WHOA! This took forever to post… Soooooo, how about we skip the part where you all angrily throw rocks at me and you just enjoy the chapter, okay?
Chapter 6-Christmas Eve
"So, when do you think you'll propose?" Tony asked.
"I don't know." Clint sighed.
"How are you going to do it?" The billionaire pressed.
"I don't know." He repeated.
"Well you'd better figure it out." Tony huffed. "Take it from me, proposing is a big deal."
"That's because you made it a big deal." Clint rolled his eyes. "I'm pretty sure everyone in the entire country knew when and how you got engaged."
"Because it was important!" Tony exclaimed.
"Well, I don't plan on being that flashy." He told him.
"Whatever," Tony sounded like a teenage girl. "Just don't screw it up."
"Thanks for the confidence." Clint said sarcastically as the elevator dinged and Natasha and Pepper stepped out with Mara and shopping bags.
"Hey." Natasha greeted them. She set Mara down on the floor and wrapped her amrs around Clint, kissing him gently.
"How was the museum?" He asked when she pulled away.
"Excellent." Pepper smiled as Tony pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head.
"How are you feeling?" He asked, rubbing his hands over her swollen stomach.
"Just fine." Pepper replied appreciateively. "Although I'm not sure I can wait two more weeks."
"You think he might come early?" Natasha asked.
"There's no way to be sure, but if my instinct is right then yes, I think so." She told her.
"Well, the nursery is all set up. Just in case junior here tries to surprise us." Tony said.
"You two decide on a name yet?" Clint asked, lifting Mara up and pecking her on the cheek.
"We think so." Pepper grinned and grabbed Tony's hand.
"Well, what is it?" Natasha asked expectantly.
"It's a surprise." Tony said maliciously.
Clint and Natasha groaned simultaneously.
"That's not fair." Clint whined as Tony shot him an evil smile.
"Life's not fair." He said snarkily.
"Oh, stop acting like you're two years old." Pepper scolded, grabbing Tony's hand and pulling him towards the elevator. "I swear, Mara is more mature than you two."
"Ouch." Tony said, acting offended.
"Well, we're going to go have some dinner." Pepper said over her shoulder while they waited for the elevator. "We'll see you all tomorrow."
"Goodnight." Natasha waved to them as they stepped on to the elevator.
"Merry Christmas Eve Eve!" They heard Tony yell just before the doors shut.
Natasha laughed and ran her fingers down his arm.
"Have you eaten yet?" She asked.
"I had a little something." He told her, using his free hand to pull her into him. "Why?"
"Well, I was thinking we could maybe go to bed a little early tonight…" Natasha leaned over and pecked his cheek before moving away from him and heading towards the bedroom.
Clint glanced at Mara with a raised eyebrow.
"Time for you to go night night." He told her, swiftly carrying her to her nursery and dressing her in pajamas. By the time he'd tucked her in and made his way to his own room, Natasha was waiting for him dressed in a gorgeous black slip that complimented her body's curves perfectly.
"Hi." She said seductively when he entered the room.
Clint let out a low whistle.
"You look very sexy." He said softly, walking over to where she was standing and wrapping his arms around her waist.
Natasha blushed slightly and grabbed his face with her hands, pulling him down to her so she could kiss him. When they pulled away from each other Clint was breatheless.
"What brought all this on?" He asked, gesturing to her outfit.
She smiled mysteriously.
"Let's just say it's been three years for me."
"Three years?" Clint gaped.
"And you haven't…"
"Nope." Natasha laughed at the shocked look on his face.
"Well, that's going to have to change." He said as he lifted her into his arms. "Right now."
"I was hoping you'd say that." She smiled before kissing him again as he carried her to the bed.
Clint opened his eyes drowsily when he felt Natasha pull the covers away from him, causing goosebumps to form on his bare skin. He rolled on to his side and took in his girlfriend's (hopefully soon-to-be-fiancé) sleeping figure. She looked so beautiful when she slept.
Almost as if she could feel Clint staring at her, Natasha slowly opened her eyes. When she saw him laying next to her a smile lit up her face.
"Why are you staring at me?" She asked as he reached over and stroked her cheek.
"Just appreciating the fact that you didn't run out on me this time." He teased.
Natasha shot him a glare.
"Those were completely different circumstances." She defended herself.
"I'm just kidding." Clint chuckled, scooting over so that he could wrap his arms around her. She rested her head on his chest and began tracing the outline of his abs with her finger, closing her eyes as she did so. "You know," Clint murmured after a few minutes of silence. "For last night being your first time in three years, you were pretty amazing."
"Shut up." Natasha smacked his chest as her cheeks turned scarlett red.
"Just saying." He said innocently.
"Has Mara woken up yet?" She asked, glancing at the baby monitor.
"Not a peep." Clint smiled. "She slept the whole night."
"Well that's a first." Natasha sat up and swung her legs over the side of the bed and walked over to the bathroom door to retrieve her robe.
"Where you going?" He asked, watching as she wrapped herself in the robe and made her way towards the door.
"I'm going to go make some coffee. You want some?" Natasha asked over her shoulder.
