|Not Mom Material|
|What: Roy brings Lian to "bring your kid to work day" at SHIELD. Natasha fails at hiding from every rugrat on the premises.|
Bring Your Kid To Work Day was, generally, a day that Roy both dreaded and enjoyed. Applause, because it encouraged showing off Lian. Dread, because there was -something- unnerving about -his- particular brand of workplace and the utter lack of fear when it came to guns for his daughter.
Indeed, aside from a brief spell of shyness around strangers that didn't last for terribly long after she got used to the new people, Lian Harper was perfectly at home. Dressed in a pink dress with frilly white lacing and white knee-socks and black shoes, Lian looked -like- the stereotypical little girl who loved unicorns and ponies.
Which might be why it was disconcerting and amusing for the lab workers to see her stamping her foot and glaring up at her father. "DADDDEEEE... I want to -shoot- that gun!" she exclaims, pointing to a large launcher-type prototype that might well be her size.
"C'mon princess, I'll let you have a .357 magnum or something, just not -that- one," is Roy's response as he tries to pacify his daughter.
Natasha hates this day. She has been hiding out in the labs figuring no parent in their right mind would bring their kid in here. She was probably right, as Roy's mind is questionable at best. She looks up from where she's tapping away at a laptop in a corner, filling out paperwork in a place even Fury won't think to look for her, and blinks at the pink and lace and shriek from the little girl. Blink. Blink. She pulls her Glock from a shoulder holster, ejects the magazine, clears the chamber, and walks over to hand the pistol to the little girl. "Can you hold this for me for a bit?" she asks, solemnly, as if talking to an adult.
Lian casts a dubious look at her father. He'd been -weird- all day. First insisting that he dress up in a -dress- instead of the superhero outfit (what -was- wrong with the Robin Hood outfit? Daddy was a -hero-. She should dress like a hero too, so that she could fit) she wanted. Then refusing to let her play with guns -at work-, when she could make bang bang noises all she wanted at home. And so she lowered her gaze, disappointed. "Okay, Daddy..." she says, just before Natasha arrives, and does that most wonderful of things... LETTING HER PLAY. "... really? Can I?" she says with a wide-eyed look up at Natasha, before reaching a tentative hand at the pistol. Finding no resistance, she takes it, and crows. "Wow! Look! Daddy, it's a ... it's a..." She trips over the word she wants, as she can't differenate between types of guns at all. "... it's a gun!" she settles on. And proceeds to immediately hop on a chair and point it. "BANG BANG!" she shouts.
Roy immediately nabs her off the chair. "False alarm, false alarm!" he exclaims, covering her mouth as she waves the glock around. "Oh god, I -knew- this would be a bad idea," he mutters. "But she insisted." Glancing up at Natasha, he offers a sheepish grin. "Er. Agent Romanoff, this is my daughter, Lian. Lian, this is..."
Squirming free, Lian squees. "The Black Widow!" And she's practically flinging herself into Natasha's arms.
OMGWTFBBW!? That best describes Natasha's face as she now has a squirming little girl in her hands, held out at arm's length, like the child might pee on her or vomit or something. Her eyes flit aside to Roy. "Does this belong to you?" she asks, like she's holding a landmine instead of a kid. A moment later, though, she pulls Lian in to balance her weight on one hip. "You can call me Natasha," she says plainly to Lian. "Your father, however, will be calling me Ma'am, Yes Ma'am for the rest of his natural life after today."
If it helps, Roy is staring too, mostly because Lian generally doesn't -like- coming up against strangers. On the other hand, the Widow -had- been sighted quite often enough lately that it might -not- feel like looking at a stranger.
"Uh, sorry, ma'am, I didn't expect..." Roy finally speaks, reaching out to take Lian back from the Widow.
"Daddy, it's the Widow! She bites men and -stones- them", Lian exclaims, nearly braining her father with Natasha's glock in her glee.
"... uh, that's -stun-, sweetheart," Roy grimaces, as he tries valiantly to tug away the glock. "Give the nice lady back her gun, please, it's hers."
"But she gave it to me!" Lian protests.
