A/N: By popular demand, the next installment of Parker and Natasha.
"You're married!" Parker sat straight up in her chair and very nearly spilled her coffee. "I wasn't at the wedding."
Natasha smiled. "No. I didn't know you were free."
Parker frowned. "But you're married and pregnant, and we weren't supposed to be able to do that."
Natasha merely shrugged and sipped her not-coffee. In fact, it was ginger tea. "There's a baby shower if that would make you feel better."
Parker looked a little lost for a moment. "I don't know anything about babies."
That look was one Natasha had worn on her face and greeted in the mirror when she first discovered her supposed sterility was as false as any cover she'd worn. She understood that look, and she had to tamp down on a few unpleasant memories as she set down her tea and wrapped one of Parker's hands in her own.
"We don't know anything when we start," she said. "But we're designed to learn quickly."
It was true. Parker stared at her, then the faintest twinges of a smile appeared at the corners of her mouth.
Three days later, Hardison hacked the SHIELD database, cursed Stark firewalls loudly and profusely, but eventually managed to locate the phone number of one, Clint Barton, landline.
"This guy is living in yesteryear, man." Who still used a landline anymore?
"Just get him on the phone," Elliot growled.
A loud thunk echoed behind them, probably Parker tossing aside another useless baby book.
Hardison and Elliot exchanged looks. Hardison dialed.
On the third ring, a very sleepy, grumpy, confused voice picked up. "Barton?"
"Give me that." Elliot took the phone and said, "It's Spencer. What did your woman say to Parker?"
A long pause. "Huh? What?" Muffled noises. "No, it's Spencer. Give me a minute. What about Parker?"
"She's scaring Hardison," Elliot said, neatly ignoring anything about whether she was scaring him. "She's reading baby books and ordering him to make the craziest gadgets and taking me shopping at baby stores, and she's been asking about our medical histories."
A longer pause. Barton's low chuckle started almost inaudibly but just kept growing into outright laughter.
"Glad you find this amusing, Barton!" Elliot barked into the phone.
"No. Sorry, sorry." He managed to get his breathing back under control with some apparent effort. "Natasha invited her to the baby shower. Hang on a sec. Nat, what baby shower?"
"Stay with me, Barton. You're having a baby?"
Hardison dropped his head to his hands, already starting to moan and groan. Elliot waved at him to hush.
Muffled conversation on the other end. Barton groaned. "Yeah, we're having a baby, complete with shower apparently."
Great. Just great.
"I am not having a baby with Parker," Elliot stated emphatically, glaring at Hardison.
Barton sounded amused. "Congratulations?"
"Good night." Elliot hung up the phone.
Parker rejected twelve gifts before settling on a rocking chair. Three were things she'd stolen before remembering Natasha was trying to turn over a new leaf. Four were perfect—for a baby girl, and they didn't know the gender yet. The next were all suggestions from the guys and she ruled them out for various reasons, mostly, "Baby safe, Hardison."
If only she'd had Sophie to depend on.
In the meantime, she read books, went window shopping, grifted her way into a two-day daycare job, then stayed a week. At the end of it, she decided newborns were difficult to sleep with without a comfortable chair that was safe for parent and child.
Then she talked the guys into giving her a ride and dragged them in with her before they had a chance to escape.
Natasha had on her working face, which told Parker she needed backup. This was proved the minute she was engulfed in a hug by a strawberry blonde named…
"Pepper Potts. So good of you to come."
"Thank you," Parker replied automatically, then immediately went past, hand latched on tightly to Hardison's arm.
Elliot came behind, lugging the chair. "Where do I put this?"
Parker followed where Pepper pointed and Elliot followed Parker.
Natasha found them before he'd gotten the chair on the ground and gave Parker another hug. She stiffened but pasted a smile on her face.
"I'm so glad you came," Natasha said warmly. She shook hands with Elliot and Hardison. "So glad to meet you. Clint's told me a bit about you."
Elliot smiled and nodded that way he did when he wanted out of there as fast as he could.
"Of course, you're staying for the party?" Natasha shot him a pleasant, expectant smile and procured the strained, 'of course,' that was only polite.
Parker had forgotten how good the Widows could be at what they did. She settled for her less subtle you're-not-anywhere-buddy grip on Hardison's arm to convince him they were all in this together.
Natasha gently herded them toward the other guests.
Lots of people. Too many people, names, expectant smiles. It was easier to skate beneath notice and pocket wallets than meet Coulson, Hill, Carter, May, Morse, Fury, and an endless line of other agents intent on greeting this unknown friend of Natasha's. Natasha simply introduced her as Parker and moved her right along. No one really needed to know where the two met first.
But then it was mostly men on one side and women gathered around the gifts, and everything felt a little easier. They talked about babies instead of history.
"Do you know yet if it's going to be a girl or a boy?"
"Have you picked a name yet?"
"They're terrible when they're teething, but…"
They oohed and ahed over Parker's gift, they planned out dozens of ways to spoil the coming girl, and they shared all the joys and headaches that might be ahead of the new parents. Parker listened and let herself sink beneath notice as she watched Natasha be a normal woman with a real smile that lit up her entire face.
On the way back, she leaned forward and put an arm on the shoulder of each seat in front of her.
Elliot glanced back. Hardison kept his eyes on the road.
"I want a baby," Parker announced calmly.
Lucille screeched to a halt.
Parker just grinned. #