Natasha was in the midst of stripping the skin off a rabbit she'd caught earlier in the day, the bird having been set aside for the time being, when she heard him enter the room. She remained silent, keeping her back to him for now as she struggled to shove away memories and emotions nearly twenty years old. When his arms wrapped around her, she paused, then carefully set down the knife she was using and wiped her hands clean as she closed her eyes for a moment. Finally, Natasha turned in his arms and wrapped her own around him while resting her cheek against his hair. It surprised her, constantly, how tall he was getting, and watching him grow up before her eyes made her wish she could freeze time.
"I know," she whispered softly, then kissed the top of his head, tightening her arms. "I love you, James."