Natasha resumed lead of the Avengers after they defeated Thanos, both on Earth and beyond. It had been an easy choice - Tony was dead and Steve had decided to retire to another timeline. The world was a mess but it was still there and as long as it was, Natasha was determined to protect it.
Five years had given her a lot of time to realize just how short and precious life was and if there was something she wanted, she had to go for it. She had to make her own story.
Thankfully Maria agreed wholeheartedly.
A year later Bruce officiated their wedding. Yelena stood proud beside Natasha, Sam beside her. Sharon and Pepper stood with Maria. Nick smiled as he walked Maria down the aisle. Alexi cried loudly during the ceremony. Melina comforting him, looking on at Natasha with pride.
Pepper handed the newlyweds an envelope during the reception. She knew they hadn’t planned on taking a honeymoon straight away after the wedding but she told them that the group had come up with a plan anyway. Pepper assured that they would hold the fort while Natasha and Maria were gone - Stark Industries wholeheartedly committed to the rehabilitation and rehousing of the billions of people traumatized by the five year blip, and the Avengers would do their best not to cause any global catastrophes in their absence.
A jet had been waiting on a small airstrip nearby. Ten days on a secluded island Pepper told Natasha she used to drag Tony to every so often. Everything they needed was there. Pepper handled that personally. That meant a lot to Natasha and even more to Maria, the usual facilitator of all their plans.
It was the first time in her life Natasha had ever taken a vacation. Maria had taken a few weekend trips while in the Marines but that had only been weekend hiking or skiing trips and felt like a lifetime ago. Ten days of peace, warmth, and love neither could believe they had any right to possess but reveled in it anyway.
Their story was imperfect and their lives mired in choices only the most steadfast and courageous could bear to make, but during this time, as with all of the small moments they had shared since life had begun again, Natasha and Maria clung to them fiercely and spent their second chance at life making each other whole.