? Reviews make great Christmas presents!