Chapter 13 - Back to the Barton's

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-Early September, 2017-

"As nice as it was for Pepper to offer to have the shower at the tower or the compound, I have to admit, I'm glad Laura's hosting. I'm getting pretty uncomfortable," Natasha confessed. "The swollen ankles are getting to me," she laughed.

Steve reached over to lace his fingers with hers while keeping one hand on the steering wheel. "Well, they're the most beautiful swollen ankles I've ever seen." He brought her hand up to his mouth to kiss it gently.

"You're a sweet, terrible liar," she smiled. "But I love you."

"Love you, too," Steve said as he turned into the Barton's driveway. "You need anything today, you just shoot me the look - doesn't matter where you are, I'll come over."

After Steve parked the truck, he helped Natasha out of the passenger seat. They stood in the driveway for a second as Steve gazed off. "What is it?" Natasha asked, looking up at his face.

"Right there," he pointed a few feet away. "That's where I kissed you when I dropped you off after our first date. That's a good spot," he smiled. "And look at us now."

"I know... responsible, mature adults... about to be parents," she said.

"Come on, Mrs. Rogers, let's go see who's here already," he said as they walked towards the house.

Bucky and Sam appeared just inside the screen door and Bucky reached his arm out to hold it open. "If it isn't Mr. and Mrs. Rogers," he smiled, holding a drink in his other hand.

Natasha stopped and put her hand on her stomach. "I think baby likes you, Buck," she said. "Give me your hand." She put Bucky's hand on her stomach so he could feel the movement. "Sam, you want to feel?"

Sam looked sheepish but put his hand out. "Wow, that's amazing," he said, looking at Natasha and Steve. "I can't wait to meet this little one," he said.

"Me first though," Bucky laughed, giving Sam a playful punch in the arm.

Natasha looked back at Steve, "I can already see all the bad things this baby's uncles are going to teach it."

"I promise, we'll be good," Bucky smiled at her and leaned in to give her a hello kiss.

"You look great, baby," Sam said to her as he let her step inside the house more.

Laura came out from the kitchen with her arms wide open, "There's my favorite pregnant lady!"

"Hey Nat... Steve," Clint said, following behind her, carrying Nathaniel. Nathaniel reached out for Natasha to pick him up. "Oh, no, buddy, you're too heavy - you'll smoosh the baby," Clint laughed. He stepped closer to Natasha. "Give Auntie Nat a kiss though." Nathaniel kissed Natasha's cheek and then pulled back shyly.

"Thanks, buddy," Natasha said. "I've missed you!"

Laura got close to Natasha's belly. "Hey there, little person. Are you being nice to your mommy?" She stood up and looked at Natasha, putting a gentle hand on her arm. "I hate to tell you this, but I don't think you're making it until October 25th. This is a big baby and you're not that tall." Laura took Natasha to the living room to sit down. Soon, they heard a helicopter and that meant Tony and Pepper had arrived. They brought Maria, Vision, and Wanda with them. Nick Fury arrived not long after. There was a lot of catching up and laughter.

"I like all the pink, blue, and yellow, Laura," Maria said.

"Oh yeah, well... Steve and Nat didn't find out the sex of the baby so..." Laura said. "No one knows so..."

"Actually, I know," Wanda laughed. She shrugged at Natasha and Steve. "Don't worry, I will not say a word!"

After Steve and Natasha opened gifts, the gang was sitting around talking and eating when Tony stood up from his spot sitting on the arm of the couch. He raised his glass. "I'd like to say something to the happy couple while we're all here..."

The room quieted quickly as they all turned their attention to Tony. Steve and Natasha sat in chairs next to each other and he was leaned over enough to rub her hand in his. Steve nodded to Tony.

"I'd just like to say how pleased we all are to be welcoming a new little person into our... madness," he chuckled. "So thanks for giving that to us," he said to Steve and Natasha. "I know I speak for all of us when I say that we will do anything to protect this baby," he turned his head to the side and spoke out of the side of his mouth, "because clearly you two know nothing about protection, which is why we're here today..." Pepper swatted at him from her seat on the couch. "But seriously, even though it's been a rocky path the last couple of years, we'd do anything to keep this baby out of harm's way."

"Here here," Clint echoed and the rest of the team raised their glasses.

"To Baby Rogers," Sam added.


That night, in the darkness, Natasha sat in the passenger seat of Steve's truck gazing at him with only the dashboard light glowing on his face.

"Hi, there," Steve said with a smile. "You look happy."

"Yeah," she said softly. "That was a nice day. It was nice to have everyone together."

"Babies do seem to bring people together... I feel like maybe things might be different with Tony now," he said, as if he was thinking out loud.

"I think you're right," she said.

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