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When the daddies are away, Natasha will play

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Natasha was very upset.

Her daddies weren’t around and Clint was snoring softly so she was alone in her upset and she hated feeling alone.

Normally, she would be okay with dealing with it, since everyone was alone from time to time and she knew that, she was a big girl. But she'd woken up pretty small. And Natty hated to be alone even more than big Natasha did.

She rolled over in bed, whining softly under her breath, hiccuping weakly as she rubbed her hands over her eyes to clear them of both sleep and budding tears.

Stop it, silly baby. There’s no reason to cry, you’re not really alone, so stop being a stupid-head and calm down!

"Daddy?" She whispered, blinking in the soft light of the room, coming from the little chink in the curtains from where she hadn’t closed them properly the night before.

She had gone to sleep the previous night in her own room, with Clint beside her, after a very busy day training. She’d been so tired that she hadn’t even dropped at all, just collapsed on the bed after somehow getting herself out of her day clothes.

Her daddies were usually up by now, coming around the rooms of those who had dropped to check on them, and she grew more anxious at their disappearance.

What if they’re gone forever? What if they don’t want me anymore?

She anxiously stood up from the bed, freezing on the spot when she noticed the uncomfortable, icky sensation that told her she had had an accident sometime during the night.

Oh no! That’s not good. They’re gonna be so mad, you didn’t wear your night pants and now you messed up more!

She sniffled, arms wrapped around herself as she tried to filter through the nasty feeling in her stomach and the pins and needles creeping up her body. That was when looked over at the bedside table, seeing a pink post it note settled there, propped up by the alarm clock.

She reached for it, still hiccuping softly in her attempt to stifle the tears building.

"Nat and Clint, Bucky and I were called to Shield. Don't worry, we'll be back soon. Love, Steve"

Gone.

Her daddy's wording showed he didn't know he'd be leaving behind a little, ‘cause he’d not used any special names that made Natasha’s tummy go all warm and fuzzy, just Nat.

Gonna be gone all day.

Natasha whined again, fists rubbing against her eyes as she tried not to cry, the post it note dropping to the floor as she agonized over what to do.

She had to change the bed and herself without letting anyone know about her accident, because she’d be in trouble and then no one would want to take care of the gross baby who messed everything up.

But she couldn’t clean the bed because Clint was still asleep under the covers.

She stood by the door, shifting from foot to foot as she tried to decide.

Can’t pull the covers up without wakin’ him up. You can’t do it on your own, you’re just a stupid baby.

Eventually, still sniffling, she moved to Clint's side of the bed, more than a little reluctant.

"Clinty." She whispered, touching his shoulder and shaking lightly.

"Wha'?" Clint's head poked out from under the covers. "Natty?"

"Sorry." She whimpered, lower lip trembling.

Instantly Clint was sitting up, rubbing sleep from his eyes. "Natty, what's wrong sweetheart?" He asked softly.

"Daddy a...an' papa are gone." She whispered, pointing dejectedly at the discarded post it note. "And I woke up an' the bed was wet. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I was tired an’ I didn’t put my pants on an’ I messed everythin’ up." A few tears rolled down her cheeks, finally free after being pushed back all morning.

Clint pulled back the covers and swung his legs over the side of the bed, eyes soft and expression holding no anger whatsoever.  "Come here, baby." He murmured, holding out his arms.

"'M wet and nasty." She mumbled, hastily wiping her flushed cheeks, shuffling on the spot.

"I don't care." Clint shook his head. "You're my family, now come give me a hug?" He left the choice up to her, never willing to actually demand she do anything she didn’t want to do. Some caregivers had rules and the kids had to follow but for the most time, they offered suggestions or asked questions and if the kid didn’t want to, then they didn’t want to.

In a few seconds, Natasha was barreling into his arms, crying softly with ragged, hiccuping breaths interrupting every once in a while.

Clint tightened his arms around her, pressing little kisses to her hair and temples as he swayed them, knowing Natasha liked the feeling of being rocked. "I'm sorry you woke up like that, baby, but accidents happen." He hummed, stroking her hair. "You're okay."

"Sorry." She sniffled, the shoulder of his sleep shirt wet as she continued to hide her face against his shoulder.

