Chapter Twelve: Family Reunion
The matriarch of the last Elodesian clan in existence had witnessed a lot in her relatively short life. She had gone from planet to planet, generations after Odin nearly obliterated their entire race. She had witnessed violence against her kind, she had witnessed the elders waste away on nothing in order for the young to eat. She and her mate had landed on the Warrior’s Respite, just a few among the small handful of their species that was left. The planet was idyllic and perfect. The warriors who used the healing pools never found them, allowing them to begin to prosper on the large planet.
And then came her unruly baby, her last, the one who walked on two legs. With the unruly baby came a new peace with the warriors. Even the son of Odin would treat them with respect when he had to visit the pools. They no longer had to hide. They no longer had to run. They proliferated and entered a new age of peace and enlightenment.
But Mama Fury still missed her youngest adopted child.
She sniffed the air for her everyday, expecting to hear her funny, rapid, little single heartbeat. She thought she might even be able to smell the baby’s mate, unconventional and ineffective as he might be. The baby had cared for her mate, so he was deemed worthy enough in Mama Fury’s eyes.
Seasons passed quickly on their new home planet, and Mama Fury saw more suitors coming for her children and even sent her three middle children out into the vast world to find mates of their own. A brother of her eldest’s mate came trotting up to the nest one day his mouth full of the clan fruit, intent on courting her very last child.
She knew it was the way of their people, and she would still see the tiny one that she thought of as Janie thanks to her baby naming her that. But seeing the last of her clan beginning to mature made Mama Fury miss her tiny, adopted baby even more.
Janie had just head-butted Bucky’s brother when Mama Fury’s head shot up and she breathed in deeply.
The baby was back.
She and Janie both ignored the prospective suitor and came barrelling down the ramp to their nest, rushing to the pools where the naughty baby had been found all those years ago. She was there, and the matriarch of the Eledosia let out high pitched, happy snorting noises as she and Janie cuddled the lost baby heartily.
“Woah woah, easy!” the baby’s silly mate came running up, away from the healing pool as he tried to stop the frenzied, happy cuddles. “Easy! Mama Fury, not so rough!”
“Mama Fury?” came another voice from the pool.
The eledeer huffed out and looked over at the pools to see friends of the baby and her mate. She could tell they were friends from the concern emanating off of them in waves. The one with the metal arm was submerged to his waist, while the female with the red hair was standing next to the pool, looking ready to fight and guard should she need.
“I’m okay, it’s okay!” the baby managed to get out while giggling in delight.
“Babydoll,” Steve worried, pushing at Janie’s rump gently to move her away.
“I’m okay,” Darcy insisted. She heard the stomping of hooves and realized more eledeer were on their way. “Nope, never mind, here come Bucky and Nat! Rescue me super-hubby!”
Steve laughed in spite of himself and resorted to dropping to the ground and crawling underneath dangerous hooves to get to his wife. He pressed himself between Darcy and the eledeer who were intent on nuzzling her. Bucky and Nat, the eledeer versions and not the humans currently at the healing pool came barrelling into the clearing, followed by at least a dozen small eledeer creatures.
“Bucky Junior!!” Darcy whispered in excitement.
“What are you gonna name the others?” Steve wondered playfully, holding out his arms and shielding his wife from most of the attention, only getting a few playful nips against his clothing. “Buck, don’t you dare wreck these pants already!”
“Seriously? So weird,” Bucky called out from the healing pools. He pulled himself out, eager to go and meet the ‘ eledeer ’ that Darcy had name after him. He’d heard enough about the creature in the last year.
“James, back in the pool,” Natasha said sternly.
“Aww, Natalia, I’m fine,” Bucky insisted. “It was just a little scratch.”
“You nearly lost your leg to that alien!” Natasha reminded him, pushing him back into the pool roughly. “T’Challa said he wasn’t going to give you more vibranium for a new leg, so you need to let the pools heal you.”
A snorting chortle echoed in the clearing and the bright red creature stopped trying to cuddle Steve and Darcy to within an inch of their lives and instead trotted towards the pool. He stared down at the man who had been manhandled by his woman and let out a happy snort in salutations.
“You must be other Bucky,” the man in the pool nodded at him, a slow amused smile taking over his features. “I’m you, except, you know, human .”
“Idiot,” Natasha rolled her eyes fondly, looking to her own counterpart and shrugging slightly before both looked back to Darcy fondly as the small, excited woman began naming all the babies.
“And I’m naming you Jamie and you Jimmy and you Natalie, and you Nat-Nat, and you Nathan, and you Thalia and you Barnsey and---”
“Doll, if you’re naming these babies like that, you should name your own in the same spirit!” Bucky encouraged. “James Nathan Lewis-Rogers has a nice ring to it!”
Mama Fury’s neck went long and straight and she took a long sniff of the air. She let out a little barking sound and all of her grandchildren backed off immediately, allowing Steve to relax a little. He took a step to the side, wrapping an arm around Darcy as he puffed up with pride. The eledeer matriarch bent her head and took a sniff at the little belly that Darcy was sporting and then she let out happy sounding whine.
“Yeah, see, the parts work just fine,” Steve told the eledeer. “First try off of her birth control too, so, everything is working real good for me, you know, downstairs .”
“You’re a bozo,” Bucky laughed and the eledeer version of himself laughed in that strange alien way of his as well.
“He’s my bozo,” Darcy pressed a kiss to Steve’s cheek. “So hey, before winter sets in, me and the hubs are totally going to go hit the mating fields, come check on us in a few days if we don’t come back.”
“Why can’t we go too?” Bucky wondered. He gave Natasha a waggle of his eyebrows. “I’m always up for a little mating.”
Steve wrinkled his nose, thinking of the way Fandral had relentlessly tried to get him to come into the fields with him. It had made every battle they had shared together in the last year a little awkward.
“I’m up for it,” Natasha winked at Darcy.
“Nope, you guys get acquainted with the fam. And make sure you get enough purple squirrels before winter,” Darcy advised. She gave Mama Fury’s front right leg a hug, laughing when the creature bent down to sniff her head. “We don’t have to be home for at least a day or two, so let’s make the most of it.”
Steve wrapped an arm around his wife and pulled her in close. “I made the most of it the first time around, Mrs. Rogers.”
“You’re a cornball,” Darcy accused. She kissed his lips quick and fierce. “You’re lucky I love you.”