Clint doesn't quite remember the events that lead up to him holding a dirty and screaming toddler version of Natasha that he wrapped in an emergency blanket. Nothing he or any of the other Avengers could coax a word out of her or calm her down. It wasn't really Clint's fault that he doesn't know how to interact with kids.
He holds the wet and wriggling Natasha away from his body as he walks onto the helicarrier, absolutely tired. The other Avengers trail tiredly behind.
"Aw, poor chica," A female pipes up and Clint turns towards the voice. "Do you mind if I hold them?"
Clint looks at the agent and identifies her from her badge as a level two SHIELD agent. She was 5'8 with black hair hanging around her shoulders and olive skin.
Clint decides to practically thrust Natasha into the woman's arms, at the end of his rope.
"Should you just give her away to--" Steve starts but Tony shushes him as Natasha starts to quiet down in the woman's arms.
"There you go chica," The agent softly shushes as she bounces Natasha gently. "It's alright."
Natasha grips onto the agent as he sobs turn to hiccuping whimpers.
"You're probably cold, huh?" She gently brushes Natasha's wild red hair out of her face. "All dirty and wet and in nothing but a blankie."
"Cold," Natasha echoes, surprising the Avengers who weren't even sure that she could talk.
The woman looks up at the Avengers. "Who does this chica belong to?"
"The only survivor of a casualty," Tony blurts out before anyone else can answer.
The woman nods. "You need to clean her up and get her something to drink."
"Uh," Steve flushes red. "Well, she's a girl and... we're all men."
"I see," The woman nods. "Would you like me to clean her up?"
All heads nod and the woman lets out a laugh. "In that case," She sticks out her hand. "I'm Lucia García, a twenty-two-year-old level SHIELD agent with three younger siblings."
The Avengers go around, introducing themselves.
"Let's meet in the canteen in a half hour. We'll be done by then," Lucia suggests.
They agree and Lucia carries Natasha towards her personal quarters.
What she wasn't aware of was that Natasha still had her adult mindset, struggling with the infantile side of her mind.
Lucia pulls out her phone and sends a quick text message before filling the sink in her bathroom since the helicarrier only had showers.
She tests the water before peeling the wet blanket from Natasha and gently setting her into the sink.
She was gentle and careful to not get any soap into Natasha's eyes. She finishes up as there is a knock at her door.
She pulls Natasha from the water with a towel and wraps her up as she answers the door.
Natasha doesn't recognize the other agent but she's holding a small bag.
"Just like you asked," The woman hands the bag to Lucia. "They may be a bit big."
"Thank you so much," Lucia carries Natasha to the bed and opens the bag.
She pulls out some infant clothing and a diaper.
Natasha dreaded having to wear a diaper but her bladder was weak and uncontrollable now.
Lucia expertly fastens the diaper on and slips Natasha into a set of the pajamas. "Sorry chica but Kathy has a little boy."
Natasha was dressed in a two-piece pajama set printed with trucks and a pair of blue socks. Natasha didn't really care, she was much warmer now.
"There," Lucia scoops Natasha back into her arms again. "Cómodo como un insecto en una alfombra." She coos. "Let's get some food into your belly."
Lucia carries Natasha to the canteen and gets a carton of milk and a straw and a banana.
She sits Natasha in her lap and opens the milk, slipping the straw in and helping Natasha sip from the carton.
She then mashes the banana in a bowl and spoonfeeds Natasha.
That is where the Avengers find them.
"Thank you so much," Clint swoops in to snatch Natasha off of Lucia's lap to bring her to Fury but the toddler howls when he grabs her.
"Que demonios!?" Lucia snaps and pulls Natasha from his hands. "You can't squeeze her like that. You'll hurt her."
Clint sighs and takes a look at the pair. Natasha had quieted down and looked content in Lucia's arms, thumb planted in her mouth as Lucia rocks her.
Clint then just sighs. "Could you just come with us then?"
"Fury won't like that," Tony mumbles.
Lucia follows the Avengers to Fury's office.
Natasha grips fistful's of Lucia's uniform in her tiny hands as they near the office. She doesn't want to hear what Fury will say.
They enter his office but Natasha has a hard time thinking as Lucia gently rubs her back and sways her back and forth. The infantile part of her mind is soothed and she can't focus.
"Who is this?" Fury barks as he enters the room, staring at Lucia.
Lucia straightens, arm moving up to salute and Natasha misses her comforting hands.
"Lucia García, level two agent, sir," Lucia introduces herself.
"I see," Fury nods, leaning back in his chair. "And why are you in my office!?"
Lucia doesn't flinch under the yell. Natasha, however, does as it hurts her now very sensitive ears. She lets out a whimper and Lucia's hand flies back up to soothe her again.
"Lucia has been looking after her, sir," Clint speaks up. "And we'd like to move Lucia in until we can undo it."
Lucia turns to him in surprise.
"García," Fury starts. "The child that you hold in your arms is not from whatever bullshit story Barton told you. That child is the famous and deadly Black Widow. As you can see, she is currently out of commission and we do not know when we will get her back."
He waits like he was expecting Lucia to drop Natasha in fear or disgust.
Lucia merely purses her lips and readjusts the toddler on her hip. "Okay."
Fury raises an eyebrow, wanting further comment.
"Black Widow or not sir, she's just a child at the moment and needs someone to rely on," Lucia explains. "I've helped my mother raise my three younger siblings."
Fury looks Lucia over. "You're the agent that disabled the bomb attached to the turbine."
"Yes sir," Lucia bobs her head in a nod.
Fury looks to the Avengers before he looks back to her. "Would you be willing to put a hold on your training and leave this facility behind to care for the child with the Avengers until her recovery. You will be compensated," He questioned.
Lucia looks down at Natasha who looks up at her, sure that Lucia would shove her into Clint's arms and leave.
"Yes sir," Lucia nods and the answer surprised Natasha.
Fury nods. "I'll get a car to take all of you to a store to get her some things. Dismissed."
Lucia felt really awkward about being around the Avengers. Especially now that she knew that the child in her arms was the Black Widow.
"So..." Tony scoots closer to her. "I'm Tony Stark but you probably already knew that." He wiggles his eyebrows.
"And I like women," Lucia replies, cutting Tony's flirting off.
Tony frowns and huffs. "So you're not a sexy babysitter, you're just a boring old nanny."
"Hey, if I'm still getting paid then all is good," Lucia moves to cradle Natasha closer to her as the toddler starts to fall asleep. "Dormir, chica."
cómodo como un insecto en una alfombra- Snug as a bug in a rug
que demonios- what the hell
Dormir chica- sleep girl
NOTE: Spanish is not my first language, please correct me if I have made any grammar mistakes in my translations.
Lucia's arms are safe.
*Song is Wanderer's Lullaby*
True to his word, Nick Fury got the Avengers a ride to the store. Lucia held Natasha in her lap since there was no car seat and they were squished in one car. Natasha was asleep and cuddled close to Lucia’s chest.
Lucia was the only one who knew what to buy but even she was hesitant because she didn’t know Natasha’s age. She guessed that Natasha was a little over a year old.
Steve, being the gentleman he was, pushed the shopping cart that they filled with items.
They got stares from people but Tony fiddled with his phone and promised that no photos or videos of Lucia or Natasha would get out.
Clint picked out the pinkest and frilliest clothes he could find for Natasha to wear but Lucica only raised an eyebrow and told him to put them back.
“She can’t wear that,” Lucia tells him. “Put it back.”
“She totally can wear it,” Clint shoves a glittery dress in her face. “She’ll look adorable in it.”
“First off, I wouldn’t let any kid wear that. The glitter on it will irritate her skin and that frill could choke her. The onsie with the lace has buttons that are too easy to fall off and for her to choke on. And you honestly can’t tell me that you think any baby should wear hot pink with neon lettering,” Lucia lists. “Put it back.”
Clint grumbles and puts the abominations that Lucia could barely call baby clothes back.
They ended up needing a second cart for big purchases such as a car seat and a crib.
They were prepared to go full haul and if Natasha got turned into an adult the next day then it would be donated.
Tony lost it when he saw the Avenger themed baby clothes and insisted on buying her a pair of Iron Man pajamas.
Lucia let him since he was paying for everything.
Tony ends up calling a moving truck to take everything back to the tower.
A car came to pick them up and Natasha’ new car seat was strapped in and Natasha slept contently, letting Lucia replace the thumb in her mouth with a pacifier.
They arrive at the tower and the boys work on carrying the heavy items up.
Natasha is startled awake when Clint accidentally drops his side of the box as they carry it, letting out a loud curse. She grabs onto Lucia until she remembers where she is. Lucia is softly cooing to her, assuring her that it was alright.
Natasha is surprised that the rubber bit in her mouth was soothing and silently curses the infantile part of her mind that is clouding her thoughts.
“Hey, chica ,” Lucia greets her. “Have a nice nap?”
Natasha watches as the Avengers haul the new items up and into one of the spare bedrooms.
Natasha is still really tired though. Whatever happened that made her like this really drained her.
She’s too tired to do much else than curl into Lucia and trust that the woman wasn’t going to drop her.
Natasha wakes up and it’s dark. Fear curls in the pit of her stomach. It’s too dark and too quiet and she can’t move--
Natasha realizes that she’s in the new crib that Tony had bought just earlier that day. She’s wearing a new set of pajamas with small ducks printed on the fabric.
It takes a moment before Natasha can move to sit up and grab onto the bars to pull herself up.
Her stomach hurts and she’s tired but she can’t leave the room to roam the halls or go practice shooting or watch a movie.
The emotions are overwhelming and tears trickle down Natasha’s cheeks and she cries because she’s alone.
Then a small warm glow is cast over the walls and Natasha spots a figure move. She shakes the bars to get their attention.
The figure turns out to be Lucia and she’s wearing pajamas, her hair sticking up in some places.
“What’s wrong, chica ?” Lucia’s voice was deep having just woken up. She leans over and pulls Natasha up into her arms. “You’re making quite a racket.”
Natasha just clings to her because Lucia is warm and her presence is comforting and her arms make her feel safe.
Lucia uses the sleeves of her pajama top to wipe away the tears on Natasha’s face as she gently sways her. “You’re alright. Shh.”
“Ow!” Is all Natasha can moan into Lucia’s pajama top.
“What hurts, huh chica ?” Lucia questioned.
Natasha moves an uncoordinated hand to her stomach to try and communicate what is wrong.
She usually doesn’t tell others when she’s in pain and pain doesn’t usually bother her but the infantile part of her mind is making her instincts go haywire and it hurts.
“Your tummy hurts?” Lucia gently moves Natasha to one arm and uses her free hand to gently touch her stomach. “It’s probably because you’re sleeping somewhere new, huh?”
Natasha nods, burying her face into the crook of Lucia’s neck.
“Todo esta bien ,” Lucia gently strokes Natasha’s hair back.
Lucia gently moves Natasha to cradle her in her arms and moves to pull a pacifier from nowhere.
“Wandering child of the earth
Do you know just how much you're worth?
You have walked this path since your birth
You were destined for more,” Lucia starts to gently sing, surprising Natasha.
“There are those who'll tell you you're wrong
They will try to silence your song
But right here is where you belong
So don't search anymore” Lucia starts to gently dance around the room, swaying Natasha with her movements.
“You are the dawn of a new day that's waking
A masterpiece still in the making
The blue in an ocean of grey
You are right where you need to be
Poised to inspire and to succeed
You'll look back and you'll realize one day,” Natasha starts to nod off, the tight coil wound in her stomach starting to unwind.
“In your eyes there is doubt
As you try to figure it out
But that's not what life is about
So have faith there's a way,” Natasha is surrounded by warmth and safety. She hasn’t felt like this in forever.
“Though the world may try to define you
It can't take the light that's inside you
So don't you dare try to hide
Let your fears fade away,” Natasha hates the younger side of her mind that is so content and relaxed because she knows that there could be assassin just outside or something terrible could happen at any moment and she wouldn’t be able to do a thing.
“You are the dawn of a new day that's waking
A masterpiece still in the making
The blue in an ocean of grey
You are right where you need to be
Poised to inspire and to succeed
You'll look back and you'll realize one day,” Lucia gently sets Natasha back into her crib and leans on the bars for a few moments.
“You are the dawn of a new day that's waking
A masterpiece still in the making
The blue in an ocean of grey
You are right where you need to be
Poised to inspire and to succeed
Soon you'll finally find your own way.”
Natasha ends up sitting in a playpen the next morning in the empty living room. It was early and she always woke up early so she inadvertently woke Lucia up too.
Lucia sets the playpen up and gives Natasha some toys and makes sure that she’s safe before heading to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.
There is the sound of a crash that startles Natasha and she expects Lucia to respond but she doesn’t. There isn’t the sound of anything being cleaned up.
Natasha pulls herself up using the netting of the playpen and after a few attempts, she manages to climb and tumble onto the other side of the playpen to freedom.
She can’t stand without help so she works on learning how to coordinate her limbs in a crawl towards the kitchen.
And then she bumps into someone.
She cranes her head up to look at Tony who looked really tired and dirty from his lab.
“Hey there squirt,” He mumbles. “Where’s the boring nanny?”
Tony looks around with a frown before looking down at Natasha again. “Whelp. I can’t leave you here, can I?”
Tony leans down and hesitates before pulling Natasha into his arms.
Natasha grabs onto his dirty shirt and pulls herself closer because his arms aren’t safe like Lucia and she’s afraid that Tony will drop her.