"I know, sweetheart, but there is no reason to be, Talia, it was just an accident." Clint said softly, pulling back a little so he could cup the girls face. “Accidents happen to everyone, baby, okay? No one is ever gonna be mad at you for an accident. And no, you’re not stupid or silly, I know what goes on in that little head of yours.”

Natasha flushed, clearly her daddy could now read minds too and had heard her being mean to herself. “Okay.” She breathed, inhaling slowly and nodding. “Not stupid.”

Clint nodded along with her. “Never ever stupid.”

Ten minutes of cuddles and kisses later and Natasha was ready to get cleaned up.

"Into the bath for my baby, hmm?" Clint murmured softly to his little girl, lifting her and placing her on his hip as he walked to the en-suite bathroom.

"Jarvis, is there anyone else I need to be taking care of right now?" He asked as leaned over and put the plug in the bottom of the bath,  turning on the taps to start filling the tub with water.

"Not that I can determine. Sir and Master Bruce are in the kitchen and seem to be in adult headspace." Came the reply from above.

"Hear that, Natty?” Clint cooed, “you have all my attention." He pressed the tip of his finger to her nose, grinning as she giggled and batted at his hand, not actually put out at the attention. She was loving it. She hadn’t had time with Daddy on their own for ages!.

"There we go, that's something I love to see." He hummed, smiling as a flush crept over Natasha's cheeks.

Clint quickly went around, filling the tub with Natasha’s favourite colourful bubbles (red of course), her toys and for good measure, some from his box too, and then her bath time staple (rainbow bath crayons) were laid out on the rim, ready for her to draw across the white tiles.

He set Natasha down on her feet, making sure she was steady before carefully peeling off Natasha's damp clothes, throwing them in the wash basket to deal with later. He took her hand in one of his, since she was a little shaky, testing the water with his other. Deeming it an acceptable temperature (hot but not too hot), he lifted Natasha up. “Okay, baby, in three…two…one.” He gently lowered the girl into the bubbles, murmuring soft words of encouragement. Natasha wasn’t the biggest fan of water, and having her panic in the tub could turn into an absolute nightmare for the little girl.

“There we go,” he cooed as he got her settled on her behind, calloused fingers running through her hair, “such a good girl, you’re doing so good, Natty.”

Natasha looked up at him, expression both forlorn at her having to have a bath, and pleased at Clint’s praise.

“We’ll get this done quickly, hmm, Princess?” The archer hummed to her as he lathered up a washcloth with her favourite strawberry milk body wash. “Then we can have a nice day together.”

Natasha still looked a little like a kicked puppy but she nodded and reached for a toy boat, very tentatively starting to play; crashing the boat in and out of the water.

Whilst she was occupied, Clint made quick work of washing up and down her body, making sure she was completely clean so she wouldn’t feel uncomfortable or get a rash from her accident. He wrung the cloth out and threw it, with perfect accuracy, into the wash basket.

“Okay baby,” Clint murmured, “let’s get this over with. We’re gonna wash your hair next, so close your eyes and put your hands up, yeah?” He doubted any pee had gotten into her hair but whilst he had her in the bath, it was best to wash her hair and get it all done in one go so they wouldn’t have to do it later.

Natasha dropped the boat she’d been playing with, holding her hands up to cover her eyes. Clint was very careful to never ever got any water or soap in her eyes, but it made the girl feel a little better to also be in control of stopping anything like that happening.

He quickly wet her hair with the hand held shower head, having her tilt her head back a little so there was even less chance of anything going in her eyes. Placing the shower head down for a moment, he lathered her strawberry shampoo into her hair, humming softly but loud enough for her to hear. She liked the humming, liked singing too, she could focus on that instead of the sensations of the water. “Nearly done, Princess, just got to wash it out now.” It was also good for the redhead to know everything that was going to happen before it happened. Especially because her eyes were closed and covered and she was completely trusting him to look after her.

Clint rinsed out the shampoo in record time, rubbing at her forehead and hairline with a towel to get rid of any excess soap and water. “And you can open your eyes.” Clint leaned in and pressed a sneaky kiss to her temple as the girl slowly lowered her hands.

“Done?” She asked softly, reaching up to touch the top of her head, as if to double check.

“Done.” Clint assured, rubbing his thumb over her cheek. “Why don’t you carry on playing a little? Daddy’s just got to clean up himself.”