"Coffee sounds good." Clint replied, getting out of bed himself in search of a pair of boxers. He heard the door close behind him as Natasha left and quickly finished changing. He walked over to his nightstand and opened the drawer and retrieved the small velvet box that contained the ring, smiling. After last night, there was no doubt in Clint's mind that he loved Natasha with all his heart and soul, and he was ready to let her know that. Today was the day. He could feel it.
Natasha poured herself a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table so she could watch the sun rise out the floor to ceiling windows. Sighing contently, she closed her eyes and began sipping the steaming drink out of her mug when she felt Clint's hands on her shoulders.
"Coffee's ready." She told him, standing up so she could pour him a cup.
"I can get it." He insisted, but she ignored him and poured him a cup anyways, as well as refreshed her own mug. When she returned to the table, Clint had sat down and was waiting for her to return.
"Here." She said, handing him his coffee.
"Thanks." He replied, taking the drink and setting it on the table before grabbing her hand and pulling her into his lap. Once she was settled, he wrapped one arm around her waist and hugged her to him. For a while they just sat there, watching the sunrise and drinking their coffee. It was really nice.
"Hey, Tasha?" Clint whispered in her ear. "There's something I wanted to ask you…"
Before he could finish what he was saying the elevator doors dinged open in the other room allowing Tony and Pepper to step out.
"Hellooo?" Tony called out.
"We're in here." Natasha called back. Moments later, the couple entered the kitchen.
"Good morning." Pepper greeted them.
"Merry Christmas Eve!" Tony said excitedly.
"Hey Tony." Natasha greeted him as he took a seat at the table.
"Are you guys excited for today?" He asked.
"Definitely!" Clint replied. "When's everyone getting here?"
"In a few hours." The billionaire informed them.
Natasha looked down at her current attire and realized that she was still wearing nothing but her robe.
"Well, I guess I should go get dressed then." She blushed.
Just then, a small voice called out from down the hall. Mara was awake.
"Here, let me get her." Pepper voulunteered. "You go get changed."
Natasha shot her a grateful look and ran off towards the bedroom to get dressed. After putting on a red long-sleeved shirt and a pair of dark skinny jeans, she returned to the living area where she found Pepper feeding Mara some Cheerios.
"You found her favorites I see." Natasha smiled and sat down next to her daughter.
Suddenly, a bright flash of light filled the room and a large thud was heard from above.
"Tony!" Pepper called to her husband in the other room. "I think Thor is here!"
"Really?" Tony suddenly came into view as he made a beeline for the elevator. "I swear, if he fried my solar panels again…"
"You'll do what? Kick his ass?" Clint asked sarcastically from the doorway of the kitchen.
"I'd like to see that." Natasha laughed.
"Yea, yea." Tony waved them off as the doors of the elevator closed and he rode his way up to the roof. Ten minutes later, the billionaire returned with Thor and Jane in tow.
"Ah, hello my friends!" Thor boomed as soon as he stepped off the elevator.
"Thor!" Pepper exclaimed, giving the god a hug. "You're early!"
"I told you we'd be early." Jane said knowingly.
"I'm sorry, I just couldn't wait to see my dear friends again!"
"Well, come on in! Have a seat!" Pepper pulled the couple towards the living area and sat them down on one of the couches.
"How are you feeling Pepper?" Jane asked with a curious glance at her stomach.
"Just fine." Pepper said enthusiastically.
"Mara! My little friend!" Thor exclaimed when he laid eyes on his adoptive niece.
Mara squealed happily when the thunder god lifted her from her highchair and began tossing her in the air.
"Careful." Natasha cautioned him. "She just ate."
"When will everyone else be here?" Jane asked.
"It shouldn't be long now." Pepper told her, glancing at her watch.
"Excuse me, Mrs. Stark? I believe that Mr. and Mrs. Rogers have arrived." JARVIS suddenly informed them.
"Thank you JARVIS. Please, send them up." Pepper said.
A few minutes later, Steve and Sharon stepped out of the elevator.
"Hey guys." Steve said enthusiastically.
"Captain!" Thor greeted him. "It is good to see you!"
"It's good to see you too."
"Tony, where is Bruce? He lives in the building for crying out loud. He should have been the first one here!" Pepper said as the elevator doors opened again.
"Relax, Pepper, I'm here. I just got caught up in some work." Bruce explained as he stepped off the elevator.
"It's a good thing you came when you did." Tony whispered to him when he joined the rest of the group. "She was about to hunt you down."
"I heard that!" Pepper said with a glare in her husband's direction.
While all this was going on, Clint had snuck over to Natasha's side and wrapped an arm around her waist.
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" He whispered in her ear. "Alone."
"Of course." She replied before he grabbed her hand and began to discreetly lead her from the room.
"Hey!" Pepper suddenly shouted in their direction. "Where do you two think you're going?"
"Oh, uh…we were just…" Clint stuttered.
"You can't just leave!" She exclaimed. "Everyone just got here!"
"Pep, we were going to come back." Natasha assured her.
"Yeah, we were just going to talk." He said quickly.
"Mhm. 'Talk.'" Pepper nodded, putting air quotes around the last word.
"Pepper!" Natasha gasped at what she was implying.