Tony is unsure when holding her but takes her to the kitchen.
Natasha doesn’t see Lucia at first. She can see bits of a ceramic bowl splashed out from behind the island and it isn’t until Tony rounds the corner that Natasha sees Lucia.
And she looks nothing like Lucia did ten minutes ago when she set Natasha down.
“ Lo siento ,” Lucia mumbles. “Lo siento mucho mamá .”
“Ah shit,” Tony mumbles, setting Natasha on the counter.
Luckily, Natasha knew enough to stay still so that she wouldn’t roll off while Tony cleaned up the broken bowl.
He disposes of it before squatting in front of Lucia. “Hey, Lucy-loo. Can you hear me?” His voice is unnaturally soft.
Lucia barely glances at him. “ ¿Dónde está Camila? ”
Tony frowns. “I dunno what you’re saying. Is Camila a name? One of your siblings?”
“ Mi hermana,” Lucia mumbles.
“That word I know,” Tony nods. “Sister. Is Camila your sister? She’s not here.”
“ Ella es solo un bebé,” Lucia moans.
“Bebe,” Tony butchers the accent. “That’s baby.”
Tony then turns and realizes that Natasha is still on the counter and plucks her up before she could fall.
“You’re at my tower, the Avengers tower,” Tony tells her. “Remember? Just yesterday you found out that Natasha was turned into a baby. You said you would take care of her. You’re her boring old nanny, remember?”
Lucia’s head jerks up to look at Tony before her eyes settle on Natasha.
“ Maldita sea,” Lucia groans. “I’m sorry. I freaked out.”
Tony can see her coming back and hands Natasha to her. Lucia accepts the toddler and cuddles her to her chest.
“I’m sorry,” Lucia mumbles. “There was something traumatic when I was younger involving my mother, my youngest sister, and a broken bowl. I had been working with someone at SHIELD to help cope with it.”
“Do you, uh, need to continue to see them while you’re here?” Tony questioned, taking a seat next to Lucia.
“Probably,” Lucia nods.
Lucia then looks down at Natasha and sighs. “I’m sorry, chica. I shouldn’t have freaked out and left you.”
Natasha cursed to herself that she couldn’t say more than two syllables at the moment for she had much to say. She couldn’t even say the woman’s name. So she had to compromise.
“Lulu,” Natasha reaches up to pat Lucia’s face, not at all liking how Lucia was acting.
Where was the woman who was singing to her last night?
“Safe,” Natasha promises, settling on the one word she struggled to mumble.
A small smile plays at Lucia’s lips. “You’re just too precious, chica .”
todo esta bien- everything is fine
lo siento- i’m sorry
lo siento mucho mamá- i’m very sorry mom
¿Dónde está Camila?- where is Camila
mi hermana- my sister
ella es solo un bebé- she is just a baby
Lucia has issues so Natasha won't let anyone push her around, especially when the men won't pick up the slack.
The other Avengers hadn’t interacted very much with Natasha since the accident. Tony was, in fact, the one who interacted with her the most because he witnessed Lucia’s panic attack in the kitchen so he tried to lessen her load.
He builds grand baby items for Lucia to help with Natasha that included an advanced jolly jumper that Lucia set up in her room.
Natasha was surprised to learn that SHIELD was still sending Lucia paperwork to do. Natasha would sometimes wake up at night to the warm glow of a lamp cascading gold light over the desk that Lucia was hunched over, scribbling in files.
Natasha tries to be easy. She doesn’t really want anything other than the basic necessities. She tries not to bother Lucia because it was unfair to Lucia.
But Lucia fills in other needs that Natasha hadn’t know had reawoken with the infantile part of her mind.
And Natasha tries to impose on the other Avengers to give Lucia enough time for some time to herself but they merely bring her back to Lucia, sometimes not even picking her up but getting Lucia to come and get her.
Tony was the only one who really dared to pick her up even if it was usually to bring her to Lucia.
And then came the first weekend since Natasha was turned and Lucia had to leave to visit her therapist at SHIELD and Natasha couldn’t come. Lucia left a long list of instructions, showed them how to prepare meals and bottles and when to put her down for a nap.
“Can you handle her for four hours? I can skip this,” Lucia tells them.
But Natasha knows that Lucia can’t really skip it. She needed it after the accident in the kitchen.
Tony promises that she’ll be in one piece still when Lucia returns.
Lucia says her goodbye and leaves Natasha in her playpen in the living room where the others were watching a movie minus Tony who was tinkering in his lab.
Natasha tries to entertain herself but with being turned her attention span wasn’t what it used to be and she grew bored quickly. Lucia didn’t leave Natasha in the playpen for more than fifteen minutes at a time and it was easily coming around to be twenty.
She throws the toys in her playpen at the others, obviously missing but just watched as they were returned and she would throw them again.
She grows hungry and whines at them.
Tony eventually emerges from his lab with grease smeared on his clothes and he looks a little surprised to see Natasha there.
“Isn’t the kid supposed to be down for a nap now? JARVIS?” Tony questioned.
“Natasha was supposed to have been fed and put down for a nap forty-five minutes ago,” JARVIS relays.
“She’ll sleep when she’s tired,” Clint waves off JARVIS.
Steve didn’t look comfortable enough to hold Natasha.
Tony looks between the two of them before crossing the room to where Natasha was. “Hey, squirt. Come here.”
Natasha wouldn’t trust Tony Stark with a baby but she was tired and hungry and just wanted Lucia. So Natasha raises her arms and lets Tony pick her up.
Tony takes her to the kitchen and looks over the instructions that Lucia pinned to the fridge.
“JARVIS, look up instructions on how to make this bottle Lucia mentions,” Tony calls out.
JARVIS walks Tony through how to make food for Natasha.
Tony finally makes the bottle and takes Natasha down to his lab with it, settling down on a couch he had down there.
“Okay, kiddo. Do you, uh, need help eating?” Tony questioned her.
Natasha thought he was an idiot for asking that to a toddler but decides to throw him a bone and respond since he was the only one that bothered to feed her.
She ends up propped up by pillows, drinking from the plastic bottle and watching Tony work in his lab.
“Ya’know,” Tony starts, capturing her attention. “Steve and Clint should never be given a baby. Steve is too scared that he’s gonna hurt it with his macho man strength and Clint is just a dumbass that thinks babies are gonna tell him what they need.”
Tony turns towards her. “You are by far my favorite baby ever. I’ve seen plenty of drippy, smelly babies but Lucia has done a good job so far.”
Natasha falls asleep on the couch and is woken up by JARVIS.
“Sir, there is an altercation in the living room. Miss Gari á has returned and is furious with the others,” JARVIS relays.
Tony moves to grab Natasha from her nest on the couch and heads to the elevator.
They hear the yelling before the elevator even opens all the way. Natasha buries her face into Tony’s shirt to muffle the yells before the door opens.
Tony steps out and then it’s silent.
Natasha looks up and sees Lucia heading towards them with red-rimmed eyes.
Tony hands Natasha over to Lucia and Lucia doesn’t say anything but holds Natasha close to her.
“Hey, chica ,” Lucia’s voice was a little hoarse. “Were you good for Tony?”
Lucia reaches up to wipe away a smear of grease that transferred from Tony to Natasha.
Natasha doesn’t like to see Lucia cry. She wants to make whoever made her cry pay.
She turns to glare at Clint and Steve for whatever they did to make her cry.
Clint steps forward. “Aw, she still has her glare,” He coos.
And Natasha is pissed so she screams as loud as she can, startling Clint who trips in his haste to back away from her.
“What the fuck?” Clint questioned with wide eyes.
“Shh, you’re alright chica ,” Lucia gently sways Natasha. “Everything’s alright.”
“Why did she scream at me?” Clint demands.
“She probably sensed my distress,” Lucia replies. “We’re going to take a nap. We’ll talk later.”
She doesn’t listen to any replies as she heads towards the elevator with Natasha.
Lucia piles up the pillows on her bed and lays propped upon them, curling up with Natasha.
And Natasha is relieved that Lucia is back because no matter how many times the Avengers ave the earth, they do not know how to care for a baby.
Besides, Lucia is safe.
Tony wants to know more about Lucia. He wants to know why Fury went with some half-baked plan to pull Lucia from her life at SHIELD and throw her into the role of a nanny. He wants to know why Lucia was at SHIELD and more about her background.
So Tony hacks SHIELD and pulls the file of Lucia Garci á because he’s curious.
Her file isn’t blacked out like Tony is used to seeing.
She’s the oldest of four. The next oldest is Gabriel, a twelve-year-old. Then there is Isabella, an eight-year-old girl. Lastly is the youngest, five-year-old Camila.
Tony is surprised to see the multitude of CPS reports. The file says that Lucia was pulled from the home after she called 911 when Isabella had a seizure and they couldn’t get in contact with the mother, learning that Lucia was in charge of her siblings for eight hours at that point.
Isabella was diagnosed with epilepsy and was separated from her siblings to go to a group home to deal with her medical needs. Lucia was then separated from Camila and Gabriel to go to a teen home.
Lucia then had a record of running away and kidnapping her siblings from their homes. She spent a week in juvie before she was transferred to a new home.
Each new page that Tony reads, he grows pale.
Lucia’s mother completed the required parenting classes and did everything she needed to to get her children back.
Eight months after being taken away from their mother, Gabriel and Camila went home. Isabella remained at the group home but went home on the weekends.
Tony is surprised to read that Lucia remained in care. The mother missed contact dates and refused to see her daughter. She blamed Lucia for getting her kids taken away and wanted nothing to do with her.
One year after being taken into care a police report was filed when Lucia confesses to a multitude of emotional and mental abuse at the hands of her mother. The mother was reassessed by CPS but determined that the kids were healthy and happy.
Once Lucia turned eighteen she was picked up by SHIELD after there was a bomb on a plane to Lucia’s next home. Lucia dismantled the bomb and held the perpetrator until police collected him.
From there it was a list of missions she had been on since starting SHIELD.
Tony leans back and sighs, rubbing his hands over his face.
He understood why she was so angry at Steve and Clint now.
Being neglected as a child and desperately trying to protect her younger siblings must have put weight on Lucia when she came to take care of Natasha.
Nobody thought about Lucia. They just thought about how they wouldn’t be the ones to take care of Natasha.
Tony closes the files and leans back. They needed to pick up some of the slack. He’d seen the bags under Lucia’s eyes for he wore similar ones himself when he refused to sleep for days on end after throwing himself headfirst into a project.
He would try to come up with a way to tell the others that they needed to get off their asses and get over their phobia of babies because, at the rate they were going, Lucia wouldn’t last long.
He would try too between when he wasn’t trying to figure out how to revert Natasha to her original state.
Tony decides to take everyone on a spontaneous trip to the zoo.
“Up and at ‘em!” Tony waltzes into Lucia’s room, pulling the blinds open.
Lucia is startled awake, sitting up and rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
Natasha is also startled but was already awake and quietly waiting for Lucia.
“We got plans,” Tony moves to pluck Natasha from her crib. “Get dressed. I’ve got the rugrat.”
“Wait, what?” Lucia demands but Tony is already walking out of the room with Natasha.
Tony carries Natasha to the elevator and enters. He eventually looks down at Natasha who was staring at him, confused.
“We’ve got a full day out for you,” Tony boops her nose. “Plenty of things to do, not enough time to do it.”
Tony enters the kitchen where Clint and Steve were eating breakfast.
“Here ya go,” Tony shoves Natasha into Steve’s currently empty arms. “Don’t drop her. Lucia would kill you.”
Steve is startled, frozen with Natasha now squirming to get comfortable in his arms.
“Lighten up, Cap,” Tony pulls a bottle from the drying rack. “You’re not going to suddenly crush her. You’ve got to support her.”
Natasha is confused and overwhelmed by the current events. This wasn’t her routine that Lucia set up.
“She’s crying,” Clint points out through a mouthful of Cheerios.
“Catch,” Tony pulls a pacifier from his pocket and tosses it to Clint who catches it easily.
Natasha recognizes it as one that she lost somewhere in the depths of Tony’s lab last time she was there.
“What do you want me to do with it?” Clint questioned.
“Just pop it in her mouth, hurry before she goes full-blown,” Tony moves to pull hot milk from the stove.
Clint moves towards Natasha with the pacifier. “Don’t bite me,” He warns as he hovers the pacifier over her mouth.
It was like he was teasing her, so Natasha reaches out and grabs it, pulling it towards her for comfort.
Clint lets it go once Natasha touches it. She guides it into her mouth.
“Hey, there you are!” Tony chirps as he greets Lucia who was now dressed and standing in the doorway, confused at the scene. “Take a seat and eat.”
“Do you got her?” Lucia questioned Steve.
“Actually—” Steve starts but Tony cuts him off.
“He’s great!” Tony shoves a bowl of cereal towards Lucia. “Eat up!”
“How did you know my favorite cereal?” Lucia questioned with a soft smile, pulling the box of Frosted Flakes towards her.
Tony shrugs. “Just the genius I am.”
Tony finishes the bottle and gives it a shake before moving towards Steve. “Here.”
“I don’t know how to feed her!” Steve protests.
“You’ll never learn with that attitude,” Tony laughs at Steve’s panicked face. “If I knew this was all it took to rile you up then I would have gotten a baby a while ago.”
Tony pulls Natasha from Steve’s arms and settles her into his, grabbing the bottle and started to feed her.
Lucia hides her laughter behind spoonsful of cereal. Tony looked like a natural.