It had dawned on him that he might have rolled over in the pee during the night so he very quickly stripped to his boxers. He used a clean cloth to quickly wipe himself down, keeping an eye on Natty as he did so, just in case anything went awry. The tub was big, and he wasn’t taking any chances. If she slipped under the water, or splashed too hard and water got on her face, things could go wrong very quickly.

During Clint’s quick clean up, Natasha happily splashed around, her tears from earlier all gone.

The archer couldn't help but smile. It had been a while since he'd been a proper caregiver to Natasha, not just big brother, since her headspace tended to trigger his own. It was usually something along the lines of ‘aw Natty is playing, and now I wanna play’. Until Natasha came into his life, he’d never once considered being a switch. And he wasn’t, in the traditional sense anyways. He was somewhere around 85 percent little and 15 percent caregiver. And he wasn’t a natural at caregiving, not like Phil or Nick. He had to know the little quite well, couldn’t just look after random agents or anything without dropping himself. However, he'd been at home for the last week and had dropped quite a lot, whereas Natasha had been at Shield training for pretty much the whole time, and hadn’t been able to drop. Phil and Nick had been away with Melinda, and Maria had been just as busy as Natasha so despite the redheads’ best attempts at stopping that certain behaviour, she had pushed Natty away. Sure, she could have gone to the daycare, but she wasn’t quite at that stage yet. Dropping in front of someone was a big thing, a very big thing, and she stubbornly refused to do it in front of anyone she didn’t trust. Dropping with Bobbi Morse could have been fun, but she was wasn't Natasha's designated big at Shield so protocol dictated she would have to go to the daycare, and…not happening.

Because Clint had had quite a lot of little time, he wasn't really anywhere near headspace. Natasha hadn't been little for over a week though, so her drop wasn't out of the blue. Littles usually dropped at least once a week, probably more, and pushing that back often lead to a big, sudden drop. Not only that, but for some reason the youngest littles tended to need a little more time. More time was fine by Clint.

The archer knelt back by the tub after getting himself clean, and they both played with the boats and various plastic sea animals floating along the water. When the bubbles faded and Natasha looked a little bored, Clint lifted her out, settling her on the fluffy bathmat. He quickly reached back to pull the plug from the tub, before facing Natasha.

“Okay then, Princess, we’ll get you all dry, nice and quick.”  Clint hummed, wrapping her up in a massive soft towel. “Just hold this closed for a second and I’ll make sure your hair isn’t dripping.” Clint placed her hand over where the towel joined at her neck and she carefully held it closed. Whilst she did that, Clint carefully rubbed another towel over her hair, making sure that it wasn’t dripping all over her shoulders because that was no fun.

“And up we go.” Clint murmured, picking Natasha up, being extra careful to keep the towel around her. He settled her on his hip, rubbing up and down her back as he walked through to the bedroom, lowering her onto the bottom of the bed. He walked over to the wardrobe, opening the double doors and stepping to the side so she could see inside and look over her clothes to pick something out for the day. Everything she chose was always the freaking cutest.

Natasha didn’t take too long to pick, pointing at different items. Definitely adorable.

Clint got Natty over to the changing station, laying her down and tickling her tummy as he got the things ready. He made quick work of powdering her up and getting a diaper secured around her, making the whole thing easier by peppering kisses to all her ticklish spots, making her squeal and giggle. “Up we come,” He helped her hop off the changing table, taking her hand.

Clint knelt and Natasha steadied herself by placing her hands around Clint’s neck. One foot at a time, he got her red woolen tights on, sliding them up over the diaper before gently maneuvering Natty’s arms and head through the holes of the matching red sweater.

“Nearly done, Moya Zvezda.” Clint hummed, pressing a kiss to her forehead as he grabbed the last item of clothing. Once her legs were through the holes of the denim shortalls, he attached the straps around her shoulders and stood back up. “Look at you!” he cooed, brushing a thumb over her cheek. “You look so cute. Here, you go sit over at the desk and I’ll be right there.”

A flush rose over Natasha’s cheeks at the compliment and she dutifully traipsed over to the desk, hopping onto the seat.

Clint took a pair of jeans and a tee from his side of the ‘big’ wardrobe, completely separate to the ‘little’ wardrobe, and much less fun. He got himself dressed quickly before gathering the sheets from the bed, shoving it into the laundry basket and carrying the whole thing over to the door so he’d remember to take it out and actually do it.