"What? Isn't that what everyone means when they say they're going to talk?" The pregnant woman shrugged.
"That's what we always mean by it." Tony chimed in.
"Well, that's not what we meant." Clint sighed, rubbing his face in embarrassment.
"Just get your butts back over here." Pepper ordered. "Now."
"We'll only be a second." He promised.
"Clint, I am a very horomonal, pregnant lady. Do not argue with me."
"I'd listen to her if I were you." Tony warned them.
"Okay, okay, we're coming." Natasha finally agreed before turning back and whispering to Clint. "We can talk later."
She couldn't help but notice the disappointment that colored his eyes when she began to drag him back towards the others. However, it was soon forgotten when she sat down and began talking with the other girls while the guys stood around drinking Pepper's 'special' eggnog and laughing loudly about God knows what. All the while, Mara was playing with her favorite toys on the floor, completely oblivious to everything that was happening around her.
"Everyone!" Pepper got everyone's attention after a few hours had passed. "We have lunch waiting upstairs if anyone is hungry."
"Huzzah!" Thor exclaimed before making a mad dash for the elevator.
"What he said!" Tony said in agrrement as the rest of the group shifted in the same direction.
Natasha lifted Mara off the floor and grabbed Clint's hand as they waited for the elevator, excited for what the rest of the day would bring.
Later that evening…
Clint scooped his sleeping daughter off of Tony and Pepper's couch and cradled her in his arms as Natasha said her goodnight's to their friends.
"You sure you guys don't want to stay a while longer?" Pepper asked.
"No, we need to put Mara down, and honestly, I'm pretty tired." She told her.
"Okay, well goodnight then." Pepper waved them off. "We'll see you in the morning."
"Goodnight." Clint whispered to everyone over his shoulder.
"'Night." Steve, Sharon, Bruce, Thor, Jane, Tony, and Pepper whispered back.
Clint quietly joined Natasha by the elevator, following her inside when it arrived. With one final wave from the couple to their friends, the doors slid closed and they rode back down to their floor in silence. As soon as they stepped out into the living area, they headed straight for the nursery to put Mara to bed.
"You got her?" Natasha asked softly.
"Yep." He assured her.
"Okay, well I'm going to go get ready for bed." She told him, peking his cheek before making her way towards the door.
"Nat, wait." He called after her as he carefully laid Mara in her crib.
"Hm?" She spun around to face him.
"We, uh, never got a chance to talk earlier." Clint reminded her as he tiptoed from the room and pulled Natasha with him.
"Oh, right. I totally forgot." She said with sudden realization. "What did you want to talk about?"
"Come on." He gestured for her to follow him, leading her into the living room and towards the massive floor to ceiling windows that overlooked Manhattan.
"The city looks amazing." She sighed.
"Yeah." Clint agreed, nervously taking her hand in his. He used his other hand and reached into his pocket to retrieve the black velvet box that had been there all day.
"Are you okay? You seem jumpy." Natasha observed.
"I'm not jumpy." He said a little too quickly.
"Why are you lying to me?" She asked, taking his face in her hands and making him look at her.
"Nothing is wrong, I promise." He assured her once more as he grabbed her hands and pulled them away from his face. "I just want to tell you something."
"Tell me what?"
"If you stop asking questions you'll find out."
She zipped the invisible zipper on her lips and looked at him expectantly.
"Okay," He thought to himself. "This is it."
"Natasha, we've had our ups and downs. Emphasis on the downs. And I knew that when I saw you at my prisinct earlier this year that, despite what happened between us, I wouldn't be able to let you walk out of my life again." Clint began. "I love you, and I love Mara more than anything else in the entire world, and I think that it's time that I prove it to you."
Slowly, he knelt down on his knee and produced the ringbox, watching Natasha's eyes widen in shock when he opened it to reveal the ring.
"Natalia Alianovna Romanova," He spoke her full Russian name. "Will you marry me?"
She stood there, staring at him with bulging eyes and her hand over her mouth, completely unresponsive.
"Uh, Tasha?" He said softly. "I think you may have forgotten to unzip your lips…"
"Oh!" She suddenly exhaled sharply like she hadn't breathed at all in the past five minutes.
"So, what do you say?" Clint nodded to the ring that was still resting in his outstretched hand.
"Yes!" Natasha exclaimed breathlessly before throwing her arms around him. "Did you really need to ask?"
"I thought it was customary." He shrugged as a huge grin spread across his face. When they moved away from eachother, he removed the ring from its box and slid it onto her left ring finger, watching as she admired it in the dim light of the living room.
"It's so beautiful." She gasped.
"Well then it fits you perfectly." He told her as he leaned in and kissed her.
"I love you so much." Natasha murmured against his lips.
"I love you too." Clint replied, holding her close to him as the clock struck twelve and their first Christmas as a family began.
1,000,000,000,000,000 apologies for the uber long delay. As some of you may know I got caught up in a different story and kinda forgot about this one, which was something I swore I'd never do! I feel soooooo bad…please don't hate me. The next chapter will be ups soon, I promise! It's gonna be full of surprises and happy, fluffy goodness I promise! Until then, TTFN!