“We’re going out today,” Tony announces. “We’re meeting Pepper for lunch to introduce her to Lucia.”
“I sense an ‘also’,” Clint cautions.
“We’ll show Lucia and Natasha a marvelous day!” Tony grins.
Lucia finishes up and takes Natasha from Tony once she was done and starts to burp her.
“I’ll go get her dressed and pack a bag,” Lucia tells them as she heads off with Natasha.
“What the hell man?” Clint demands as soon as they leave.
“What?” Tony innocently questioned as he grabs a cup of coffee.
“You’re pushing a baby on us. We don’t know the first thing about babies!” Clint throws his hands into the air.
Clint jumps when Tony slams his mug onto the counter so hard that it cracks, and coffee slowly leaks onto the counter.
“Lucia has not slept more than twenty hours in her week and a half of being here. SHIELD is constantly sending her paperwork and having her write letters and mission reports. Lucia has never asked for any help with Natasha and doesn’t put up a fuss when you pawn Natasha onto her. So, I’m saying to stop being a fucking coward and man up to help,” Tony smiles at Clint through gritted teeth. “Natasha is our teammate, baby or not. We practically thrust her into a stranger’s arms because we were too chicken shit and put our pride over sticking together. We’re going to do better.”
“You’re right,” Steve admits.
“What? You’re supposed to be on my side!” Clint argues.
“No. We’re supposed to be a team but if we turn on each other at any minor inconvenience and leave someone else to deal with it then we don’t deserve to be heroes,” Steve tells Clint. He looks up at Tony. “We’ll find a way to make it up.”
Lucia enters the room with Natasha dressed and a red diaper bag slung over her shoulder.
“Ready to go?” Lucia questioned.
“Doesn’t the kid need shoes?” Clint questioned.
“She doesn’t walk and shoes at her age inhibit her ability to learn balance and can give her flat feet,” Lucia explained. “Socks are fine.”
“Whatever,” Clint shrugs.
“Off we go!” Tony leaves the leaking coffee mug on the counter to clean up later and guides the group of them out to the garage.
“Happy, my main man,” Tony greets Happy waiting for them in the garage. “This is Lucia and the tot is Natasha.”
“Right,” Happy learned not to question things around Tony. “Nice to meet you, ma’am.”
“Did you get the car seat set up?” Tony questioned as he goes to enter the car.
“Yes,” Happy nods.
Lucia enters next and straps Natasha into the car seat. Clint sits next to her while Steve sits with Tony sitting facing towards Clint and Lucia.
“What are we doing first?” Lucia questioned.
“None of us have ever had a real childhood. So, we’re going to go do everything that every child should do,” Tony nods. “First things first. We’re going to the zoo.”
Clint is staring at Tony. “We’re gonna run around like a bunch of kids today?”
“Yup!” Tony nods. “All for Natasha.”
Tony then turns. “To the zoo, Hap!”
Steve ended up carrying the diaper bag while they wander around the zoo. Hats and sunglasses didn’t seem off in the sun and hid their identities.
The zoo was quiet because Tony decided to spontaneously go on a weekday when kids were in school.
They did have a lot of fun. Tony loved to shove money in whatever donate box was near the animals.
They all rode the carousel, even if it took a bit of coaxing from Lucia and Tony. Lucia rode a horse with Natasha while the others picked out the perfect horse that corresponded with their colors.
(And if the photo on the front page the next day was a bunch of Avengers on a carousel, nobody mentioned it)
They went to the penguins, the most popular exhibit. They ended up in the back of a crowd and Lucia taps Steve.
“Why don’t you put Natasha on your shoulders so she can see,” She suggests since he seemed to tower over the crowd.
Steve seemed uncomfortable but Lucia helps him lift Natasha up and hold onto her safely.
He kept her on his shoulders long after they left the exhibit.
“Dippin Dots!” Clint grins at the cart. “We should get some.”
“Sure,” Tony shrugs and the group heads over. Lucia helps Steve take Natasha off his shoulders and gets a cup to share with Natasha.
They sit at a bench to eat their ice cream, Lucia giving Natasha a few every few mouthfuls.
“This is pretty fun,” Clint finally admits.
“This is the beginning of a long road, my friend,” Tony grins, shoving a spoonful of birthday cake flavored Dippin dots in his mouth. “The tip of the iceberg.”
Lucia’s phone rings and she looks down at the caller ID. “I need to take this.”
Tony and Steve were still eating but Clint was taking a break to push off a brain freeze.
“Please hold her for a moment,” Lucia passes Natasha to Clint. “Gentle.”
Lucia then heads off to answer her phone.
Natasha was left sitting in Clint’s lap and eyes his ice cream.
Clint remembers when he and adult Natasha used to split cartons of rocky road ice cream after hard missions.
“You want some?” Clint questioned.
“Uh-huh,” Natasha replied.
Clint was startled that she answered him because she wasn’t much for talking.
“Alright,” Clint scoops up a small bit like he had seen Lucia do. “Here. Open up.”
Clint awkwardly feeds her a spoonful and Tony coos. Clint would flip him off if he wasn’t busy.
Lucia returns, the smile wiped from her face.
“Everything okay?” Steve questioned.
“They want me to do a bunch of paperwork but I’m not home. I got yelled at and threatened to get demoted for shirking responsibilities,” Lucia mumbles.
“Screw them,” Tony shrugs, licking his spoon. “You made a deal with Fury. Paperwork was in no way mentioned at the time of the deal.”
“I can’t have them kick me out,” Lucia shrugs. “I live there. I’ll be homeless if they kick me out.”
Tony places his ice cream down and pulls out his wallet and opens it. He grabs a few bills and slaps it onto the table in front of Lucia.
“What are you doing?” Lucia questioned.
“That there is a thousand dollars. You don’t work today and that is pay to make up for it,” Tony explained.
“I don’t even get this much a week,” Lucia laughs. “Gracias, Tony.”
“Perks of being friends with Tony Stark. Take the money, Lucy-loo and don’t worry about SHIELD. We’re having fun!” Tony grins.
“You’re something else, Tony,” Lucia smiles and pockets the money, taking Natasha back from Clint. “You feed her your chocolate?”
Clint couldn’t deny it. The evidence was smeared on Natasha’s face.
Lucia merely roots around in the diaper bag and grabs a baby wipe to clean up Natasha’s face.
They spend a few more hours at the zoo before Tony tells them that they have a reservation for lunch and need to get a move on.
They briefly visit the gift shop where Natasha got a stuffed penguin (Clint got a stuffed bird but will deny it until he’s blue).
Natasha starts to fall asleep on the walk back to the car and completely drops once she’s secured in her car seat.
They end up at a high-end restaurant and Lucia doesn’t bother to rouse Natasha and carries her inside. Rather than procuring a highchair, Lucia prefers to let Natasha sleep and hold her.
Pepper was already there. Tony greets her first before Clint and Steve say their hellos.
“And you must be Lucia,” Pepper smiles at her. “And that’s Natasha?”
Lucia nods. “Pleasure to meet you.”
They settle down at the table and order drinks. Tony ordered a bottle of expensive wine, but Lucia chose to stick with soda to stay sober for Natasha.
“You can live a little. Cap doesn’t get drunk, so they’ll be someone responsible,” Tony points out.
“I’m fine,” Lucia smiles. “Thank you though.”
Tony shrugs and Lucia goes back to looking at the menu.
They order and the chattering in the restaurant starts to bother Natasha.
“I’m going to the bathroom to change her, I’ll be back in a moment,” Lucia stands and takes the red bag from Steve and starts to head back towards the bathroom.
She quickly changes Natasha and finds a purple pacifier for Natasha to suck on in the pocket.
She heads out of the bathroom when the cap to one of the bottles fell out of the bag and bounced harmlessly onto the floor. Lucia has to balance Natasha and the bag so she can bend down to scoop the cap up.
When she straightens up with the cap, she’s face to face with a man who was clearly inebriated.
“Hey,” He grins, leaning on the entryway to the bathrooms, blocking the only exit.
“Excuse me,” Lucia tries to push past him, but she jerks back when he touches Natasha.
“Pretty baby,” He comments.
“Thanks, now if you excuse me—” Lucia tries to get by him again, but he leans further, blocking the exit on purpose.
“Don’t be that way. I just wanna talk to a pretty face,” He smiles at her. “You still with the baby daddy?”
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” Lucia’s tone is frigid, hoping that he’ll get the hint and go away.
“Aw, tough break up?” He pouts. “You know, I love kids.”
He reaches towards Natasha and Lucia’s SHIELD training kicks in. Her hands are full, so she sends a kick to the back of his knee.
“What the fuck?! You bitch!” He reaches out to strike Lucia.
Lucia holds Natasha close, protecting her head as she ducks and turns to send a roundhouse kick to the man.
The drunk man didn’t have the reflexes and it hit him, sending him into the wall.
“Fuck you!” He roars, leaping at Lucia.
Lucia must rely on kicks and is open to hits on her face because her arms are protecting Natasha.
Her head snaps back as his fist connects with her cheek.
The man pushes her up against the wall and Lucia must take her chances.
Her head connects with his, pain blooming behind her eyes as blood trickles into her eyes.
He stumbles back, clutching his head with a groan before he shakes it off, likely the effect of the alcohol.
And then a hand grabs the man’s shoulder and yanks him away from Lucia.
“What kind of low life garbage picks on a woman and her baby?” Tony questioned.
Lucia sighs in relief.
Clint pulls Lucia out of the hallway and back into the restaurant where Pepper was waiting, Steve was helping Tony with the man.
“Are you okay?” Pepper questioned only to receive an armful of a crying Natasha.
“Creo que voy a vomitar,” Lucia mumbles before she stumbles back into the bathroom.
The man was arrested, and Tony goes into the women’s bathroom after Lucia.
Said woman is hunched over the sink, gripping the sides of it until her knuckles turn white. Blood drips from a wound on her forehead into the sink, a constant ‘drip…drip…drip…’.
“Hey Lucy-loo,” Tony greets her. “That was some kick-ass fighting you did.”
“Is she okay?” Lucia questioned quietly.
“Natasha is fine, just upset. Pepper has her,” Tony grabs some paper towels from the dispenser and wets them down.
“I got my ass kicked,” Lucia groans.
“You would have totally knocked that bitch out, but you were protecting Natasha and that left you open,” Tony presses the wad of paper towels to the wound. Lucia sucks in a hiss at the contact. “I’m impressed.”
“I should have been better,” Lucia counters.
“You did better than what I would have done,” Tony admits. “I would have either curled up to protect Natasha or screamed. Nothing like the paparazzi and a juicy scandal to scare people away.”
Lucia lets out a small laugh.
“We’re here to back you up, Lucy-loo. I hope you know that,” Tony pulls the towels away to inspect the wound. “You’ve become very important to us. Not just as a boring nanny but as a person.”
“Thanks, Tony,” Lucia gives Tony a fond smile. “That means a lot.”
“C’mon. We need to take care of your forehead, get some ice on your cheek, and hope that our wine isn’t warm,” Tony wraps an arm around Lucia and pulls her away from the sink and out of the bathroom doors.
gracias- thank you
creo que voy a vomitar- I think I am going to throw up
Lucia doesn't come out of the fight unscathed so Natasha has to go on an adventure to get help.
Natasha quickly finds out that being in a fight as a toddler is much different than one as an adult.
She was on the verge of sleep when she and Lucia were approached by a drunk man.
She can’t shake sleep off as quickly as she can as an adult. Lucia holds her close while she uses basic SHIELD moves to keep the man away from her.
The man’s fist connects with Lucia’s face and Natasha tries to stay still, gripping Lucia’s shirt so she’s not jostled around so much.
The man manages to get a fair amount of hits in because Lucia is too busy trying to protect Natasha and leaves her face open. Luckily, Lucia gets in two or three hits for every one hit he gets in.
Then Tony shows up and Natasha had never been more grateful to see him.
Clint pulls them out and into the restaurant. Natasha’s fingers are ripped away from Lucia’s shirt as Lucia shoves her into Pepper’s arms before mumbling something in Spanish and darting off back to the bathroom.
“Is she okay?” Clint questioned.
Natasha realizes that she’s crying hard and that some of Lucia’s blood had dripped onto her.
“She’s fine. I think it’s Lucia’s,” Pepper explains.
She and Pepper aren’t close. Not since Natasha lied about being a spy and worked under her.
But Pepper doesn’t care as she tries to soothe Natasha, but Natasha just wants Lucia.
Clint picks up the red bag that Lucia had dropped and inspects a large gash on the side from when it got caught on a picture frame nailed on the wall.
“C’mon,” Clint roots around in the bag before pulling out a lime green pacifier.
Natasha then realizes that her purple pacifier is on the floor, having been crushed in the fight.
“It’s alright,” Clint moves towards her and pops it into her mouth. The familiar sucking motion calms her.
He then pulls out the packet of wipes from the bag and he takes one, hesitating.
“Give it to me,” Pepper holds one hand out and Clint passes the wipe over.
Pepper then works on wiping the blood from Natasha, not able to do much about what was on the outfit.
“There’s another change of clothes in here,” Clint pulls out the spare singlet that Lucia had packed. Funnily enough, it was blood red.
Natasha doesn’t care who changes her, blood on her now sensitive skin is a new and uncomfortable feeling.
The door to the bathroom opens and Tony exits with Lucia. Lucia is holding paper towels to her forehead.
The manager was speaking to Steve because he was the only one available after the man got arrested. He was apologizing profusely and offering them their meal on the house and another free wine.
