It’s a typical Wednesday morning sparring session, no different from any other. At first, when Natasha backs away looking shaky, Clint is wary that she’s feigning dizziness to catch him off his guard. But when she signals a halt to practice, he knows she’s not, so he suggests they get Banner to check her over.
She doesn’t protest and she pauses in the hallway…when she leans against a wall, swallowing like she’s going to be sick, he’s ready to drag Bruce down from his lab on the spot. But after a moment, she straightens up and they continue to the elevator.
“It’s probably nothing,” she says to him. “Probably just a bug. Don’t worry about me. Go back to your workout, I’ll be fine.”
Natasha doesn’t get sick often, and on the rare occasions she does, she shakes it off fast—36 hours is the longest he’s ever seen her down with anything short of GSWs or broken bones, so Clint leaves her to Bruce’s ministrations and heads back down to the gym.
For the first hour, he expects her to come bouncing back in, saying it was low blood sugar, or a touch of dehydration or something like that. But as an hour crawls into a second hour, he starts to worry. What if it’s something really bad? Cancer. A brain tumor. Ebola. The idea of Natasha not being in his life is like contemplating losing a part of himself.
It isn’t that he’s never lost anyone. His parents, when he was a kid. His brother Barney…he still misses Barney, even though they had ended bad. It gives Clint an odd feeling to realize that he’s older than his big brother will ever be. He got a fortune cookie once that said Do not regret growing old: It is a privilege denied to many. which made him think of his brother. But not Tasha, please, God, not his Tasha.
Finally, he hits the showers and heads upstairs, unable to wait any longer. He’s in the elevator when his phone buzzes, displaying ‘Bruce Banner’ as the caller. “I’m on my way,” he says without waiting for a greeting.
When he walks into the lab, he knows right away it’s bad. Natasha’s sitting down, arms wrapped around herself, wearing a brittle expression he doesn’t recognize. Banner looks like he wants very much to be somewhere else.
“Tell him!” Natasha snaps.
Clint braces himself. “Tell me what?”
“Apparently…” Bruce hesitates then blurts. “Natasha is pregnant.”
Clint’s so relieved it isn’t a brain tumor that it takes a moment for him to absorb the words. He looks at his partner in astonishment.
“I’ll just go take care of…stuff,” Bruce says and disappears through the far door.
“This is supposed to be impossible!” she says, her voice an octave higher than its usual throaty purr, which makes him finally realize that her unfamiliar expression is panic. No wonder Bruce practically teleported out of there: For a guy who’s supposed to avoid stress, the prospect of Natasha having hysterics would be frightening. Hell, that’s probably enough to scare The Other Guy….
He takes a deep breath, trying to think, trying above all not to say the wrong thing. Probably "At least it’s not Ebola!" would be the wrong thing.
“Impossible,” he repeats, and sighs. Clint’s definition of ‘impossible’ isn’t what it used to be. “Honeybunch, we hang out with a guy who was frozen in the ice for 70 years and a demigod from another dimension. Your doctor turns into a three-ton green monster when he has a bad day. We saved the Earth from a whacked-out demigod and aliens—I’m sorry, but after that, a lady who thought she couldn’t get pregnant getting pregnant? That shit happens every day.”
Natasha stares at Clint for a minute, then speaks slowly as if he’s an idiot—nothing new there, sometimes he’s not the most tactful guy. “What if that means my Infinity serum is wearing off? I’ll get old and die or lose my edge and get killed!”
Do not regret growing old— Not a good time for fortune cookie platitudes. “Did Bruce say that?”
“No…but I’m not supposed to be able to get pregnant!”
“Look, I’m no scientist, but from what you’ve told me, I get the impression they didn’t exactly do long-term drug trials on that stuff. Maybe it’s not that you can’t get pregnant, maybe it’s just so rare they didn’t document it. Maybe you only ovulate every thirty years or so, and we just happened to—“ He hesitates...the phrases that come to mind like “got lucky” or “hit the jackpot” would definitely be the wrong thing to say. Opts for a redirect. “Aren’t those tests subject to error? Maybe it was a false positive.”
“I made him do it three times. And it was positive all three times.”
“Okay, but have you ever had a pregnancy test before?”
“Of course not,” Natasha snarls, “because I can’t get pregnant.”
“I understand that,” Clint says, doing his best to be soothing, “but that means you don’t know if your tests would always show a positive result, whether you’re pregnant or not.”
Some of her agitation subsides. “That’s true,” she admits. “But what if I am? What am I going to do?”
He has a little pang that she didn’t ask, “What are we going to do?” because they’re partners, in this especially. He stays calm, because she’s upset enough for both of them. “Right now, I think lunch would be a good idea. You can’t expect to think straight if your blood sugar is down around your ankles.”
Natasha blinks, then nods. “I am hungry,” she agrees, rising from the chair with her usual grace.
Clint gives her a gentle hug and leaves his arm around her waist, feeling protective as he steers her toward the elevator. “Okay then. Let’s go get some lunch.” He’s just thinking he should see that she has something with lots of calcium and protein when she pokes him hard in the ribs.
“If you make any cracks about me eating for two, I’m going to feed you your balls,” she warns him.
“No, ma’am, wouldn’t dream of it,” he assures her.
Privately, there’s a part of Clint that's thrilled by the prospect of their child. He’s not going to tell Natasha that unless she asks, but if it’s true and if it comes to fruition and if it’s a son…he’s going to lobby very strongly to name him Barney.
From a prompt: http://comment-fic.livejournal.com/
Cross-posted at: http://archiveofourown.org/works/