He walked over to Natasha, taking her hairbrush from the desk. Standing behind her, he carefully pulled the brush through her damp hair. She didn't like to blow dry it so he left it as it was (it was always towel dried enough that she wouldn't get sick or be uncomfortable). She loved to have her hair brushed so Clint took his time with it, working long after the knots disappeared. Once her hair was silky and soft, he ran his fingers through it a couple of times and pressed a kiss to her temple.

Natasha beamed up at Clint, not needing to say anything for the archer to understand that she was grateful. He kissed the tip of her nose, earning a soft giggle from the girl.

“What now, Princess?” He held out a little chest, opening the top to reveal a mountain of various hair accessories all shoved into it. They really needed to get a bigger box.

Natasha hummed softly, sticking her tongue out a little as she scanned the items, picking some up and dropping them, digging right to the bottom. She chose a couple of hair clips; one with a bee on top and one with a cloud on top. Clint secured them carefully to the sides of her hair, twisting a little hair from the front underneath it. He’d gotten very good at doing pretty hair. Tony loved hairclips and would have up to about ten in his hair at all times if allowed, especially since he was letting it grow out a little. Even Bucky liked to have his hair done and don’t ever suggest playing hairdressers with Thor, that could last for hours.

Clint placed the items back on the desk and smiled down at his little girl. "Now, how about some breakfast? Then we can watch some tv or play, whatever you want, sweetheart."

"Play?" Natasha asked softly, big puppy eyes looking up.

Damn how am I ever supposed to say no to that little face.

"Of course, baby.” Clint hummed, offering his hand to her, “How about we pack your bag with stuff so we don't have to come back?" he suggested.

"'Kay!" Natasha squirmed with excitement, grabbing onto his hand and hopping to her feet. Immediately she was moving around the room to collect her stuff. She chose both BunBun and Marshmallow, a Disney princess Jigsaw puzzle, a good selection of colouring books and her fancy pencils and crayons (she’d been watching Steve draw one night and had asked to see his pencils, the next afternoon he’d gave her a wrapped package, a brand new set of colorful pencils inside.) Since she was the only little at the moment, she left her group games where they were.

Clint grabbed two pacifiers, her soft yellow baby blanket and a couple of her favourite books for her nap later on. He was worried she was still not feeling so good after the morning, so it was important she had all of her favourite, familiar and most comfortable items. They had a couple of changing rooms around the tower, so he didn't need to take any baby powder or diapers and whatnot.

"Hold my hand or carried?" Clint asked as he finished stuffing the backpack full of the chosen items, apart from BunBun of course, who was cradled in her hands. He slung the backpack over his shoulder and opened his arms, already sure of what the answer would be.

"Carry!" Natasha insisted, beaming and rubbing a soft white bunny ear against her cheek as Clint lifted her to his hip, getting her settled.

"You are the cutest." Clint murmured softly, bouncing her a little as he held her in one arm, picking up the laundry in the other. Thank God he was able to carry everything. He thanked whoever was listening for his stamina because he was no super soldier or god and lifting Natasha didn’t come quite as easy as it did to Bucky or Steve. Clint would hate it if he wasn’t able to lift his little girl.

After a quick walk, they were entering the kitchen, and he was met with two warm smiles.

"Morning guys." Bruce hummed, sliding a cup of coffee towards Clint with a wry smile.

"Morning. And thank you." Clint grinned, realizing that Jarvis must have told them about Natasha.

It was a little rare for only one of them to be little, but the others had also had quite a lot of time to drop during the past week.

"Hey little Red." Tony grinned, offering his hand to help the little climb down from Clint’s hip. She took his hand and Clint let her slide down.  

 "You wanna help an old man like me make pancakes?" Tony asked as he led the girl over to the kitchen counter, where he’d already gotten everything they could possibly need spread out ready.

"Yeah!" Natty beamed, clapping her hands in excitement. "If we can make blueberry ones." She quirked an eyebrow.

"Absolutely!" Tony chuckled at her little sassy stance. That girl had everyone wrapped around her finger. They both gathered the batter and moved over to the stove to start making breakfast. As Tony passed the pair, he pointed a glance at Bruce.