“Lulu!” Natasha calls for Lucia, spitting out her pacifier and startling both Pepper and Clint.
Natasha just wants Lucia to hold her. She reaches for the woman, stretched out as far as she can in Pepper’s arms.
“It’s alright, chica,” Lucia promises. “Pepper will hold you while I clean up, okay?”
Lucia then pulls out her last pacifier from the pocket of her coat. There was a case on it to protect it from getting dirty. Lucia tosses it towards Clint who catches it easily.
“Lulu!” Natasha whines again because she just wants to be close to Lucia. Clint gives her the last pacifier.
Tony escorts Lucia away with the manager to the first aid kit in the kitchen while Pepper, Clint, Steve and Natasha head back to their table.
Many people left after the fight so there was only a sprinkle of people who had stayed.
Lucia and Tony return a few minutes later with a bandage plastered over Lucia’s forehead and ice wrapped in a cloth napkin pressed on her face.
Natasha squirms in Pepper’s arms and reaches for Lucia again.
“In a minute, chica,” Lucia promises, digging in the red bag for a spare shirt she packed.
She places the ice down and pulls the shirt over her bloodied one, pulling the dirty one off from underneath.
She then turns towards Pepper and holds her arms out. “Alright. I’ve got her.”
Pepper lets Lucia take Natasha from her and Lucia pulls Natasha close.
Natasha immediately latches onto Lucia, curling close to her and tucks her head under Lucia’s chin.
“It’s alright, chica bonita,” Lucia brushes Natasha’s wild hair out of her face. “Let’s get you in some clean clothes.”
Lucia changes Natasha into the spare outfit, gentle and comforting.
Natasha can’t do much. She was weak and useless in this form. She couldn’t protect Lucia, but she could comfort her.
So, she curls up against Lucia’s chest, trying to be a comfort.
But Lucia comforts her too. Her arms are safe, and she holds her tight.
The food arrives hot, but the group isn’t hungry anymore. They pick at their food and Lucia switches between shoving food around on her plate with a fork and holding the ice to her swollen cheek.
Tony offers to take Natasha so that Lucia can eat but Natasha curls her fingers into Lucia’s shirt even though she knows that it won’t stop her from being handed off, but Lucia shakes her head and pulls Natasha closer and Tony’s eyes soften because he understands.
“If you’re still up for it,” Tony starts. “I have one more thing that I’d like to do before we head home.”
“Can I know what it is or is it another surprise?” Lucia questioned.
Tony zips his lips and Lucia let out a laugh. “Alright. I’m down.”
“Sure,” Clint shrugs. “As long as it doesn’t involve alcohol or near-death experiences.”
“Do you really think I’d put a baby in a near-death experience?” Tony gestured to Natasha.
He lets out a gasp when Clint shrugs.
“Clinton, how could you!?” Tony places a hand over his heart. “We’re only going skydiving. They make tot-sized parachutes, right?”
Pepper laughs and shoves Tony and he grins too.
“No. We’re doing something totally baby-friendly and Pepper approved,” Tony nods.
“Alright,” Steve nods.
“Perfect,” Tony nods. “I can’t stand this place any longer. Let’s bounce.”
They don’t have to pay since their meal was free and they head out to the car, Pepper joining them.
Lucia notices the plastic bags that weren’t there when they entered the restaurant. Tony is grinning like an idiot.
Happy takes them to a park where Tony then announces their plan as the sun starts to set gently.
“We’re feeding the ducks,” Tony smiles, holding up the bag that reveals to be loaves of bread.
“I used to feed the ducks with my siblings,” Lucia smiles softly. “Wonderful idea, Tony.”
“I know. I’m awesome,” Tony nods as they file out of the car.
They pick a spot by the edge of the pond where they huddle together, crouched down as they watch the ducks swim around in the pond.
Tony passes out pieces of bread and they start to tear pieces off, tossing them into the pond.
It’s quiet so they don’t scare the ducks off.
It’s the perfect ending to a hectic day. Their face may be plastered on the front page of the news, Tony may have bought two dozen more pacifiers in crazy colors, Lucia’s face might hurt in the morning, but nobody would change it for anything.
Lucia wakes up because Natasha is literally crawling up the bars of her crib. Her head is pounding, and she doesn’t really want to get out of bed but eventually rolls out and shuffles over to where Natasha was.
“Lulu!” Natasha cries and holds her hands up to Lucia as she nears. Lucia can see that Natasha had been crying for a while and was confused because she hadn’t heard anything.
“¿Qué está mal chica?” Lucia mumbles, reaching over to pick Natasha up.
Natasha hiccups and shoves her face into Lucia’s rumpled pajama top.
“It’s alright,” Lucia coos, gently bouncing Natasha. “You’re okay.”
Lucia grabs a pacifier and carries Natasha back to her bed and lays back down, settling Natasha next to her by her face.
She’s tired. She thinks that the headbutt may have given her a concussion.
The last thing she remembers is Natasha struggling to sit herself up.
Natasha knew that Lucia had a serious head injury with the symptoms she presented. Still, she was in the body of a toddler and couldn’t do much about it.
But when Lucia mumbles and moves lethargically, Natasha knew that Lucia needed help.
Lucia falls asleep and Natasha sits up. She can’t form the word ‘JARVIS’ with her mouth. It’s too hard.
So, Natasha peers over the edge of the bed. It was a low-rise bed with no space between the frame and the floor. Only a few feet between the top of the bed and the floor.
Natasha goes down feet first, landing on her cushioned bottom and makes her way to the door.
She was lucky it was automatic and wasn’t locked.
Natasha heads towards the elevator. She must take a break because her limbs hurt so she sits back and pulls the pacifier from her mouth and aims it, throwing it and hitting the button.
She pulls it back into her mouth after the button is pushed and the doors open.
She makes her way onto the elevator and JARVIS finally speaks up, asking her where she wants to go.
“Nee!” Natasha declares after pulling the pacifier from her mouth again. She couldn’t form Tony’s name but hoped that the one-syllable was enough.
She wasn’t sure if it would work but to her surprise, the elevator descends.
It dings open in the living room where Natasha must make her way to the kitchen which was once only steps away that now seemed like a marathon.
So, she calls out for him. “Nee! Nee!”
And then she’s looking at a pair of legs and looks up at Clint.
“What are you doing here? Where’s Lucia?” Clint questioned.
“Lulu!” Natasha can’t tell him how hurt Lucia is. “Ow.”
“What?” Clint moves and picks her up. He’s unsure so she clings to him tightly as he takes her into the kitchen where Tony was nursing a cup of coffee.
“Here,” Clint shoves Natasha at him. “She was calling for you, I think.”
“Hey there rugrat,” Tony greets Natasha. “Where’s the boring nanny?”
“Lulu ow,” Natasha manages to tell him. “Night-night.”
“What?” Tony frowns. “How did you get down here if she’s asleep?”
“Lulu ow!” Natasha slaps his chest with an open palm. “Badman. Ow!”
She can’t communicate what she needs to and she’s getting easily frustrated. The infantile part of her mind is telling her to cry but she holds it back.
“Okay, what about Lucia?” Tony questioned. “Badman? Is Lucia hurt?”
“Lulu, ow, bad man,” Natasha nods.
Tony stands and starts heading towards the elevator.
Clint trails after him as Tony is asking JARVIS questions.
They arrive at the room that Natasha and Lucia shares. The door opens with a whoosh and Tony’s hand immediately goes to cover Natasha’s eyes.
She can barely see through slits in his fingers as Clint rushes towards Lucia.
Lucia wasn’t on the bed anymore, tangled in a heap of sheets on the floor. Her breaths came out in choked rattles and her nose was bleeding in a puddle on the ground.
“Fuck. Shit. Don’t do this to me, kid,” Tony rolls Lucia to her side and blood comes gushing out of her mouth.
“Get medical,” Tony snaps at Clint.
“Yeah,” Clint turns and hurries to contact medical, Natasha still in his arms.
Natasha is passed from person to person, fading into the background as Lucia is whisked away to medical.
It’s when Pepper stops by to clear the pandemonium that she sees Natasha peering out of the netting of her playpen.
“Hey sweetheart,” Pepper leans over the side and Natasha gratefully raises her arms up to Pepper.
She’s cold. In no way dressed for the air-conditioned living room. She just wants Lucia.
“Lulu?” Natasha questioned, grabbing fistfuls of Pepper’s blouse as Pepper lifts her onto her hip.
“Lucia’s okay,” Pepper promises. “You must be freezing. Jesus, Tony.”
Pepper heads to Lucia’s bedroom and searches through the drawers.
“Where are your shirts, Natasha?” Pepper questioned the toddler, praying for an answer.
Natasha points a chubby finger to the dresser by the crib that held her things.
Pepper pulls open the drawers until she finds a set of pajamas that were warm.
“Good enough,” She sighs and works on slipping them on over the onesie that Natasha had on.
“Lulu?” Natasha questioned.
“Lucia won’t be back for a while,” Pepper tells her. “She’s at SHIELD.”
“Nee?” Natasha questioned. “Toe. Nee?”
“Tony is with Lucia,” Pepper sighs, carrying Natasha back out of the room. “You hungry?”
Natasha looks up at Pepper. Did she even know how to take care of a baby?
Natasha decides to sit back and enjoy the ride. “Uh-huh.”
Pepper heads back to the elevator as her phone rings and she pulls it out, starting on a conversation about SI.
Natasha doesn’t care. Her now short attention span draws her away from the conversation even though the more adult part of her mind was screaming at her to listen.
Pepper enters the kitchen and with her phone pressed between her shoulder and ear she pulls a bottle from the drying rack and pops open the fridge.
Natasha watches Pepper multitask and make her lunch, occasionally pausing to ask JARVIS a question before continuing her task.
Pepper eventually gets off the phone halfway through feeding Natasha and sighs, asking JARVIS to add something to Tony’s ‘to-do’ list.
Natasha was eventually fed and just became a fixture on Pepper’s hip as Pepper went and did her thing.
She refused to let go of Pepper because she hadn’t seen anyone since Lucia was whisked away and had her doubts that Pepper would come back once she left.
So, Natasha cries every time that Pepper puts her down and constantly asks about Lucia.
Pepper watched Natasha for eight long hours.
Pepper then receives a call about Lucia and takes Natasha to SHIELD where Lucia was in medical.
They’re stopped by an agent. “No one under eighteen in medical,” He eyes Natasha.
“You want to watch her then?” Pepper holds Natasha out to the agent who stumbles away from the baby like she was a bomb.
Pepper then brushes past him and enters Lucia’s room.
“Tony Stark!” Pepper starts and Tony jumps from his position by Lucia. “You can’t leave me with a baby for eight hours!”
“Lulu!” Natasha breaks off Pepper’s speech because it was too loud and hurt her ears.
“Hey chica,” Lucia smiles at Natasha. She was hooked up to monitors and had an IV in her arm and oxygen on her face.
Natasha reaches for Lucia.
“Lucia can’t hold you,” Pepper readjusts Natasha in her arms.
“Nah, it’s okay. She’ll be fine,” Lucia reaches her arms out towards the two.
“Let her,” Tony tells Pepper and she knows the look he’s giving her, so she walks forward and sets Natasha onto Lucia’s stomach.
Natasha immediately latches onto the scratchy gown as she is surrounded with the safeness that is Lucia.
“Hola, chica,” Lucia gives her a tired smile. “You look sleepy.”
Lucia reaches up the hand that isn’t attached to an IV and rubs Natasha’s back.
Natasha closes her eyes because it was finally safe to sleep. Lucia wouldn’t let anything happen to her.
“You must have the magic touch or something because I could not set her down for even a moment,” Pepper tells Lucia.
“Yeah,” Lucia laughs, and Natasha falls asleep to the rumbling of Lucia’s chest as she talks.
“Where were you?” Pepper demands as soon as she gets a moment with Tony.
“SHIELD is trying to screw her over, Pep,” Tony blurts. “They want to kick her out for failing to do her job.”
“I thought it was agreed that she’d look after Natasha?” Pepper frowns.
“It was but suddenly there’s a bunch of bullshit from nowhere and Lucia is struggling and stressed and—she’s just a kid, Pep. They pulled her out of the foster system and now they’re threatening to toss her away,” Tony sighs. “I’m sorry I left you, but I was dealing with it.”
“Do I want to know what you did?” Pepper raised an eyebrow.
“Let’s give you deniability,” Tony nods.
“Do you think Natasha remembers some things?” Pepper suddenly questioned.
“Like what?” Tony asks. “What makes you think that?”
“I asked her where her shirts were like an idiot and to my surprise she turns and points me to them,” Pepper elaborates.
“Huh,” Tony shrugs. “I never would have thought. We can test it.”
“No running tests on the baby,” Pepper automatically replies.
Tony grins. “You know me better than that. Lucia will run tests on the baby.”
chica bonita- pretty girl
¿qué está mal chica?- what is wrong girl?
hola, chica- hello girl
Tony discovers that Natasha isn't quite a helpless toddler.
Clint discovers more about Lucia's time at SHIELD.
Lucia had to stay overnight so Natasha had to go home with the Avengers, and she wasn’t eager to go.
“Come on, squirt,” Tony reaches for Lucia. “It’s time to let Lucia sleep.”
“No!” Natasha grabs at Lucia’s gown.
“It’s alright,” Lucia gently pries Natasha’s hands from her gown. “I’ll see you tomorrow, I promise.”
“No,” Natasha gets teary-eyed. “Lulu.”