"Oh, fine," Lian pouts, before offering it back to Widow with a semi-smile that -also- somehow conveyed a certain 'I'm doing it because daddy said to' attitude. "How many people do you shoot with it?" she asks.
"Many people," Natasha answers. She clearly does not have 'mom' truth filters. She pauses as she reloads the gun and slides it into the shoulder holster. "Only bad ones though. Ones who try to hurt nice people." There, that should correct the issue. She looks at Roy. "Where is her mother?" she asks.
"Oooo," Lian whispers, tremendously -impressed- in a way that she never -was- with her father. Because, clearly, this was a -woman- who could keep up with her father, and that made her -better-. Daddy was just -Daddy-, so it was normal for -him- to do that, but Natasha? Instant stardom. Better than Merida, even!
That it takes Roy a bit of hesistation to answer that question indicates a touchy subject, and the man finally grins. "Probably on the run," he says. "It'll probably come up someday in a mission brief, but man... I can't say I regret it."
Lian, aware that her -mom- was being discussed, gives Roy a look and a palm to his cheek. "Daddy, when will mommy stop running for the marathon...?"
"W--wuh? What marathon?" No, Roy lost track of his daughter's train of thought.
Lian sighs. Why was Daddy -so dense-?
Natasha's head tilts to one side as Roy explains. Then she smiles to Lian, to let him off the hook. "I will tell you a secret no one else here knows. I had a little girl once, for a very short time," she says softly, so it doesn't carry past the three of them. "I think she would have been very much like you, and I would have been proud of her if she was." Are those unshed tears in her eyes? Surely not. Allergies, definitely.
"What happened to her?" For a five years old, Lian could be uncommonly sharp. Must've been inherited from her mother. That, or her father was slacking.
Roy, on the other hand, catches the nuanced statement, and softly tightens his hug on Lian. "She... went away. Like... well..."
Lian wrinkles her nose, before dawning realization hits. "Oh." Her eyes softens, as a frown crosses her face. "Why?" Her arms around her father tightens a bit.
"She died," Natasha says quietly. "Her father died a few days before she was born, and I believe she knew he would be sad if he was alone, so she went to be with him in the afterlife and wait for me there."
"I'm sorry," Lian says, as Roy hugs his daughter. Abruptly, she squirms, reaching her arms out towards Natasha as if to hug her, and Roy holds her back just enough, glancing towards his fellow SHIELD agent as if to ask if she'd want it.
Natasha accepts the little girl back into her arms. "It's alright, Lian. I'll see them again someday. And they are safe and together. That is a good thing." She hilds the child tightly, breathing in that smell that only children possess, that whiff of innocence. "Thank you for letting me talk about her though." She leans back to press her forehead to the girl's.
The look Roy flashes at Natasha is a brief 'we will never -speak- of this, ma'am' look before he glares at anyone else who -wants- to comment on the scene. So, yes, maybe word of Agent Romanoff hugging Agent Harper's daughter might get around, but nothing else.
At length, Roy coughs. "So, um. Lian, would you like to see Daddy's shooting range?" he asks.
"No, I want to see what the Widow does at work," Lian says, shaking her head.
Roy has -nothing- to say about -that-. Dissed by his own daughter for 'Take Your Kid to Work' day?
"I go to the shooting range every day, Lian," Natasha explains. She sets the girl down, but holds one of her hands. "Come on, I'll show you how good of a shot I am, compared to your father."
Now Roy arches an eyebrow. "Oh, you can...?"
Lian, on the other hand, was enamoured, as she keeps ahold of the Widow's hand. "Of course she can, Daddy! You said girls can do -anything-!"
Roy winces a bit, but manages to -not- say a snappy thing about how -he- could shoot a bee's knees out.
"Come along, Agent Harper. I'm giving you an opportunity to show off for your daughter." Natasha smiles ever so faintly as she leads Lian down a hall to the lift. She clearly believes every daughter should adore their father.
"Heh. And what about showing off for you?" is Roy's automatic response, before Lian gives him a -look- that causes Roy to pause, mutter something, and look at Natasha again. "... Ma'am." Sigh. "... I'll be sure not to be missing a damn target, and I'll even sign her name in the targets. Just so you know."