Clint stiffened a little at the look, raising an eyebrow, hands wrapped around his coffee mug. "What is it?"

"It's nothing to be worried about. We just didn't want to say in front of Natty." Bruce said quietly, glancing over to make sure the little girl was occupied. "Bucky and Steve were called into Shield for another of Buck's psych evals."

Clint sighed, shaking his head, rubbing at his forehead. "How many is that now? Four? Five? They cleared him for combat, they can't keep putting him through these." Shield had been Clint’s home for a long time and he agreed with a lot of the things they did, but this was pushing it. It was beyond ridiculous at this point and he was pretty sure that even Natasha had been capped at three evaluations.

"I agree." Bruce shook his head, looking upset. They all hated how Bucky got treated sometimes. He’d been clear of ‘The Soldier’ for almost two years but it seemed like no matter how many evaluations he passed, they still wouldn’t clear him for work. "Therapy is fair enough but these evals are unfair when he's already been cleared multiple times."

"I mean, I'm sure he'll pass. Again. But still." Clint sighed, feeling awful at the knowledge of what one of their family members would be going through right in that moment.

"Steve told me that Phil has been advocating for him,” Bucky murmured, “telling Shield that it's enough."

"Good," Clint muttered, a little warmth in his chest as he pictured Phil having a go at his very scary boss, who also just happened to be Phil's husband. "I'd chew him out if he was pushing it too."

They both looked over at Natasha and Tony, having a great time attempting to flip pancakes. Somehow, they’d avoided pancake batter getting everywhere and Tony was actually pretty good at landing them back in the pan.

"He'll need us when he gets back." Bruce said quietly, pulling his gaze from the pair.

"Of course.” Clint nodded.  “And Buck seems to feel better when we're around, little or big."

"And little Natasha gives the best cuddles." Bruce smiled softly, watching as the girl in question helped Tony scatter blueberries into the batter in the pan.

"We can have a sleepover in the main room, if anyone else drops that's okay." Clint said firmly, already planning the rest of the day. "As long as we take care of Buck too." Though he really didn’t need to say that, family took care of family, always.

They all had to go through psych evals, at least twice a year, and had all at some stage had to go through many in a short amount of time, but it was bordering on ridiculous now, this was the fifth in just as many months.

"Hey, Tasha." Bruce called over to her. "How do you feel about us making a nice dinner for everyone tonight?"

Natasha nodded enthusiastically, blueberry goo smeared around her mouth. "Yeah! What gon' make?"

"What do you think we should make?" Bruce hid a soft chuckle at the sight. It was obvious she’d just had a bath and already she was mucky.

Natasha pursed her lips, looking thoughtful before humming softly. "S'ghetti? Papa loves it." In fact, it was Bucky’s favourite meal of all time since it was the same recipe his mama used to make whenever they had the spare money for the ingredients.

Even little, she had clearly figured out that Bucky would need some extra love that day.

Bruce smiled softly. What a special little girl. "I think that sounds lovely. Great choice, baby."

Natasha beamed and turned back to the stove, hopping from foot to foot in excitement. Pancakes were the best!

Soon, breakfast was being plated up. The pancakes were all different shapes and thickness, and maybe just a little too crispy around the edges, but Tony had checked that they were thoroughly cooked and pancakes were pancakes at the end of the day. They were unique, just like their family and Natasha was clearly proud of them, eyes bright and cheeks flushed as Tony helped her carry the plates to the table.

Clint fixed the girl up a sippy cup of strawberry juice and made sure the others had tea or coffee before they sat down to eat. Natasha and Bruce had the blueberry ones and Tony had snuck some chocolate chips into a batch for him and Clint. Happily smearing her pancakes in syrup, Natasha tucked into her breakfast.

“Wow, Natty, these are so good!” Bruce exclaimed, making little exaggerated faces as he ate.

Natasha flushed softly, smiling sweetly at the compliment.

“Very very good,” Clint agreed, “thank you, babygirl.”

“Hey, where’s my thank you?” Tony asked, obviously teasing, sticking his tongue out and pretending to sulk.

Bruce laughed softly, rolling his eyes. “Thank you, Tone.”

It was a fairly calm breakfast, even without the daddies, and Natasha was excited for the rest of the day.

She loved her family.