“It’s alright,” Lucia reaches up to smooth some of Natasha’s wild red hair back.
Tony swoops in and grabs Natasha.
Natasha screams and wiggles in his arms and Tony holds her tight. “Stop it or I’m going to drop you!”
“Here,” Lucia reaches over to the pile of her clothes and pulls her shirt up. “Wrap her in it.”
Tony grabs the shirt and wraps it around Natasha like a blanket.
Natasha recognizes the calming scent of Lucia and stops her efforts to get away, burrowing into the shirt.
“You, my good woman, are a miracle worker,” Tony sighs.
“Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it,” Lucia reminds him.
“Pepper is staying the night,” Tony offers. “So, there will be a responsible adult that isn’t afraid to hold her.”
Lucia nods. “They expect me to discharge before noon tomorrow.”
“I’ll send Clint to pick you up,” Tony nods.
They bid their goodbyes and Tony leaves with Natasha.
He takes her to swing by the kids' store again and he carries her in, setting her in the seat in the shopping cart and swaggering through the aisles.
He went to get a new diaper bag first since the original one was ripped from the altercation at the bar.
He talked to himself as he tries his best to not admit that he had no clue what he was doing.
“Whelp, what do you think squirt?” Tony held up two bags.
He eventually settles on a navy-blue bag in a similar style as the first and then moves them to the pacifiers.
There was a pregnant woman in the aisle, looking at the newborn soothers that startled when she sees Tony Stark.
“Is that your baby?” She blurts before slapping her hands over her mouth, horrified.
“No this is my colleague. She’s thirty-six. She just has a height problem,” Tony replies, grabbing a handful of packages of brightly colored pacifiers.
The woman stares at Tony as he moves on until he is no longer in sight.
The cashier, a pimply teenager who wasn’t getting paid enough didn’t say a word as he checks out THE Tony Stark or comments on the random baby that he seemed to have procured.
Natasha found herself falling asleep in the car and woke up to JARVIS’s voice as Tony enters the elevator.
Pepper got take-out for dinner and had just finished setting the table when Tony arrived.
It was the first time where everybody had acknowledged Natasha while they ate and didn’t try to pawn her off onto Lucia, mainly because Lucia wasn’t there.
Pepper ended up feeding her dinner and she was soon moved to Steve’s lap so that Pepper could eat.
Lucia’s shirt was comforting the infantile part of her mind that had accepted Lucia as it’s main caretaker and trusted her. The soft fabric and smell helped center Natasha so that she could focus.
Tony offered to take her after dinner much to everyone’s surprise. Steve washed the dishes and Pepper went to do some paperwork while Clint went off to practice his archery.
Tony sets Natasha in the living room before grabbing a large bin from the corner of the room.
Tony dumps a box of wooden blocks in front of her.
“So, Lucia obviously can’t do this so I am. I need to know,” Tony sits in front of Natasha. “Please use the blocks to spell and answer my questions.”
Tony sighs as Natasha stares at him.
“Let’s start with your name. Can you spell that?” Tony asks.
Natasha thought about fooling him for a moment but decided that he needed to know everything to get her back.
Natasha crawls forward and sifts through the blocks as she finds each letter and clumsily lines them up to spell her name.
Then she sits back and waits.
Tony looks from the blocks to her before looking down at the blocks again and rubbing his hands over his face. “God damned it.”
Tony shoves the blocks spelling her name aside. “Okay. Next question. Are you still in there? Y for yes, N for no.”
Natasha holds up a yellow-painted ‘Y’ block.
“Okay. So you’ve been an adult all along,” Tony nods. “Right. Uh… are you okay?”
Natasha stares at him.
“Right, stupid question,” Tony sighs. “I need to know what happened but that’ll take forever at this point. So I’m going to make some suggestions and you’ll tell me if I’m right or wrong.”
Natasha nods and Tony starts.
“You got hit with something that made you this age.” Tony gives his first statement.
Natasha points to the ‘Y’ block.
“It was from a machine.” Tony continues.
Natasha points to the red ‘N’.
Natasha taps the ‘Y’.
“It was magical,” Tony adds.
“The magic-user was a male.”
“We have seen the magic-user before.”
“The magic-user was an alien.” Said Tony.
Natasha hesitates. It was a little fuzzy but despite her human appearance something about the woman screamed ‘inhuman’.
“Okay. You don’t know. That’s fine,” Tony hums. “The magic was similar to Loki.”
“Really?” Tony straightens. “Shit. Okay. Uh, the woman was part of the fight with the robots.”
“Did she say anything before she used her magic?” Tony pleads with her to remember.
Natasha leans forward to mess around with the blocks again.
Tony patiently waits as Natasha moves them around until she finishes and looks back up again.
Tony peers at the message.
“Your greatest weakness is your team.” Tony reads. “That makes no sense. She didn’t come after us.”
Natasha starts to absentmindedly stack blocks.
“Natasha?” Tony questioned. “You’re not all there, are you? You have baby instincts hardwired into your brain still, huh?”
“Do you want me to tell the team that you’re still an adult?” Tony inquired.
“Do you want me to tell Lucia?” Tony then asks.
That causes Natasha to pause. Did she want Lucia to know?
Would Lucia stop treating her the same? Would she stop holding her or singing to her or playing with her?
The infantile side of her mind screamed NO because then the little things that Lucia did would stop.
The adult side of her mind said YES because it wasn’t fair to Lucia and she could help better if she knew the situation.
She doesn’t know how to verbally explain this to Tony and tears well up in her eyes.
“Shit, squirt,” Tony leans forward and hesitates before continuing and pulling Natasha into his lap. “Lucia will still like you. She won’t drop you because you can still think and remember everything.”
Natasha sniffled in response.
“You gotta trust Lucy-loo. She’ll understand. I can tell her that this changes nothing and to keep on how she was doing it before,” Tony suggests.
The elevator opens and Tony kicks the blocks to the side, erasing any sign that they were used for anything other than stacking.
“Natasha needs to start getting ready for bed,” Pepper tells him.
“Yeah. Sure. Okay,” Tony nods and passes Natasha to Pepper for her to get Natasha ready for bed.
Steve had pulled the crib into the room he shared with Pepper earlier so that he could keep an eye out for Natasha.
Natasha found herself disgruntled when they didn’t follow the night routine that Lucia had told them. No Lucia to gently bounce her while she works on paperwork under the soft yellow glow of the lamp or the gentle rumble of her chest as she hums and works.
She hadn’t even realized that she had gotten used to it until it was missing. For once, Tony goes to bed on time, crawling in and cuddling up to Pepper.
Sleep doesn’t come easy to Natasha and when it does it doesn’t last.
She wakes up in the middle of the night sobbing. She can’t keep the tears at bay and that was one of the things she hated the most about being in this body.
She wants Lucia, she wants her song, she just wants somebody else to take the weight of the world off of her shoulders. She just wants to enjoy being one.
The light turns on and Pepper tries to soothe her but it’s not the same. Pepper bounces but Lucia sways. Pepper hums and hushes but Lucia sings. Pepper’s hands are strong and firm, but Lucia’s are soft and safe.
Pepper paces and bounces until she is too tired and then Tony takes over. He doesn’t even hesitate despite knowing that Natasha is still in there.
Tony pats instead of bounces and his arms are awkward.
“JARVIS, call Lucia,” Tony eventually croaks.
“She needs to rest,” Pepper tells him with a warning tone.
“Tony?” Lucia’s voice is filtered through the speakers in the room.
Tony doesn’t have to explain the problem. She can hear Natasha crying just fine.
“Aw, chica,” Lucia’s voice softens. “You must have had another night terror.”
“How do we get her to stop?” Tony begs.
Lucia starts to describe how to hold Natasha, how to walk and sway.
It’s not the same as Lucia but Natasha finds herself quite a bit comforted.
She can feel the relief flood Tony and Pepper’s body when she quiets down.
It’s easier to fall asleep when Lucia is there.
The next morning, Clint is the one to volunteer to pick Lucia up. He grabs her a change of clothes and a hairbrush and heads to the medbay.
Only to discover that her bed is empty, and she had been checked out for half an hour. Clint was confused.
“She’s with her handler,” A nurse kindly informs him.
Clint didn’t know who her handler was. There were few people that could possibly be her handler because she was only level two.
So, he goes on a hunt to the three possible people it could be.
He found her after the first one. There was loud shouting coming from inside, a man barking orders and a woman defying.
Clint realized after a moment that the women were Lucia.
He stands outside the door and listens.
“That is an order Garcià!” The man barks.
“I refuse!” Lucia doesn’t quite raise her voice to the point the man does but it is strong and defiant.
“I can have you demoted and kicked out faster than you can say ‘yes, sir’!” The man snaps back.
“If SHIELD is willing to risk children to get what they want then perhaps that is for the best,” Lucia’s voice goes calm and Clint must strain to listen.
“She is trained,” The man sneers.
“She is a toddler that can’t even speak in full sentences,” Lucia bites back. “I refuse to take the child in my care into the field.”
Clint’s blood runs cold at that statement.
“She is the Black Widow,” The man tells her. “Either gear up or get out.”
The door opens and Clint backs up as he comes face to face with Lucia.
Her hair is pulled back into a messy ponytail and she’s wearing a black SHIELD uniform. “Clint!” She was surprised.
Clint reaches out and places a hand onto her shoulder. “You stood your ground.”
Lucia lets out a half-smile.
“Here. Go get changed,” Clint passes over the bag with her things. “I need to have a word.”
Lucia looks back at the door. “Okay.”
Clint was pleased that she didn’t fuss as she takes the bag and heads into the bathroom.
Clint steps into the room.
“I thought I told you to get out Garcià!” The man snaps.
“My name isn’t Garcià, sir,” Clint dryly informs him.
The man’s head shoots up with wide eyes and he stutters over his words. “Mr—Hawkeye—sir!”
“I wanted to get one thing straight,” Clint swaggers over to lean over the man. “That kid in her care is my best friend and I would kill for her. If I hear another word about the kid or threatening that agent for doing her job, then I promise you will regret it.”
The man swallows and nods. “Yes, sir.”
“Great,” Clint pulls back with a grin. “Have a great day!”
Clint moves back into the hallway where Lucia was now in a baseball tee and jeans with her hair brushed neatly back.
“You done?” Lucia doesn’t hide the small smile on her lips.
“Yup!” Clint throws an arm around Lucia’s shoulder and realizes how easy it is to be around her.
They joke and banter all the way back.
Lucia and Clint enter the building and take the elevator up to the kitchen.
“Welcome back, Lucy-loo!” Tony greets her.
“Lulu!” Natasha squeals in joy from where she was sitting with Pepper. She bounces and reaches towards her.
“Hola, chica,” Lucia moves to pluck Natasha from Pepper’s lap and twirls her around. “¿Dormiste bien anoche?”
Natasha easily reclaims her place on Lucia’s hip, gripping fistfuls of her shirt to keep balance and leans into Lucia’s shoulder.
“Did she eat?” Lucia questioned.
“Yes. Now it’s your turn,” Tony pushes her into a seat at the table and a plate of food was pushed in front of her.
Natasha was moved to Lucia’s lap and leaned into her chest as Lucia eats.
“How was your night in the medbay?” Steve questioned.
“Eh. Same as usual,” Lucia shrugs. “Nurses just don’t leave you alone.”
“Amen,” Clint nods.
“As usual?” Tony repeats. “You’ve been before?”
“Ah,” Lucia blushes. “I get hurt easily.”
“It surely can’t be all because of missions?” Clint frowns.
“Nope. Most of it is from training,” Lucia admits.
“Training shouldn’t hurt you like that,” Pepper pipes up with a frown and turns towards the others. “Right?”
“Not if done properly,” Steve shakes his head.
“Eh, my handler is just tough,” Lucia shrugs.
“Oh, hell no!” Clint slams his glass onto the table. “We are not talking about that same jackass. I should have kicked his ass!”
“Clint?” Steve questioned.
“That’s it. Lucia, you work for us now not SHIELD, you don’t have to take their bullshit,” Clint tells Lucia. “We hereby adopt you. SHIELD can’t have you back.”
“I’m twenty-two, not twelve,” Lucia laughs. “I am a SHIELD agent. I became one to do good.”
“But not at the expense of children,” Clint sighs.
“What are you talking about?” Tony asks.
So, Clint explains it at Lucia’s nod. The others were rightfully angry.
“Have you talked to Fury about this?” Tony questioned. “Patchy the pirate may be an asshole, but I think he likes Natasha.”
“Just wanted to get out before he found an arrow in his forehead,” Clint admits.
“le dices,” Lucia mumbles with a smile.
After breakfast, Lucia takes Natasha to the living room to play with her. To her surprise, Tony sits on the floor next to her.
“I need to talk to you,” Tony mumbles.
“Do you need to talk in private?” Lucia questioned. “Not in front of Natasha?”
“That’s what we need to talk about,” Tony sighs.
And Tony tells Lucia about what he found out.
hola chica- hello girl
¿dormiste bien anoche?- did you sleep well last night?
le dices- you tell him
Lucia and Natasha hash out a communication system after Lucia finds out about Natasha's adult part of the mind.
oh dios mío- oh my god
¿qué? Tony? ¿que pasó?- what? Tony? What happened?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The news of Natasha’s state surprised Lucia.
Lucia dismissed them directly after, carrying Natasha to their room. She grabs her SHIELD iPad and opens up the drawing app after placing Natasha safely in her bouncer.