"I am, no doubt, harder to impress, Harper." Natasha smirks at him and lets Lian press the button to open the range when they get there. She inputs orders for the computer and the targets roll out automatically. No fear of accidentally shooting someone retrieving targets or arrows in here.
"You think so? Oh hey... I have a question. Are you familiar with Agent Danvers?" Roy asks as he sets Lian up with earmuffs, before dragging a chair out of a corner.
"Carol?" Natasha asks, arching a brow as she checks her weapon, explaining the parts to Lian as she does so. She looks over at Roy. "She will beat you into paste if you hit on her," she comments idly.
That Lian seems entirely too familiar with guns is evident from the way she follows along without asking the usual -questions- about why things worked the way they do. Of course, Widow might not find this terribly suspicious, given her background.
As Lian sits down in her chair, Roy grunts. "Not what I mean, though I take it that you think _I_ would want to hit on her means she's a looker. I mean... is she a stickler for rules or anything? You know, the kind that would quote the rule book chapter and verse?"
"Rules are Carol's life," Natasha says. She points her gun at the target, looking the other way, and squeezes off 8 shots. They all hit, a few even in the bullseyes.
"Great, that's even worse," Roy grimaces, as he fires off eight shots. They form an L, six down, then two more across from the sixth hole. "And she's a meta to boot. That'll be interesting, working with a woman -and- a meta for the first time. Well, not counting the undercover mission."
Blam blam blam. Next target she looks at and nails the bullseye 6 of 8 times. "You could use some rules in your life, Harper. And she could use some risk. I think you'll work well together, if she doesn't drop you from ten stories up."
The next target has six holes in a row, vertically, and Roy saves the two bullets in it for the next target. "Huh. Doesn't matter how good she looks in doing it. If I can work with her, fine. So long as she doesn't try to show who's boss." A slight issue with authority, clearly.
With the next target set up, and an A dotted out in bullet holes, Roy adds, "But as a person, how's she?"
"I don't know her that well, Roy," Natasha admits. "I just know she has a reputation for being by the book, and having the strength to more than hold her own in this man's world." Natasha blows the head off the next target.
"Great," Roy grimaces. "The Colonel thinks the world of her, so I'm gonna be screwed if I don't get along. I was hoping to meet her -today- while, you know..." He jerks his head towards the clapping Lian, who seems far more impressed with Widow's shooting the head off her target than with her name in letters. Maybe because she wasn't yet learning how to read?
"My, I think your father's target holes spell something," Natasha says, crouching by Lian. "Shall we figure it out?" She looks towards a mic system above and calls "Backlight!" Lights go on behind the targets, for use in being able to see the target holes easier. "L - I - A - N. Hm, whatever could that spell?" She looks at Roy. "Smart move, softening her up with a child. Being a father makes you more human, less pig-like." She winks.
"L... I... A... N. L... Lian!" Now Lian giggles, and immediately jumping behind her father in a hug. Luckily for Roy, the safety is on, as he immediately puts the gun down on something safe, and turns to hug his daughter. Picking her up, Roy snorts. "Yeah well, I can't just -let- my daughter think her daddy's like one of those bad guys in those disney princess movies," he mutters. "Although I have to say, I kinda liked that Gatson dude from Beauty and the Beast."
That is immediately met with a palm to Roy's face and a scowl from Lian. "No, Daddy! BAD!"
That actually gets a genuine smile from the Widow. "Look there, Harper, I think you have a future SHIELD agent on your hands. She holsters her gun again. "Miss Lian, I need to go do some work now, but it was very nice meeting you." Her voice seems a little strained. Memories, which she's not even positive are real and not implanted by the Red Room, are making her emotional.
"It was nice to meet you! Can I see you again?" Lian asks, insisting on giving Natasha one more hug, while giving her father an admonishing look.
Roy sighs. "Yeah, nobody does it like Gatson," he grumps. "Mostly because he doesn't -have- to work with..." He doesn't finish that thought, instead just bringing two fingers to salute Natasha. "Thanks, Romanoff."
"You may, Lian. Be good." Natasha looks to Roy and gives him a nod, not trusting her voice further. Then she leaves.