She can feel Natasha’s eyes on her as she scribbles onto her tablet.
“Okay. Let’s see if this works,” Lucia takes a seat in front of Natasha and presents her tablet where she had written four lines of letters and two circles. The circle in the left hand read ‘YES’ and the circle in the right hand read ‘NO’.
Then there was the four lines of letters.
YES ABCDEF NO
“We need to talk right now if it’s true,” Lucia explained. “I’m going ask you questions, and I need you to answer me. Can you do that?”
Natasha nods and Lucia props the tablet in front of her.
“Is it true that your adult self is still in there?” Lucia questioned.
Natasha taps the ‘YES’.
Lucia takes a deep breath. “Okay. I feel that we need to set up some rules then. Are you still comfortable with me as your ‘guardian’ now that I know of your current position?”
Lucia waits as Natasha’s eyes flicker over the options.
She eventually settles on ‘YES’.
“Okay,” Lucia nods. “I feel like we need a better and quick way to communicate. Do you agree?”
“Okay. So, let’s start with a signal that you need me to stop. Maybe I’m doing something you don’t like. You pat me three times anywhere on my body and I will stop, and we can talk. Does that sound okay?” Lucia proposed.
“Uh. What else do we need? You still have your ‘spy’ in there?” Lucia questioned. “I’m a level two SHIELD agent. You’re level nine and have way more experience than me. Do you still get that feeling right before something goes wrong?”
Natasha frown and taps out an answer.
S O M E T I M E S
“Okay. Let’s say that we’re out in public and you get a feeling that we need to leave, and I don’t. Like any kid would to, grab some of my hair and tug twice and I can leave safely and fast. Does that work?” Lucia inquired.
“How about YES and NO? Tap my left shoulder for yes and right for no?” Lucia suggests.
“Alright. What else should we have a signal for?” Lucia questioned. “Any idea?”
She waits patiently as Natasha taps out an answer.
N E E D. M E. M A K E. D I S T R A C T I O N
“Right. Okay. Maybe I sense something is wrong and you don’t. If I need you to cause a scene by throwing a full out tantrum so we can leave I’ll, uh…” Lucia frowns in thought. “I’ll tap the bottom of your right foot three times. Then there will be no doubt.”
Lucia then adds in. “And if I need you to keep absolutely quiet then I’ll tap the bottom of your left foot three times.”
Lucia frowns. “I think that’s it. Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about us. Do you want me to change anything about the routine I set up for us? I can give you a little more freedom or not confine you when it’s just us.”
Lucia thought the answer would be immediate, but Natasha stops and thinks.
P A R T. A D U L T. P A R T. I N F A N T. N O T. S A F E.
“So, part of you is there and part of you has reverted back to infantile instincts?” Lucia questioned.
“Okay. And you don’t want me to change anything because you might let loose and it won’t be safe,” Lucia checks in.
“Oh Dios mío,” Lucia mumbled. “So, let’s clear this up. You don’t want to change anything that I’m doing right now?”
“Alright. Unless there is anything else that you need to tell me then I think we’re done talking,” Lucia tells her.
Natasha taps out another answer.
W A L K I N G.
“Oh, cool. Sure, I’ll see about some safe things we can do to help you about walking,” Lucia nods. “Anything else?”
Lucia pulls the tablet away and shuts it down, putting it away before heading back towards Natasha and scooping her up.
Nothing really changed in Lucia and Natasha’s routine. The only difference was Lucia giving Natasha more options.
What did she want to wear? Eat? Play? Do?
Lucia did more paperwork for SHIELD that they suddenly piled on. It was double the amount as usual and Lucia struggled to finish it.
Natasha knew that Lucia didn’t sleep so much anymore. She knew that she needed to intervene when Lucia spent a few minutes staring at a blank wall and mumbling the mission reports that had been ingrained in her head from doing them so much.
Lucia picks Natasha up to get her ready for bed and Natasha taps Lucia’s cheek three times.
Lucia freezes in her tracks. “Are you okay?” She looks down at Natasha. “Is something wrong?”
She places the pajamas she got out aside and carried Natasha over to her tablet, saving her work and opening the same drawing as before.
“Okay, here,” Lucia props the tablet up again.
Natasha didn’t really think that Lucia would stop. Lucia was bigger than her. She didn’t have to listen. She could make Natasha do whatever she wanted.
But she didn’t.
Natasha works on tapping out her message.
S L E E P. T O N Y.
“You want to sleep with Tony?” Lucia questioned. “Is something wrong? Did I do something wrong?”
Natasha hadn’t intended to make Lucia panic.
N O. M O R E. W O R K.
“What?” Lucia frowns. “I don’t understand.”
Natasha points a finger to where Lucia had been working, to the collection of coffee cups, to the crumpled papers, to the stack of papers.
“You want me to take a break?” Lucia guessed. “I’m sorry. I still don’t understand. You know that I need to get this done.”
Natasha was never more frustrated that she couldn’t speak.
T A K E. A. B R E A K. S L E E P.
“I think I get it,” Lucia nods. “You want to sleep with Tony so that I can get a full night.”
Natasha nods pleased that Lucia pieced it together.
“I have so much work to do,” Lucia mumbled, eyes trailing to the stack of papers. “Maldición.”
Lucia runs a hand through her messy hair and grimaces. “Okay. I admit that I can use a break. Are you sure?”
“Okay. I’ll finish getting you ready and take you to him,” Lucia nods. “JARVIS would you let Tony know?”
“Certainly,” JARVIS confirms.
Lucia shuts her tablet down and places it back and pulls Natasha back into her arms. “You did a great job letting me know that we needed to talk.”
Natasha soaks up the praise she didn’t know she needed as Lucia sets upon doing about their night routine once again.
Lucia gets Natasha dressed in her pajamas and grabs her stuffed penguin and blanket, carrying them out into the elevator.
Natasha was falling asleep in her arms and Lucia was having second thoughts about letting Natasha leave but Natasha wanted this. Lucia would listen.
Tony greets them in the lab. “Guess I have to go to bed now too, huh?” He grins as he accepts the stuffed animal and blanket before taking the half-asleep toddler from Lucia.
“Don’t hesitate to wake me up if you need help,” Lucia rocks on her feet.
“I won’t,” Tony promises. “Go get some beauty sleep Lucy-loo. You look like you need it.”
“Tony!” Lucia grins and gently bumps his shoulder that didn’t have the sleepy toddler on it. “Goodnight.”
“Night, boring nanny.”
Lucia doesn’t sleep as well. She shared a room at SHIELD and with Natasha she could still hear the soft breathing of someone else.
The room was too quiet. There is still caffeine in her system and Lucia’s mind keeps going back to all the paperwork that she has left.
She eventually gets out of bed and makes her way to the kitchen to get a warm drink.
To her surprise, Clint was there, hunched over the counter in his pajamas and bedhead and cradling a mug of something close to his chest.
“Clint?” Lucia speaks up.
Clint jumps and whirls around to look at her. He relaxes when he sees that it’s just her. “Lucia.”
“Can’t sleep either?” Lucia questioned as she opens the cabinet to get some tea.
“Yeah,” Clint sighs. “Where’s Natasha? Still sleeping?”
“Tony took her for the night so that I can sleep,” Lucia shrugs.
“Yeah. Used to bunking with someone, huh?” Clint questioned.
“Yup,” Lucia frowns at her choices.
“Want me to make you a hot drink?” Clint offers. “Natasha used to say that I could make a pretty mean hot chocolate.”
She could see he was itching to do something and take his mind from whatever was bothering him.
“That sounds lovely,” She admits. “Thank you, Clint.”
Clint jumps up and gets to work as Lucia takes a seat at the counter.
They sit in comfortable silence as Clint flutters about before producing a mug of hot chocolate and whipped cream with chocolate shavings on top.
“Looks delicious,” Lucia accepts the mug. “My brother tried to make hot milk once and nearly burned the house down.”
“Sounds like a danger in the kitchen,” Clint comments. “Same for Tony. Don’t let him near anything but the coffee and that’s only because it’s a machine.”
Lucia grins. “I was in a foster home when I was younger and one day the biological child had a birthday. The mother wanted to show off and make a handmade cake for her precious baby. She forgot the thing was in the oven and nearly burned the house down. The fire destroyed the living room and kitchen and I was relocated.”
“You either know how to cook very well or you’re a hazard to society,” Clint nods, taking a sip of his drink.
Lucia picks up hers and takes a sip, letting the warmth flood through her.
“Sometimes, when Natasha and I can’t sleep, we sneak down here to watch shitty reality TV,” Clint suddenly pipes up. “Would you like to join me?”
Shitty reality TV sounded exactly like what Lucia needed. “Yeah.”
The move out to the living room where Clint makes a pretty good nest of blankets and pillows. He wasn’t afraid about being touchy-feely and cuddled up close to Lucia.
They watch ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ and ‘Real Housewives’ until Lucia’s head is drooping.
“Go to sleep, I’ve got your back,” Clint mumbles.
Lucia lets her head fall onto Clint’s shoulder and closes her eyes.
Natasha wakes up in a panic.
The nightmares were different than usual. The talk with Lucia brought up bad memories. Being used. Having no control.
Lucia isn’t there to comfort her. She didn’t even remember what she told Lucia until Tony’s concerned face was hovering over hers.
“Nat? What’s wrong? What happened?” Tony questioned.
He reaches for her and Natasha needs him to stop.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“What—” Tony pulls back.
Natasha realizes that he’s not Lucia.
“Lulu,” Natasha manages to get out between sobs. “Lulu!”
“Okay. Okay. C’mon, we’ll go to Lucia,” Tony reaches for her again, but she shoves his touch away.
“Nat, you need to work with me,” Tony pleads. “Just until I can get you to Lucia. You want Lucia, right?”
His touch hurts and she squirmed but lets him pick her up. She can’t get the infantile side of her mind to shut up. It’s screaming. Scared. Upset.
Tony enters the elevator. “To Lucia’s room,” He instructs.
“Miss Garcià is currently in the living room,” JARVIS informs him.
“Then to wherever she is,” Tony corrects.
The elevator descends and they exit into the living room.
Lucia was tucked under Clint’s arm, fast asleep. Clint’s head was tilted back as he slept to and the television played a random reality show.
“Lucia!” Tony approaches.
“¿Qué? Tony? ¿Que pasó?” Lucia jerks awake, waking Clint up too.
Lucia sees Natasha in his arms and holds out hers.
Tony practically shoves Natasha into her arms.
“Shh, it’s okay, chica,” Lucia soothes. “It’s alright. You’re safe.”
Natasha doesn’t feel safe. She grabs Lucia’s hair and pulls twice.
“You’re not in any danger. You’re at the tower,” Lucia promises, standing and leaving Clint so that she could talk to Natasha properly. “I know you don’t feel safe, but you are. I promise.”
Lucia sways and soothes Natasha just like before.
Natasha had been afraid that revealing that some of her adult self was left behind would make Lucia stop comforting her after nightmares or swaying or singing.
“You’re thinking too hard, chica,” Lucia softly comments. “Do you want something warm to drink?”
Natasha taps Lucia’s left shoulder. YES.
Lucia moves towards the kitchen and expertly prepares a bottle while swaying.
Clint usually helped with her nightmares, but Clint had no idea that she was still part adult and even if he did, they couldn’t do what they usually did which was train and spar.
“Here you go,” Lucia guides the bottle to Natasha’s mouth. “You’re okay. I’ve got you.”
Perhaps they weren’t ready to sleep apart yet.
Quick overview of Natasha and Lucia’s communication.
Natasha to Lucia:
Three taps anywhere- stop
Tap on right shoulder- no
Tap on left shoulder- yes
Two tugs on her hair- we need to leave now/ not safe
Lucia to Natasha:
Three taps on the bottom of her right foot- make a distraction
Three taps to the bottom of her left foot- keep silent
When Lucia's handler threatens the safety of Natasha, Lucia has to speak with Maria Hill and Director Fury.
No me sentia segura- I do not feel safe
Cálmese- calm down
When Natasha is an adult, she rarely got sick. If she did she would sweat it out in a matter of days.
When Natasha was an infant, however, that was a whole other story.
Lucia picks up on it immediately, before Natasha does.
“You’re getting sick, chica ,” Lucia pats Natasha on the back as she coughs.
“No,” Natasha denies it.
The fever hits hard. Natasha is tired all the time and finds herself slipping into the infantile side of her mind more often. She’s often upset because she does not feel good.
The others think of her as nothing more than a pile of germs and don’t want to touch her with a ten-foot pole.
A sick Natasha is a clingy Natasha. She wants to be held and carried everywhere because her mindset is slipping and she only trusts Lucia to hold her and keep her safe.
Lucia runs herself ragged trying to keep up with Natasha and the work Shield sends. She finds herself napping with Natasha because it’s one of the few times she can sleep.
Lucia ends up having to take a sick Natasha to her psychologist’s appointment because she couldn’t cancel and the others could barely watch Natasha when she wasn’t ill.
Agents stop and stare at her when she passes because they know that she doesn’t have kids and the one in her arms looks absolutely nothing like her.
Natasha sleeps through her whole appointment and the psychologist doesn’t ask questions so Lucia doesn’t give answers.
She signed an NDA anyway.
Lucia is stopped by her handler, Josh Maxwell on the way out and he stares at Natasha with joy.
“Ah, it’s so great you came by,” He grins, moving to wrap an arm around Lucia. “I wanted to ask you if you’ve reconsidered my proposition.”
Lucia wakes Natasha up a little even though she hates it because she might need a quick escape.
Natasha can hear Lucia’s heartbeat hammering in her chest and tries to shake the fuzzy feeling of the infant side of her brain because Lucia is scared .
“I told you I don’t take kids into the field,” Lucia repeats. “Did you not share words with Hawkeye about that?”
Maxwell scowls. “We could always send in someone else.”
“Why is it so important? Huh?” Lucia demands.
“Do not raise your voice to me, Garcià!” Maxwell barks.
“Shh,” Lucia shushes him. “Do you want to wake the sick sleepy toddler up!?”
“I’ll cut your paperwork in half if you do it,” He bargains.
“You’ve already tripled it because I said no. I would still have more paperwork than before,” Lucia points out.
“One mission,” He tells her. “It will be safe.”
“You cannot guarantee that,” Lucia argues.
“Not one hair on her head will be harmed,” Maxwell reaches out to touch Natasha’s head but Lucia slaps his hand away. He grabs her wrist and twists it in retaliation.
“I know you did not just raise your hand to me,” He replies in a slow voice.
“She is my ward,” Lucia starts. “She is sick and she is tired. If you wake her up then I will bite your head off because it took me three hours to get her to sleep.”
Maxwell lets go of her wrist and reaches out to her and places a hand onto her shoulder. “Let’s take a walk.”
tap. tap. tap.
Three taps to the bottom of Natasha’s right foot makes her sit up a little because someone in her sleep ridden sick infant mind she knows that it’s a code.
She realizes that Lucia needs her to cause a scene to escape.
So she wiggles a little and starts to sniffle before she makes herself cry. Crying hurts her sore throat and her body is riddled with fatigue but Lucia needed her and the quicker she got rid of the man then the quicker Lucia could get them home.
“I’m sorry, I have to go,” Lucia tells him over Natasha’s sobs. “We’ll talk another time.”
She makes her escape before her handler can tell her otherwise. She ducks into an empty conference room and quickly works on calming Natasha down.
“You did so good,” Lucia promised as she holds Natasha close. “I’m sorry I woke you up.”
Natasha doesn’t care. Something about that man screamed ‘danger’ to her and she almost used her signal.
Lucia takes them to the cafeteria and buys a yogurt that she feeds Natasha to soothe her throat from the screaming she just did.
“Does that feel better?” Lucia questioned as Natasha ate.
“Agent Garcià,” Maria Hill approaches Lucia and Lucia straightens upon seeing the commander.
“Commander Hill,” Lucia greets her.
“I was given a request to watch over her while you meet with your handler,” Maria gestured to Natasha.
“I’m not comfortable handing her over,” Lucia tells her. “She’s ill at the moment commander and incredibly fussy.”
“He wants ten minutes,” Maria folds her arms. “Why won’t you meet with him?”
Lucia glances around at the other agents before looking back up at Maria. “I told you.”
“No, you gave me an excuse, not a reason,” Maria glares at her. “Hand me the child and go to your meeting, Garcià.”
Lucia grimaces. “Alright. May we please talk in private, commander?”
Maria raises an eyebrow but nods and gestures for Lucia to follow her. They head into a nearby empty conference room and Maria shuts the door.
“What is the issue, Garcià?” She questioned.
“I am avoiding meeting with my handler because…” Lucia fidgets and Natasha wraps her arms around her neck for comfort. “ No me sentia segura ,” She blurts before she realizes she didn’t phrase it in English. “I do not feel safe.”
“You do not feel safe?” Maria repeats, stance straightening. “What makes you not feel safe?”
“My handler, ma’am,” Lucia reaches up to pat Natasha’s back when she coughs.
“You do not feel safe around your handler?” Maria repeats.
“Yes ma’am,” Lucia nods.
“Has he acted some way towards you that made you feel unsafe?” Maria questioned.
Lucia shifts Natasha to one arm so she can pull up the sleeve on her uniform to reveal the bruising starting to form.
Maria stalks closer and reaches for Lucia’s arm, grasping her forearm and inspecting the injury. “He grabbed you?”
“He tried to grab Natasha,” Lucia corrects. “I pushed his hand away and he grabbed me.”
Maria’s eyes shift to look at the sleepy toddler in her arms. “He tried to grab Natasha?” She repeats.
“I was told by the director that I was off duty for now and would only handle paperwork,” Lucia pulls her arm back to her side as Maria lets go. “My handler is pushing for me to go out onto the field.”
“And Natasha makes you say no?” Maria questioned.
“He wants me to take Natasha with me,” Lucia corrects.
Maria’s eyes shoot up to look at Lucia and they narrow. “He’s pushing you to take her into the field and you declined and he keeps pursuing you.”
“Yes ma’am,” Lucia nods. “The mission he wants me to take on is dangerous and too risky not to mention the fact that I refuse to bring a child with me onto the field.”
Maria nods. “Very well. Follow me.”
Lucia follows Maria as she heads to the director’s office.
“Director,” Maria knocks.
“Enter,” Fury calls out and Maria opens the door, Lucia filing in before Maria closes the door.
“Agent Garcià,” Fury looks at her. “What brings you to my office?”
“There is an issue with Maxwell, sir,” Maria pipes up.
“Agent Maxwell?” Fury repeats. “I’ve received no complaints about him.”
“It’s regarding Natasha, sir,” Maria tells him.
Fury’s eye darts to look at the sick toddler in Lucia’s arms. “What about her?”
“Agent Maxwell is pushing Agent Garcià to go back onto the field and take Agen-- Natasha with her,” Maria doesn’t refer to Natasha as Agent Romanoff.
Fury’s eye narrows. “I see. He is not pushing anyone else.”
“Agent Barton threatened him,” Lucia pipes up drawing attention to her.
“Why? I was not informed of this incident,” Maria questioned. “You didn’t mention that.”
“I have refused before and Agent Barton found out what he wanted to do with Natasha and threatened him because he threatened her safety,” Lucia explained.
“I see,” Fury sighed. “You are not cleared for fieldwork, Agent Garcià.”
“I know sir. That is why I keep turning him down,” Lucia tells him.
“I will make sure he knows,” Fury nods. “Report to him tomorrow for a new assignment regarding paperwork you should do.”
“Sir, one more thing,” Maria steps forward. “Lucia does not feel safe with her handler.”
“For fucks sake,” Fury growls and Natasha jumps.
“Shh,” Lucia looks down at the bleary toddler. “It’s alright. You’re okay.”
“Lulu,” Natasha mumbles, wiggling in Lucia’s arms. “Sleepy.”
“I know, we’ll be home soon,” Lucia gently bounces her.
“Is it pushing missions on you that makes you not feel safe?” Fury sighs.
“It’s assault, correct?” Maria looks to Lucia.
“Yes ma’am,” Lucia nods. “He grabbed me when I wouldn’t let him touch Natasha.”
“He grabbed you?” Fury leans forward, noticing the bruising peeking out from below the uniform sleeve Lucia wore.
“Yes sir,” Lucia nods again.
Fury hums. “When did this incident take place?”
“The grabbing or the one with Agent Barton?” Lucia questioned.
“Both,” He replied.
“The one with Agent Barton took place a week ago after I checked out from the infirmary. The grabbing happened about a half-hour ago,” Lucia answered.
“Hill, pull up the feed from that time,” Fury orders.
Maria pulls out her tablet and types before handing it over to Fury.
Fury watches it and his eye gradually narrows. “I see,” He hums.
Natasha wiggles in Lucia’s arms until she can see Fury as she tries to shove the overwhelming part of her mind that wanted to let her sleep. This was important. Lucia needed her.
“I apologize for the behavior Agent Maxwell displayed,” Fury straightens. “We do not condone his actions towards you and your ward. He will be properly disciplined. Hill.”
Maria straightened at her name.
“Who can we transfer Agent Garcià to?” Fury passes her back her tablet.
Maria frowns as she checks. “All current handlers for agents levels 2-6 are full,” She reports.
Fury hums in acknowledgment. “You are level two, correct?”
“Yes, sir,” Lucia nods.
“Bump her security up to level seven,” Fury instructs.
Maria’s head snaps up to look at him. “Are you sure? That’s a five-level jump.”
“I can do math, Hill,” Fury’s eye turns it’s stare to her. “Do it. She’s not staying with Agent Maxell.”
“Level seven will let you protect yourself,” Fury directs his attention to Lucia. “Do not let your handlers put their hands on you in a violent manner. You can retaliate. Anyone who threatens your safety or the safety of Natasha.”
“I just didn’t want him to hurt Natasha,” Lucia replies.
“Done,” Maria pipes up.
“You now have level seven clearance,” Fury tells Lucia. “Do not make me regret it.”
Natasha coughs and Lucia shifts her to help her breathe easier. “I won’t sir. Thank you.”
“Was there anything else?” Fury inquired.
“The files I receive,” Lucia starts. “I receive almost all of levels one and two. Will I expect it to grow more?”
“Grow more?” Maria repeats. “You should be doing it in your spare time. Your main priority is Natasha’s wellbeing and safety.”
Lucia frowns at that. “Agent Maxwell had my paperwork tripled as punishment.”
Fury lets out a groan. “Seriously?”
“Your workload should not have been tripled. I didn’t approve that,” Maria informs Lucia. “Why did you not bring this to my attention?”
“I was threatened with demotion for complaining,” Lucia mumbled a little at seeing their dismayed faces.
“I cannot expect you to do that much work and be the primary guardian of Natasha,” Maria frowns. “Where did you find time to do that?”
“I didn’t sleep and took naps with Natasha,” Lucia admits quietly.
Maria reaches up to pinch the bridge of her nose in exasperation.
“Okay. From now on you are on paid vacation. Natasha is your number one concern. No paperwork or field missions. I don’t want to see you back here unless it’s for your mandated psychologist meetings. That is an order. Is that clear?” Maria was clearly frustrated.
“Yes ma’am,” Lucia relaxes a little.
“If Agent Maxwell approaches you again, you inform him to come and talk to me,” Maria instructs.
“Now fuck off,” Fury tells her. “Unless you have more shit you need.”
“No. Thank you so much,” Lucia was filled with relief.
“Don’t forget to pick up your new badge,” Maria tells her as Lucia turns to leave.
Lucia couldn’t hide the bruise from a well-trained spy. Clint saw it as soon as she got off the elevator. His eyes narrowed onto it.
“Who did that?” He demanded.
“My handler,” Lucia replied.
“That bastard!” Clint swore and Natasha jumped at the noise. Clint tried to move into the elevator but Lucia grabs his arm.
“ Cálmese , Clint,” Lucia soothes. “Commander Hill and Director Fury handled it.”
“It was so fucked up that they had to get involved?” Clint grumbled darkly.
“Knock it off, you’re scaring Natasha,” Lucia snaps and Clint reels back in surprise. “Fury gave me level seven clearance and I’m officially on paid vacation.”
Clin sighed and runs his hand through his hair. “Sorry for getting angry. How about I watch Nat while you sleep?”
“I think she’ll just take a nap with me,” Lucia tells him. “But thank you.”
“Tony likes you,” Clint suddenly comments. “If you have to hurt him, he can hire you some good lawyers. If you need to hide a body, I’m your guy.”
Lucia grins. “Thank you, Clint.”
“I told you,” Clint ruffles her hair and she protests. “We adopted you. Families help each other hide bodies, right? I never had a normal family.’
“You’re asking the wrong person,” Lucia laughs.
“Right,” Clint shrugs. “Well, I’ll still help you hide a dead body and make you cocoa afterward.”
Lucia’s lips quirk up. “He should be properly disciplined. They moved my handler.”
“Who do you have now?” Clint questioned.
“Dunno. I’ll get a report stating it and my new contract,” Lucia shrugs. “I’m going to head upstairs and take a nap.”
“You do that,” Clint nods.
Lucia heads upstairs to her room and sighs. She sets the diaper bag down and sighs.
“Okay?” Natasha croaks.
“Yeah,” Lucia looks down at her. “You did great. I’m sorry that you had to hurt your throat to get us out of that situation.”
Natasha shakes her head. “Help.”
“Yeah. You helped a lot. Thank you,” Lucia smiles. “I don’t know about you but I’m really tired. How about a nap?”
Natasha nods and Lucia stands, moving towards her crib.
“No,” Natasha wiggles and Lucia pauses. “Sleep you.”
“Alright,” Lucia sighs. “But only because you’re sick.”
Natasha grins as Lucia plugs in cold air humidifier and makes a wall of pillows so Natasha doesn’t roll off the bed and settles Natasha down between her and the wall.
“Do you worry?” Lucia quietly questioned.
Natasha turns to look at her. “What?”
“About the future. What will happen if Tony can’t fix this?” Lucia’s voice was soft.
Natasha’s uncoordinated fingers mess with the zipper on her pajamas. She lets out a soft breath. “Scared.”
“Don’t wanna,” Natasha struggles to get the words out. “Grow up ‘gain.”
Lucia nods. “I understand. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling.”
Natasha lets out a hiccup that turns to a cough as a couple of tears slide by.
“You don’t have to keep being tough,” Lucia comments. “I can see you struggle with the other side. Does it hurt to stay in control?”
“No,” Natasha shakes her head. “Hard.”
“You know,” Lucia starts. “You don’t have to fight it. You’re safe here. I won’t let anything happen to you. You can let go.”
Natasha shakes her head. “No.”
“I know you’re scared,” Lucia whispers, reaching out to smooth back some of Natasha’s hair. “But what if fighting it is just making it harder. What if you let go and then when you come back you can think again?”
“Little bit?” Natasha frowns. “Now?”
“If you want to drop now I can stay awake and I will keep you safe. If you want to drop later you can drop later. You don’t have to tell me, I’ll know,” Lucia promised.
“Kay,” Natasha mumbles. “Sleep now.”
“You’re the boss,” Lucia lets out a small laugh and stays awake just long enough to watch Natasha fall into a gentle sleep.
She doesn’t last much longer after that.
Lucia leaves for her weekly psychiatric appointment at SHIELD.
She doesn't come home.
¿mi hermana?- my sister?
¿conoces a Lucia?- you know lucia?
un hombre- a man
de miedo- scary
una cicatriz aquí- a scar here
¡ese es el!- that’s him!
edificio vacio- empty building
sin ventanas- no windows
¿puedo ver a lucia?- can i see lucia?
The next time that Lucia went to see her psychologist, Natasha was feeling better and opted to stay home.
Lucia was supposed to be gone for between two and four hours.
Natasha waits with the others, unable to sense something was amiss.
Lucia didn’t come home.
Natasha immediately knew that there was something wrong when it was dinner time and Lucia wasn’t back yet.
She promised to be back before dinner.
“Lulu?” Natasha questioned.
“Lucia’s probably just running a little late,” Clint tells her through mouthfuls of food.
Tony is the one that feeds her because Tony was the one that Natasha deferred to when she couldn’t be with Lucia.
The worry started to come when the sun started to go down.
“Lulu?” Natasha reminds Tony.
“I don’t know, squirt,” Tony hums. “Jarvis, text Lucia and see where she is.”
Ten minutes pass with no reply and Tony sighs.
“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” Tony grumbles before looking down at Natasha. “I’m going to go kick Patchy the Pirate around to see where Lucia is. Do you want to come or stay?”
“Go,” Natasha knew that despite the others stepping up to the plate that they weren’t prepared to look after her for long periods of time.
“Okay,” Tony sighs. “Your bag in your room?”
Tony gathers up the diaper bag and Natasha and heads out.
They arrive as the sun sets and many agents had gone home.
Tony enters and heads directly to the director’s office.
Tony knocks on the door but opens it anyways.
“Stark?” Maria questioned, going over information with Fury.
“The one and only,” Tony nods. “Where is she?”
“What on earth are you talking about?” Fury demands.
“Lucia. Where is she?” Tony repeats, shifting Natasha to his other arm.
“Agent Gari á isn’t here,” Maria slowly informs him. “She left three hours ago.”
Tony’s grin drops off his face. “She left?”
They straighten. “She did. Did she not arrive back?”
“We thought she was still here,” Tony growls, reaching up to run a hand through his hair. “She’s not answering her phone.”
Fear grips at Natasha , the younger side of her mind wanting to cry for her.
“You have not had any contact with her since she left?” Fury questioned.
“No. Are you sure she left?” Tony questioned, his voice becoming pleading.
“Hill, pull up security footage for the approximate time Agent Gari á left her appointment.” Fury instructs.
Maria taps on her tablet and pulls up the footage.
Tony nears them to see, setting the diaper bag by his feet.
“She left at the right time,” Maria mumbles as they watch Lucia exit the room and start to head towards the exit.
“Who is that?” Tony taps the face of a man.
“Agent Maxwell,” Fury frowns. “He shouldn’t have been there.”
Tony watches as Maxwell’s hand snaps out and wraps around Lucia’s as she passes.
Lucia retaliates, moving to break the hold and push him against the wall.
Maxwell swipes his leg out and Lucia’s legs buckle and he takes that moment to pull her head close to his face. He mumbles something and the fight leaves Lucia.
Lucia’s eyes find the camera and her hand pats her leg three times.
Natasha perks up because she knew that signal. Three pats meant that there was trouble.
“Lulu!” Natasha grabs at Tony’s shirt to get his attention.
“What does that mean? What do three taps mean?” Tony questioned.
“It’s usually a short signal for SOS,” Maria frowns. “Something happened.”
“Follow her,” Tony commands and Maria obliges, swiping through the cameras to follow the path that Maxwell and Lucia make.
Lucia’s eyes were darting around as Maxwell keeps a grip on her uniform to lead her.
Then they disappear from the camera. The trail ends and it was like they vanished into thin air.
Natasha can’t help the tears that escape as she cries.
“Hey,” Tony straightens, adjusting Natasha. “It’s alright. We’ll find her.”
He looks at Maria. “Would you grab her pacifier from the bag?”
Maria raises an eyebrow but fishes out the designated item, passing it to Tony.
“So Agent Maxell abducted her,” Fury lets out a resigned sigh. “She said she didn’t feel safe.”
“When?” Tony’s eyes narrow as he gives Natasha the pacifier.
“Last week,” Maria frowns. “She didn’t tell you?”
“She probably told Clint. He hated her handler,” Tony frowns. “I want his file.”
“We cannot just give--” Fury starts but Tony holds one hand up.
“I am going to get his file. Either you give it to me or I take it,” His voice was low and dangerous. “Nobody fucks with my boring nanny.”
“Give him the file,” Fury sighs.
Maria nods and pulls up the file for Tony to look over.
“I see,” Tony nods, eyes taking in all the data. “His file is so vanilla that it’s concerning.”
Tony looks at Maria. “Hold her for a second. I’ll be back.”
Maria’s eyes grow wide as Tony pushes Natasha into her arms and stalks out of the room.
Natasha did not like the way Maria was holding her. She wiggles and protests and Maria panics. Natasha spits her pacifier out in protest so that she could cry.
“For fuck’s sake, Hill,” Fury growls. “It’s a baby, not a bomb. Hold her closer.”
Maria pulls Natasha closer to her and Natasha latches onto her uniform to pull herself closer.
Maria’s arms were thin and delicate but they were wrong. They weren’t like Lucia’s safe hands.
“Lulu!” Natasha sobs, ignoring Maria’s frantic shushing.
“You’re hopeless, Hill,” Fury sighs. “Give her here.”
Maria’s head darts to look at him. “Sir?”
“Give me the fucking baby,” Fury holds his arms out.
Maria all too happily passes Natasha to him.
Natasha was kinda scared to be in the director’s arms but she had to admit that he knew how to hold her. His arms were strong and he wasn’t going to drop her.
Fury’s gloved hands rhythmically pat her back as he waits.
Tony returns, a camera from the wall in hand. “I looked through the security footage and--”
“Are you holding the baby?” Tony questioned. “I never thought you as a type to hold babies.”
“Stark,” Maria sighs. “What did you find?”
“Right,” Tony holds out the camera. “It was taped over. Someone with technological knowledge not only messed with the camera but had the security level to override it without an alert.”
Tony sets the camera down on Fury’s desk as Natasha turns and reaches her arms out to Tony.
As much as she trusted the director not to drop her, he scared her.
Tony leans forward and plucks her from his arms, pulling her closer and humming a little to calm her.
“Is anybody else missing?” Tony questioned.
Maria quickly sifts through the agents that had clocked out and gone to bed and the ones that were on missions.
“Just Gari á,” She replies.
Tony lets out a swear and starts to pace. “God damned it, Lucia.”
“You haven’t heard from her since she left this morning?” Maria double-checked.
“No. She gave instructions for the baby, said goodbye and left,” Tony sighs. “Can you get agents on this?”
“You want us to spend time and resources find the rookie agent that watches Natasha?” Fury questioned.
“No,” Tony shakes his head. “I want you to find my Lucy-loo. The agent who doesn’t hesitate to call me out on my bullshit and who sits with Clint when he has nightmares. Find me my family.”
Fury eye’s Tony but nods. “Very well.”
Tony ponders over something when an idea came to him. “Family… you keep tabs on your agent’s families, right?”
“Indeed,” Fury nods.
“Check on her siblings. Uh… Gabriel, Isabella, and Camila.” Tony recalls the breakdown Lucia had in the kitchen.
“You think he threatened her siblings?” Maria questioned as she taps on her tablet.
“That is the only other thing I could think of,” Tony sighs. “I mean, there’s Natasha but Lucia knows that we wouldn’t hand Natasha over to a random stranger and she would be with us.”
Maria stops swiping and her eyes narrow.
“What?” Tony questioned.
“Gabriel Gari á never returned home from school today,” Maria sighs. “The twelve-year-old got on the bus to go home and never made it off.”
“Why wasn’t it reported?” Tony demands.
“It was written off as a runaway,” Maria frowns as she reads the report.
“You think Agent Maxwell abducted a child to terrorize Agent Gari á?” Fury repeats, eyebrow raised.
Natasha wiggles unhappily in Tony’s arms and he sighed.
Maria looks to the squirming toddler.
“Are you able to handle her?” Maria questioned. “You pulled agent Gari á in because you were scared to take care of her.”
“Lucia has shown us how to care for her and leaves her with us. I have Jarvis and Pepper and the other Avengers. I think between five of us we can manage a single kid,” Tony tells them.
“Put finding the cure on the backburners,” Fury commands. “Agent Gari á and Gabriel Gari á are now your top priority. Do what you must and relay all information back to us.”
“Thank you,” Tony’s voice was sincere. He scoops up the bag and turns to leave, pulling his phone up to his ear.
“Pepper? Yeah, listen-- don’t hang up,” Tony speaks. “Lucia is missing.”
The first night without Lucia was absolute hell.
Natasha couldn’t be satisfied no matter how they rocked or bounced or shushed her.
She found herself slipping into her younger mindset and tried to stay clear-headed because Lucia needed her.
After all she had done for her, Natasha owed her.
“Here,” Tony returns to the room where Pepper was holding Natasha. “Lucia did this when she had to stay in medical.”
One of Lucia’s pajama shirts is wrapped around her, cocooning her in the scent that her younger mindset associated with ‘safe’.
But Lucia and her younger brother were missing and the trail went cold.
Tony takes Natasha from Pepper and starts so sway her so that Pepper could go to bed.
Once Pepper was out of hearing vicinity, Tony looks down at Natasha.
“Nat, hey,” Tony mumbles. “Look at me.”
Natasha drags her eyes up to look at him.
“I know that you’re upset and you miss Lucia. I know that this is really hard for you but you are going to either hurt yourself or completely slip into a younger mindset,” Tony tells her. “I know that you only wanted to do that with Lucia so help me out here. What can I do to help?”
Natasha had absolutely no clue.
Tony perks up with a sudden thought. “Hey Jarvis, play a recording of Lucia singing.”
Lucia’s soft voice comes out of his phone and Tony sets his phone onto her chest for her to cling to as Lucia sings.
It helped. Natasha calms down immensely and Tony could put her down, tucking the shirt in with her and letting her keep his phone.
“We’ll get her back,” Tony promised.
Natasha believed him.
Gabriel Gari á was found at four in the morning wandering around the outskirts of town, more than twenty miles from where he was abducted. He had an obvious concussion caused by a wound on his face and was in shock, refusing to speak.
Shield quickly swooped him up and they contacted Tony to see if anyone of them wanted to speak to the boy.
“You knew Lucia and she talked about him. That’s more than we have to go on.”
Clint volunteered to go. He had heard about Gabriel’s misadventures in the kitchen during long nights with Lucia when neither could sleep.
He arrives and he knew the boy was Lucia’s brother when he spotted him.
The boy had caramel skin and shaggy black hair that hung in his face. Clint could see the dirt on his clothes and the butterfly bandages holding a wound above his eyebrow shut.
His eyes were trained on the wall and he didn’t move.
Clint enters the room.
“Gabriel?” Clint tries. “My name is Clint Barton.”
“I’m friends with your sister,” Clint continues.
Gabriel’s eyes briefly flicker to him. “ ¿mi hermana? ”
“Lucia,” Clint clarifies.
“ ¿conoces a Lucia? ” Gabriel questioned.
Clint remembers a little bit of Spanish.
“Yeah. I’m her friend,” Clint nods. “I need to know about what happened after school yesterday.”
“¿ colegio ?” Gabriel repeats. “School.”
“Yeah. What happened after school?” Clint repeats his question.
“ un hombre ,” Gabriel mumbles. “Man. There was a man waiting for me.”
“A man?” Clint coaxed. “What did he look like?”
“ Grande , big.” Gabriel breathes out. “ de miedo. He was tall. ”
“A big scary man. Okay, anything else?” Clint pushed.
“ una cicatriz aquí ,” Gabriel reaches up to touch his lower jaw and Clint freezes because he knew who he was talking about. “He was hurt. A scar right here.”
Clint pulls up the file on his phone and flicks through the photos and holds it up. “Is this him?”
“¡ Ese es el !” Gabriel nods. “He took me.”
Clint sighs because pieces were fitting together and Clint didn’t like the picture.
Gabriel was abducted from school by Shield Agent Maxwell. He probably wore out his use of him and dropped the kid off. He was probably only bait for Lucia.
“Thank you,” Clint breathes out. “Do you know where this man is?”
“ edificio vacio, ” Gabriel gestures. “ sin ventanas . It was dark.”
That narrowed it down a lot.
“Thanks, kid,” Clint grins.
“ ¿ puedo ver a lucia? ” Gabriel inquired. “I miss her.”
“She’ll see you as soon as she can,” Clint promised without revealing that Lucia was missing.
Gabriel nods and Clint leaves the room.
He lets out a sigh and runs his hand through his hair.
Why would an agent abduct another? Why did Maxwell want Lucia? Why use Gabriel?
Clint only knew one thing.
Natasha was not going to be happy.